Love & Respect- In the Beginning

I have been listening to Dave Ramsey’s Live  and Archived shows lately, because I know what goes into me, comes out of me, and I want to leave a legacy. A strong legacy. A family others want to model their family after, one that honors the Lord, and makes the tough decisions for the short term to pay off big time in the long run.

His show has a commercial for “Love & Respect” written by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, and it really caught my attention. Within the commercial Dr. Eggerichs made a comment that just captured me, and since I will mess it up, I am going to paraphrase it, “Unconditional Respect is respecting my husband, because it’s what God asks of me, not what my husband fails to do to “earn” my respect.” I definitely butchered that, but that is the basic concept.

Little preview into my life. I don’t tend to see myself as disrespectful; I am typically kind, until my tongue gets out of control- which happens. I am gentle unless I must be bold. I love my husband, more than most anything, even on days I can’t stand him and wish I didn’t have to see him. Is that honest enough? Even on those days there is something on the inside of me that REFUSES to quit. I Refuse… Kentucky had a slogan last year for their Boys Basketball Team- Refuse to Lose… That’s me, everyday. On days he and I want to give up, we dig in our heels. If we didn’t, if we weren’t so very stubborn, we would not have made it past a month of marriage. He and I have both voiced that we just have to stick it out whether we want to or not. That’s not how we WANT to live, but it is how we have lived.

Until now. I found something in this book, that made me feel like I saw Tim for the first time. Really saw him. Understood why he says I don’t listen to him, and looks at me with such frustration, hurt and anger. I got it! Here’s the scoop- not the whole carton, for that you will need to invest in your marriage, and get a copy of this book. Seriously. I disrespect him. A lot. Way more than I would have said before I read this book. In a counseling session last summer, I remember looking directly into his eyes and saying, “You want me to respect you? Are you KIDDING? Do you not know respect has to be EARNED? I love you, but I do not respect you.” I saw the light leave his eyes and I was disappointed in myself for hurting him, but justified myself, “Doesn’t he know what he has put me through? This is hell on earth, how dare he expect respect from me?”

As Dr. Eggerichs teaches, If He told me He didn’t love me, or that love must be earned, or that he respected me but didn’t love me- I would be crushed. It is the same emotion Tim experiences when I boldy tell and show him that I do not respect him.

Ephesians 5:32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

It doesn’t say, “He must be worthy of your respect.” “He must never hurt you, and then you shall give him your respect.” or “If you feel love for one another, you must give him your respect.” OOOUUCH.

This hurt me so much, because I felt a blow to my gut. I don’t treat him with respect, and in front of people, I tend to be even worse, even if I am being honest, I should know it’s better to keep my mouth closed that hurt my husband through disrespectful words or actions. I have mastered the rolling eyes, half cocked head, and sigh of disappointment. I have cut him with words in front of others and forgotten that until he came to me, he was an athlete; a good athlete, one highly valued and respected by those around him. When I came along I not only showed him disrespect but  I injured his pride and taught him that while he was accustomed to woman falling all over him for his athletic prowess, that I saw nothing in him to fawn over, at all.

I am so grateful for this book, this is the third day of having it in my possession and I am certain to be finished today, and practicing these easily applied principles to turn my marriage around.

For the 1st time in almost 9 years of marriage, I see that I have to own the fault, not of everything, but at the core of this marriage there is a dysfunction that I alone caused.

Check this book out! If for no other reason than verifying that you “DO” respect your husband. I wonder how many wonderful occasions in our relationship I missed due to my lack of giving him something that God called me to give him. Tim doesn’t ask for my respect but the Lord determined for him, that I was to be respectful period, regardless of his level of “worthiness”.

Blessings, 

mel

Nothing Is More Free Than Your Will

I am consistently amazed by what my children say and do.

Sometimes I feel like the smile stuck to my face due to Cash’s crazy antics will never go away; my cheeks hurt and my tummy is normally tied up in laughing knots.

Loralei will say something so kind, beyond her years ,that will bring me such inner joy that her heart is so sweet that I am overwhelmed with emotion.

And then…

There are days…

some of you know what I am talking about… where…oh…

It takes a miracle from God, to renew my mind, body and spirit to view them out of Christ’s eyes instead of my human eyes.

My human eyes… whew-  they are like laser beams when I am upset- frustrated of angry.

That is when I transform negatively into the Hulk, and smash becomes my attitude.

I have given you access to my most inner failing. I am so far from perfect. I write this blog because when I write, I have to contemplate my life, my mistakes, my gifts and pray that the Lord renews my giftings, forgives my mistakes and corrects my hearts cry until it matches His again.

I often realize that I talk about Cash a lot. Enough that I have to be careful to make sure I tell of Loralei’s beautiful qualities as often as a rail against Cash’s negative or comical qualities. Qualities I myself have; qualities Tim has, and qualities we have displayed and Cash has received- the good- the bad-the ugly.

My sweet boy- because he is sweet- don’t get me wrong, he calls me sweet momma, and thinks of such cool things to say and do to make me feel special; he really struggles in some areas. We as his parents don’t spoil with gifts. We never have and we have done all we can to keep he and Loralei from having “more than enough”, and to teach giving. They receive commissions each week for work they do at the house. They know what is expected; just because you are in the family, and they know what is expected; if you want to get paid on Friday. They then separate their money, Offering\Giving, Saving and Spending. He is trying to save up to buy yet another Lego set.

Last week they both had their tonsils removed, and since, have stayed with various and wonderful family members who care for them while Tim and I work and they recover.

My grandmother kept them for the first time ever on Tuesday. First. Time. Ever.

I was thrilled, because they love her and they are old enough now to behave and be helpers instead of needers.  She wanted to take them to the store to buy them something. Which is awesome! A special gift for nothing! Too cool!

In the aisle they stand, and Cash is adamant, he needs 2 things. (he needs to thank God I was not there.) He doesn’t just need the NERF Crossbow, but the extra pack bullets too, for an additonal $10.

Thankfully she had the good sense to tell him NO! When he got back to her house and started playing with it, he started whining about not having anymore bullets, and he made no attempt to relocate the bullets that did come with his gun. Unfortunately, He had the misfortune of explaining to me that he had done nothing wrong, and didn’t believe he owed his Nannie an apology. It quickly spiraled into a temper tantrum of intense proportions. Although I had to deal with the reactive behavior, I was much more concerned with the initial behavior. Ungratefulness.

Due to those behaviors he lost the gun he so desired, television, and his tablet time at home. A truly devastating loss to a 6 year old.  Most importantly, he will be going to his Nannies to work off what she paid for the gun he no longer has; in yardwork. – that’s right- hard work is good for the soul! Those who do not work- do not eat. Those who gripe and complain about a free gift- lose the gift!

He will quickly learn that the thing we are given that is free- our free will- can cost us everything or give us everything. We must choose our attitude and attempt to line it up next to His heart, if not we are giving away something much more valuable- our intimacy with Him.

Isn’t that the way of the Lord, if we seek Him first, He will add everything to us. If we seek us first; we will most assuredly lose everything. It’s a hard lesson to learn, at 6 or 90, but learn it, we must!

 

Blessings,

mel

 

All I Have to Give

I listen to Dave Ramsey through the workday. It helps me to be intentional in all that I do. To remember that I am not just a financial steward, but a spiritual, physical and relational steward. All that He gives us, we must steward over… really makes me rethink my food and beverage choices.

I heard the cutest story the other day, about a woman named Katherine. I won’t go into the entire thing, because they did it much better than I could!

This woman was saving for a car but knew a widow who needed what she had been saving every extra penny for, so she gave it away. A couple who knew her heard what she had done and went out and bought her a car. She was expressing how touched she was by what they did, and then she said something that tickled me. “I knew God had cars, but I didn’t know He had new cars for me.”

How adorable! That is something we can relate to every area of our life. I knew God had a cattle on a thousand hills, but I didn’t know how I would buy my groceries… guess who owns the grocery store?

 

Before Katherine finished her story she left one though, “I give all I have to give, because the very nature of Jesus Christ is to give; because He gave His life for us.”

Is that not beautiful! I want to be like Ms. Katherine when I grow up, a complete stranger who at the very heart of her nature, gives all she has to emulate Christ.

 

Blessings,

mel

Broccoli & Cheese

Holy, Holy, Holy

Merciful and Mighty

God in three persons

Blessed Trinity

 

I forget sometimes that there are 3 in 1.

Do you ever do that? It’s like when you eat Broccoli and Cheese… I am mentioning this, because I had some at my moms last week for the first time since I moved out 11 years ago… how did I go 11 years without Broccoli and Cheese???? It’s the perfect example of something healthy becoming grossly unhealthy!

But the Trinity is a little like that… God= Broccoli, (Don’t get mad at me, God knows I love Him way more than Broccoli… :) ) Jesus= Cheese- delicious Cheddar chunk cheese mixed with shredded Mozzarella… and we think those at the main part of what make the food so good… and they have a share in it, but the missing ingredient that gave so much flavor was the salt. I mean who doesn’t love salt? Other than the people with high blood pressure and cholesterol of course?

Holy Spirit covers us, as we are and then adds something unique to Him. His presence…, That His was meaning the 3 all together of course.

When we live with just the cheese covering the broccoli we are missing the extra goodness of salt.

I am nothing without all three of them. I am so glad Holy Spirit lives and moves and has it’s being in me. I am changed every moment I allow Him to lead me. I am more like Him, and who doesn’t want to be more like the one who is without blemish or wrinkle? ME!!!

Blessings,

mel

 

 

His life, showed me how

Galatians 2:20

The Message (MSG)

“19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

I really enjoyed this version of this verse, and the surrounding verses. I am so grateful for the way this read… “Christ’s life showed me how”. It’s hard to make our lives line up with His plan and His incredible grace for us, and to look like Him, to live like Him.

Everyday I am praying that the Lord gives me kindness instead of censure. That what comes from my mouth, would be pleasing to Him. If all I ever do, is honor Him, by living for Him, it will be enough. I used to try to work hard at things to please Him, and the more I did it, the more worn out, I became, He wasn’t my partner in my activities, so all the work I did was in vain. I am thankful for His love and mercy today. Aren’t you?

Blessings,

mel

 

 

 

A Great Big Thank You!

Have you ever worked with people who made your life different?

You weren’t the same after being around them, day in and day out for a few years?

I was so privileged to work with such a group for 3 years. They changed my life. They taught me who I was, and walked with me in faith, through storms that alone, I could not have withstood. They were the kinds of bosses you dream of, people who encourage you to be more than you are. To push beyond the limits, to believe that you actually can do it. Who care as much about you as a person, as they do about you as an employee. There were many days of prayer, literal prayer in the middle of the day. Days that I was able to be real, about real life changing issues, and I was encouraged to keep going, and not even for their benefit… but for mine.

Ms. Sandi, Charles & Terry, you forever changed the course of my life, in the three incredible, fun, hard, and busy years I spent with you. Thank you for being people who care, and make a difference in the lives of those around you. You will never know what an impact you had on me, and by extension my family! I love you dearly and thank God that He sent you to me. You didn’t know He brought you all together for me, but that’s what He did. You built me into a strong, and capable woman, and it overflows into every area of my life.

I don’t know how to say it that will make you feel it, like I mean it, but, Thank You! My children will always be different because of what you helped transform in me.

I wanted to thank them today, and in tribute to them, encourage you to be such an employee, and friend wherever you are. If we can all be that for one person- we can, change the world.

Blessings,

mel

Pauly’s Wisdom for Marriage

Don’t you love Paul?

1 Corinthians 7

8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Alllriighhht… let’s dig a little deeper!

When I first heard verse 8 , as a married woman- who has had a struggling marriage… I was like, “Preach it, preacher!”  ”Don’t do it!”

If you are unmarried- it’s not that marriage isn’t blessed- IT IS. God blesses marriage. It is a beautiful covenant when it’s secure in HIM! It is a very difficult thing when your marriage isn’t given to the Lord by BOTH of you each day. I am as guilty of this as my husband is.

Then I read verse 9. Oook… If they cannot control themselves, they should marry- HOLD IT right there Pal!

Paul- are you crazy?

He is a man of the faith and it’s in the Bible so I have to obey it. . . but I am saying, for real. If you can not control yourself and you are burning with lust unmarried- you will do it when you are married. It’s a self control issue. This is an area of your life you need to MASTER before marriage. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get married if you struggle once in a while, but if this is an everyday issue for you, learn to lay it down at the cross daily, before your actions bring pain to the person you pledge yourself for “All of eternity” -not until they don’t make you happy anymore.

P.S. It’s not about you. Key phrase of my life. It’s about HIM- The One. The Creator, and Giver of every good and perfect thing! If He allows you to marry- He has every intention of helping you stay that way.

Back to good ‘Ole Paul- be reasonable. If you are checking out other people before you get married- there is either something you need to work on, or He may have another plan for you. Love isn’t stars in the sky and everyone smiling and singing. It isn’t. It’s having every reason to leave, and every person you respect telling you that you can, and Biblically it would even be ok; and you saying I am in this for the glory of Christ Jesus.

It is holding a picture of your spouse at 6 years old, and saying- “I will not let that little boy down. I will become the women the Lord intended me to be when He created that handsome little guy.” It’s keeping that picture nearby and using hurt you feel to propel you into the arms of Christ and lift that little, but now big guy up!

Today- He has a plan, married, unmarried, thinking about getting married, having children old enough to get married- lift up the people around you. This covenant isn’t easy, but it is world changing- let’s do marriage right, and the world will want to follow the God who heals the broken, and makes whole the wounds of the hurting.

Blessings,

mel

 

 

His Workmanship- but What Work?

Did you read “A Purpose Driven Life” by Pastor Rick Warren?
I remember when this book came out and people were buying it like it was candy on the $.10 rack. Did you have one of those in the convenience store near you growing up? Loved me some tootsies and bit ‘o honey’s… mmmm good… but back to the book- I am easily distracted by food and candy… and Dr. Pepper!

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I remember learning that verse and I had a key chain that would remind me anytime I looked down. I would feel that little tag everytime I left the house, or got into my car and I was reminded that He planned my days long ago, and He didn’t leave me here for giggles. Over time I have forgotten that I was given a mission- an absolute purpose in this life. I am like many of you. I don’t know what that purpose is. I search, but I do not find, I knock and it hasn’t been answered yet, but I am comforted, that HE WILL answer. My time table is not His. My plans are not His. My goals, dreams and ambitions, are not His. His are perfect and they lead me only down paths of righteousness for His namesake. I do desire to know. I want to experience His fullness, and right now the only times I feel Him, are tapping out some words on here, or singing to Him.

He is so glorious, and I love Him so, I get lost in relationships. I often pray that relationships will be the area the Lord doesn’t use me. I know that is a terrible thing to pray, but I am not good at relationships. I struggle. I see my side and only my side, I feel compassion, but not enough to change my stance. I am unwavering and loyal to a fault- but what does that mean anyway, loyalty is honored by God, right? I mean whoever came out with that phrase didn’t know what servant leadership was, to serve and follow the authority above you, even when you don’t agree. It’s kinda like eating the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle- something I have never done, but I hear it’s the pits… but not when you are doing it. The next day you wake up and realize you don’t know what happened the night before, following the Lord can be like that, but in beautiful ways. He helps you forget the heartache of your decisions, and turns you towards compassion when contempt was your first reaction. He gives you little memory of the days where you suffered long, and instead shows you how His glory was manifest.

What I would give to know the plan He has for me. I know it’s good- because He promises it is. I know it’s for His glory- because everything is. I know it’s trustworthy and dependable, because He is. I know it’s for eternal joy- because no matter how bad I mess it up down here, getting my feelings, and thoughts and criticisms involved, He waits with open arms to welcome me into His Kingdom. If my only goal is to practice singing “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty” until I can join the choir at His throne, Lord, give me the strength and endurance to sing it all the days of my life. That’s all He ever wanted- to know You are His, to be willing to give all you are, all you have to follow Him.

If you don’t know what you are called too today, keep knocking, keep seeking and you are promised to find, not only the answer, but the One who gave you the question waiting- arms open, blueprint in hand.
Blessings,
mel

A Pretty Pink Cast- That Stinks

I started roller skating when I was little, like a lot of children. I was five when I got my first and only (Praise God) broken bone. I remember the two older girls that tripped/ fell on top of me. I remember the pink cast and how much I loved it. I loved going around with a permanent marker and having people sign it.

I saved it when my ankle finally healed, and put it up in my closet. I couldn’t smell it. I couldn’t envision the germs that must have been caked inside a 5 year old’s signature covered cast. I couldn’t see that it took up room in a closet that I didn’t have. I only knew that this was a symbol of how many people loved me. I remember that feeling specifically- this proved people love me. (Amazing that my little mind can hold that memory.)

I came in one day, and opened my closet and the cast was gone. I ran to my mom and asked what had happened, and I remember her saying, “Honey, it was smelly, and full of junk”. My heart was wounded. I was unable to explain to her what that cast meant to me. All she knew was- it stank and should be thrown away- I didn’t need it anymore.

Isn’t that the way our walk with the Lord is? He delivers us, heals us and He wants us to take the cast off- and throw it away. He has taken care of it.

But we don’t do that, do we? We not only want to hold it, we would put it in a trophy case.

Your life before Jesus was stinky, full of germs and signed by multiple people, some who genuinely loved you, and others who would leave you in a moment for a better opportunity. When you met Jesus, we washed the stink off of you, threw out your germs and called you to have some friends who smell good around you too. The only role He demands of each of us, is to go and find some other stinky people to tell about Him, so they can be clean too.

 

Love you- throw out your stinky cast- you don’t need it anymore!

Blessings,

mel

 

 

Where Feet May Fail

I am a music lover. The irony to that, is I find music after it’s been out at least a year if not more.

Like “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong- as soon as I heard the first instrument begin, it grabbed me. The lyrics are below.

“You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand”

Can you imagine what Peter felt when he walked out the first time? When he started there wasn’t fear. Not until he saw the waves. We almost joke him because he became afraid… but where were the rest of the disciples? Safely in the boat.

Isn’t this how we live our lives? He calls us out, we bodly go, and then in an instant something changes, the waves move under our feet and our faith fails. This makes us human like Peter, but courageous like Jesus, who calls us out, and onward anyway.

“And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine”

Our eyes are everything aren’t they? Our eyes tell us what people think of us, what is happening around us, billboards throw flashing lights at us, calling for our attention, the advertisements on television and in game apps surround us. We see things that make our faith in humanity, in people, in security fail. We are moved by these things. We see the numbers in the bank account not adding up and we forget to trade fear for faith. Our lack, for His provision.

“Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now”

I love that part. He gets that we are vision oriented- because He made us that way! So He provides “extra” grace to cover that part of our humanity. That fear fades, quickly, when combined with His grace. He promises to guide us, so even when that is all we can do- place our little human dust created hand in His, we will never walk alone, on any road that His grace cannot pave.

“So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine”

My favorite part- all we have to do is call on His name. That’s it. In your moments of incredible weakness you can simply call on His name and He will make a way, where you could not see a way.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

The best part of the song is this part. It sweeps me away. Completely immobilizes me, that His mercy is so incredible, that He leads me, sinner, failure and disaster, into His presence. That he allows us to go deeper into His presence, and builds our faith by showing His incredibly love for us.

Rest in that today!

Blessings,

mel