Friday, August 28, 2009

The Love of His Life

This is Michele. This picture was taken at her 15th birthday party. Michele is Mike's daughter, the love of his life. Mike married her mother and was thrilled when they found out they were expecting. It was his dream come true, a family! Michele is his Princess, his Baby, the entire room lights up for him when she walks in. He loves her, he cherishes her, and he would do anything on this earth for her.

The marriage didn't turn out as hoped however. They stayed together for Michele and for the sake of family for 5 or 6 years. Then she left, taking Michele with her and Mike was devastated. The very thing he never wanted and tried desperately to prevent had happened.

A couple of years later Mike became a Catholic, thinking if they were the same religion they could make it. Mike and Michele's mother remarried and Mike lead them seriously into Catholicism. The problem was the "same religion" thing didn't make the marriage. He returned to faith in Jesus Christ through the Blood of the Lamb (not the church), and tried to lead the family too. They rejected him and The Word. When Michele was around 11 or 12 years old, Michele's mother left again, again separating Mike from his daughter. At this same time the oilfield was bust. He lost everything, family, job, and he gave all the possessions, to Michele and her mother. It was the lowest point of his life.

Mike was faithful to the Lord, to Michele and to her mother. He sought the Lord to restore his family. He stayed in San Angelo or as close as possible to be near Michele giving up career opportunities. He prayed. He fasted. He spent as much time with Michele as possible, talking to her several times a day and he sent her mother support. He's not perfect but he did all he could do.

When Michele was 16 her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Mike asked her to come back and he would take care of her and Michele. She said, " No." Mike realized that as much as he did not want Michele in a broken home he needed to move on with his life.

The desire of his heart did not go away. He desired a righteous, God-honoring, Christian home. He began seeking the Lord for a wife, a helpmate, a like-minded partner. That's where I come in, and I'm not perfect, but we are like-minded.

We've been married twelve years this Wednesday, September 2,2009. The Lord has truly restored what the locust had eaten in both of our lives.

The pain in Mike's heart though is Michele. She insists on living her life the way she wants to live it, which normally would be fine except her lifestyle is breaking her Daddy's heart. He mourns for her and what she is doing to herself, her husband and her boys. He prays for her constantly.

Michele is still the love of his life, his Princess, his Baby, the light in his eye and isn't that the way love is? Love is our greatest joy and our greatest sorrow.

The Lord says, "Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning."

Forsaking All Others

Now that's easy. At the altar anyway. Remember the scene, you're standing at the altar, in front of the preacher, facing the most wonderful, most perfect person in the whole world and you vow before God and family and friends to forsake all others. Then you walk down the aisle as husband and wife and the journey begins. The journey to become one. The first thing we think of when we vow to forsake all others is other men/women. But what about the grey area? The thought life. And what about the other relationships of our life? Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends, co-workers, teachers, bosses? Did I vow to forsake them? Yes I did. How about sports, committees, hobbies, Girls Night Out, Guys Night Out? Did I vow to forsake those? Yes I did. People, places, things? Yes, these are all within the "forsake all others" definition. To what extent do I forsake? Whatever the relationship requires. Whatever is required to become one - one heart, one mind, one flesh. Whatever it takes.
Then the wonder is; we get it all back, every relationship in our life is doubled because our two lifes have blended into one and it's just twice - twice the joy, twice the sorrow. As a union we are more than we ever were as an individual.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When Time Stood Still


It was one of those light bulb moments. You know, when a "light" flashes in your spirit, the earth stands still, life halts for a very brief nano second and you know that you know that you know that something momumentous, something life changing, totally life changing, 360* life changing has happened. Life events happen in the spirit before they happen in the physical and sometimes it takes a long time for what happened in the spirit to come to pass in the physical and sometimes not.

Such was the case when I heard Mike speak during the discussion in the Single-Adult Bible Study Class. I didn't see his face, he was in the back of the room, but I heard his voice reveal what was in his heart and I heard what he believes. It resonated with my spirit and it was one of those less than nano second moments that you know that you know that you know and nothing after that is ever the same.

A couple of months later we actually spoke face to face. We conversed a little, he paid for my lunch without me knowing. Later I said, "Thank you" and we've been talking every since.

We started talking in July and got married in September. I bought a new dress and shoes, we informed our family, invited a few friends, our friend made New York Cheesecake, my Mom made coffee, Mike brought me roses ( the most beautiful roses I have ever seen), my brother officiated and we were husband and wife. Mike went back to work, I went back to work. Alex had school. Life continued. That was 12 years ago and it's been continuing every since.

We attended the wedding of our neighbors daughter just a couple of weeks ago. The minister made very true and very pertinent statements during the ceremony. Two of the statements that stand out the most are truths Mike and I have discussed and experienced. He said, "Any two people can have a wedding but a marriage is a journey" the journey is the journey to become one and we have found out that it begins the moment, the very moment you say "I Do". A key component of this happening is "giving up your singlehood". One of Amy's observations early on was that we "stick together like glue". We've had to or life would tear us apart. We gave up everything and had to totally empty ourselves, bind together, and start all over. The Lord is now bringing everthing back to us infinitely better than we could ever ask or think.

We didn't take a honeymoon back then, 12 years ago. So now as a celcbration to the Lord's faithfulness and our life together we're spending our next anniversary, September 2, 2009, at Graceland then we're headed to Nashville. We don't travel much, it may be our one and only trip, but who really knows except the Lord. We just take life one day at a time, enjoy the process, experience the journey and we're thankful. We are tremendously Blessed!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Different But the Same

My children grew up in the "you're so special" generation. "You're unique" "There's only one you", "You can be anything you want to be".
I believed it for them. I spoke it to them and I tried to make sure they believed it too.

I grew up in a Christian home. A very religious Christian home. A very religious and legalistic Christian home. Religion says "do this and this, don't do this and this". Legalism says "do this only this way". I felt unique and special but I felt I was different from other people because I didn't "do that". I did everything "right" and didn't do anything "wrong". I was stunned when life slapped me up the side of my head. That was the turning point. The turning point to freedom. When life happened to me I realized doing everything right did not protect me and I was no more unique or special or different than anyone else.

We're all the same on the heart level. We were all born with a sinful heart and needing salvation. And it doesn't matter whether we sin an itty-bitty little sin or a great big whopper. It's all the same. All part of the cess pool of sin. I am unable to even begin to describe the freedom that comes with accepting "All have sinned" as meaning me. And to realize that my very thoughts are sinful, my words are sinful, my motives are sinful and that I am in need of continual forgiveness. Continual confession brings forgiveness, and forgiveness purifies and brings freedom. Freedom to do anything I want to do, be anything I want to be, go anywhere I want to go, say anything I want to say. I am free because my will has become purified and it desires to choose only what is honorable, holy and acceptable to God. Through confession the Holy Spirit leads me in knowing what that is. Freedom feels so free I just don't want to mess it up.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

We Started Over


Mike loves this picture. I have it on my desk and the more I look at it, the more I love it too. This was taken in 1997, Amy was 20 yrs. old and I was almost 43. But I felt 19. You see, in 1995 I started over. I had spent the previous 23 years married to a man who was consumed with self-centeredness and greed. I raised 4 children and was committed "till death do us part". The Lord in His mercy and grace released me from the "before God and these witnesses", "til death do us part" commitment because I believe I was dying. Emotionally I had shut down years before, and at the time I was begining to shut down physically. I believe I was to "get myself and my children out of this situation". I left very quickly with my two youngest children. I still weep inside at the thought of my two oldest, Amy and Aaron, standing beside the driveway thinking I would be back. They were 18 and 16 years old at the time and needed to make their own choice. Amy joined me a year later and Aaron finished high school, put himself through college and has soared on his own.

Mike loves this picture because this is how I looked when he first saw me. He'd been through his own grief and loss several years before this and was ready to start over himself. He saw me and prayed for me for over a year before he spoke to me. I heard him speak in Bible Study several times before I ever saw his face (he sat in the back, I sat in the front) and when he spoke, he spoke the Truth about The Word and it resonated in my spirit. I felt like we were the only two people in the world who understood. We started talking and found out we were soulmates, spiritmates. Before long I had lovesickness - I couldn't eat or sleep and lost 8 lbs. in 10 days. I tripped over things and ran into sign posts and all kinds of crazy things. Instead of going to a Single Adult Retreat on Labor Day Weekend in 1997 we canceled our reservations and got married. It made some of the family mad (my side) (they were just afraid for me) and the kids were confused and going through all the emotions, thoughts and feelings that go along with divorce, remarriage and making it on your own, feeling abandoned, etc. But we've made it, we have, they have, the family has.

So, now, I love this picture too. Not because of who I was, but because of who I am. And because it's a picture of my precious daughter who left her entire childhood and all things familiar to be near me and start all over too. It's a reminder of all the healing and restoration that has taken place in all of our lives the past 12 years. It's a forgeting what lies behind pressing on to what lies ahead picture. It's a reminder of the grace and mercy of the Lord. He never changes. He is new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Too Level

Is it possible to be too level headed? Too cautious? Have too much common sense? Yes, I would say the answer is yes. On the other hand, what if we were all spontaneous? Impulsive? Leapt before we looked? The answer is obvious. But it doesn't have to be one way or the other. There's balance. I am in the second half probably the last third of my life and I realize that I have lived a very controlled, very predictable, very sensible life. I'm thankful for the level-headedness. But I'm learning to say, "Yes!" "Why not!" and "Let's go!" a whole lot more. Grandchildren have a way of changing ones perspective. I wonder, "Why was I so rigid with my own children?" and "Why were my parents so rigid with me? I am thankful because also in this last half of my life I am seeing just exactly what is "out there" and I have been spared much heartache and grief. And hopefully I have spared my children. However, the first time Berkley and Major ask to play in the rain, I'm going to say, "Yes!"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Big Empty House

You know how the house feels after you've had company. (I mean good company) You know, too big, very quite, kind of like you have too much time and nothing to do. That's how I feel, but we didn't have company.

My brother and sister-in-law have 10 kids. Nine of their own and our grand-niece whom they are raising temporarily. They have been planning a camping trip to Colorado for months. Mary's parents live in Colorado Springs and every 2 or 3 years they camp at a camp site near their home and visit them for a few days. The anticiapation has been building and finally the anticipated day arrived. The have a 15 passanger van which pulls an enclosed trailer for the camping gear and all the luggage and essentials. They were loaded, all buckled in, house cleaned and closed, prayer said, the key turned. . .the key turned. . .nothing. Well something, Jefferson said, "It sounded like a machine gun!" But nothing that they wanted to hear.

It was 7:59AM, our phone rang and I noticed it was Stan but since Adrian is with them (as if they didn't have enough kids) I thought he was just going to say they were on the road, etc. But he said, "Does Mike know anything about fixing cars?" We hopped in our car and went down there. (It's only two blocks.) There was Mom and Dad still sitting in the front seats looking through the phone book and the car manual respectively. The kiddos with long faces were getting out of the seat belts and car seats and heading back into the house. Uncle Mike got to work on the Van, Aunt Sandy followed the kids into the house and helped them get breakfast. The breakfast that was supposed to have been served on the road.

Stan and Mike and Mary spent most of the day working on the van and thinking about options. Aunt Sandy kept the kids occupied in the house for the most part. She looked out the window every once in a while and sure enough Uncle Mike was still under the van and then there were two little legs sticking out also. It was the cutest thing! One of the times it was little 2 year old Victoria. "Hi, Uncle Mike", she said then crawled out. It was priceless. By 2 in the afternoon the van started, but not wanting to trust it on such a long trip with go much precious cargo they decided to rent a van. They did and after a good night's sleep they headed out this morning around 8. I believe they will be blessed with a wonderful, refreshing vacation with their loved ones and every anticipation and hope will be fulfilled. I sure do miss them though. We are so blessed.

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