The same wife after 25 years?

“A successful marraige is falling in love over and over again…always with the same person.”

I was thinking ( a favorite hobby of mine ) about my life, particulary the last few years. I was reflecting on all the massive changes that have come my way.

In a time frame of about two and a half years, I became an empty nester, a mother-in-law, a grandmother. I also left our dear church family of 12 and a half years ( Of which my hubby had pastored),and the town and the home we had raised our family in; I drove away with my hubby and left behind two of our children, my two week old grandaughter (our first grandchild), my friends, my hat as “pastor’s wife”, my hat as a “worship-leader”, my hat as “speaker”, everything that would have defined who Karolyn had known herself to be; I (we) moved away with nothing tangible to move to or into of our own. My husband was a worn out, very tired man. The only bread crumb we held in our hands was an “inkling” that we would be living in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia.

And live there we did. We bought a little condo in the city and began a very different life!  I had been a country girl most of my life, I had never lived in city before…never lived in a condo before…..there were people EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME! Like ants constantly moving I felt like I was living in the middle of an ant hill.

So why all these needless details? I told you….I was thinking and thinking revealed the constant in all this change: Jesus Christ and my husband.

I could have missed this beautiful truth in all that change, in all those waves that came at my red canoe.

Jesus was “home” in my heart and my dear husband was by my side (and I by his).

Oh! Did I mention that we have just moved again? My husband has been called back to the pastorate. To a church in a town on the outskirts of Vancouver.

My red canoe has been rocked again.

Who am I now?

One of my revelations is my “wife” hat.

Through all of this, I have been a wife!! (still a mother, grandmother, but those roles have new faces now).

A wife, a “help-er”

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she LAUGHS at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her; “many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Prov.31:25-31) hmmm, could this be said of my life as I have paddled my way through all this change? I wonder….

My relationship with my husband is the most important relationship I have on earth, this side of eternity.

I remember a few years ago (when our kids were teenagers) a dear, older man from our church family pulled me aside, looked me in the eye, and proposed this question;  “You know that your husband is more important than your children don’t you?” 

WHAT?

I was ticked.

WHAT? Come again?!

I did not agree with this man, and I believed that as a good Scottish, English and German bred woman I should have TOLD him that! Bah! The nerve of him!

Until…

The tide of the changing moon came to my shore, and with it my secure little boat…..

I have felt like I have been saying a chronic good-bye to everything that had adhered itself to the deepest part of my heart and mind for so long now, except to my life partner…

I am a different woman today because of this journey.

I am a different wife today because of this journey.

I have been given a great gift from the Maker of heaven and earth.

My husband.

This journey I have come through was also part of God’s plan to craft into me a deeper understanding of what it means to be a wife; what it means to LOVE my husband MORE than I love my children. To VALUE his life above ALL others, and above all change.

Children leave, or you may leave them; you can move to another town, city or country, change life calling, walk through sickness, loss of income, or home, etc. etc…but if God Almighty has blessed you with a husband to walk beside you and with you through it all, then consider yourself a BLESSED woman.

Open your eyes and remember the Creator’s words from the beginning: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and HOLD FAST to his wife, and they shall BECOME ONE FLESH.” (Gen.2:24)

ONE flesh…”thank you Father in Heaven for my husband! Enable me to do well at cherishing my husband, and that I would do him good and not harm all the days of my life, (Prov.31:12). Thank you that in all change you not only take away but you also give new mercies, my life becoming a  reflection of your love and not that of my own;  AND thank you for the courageous man who took great risk in asking the right question, propelling my mind and heart into greater love.”

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn. 15:13)

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Seductive Words…music to a man’s ears…

Words!

Words are made up of single letters from an alphabet, forming a train of readable thought.

Mere strokes of a pen, or a result of little keys pressed on a computer.

Words are so easily spoken or written…

and words are so easily withheld…

Words hold great power and influence.

Words create a language between human life and even some are understood by the animal kingdom.

Words hold a strange power over our hearts and minds and emotions.

And words are a love language for most men.

What words do you use the most with your man? How is he hearing them, do you know? Are you aware of the influence your words have on your husband’s heart, mind, body and emotions?

Listen to the Word of God:

“For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword” (Prov. 5:3-4).

“My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching……to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress” (Prov.6:20, 24).

“And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. She seizes him and kisses him and with bold face she SAYS to him, ‘I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you’…….with much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her….” (Prov. 7:10-21).

I find it rather interesting that these proverbs depict the wayward woman as using her words to seduce a man (along with her attire)….her words draw him in like a fish to a hook.

What power and influence do the words of a woman have on the mind and sexual desire of  a man?

Listen to God’s Word:

“A wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain” (Prov.19:13).

“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife” (Prov. 21:9).

“It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman” (Prov. 21:19).

“A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike: to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand” (Prov. 27:15-16).

 The Word of God contrasts nagging women (wives) to dripping rain and reveals the “evil woman” ( the NIV translates her as “the wayward wife”) as having a tongue that is smoother than oil, seductive and alluring; This contrast is written in biblical history, apparently this problem has been going on for a long time.

I find it a grievous commentary of women and their mouths; obviously a big enough and real enough problem to have been recorded as a warning and revelation of the power of a woman’s words in a man’s ear. 

Our husband’s are warned in scripture against women who would lead them away from the marriage bed (Prov. 5-7), and we as wives receive basic, but powerful teaching regarding our words. Our ‘rain drips’ make it more appealing for them to camp out on the corner of a roof than be in our homes with us. I desire my husband to be allured by me, drawn to me by my words of loving sincerity, rather than words of empty flattery given by a woman who neither knows him nor loves him.

If you were the husband which woman would you choose to listen to? Which woman would be given greater influence?

Scripture teaches much about our words and how we use them….(that is a few blogs in itself), but for today I ask you, when is the last time you spoke words of affirmation to your husband? What words are you choosing to build him up? (Read James 3:2-12)

When is the last time you expressed your desire, need, and love to him?  Has he heard from your mouth that you find him hot and sexy? Or are you always correcting him? Do you always have a “better way” to do something? Do you make him want to be a better man when he is with you or does he want to hide and disappear from you?

Words are formed from single letters from an alphabet, placed together to form a language of thought to be communicated…perhaps it’s time you learned to speak the right words, perhaps it’s time to become self-aware, hearing your own words before they leave your mouth.

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt…..” (Col.4:6)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Prov.18:21).

Watch your words, use them to love your husband not destroy him, watch him light up as you verbally bless him…

He will want more of you,

trust me.

When a Woman Loves a Man…

It terrifies me….

It’s crazy…

It’s unbelievable…

I run from it, yet I long for it…

It makes me cry and it makes me laugh…

It creates pain and it creates joy…

It exhausts me, and it gives me life…

I die a little because of it and discover a little more of it, all in the same transaction…

I’m talk’n about  “this crazy little thing called LOVE”.

LOVE…a little four letter word that holds power to set the course of a life on fire, send it to the moon and back, and ignites passion to see the impossible looks possible.

“Love IS patient and kind; love does NOT envy or boast; it is NOT arrogant or rude. It does NOT insist on its own way; it is NOT irritable or resentful; it does NOT rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with TRUTH. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends……” (1Cor. 13:4-8a )

Insert your name where the word “love”or “it” is written…what kind of man would your husband be if you loved him this way? (Credit goes to Ruth Graham- Billy Graham’s wife for this idea). If the Word of God describes love this way; and the Word of God tells me that “God IS love” (1 John 4:8) living in us through Jesus Christ His son (Gal.2:20), then the love of God is the love I can and will have for my husband. 

I guess the only question left  is, what have you done with Jesus Christ?

**********

“You look at me

and see

my flaws;

I look at  you

and see flaws, too.

Those who love,

know love

deserves

a second glance;

each failure serves

another chance.

Love looks to see,

beyond the scars

and flaws,

the cause;

and scars become

an honorable badge

of battle fought

and won-

(or lost) but fought!

The product,

not the cost,

is what love sought.

God help us see

beyond the now

to the before,

and note with tenderness

what lies between

–and love the more!”

by Ruth Bell Graham (from her little book titled,”Never Let It End:Reflections of a Lifelong Love)

The candy cane twist

My fresh discovery this morning (as I sat in my church pew) was realizing that I cannot write from my head!!

My public declaration to share a study about being a wife will be the death of me if I approach this like some professional little book….ARGH!

IDIOT!! Why did I do that??

DOUBLE OOPS!!

But my discovery lightened my load.

“Talk from your heart girl.” Now that sounds like music to me, I can do that! I AIN’T no professional and the minute I approach this writing trying to be who I’m not, the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life will be stifled! I am an artist, not a scholar….ahhh….this is good then, I shall be who I have been created to be, not someone else!

So then… my thought for today…the first word picture in my mind is a candycane.

Candycanes are a twisted makeup of two colours woven into one shape, both colours clearly seen, but both colours perfectly blended.

This morning as I sat in my church pew listening to my hubby preach a powerful message ( clearly the man was on fire!) I saw a seed of anger in my heart towards him…oops…bad wife….real wife….Jesus save this nasty preacher’s wife!!

I know that only the Spirit of God could have brought such a gentle but piercing conviction to my heart! The verse that came to mind was, “…and they shall become ONE flesh.” (Gen. 2:24b). ONE flesh GOD said.

I knew that anger would not allow any “one-ness” of anything if I allowed its fingers to strangle my mind and heart! Listen to this, “For the anger of man does not PRODUCE the righteousness of God. Therefore PUT away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and RECEIVE with MEEKNESS the implanted word, WHICH IS ABLE TO SAVE YOUR SOULS.” (James 1:21-22)

How quickly the enemy will attempt to pull the “candycane” apart. What fun is there in a candycane that’s all one colour?…BORING!  The enemy seeks to  destroy the beautiful coloured picture that God intended marriage to be to a watching world! A picture of His love for the church. (Eph.5:31-33)

Anything that disrupts God’s plan for Marriage,  the”ONE FLESH” calling, ultimately disrupts our relationship with Him. The marriage relationship is the closest human relationship given to us on earth, created to give us an expression of Divine love, the intended desire and plan of God, that we would KNOW His love and live to LOVE Him with our lives!

I desire Jesus more than anything or anyone, so that little seed of anger had to go! Being ONE with my husband in spirit, mind, heart and body is a beautiful dance of freedom as a result of my relationship with Jesus. Created oneness in marriage was given by God to reflect His design for the unity in the church to a watching world.

So let me ask you today…what is going on in that mind and heart of yours as you think about your husband? (EXCLUDE ALL BLAMING and be brave enough to face yourself FIRST.)

What would your marriage look like to a watching, hurting world if it looked like a candycane? Two colours twisted and woven around each other in “oneness”? This sounds kinda sappy and I really “hate” sappy, but just think about the word picture a bit.

What can YOU do to change, to bring unity? One-ness?

O God may our marriages be relationships of living colour!

The First Lady of all time….

She was naked…..

Unashamed…

Fashioned from a rib of a man (maybe she looked like a piece of steak? Although I kinda doubt it..)

She WAS the First Lady….the very first woman to breathe, to live….

Can you imagine?

“Then the Lord God said, “It is NOT GOOD that a man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit FOR him. Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed EVERY beast of the field and EVERY bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was his name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. BUT for Adam there was NOT FOUND a helper fit FOR HIM. SO the Lord God caused a DEEP sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and CLOSED UP its place WITH FLESH. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he MADE into a WOMAN and BROUGHT HER to the man. THEN the man said, “This at last is bone of MY bones and flesh of MY flesh; SHE shall be called Woman, BECAUSE she was taken OUT OF man.” (Genesis 2:18-22; ESV version of the Holy Bible).

 There stood Adam naming all the animals one by one. I can imagine what it must have looked like! All those new, hot of the “factory” animals, walking, crawling, flying around with no names and Adam’s job is to name them all. Reading between the lines, he must have been searching for another like himself,  and discovering  he was very much alone.  God was fully aware and speaks that this is NOT good. Everything else that God had created God said was good, Adam being alone was declared, “NOT good.”

God could have created another man, but he did not. HE CREATED A WOMAN!!! And get this, Adam didn’t wake up to this creature laying beside him after divine surgery, “GOD BROUGHT HER TO THE MAN.” (Gen. 2:22) She was a gift created for a specific purpose.

I understand from this that women were part of God’s plan FOR a man from the beginning. This is a very basic elementary truth, but to my heart  I see this truth as foundational to our understanding of the “why” behind the creation and roles of women.

Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; MALE AND FEMALE he created them.” Both sexes created in the image of God! BOTH SEXES!!!! This tells me that if a man alone was not good even though he was created in the image of God, then there is another part of God’s image that would remain unseen to man if woman were not created. Get it? Male and female created in God’s image. You don’t have to be married to figure out that men and women are VERY different, so if both have been created IN THE IMAGE of God then we have been given many obvious tangibles about WHO God IS by accepting this truth.

BOTH  created in God’s image, but woman was created FOR man.

“For man was not made from woman, but woman for man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man….” ( 1 Cor. 11:8)

Wow, I can just imagine the fire this biblical truth stirs in some bones today……believe me, there is something about this that pokes the rebel in my flesh too. Like come on, why would I want my life to be FOR anyone? I’m just being honest here! But for the transforming power of Christ in my heart and mind, applying this truth to my flesh I could tell you right now how my flesh would recieve this order of creation. Don’t make any assumptions about how easy it is for me to study or write of these things. I fight a mighty battle of raging independance almost every day. This study from the word of God IS TRUTH…it causes disturbance BECAUSE it is truth. Our flesh would not naturally adhere to this kind of teaching! (At least a woman with “flesh” like me with a spirit like a wild stallion).

What does this stir in you and why?

Have you pondered God’s order of things from the very beginning? If you are a woman reading this, KNOW that you are a PLANNED part of God’s creation, created to reflect and reveal the image of God in a way that a man cannot. Take some time to write down the created differences you see between the sexes. What is it about being a woman that reflects the image of God?

How is culture moving us away from this truth?

 

 

 

Dreams and a Coloured Coat

 

Seems like I wasted years circling back to a childhood dream. A dream that drove me in many ways and camped on the back-burner of my mind.

Most of the conferences I have attended have been about common themes of leadership and Jesus; hours of learning, leading to hours of waiting for some ship to come and take me to the “dream factory” where I would receive a package with my name on it, and then my life could begin. I

In the book of Genesis, I discover a truth about the  incredible journey of another dreamer.

The dreamer who had a coat of many colours;  Joseph was his name.

 Joseph had courage and stupidity as he ran to share his wonderful dream with his brothers. Courage because he was younger than all of them, and stupid because the dreams spoke of the authority he would have over his older brothers.

Like seriously, can you imagine running to tell your older siblings that you had had a dream that someday they would all bow down to you?  How well would that go over?!

Why didn’t Joseph keep his dream to himself? If you read Genesis 37:1-11, I think  you will see that Joseph was a bit of a tattle tale.

I want to skip to Gen.50:15-21. I am making an assumption that you know how this story unfolded. All the injustice that came to Joseph, and the long wait before his dreams were even confirmed.

The older brothers being the venue of  injustice served to Joseph, were all shaking in their boots after their father Jacob (Israel) died. They were terrified that now Joseph would pay them back for all  the ill they had done to him. But the Joseph they anticipated meeting was not the Joseph that met them.

“But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Gen. 50:20)

I have read this story so many, many times, and yet it was just yesterday I caught a truth I hadn’t observed before; Joseph’s dreams were NOT about Joseph having a dream to fulfill his desire, the dreams were given because GOD had a plan to SAVE  A TRUCKLOAD OF PEOPLE FROM STARVING TO DEATH!!!

Woah horsey come again? Here I’ve been thinking all these years what a blessed  man Joseph was to have received these dreams from God ( and yes, in a sense he was) but God was looking for someone to deliver HIS plan to rescue many. God could have used anything or anyone he wanted,  He chose Joseph as the tool, and by the time God needed Joseph to lead, Joseph the man was clearly off the throne of his own life: it was no longer about a “dream”, his own identity or purpose, it was all about him being strategically set up by God. A simple pawn in the great chess game of life.

We think our lives are all about us (well, maybe I stand alone, of course I think it’s all about me, who else is there? Smile and a wink) our individual calling, but we fail to realize the purpose of calling is NOT to define us or to give us life purpose, it is because God has a plan to save someone or save many.

I am foolish to think that a dream would be for ME. Perhaps that is why God allowed the long ordeal of  isolation for Joseph?!

As soon as Joseph had his dreams he shared them! He had NO CLUE of the purity of the divine purpose. He was obviously thinking of what it meant for himself and his brothers…how interesting……

“Let your Word invade and change my life O God! Let your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven from within this broken life that YOU continue to redeem……Holy Spirit you are my song, enable me to embrace ALL that you are, ALL that the Father intended to give to me by leaving us You! Transform this dreaming mind and heart to be a carrier of YOUR divine plan, even if it means ironing a shirt for my husband, or changing my granddaughter’s poopy diaper. Only YOU know the why behind all things and for what reason You ask of us the things you do..

You alone are God, You alone know what and why and when and how and for what reason! “

“TRUST in the Lord with ALL your heart, and DO NOT lean on YOUR OWN understanding. In ALL your ways ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, and He will make straight your paths.” Prov. 3:5-6

 

 

God- A Consuming Fire!

I am reflecting today upon a name of God given in scripture: “ESH OKLAH, EL KANNA”.

Its meaning? “Consuming Fire, Jealous God.”

“For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Ex. 34:14)

“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deut. 4:24)

Matthew Henry in his commentary expounds on this name further for us: “For the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, as tender in the matters of His worship as the husband is of the honour of the marriage bed. Jealousy is called the ‘rage of a man'(Prov. 6:34), but it is GOD’S HOLY AND JUST DISPLEASURE. Those cannot worship God aright who do not worship Him alone.”

When we get lost inside our trials, lost in our preoccupation with life, with people, with family, with work and even church ministry, and we begin to wander aimlessly.

It happens to all of us….

Life itself becoming our idol; the intangible, tangible idol we serve.

It is that tangible part that becomes the naughty clown in the circus…..it is appealing, it draws you in, capturing your curiosity, your attention, and soon our initial focus upon the Father is lost in a heap of distraction.

God loves and knows us enough to put in place a commandment;” You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or SERVE them, for I the  LORD your God am a jealous God..” (Ex.20:5).

You know this already (but if you are like me, I need reminders constantly), whatever consumes your life becomes your “carved image”. For if it consumes you, it has been given an image, a “likeness”; if it drives you then it has mastered you and you serve it, whatever “it” is. 

We don’t think of God’s commandment in this way, we think far more simple-like! Your personal inventory probably holds no artifacts from strange belief systems, or weird designs engraved on paper or metal or wood, but you live like a robot enslaved by what ever has mastered you or consumes you.

“Be sober-minded; be WATCHFUL. Your adversary the devil PROWLS around LIKE a roaring lion, SEEKING someone to DEVOUR. Resist him, firm in your faith…..” (1 Pet. 5:8).

…..

If one of God’s names is “I am Jealous, and Consuming Fire” do you not think that it speaks of His character and desire for us to worship Him and Him alone? HIS fire consuming everything that stands in the way of our wholehearted devotion?

This is one of those blogs that could be so very long! There is so much more to this than I could write for one day. God has continued throughout my life to reveal Himself to me through these names. Day by day I surrender this stubborn life of mine and seek to learn all that He desires for me AS I worship Him and Him alone!

 As I continue to learn what it means for my life to be consumed by my God whose very name is “Consuming Fire” and “I Am Jealous”,  I discover great joy, peace, laughter, and colour.

It is amazing TRUTH to embrace!! We serve a God who desires our worship so intensely! A God who pursues us relentlessly! Who will stop at nothing to craft into a soul a purity of desire for Him and Him alone!

I am not suggesting we become idiots of simplicity, but courageous soldiers who have learned the secrets and mysteries of divine discipline; engaging the world we live in while maintaining a pure heart of devotion and worship to God.

I close with this poem from Anne Spangler’s book, “Praying the Names of God.” This poem is by Francis Thompson, a nineteenth-century poet. This man was an opium addict. Spangler shares this poem  to highlight the “divine pursuit of (Thompson’s) soul”, and I add, for our souls as well!

“Adown Titanic glooms of chasm’ed fears,

from those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

But with unhurrying chase,

and unperturb’ed pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

They beat–and a  Voice beat

More instant than the Feet–

“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”