Rebecca Duvall

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Forgiveness

forgivenessDid you know that 1 in 9 American adults have Kidney Disease and 1 in 3 who don’t already have it, are at risk to get it? There are currently over 101,000 Americans on the Kidney Donor List waiting to receive a donor. Of that 101,000, twelve of them will die each day while waiting.

March is National Kidney Month and Thursday, March 10th, is World Kidney Day. It’s all about bringing awareness to the world how important the kidneys are, and different ways to keep them healthy.

The National Kidney Foundation lists 5 easy things we can be doing today to help keep your kidneys healthy.

  1. Find out the condition of your kidneys with an ACR urine test or GFR blood test. Go to www.kidney.org/KEEPHealthy to find out how you can be tested for free.
  2. Reduce your intake of over the counter pain meds with an anti-inflammatory component (NSAIDs).
  3. Eat more foods rich in nutrients and less that are processed. They suggest the DASH Diet
  4. Exercising at least 30 minutes per day.
  5. Manage your blood pressure and sugar levels. High blood pressure & diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure.

So what about those who already have kidney disease and are in kidney failure? There are many ways you can help them as well.

  1. Cash donation
  2. Donate an old vehicle
  3. Give a stock gift
  4. Join a kidney walk
  5. Participate in a NKF Golf Classic Tournament
  6. Volunteer
  7. Become an organ donor

You can go to the National Kidney Foundation Donate page for details.

The kidney is near and dear to my heart because over three years ago, God gave me the opportunity to save my husbands life by giving him a kidney. Since doing this, God has also given us many opportunities to share this story; a story about God saving my husband, as well as renewing our marriage. This video, from The 700 Club, is a peak into our story and how forgiveness played an important roll in how my husband received a new kidney.

Another way God has allowed us to share our journey to a renewed marriage is through the book I have written, In His Way, which is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Christianbook.com.

Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.

God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.

Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.

My prayer for us today~ Father God, thank you for the forgiveness we receive through Your Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins. I pray we would extend forgiveness to everyone in our life that has, or will, hurt us, Amen.

Exploring Possibilities

A few years ago, I published a book, In His Way, for the purpose of sharing how God had radically changed my life and my marriage. I was walking around lost and broken, not even realizing it. My perception of the world around me was in 2D and black-n-white, dull and flat. Once I began to open my eyes and heart to God, I could suddenly see the beautiful 3D vibrant world that God created, all around me. The possibilities ahead of me seemed endless and fascinating!

As I’ve said before, and will continue to say, I am not a writer. I like the simplicity of numbers and equations. So when God planted the desire in my heart to write my testimony out in the form of a book, I put it in His hands when I published it. Through people, places and circumstances I realized the importance of sharing what God had done (or is doing), but had no idea how to get this into the hands of others.

They (believers of Christ Jesus) triumphed over him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony ~ Revelation 12:11

I know God has a plan and purpose for this book, my testimony, and has it timed out perfectly. Since I published In His Way, and left it in God’s hands, He has brought many wonderful opportunities to me, with very little effort or thought on my part. God is so wonderfully good isn’t He?

I’ve been featured in a few magazines and newspapers. I’ve also been blessed to participate in a few radio interviews and even a local northern California television show, Love Your Life Ministries.

God has done it again! A few months ago, the 700 Club , a television show on the Christian Broadcasting Network, contacted me. They said they wanted to explore the possibility of doing a segment on my husband and I about our testimony, which they discovered through my book. I was walking on clouds! God continues to amaze me! I don’t know why I’m always so surprised. Probably because I can’t understand how or what I could possibly do to make any kind of impact on any ones life. Thank goodness there is no need to understand what God will do or how He will do it. We must simply be willing to obediently act when He calls upon us and trust He will, in all ways, enable and equip us.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21

About a week before Christmas, I received the call to schedule the interview. They wanted to come and film for an entire day, in our house. I was excited and felt as though I could barely function. My head was spinning and my to-do list suddenly grew a mile long with the thought of having them over to film in our house. The dusty blinds and cluttered corners were no longer acceptable, but how would I find the time or energy to get my house prepared for such a big event?

Thankfully, not only were we praying, but many others were praying for us as well. So I was warmly comforted by God’s peace and reminded He would give me the time and energy to get done what He desired I attend to and nothing else. I have to confess, we did have a moment of panic, worrying our house needed something to make it look presentable. We found ourselves at the store about to lay down a lot of money for new valances for the front room, which is where we planned to do the interview.

I’m glad God knew we would have this moment of weakness and made sure there wasn’t enough of anything we liked. After we stood around trying to figure out what we were going to do, we came to our senses and left the store, empty handed. We remembered God had it covered and it was going to be exactly what He wanted it to be regardless of what the valances, or lack of, looked like.

The day of the interview has come and gone. It was a beautiful cool Northern California day, perfect for a few shots outside. I enjoyed getting to know the ladies who came to film. I think I might have asked them as many questions as they asked us. They were kind, thoughtful and extremely talented in their field of work. I was sad for them to go. I could have chatted with them for hours. I find their jobs intriguing. They get to travel, meet with people in their homes and hear how God has transformed their lives. Sounds like a slice of heaven to me! I don’t think there are many other jobs as wonderful as that out there.

So stay tuned! I will definitely post a link to the interview after it airs. I’m excited to see what God will do through our testimony. I’m also ecstatic to see what God will do next, for and through my book.

If you haven’t read my book, but would like to, you can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Christianbook.com in paperback and for the kindle.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the testimony you have given to ever believer all across the world. I pray we would obediently and boldly share it with those You place in our lives, Amen.

Warning Of Adultery

5 wellProverbs 5

Warning Against Adultery

My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it. Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors. And I was soon in serious trouble in the assembly of God’s people.” Vs 1-14

Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. Vs 15-23

5 21 verse

So far, in chapters 1 thru 5, ‘pay attention’ has been used 4 times and ‘listen’ 7 times. I’m getting the sense that it’s extremely important we listen for and make careful note of the wisdom God has for us.

The topic of adultery can bring up many feelings. Feelings of disgust, shame, anger or sadness. Whether you’ve been affected by adultery or not, you have an opinion about it and it stirs up many emotions. Speaking from experience, I found the best thing to do, when affected by adultery, is prayer. Surrender your feelings and emotions to God. I believe He will help you work through them so your marriage can be mended.

Again we are told the importance of discretion. This time because the temptations of an adulteress/adulterer seem sweet and smooth. After joining the path of an adulteress/adulterer, we will find it to be bitter and sharp. It will cause us to lose our honor and dignity. Most importantly, we will lose the trust of our spouse. This is a trust that will take time and patience to regain.

This next section, verses 15-17, took me awhile to understand. I had to read it a few times and let it sink in. (My elevator doesn’t always go quite as fast as others) This chapter went from a warning against giving in to the temptation of an adulteress/adulterer to drinking from your own well, not sharing it with others. What?!

When we get married we become one with our spouse. We are not to share our bodies with another. Our body is for our spouse and no other. We should be thankful for the spouse God has given to us. When we show thanks to God and our spouse, God will bless our marriage by allowing us to feel intoxicated and satisfied through the love of our spouse.

This chapter ends with another warning. God sees the sins of all. Choosing sin, adultery, and not turning from it, will cause us to stumble down a wicked path that will ultimately lead to death.

My Prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the warning to stay clear of the adulteress/adulterer’s path. I pray we would love our spouses the way we were created to, Amen

In His Way

holding bookAbout three years ago I heard the gentle whisper of God saying He wanted me to share with others my struggles. He wanted me to write how He helped me overcome my trials as I walked through them. At first, I laughed and blew it off. Yes, I use to do that when God first asked me to do something I’ve never done before. Especially if it’s something I’ve never even considered doing. Then as He usually does, He continued to remind me what He wanted me to do, until I sat down and talked to Him about it.

My excuses not to write my story were endless.

  • I’m not good at writing
  • I don’t know proper grammar to write a book
  • I don’t know what to write about
  • Who cares about my life and what I’m going through
  • I don’t have time to write
  • I don’t know the first thing about writing a book

As I gave God all of my excuses, which I thought were pretty good ones, He continued to tell me what I was to do. Once I finally decided to try, not because I wanted to, but because I wanted to show God how I couldn’t, He either put people in my path, or directed me to people, who would help and encourage me to write.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21

It’s been an amazing three years! I feel blessed by the many wonderful people God has brought alongside me to complete the task of writing my story. Actually, it’s not just my story. It’s a story about family, marriage and coming to faith. So it’s my family’s story, written in my perspective. Below is the brief description of the book, which you’ll find on the back cover of, ‘In His Way’.

Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.

God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.

Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.

I wrote this book for God and now I give it to Him, trusting it will be read by everyone He wishes to read it. My hope is that it helps others understand the love God has for them. I hope it turns people to God and the beautiful life He has planned for them. I hope it helps others get out of God’s way so they too can do things In His Way.

My book is now available on Amazon in paperback and ebook (Kindle). If you choose to read it, I would appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon. Even if you don’t like it. I just ask that you ask yourself how you would feel if someone wrote that about you before leaving your comment. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the encouragement and enabling You give us to step out and be all You know we can be. I pray we each take time to be quiet and still so we can hear Your gentle whisper, Amen

In His Way

Forgiveness and Healing

Jaylin PalacioI would like to introduce you to Jaylin Palacio. I immediately connected with her when I read her story. We’ve both been through similar heartaches and our desire to help others who have experienced this pain is something God has put on our heart. Her story explains how she used prayer and the power of God to see her through a painful time in her life.

I have had one true love of my life (other than the Lord). His name is Jay. We met when I was 16, and we married when I was 19. Twenty years later, I discovered that he was committing adultery. I was devastated beyond words. Never in my life have I felt such an intense ache in my heart. The one person that I trusted the most hurt me so deeply. How does one cope with such a painful ordeal?

In the aftermath of adultery, the flood of emotion can make a person crazy. But no matter how chaotic our life gets, there is one source of strength that never changes. No matter how unreliable people can be, God will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5). The Bible is our guide for living, and it is the ultimate resource for how to respond to the inevitable trials and tribulations of life.

Some of the guidelines found in the Bible are “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) and “Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2 NIV). The Bible instructs us to be kind to each other, to be tenderhearted, to forgive one another, and to live a life filled with love. That is much easier said than done when you have been deeply hurt by someone you love. I did nothing wrong and did not ask to be put in this situation of immense pain. I was there because of the actions of two other people. This is the question I asked myself: How do I forgive when I have been hurt so badly?

Forgiveness is the last thing that we feel like doing when we are in so much pain. However, when we make the choice to forgive in obedience to God, He heals our hearts and leaves no bitterness in our spirit. When my world was turned upside down, I relied on the source of strength that never changes. I prayed in three general areas, and He answered my prayers in each area:

  1. Opening Jay’s Eyes. Jay was not acting like himself. He was saying and doing things that were so unlike the man I married. I could not wrap my mind around how a loving husband and father could leave his family. I prayed that God would intervene and that Jay would realize that he needed to come home. God answered that prayer in a tangible way. Jay came home six weeks after I started praying about this, and his eyes were definitely opened. He even said that he knew that people were praying for him because he felt so uncomfortable in his sin.
  1. Providing for My Needs. Ironically, my boss was the other woman, so that job ended when I found out about the affair. I could not collect unemployment because I voluntarily quit the job. My husband left, leaving me with no job and a huge mortgage payment that I could not pay. I prayed to my God who provides all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Amazingly, all of my needs were met while I had no income. Once Jay returned, he started a new career that he loves, and I started to work as a paralegal. God has blessed Jay in his career so much that I am now able to stay home by choice. Thankfully, we did not lose the house while Jay was gone. We modified the loan after he came back resulting in a lower monthly payment and interest rate, and we are now rebuilding our credit.
  1. Healing My Broken Heart. In the midst of the anguish, I could not see how I would ever be able to function again. Since then, God has healed my heart in so many ways. I still remember the pain, but now the anger is gone. I feel so strong emotionally, and I want to help others who are dealing with the aftermath of adultery. I started a support group on Facebook called Christians Surviving Marital Infidelity which allows me to encourage others who are going through the pain that I remember well.

When I look back at this time in my life, I am reminded of the Footprints in the Sand poem. The Footprints in the sandauthor was dreaming about walking along the beach with the Lord. She noticed that during the low periods of her life, there was only one set of footprints. She questioned the Lord as to why He was not there for her during the lowest periods of her life. The Lord explained to her that He was carrying her during those times. In the same way, God carried me through this trial. I also recognize that even though we are all capable of being hurt by others, God gives us the ability to forgive. He also heals our hearts so that we can overcome the storms of life and come out stronger as a result.

 

Jaylin PalacioJaylin Palacio is the author of He Will Never Leave You, a first-person narrative about facing the aftermath of adultery, the faithfulness of God, and the healing power of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is the loyal spouse’s way to leaving the consequences in the hands of God and allowing God to heal the betrayed person’s heart. You can get to know more about Jaylin and check out her blog at http://jaylinpalacio.wordpress.com/know-someone-facing-the-aftermath-of-adultery/.

Play Time

Last week my husband had to be in San Diego for a doctor’s appointment.  We decided to turn it into a fun trip for just the two of us.  We had 4 wonderful days together with no distractions.  No meetings, appointments, car pools, cleaning or helping with homework.  It was wonderful!

photoThe drive down was long.  I was exhausted from the busy past few weeks so it was nice to sit and relax with nothing to do for hours.  We did stop for breakfast in Santa Nella at our favorite stop, Andersen’s Pea Soup Restaurant.  For many years it was our family tradition to stop there with the kids on the way down to Disneyland.  Although, the past few years we haven’t stopped.  We’re usually in such a rush to get to Disneyland so we could start having ‘fun’ we missed out on the interesting conversation we always have when sitting around a table together.

We arrived in San Diego by mid afternoon.  We had a beautiful view from our room and were able to watch several military boats head out to sea.  The evening was filled with walking around the Gaslamp district.  With so many restaurant choices it was hard to decide where to eat.  We finally ended up at Fred’s Mexican Café.  The food was delicious!  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Mexican food.Hyatt Manchester View

The first day of our getaway was heaven!  The second day didn’t start off so well.  Our GPS decided to take us the long way around to the doctor’s office and it was a little confusing to understand where to turn.  So with each turn we missed it had us go further and further out of our way.  Now that I think back to the situation, it’s pretty funny.  However, at the time, it was very stressful.  Robert was freaking out convinced we were going to miss the appointment and acting as if we already had.  It took everything in me not to lecture him about his attitude.  Thankfully, when we arrived at the doctor’s office the doctor was running late too!

The appointment went well and within a few hours we were back on the road, heading for Disneyland!  We spent the next 2 days holding hands while walking around Disneyland.  It felt as if we were in a fairytale.  I experienced Disneyland in a way I never had before.  Being able to look at and experience everything without having children pulling me in multiple directions was magical!  While standing in some of the lines a recording would come on saying something like “…keep your hands and feet in, and please, watch your children”.  We would look at each other and laugh every time, because we didn’t have any with us.photo(2)

A few times while in Disneyland we were asked if we were celebrating anything.  Robert would always tell them we were celebrating how a year ago I gave him a kidney and saved his life.  Each time it opened up the door for us to share our faith with them.  We had some amazing God centered conversations with different employees of Disneyland. It was absolutely beautiful.

I know we each have busy schedules and it’s hard to make time for our spouses.  I’ve learned the importance of spending time together, with no distractions. I also believe God will bless us and our families when we do this.  Whether it be snuggling up on the couch watching a movie, having a meal together, or getting away for a day.  It’s important to take the time to connect.

Remember Genesis 2:18 says The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

I don’t think we can be the helper God created us to be for our spouse if we are not connected, committed, to our spouse.  I believe spending time together is important.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I thank you for creating the man as the spiritual leader and the woman as his helper.  I pray you give us each the desire to fulfill our role in a way that is glorifying to You, Amen

Celebrating!

On Monday, Oct 14th, Robert & I will be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary.  I’m Wedding photoebarrassed to say this, but I thought our anniversary was Oct 12th.  I can’t believe I forgot what day we were married.  I use to be so good at remembering dates.  Now I’m lucky to remember what day of the week it is.  I need to start playing games on that brain exercise website, but I can’t remember what it’s called. 😃 So how did I realize I was wrong?  My wonderful, sweet husband.  I’m not saying it sarcastically either.  I’m serious!

Last night Robert, my husband, says “I must really be losing it, because I thought our wedding anniversary was October 14th.”  Then he continues saying “You’re the one who’s best at keeping track of that stuff, so it must be October 12th.”   Suddenly I wasn’t so sure.  Thankfully I was able to look at the Certificate of Marriage on the wall under our wedding photo, which clearly states October 14th as our wedding day.  So how sweet was that for him to doubt himself not me.  Then when I told him he was right he didn’t give me a hard time for forgetting when we were married.

Before I was a Christian I thought marriage was simply two people coming together to have a family, each person having individual responsibilities.  I thought both had to work to be able to afford the things the world said were important, but the man was ultimately responsible for taking care of the family’s financial needs while the woman took care of the house and kids.

After becoming a Christian I learned God created man, who wasn’t meant to be alone, so a woman was created to be his helper (Genesis 2:18).  I love that!  Not a servant or the boss, but a helper.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

My husband keeps me grounded.  I don’t know what I would do without him.  I rely on him for so much.  Where I am lacking, like cooking, he is efficient.  We have a deal, he cooks & I clean.  He enjoys cooking for others and is good at it.  The same way I enjoy (obsess with) cleaning and can be good at it.  When we work together we accomplish a lot, with time to spend together.

The great thing is, every couple & family, is different.  The world tries to put marriage & families in a box.  Like there is only one way to do it.  God created each of us uniquely different.  We each have different strengths and weaknesses.  God made man and woman to work well together, to be together.  Genesis 2:24 talks about a man united to his wife and becoming one flesh.

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.    Genesis 2:21-24wedding rings

Each couple needs to figure out how to do things together, however, they can’t do it on their own.  They must each put God first and then their spouse 2nd, before themselves.  I don’t mean never getting to do anything for yourself.  I mean we should always communicate with our spouse before doing anything and consider how it will affect them.

Power of a Praying WifeThis was such a foreign concept for me.  I didn’t know how to be the helper my husband needed or even how to let my husband help me.  My friend suggested I pray daily for my husband.  That seemed weird at first too.  Then I was given a daily devotional, The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.  This helped me focus on God and listen to what He wanted/planned for our marriage.

My Prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for giving us the gift of marriage.  I pray you equip us to be the helper you created us to be, Amen

I Wouldn’t Have Believed

If someone had described to me what my future would have been like 5 years ago, I would have thought they belonged in a padded room hugging themselves for a long long time.  God has done so much for me, with me and through me over the past 5 years.  I am brought to tears each and every time I think about where I was 5 years ago and how I got to where I am now.

Five years ago my marriage was headed down the path to divorce.  The really sad part was neither of us knew it.  I thought nothing was wrong with me, but everything was wrong with my husband.  I saw myself as a good person, mom and wife.  I knew I wasn’t great at any of those things, but thought it was better than how my husband was.  I saw my husband as selfish and inconsiderate when it came to the family.

I was always comparing myself to my husband.  I didn’t think I had to give my best to the family or marriage because, in my eyes, my husband wasn’t.  I thought it was up to me to let him know where he fell short and how he could do better.luke plank in eye

Then during a counseling session with Robert we were read Luke 6:41-42:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

This verse hit me like a ton a bricks!  I felt God was calling me out.  He was telling me to stop concerning myself with all the mistakes my husband was making and work on how I could do better.  I needed to take a long hard look at myself in the mirror instead of shoving it in my husband’s face all the time.open the eyes of my heard

I had no idea how to change or where to start, so I went to God in prayer.  I didn’t know what to ask for.  I realized I was a total and complete mess.  After hearing the song Open the Eyes of my Heart’, it became my prayer.  I told God I wanted to see Him in all His glory and asked Him to open my eyes so I could.  This song was played at my Baptism in June 2009.  It’s one of my all time favorite songs along with ‘Friend of God’.  Those songs truly fill me with great joy, the kind that only comes from God.law enforcement chaplain

Five years ago I was continually irritated with my husband.  Today, I see my husband as a gift from God.  I am blessed and thankful for the life God has given us together.  Last week Robert graduated from the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy in Sacramento as a Law Enforcement Chaplain.  Robert is now doing things in God’s way and I am proud to say he is the spiritual leader in our home.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I thank you for being our creator, provider and friend.  I pray you continue to open the eyes of our hearts so we may see and experience You and all Your glory, Amen.

Restored

As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, Communicating = Talking + Listening, Robert and I had problems communicating.  When we first met, we talked all the time about everything. Which I think is normal, since we were getting to know each other.  If you’ve met either of us you know we’re both ‘talkers’.  After time the talking became boring, same old same old, or we just didn’t have time.  We certainly didn’t make the time to talk.  We thought everything was great because we never argued.  How could we, we never talked!  We thought we had a wonderful marriage.

Why didn’t we talk?  Well, I think we just didn’t see the importance of it.  What was so important about listening to Robert talk about his day anyway?  I didn’t have time to find out what it was like to be a police officer. I wasn’t a Police Officer, so I didn’t think I needed to.   I had my own important things to get done.  Like do the laundry, give the kids a bath, clean the kitchen, help with homework and plan for the next school event.   If he wanted to talk, then he needed to follow me around while I did my important chores.  Of course when he did I expected him to help.  Don’t just stand there while I’m working, help!  Robert was exhausted from his work so he didn’t want to come home and work more.  He wanted to talk and relax.

That became another problem.  Robert wanted to talk, not listen.  Why would he want to hear about what I did all day?  I did boring mom stuff all day.  Nothing I did all day compared to the excitement that filled his day.

Over time we grew angry with one another.  I wanted him to stop talking about his work and care about me and my day. He wanted me to listen to him talk about his day because that meant I cared.

Our biggest problem was we both assumed the other could read our mind.  We never told the other what was bothering us.  Well, I shouldn’t say never.  We did, it was usually during a screaming match when we would list off all of the others faults.   We couldn’t hear what the other was saying because we were busy trying to get the other to hear what they were doing wrong.

In my post, A Gift from God, I told you about Martha Smalley, who led a Bible Study I participated in.  She was my counselor and is now a dear friend.  Martha helped me see our destructive path of, incorrect or lack of, communicating.  She helped me realize the importance of communicating and how to communicate with Robert lovingly and respectfully.

I was recently a guest on Martha’s radio show, Plank Eyed Saint.  We discussed how my marriage began to fail, due to a lack of boundaries when communicating.  We also talked about adultery in my marriage and how God restored it, even after I kicked into hyper control mode.  I encourage you to listen.  If you know anyone who has dealt with adultery in their marriage, this would be a great show to forward to them. 

There’s a song, by Chris August, I absolutely love, called Restore.  I think anyone married or soon to be married should listen to this song.  There’s a verse in the song ‘Give it up to the Lord & He will restore’ that is so powerful and filled with truth.  I hope you take a few minutes to listen.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I pray we step aside and let you guide us as you restore our marriage and relationships, Amen.

Communicating = Talking + Listening

When I met my husband, Robert, he was working as a Deputy Sheriff in the jail.  He described his job as a baby sitter to the bad guys.  I didn’t feel I had any reason to worry about him while at work.  Being a baby sitter seemed pretty easy and boring.  Then a few years later he transferred to a street position, a traffic cop.  Again, I didn’t think there was any reason to be alarmed or worried.  I pictured Robert chasing down people for speeding, running red lights or other driving no-no’s like talking on the phone while driving.

Read Robert’s story how a routine traffic stop turned bad.

Thankfully Robert didn’t come home often with these stories.  I honestly couldn’t listen.  It would frustrate Robert when I would continually try to change the topic or simply walk away.  I would rather change a diaper or clean up puke than listen to his horrifying story.  Yes, he was standing in front of me, so I knew the ending was fine, but I couldn’t handle hearing how he almost died.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the story out of my head and would become a basket case while he was at work, so I couldn’t let the stories into my head.

Unfortunately, this caused a lot of tension in our marriage.  I was annoyed at him for telling me such awful things.  Didn’t he know I could only handle hearing about sunshine and rainbows?!  Robert thought I didn’t care about him because I wouldn’t listen to his stories.

Several years later, we found a counselor who helped us with our communication skills, or I should say lack of communication skills.  Robert learned he did need to debrief after going through intense situations he sometimes faced at work.  However, I wasn’t the person to do this with. It needed to be with someone at work, a fellow officer, who understood what he was going through.  I learned how important it was to be a good listener.  Robert wanted to share his day with me and I needed to let him.  Most importantly, we both needed to take the others feelings into consideration and not be so selfish.

I’m not saying things are perfect all the time.  I am saying that communicating, talking and listening, is much better than keeping your thoughts to yourself and letting your mind take over.  A lonely mind can be a scary thing.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, help us to share our thoughts with others in a kind and respectful way, Amen

 

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