Worth the Wait

Gary and I will be married 5 years this Fall.  We’d both been married before – successful, long-lived marriages of over 25 years each.  We’d both learned a thing or two about marriage before we wed.

But like all couples, we’ve had our rough moments since the wedding day.

We are a cross-cultural marriage, Gary having lived in the mountain regions of Kentucky and West Virginia much of his first marriage, where he and his first wife spent their lives together in ministry. I grew up in the Midwestern suburbs, and spent several years of my first marriage traveling the world with my first husband’s job.

Gary a country boy at heart, and I a city girl by experience.

He loves to dress up jeans and a t-shirt with his favorite baseball cap; and I love to wear jeans with a nice blouse, jewelry and sometimes a hat.

But we both love Jesus, knowing he’d brought us together – looking forward to the day we’d serve him side by side.  We’d both lived through loving and being loved by a spouse no matter the cost.  For each of us, the cost was watching our spouses become ill and die. We’d both persevered watching our sons struggle with the death of their other parent.

We’ve both weathered and grown through some pretty harsh life experiences. The experiences we share, are also the experiences that we don’t share – each so similar, yet so different.

Blending our cultures and experiences hasn’t always been easy, and for the first year was especially difficult.  So many misunderstandings between 5 people, and so many new ways of doing things. I’m so glad we were reminded before we married, that all couples, no matter what, go through a time of getting used to the new norm.

As I remember those early days, I revel in the time we now share:

The boys are now out of the home – grown and choosing their own way.  We celebrate their adulthood, and enjoy this new season of life.

Gary and I for the first time in our marriage are alone in the house – and are enjoying it immensely!  We cherish this time together!

I’m so glad we waited for this time, and didn’t give up when things were difficult!  The difficulties we forged through together have only made this time sweeter!

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (NLT) (emphasis mine)

Are you currently in a difficult season, my friend?  Unable to see the end from the beginning?  If your life has been given over to Christ’s lead, then trust and wait.  He never fails to keep a promise.

What is today won’t be forever.

God will make all things beautiful, in their time.  He promises.

While you are waiting through this season, do you have a support system of godly people to uphold and encourage you?  Attending a local church where Jesus is worshiped, and families are made, is so critical to making it through all seasons!

Let me know if I can pray for you.

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

 

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Fighting to Win…

Have you ever had one of those days or weeks or months when you feel like life is a losing battle?  Me too.  This past weekend seemed like that, until I stopped long enough this morning to ask the Lord what was going on.  I soon got an answer, and the day is going better.  But life and battles are rarely that easy.

As I thought about the struggles within this past weekend, and about this post, I was reminded of a battle about 3 years ago, culminating in a late night where wars raged more inside than out.

I was a fairly new step mom, and the boys and I weren’t doing very well adjusting to each other.  The normal new blended family issues, personalized for us.  This particular night, the war inside me waged severely.  My feelings for the boys at that moment were explosive, but I had no clue how to change things.  Those feelings had been building for many months, and I saw no end in sight.  I was helpless on my own.

I knew I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts desperately wanted to keep replaying why I had a right to feel as I did.  Fear for my interests and hatred from rejection pounded mortars through my mind and body.  After-shocks of anxiety ripped through me.  Yet through the noise, I kept hearing the Holy Spirit not so gently demanding, “Yield to me, Robin”.

Finally, my abilities failing greatly, I cried, “Okay, God.  I can’t keep doing this.  I yield.” And I meant it!  Literally, within seconds, the battle ceased, and peace settled like the silence after a hurricane.

To win the battle, I must be able to distinguish my allies from my enemies.

My ally is always God and his will. Because he is for us.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT – Jesus speaking)

At that moment, my greatest enemy was my own emotions, and the enemy of my soul who bombarded me with fear, anxiety, and hatred to keep me wrapped tightly in chains.

Yet in the middle of the onslaught, I was having a hard time distinguishing friend from foe, and in reality was getting the two mixed up.  It’s easy to do when emotions are high.

Ever been there?  Ever spent all your energy praying and fighting and trying to convince someone else, or change something else, only to find yourself spent trying to fix it alone?

Yet with 2 short words, “I yield”, God began to move.  Peace overcame the barrage, and slowly.  Carefully. Strategically things within and around me began to change, by God’s grace and power.

Is life all rosy now?  No way.  Is it better? Yes in many ways.  And, I haven’t had a night like that since.  God is working.

The Bible describes yielding moments by saying,

“The fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” Proverbs 9:10 (NLT)

This week we will continue to look at the issue of ‘Perspective’, in regards to how to “Fight to Win” by embracing God as our greatest ally.  I’d love to hear your stories – for I can’t do this alone!

With love,

Robin <3

Thank You!

I really do attempt to make the week of Thanksgiving more than just a time of indulging all those foods I don’t dare prepare the rest of the year. I try to take time to reflect on the amazing gifts I’ve received the past year.  This year, many of the gifts have come through hard fought battles of the heart.

Yesterday, Gary and I joined Evan (my son with autism) at his home for lunch of roast beef, dressing, cranberry sauce, and croutons (he loves croutons, but being gf, they are hard to come by); followed by cut-out sugar cookies and frosting piled high cupcakes.  We really did enjoy one another’s company; and when Gary told Evan, “I love you”, Evan gave him prolonged eye contact. After dinner he sat in his chair quietly playing with his ropes, seeming very content.  A little over a year ago, Evan was still so angry at this intruder into his life that things weren’t always pretty.

Two years ago Evan returned to church of his own choice after a 4 years absence due to his anger at God. Two weeks ago amidst cheers from his church family and friends, Evan was baptized of his own choice.  It was beautiful watching him profess his faith in Jesus, and hearing his family respond with such boisterous love.  Since that day, every time I ask if God did something special, Evan looks at me, smiles and says “yes”.

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After his baptism, there was a peace about his features, and a sparkle in his eyes that wasn’t there prior.  He was even able to look into the camera for the pictures – something that I don’t remember him ever being able to do.  So his more than momentary gaze at Gary yesterday only confirmed God is doing something special.  (Eye contact for those with autism can be difficult at best and painful at the worst, and over the years Evan has given little direct eye contact.)

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Another hard fought battle has been for me to begin building a relationship with my two step-sons of 4 years.  Both sons moved out this summer on their own, and the oldest and his girlfriend have been coming by regularly to do laundry and visit.  Yesterday, they chose to join us for Thanksgiving Dinner.  While David and Gary sat in the living room watching “Forrest Gump”, Holly and I enjoyed conversation in the kitchen while preparing the dinner of turkey, ham, southern style green beans with bacon, northern style dressing (I’m from Michigan while they are all from Kentucky), cranberry sauce, and creamed corn; topped off with pecan pie and candy (a family tradition in Gary’s family of corn flakes dipped in melted Hershey bars and piled into clumps of “candy” and hardened.)

Dinner was so pleasant, with general conversation about jobs and such throughout.  When they left about 2 hours later, after rounds of hugs and “I love you’s”, I commented to Gary, “My bucket has been filled today!”  And I thought, “Thank you, dear Jesus, for allowing me the courage, and endurance to wade through the pain, so I could see this time.”

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Thank you also for indulging me in my revelry today!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3