Tag Archive: expressing love

post by carolnl | | 0

Ways to Build Your Marriage

How do you build your spouse and invest in your marriage? While this blog is written to men, most of it applies equally to women. I am often wedded to my laptop in the evenings – ok sometimes, especially if Don and I are both checking emails or doing work online. However, when I put the laptop away to focus on him, my choice means as much to Don as his asking if he can pray for me about a specific need.

http://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/relationships/4-phrases-every-man-should-tell-his-wife-no-questions-asked.html

One of the most important ways to be an effective mother (or father) is to love one’s spouse. My parents modeled that for me. Would love to hear your thoughts after reading this.

Blessings, and Happy Mother’s Day!

One of my favorite photos of Dad and Mom. Dad's been in heaven twelve years already.

One of my favorite photos of Dad and Mom. Dad’s been in heaven twelve years already.

2014 Christmas Past

cloud resizedWe are now in 2014 Christmas Past. I’ve taken a short break from my blog but am back. How’s your celebration been? Have you enjoyed time with family and friends? Spent time alone, whether lonely or simply alone?

We’ve had a full month. Since Don and I weren’t hosting any Christmas get-togethers at our house, we scheduled our hardwood floors to be sanded and refinished. That required our moving everything out of cupboards, drawers, off walls and floors. The floor men moved our large furniture but the small pieces took a lot more time. And since we couldn’t walk on the floor while the work was being done, we also had to move ourselves, our two dogs, and anything we would need for a week up to the guest house.

Being there was good. We realized a few things we hadn’t put in place for guests and have remedied those. We pulled the love seat out to face the TV and cuddled in front of the electric fireplace insert/heater Don bought, warming both our hearts and bodies. Then our granddaughter asked whether her best friend and baby could use the guest house the weekend we were celebrating with the Loewen clan. Don and I looked at each other. “And WHY did we decide to have this work done right now?” We had to say no and stay in the guest house for a few extra days ourselves.

But good times proliferated. Our Froese family Christmas was very early, December 6th, because Arn and Carol, my brother and sister-in-law from Kansas, were here then. Our niece Jennifer graduated from nursing school (yeah Jenn!). Then on the 21st, we had a lovely get-together with the Loewens at Dan’s (Don’s oldest son), after which our two youngest local grandsons spent two days with us. We played SkipBo in the cozy living room in the guest house and most of us won at least one game.

Best of all has been the focus on Christ’s coming to earth. He invaded our space; he entered our universe for the purpose of having a relationship with us. All glory to God, who has given us this unspeakable gift, the privilege of knowing Him, of receiving His love, forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life. He has also given us hope for life in this world. Life isn’t easy; but He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.

In the coming year I’d like to focus on new ways to share God’s love and grace with others. I hope to listen more, to consider my words’ impact before speaking, and to find practical ways to help those around me. One day Jesus will reign and the world will be at peace because of the justice He brings. Meantime let’s work to be agents of that peace in our world today, whether that’s in helping the needy or staying away from unproductive arguments about politics.

These are my thoughts as we end this year. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking and dreaming of as you look ahead into 2015.

“As We would Like to be Treated”

Downtown Los Angeles. Business professionals, highrise office buildings, hustle and bustle surrounded me as I walked toward my destination. A few yards ahead, I watched a well-dressed woman pass a homeless man who sat on the sidewalk, asking for help. “Good morning!” her cheerful voice rang out as she looked directly at him, smiled, and kept walking. While she didn’t give him what he asked for–money–she did acknowledge him rather than treating him as if he were invisible.

The respect and dignity of her response spoke volumes to me. And yet Jesus also tells us that if someone is in need and we tell them “be warm and filled” but do nothing practical to help, what good is that? “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” How often have we heard that phrase? How often have we acted on it?

The other day I was in Burger King’s drive-through lane. Out of the corner of my eye I saw an unkempt man walking toward the car. From about 15 feet away, he asked, “Would you buy me the cheapest hamburger they have? I’m starving.”

"I'm hungry. Can you help?"

“I’m hungry. Can you help?”

From the safety of my car, I responded. “Sure, I can do that. Do you want fries?”

“Yeah. I really appreciate it.”

“I’m happy to do it. God loves you!”

He smiled and pointed his index finger at me. “Jesus loves you. The Holy Spirit loves you.”

I grinned and told him I’d meet him at the end of the drive-through, then ordered for both of us. After paying, I handed him the food and coke, and a packet of protein bars, juice, wet wipes, etc. that I keep in my car for such an occasion. “Here’s a little something for later.”

“Really?”

“Really.” I asked his name (Thomas) and told him mine, then, “Is Jesus your Savior?”

“Yes. I love him.”

“God bless you.”

He raised his elbow to touch mine. “And you … peace up!” as his thumbs pointed upward.

It’s easy for me to judge someone who is homeless…to think they must not be trying hard enough, might be using the system. And while that may be true, Jesus didn’t tell me to check someone’s worthiness before giving. What if he required me to be ‘worthy’ before he would love me? I don’t know what caused Thomas to become homeless. I don’t know about his family, education, the experiences and relationships that have made him who he is. But his request gave me an opportunity to serve–and his response about Jesus made us family.

Today, because of God’s grace, I was able to treat Thomas as I would like to be treated if I were in his shoes–with dignity and compassion. The experience reminded me of something I just read. If I try to do something on my own, it doesn’t quite cut it. I may do the “right thing”, but without joy, without grace. But if I allow Jesus to respond through me, then it’s truly an act of joyful service.

Dr. Kenneth Brantly of Samaritan’s Purse ministered to patients in Liberia and contracted Ebola; Mother Teresa used up her life in service to “the poorest of the poor.” These are just two examples of individuals living out the Golden Rule and treating others as they would hope to be treated.

Service often brings great joy; sometimes it brings suffering. But it is Christ’s call. I struggle with putting others before myself, especially when I’m tired, preoccupied, running late, or just focused on my own needs or wants. In my selfishness I don’t necessarily want to reach out to give to another in meaningful ways. But when I do, I am reminded that the act itself is often energizing.

Can we think of a time when we were treated in a respectful, compassionate way? Have we had, or missed, opportunities to treat someone else as we want to be treated? Let’s ask God to help us be open to situations where we can treat someone as we would like to be treated–and even more, as Christ has loved us.

Do it Now!

Don“… but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13

“Is there a chance for a relationship between us down the road?” The tall, handsome widower placed a hand on my shoulder. His vibrant blue eyes searched mine as he spoke. I was momentarily taken aback.

My first marriage ended with the early death of my husband. Delighted as I was to share Jerry’s life, my inner drive often found me focused on work more than on quality time with him.

After Jerry was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I made some changes. I worried less about having a clean house. I delegated more work and sat on the couch, holding his hand rather than responding to work-related emails at night. I wanted my man to know how much I respected and loved him.

After Jerry passed away in my arms, God spoke to me through Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans for good and not for evil, to give you hope and a future.” As I struggled to redefine myself as a newly single woman, I mentally kept that promise before me.

Two years later, I met Don. Eventually, we developed that relationship he had asked about. Four years after Jerry’s passing, Don and I married. God was giving me a second chance, a ‘do-over’. Would I live out the lessons I learned through Jerry’s illness and death, or wait for another loss to reset my priorities?

Each morning is a new opportunity to choose to love. Knowing how hard Don works, will I take the dogs for their morning walk so he can sleep in, or will I roll over and wait for him to get up? Will I sit on the couch responding to Facebook in the evening, or put down my laptop and cuddle with my hubby while we watch football, or Downton Abbey, together?

Will I take a moment to relax into the goose bumps I feel when Don sneaks up behind me and plants sweet kisses on my neck, letting him know his touch is welcome? Or will I pull away from my man’s caress to finish whatever important chore I’m in the midst of doing?

Will I consistently look for ways to affirm my husband, letting him know how much I appreciate all he does for me and for others? And will I speak the truth in love when I suggest an idea or even a change?

No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?” (Lee Iacocca)

God has gifted us with this precious time together. I want to live in such a way that, as much as possible, I will have no regrets. I will look into Don’s cerulean blue eyes often and long.

What will you choose to do to affirm and express love to your partner? What would you regret not doing if he or she were suddenly gone? If possible, do it now!