The Seven Year Itch?

Mar 10:8 And the two will become one flesh; so that they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Mar 10:9 Let not that which has been joined together by God be parted by man.

According to Wikipedia, “the seven-year itch is a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven of a marriage. The phrase was first used to describe an inclination to become unfaithful after seven years of marriage in the play The Seven Year Itch by George Axelrod, and gained popularity following the 1955 film adaptation starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell.”

This summer we celebrate seven years of marriage. Like most (all?) marriages, it has not always been smooth sailing.

We have had to deal with the personal baggage that came with each of our previous long-term but unsuccessful marriages. I would like to say that I have put all that stinking garbage behind me but the old insecurities and the fear of being rejected – again – continue to pop their ugly heads back up every once in a while. I know that hubby has his share of insecurities too. We work at over-coming these issues by talking about them and by telling, and showing, one another just how very much we love one another.

We both continue to struggle with the effects of chronic illness – specifically pain, fatigue and mental stress. Since we both suffer chronic pain, we can readily empathize with one another. We treat one another with concern and compassion and look for ways to comfort one another. This can be challenging when we are both unwell at the same time. It can also get very frustrating when the symptoms seem to drag on day after day. This is when we must work on exercising our patience along with our compassion.

We each have adult children from our previous marriages. Our children have brought their own respective baggage into our marriage. Since Paul and I love one another, we have also chosen to love one another’s families. This has been a REAL challenge at times, especially since our parenting styles were, and are, very different. Since our children are adults (chronologically anyways – lol), ‘parenting’ takes on a whole new dimension which often feels like we can only use the  ‘stand back and watch the accident happen’ method of parenting. Our children’s issues and behaviours have often caused stress in our marriage. At such times, I need to remind myself of what is most important – my relationship with my husband, rather than the foibles of our kids. After all, God did say:

Mat 19:6 Then let not that which has been joined by God be parted by man. (Insert children, parents and in-laws).

We also continue to struggle with financial constraints. Starting lives over from scratch, legal financial obligations, health issues affecting work ability, and yes, even some unwise expenditures, have all contributed to some difficult and lean times. But one of the reasons that I love my hubby is that he has NEVER made me feel like I am a financial burden when I have not been able to contribute to the household finances. Rather, he has often felt badly that he has not been able to provide me with the kind of lifestyle he wants to give me. During the lean and challenging times, we focus on the things that are really important in life, like our love for one another.

Challenges have also arisen in the way in which each of us approaches our day-to-day activities and household chores. I am creative and love decorating my home. My hubby can never quite ‘visualize’ my ideas, especially if it involves second-hand furniture.(LOL) I am also analytical, detail aware, practical and love to  be organized. Frustratingly for me at times, my hubby does not always share these ‘wonderful’ qualities. He definitely does not approach housework and washing dishes “my way”. I have learned to be grateful for the fact that he does those chores at all – and usually with no complaint.

While we are kindred spirits in many areas, I don’t always like the same kinds of movies and programs that he likes to watch. We live in a small, 1 level home, so when he is watching something that bothers me, we employ the use of the A.P.M.H. – which is the ‘Apparatus for the Preservation of Marital Harmony’ a.k.a the wireless headphones. Every home should have a least 1 pair of these!

Even with all the challenges our marriage has faced in the past seven years, I am very thankful that we have only ever had one major blow-up, and that happened in our ‘early years’ of marriage.

Although the years have not always been easy, we have been so very blessed to have one another. We are truly one another’s best friend, soul-mate, kindred spirit and lover. Because we both had difficult first marriages, we greatly appreciate, and choose to focus on, all the good qualities we each have. And we count our many blessings every day. We also laugh – A LOT – both at each other and ourselves. Loving humour can smooth over a multitude of flaws.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, my hubby Paul has been an answer to prayer and every day “I thank my God in remembrance of him”.

Life since marrying Paul has been the happiest time of my life. I can’t imagine living without him. I pray for ‘seven times seventy’ more years with him.

Son 1:2 Let him give me the kisses of his mouth: for his love is better than wine. 

 

 

Blessings

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The Bad Guys Win??

Rom 16:20 And the God of peace will be crushing Satan under your feet before long.

(Warning – Spoiler Alert for Avengers; Infinity War movie)

While my hubby and I share a lot of common interests, our taste in movies can be quite different. I think that my guy is sweet, sensitive and fairly mild-mannered, so I am always puzzled by the fact that he LOVES action movies filled with explosions, gunfire, and martial arts fighting. When I have questioned him about it he has answered that he likes the movies where the good guys kick bad guys’ butt – where good triumphs over evil.

He recently went to the cinema with his kids to watch the new Avengers movie, “Avengers; Infinity War” and received a bit of a shock when at the end of the movie – the bad guys won!!

With the way that evil is growing in the world and the way that the entertainment industry panders to violent society, I will not be surprised to see more and more movies and tv shows starting to show the bad guys winning over the good guys – evil triumphing over good.

So I am very glad that I know the truth that no matter how bad things get in this world, it is only for a time and then there will be a stop to it and then finally goodness will prevail over evil – once and for all!

Rev 12:12 Be glad then, O heavens, and you who are in them. But there is trouble for the earth and the sea: because the Evil One has come down to you, being very angry, having the knowledge that he has but a short time.

Rev 20:10 And the Evil One who put them in error was sent down into the sea of ever-burning fire, where the beast and the false prophet are, and their punishment will go on day and night for ever and ever.

Rev 17:14 These will make war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because he is the Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with him are named, marked out, and true.

Joh 16:33 I [Jesus] have said all these things to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble: but take heart! I have overcome the world.

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1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessings

 

 

 

A Sacrifice of Praise

There have been many times in my life when I wished that I had the talent to write beautiful psalms like King David did. This evening was one of those times.

Summer evenings are my favourite time and since my hubby was away for the evening, I decided to go for a bike ride around my ‘hood. Now my idea of a good bike ride is travelling just slightly faster than a quick walking pace – so basically, a casual stroll on 2 wheels.

I love the mellow light and the cool freshness of the air during summer evenings. Life seems more restful and peaceful. I love the golden glow of the setting sun as it highlights the tops of the trees.

My neighbourhood and the country road out to the highway are thickly lined with verdant trees and plants in every shape and size and hue of green (my favourite colour) from lime to emerald.

The mild evening air is heavenly scented with the sweet but light perfume of flowering shrubs and trees.

And the air is filled with the sounds of birds – robins, wrens, flycatchers and wood thrushes –  singing their evening choruses.

Life feels very sweet at such times and I thank God for these moments.

As I was offering up my thanksgiving unto God for the beauty of the evening, and wishing that I could write a psalm for Him, I remembered the following chorus I used to sing at fellowship gatherings:

We bring the sacrifice of praise
Into the house of the Lord.
We bring the sacrifice of praise
Into the house of the Lord.

And we offer up to You
The sacrifices of thanksgiving;
And we offer up to You
The sacrifices of joy

 

I don’t know if the neighbours appreciated my singing, but I think my Heavenly Father did.

Blessings

Carpet-bomb

Carpet-bomb:
1to drop large numbers of bombs so as to cause uniform devastation over (a given area)
2to bombard repeatedly, widely, or excessively 
Since the beginning of November, I feel like my life has been under one long carpet-bomb attack.
The increasingly dull, damp and cold weather causes a large increase in my pain and fatigue. This in turn made it much more challenging to stand at work for long hours thus increasing my pain and fatigue even more and decreasing my ability to deal with workplace stress.
My darling hubby was also suffering with weekly migraines lasting anywhere from 2-4 days. This required the house to be dark and quiet for long periods of time – not conducive to my already low spirits.
A family member, whom we are helping out and who had been living in our trailer during the warmer months has now moved into our small home until Spring. Not only did our living space get smaller, so did our routines, peace and privacy.
And then the enemy stepped up its offensive and the real bombing began, and in the aftermath, a young family has been torn apart; hearts have been broken; fear, insecurity, anger, blame, shame, and sorrow have left deep craters in the lives of all who are involved.
Our small home has become even smaller as we provide shelter and support to a troubled and wounded loved one. The walls of a 2 bedroom cottage/home are now stretched at the seams to accommodate 4 adults and all their accompanying baggage – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
To say that it has been challenging is an understatement! But, to say that God has been with me through all of this is also an understatement. Even during the times when I was so burdened and tired that I couldn’t even formulate a prayer in my head, I knew that God saw, understood, and acted in that situation.
I am so thankful for all those like-minded believers who prayed with me, and for me and my loved ones.
I am so grateful for my Saviour, Jesus, who carries my burden when it becomes too heavy for me.
And I am thankful for hope, a hope that is rooted in Jesus Christ and what he has done for me.
We are finally coming out the other side of this episode of the enemy’s carpet bombing. I know that there are still trials to come, but I believe and trust that God will continue to uphold and sustain me as I wait for the prayers for my loved one to be answered and healing and deliverance to manifest themselves.
Rom 5:1 For which reason, because we have righteousness through faith, let us be at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;
Rom 5:2 Through whom, in the same way, we have been able by faith to come to this grace in which we now are; and let us have joy in hope of the glory of God.
Rom 5:3 And not only so, but let us have joy in our troubles: in the knowledge that trouble gives us the power of waiting;
Rom 5:4 And waiting gives experience; and experience, hope:
Rom 5:5 And hope does not put to shame; because our hearts are full of the love of God through the Holy Spirit which is given to us.
Rom 5:6 For when we were still without strength, at the right time Christ gave his life for evil-doers.

Overcoming Regrets

A good reminder for someone like me.

Unshakable Hope

Do you ever feel like your regrets are haunting you like ghosts from your past?

I used to allow regrets over things I’ve said or wished I had said and things I’ve done or wish I had done, to steal my joy, peace and hope. I became so aggravated with these condemning “ghosts” of regret that I finally decided to figure out how to defeat them. The following “battle-plan” (for conquering regrets) has helped me and I hope it might help others dealing with this problem too.

Defining this enemy
Even though I knew what the word regret meant, I began by looking up the definition, which, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is: “sorrow aroused by circumstances beyond one’s control or power to repair: an expression of distressing emotion (as sorrow)” 

I also noticed that repent is one of the synonyms for the word regret. I suppose this makes…

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My New Place

I and my family have been enduring some very difficult and challenging times since the Fall. Many days have been filled with great stress. The ongoing struggles have left me exhausted – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Each day has been an exercise in perseverance to look for something to be joyful about, and for which to be grateful.

In keeping with the teaching of changing my focus so as to change the direction of my thoughts,  I thought that I would create another blog site – one that allows me to focus on the beauty that God has created –  a beauty which is all around me.

In my new blog, I will share photos from my many nature walks as well as an encouraging scripture or two. I may even bore you with some information about some of the interesting plants and creatures I have photographed. LOL

I invite you to travel with me to “my new place”:  In My Father’s Garden  at    https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/myfathersgarden832723765.wordpress.com

Come walk with me.

Blessings

 

Care for the Care-giver

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Mar 1:45 … And they came to Him [Jesus] from every quarter. 

 

I feel like I have been a care-giver, in one way or another, for almost all my life. As the oldest child, I often felt responsible for looking out for the well-being of my two younger sisters. As a daughter, I have been very concerned about the health and happiness of my mother throughout the various trials and tribulations of her life. I have been a wife since I was 18 years old and have looked after the needs of two husbands, both of whom had various issues, including frequent, severe headaches. I am the mother of two sons, and although they are now adults with families of their own, I am still frequently called upon to be a listener, comforter and encourager. I also have the somewhat unenviable and dubious role as a not-really step-mom to two adult children, one of whom is living with us for a time. On top of all of these day-to-day care-giving rolls, I have also been a long-term care nurse, women’s fellowship leader, adult Sunday school teacher, and community volunteer.

It seems that being a care-giver is a natural aspect of my personality and use of my God-given gifts. So it would also seem that doing all these different care-giving jobs would be easy, joyful and fulfilling – NOT!

Being a care-giver can be wonderful, joyful and fulfilling, but often as not, it is draining – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When this happens, I ask the question, “who cares for the caregiver”? Unfortunately, I have found that if I am hoping for, or counting on, other human beings to fill that need, I am often left feeling very disappointed which can then lead to feelings of bitterness, resentment and anger – not good!

Now some may say that being in service to others should leave us feeling filled and energized and that if we are not feeling that way, we are either doing something wrong or not using our gifts and talents where they are best suited. I agree that there may be some truth to that, and thus we should always seek God’s wisdom, discernment and wise counsel on how best to use what He has given to us. However, even the greatest care-giver, Jesus Christ, appears to have felt stretched thin, worn out and worn down at times by the cares of those to whom he was ministering.

Mat 26:37,38 And He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him, and He  [Jesus]began to be sorrowful and very heavy.  Then He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.

So what are we, the caregivers, supposed to do when we begin to feel stretched thin, worn out and worn down? We need to follow Jesus’ example in these situations.

Jesus chose people. He surrounded himself with the people that he chose to help him carry out his Kingdom work.

Mat 4:18-22 And walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea. For they were fishermen. And He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they immediately left their nets and followed him. And going on from there, he saw another two brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. And He called them; and they immediately left the boat and their father and followed Him.

Luk 6:13-15 And when it was day, He called His disciples. And He chose twelve of them, whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew;  Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who was called Zelotes; Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who also became the betrayer.

Besides the disciples and apostles who helped Jesus with his ministry, there also were people, like Mary Magdalene, who followed Jesus and ministered care unto him.

Mat 27:55,56 And many of the women were there, watching from a distance, those who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, watching from a distance; among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

Luk 8:1-3 And it happened afterwards, He traveled in every city and village, proclaiming and announcing the gospel of the kingdom of God. And the Twelve were with Him, and also certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities; Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered to Him of their possessions.

When you are involved in a lot of care giving, pouring yourself out for others, you need to make sure that you also have a human support system in place. Make sure you spend time with people who can encourage, comfort, support and bless you. I am very blessed to have some special people in my life to whom I can turn to when I need encouragement and support.

However, people, being flawed humans, can disappoint you and let you down, even the ones you can normally count upon. Jesus faced this very issue at the Garden of Gethsemane.

Mat 26:36-41 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane. And He said to the disciples, Sit here while I go and pray there. And He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then He said to them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Wait here and watch with Me.  And He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will. And He came to the disciples and found them asleep. And He said to Peter, What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Jesus knew and understood the frailties and failures of humanity, so when Man failed him, or when he needed spiritual re-charging, comforting, support and encouragement, Jesus took the most important step – he went to the One in whom he could always trust and count upon to be there for him –  he went to his Heavenly Father in prayer.

Mat 14:23 And when He had sent the crowds away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray.

Mar 1:34, 35 And He healed many who were sick of different diseases, and cast out many demons. And He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.  And rising up quite early in the night, He went out and went away into a deserted place, and He was praying there.

Luk 5:15,16 But the word about Him spread even more. And great crowds were coming to hear, and to be healed from their infirmities by Him. But He [Jesus] was drawing back in the wilderness, and praying.

Luk 6:12 And it happened in those days that He [Jesus] went out into a mountain to pray, and He was spending the night in prayer to God.

So when my care-giving duties leave me feeling wrung out, worn down, and discouraged, I need to remind myself to follow Jesus’ example. I need to reach out and spend time with the One who is able to give me all that I need to continue serving others with love.

Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do in full measure more than all our desires or thoughts, through the power which is working in us, To him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations for ever and ever. So be it.