The Book of Job

I’ve been reading the book of Job, and I have to tell you, I am blessed by my friends. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place of hurt and had my friends say, “You sinner, if you’d only stop sinning your crisis would disappear.”

I have some friends I’ve known for the majority of my life. I have had good times and bad times in childhood and beyond, but overall, I count myself fortunate. God came into my horizon early. Some folks never hear of God other than in a swear word. I found that out some time ago in a small town in Upstate, NY.

I heard a little girl swearing up a storm. I asked her to stop using Jesus’ name as a swear word. She asked me what I was talking about, so I told her Jesus is God’s Son, or maybe I said, “God the Son.”

She never knew that and before I could say much more, off she ran. How my heart broke for her. We moved away so I never saw her again, but I prayed for that little one.

God knows right where she is and He loves her.

I hope this finds you well, and not suffering like Job, although if you have a relationship with God like Job did, you can count yourself very favored by God. Not that I understand everything about the book of Job and definitely not everything about God. I don’t think that’s possible.

What do you think of the book of Job?

God bless you!

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We’re All Unique

Over the years I’ve noticed married couples and how they interact. Every couple is unique in their own way. One of the sayings in Proverbs gets me thinking every time I read it:

Proverbs 30:18, (KJV):  There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

Pro 30:19  The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

(photo from images search yahoo.com, for married couples)

We visited a couple in their eighties and nineties, she and he respectively and she asked how we came to meet and date. Then I asked how they met and when did she know he wanted to go out with her. He glowed when he spoke about her and told us he has a good wife. She worked in a small restaurant and he kept coming in for coffee. One night she got stranded there and was trying to come up with a way to get home. He offered to give her a ride and she didn’t feel comfortable with that until her co-worker vouched for his character. Since she trusted her co-worker, she accepted his offer and the rest is history. 🙂

At a marriage enhancement group of some sort, many years ago, we attended because I convinced my husband that we should go. He told me we were okay, but I felt there’s always room for growth. He’s a nice guy, so we went. We wrote in notebooks about our feelings and what can I say, I’m a writer. I would have about a page and a half for each category; he would have about three sentences. Then we had to exchange our notebooks and talk about them. For him, this was akin to torture. By the end of the weekend, I felt sorry for him.

I’ve shared here before that he and I see the world differently. He’s opposite me in lots of ways. Even our upbringing wasn’t the same, although we both came from parents that loved us and worked hard to provide for us and we learned to work for a living, too.

He was brought up in a rural town, and I grew up in a city. He’s athletic, I’m not. His parents didn’t attend church. We went every Sunday and for the first eight years of school I attended a religious school. He got straight A’s in school, not I. Well, there are other areas of differing interests, but I’ll stop here.

I think what helps our marriage is our willingness to step into each other’s world. If he wants to watch basketball, I’ll watch for a while. I may even watch the entire game and enjoy it. When he wants to watch some kind of wrestling match or no-holds- barred Eastern world fighting, I may notice for about twenty seconds and then I leave the room. I’ll get busy doing something I want to do and then later he’ll look for me and we’ll do something together. He started watching a series on television about a Canadian Mounty and a schoolteacher falling in love based on stories set in the early 1900’s and he now likes it. The occasional catching of criminals and the horses appeal to him more than the relationship stuff, I’m sure.

We agree on the major things in life. We both love God and pray for others to know how much God loves them. We view money and the use of it pretty much the same. Sometimes we compromise if there’s a limited amount and we both want something at the same time. He’ll get what he wants this time, and I’ll get what I want the next time, or vice-versa. It usually works out. We talk about financial disagreements when we’re not exhausted and cranky.

Our differences balance us out when we listen to each other. Every marriage has ups and downs, but I learned over the years to give him space when he needed it. If I needed to confront him over something, I usually prayed beforehand and I waited for the right time to bring it up. When he ran into problems at work, I didn’t talk that day. I didn’t wait too long, but I wanted us both well rested and less stressed when I brought up a touchy subject.

My aunt and uncle told me the secret to their successful marriage was the respect they showed each other. As an older adult, she decided to go to college. She told him he had to keep up with her on the learning curve so they didn’t grow apart. He agreed to, so they talked about the new concepts she encountered. She actually ended up becoming a college professor for less than ten years if memory serves me, and it didn’t seem to hinder their relationship.

One time we stopped for ice cream at a roadside stand and she told him to choose the flavor for her. He tried to get her to pick the kind she liked the best. When he came out carrying a cone without her favorite ice cream, she pouted and frankly I don’t think he even noticed. She got over it soon enough, but I thought, my mom wouldn’t have tried to get my dad to figure out her choice.

We’re all unique and interact differently. She was an only child and they never had children, so she liked to be pampered once in a while. She didn’t demand a lot, but I suppose like all of us, once in a while she was selfish.

She kept a tidy home, worked outside the home and sewed clothes and doll clothes for us – her nieces. She was like a second mom to us, my brothers and sisters.

May God bless you. If you’re married, it’s worth it to work at your relationship for your sake and the sake of the many people that know you and care about you. I’ve heard it said that divorce is worse than losing your spouse due to death.

When I consider things from my husband’s point of view and we communicate clearly and kindly, things go better at our house. He’s good to me, too. He tries to understand where I’m coming from. We’re all works in progress is what I figure.

Do you have some ideas for solidifying a marriage that I didn’t mention that are appropriate for any audience? I’d love to hear from you.

Decisions, Decisions

I remember back in the day, my youngest sister, unmarried with a good job, she’d call me and say “I want to go see a play. Will you let me treat you? I want to go on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. What do you say?”

I would think about leaving my husband alone with the kids when I knew he’d be tired. I’d think of leaving him when he was working lots of hours, so I didn’t see him that much. I’d think that I didn’t get out a lot because we had four kids, and we had chosen for me to be a stay-at-home mom. The next thing I knew, she’d be saying, “Connie, do you want to go or not?”

I’d tell her I wanted to go, but I wasn’t sure. Sometimes she’d get mad and say call me when you know. Other times she’d get mad and say, “Just make a decision!”

There are times when it’s so easy to make a decision, and then there are times when options need to be weighed and it’s not a split second choice.

She would get over her anger, but I don’t remember going to any plays with her. She had other sisters and friends to choose from.

Being single, what she didn’t realize was the commitments I had to fulfill. If she came over to visit and I needed to do laundry, she sometimes resented it if I took time to fold laundry while we chatted. Over the years we both grew up and became less selfish.

The last decision I made concerning her was to head home early after a visit with her. She wasn’t well and I felt the pressure of the Christmas holidays. I wanted to get my cards in the mail. She had a contagious disease and so I stayed in the doorway to her room, although my other sister told me it wasn’t that serious and she was seated closer by her.

Later that day, she fell and ended up in the hospital. Christmas Day I went to see her with my youngest daughter. My youngest brother joined us, which was a treat and we even spent the day with him and his family since we’d made such a long drive. My husband had plans he didn’t want to change and I was fine with that.

The nurse contradicted the doctor that called me in the middle of Christmas Eve night. He said she was not going to be around for long, thus, our last minute decision to head north.  The nurse said my sister always pulled through. She had many close calls over the years.

About a week later, my baby sister decided she’d worked hard enough to try and pull her body through the diseases that tormented her. She told us she was ready to go see Jesus, her Lord and Savior. How I wanted her to hang around. But it became apparent to me that I was being selfish. I think my other younger sister pointed that out to me. Who am I to determine if someone should relax and let God take them? I can encourage that someone to fight and pray and hold on, but God and they have the final say.

So, I told her goodbye with a roomful of people that loved her, including some of the hospital personnel that got to know her well from her many times with them. One lady told us that my sister was very courageous.

I love the fact that Jesus said in John 14 that we have a place in heaven for us when our time on earth is done. Here is a section of  John 14:  John 14:1, (ESV)  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

Joh 14:2  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Joh 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Joh 14:4  And you know the way to where I am going.”

Joh 14:5  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

Joh 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Joh 14:7  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Joh 14:8  Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

Joh 14:9  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Joh 14:10  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Joh 14:11  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

Joh 14:12  “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Joh 14:13  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Joh 14:14  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

As we saw our family member at the end of her life, we asked Jesus to relieve her pain and to take her home. He did. I will see her again.

1Co 15:53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
1Co 15:55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

May God bless you!