Don’t take the Wind out of their Sails- Communicating God’s Way

 

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Dad warned me in my single years, “You take the wind out of their sails.” Whether I asked for his advice or not—like father, like daughter. “You talk too much. You don’t always have to have the last word.”

This week I found a journal entry, Rolling, written those years. Timely in light of my recent daily prayer …for humility.

Rolling—

I’m so controlling,

I’m a ball that’s rolling

Over my man, again,

Taking the wind out of his sail.

My mouth,

A forceful gale.

God I need help…to stop myself,

I must lose

for us

to win

I don’t know what spurred this poem in those days, but we all know words have the power to build up or tear down. I’ve been working on my heart-mouth sync since I accepted Jesus Christ as Lord at 17. Then it was sarcasm and gossip. My delivery can take a twisted turn pretty quick.

Nowadays, I have a husband who picks up on the tiniest attitude, my sacred mirror. Bummer for me. I have to speak from a heart of respect and a thoughtful mind for a gracious delivery if I’m feeling at all tweaked.(impatient, judgmental, sarcastic,petty). Many times, silence is golden.

Pastor Greg Laurie gave a sermon at a harbor in Crete, Greece. Pointing to docked sailboats he explained in Ephesians 5:18 when Paul spoke of us being filled with the Spirit—it had the  meaning of these sails filled with the gusts of wind and ready for the journey.

James 3:4 says “although ships are large and driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go…”the tongue is like a little rudder that steers a great ship—

If any of you have struggled for a lifetime with mouth problems, I have found practicing spiritual disciplines really helps.

Start the day asking for humility and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When we’re emptied of pride and selfish ways (impatience, judgment) we can be filled with His Spirit and gentleness—strength under control.

Jesus loves to be walking with us on this journey. He helped Peter, the impetuous apostle. He can help any of us who have the uncanny ability some will never know….to speak before thinking. Did I say that?

 “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”    Psalm 19:14

 

Single with Dog, One New Year Eve Past

Today, the first of 2016, I wanted to post this for the single’s who I love and pray with and for, as I am still newly married, and still remember….

I lived single a long time, longer than most, desiring marriage. One New Year I returned home maybe more disappointed than I should have been. After all, logically I knew we meet someone special usually unexpectedly. But, I was hoping against hope…once again.

Maybe it was a particularly difficult holiday season desiring a mate –someone special to share these life marker, time line events with—that prompted a silent sadness upon my return to an empty house… but then…my wandering blasé thoughts enroute home proved false.

Someone met me at the door and soothed my heart. That someone was Sam, my yellow Lab.

With Sam there I didn’t feel lonely. He was ecstatic to see me, per usual and followed me to our room, where my evening gown would fade into a photo album memory.

Sam there I had someone to wake up to who cared about me. With Sam there… I could make it without the empty feeling I would never meet anyone I could relate to or live with 24/7, someone I hoped to share the coming years activities with, to plan and dream together.

No matter how many long seasons I would navigate while waiting for Mr Right, I could live without the gape of isolation in my home. I had someone special to plan with, to be with. I had my dog.

No, but I returned to Sam…my old faithful.

The disappointment ebbed. The cheer bubbled up again.

I was not alone. I had someone to wake up to and who would accompany me as I took out the garbage.

Who would be there when I returned from the next dance, as loving and loyal as he was tonite?

And yesterday. And would always be.  I could count on that. He belonged to me. My dog is reality. We are bonded as Family.  Our home feels safe. We are blessed.

Getting Ready and Getting Out…the Single Life

I have been asked often and recently, “How did you finally get married? What do I need to do?”  This and next week I will post some thoughts.

lovebirds

Ultimately it is all grace… a God given gift that I met my mate. I still consider marriage a miracle at any age, after waiting for decades to meet and marry the right person.

However, knowing the ruts we can get into I did find a poem written years ago after talking with a friend and some observations on grief that seemed to coincide well with it. Because there is a grief in an unfulfilled desire as the verse says, “A desire unfulfilled makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”Proverbs13:12

I share those now to encourage singles to take the path less trod as they socialize and live their lives with their God-given bends and interests. Ultimately it is what turned my relationship with my husband to a romance. One broad social email  to ten friends to attend an outdoor concert turned to two – me and him. And driving to the hills that night alone and content, he texted…”I think I can come.”  So Don’t Stay in A Corner!! Get out , at least once every week or two….and be open, and brave 🙂

The Corner

It’s hard to hear you talk

About this problem you have got

About how you can’t meet men

When over and over again

You go to the corner.

 

The world is full of places

And there are plenty of Godly faces

But you always see one or two

Because all you ever do

Is go to the corner.

 

And I bet for you my sister

That when you meet your mister

He’s running free and out of view

Not waiting there for you

In the corner.

 

So when you’re feeling some adventure

Even daring to go alone

It may be just the time

He’s looking and he’ll find

You- when you’re not doing time

In the corner.

The same conversation with a friend lamenting, discouraged and hopeless is a grieving- it is the single lament, the song of a bird looking for a mate alone on a telephone wire. I had my lovesick moments too!!

“Crazy is doing same thing over and over expecting different results”- I have a hard time listening

Some thoughts  from the book Experiencing Grief  (pp 5,6) by Norman Wright which apply to singles in a corner from fear or pain of rejection or loss of relationship (s)…

“A multitude of emotions is involved in the grief process- emotions that seem out of control and often appear in conflict with one another.  With each loss comes bitterness,emptiness, apathy, love, anger, guilt , sadness, fear, self-pity,… and helplessness.  These feelings have been described in this way:

These feelings usher in the emotional freeze that covers solid ground with ice, making movement in any direction seem precarious and dangerous. Growth is hidden, progress seems blocked, and one bleakly speculates that just because the crocuses made it through the snow last Year is no reason to believe that they can do it again this year. It’s not a pretty picture.”

I pray for all the wonderful singles who are looking for a mate. There are so many wonderful people of both genders waiting and wanting to meet a companion for life. It is honorable and natural. But when we get discouraged…we can become our own worse enemies. And beware of self-pity.

Self-pity is the worse when we are at these points. We are not clams stuck at the bottom of the ocean to wait for food to come to us. We are more like  turtles who have legs to move,  even if slow …  forward!

We must pray for courage and move out beyond our borders and our self-imposed corners. Jesus is always with us. We are never alone…

 

 

 

Spring and Seasonal Pain Single or Married

Spring can accentuate pain for a single longing to be married. Perspective helps. I remember…

“Life is like marriage; it’s up and it’s down,” Grandma used to say moving her hand up and down in the air like an elevator on the blitz.

I often thought of her witticism in my twenties because it meant good times and bad times come to all, single or married, even as I longed for marriage to fulfill my life.

Before I had long-lasting relationships beyond the first few months of infatuation, it offered a wise perspective from a woman married many years.  It said unhappiness in a marriage (not talking about abuse of course) is not necessarily a problem with the marriage:  finances, health, purpose, relationships, focus, unfortunate circumstances as well as unforeseen blessings blow in and out of season for each of us. It meant we can’t blame someone else if we are unfulfilled or judge they are not contributing to our lives in some way if life is spiraling and stale.

A friend complained her fruit trees produce tons of apples last year and a lot less this year. We may feel we are stagnating in certain situations and want change now, married or single, when it could be better if we allow God to work with our attitude. Focus on what we have rather than what we don’t even as the seasons will surely change and all things will pass.

When I turned 39—the worst year of my single life because the Need-to-start-a-family-by- 40-Pressure is volcanic—I vividly recalled a conversation with a married friend.

I was single and in pain—love-stuck in an orbiting relationship. She was married and in pain, her husband out of work again, trapped in the mire of financial loss and unsettled emotions pervading their home life again.

“I can’t remember what it is like to live a day, a life, without pain,” she lamented.

“I can’t either,” my voice lilted. “I had a few moments today, at lunch and when I was shopping. Otherwise I’m always aware of the ache.”

Five years later we exchanged another similar conversation—that struck a chord in my memory.

“I’m doing good” She stated heartily. “I’m not in pain anymore,” she mused. “Can’t remember the last day I felt it!”

“Me too!” I rejoined. “Isn’t that amazing how God brought us through that terrible time a few years ago…when we were engulfed in it?”

I  will never forget those two brief conversations with the same friend because it echoes the lives of all of us…at some point and for different reasons. We all go through seasons of pain that God acknowledges in Revelations. It is not just an emotional week or brief encounter with sorrow. In Greek it means anguish. It is the ache of a broken life, an altered dream, an adjustment to a new normal or the hangover of a crisis. It feels like a prison sentence. And it will pass. It is important to know this when it feels like it will never end.

A single friend who married at fifty said she had the aching longing every single day of her forties until she married at fifty. A man who grieved the early loss of his wife bore it for five years after her death.

God separates this deep pain from more temporary sorrows and sadness in Revelations describing heaven, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sorrow (mourning in Greek) or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev 21:4

Isn’t it comforting to know God separates sorrow from pain? He created us and He understands our emotional needs.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed (wasting away), for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”                                                           Lamentations 3:24

 

This Too Will Pass…Seasonal Pain

“Life is like marriage; it’s up and it’s down,” Grandma used to say moving her hand up and down in the air like an elevator on the blitz.

I often thought of her witticism in my twenties because it meant good times and bad times come to all, single or married, even as I longed for marriage to fulfill my life.

Before I had long-lasting relationships beyond the first few months of infatuation, it offered a wise perspective from a woman married many years.  It said unhappiness in a marriage (not talking about abuse of course) is not necessarily a problem with the marriage:  finances, health, purpose, relationships, focus, unfortunate circumstances as well as unforeseen blessings blow in and out of season for each of us. It meant we can’t blame someone else if we are unfulfilled or judge they are not contributing to our lives in some way if life is spiraling and stale.

A friend complained her fruit trees produce tons of apples last year and a lot less this year. We may feel we are stagnating in certain situations and want change now, married or single, when it could be better if we allow God to work with our attitude. Focus on what we have rather than what we don’t even as the seasons will surely change and all things will pass.

When I turned 39—the worst year of my single life because the Need-to-start-a-family-by- 40-Pressure is volcanic—I vividly recalled a conversation with a married friend.

I was single and in pain—love-stuck in an orbiting relationship. She was married and in pain, her husband out of work again, trapped in the mire of financial loss and unsettled emotions pervading their home life again.

“I can’t remember what it is like to live a day, a life, without pain,” she lamented.

“I can’t either,” my voice lilted. “I had a few moments today, at lunch and when I was shopping. Otherwise I’m always aware of the ache.”

Five years later we exchanged another similar conversation—that struck a chord in my memory.

“I’m doing good” She stated heartily. “I’m not in pain anymore,” she mused. “Can’t remember the last day I felt it!”

“Me too!” I rejoined. “Isn’t that amazing how God brought us through that terrible time a few years ago…when we were engulfed in it?”

I  will never forget those two brief conversations with the same friend because it echoes the lives of all of us…at some point and for different reasons. We all go through seasons of pain that God acknowledges in Revelations. It is not just an emotional week or brief encounter with sorrow. In Greek it means anguish. It is the ache of a broken life, an altered dream, an adjustment to a new normal or the hangover of a crisis. It feels like a prison sentence. And it will pass. It is important to know this when it feels like it will never end.

A single friend who married at fifty said she had the aching longing every single day of her forties until she married at fifty. A man who grieved the early loss of his wife bore it for five years after her death.

God separates this deep pain from more temporary sorrows and sadness in Revelations describing heaven, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sorrow (mourning in Greek) or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev 21:4

Isn’t it comforting to know God separates sorrow from pain? He created us and He understands our emotional needs.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed (wasting away), for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”                                                           Lamentations 3:24

 

Day After Valentine Thoughts

Last week I watched the Biggest Loser on television. It is a show where people team up together to lose weight–a great idea and it works. One man lost 100 pounds in 6 weeks. Unbelievable.

During the temptation phase of the show one of the contestants, facing a roomful of Valentine's chocolates turned around immediately upon one glance at the red and pink room–repulsed. The chocolates were not temptation. Why?

"I hate Valentine's Day! she exclaimed vehemently. Later she elaborated frowning, "My dad calls me every Valentines Day…I hate it!"   So the biggest loser wasn't talking about her weight issue, but her love issue. She felt unloved and sorely Losing at Love on the Biggest Love day of the year.

Too bad to see it that way.

There are many people to share our hearts with in life and many wonderful people to love whether family or friends, big or small. I felt bad that she scoffed at her Dad's call on the special day of they year she regarded more as a Romeo, Juliet affair. It's not unusual thinking. It can cause discontent though. It can rob peace and steal joy on a wonderful day of the year. Expectations about what that day should, could be.

What ever happened to the great feelings we had as kids passing out our Valentine cartoon or Disney cut outs for each person in our classroom? And then making a cut out for parents, grandparents, aunts, cousins, and even our brothers. Why don't we carry our childhood thoughts and traditions into adulthood?  Thinking of it more as a Heart Day for those who have touched our heart.

For the record, Loving people in life, finding a special someone to love and be loved, has little to do with our weight. There are plenty of overweight people, now 70% of America, who have love in their lives. People who struggle to keep weight on can feel "too thin"– a feeling which may lead them to feeling unattractive also.

 How many people have the perfect weight and meet someone at their perfect weight? Some for sure. Most, not. It is more the way we feel about ourselves, that we consider ourselves worth knowing and able to provide fun and feeling, passion and purpose in life that sets the groundwork for a good relationship. That enable us to reach out and introduce ourselves or catch someone's eye (or im)  and give them the go ahead to move towards us.

Valentine's Day can be loaded married or single in a relationship or not. When I worked in the hospital, some married nurses faces paled when one or two lucky stars received a dozen red roses  from their hubbies.

I do hope next year the young woman will have someone special to share a Valentine's meal with and even a small chocolate. If she doesn't have a boyfriend yet, hopefully it can be with her dad. I sure enjoyed Valentine's dinner with my Dad at a great fish restaurant! Sunday my boyfriend and I made cookies. And today, I'm dropping off a Valentine cookie to my hardworking nephew…who is currently single and loving it.

 

"For now we see through a glass darkly a poor reflection. Then we shall see face to face. NOw I know in part,; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now remain these three: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."    I Corinthians 13:12