Seven Years already!

Seven years ago yesterday my husband and I were married. This was a hard decision for me, as well as for him I am sure.

For me it meant moving a long long way from my family. Being raised in the eastern US and him living in Texas I knew it was going to be change. (NEVER did I realize how much change!) I was a widow who had a good marriage for almost 30 years and was afraid of marrying someone who was not going to work to make a good marriage. I also did not want to move from my family.  However, the last year of my first husband’s life he was telling me how he was praying for God to bring the right man into my life when he was gone and that I needed to be prepared to move away from the kids. I did tell him never would I do that (And my preaching was always, never say never!)

Rick came into my life a little less than 5 years after Willie’s death and, frankly, I tried to get rid of him. I was staying on the east coast, I was not moving that far away so there was no reason to get to know him! He asked if we could not just be friends and chat. He wanted to learn more about having a good marriage and since we seemed to have so much in common maybe we could just be friends.

His situation was failed marriages, now living for the Lord and wanting to have a wife that was a Godly woman. He had been alone for some time and working on his Spiritual life.

Needless to say, God worked and here I am in Texas! What a change, and not all good. I am used to nice Green trees, grass, rain, mountains and rivers. Lakes that are not man made but beautiful, God made, with gorgeous settings.

Not Texas! Rocks, scattered trees and lots of prickly pear cactus. Hot. Dry. A “river” is a gully with a trickle in it and a “tank” is a small pond. There are critters I never heard of yet they are beautiful, poisonous and can make you pretty sick.

I can add the fox and bob cat and wild pigs and all but then again, my mom lives in a built up area of NJ and has her share of bears so I guess these other animals do not count.

Seven years yesterday. Already.

When we married I prayed for my husband. You see, I was a pastor’s wife and his life was so different from mine. Now he was changing and growing but the church he was going to, and actually was his job as building administrator, was far from the truth of the Bible. Yes, he was a born again Christian, but the more I attended that church the more the fallacies of what was being preached became obvious.  I began to point them out to my husband and show him the truth in Scripture. His first reaction was anger at me. He had been brought to the Lord through this teaching and now was fully believing all that was being told. When I showed him how things were being taken out of context and you can’t properly interpret the Bible that way he balked at all of it.

I shut up and began to pray. My prayer was, and still is,  from Colossians:

9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

Rick did begin to see the truth. Not because I pushed, but because I prayed. Rick is a studier and began to study when something the pastor said did not set right. He then studied out things I had said and asked questions. He listened to speakers on the computer.

One day, on his day off, he wanted to take a ride. We drove for some time and I asked where we were going. We went to a small town called Clifton, TX. When I asked why he told me he wanted to find out where a small church was as he had heard the preacher online. Some time later, he told me we were going to a Monday night service they were having there as he wanted to hear this man. He had been writing to him by email and was interested.

Monday came and on the way there I finally said “Who are we going to go listen to”. I am glad I was sitting down when he told me as the very man we were going to hear teach was the man I had as a faculty adviser when I went to an East coast Bible College years before!

Seven years and this husband of mine has changed so much. He quit his job at the church and stepped out in faith by taking a job for much less pay than he was making (and we were hardly making it financially before!) so that he could get out of the un-Biblical teaching.

I have learned prayer works way better than nagging, complaining and pushing. Colossians has the plan and the pattern for praying for others and especially our spouses.

No, Rick is not perfect but neither am I. Maybe another few years and more of the verse will be answered as well.

Yesterday, while we were out, Rick prayed a number of times. Each time he thanked God for bringing us together 7 years ago.  I guess he is happy with me  ;)

Now, where in the Bible is a prayer that will get him to move closer to MY family?

That Dancing Monster

Ever watch TV when the, I believe, Weight watcher commercial comes on? You know, the one with the Hungry Monster. He dances in front of everything you look at, trying for your attention. Jumps, peeks, looks so cute and you are trying to ignore him.

We tell our children there are no monsters. Nope, not under the bed, in the dark room or in the closet. They are not real we reassure them.

Yet sometimes I wonder.

My first husband died of heart disease. It was a hard thing to go through and I blocked out a lot of things to deal with him and the kidney failure, the knowledge that he could die at any time and all that went with facing all of this. My life became a routine of caring and procedures to keep him going.  Marriage has it’s spats, but I would hold it in as “nothing was worth getting worked up over should he die and that was the last thing that happened”.  Things that should have been handled and wrongs that should have been talked out, were let go and shoved inside a place in my brain.

You see, I had a monster. Like “Hungry” it popped up in most things, most places I looked at and things I did. Big and not as cute as Hungry, he took over. His name was not Hungry, But FEAR.

Fast forward to this last week, a bit over 10 years from the death of Willie. I am remarried and my husband tells me he is having a slight pain in the chest and wants to see the Dr. (Of course he did not tell me this till Sunday night and it happened on Saturday!). The Dr. sends us to a cardiologist and Rick’s EKG is not right. Now we are facing stress test and ECHO in the next two days.

The monster is back. I am holding him in so as not to upset my husband. He is here with flashbacks of all I went through. He is big. Dancing in my every thought and seems to have brought along a few more friends with him this time.

I think back to the commercial. Weight Watchers gives the strength to fight Hungry. They are there online, all the time (unless you have an internet connection like ours. Satellite broadband that is iffy). Only a short web site away and Hungry can be banished.

Well, this morning I was seeing my monster big time. Rick was going to work and I know he lifts heavy things, is on his feet all day and Monster started dancing.

As normal, in the morning I grab my Bible and began to read. I try to take that early time to have some time with the Lord before Scout arrives, the animals get demanding and I get involved and forget.

As I read I was praying. God spoke to me in the passage, not about my monster, but about other things. We do not have a local church, but travel 75 miles for a Bible Preaching Church. There are churches here but so far all we have found are ones caught up in the apostasy of the day. Not in teaching the Word of God. I am not going to go there now, but today’s Scripture hit me about that.

I prayed more about this monster. All the while FEAR was dancing around in front of me. I finally said “Lord, I can’t function with that thing dancing. I need to be able to handle this and not be paralyzed by that Monster”. I then talked to God  about Hungry and the “quick fix” of a solution the TV showed.  God showed me that HE has a fix too.  “Be not afraid, only believe”.

I thought about how many times those words are said in Scripture. “Be not afraid”. It hit me, my Monster is a common monster. If it was not, those words would not be said over and over.

Another thing hit. While it sounds easy to trust, it is not for us humans. Like the little kid, and you shine the light in the closet or under the bed and they see there is no monster, turn out the light and they are sure it is there again.

As I prayed the light was there and my monster shrunk. As I go about the day it starts dancing.  I am praying that today I can keep shining that light on the FEAR monster and not feel the panic I do at times. Tomorrow is the one test. I pray that all is fine and the EKG was just whacky the other day. However, I need to trust the Lord that HE knows best.

What are the Monsters you face?

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.  1 Corinthians 10:13

Our Monsters are all common to man. We all have them. Apparently FEAR is a big one. I do not handle it well. Sometimes it will make me move and do things I would not do, for the good; other times it is paralyzing.

If you are reading this, please pray for us through this time. God has blessed me with Rick. I felt like after 29+ years of marriage to Willie that there would not be another man that could compare. Willie made me promise to remarry. He prayed for the man I would marry after he was gone. Rick came into my life and  he has been a blessing to me.

Together we need to look at our Monsters in THE LIGHT and trust Him.

Some Anniversaries Hurt

Rev. William G. Lewis

This year is a milestone anniversary year. A year I thought would not get to me since it has been “so long”. It has, and the last few months have been worse than ever.

This week was the 10th anniversary of my first husband’s death. You think that you have done all your grieving, all your pain has lessened and all the really missing gone. You have a wonderful husband now who treats you great and even wants pics of your first husband on the wall. Why would it his so hard? But is does.

On top of that, the very day this week, the day that is the 10 year mark, you find out about what could possible be some really bad health problems in a daughter. Some are connected to one of the same areas your husband dealt with. Then you find out that his grave stone has to be moved. Normally this would not be a major upset, but this week it made the wound in my heart even bigger.

Torn, hurting and trying to deal with it all homesickness for my kids became huge.

Tears.

Fears.

Hurts.

Texas heat headaches added to the mess.

The next morning I get out my Bible and feel the pain as I open it. What is my reading for the day?

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do he rest who have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

15 by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

16 Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

17 Then we who are alive and remain will be in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

I noticed a few things. First it does not say not to grieve, just not like to world does. They have no hope, I know I will see him again. He will meet my current husband and know that Rick is the one that he prayed for over the last year of his life. Willie died “in Jesus”.

We also have a big event to look forward to. When the rapture comes (“we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”)

There is comfort in those words. I grieve again, but with the knowing that the end has not come, there is more to the story, more to life and all those who are “in Jesus” will be together.

One thing it also makes me think of, the so many that are not going to be there when the rapture comes. The tribulation, judgment, and hell’s fire wait them. Texas is hot, I mean hot. We have been over 100 for days and days. I can’t stand it. Yet I know it is nothing compared to Hell fire.

Praise God no one has to face that, God has made the way to have the assurance of salvation and of joining Him in the sky.

Do you know Jesus? Do you have the assurance?  Will you be meeting me, Willie and all those who have gone before “in Jesus”?  If not please see here.

Grief? Yes.

Sorrow? Yes

Raw emotions? yes

Hopelessness? NO!

Say it with wisdom

Last Monday night our pastor began a series on Proverbs. Yes, we go to a church on Monday night, short version: hubby worked as Building administrator at a church that drifted far from Scripture, so we found a Monday night service in a good Bible Church. We left the other church, but loved the people on Monday night so stayed going to that service.

Now, where was I?  Oh yes, Proverbs.  At the end of the service, he assigned each of us a chapter in Proverbs to read and find 2 proverbs from our chapter that we can share with everyone next week.

My chapter was 15. I have been reading it about every day and praying for what proverbs I should bring to the group next week.  I still do not know what ones I will bring, but I want to share one with you now.

2The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly.

I have been reading this chapter for over a week now, but something happened this weekend that made this verse stand out to me today. I realized how we as wives, moms, friends and strangers can say things and not have them accepted.  I realize we can say things harsh, angry, silly and foolishly.

This weekend I did something that hit me today. I was not wise in the way I said something and it made my knowledge unacceptable to the ears that heard it.

First I need to share a difference between my husband and I.  I was raised in a Christian home. My parents took me to church from the time I was little and I have always gone. I began to have my own ministry at age 16 when I led the 3rd grade Pioneer Girls club. No one else was available and willing and I was. From then on I always had ministries I was involved in.  I married a pastor, we were in different church circles and knew pastors and churches with all different beliefs and preaching styles. When my husband died I went to different churches trying to find my place and learned a lot of what was “book knowledge” first hand. I saw how different churches used same terms with a twist and how they could mean so much different.

My years of church involvement and meeting people coming into our church from all walks of life and church experiences as well as listening to many many preachers, I have come to knowing what certain phrases mean and what “camp” it puts a church or preacher in. Certain phrases point to liberalism, conservatism, fundamental, super fundamental, charismatic, prosperity Gospel or the such.  I hear things and my ears pick up the flags from the camps.

My second husband was not raised in the church. He knows none of the phrases and is only learning the differences now. He studies and is a very intellegent man, but does not have the experience and knowledge I have in these areas.

I was at the old church about a month when I could tell you what camp that pastor was in. I could tell you where he was headed and what deep apostasy he was moving to. And, I did tell Rick. Told him every time we heard the pastor talk or preach. I pointed it out, loud and clear. Rick only knew that teaching. He had no experience or knowledge that there was anything wrong and since at that point he knew nothing of how to study the Bible in a discerning way, he could not see what I was saying.

Fight? Yup. Every time!  Until I got wise. I shut up and began to pray for Rick to see the truth. It took some time, but he finally did. In praying I was led to teach a small group in this church. I did not know if they would even let me and they had me targeted, but my group proposal was not to teach people what to believe but rather, how to study the Bible to be like the Bereans.

10The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.11Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.(Acts 17:10-11)

Rick came to the class, at first just to support me, but then he got into it when others started seeing the pastor was not teaching right. Not because I told them, I never did, but because the Bible told them. Rick took off then and studied harder and found truth.

So, what happened this weekend?

We are church hunting for something close that we can go to on Sunday. We still want to go on Monday, but the church is 75 miles away and we can’t be involved like we would like. In going to churches we are finding that the Word of God is not being preached in most of them. Small sermonettes, devotionals, talks to not offend anyone. No doctrine.  (In fact, I ask for doctrinal statements from churches and you would be surprised what happens! I am ignored, not responded to, or, in one case, asked “What is that?” Hmmm a  church that has no written beliefs? Did Christ not say to pay attention and preach doctrine?)

OOPs, off the subject…

OK, we are visiting churches and in sitting there so many of them give away their “camp” subtly. I pick up on it and then say something to Rick. I am doing it from experience that he does not have. My knowledge is not coming out as acceptable. Instead of talking about it in a way that will be acceptable, I spout out.

When reading that proverb today I wonder how many times as a wife, mom, friend etc I have spouted out and made truth and knowledge unacceptable to the ears that were hearing it?

I know it takes two and many times we can be saying things in an acceptable way but the ears that hear are not ready to hear. I wonder how many times we make that hearing never come or take a long time coming because we put out our knowledge in a foolish way.

For today, let’s begin to watch our words. Speak wisely and not just out of knowledge. They are not the same.

Uncertainty

How do you handle uncertainty? Worry? Fall apart? Get grouchy? Clean? Eat? Shop?

With the world as it is and all the financial mess in the economy today it is hard not to feel all the stress and concern.  As women we tend to let it get to us. Not that a man doesn’t, but we are more emotional as a whole and tend to react outward.

In my younger days I would react as above… well not the shopping, we never had the money, and the cleaning… well, with 5 kids at home that was just more stress. I mean, why clean and make it nice when they would just mess it up in no time flat? Stressed me out thinking of it! If I should do the cleaning I would get very grumpy and yell if they even tried to be kids and make a mess.

As I aged the stress took on different avenues with me. I lived with the uncertainty of when the illness my first husband had would finally take his like. For 4 years we knew he could go at any time, yet we had to live as normally as possible. I carried much of his load so he could keep going. I learned a lot those years. I became more patient, asking myself if an issue was worth blowing up over and having a heart attack. Most times it was not, so it was forgotten.

I think my biggest lesson for life came after his death. I was always a stay at home mom, worked on the side with selling ceramics, sewing, helping out with odd jobs etc. Brought in money to help with Christmas etc, but otherwise I stayed home and worked on ways to save money by doing things myself, cooking from scratch and raising the family.

My husband was a pastor, so my life was around helping with church and the family, not outside work.  Our home was a parsonage, belonged to the church and came with the job. No pastor, no job, no money, no home, no life insurance because of a problem that is a long story etc.

I had no choice but to depend on God. I learned my dependency had to be on HIM.

Now, almost 10 years after my first husband’s death I am having to fall back on those lessons. My husband went to work this morning as usual. It is Thursday. Thursday has been D-day at the plant where he works. If you get called in to the supervisor around noon, you know your job is done. It has been layoff day for a number of weeks, they know another one is today. With so few left at the plant, you know that by numbers the chances are not good.

I am sitting here at 5:45 AM, wondering. I am reminding myself that my dependency is on HIM, not the plant. He knows that all our bills are needing to be paid. He knows that things were messed up in the past and the past needs to be paid as well. HE knows we left the job at the church Rick worked at because of apostasy in the church that we could not be a part of and that this job at the plant was much less money than he was getting at the church, so we have been struggling. HE KNOWS!

Even though I want to fall apart with worry, I keep reminding myself that HE KNOWS and sing Rich Mullins song “Hold ME Jesus” to myself a lot. I am shaking like a leaf, but I know HE KNOWS and my dependency is on HIM.

Ladies, I do not know how many of you have gone through this or are going through it, but we need to trust HIM. IF my husband comes home around noon, I need to be a strength to him, not a falling apart wife. He will be saying “It will be all right” but inside I know he will be feeling the uncertainty of the future also.

Pray for our husbands, even now, that what this day brings they will be able to depend on HIM. As we pray for them, we will be strengthened as well.