Saturday, July 29, 2006

Our oldest son Jacob just turned five this month….. I look at him and I’m astonished to see that my little boy is now not so little anymore. It was only yesterday……. that he was beginning to walk and not toddle about, learning to sing his ABC’s, discovering numbers, wearing big boy underwear for the first time, saying I love you for the first time, always wanting to hold Mommies hand, holding his baby brother so carefully and calling him Maffew Rabbit (Matthew Robert), and other precious memories that I have stored in the part of my Mommy’s heart that will always belong to Jacob.

Yes, tears of love and joy are falling down my face. They are filled with memories of discovering that I was pregnant, of hearing his tiny heart beating for the first time, and the moment that we were able to first gaze upon that sweet little face. The awe and the wonder of realizing that God had taken a part of me and a part of Troy and created this amazing little boy that we are so blessed to have as our son.

Time flies on and on and it does not stop even though we want to grasp just a few more moments of each stage that they go through. And yet we know deep in our hearts that there is a natural progression of watching our little boy grow up.

Now I know why parents like to watch their children sleep, it’s because we want to commit every tiny detail to memory of our little angels.

When we brought Jacob home from the hospital, I quickly discovered he loved to have me sing to him. I made up a little song for him and when Matthew was born Jacob insisted that it become Matthew’s song too. Jacob’s heart is often generous when it comes to sharing love with is brother; maybe not so generous when it comes to sharing toys. I sing these words to the tune of, “Children of the Heavenly Father”. The last little verse is from the book, “I’ll Love You Forever”.

Mommy loves her little Jacob,
He’s her precious little angel,
He was sent from God above
As our precious gift of love.

I will love you forever
And I will like you for always
And as long as I’m living,
My baby you will be.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and as a family we had a wonderful day together. As the moments slipped on by as they seem to do as I get older, I reflected on what a gift Troy has been to me. He is my soul mate and the love of my life.

I have shared earlier in a different writing that Troy and I share the same confirmation verse and that we used that verse for our wedding service. The Pastor a dear friend of ours also used the verse prior to our confirmation verse: “4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” Psalms 37:4-5 (NKJV)

During the wedding sermon our friend talked about delighting in each other and reminded us to focus on the joy because God had brought us together. Troy and I love to listen to our wedding sermon and it has been a great reminder of what we need to focus on in our marriage.

This past year Troy and I have heard distressing news of two different couples that we know of that they are either close to divorce or have all ready filed for divorce. We were so devastated and heart broken that we were unable to sleep; because we could not understand how this could happen. Both of these couples had strong Christ-centered marriages that we had both admired. We never dreamed that we would hear the unsettling news that their marriages were over.

The Devil does not like strong Christian marriages because it is a threat to all of his evil plans to destroy Christian homes and families. We have seen other marriages fall apart that once were so strong and we are left standing with an ache in our heart for our friends and their families.

Troy and I have come to the conclusion that we need to pray for God to protect our marriage from all of the distractions of life. We need to make sure that we take time to talk and to listen to each other. Not just to pray for each other but to pray together. ( I will never forget that when we found out that my Grandma was dying from cancer and it was during the fall, one of the busiest times for farmers. Troy would come in exhausted from a long hard day but he would always take the time to find out how Grandma was doing; and to take time to comfort me. It would have been so easy for him to go straight to sleep but he knew that I was hurting and wanted to encourage my heart.) That marriage is not about our own individual wants but is about what is best for both of us and our family. And finally it is only by focusing on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and making Him the focus and center of our life, that can make a marriage strong.

I was with some friends and we were discussing the book, “ The Power of a Praying Wife”. One of our friends spoke up and said she was disappointed at first to learn that the concept of the book is “it’s not about me.” We all laughed because we know that it is true. The only person that you can change is yourself.

I know there can be deep hurt and disappointments in marriage. And I will not pretend for one minute that I have all the answers to the problems and challenges of marriage.
However, I would like to share what Troy and I have learned that has been helpful and a blessing to our marriage. (These have been lessons learned from God.)

1. Do not go to bed angry at your spouse. “26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. Eph 4:26-27 (RSV). From experience I know that you will not be able to sleep because the devil will use this opportunity to harden your heart even further against your spouse. You don’t need to solve everything that night but at the very least get to the point where you can go to bed and sleep peacefully.

2. Realize that there are problems beyond your ability to solve as a couple. When you get to this point seek counseling from a Pastor or a professional counselor. Troy and I have done this several times and we have not regretted it. Please understand that it does not make you a weak person to accept outside help.

3. Pray together. Troy and I do this before we go to sleep. For some this might be difficult and uncomfortable at first. It is a blessing to be able to pray together with your spouse.

4. Do not try and change each other. You can only change yourself.

5. Do not assume that the other person knows why you are upset. Even if you think that it is the most obvious thing in the whole world. Your spouse is not a mind reader.

6. No one can live up to our expectations. A wise friend once told me: Expectations lead to planned resentment.

7. Apologize and Forgive. In God’s eyes it doesn’t matter who was right or wrong he wants us to reconcile. When your forgive someone it doesn’t mean that you are saying that what they did was okay, you are releasing it and letting God take care of it. Do not let pride get in the way. And only God can truly help us to be able to do this.

I felt compelled to share about marriage today because it has been placed upon my heart to pray for all marriages. It has also been the topic of many Christian radio shows that I have listened to this past week.

In closing I would encourage each of you to pray daily for your marriage (if you are married), and the marriages of family and friends. And finally I will leave you to meditate on this portion of scripture: “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Prov 3:5-6 (RSV)

Monday, July 10, 2006

A few years ago I was surfing the internet and I happened to find an ad that talked about Zig Ziglar. Because of my love for Zig Ziglars’ writings and how he had impacted my life, I immediately clicked on the ad.

It turned out to be a business opportunity in where I would I become part of the Zig Ziglar Network. I had the opportunity to share his books and tapes and a special nutrition line with people.

I met some of the nicest people and I learned a lot about myself; and about building a business. I met Zig Ziglar several times for training and other events the company would have. I was always mesmerized by his speaking ability and his love for Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He seized every chance he had to share the message of God’s love with his audience and the people around him.

We had a contest that summer and if you earned enough points you could earn an all- expense trip to Cancun, Mexico. I was determined to earn that trip. I developed a plan to earn the points that I needed and I worked the plan. I was delighted to have earned the trip and I was so excited to go and spend time with the new friends that I had made.

Unfortunately, the trip was in October and for a farmer that is an impossible time to get away. I was disappointed that I would not be able to enjoy going to this exotic and romantic destination with Troy. Troy was very proud of me for earning the trip and wanted me to go even if he could not be there.

My twin sister Jimella had earned most of the trip and so we went together. The Omni resort was breathtaking and the food was divine. I loved visiting with the people that I had been working with over the phone and through the computer.

I had brought my book along so I could ask Zig Ziglar to sign it for me. And so I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to talk to him about it.

One of the nights we had a beach party and they had set up an extravagant meal for us on the beach. It was a beautiful night and moon’s reflection danced upon the water. The scent of the delectable food and the exquisite flowers they had everywhere filled the air. Jimella and I sat with our team and we laughed and shared our dreams with each other. There was a dance and so we all decided to go out and have some fun together. They started off the dance with some familiar favorites; and our group was have a great time together. They started the snowball dance where you would go and ask someone to dance and when the music stopped you would go and pick another partner from the group of people that were not dancing. I saw Zig standing with his wife and I decided that I would go and ask his wife’s permission to ask him to dance. Jean smiled and told me to go ahead and ask. I almost lost my nerve; here is this famous man who has spoken in front of millions of people all over the world. I went over and I told him that I had gotten permission from his lovely wife to ask him to dance. He smiled at me and took my hand and off we went to dance. Of course all of my friends gathered around and danced with him too. In all my dreams of someday meeting Zig Ziglar; I never once thought about dancing with him on the beach in Cancun.

The next morning I saw Zig and Jean eating breakfast. I had my book with me and so Jimella and I went over to talk to him. We both shared with him how his book had changed our lives and how we had enjoyed the course. I told him about winning the book and how I had always hoped to meet him so he could sign it for me. We talked for along time about faith in God, family and friends. It was a special moment; and I was struck by how humble this gracious couple was towards Jimella and I. They treated us like we were honored guests. The conversation flowed and I knew that it was because we all shared the same faith. We were connected by God’s love; a bond that cannot be broken or destroyed. Zig signed my book and he wrote, “Michelle, God loves you.” And he wrote down a scripture passage, John 14:6 “6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 (ASV)

When we meet face- to- face with God’s love it changes us forever. God used Zig Ziglar’s writings to change my life as well as the love of my family and friends.

We all have struggles as we journey through this world and we need to bring them before God’s throne of mercy and grace. We need to leave them there and let God’s love heal us and mold us into the person that He has created us to be.