Marriage for Worse, for Poorer, and in Sickness

This is an excellent article from UnlockingTheBible.org.

Marriage for Worse, for Poorer,
and in Sickness

By Sarah Walton

I remember the moment I stood before my groom and recited my wedding vows. I certainly didn’t expect life to be perfect, but I assumed my marriage would be filled with more of “better” than “worse.”

With stars in my eyes, and blissfully unaware of what the future would hold, I confidently vowed, “I take you, Jeff, to be my lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.”

That was almost 13 years ago.

Trials Can Test Your Marriage Vows

Little did I know those thirteen years would hold chronic illness, financial loss, special needs, suffering children, marital strain, and overwhelming stress. I never imagined that I’d experience so much of the “worse, poorer, and in sickness” part of our vows.

I’m grateful as I reflect on the unexpected trials that have tested our marriage. In God’s goodness, the “worse” parts of our marriage have ushered in a deeper, Christ-centered experience of the “better.” This hasn’t come without the pain of loss and failure; yet Christ has used it to mature us in him, change our character, and increase our love for each other.

This, of course, is only possible with and through Christ. While God can certainly change the heart of a non-believing spouse and use the pain of unbelief to draw both spouses to himself, the following truths reflect a husband and wife who’ve put their faith in Christ and desire to follow him. If you’re married to an unbelieving spouse, I pray God will use the trials to draw them to a saving faith in Christ.

Read the rest here.

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Saying Goodbye

I have written about my parents before here. Last year I shared a prayer request about my Dad here.

Earlier this week the Lord called Dad home. He had been struggling with dementia and other health problems for some time. Last fall his health began to go downhill fast.

I cannot travel by air these days because it causes severe migraines, so last year I faced a difficult decision. I wanted to see Dad again but knew what flying would do to me. Reality: should I see Dad while he was still alive or wait and go to his funeral?

I happen to have the greatest sisters in the world. I’ve written about them here before. They know what I go through each day, and all of them encouraged me to see Dad while he was still with us. So I flew to Florida in November to be with Dad and my sisters. It was the most special, yet bittersweet time, and I am ever thankful I got to see him one last time.

I can only imagine the joyful reunion Dad and Mom had in heaven and am looking forward to seeing them there someday.

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Beloved, family life is special but there are also times of anger and strife. We’re only human after all. If there is one thing I want to leave you with, it is to choose to forgive and love. Okay, that’s two things, but my point is that life is short. Don’t allow circumstances or disagreements to keep you at odds with or separated from your family.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body
to hardship that I may boast, 

but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

—1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

 

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Family Prayer Request

My family

I have written about my family before. You can read about us here and here. The photo above was taken back in 1995. Obviously a lot has happened since then.

Mom went home to the Lord in early 2007. It will be Dad’s turn soon. 

In a couple of days I will be traveling to Florida to gather with my sisters so we can be with Dad, who has been faced with some severe health problems over the past couple of years. It seems Dad’s time here on earth will come to an end soon, so we want to see him before the Lord takes him home. He may not even recognize us but that doesn’t matter. We haven’t all been together for several years because I don’t travel well these days, especially by airplane which makes my migraines so much worse. However, we need to be together as a family now.

Beloved, I am sharing this with all of you to ask you to pray for us as we come together with Dad. I cancelled the posts I had previously scheduled to publish during the time I’ll be gone. I want to concentrate on being with my family without having to wonder about how things are going with this blog. I’ll be back soon. My family and I thank you in advance for all your prayers.

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Ministering to the Gay Community

This article was published in 1998 at TRC (The Relevant Christian Magazine). That was before I started writing for TRC, so I read it for the first time yesterday when the publisher shared it on Facebook. Please read this with an open mind and heart, and feel free to reblog and share it. As followers of Jesus Christ we must ask ourselves, Did Jesus come for all humanity or just for those we believe are worth saving? If the church is to be the Church that Christ called it to be, it will need to learn many of the same lessons that God has taught families impacted by homosexuality. In 1998 when I heard the words “Mom, I Am Gay” come out of my son’s mouth they were anything but welcome. I desperately wanted to rewind the tape and put them back. I reasoned that if the words could go back our lives would not have to change forever. I asked God a thousand questions, like: How can this happen? How can you sentence my son to death, if he didn’t choose these attractions? Who in the church can help me sort this all out? Where can I go for help? Who will understand what I am going through? After the barrage of questions without answers flooded my mind, the protective maternal side kicked in accompanied by an assortment of what-ifs. Perhaps someone would try to physically hurt my son (a not so gay friendly society in 1998). Maybe my parents and/or his father would reject him if they found out. Would people begin to see my son through the lens of his attractions instead of who God made him to be? I didn’t want any of the what-ifs to play out, but I feared they would. Deeply embedded in the Christian community, I watched and waited for responses from Christians when the topic of homosexuality came up. The subject took on a different and more personal meaning than it had in the past. What I witnessed were the crude jokes being made about homosexuals and words that dripped with judgement and disdain. I secretly thanked God for helping me stay silent about my son’s homosexuality. I could clearly see that the Church was not a safe community when it came to this issue. The ache of my heart would not be comforted there. After five long years of hiding, God brought my secret out of the dark. I discovered that I could never be free by concealing my pain. God wanted to fully heal me and that can only be done out in the open when exposed to His light. Satan had hoped to keep my pain hidden and unhealed. Read the rest here. BlogSL2-smallest

Thankful for My Family

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my family.

I grew up in a household full of sisters—5 of us altogether—and although we’ve had our share of rough times and in spite of living so far apart, we are probably closer than ever. I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am for my precious family!

I love this photo of all of us taken way back in 1995 (I think).

My family

Left to Right: me, Nancy, Palma, Mom, Dad, Julie, Maria

Mom has been home with the Lord since 2007 and we all miss her so much. Dad is living in an independent retirement community these days. He participates in many of the activities where he lives, and keeps busy doing a lot of walking with the help of his rolling walker. In fact, I have it on good authority that he is a speed demon with that walker!

You can read more about us here and here.

The family.  We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.  —Erma Bombeck

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Family Tidbits

Tidbit Tuesday

Mother’s Day 2013

Enjoying Mother’s Day with Kathy and Alan

Loved the gift of these gorgeous pink tulips!

I’ll never get enough of being around these two!  ♥ They turned out so great in spite of me and I’ll always be thankful to God for them in my life!

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My Treasures, Part 5

On May 8th I posted about the treasures in my life and decided to expand on each of those treasures for the next few Treasure Tuesdays. This week I want to share the fourth of the treasures on my list:

My Mother and Father

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. –Exodus 20:12

MOM

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. —Abraham Lincoln

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. —Tenneva Jordan

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. —Sophia Loren

I no longer have my Mom because the Lord took her home five years ago, but I always love sharing this favorite photo of her. This version is “enhanced” with my image so you can see the resemblance:

Don’t you just love Mom’s fabulous smile? Here are some other photos of her:

Our family waaaay back in 1995

Mom relaxing after dinner

Mom and grandson Daniel

A couple of years before the Lord took Mom home

I miss my Mom but she is in a much better place, probably dancing and laughing joyfully with Jesus.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

DAD

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope. —Bill Cosby

There are three stages of a man’s life: he believes in Santa Clause, he doesn’t believe in Santa Clause, he is Santa Clause. —Unknown

To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter. —Euripides

Dad worked hard to provide for our family and I’ll always be grateful for that. We didn’t have many luxuries but we had the necessities and a few things more. I don’t ever remember feeling deprived, but that’s probably because there was so much love to go around.

Dad lives in Florida and is flying here to visit Rick and me next month. Because of health problems on my end, I haven’t seen him since Son Alan’s wedding in 2010, so we’re really looking forward to his visit.

Here are more photos of Dad:

Me & Dad at the Grand Canyon

Dad hamming it up on the Grand Canyon excursion

Dad & Rick geared up for a ride

Relaxing after dinner

As I said before, Dad worked hard to provide for our family but now he gets to relax and spend time with each of us. As you can see from the photos, he loves having fun so I’m wondering what fun things we’ll do on his next visit here.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Parents have a huge role in shaping our lives. We alternately look to them for guidance while seeking to assert our independence. We want their approval and blessing at the same time we think we know better or more than they ever could. I am ever thankful for the treasures of my Mom and Dad. They taught me the value of a solid work ethic, patterned the “waste not want not” attitude that still guides me today, and showed me what family togetherness is all about.

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. —Proverbs 1:8-9

Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. —Proverbs 23:22

Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. —Proverbs 23:25