I love this “Marriage is hard” 4-day reading plan for its straightforward delivery style!
Here are the excerpt and the four daily topics:
1. Marriage is hard: We’re prideful
Apologizing is hard work. Apologizing and changing your behaviors is even harder, and what makes it so hard is pride…
When your spouse has an issue with something you’ve said or done, listen twice and think three times before you say anything. It may just be that the best thing you can say is, “I’m sorry.”
2. Marriage is hard: We’re selfish
3. Marriage is hard: We’re different
4. Marriage is hard: We’re stubborn
It’s easy to love lovable’ people, anyone can do that! But it’s in the loving of people who have wronged us or caused harm to others, or simply just very different from us that my walk being a Christ follower is tested.
I’m chewing on this passage.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (Ephesians 5:1-2 MSG)
Some recurring incidents with my teen had triggered these thoughts in me.
Parenting a child is hard.
Parenting a teen is heartbreaking.
I shudder to think if I ever have another child (of my own blood)…
So goes my Whatsapp to a friend whom I know won’t judge me with a wagging finger for thinking such un-motherly thoughts.
She comforted me saying that she knows perfectly lovely parents who want to strangle their kids plus hamster in tow.
“Thank you for making me feel normal,” I said.
My angry thoughts—For what we have done for our teen, the love we gave her, the sacrifices… She can disappoint and hurt us by repeatedly telling lies to our face, be disobedient, selfish (chose own pleasures over other people’s needs)… Despite us doing what we can; talk gently to her, reasoning, punishment, some threats when we get desperate, prayed together… She is still repeating the same mistakes, especially lying. It breaks my heart. How ungrateful of her to repay us with these.
But as I was blow drying my hair, this other thought/voice/conscience came to me—What about me? As a child of God, I’m giving the same treatment to my Heavenly Father. As much as I know how much He has done for me at the cross and loves me, don’t I break His heart time & again disobeying what He asks me to do, or not to do? I’m selfish too, placing busyness and things that are more appealing to my own pleasures over Him? He must be heartbroken too.
Yet He still loves me unconditionally. He forgives. He patiently watches as I repeat the same mistake, and when I’m done, send me some lessons to learn from it. He never falters. With that, I got a bit more different perspective on this parenting situation and felt comforted. Of course, comparing God’s standard and human’s standard is futile. So, here’s my prayer:
Thank You for always being with me. Thank You even for those hard lessons You’ve allowed to happen in my life. I’m sorry at times I’m thick-headed and still insist on doing things my way. I guess, this will never end until the day I go Home to You. But I pray that You will help me to become more mature in my ways. I pray that You’ll help me to obey You more. And place You at the center. Help me and hubs to parent our teen the way You want us to. With a lot of wisdom & discipline built on a solid foundation of love. Let her experience Your Fatherly love through us. I ask this in Jesus name, I pray, Amen.
Been reading my hubby’s devotion book – In Quietness & Confidence by David Roper.
It’s a great delight to read his writings. Honest, with depth but not preachy, and with an assuring sense of calmness that can only come from God.
The most wonderful things about Monday off-days:The house is all quiet.
I raise my hands.
I lift my voice;
I twirl around the house singing love songs to Him.
I read my books.
I devour The Message bible.
I pause once in a while to soak it all in. I smell the aroma of brewed coffee.
With a contented smile I said, yeah… just hanging out, me & my Dad.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I love how You love me enough to let me fall.
To allow me to slide down the ravines of life, again & again, trying to climb up on my own…injuring myself badly, only to finally be desperate enough to look up.
There You are. Your hands stretched out to me. Ever ready to pull me out. Your arm opens, every ready to hold me in them and embrace me. “You are safe, you are safe, hush child, shh… you are safe.”
Your assurance. You are always here.
I love how You broke me into pieces, this child of Yours whom You’;ve created.
And with pain in Your heart, You watched me as I destroy my own life and crumbles.
Didn’t know who You are. Ridiculing You. Arrogantly declaring I have no need for You in my life. I denied You. I denied Your existance.
Yet. Patiently, You’ve waited for me to come home.
And boy. Did I run home. Did I run as hard as I could to Your arms. Crying, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry Father for all that I’ve done. I’m sorry. I ask for Your forgiveness even when You had forgiven every-single-thing-I’d-done-that-breaks-Your-heart.
Thank You Father. Thank you for breaking me. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for there is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
You are blessed when you get your inside world- your mind and heart – put right. Then, you can see God in the outside world.
Lord, I’m amazed by You, how You love me.
So it’s been 13 months since I took the painful yet exciting step of leaving my business, the comfort of doing things my way, making my own decision, the limitless financial potential of a business and stepping into church to serve full-time as their Communications Manager.
This is not going to be long post. In a lazy, fleeting here & there mood. But I can sum up my thoughts to this:
After the initial shock to my system (took me about 8 months or more), I am beginning to be aware of the tremendous privilege of being able to serve in my church.
I’m grateful that I get to put in practice what I learned from the Words.
I’m grateful that I can make mistakes, and there’s more grace from people in forgiving my mistakes in comparison to most corporate companies.
I’m completely in awe every time I see His hands in my work.
I’m absolutely humbled when I see people serving Him sacrificially.
I’m filled with joy of being able to work with the best people I’ve ever met. They ‘taught’ me to be a better me to others too.
I’m blessed to be able to ‘do church’ every single day.
The road ahead with my role in this church is long(er than I expected!). But I.WILL.learn.to.rest.in.Him. and ask.for.His.wisdom. and always, always get.down.on.my.knees.to.pray.
Question: If God is the provider of grace- affection, acceptance, affirmation. Does it eliminates the need for us to want it from people?
If we receive none of it from no one, would we still be ok, because well, we are supposed to be satisfied by the knowledge that God gives those 3 unconditionally?
Note I said knowledge. You know about it. But the thing is, sometimes you can’t feel it from God. Will that knowledge be enough to satisfy or you actually need human affection, acceptance and affirmation?
Does wanting those 3 makes you ‘not yet there’ with this I’m-complete-and-secure-in-Christ thingy?