Married, but Lonely

There are TV shows, websites and dating services that encourage married people to find companionship. Their mates are too busy or uninterested to spend time with them, so they seek attention elsewhere.

 

Like most men, when my former husband had time off, he spent it in his chair – reading, watching TV, surfing the internet and playing electronic games.

 

I would sit with him to watch TV shows that he was interested in and which did not bore me to death or inflict my soul with grief. However, I actually felt unappreciated, taken for granted and neglected.

 

I was reduced to cook, housekeeper and a roommate. We had rare times of companionship, but no real relationship. I thanked my husband for every moment he did spend talking to me.

 

However, I eventually started to seriously communicate that I needed more of his time and attention, especially as our children left home for college. He called me demanding and resented me for wanting him to spend quality time with me.

 

He ended up divorcing me and relishing his time alone, free from marital expectations and relationship. A few years later, God brought a new man into my life.

 

He too was preoccupied with work and hobbies; although he obviously cherished and appreciated me. I often felt lonely in this relationship too and wondered if all couples experienced this drought of affection and attention.

 

I started making specific requests for his undivided attention and gave him ideas on how I would like to spend that time. He made sporadic attempts to give me a few moments of time in his busy schedule.

 

It took about 5 years for him to realize that he enjoyed our times together as much as I did. He started to schedule time for me into his calendar without me having to ask, and he kept those appointments.

 

We took strolls in nature, sat on the porch rockers, did chores around the house together, snuggled in his chair or stretched out on the couch or bed to talk for a few minutes now and then throughout the week.

 

We went on dates to local restaurants, attended city functions together, sat together at extra-curricular church events, started regular devotions together, read the same books and conversed about them, spontaneously discussed current events, and shared what we were learning in our daily quiet times.

 

Nothing extravagant or expensive, just frequent little moments of togetherness every day that meant so much to both of us. He stopped taking me for granted and noticed when I needed help.

 

Over the years, he increased these little thoughtful gestures that mean so much to me. He opened car doors, carried heavy boxes, engaged me in conversations throughout the day, told me frequently that he loved me, and complimented me on my outfits and hair.

 

Whenever he went to the refrigerator for a snack or drink, he offered to get me something too. When he had time, he often asked if I needed help with a chore or fixing a meal.

 

He carried in the groceries and took them out of the bags to make it easier for me to put them away. He even started writing me love notes when he sent me his Bible verses to make slides for his Sunday sermon.

 

Our love flourishes under this constant state of blessing one another with thoughtful gestures of kindness and concern. We grow more in love with the Lord and one another each and every day.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for a husband who dwells with me with understanding and does not view my requests for attention as demands and unrealistic expectations – a husband who learned to appreciate and cherish me and our times together.

 

Thank You for using us as an example to younger couples and engaged couples; so they too can learn to cherish each other and not to take one another for granted. Make us a light in the world of darkness and use us to do Your will with every moment of our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

Taking each other for granted is never acceptable behavior; instead, constantly appreciate one another and share acts of love and kindness at every opportunity.

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Let Your Insides Out

Who are you behind the mask you wear? Do you wear your feelings on your shoulder for other people to see who you really are? Do you try to act one way when you really feel another?

 

Or have you learned that it does not matter what other people think about you? Are you free from the tyranny of their opinions? Do you let your insides out?

 

Our fears and insecurities often define who we really are inside. We may have a strong spirit, but a very wounded soul. We appear strong, yet are feeble within.

 

When people reject us for our weaknesses, we feel like worthless damaged goods, which increases our fears and insecurities and compounds our problems.

 

Some people will actually disdain our inner self, many simply tolerate us and others dwell with us with understanding. The good news is that Jesus died for our inner self too.

 

His Spirit is transforming our inner self into a new creation through one stage of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). He slowly peals away the bandages we apply to our wounds.

 

He exposes the raw emotion and anxiety and puts the salve of God’s unconditional love on each one of them. The only opinion of us, which really matters is God’s.

 

This revelation frees us from having to hide behind masks. Jesus encourages us to let our insides out and to receive His healing for our past and His strength for our future.

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us not to value anyone else’s opinion of us, but to gain our identity through Christ in us. We do not need to rely on any person, place, thing or accomplishment to feel good about our self. It is our personal relationship with You that makes us a child of the King.

 

Help us to make room for Jesus on the throne of our life where He belongs. He is our best friend and He actually sticks closer to us than any human being ever will (Proverbs 18:24). Your love is ours both now and throughout eternity and flows over us like a waterfall.

 

Thought for the Day:

Tolerance is not acceptance; only Jesus fully accepts us just the way we are, and then perfects us by His Spirit as He fills us with His joy and peace.

 

The Healing Journey – Part 2 – Identity of Our Own

I was 45 at the time my first marriage dissolved right before my eyes. I chose to face this new abandonment issue with the courage of an unsinkable Molly Brown, who heroically survived the sinking of the Titanic.

 

My boss at that time, a healing codependent, taught me that I am a person too, and I may minister to myself just as diligently as I minister to other people. That came as a revelation to me.

 

From this point on, I started to care for my own needs rather than to expect my mate or children or friends to care for them. I realized that Jesus encourages us to love others as we love our self.

 

To ignore our needs and to expect others to meet them is a classic codependent behavior, which needs healing. I got in touch with my body, soul and spirit and started to pay attention to and to meet my needs.

 

My joy increased as I realized that God continued to provide for me, and that He cared about me on every level of life. He died to save me from myself and to help me to enter into His ultimate rest (Hebrews 4:10).

 

I spent the next two years learning that God is our true husband (Isaiah 54:5). He provides for our every need as we trust in Him and rely on His benevolence and grace.

 

There is nothing too difficult for Him (Luke 18:27). He can work miraculous wonders on our behalf, even when we least expect it. He provided me with a job, a home and new friends who nurtured me.

 

They too were recovering divorcees and many were codependent, just like me. We learned from each other, had fun times together and met each week to learn how to begin life again as single people.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for giving us teachers with wisdom on how to get free from our past, to heal from our current situation and to look forward to the future with faith in You. We learned to depend on Your love rather than a person’s love and to trust You even when we cannot trust people.

 

You bring us out of moments of depression, provide for our every need, put a new song on our lips and give us an identity of our own that has its source in You rather than in our accomplishments or in other people. You are our all in all both now and throughout eternity, and we delight in living in Your courts and finding refuge under Your wings.

 

Thought for the Day:

We come to the breaking point in our life where we invite Christ to be more and more at home in our heart, so that we can be filled with the fullest measure of His presence.

– Ephesians 3:16-19 (Amplified Bible)

 

The Healing Journey – Part 1 – Schizophrenic Bride

As a young bride of 20 years old, I wanted to be the perfect wife. As a co-dependent, I did not want to nag or disagree – so that my husband would love me.

 

My uncle told me that if I was even half the wife my mother was to my dad, I’d be a great wife; so not to worry. I did learn a great deal about being a loving and submissive wife from my mom.

 

She lived with a manic-depressive husband. She learned to soothe the savage beast in him; but she had to learn not to take his words and behavior to heart.

 

She had her own interests and pursued them with a passion; yet, was home every day when her four children returned from school; and she had supper ready every night when my dad walked into the house from work.

 

As I started my new life as a wife, I would wince and swallow every hurt, disappointment, deprivation, abuse and neglect without saying a word, just as I learned from my mom.

 

I stuffed my feelings and opinions too. However, the trouble with me started because my threshold for pain was too low and my Italian temper, inherited from my dad, flared up too quickly.

 

I eventually started blowing up like a volcano, and then instantly cooled; but I did not realize the deep scars, which my outburst left on my husband’s soul. He thought I acted like a schizophrenic.

 

I was sweet and caring most of the time; and then without warning, I erupted at what seemed like the slightest provocation without any apparent reason.

 

This problem arose because of all of the power of all of that internalized pain. The full force came out in an Italian temper tantrum when I finally did blow over the last straw – which actually did appear – to any by-stander – to be a very small and inconsequential provocation.

 

I lived broken, fearful and insecure like this for 22 years of marriage until my former husband decided I was too wounded for him to live with any longer. He saw no option for us but divorce.

 

God used my husband divorcing me as my breaking point to help me to totally surrender my life to Him. With no job or alimony, I faced the future in total dependence on God and He proved Himself more than faithful.

 

I clung to Christ with every rasping breath and God redeemed my life yet again. He sent me to a minister who helped me to heal from my past; and He turned my mourning into dancing and restored to me all of the years, which the canker worm destroyed (Joel 2:25).

 

Prayer:

Father God, no one is perfect in this life. We are all products of our upbringing, but we are responsible for our responses to life as they occur. Although we try to overcome or hide them, we drag our wounds around with us like hindering baggage. Show us clearly that Satan’s lies are keeping us linked to these wounds from our past, buried deeply within our subconscious mind.

 

Thank You for teaching us to recognize these lies, to hear Your truth about them and to discard them as we walk away from them with healing from Your wings (Malachi 4:2). We live to serve You another day with all of the fullness of Your Holy Spirit within us.

( http://www.theophostic.com )

 

Thought for the Day:

God works out even the most debilitating circumstances in our life for our ultimate good. – Romans 8:28

 

Over the Years and Miles

When God puts someone on my heart to encourage, I pray for them, shoot them an email, make a phone call or send them a card. I got a blessing back today that I never expected.

 

I received a photo of several of my cards which I sent to one sister-in-Christ over the years. Rather than reading and discarding my handcrafted cards, she kept every one of them. The photo she sent is of a little pile of my cards, which I sent to her.

 

This wonderful Saint had to relocate multiple times over the years and suffered painful devastation repeatedly during that time. Yet, in all of that confusion and the heart-rending circumstances, she carried those little cards with her.

 

She told me that whenever she needs encouragement or support or to know that she is loved, she takes out all the cards I sent to her and reads them all over again.

 

What a huge blessing to know that this simple act on my part is continuing to show God’s love over the miles and the years. My own mother has several of my cards placed around her home and she says they bring her comfort and joy when she glances at them or rereads them.
Please always respond to God’s directive if He tells you to send someone a card or email. Like me, you may be humbled and encouraged someday to learn that the person kept them and continues to be fortified in their spirit because of them.

 

Never underestimate the importance of a simple act of obedience to the Lord. The amazing love from Christ in us to His Body can reap benefits for that person for many years and across thousands of miles and end up blessing us in return.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You so much for teaching us to obey the leading of Your Spirit each moment of every day. Help us to simplify our life; so that we are never too busy to obey You even in the simple, seemingly insignificant ways You call us to minister to one another. Remind us that birthdays are special and we should acknowledge the day for those we love.

 

We give You all of the honor and praise when You use us as Your hands and feet. Teach us that You also give us Your heart to show Your love to the Body of Christ and the unsaved people in our life. Help us to be even more mindful of You throughout our day – even in the most mundane or routine experiences.

 

Thought for the Day:

A simple act of kindness and obedience to God’s Spirit will send repercussions of encouragement and love across the years and miles.

A Fulfilling Marriage

The marriage of a man and a woman is a union of two individuals joined as one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11; Ephesians 5:31). God intends for them to serve Him, as co-heirs with Christ of His entire Kingdom (Romans 8:17).

 

At first, a couple’s attraction increases their love for one another. Yet, over time they gradually stop considering one another, doing the tiny thoughtful gestures for one another that mean so much and sharing the same goals and purpose in life (Ephesians 5:33).

 

As the years progress, the couple eventually take each other for granted, stop romantic overtures and make other pursuits their priority in life. They co-exist, but do not work as a team or care about each other’s needs as much as they care about their own.

 

To the Wife:

There are many women who take their husband for granted. Some insist on spending more money than he makes. Others find their fulfillment in their home and children or in their job and ignore their husband’s needs.

 

They get caught up in the pressure of their daily demands and make no time for their husband. They forget that men need visual stimulation to feel loving, and they make no effort to groom and dress nicely for him at home.

 

They forget to make his favorite meal, to shop for his preferences and to make time to listen to him share about his day. A wife is given the privilege of following the outline given in Proverbs 31.

 

She will flourishes as a wife, mother, homemaker and business woman in this creative capacity given to her by God. God’s Spirit will give her wisdom and strength to minister to her family.

 

To the Husband:

A man will expect his wife to be sweet and accommodating and to keep him as her primary focus (Ephesians 5:25); yet, it is often the husband’s poor choices, which keep the marriage in a state of perpetual insecurity and financial loss.

 

No woman can be sweet and submissive when her husband stops considering her needs and keeps her life in turmoil. Then he blames her hormones or personality for her negative reactions to him.

 

God desires to charge the husband to dwell with and to provide for his wife with love and understanding (1 Peter 3:7). If he does, then his wife will more easily submit to His loving leadership.

 

A man’s responsibility is to protect his wife and to give her the feeling of safety and security she deserves. He will not take her for granted, if he realizes everything which she does for him throughout the day after day (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Romans 12:16).

 

To the Couple:

Any couple can keep romance alive with spontaneous little gifts, daily times to snuggle, helping each other around the house, date nights, listening with focused attention, and an unexpected phone call or an email during the day proclaiming their love for one another (1 Peter 4:10). Try it and see!

 

Prayer:

Father God, the opposite sexes are just that – opposite. It seems that You played a trick on humanity by causing opposites to attract. However, Your plan all along was for opposites to complement one another.

 

We can draw from one another’s strengths to make up for our own weaknesses. Remind us that we are a team, and we will dwell together in unity as we work and pray together under the direction of Your Holy Spirit (Psalm 133:1).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we make an effort to increase our love for each other until it overflows, we will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Ephesians 5:21

One More Time Again

The other day, after hearing a loud thud, I went into the bedroom to find my husband flat on his face in a tiny space between the chair and the bed. I prayed about what to do, but felt total peace.

 

My initial reaction was to say, “Well, Beloved, you have gotten yourself into quite a pickle.” He was virtually squeezed between the furniture and I was amazed at how he could have gotten into that small space.

 

I rubbed his back, but could not tell if he was dead or alive. The words of John Denver’s song flitted through my mind, “I always thought that I’d see you one more time again.”

 

I wondered if my Heavenly Daddy took His Saint home to be with Him. I internally prepared myself for a new chapter of life and continued to pray about what to do.

 

“Home alone” was not a state of being that I looked forward to experiencing a second time. I lost one husband when he decided there was no option for us but divorce; and now the husband that God gave me to care for and cherish me was flat on his face on the bedroom floor.

 

Hearing my voice, my comatose giant stirred and I immediately asked, “Beloved, should I call 911? Are you hurting any place…head, heart?”

 

His weak response was, “My knee is really hurting me right now.”

 

A knee…well, that did not sound very ominous. I inquired, “May I help you up, or would you like to rest there a few more moments?” As if being squeezed between two pieces of furniture could be comfortable.

 

“No, I need to get up” was his sweet reply. Helping him to a standing position, I supported his considerable weight on my small frame, but I did not mind. He was still ALIVE.

 

We staggered over to the side of the bed for him to sit down. He immediately began rehashing what had happened in the last 10 minutes.

“I woke up with a start from a cramp in my leg and jumped up to work it out. Then, instead of sitting on the edge of the bed to allow the blood to flow into my head, I went to the bathroom.

 

“As I stood there, I got lightheaded and broke out into a cold sweat. The next thing I remember, I heard a loud thud and I lost consciousness until I heard your sweet voice talking to me.”

 

“How did you fall into that tiny, carpeted space between the furniture?”

 

“It had to be the Lord, because I could have broken bones, gotten a black eye or hit my head on some piece of furniture or the tiled bathroom floor; but when I fainted, He had me free fall right into the only clear, carpeted space available.”

 

We both shook our heads in wonder and silently praised God for His Fatherly care of His child. “Since I just popped out of bed when my leg cramped, I guess I should have sat down and let the blood into my head before going to the bathroom.”

 

We stared at one another over the miracle we both just witnessed. Our awesome God cared for His beloved Saint through every second of that ordeal, which could have left me a widow.

 

I greatly rejoiced and clung to my husband and cried. He wrapped his arm around me as he always does and snuggled me into my favorite place in the whole world…firmly protected in the circle of his love with my head resting peacefully on his muscled chest.

 

Prayer:

Father God, since we are loved by You, I know from experience that losing a mate does not hurt nearly as much as one would anticipate. You walk with us – in us – through every step of the rocky road of recovery. You work out everything to our advantage and You provide for all of our needs: physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and financially. As an authentic Believer, we experience every trial as a grand adventure in You with new people, places, ministries and purposes.

 

We still have anxiety which attempts to derail our faith, but You give us constant ‘hugs’ throughout the day to remind us that You are in us and living this experience in union with us. We still grieve our losses, but the tears are healing to our soul. Remind us not to take life for granted. Thank You for Your love and mercy in this case, by allowing me to actually see my beloved husband one more time again.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we completely surrender our heart to God in prayer, and relinquish our hold on unholy thoughts, words and deeds, we will not be ashamed or anxious, but confident and full of His courage. – Job 11:13-15