Making The Most Of A Second Chance

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“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, 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”. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-6*

“Thank you, God, to have blessed me with a husband, again”.

In 2001 I was facing the unthinkable.  Scott, my husband of fifteen and a half years, died suddenly and I was left behind raising three children.  The journey was unforgiving but with my God and His grace, I persevered and finally saw the light at the end of my grief tunnel.  Eventually, I found myself dating again.

Four years after Scott died, I married Randy.  The experience of the two weddings was quite different.  The first time I was a nineteen-year-old who thought I knew it all.

Ah, but I was so naïve.

When we got married, intellectually I understood the vows, for better or worse, richer or poor,  in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part. There was the bickering, fighting, threats of giving up, and going our separate ways. I so loved him and now know my time with him would end all too soon.

But the second time around, almost twenty years later, my life experiences of growing in my faith and actually losing a husband made these vows come alive and burn into my soul.  Jesus spoke in Matthew 19:6-“So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate”*. For the second time, I stood before God, Randy, and a few witnesses, to declare our marriage as a covenant which would not be broken by man.

When we marry, a man and a woman join as one.  In Genesis 3:24 it says-“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh”*.  When we join together, we make a covenant with God, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in death.

Marriage is not easy.  In many ways, it is like working out.  You have to commit to it daily and sometimes it is painful and hard, but the results are rewarding.  I love my husband but I don’t like some of his actions and I am sure he can say the same about me!  It is my duty as a wife to invest in my husband, build him up, and support him.   Relationships, in general, need to be nurtured, fed and sometimes pruned.  There will be disagreements, but a couple who puts God first can learn how to disagree by praying for each other, discussing the issue and compromising on a solution.

Why do we spend more time watching television, texting, and reading social media then investing time in developing our relationships?  We fight for the principles we want: a local law changed, a change in a school dress code, electing a new official, but we don’t fight for our marriage?  What better example to pass on to our children and future generations than a couple who honors God first in their marriage and is committed to working out the differences, building each other up, and growing together.

I have been praying for a married couple who is going through a serious rough patch in their marriage. As I have been praying for them it was revealed to me, marriage is a perfect example of honoring God and acting out our Christian values.  My prayer is for this husband and wife, to put God first in the marriage, and then focus on themselves and what needs to change with them individually, not changing each other.

I have learned when I get frustrated with Randy, I seek God to change my heart, and reveal to me what I need to change.  I also lift Randy up in prayer daily, asking God to show me how to build him up so he can receive God’s provisions.  Our marriage is not perfect, but we give it to God daily so He is glorified through our covenant and we can testify to others of His love.

I am so honored to receive another opportunity to learn from God what I need to focus on to be a better wife and partner for Randy.  I am in this marriage for the long haul and I pray my obedience to God, my husband, and our marriage testifies to others of God’s unconditional love for all of us.

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

I Promise You A Rose Garden

I Promise You A Rose Garden

Spring.

What a glorious season where all the naked, dead, and withered foliage turns green and thickens.  I learned early on I am not a cold weather winter kind of sista.  There is a reason I live in the south!

When the weather turns warmer, my husband takes down the makeshift greenhouse he has built around the gazebo.  We admire what has been growing for the past few months in the shielded warmth of the cozy abode.  This year we had some peppers, oregano, rosemary, chives, and our citrus trees already had flowers!

Then we start pruning, cleaning out, re-potting, and fertilizing all of our plants.  We also plant new seeds to grow starters for planting later.  We have worked so hard on our backyard this last month and WOW, it has paid off!

I have such affection for my roses.  I spend an abundant amount of time ensuring they are nourished, trimmed, trained, and loved.  Here, you judge……

Roses

I believe God feels the same way about us.  We live in this beautiful world He created and He provides similar opportunities for us.

Nourishment– God has provided a bounty for me to enrich my body and my soul.  He has afforded me the ability to shop for or grow my food, and the intellectual capacity to read the bible and feed my spiritual appetite.    “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Trim/Train-For me, this is called discipline.  God uses my circumstances for teachable lessons which in turn will help me grow.  As I grow in His discipline, I will develop self-restraint and turn away from sinful actions.   For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Love-When I feel loved by God and others, my heart is full and I want to pay it forward.  I know my roses don’t feel my love literally, but because I care for them, in return, they bloom beautifully and we reap the benefits!   “He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. “ Luke 10:27

Because of our persistent time, attention, and love for the roses and garden, we are rewarded with such beauty and tasty fruits and veggies!  I choose for God to be my gardener and prepare me for a magnificent spot in His garden where I can bloom forever.   Blessings!