Why we're here...

Love and marriage are the greatest adventures in life, and they point they way to our relationship with the Almighty.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sniper's Hide (Five Minute Friday)

The overwatch position from which a scout-sniper practices his trade is called a 'hide', and that's the keyword for today's Five Minute Friday, hosted by Kate Motaung (www.katemotaung.com).

GO

The job is not glamorous, not when your hide's in a ditch that, like most ditches in this part of the world, is partially filled with stuff you'd rather not think about. But if your cover - local vegetation stuck into a hessian smock, and liberally dosed with dirt - is good, you're likely to be left alone. The locals don't like ditches either.

Hard to avoid thinking about what's there, though, because you're lying in it. But eventually you learn to switch off your nose. Yes, really, but you hope your inoculation record's complete.

And you watch, and record, and wait, because the biggest part of the job is reconnaissance.

I learned a lot in places like that. It's helping me now.

Sometimes you have to wait in places you'd rather not be, with an alert and receptive spirit.

You have to be in the discomfort of the moment, and you have to be there without resentment. Not because there's a big payoff coming, but because that I where you're placed.

Mental escape is tempting, but wrong. It's a form of disloyalty.

You wait, and in that waiting you give honour to your place, and to He who placed you there.

STOP

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You Are Not Who I Married (Wedded Wednesday)

Sometimes the person we married changes...and the changes seem to be permanent.

Of course, some changes are easy to live with. My wife would be delighted if, on hitting my thumb with a hammer, my language would not blister paint.

But some changes make a person wonder why she's there, and is it worth staying?

What do you do?

First, don't rush to judgement. It may be that your spouse has nothing had an ugly transplant. Serious illness, from depression to cancer to stroke, can cause drastic changes in someone we thought we knew.

It may not be about character, or about you, or about the marriage. It may be a fight for survival.

One positive step you can take is to document the changes. Write down what you see; if there's an underlying illness, that witness can be invaluable to a doctor.

It's also a good idea to exercise self-care by reaching out to a counselor or minister. You can feel awfully alone through this morning sort of experience, and sharing the burden with someone who's been trained to help carry it can make a world of difference.

Also, pay attention to the parts of life that are 'yours'; make sure you have something significant, outside the marriage relationship, that gives you a sense of self-worth. This is not carte blanche to walk away; it's a form of triage. You can't help someone if you're hurting too.

Emphasize the things that haven't changed. Speak to those, when you can.

And pray. For you spouse, and for your own strength and patience.

You may never know what causes a change; you may simply have to adjust to a new normal, if you can.

We're linked to Wedded Wednesday at www.messymarriage.com.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Freedom

It's been a horrible few days; I will return to marriage topics on Wednesday, but I found a truth in dealing with terminal illness that I thought I might share.

This is like a prison. My physical profile has limited so much of life.
It's cost me career and mobility and hobbies and dreams and many of the simplest facets of life.

It's cut a swath of heartache and frustration through my days.

But it can only change me, let it dilute who and what I am, if I let it.

Only I can choose to allow this fell sergeant, death, to break my soul.

And that may happen. Everyone breaks, it's just a matter of threshold.

Bring hard, then, isn't the answer. So, what is?

I think it's love, both giving, and most crucially accepting the open hands and open hearts of those around me, both in the physical and virtual worlds.

It goes back to "Footsteps", that ubiquitous icon of being carried by God.

But we, here, are called to be His hands and feet, and by implication His heart.

And so it has proven. I have been, and am being carried, and my soul protected.

By you.

Still doing this by Smart Phone, but did get a window of energy to reply to some comments on the previous post.

It's kind of tough to do. Please continue being patient!

And please, if you have a moment, do comment.

I need them.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tomorrow Will Be Worse (Five Minute Friday)

Back again for FMF, still trying to blog by Smart Phone...with no other internet access, including email. Sheesh.

Anyway, we're here, and the word is TOMORROW.

I was just thinking about it, actually. Today was ghastly. Lots of blood uncontained when it really should stay, like, INSIDE.

And it hurts. I'm past trying to draw analogies. It is just a presence of pain, no words fitting.

But duties still have their claim, and if each step is hard, it still has to be made.

And tomorrow it all begins again. All I can say is that it's gonna hurt worse, and it's gonna be more tiring.

And that at this time tomorrow, I'll still be here.

It's partly pride,  sure, but there's more. Each step, and I'll call it like it is, each step in something like agony clarifies and refines the soul. It doesn't glorify God...He'd be mighty cruel if He were using it that way...but it gives me a bit more compassion, and perhaps honour in the perseverance.

I'll take that.  And I would not trade these savage tomorrows, because somehow, they're bringing a gift beyond price in their mailed and bloody hands.

I still haven't figured out how to keep access to the phone long enough to answer comments, but please, please do leave them. You guys are my lifeline.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sacrifice For Treasure

In the final installment of the Hobbit films, "The Battle of the Five Armies", the heir to the throne of the dwarf kingdom of Erebor, Thorin Oakenshield, becomes obsessed with the treasure of gold within the city's halls, and is willing to sacrifice everything - his kin and his honour, for treasure's sake.

We sometimes do that in our marriages, with the greatest treasure we have - our relationship with the Almighty.

We are supposed to love God first, yes...but part and parcel of loving Him is doing what He says to do, and He's pretty clear in saying that we're to hold to our marriage vows as a simulacrum of our relationship with Him...we are to be cleaved together in His name, and never to use Him as an excuse for negligence of our spousal duties.

Paul made this morning plain in saying that while a Christian should not marry a non-Christian, BEING married to an unbeliever is not grounds for divorce.

In other words...your marriage is the field you plow for the Lord.

I'm still on very intermittent Internet access (and cannot get at my email at all), so I again ask your patience with slow response to comments...but please do leave them!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hold Until Relieved (Five Minute Friday)

And once again, Five Minute Friday written on a borrowed Smart Phone...please excuse the lack of a link back..just getting the post up, yeah, I'm happy.

The word is RELIEF.

Go.

Things have narrowed a bit for me...the artifacts of terminal illness have made some of the most mundane parts of life frankly unattainable.

Well, such is life (as the Australian highwayman Ned Kelly said just before he was hanged).

The meaning of it all is that a threatened life is still a life, we are still gifted with values and duties and dreams.

We are meant to hold to these, I think, and to stay in the fight without looking for relief.

This life. The way we live it, day on day, is our legacy.

We can choose to turn inward, bemoan our lot, declare ourselves broken and lost.

Or we can fight to the last bullet, the last rock, the last bloodied fingernail.

And this we shall maintain, in the Spartan strength given us by the Almighty.

Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws we lie.

We choose to hold until relieved.

STOP.

Please be patient with my slow response to comments of late; the combination of illness and a really baroque way of getting online is quite the challenge.

But I will get to them!



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Marriage Book

Books about marriage...it seems like everyone and his personal trainer has written one.

I'm waiting for Mick Jagger's contribution.

But seriously, while recognizing that content is obviously important, what may be even more vital is what I call "demonstrated willingness".

Taking the time to read a book that can benefit your marriage (and can make you uncomfortable in the bargain) is both a statement of faith, and a statement of commitment.

It says "we are important to ME".

There are few more heartfelt statements one can make.

I'm linking to Messy Marriage, but as I am trying to write this on my wife's smart phone, adding the link back is beyond me. I figure I'm doing good to get this far.

I'll try to respond to comments when it's possible to borrow the phone...please do comment for the benefit of other visitors, and please be patient for my response...I'm still here, though the past couple of weeks have been rather an ordeal.