Friday, October 21, 2011

"Your salt depends upon the character of your light"

What is my purpose in this life? What am I living for? Do I live from day to day just letting the seconds unfold without direction. Am I just surviving and looking out for me, myself and I. Or is there something more to this life. Am I here to make a difference in the lives of my family, friends, and others? God has a plan and a purpose for my life. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

The wedding day is almost here.  In less than 24 hours, we will all be a family.  As Sarah and Duane become one through marriage tomorrow, our families become linked.  Last night for me was symbolic.  The families all coming together and laughing crying and preparing for this great day.  Each one has a purpose in this expanding family. But again I ask...what is my purpose?  Where is my place? Am I an arm, a hand, a finger or a finger nail? Each part has a purpose.  Even in those moments when I may feel insignificant, I am reminded that even the finger nail has a purpose. Just because I am a "step" parent doesn't mean my role is less important in this family.  Because I am not a biological parent doesn't meant I have to be on the outside looking in.  I am discovering a lot about who I am.  I know this for sure I am a kid of the Most High.  I know that as each day unfolds more of my purpose is revealed.  When I feel I lack purpose, it's because I am forgetting that I am not supposed to be doing this for me. That in everything I do I am to be giving all glory to God.  "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.  Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,  and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,  while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,  so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.." 1 Corinthians 12-26

This family, is not only like a body with many parts, it's like a a big pot of slow cooking a stew.  There are many different ingredients.  We have savory, sweet, bitter, sour and salty.  And each ingredient has a specific time it needs to be added.  When my kids were little I would remind them every morning as they left the house, to go out into the world and be salt and be a light.  For the most part they have done their best.  I have seen the effects of salt and light in this new pot of stew, family, that is simmering.  I know that as each new day dawns, I may have a new purpose and be a different ingredient.  I am a servant.  And I pray that my heart stays lit and constantly glows. I praise God for each member of this expanding family.  I am overwhelmed with joy to see the light in each person's heart.  "Your salt depends upon the character of your light" ~Charles Swindoll.

God has given each person a gift. For some it's being a servant, or a teacher, or a talker,or a listener,or an artist,or a chef, etc.... We all have a purpose. And God has a plan. "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work." 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Sunday, October 9, 2011

True love is superglue

This morning I have been reflecting on marriage. And praising God for allowing me to have a second chance at being a wife. Scripture tells us that love is patient, kind , it isn't jealous and doesn't boast. In all honesty I often lack patients And sometimes my words aren't so kind. And yes, I have some puffed up moments now and then. But, God has blessed my life with a husband that is willing to accept me for the crazy me I am.

In just a few days my inherited daughter and soon to be son-in-law will be walking down the isle to say I do. And I have been praying for this precious couple. I know God sees their hearts for each other. And I pray that as they begin this journey as husband and wife they continue to grow in their love. I pray that they have the desire to have compassion for each other. To be humble and gentle in all circumstances. And that they both find courage to forgive whatever needs forgiving and wisdom to understand their differences. Just like the bands of gold they will place on each others fingers as they pledge their love, marriage is a forever circle of life's most important relationships. They will become and remain each other's best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. And will discover that love is superglue.

I am thankful that the experiences of the past haven't tainted the step of the future. Divorce is an ugly thing. And, unfortunately, my children, biological and inherited, are all a product of the big "D" word. When Greg and I got married it wasn't just the two becoming one. It was a whole crew. I had three precious gems to contribute from my first marriage. And Greg had two from his. I had been single and raising my three on my own for a few years. And the same with Greg. So we had to be very strong in our commitment to each other. And in the process we also had to define true love for our children. Which is hard to do when they are confused.

A second marriage, with children, takes a whole lot of love. I didn't realize that I would not only be a wife, mom, and step-monster but I would become a fireman too. Putting two families together is like putting a match box close to a fire. Eventually sparks are going to ignite. And throughout the course of our marriage there have been quite a few fires. To be honest, I often look back at those fires and praise God for His faithfulness. The family did a lot of growing. For Greg and I, our love for each other was and is constantly being tested. Our children know that not only do we love each other. But we love each one of them. They have been a part of our union since the very beginning with there hands on the pulse of our relationship. We wanted their input on our wedding and our future as a family . It wasn't easy for any of us. Greg and I did what we thought was best for the whole crew. There were and are moments when the stress and fear was and still is so great. But God is ever present. Two families becoming one. I love that our children know that, whether it be a financial need or emotional need, we will do anything for them. As each child grows and goes in their own direction I pray that the love they have witnessed in this crazy house will be branded on their hearts forever. We aren't even close to being the well adjusted and put together "Brady Bunch". But we have love. Yes, we still have "water and oil" moments. But, together with a pinch of love, sometimes that makes a good dressing.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment it is the willingness of two people to come together in search of the best. And the desire to bring it out in one another. It encourages and develops the newness of life. Marriage offers opportunities to share and grow in ways that no other relationship can compare. It is an emotional and physical connection that is a promise of a lifetime. This union deepens and enriches every life experience. Commitment to each other is stronger than ever before. Your memories are much more vivid. Happiness is more abounding. Even the level of anger seem more passionate, however forgiveness come more rapidly. Mistakes are unavoidable this is why communication is so important. "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." ~Ephesians 4:2-3 Understanding and forgiveness are virtues that are like glue. Together they create a bind that holds them closer than any spoken or written words. "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity."  ~ Colossians 3:14

Marriage is a promise before God, made in the hearts of two people who love each other. It is a covenant that takes a lifetime to fulfill. And I am thankful for the lifetime that has been provided.