Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Cord Not Easily Broken

I think about it every day.  Him.  His character.  His spirit.  His ways that are so different from mine and yet so appealing to me.  I know it's because all the ways that God made him different from me are like balm to my soul. Pouring into all the cracks and filling in the empty spaces. He is what I am not and God in his infinite wisdom knew that was exactly what I needed.

The feel of his hand resting in the small of my back as he guides me across a parking lot or on my arm as he leads me into a room is his way of expressing respect and protection and I love the feel of that.  It makes me feel safe and cherished.

When he works beside me in the kitchen or dusts a piece of furniture or when he has one end of a sheet and I have the other and we begin to fold... meeting in the middle... sharing our tasks....... 
 It is in these moments that he is loving me.

When he looks at me in a room full of people and our eyes meet we can exchange a thousand words without one being spoken.

When there is a need for words, he often finds the right ones and whispers them gently providing comfort or advice...affirmation....and sometimes even a gentle rebuke.

We are not saints.  We, like everyone else are sinners in relationship.  Every day isn't a scene from "Leave it to Beaver."  We aren't June and Ward.  There are times that we disagree, see things differently, yell, cry, slam the door.  We too look at our finances and wonder how we will pull it off.  There are days that I don't like myself, so I'm sure he's struggling to put up with me..and yes there are moments that I am having a hard time seeing him in his best light.  EVERY DAY in marriage is not easy.  Believing that you will live with someone for the rest of your life and never disagree, be angry, be tired, face trials, be fed up is not realistic.  It happens.

He may want to make me happy by taking me camping because he knows I love it, but after loading 50 gallon totes of decorative pillows, quilts and blankets plus the chalkboard I insist on bringing while I continue following behind him asking 1001 questions while sweat is beginning to form on his forehead....his desire to make me happy may begin to evaporate.  It may begin to dim even more once we arrive at the campsite and he begins to unload everything he just loaded with the knowledge that in two days we will be loading it again.  Yes, people, it is in times like this that life happens and fairy tales end.

There are times he needs ESPN and I need HGTV. I need a book, he needs the remote.  He needs the thermostat on 74 and I need it at 68.  He wants a hotel with air conditioning and I want a camper with none.  He thinks my being quiet so he can sleep late is better than me talking to him at 7:00 a.m...... on his day off.... and then proceeding to tell me exactly that.
 I am now going to take a time out and quote him my friends......... ("Sssh..silence is better."  )  Can you believe that?!
Somehow regardless of all of our differences, obstacles, quirky family members, life and hard core reality, we keep choosing "us."  The "us" changes.  We aren't the same people we were when we were 15 and 18..or even 15 years ago for that matter.  We may not always be the best "us."  But we keep choosing "us."
Because "for better or worse" is FOR REAL.  When the scale climbs higher, when the hair starts thinning, when you don't feel worthy or beautiful or he feels less make a choice.  We don't just choose a dress, a color for our brides maids, a cake.  We don't just committ to one day.  We also choose this man (or woman)...this life.... and all the days that will follow our wedding day.  They aren't always perfect.  Alot of times it's more complicated than just "me and him." 

However I've found that keeping our eyes on Jesus helps us with choosing.  He set us apart to be a help mate to each other.  To build up, to encourage, to believe in and support each other.  Sadly many times this is not what we choose.  We choose to belittle our husbands or wives, gossip about them and comunicate with others regarding their shortcomings.  We would rather talk with everyone else rather than gathering the courage to speak to our mate and work together regarding the issues in our marriages.  Unfortunately this gains us nothing but a place in the local gossip mill and does nothing to improve our relationships.  Our marriages are not bringing glory to God because we are not looking to him.  We choose the world and it's way of resolving our differences instead of  choosing "us."  The "US" that God ordained as a covenant relationship.

We can be different and still be successful in our marriages.  We can overcome if we are willing to put God in the center and speak with him regarding all the changes that need to occur in our marriages...on both sides.   We can become better at this marriage thing if we stop asking God to just change our mate and ask him to change us as well.  We can start building a team.  A team that consists of us and God.  A three strand cord....not easily broken. (Ecc. 4:12)

O.k. friends on a lighter note...I'm off to organize my 50 gallon camping tote for spring and praying that the Lord will send the comforter to my husband as he prepares to deal with me and my "stuff" and that he will move in my heart to downsize to the 25 gallon tote as a compromise :) 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

 We just washed the last dish.  Everyone has slowly returned to their own nest.  The rush of the season has settled to a peaceful quiet and we are resting.  Enjoying the last few hours of being together as a family in the glow of the Christmas tree and the glimmer of candle light.

I requested to host at our house this year and I had a wonderful time getting everything ready for our family to arrive.  When our son was small we hosted Christmas at our home a lot but since he's grown up we enjoy Christmas dinner at my in-laws house and she is a fabulous cook!  It was a little daunting taking on the meal but I swallowed the lump in my throat and set about planning a menu.

My mom is such an awesome southern cook.  We had the privilege of sliding our feet under her table Christmas Eve.  Of course I turned to her for advice in attempting to replicate her dressing.  Epic fail people..Epic fail.  I'm kinda out of practice fixing dressing since it's been years but if you poured a lot of gravy over could get it down :)  All the food at my mom's was AMAZING! We had 12 hands pitching in to help clean everything up before we headed back home and my mom was so impressed how fast it all went.  I on the other hand thought the pile of dishes would never end today.  Six hands is a lot less than 12.  Thank goodness for my sister-in-law and my husband.  We finally found the end of it all.
Mac looked so handsome all dressed up in red.  He was pulling out all the tricks for his Christmas treats and to have a chance to fetch his new Christmas balls.
One of the reasons I asked to host this year was to help me stay focused on the season and not so much on the fact that this is our first year without my dad at Christmas.  He went on the ventilator last year on Christmas Day and went to be with the Lord three days later when he asked us to take it off.  It was important for me to incorporate some of his things in our décor to honor him and this red truck was perfect for that.
I also used his blue onion dishes at each place setting.  I know that would have made him happy.  He loved food so much and eating Christmas dinner off of his antique collected plates just seemed appropriate. 

We started off the festivities this morning with these. 

And quickly got focused on unwrapping all the beautiful gifts we were so abundantly blessed with.

There were smiling faces all around.  We are so fortunate to be surrounded by our families and blessed beyond what we deserve.  God is so good.

Of course the most important gift is found between the pages of this very special book.  You can read all about it in Luke Chapter 2. 

We've created so many wonderful memories.

Memories surrounded by our faith.

Good food.

And family.

Even those who are celebrating Christmas with Jesus this year.

Because we never know when memories are all we will have left.

Merry Christmas

The Taylors

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How Do We?

 I've been thinking a lot about this question lately.  HOW DO WE?  I've read the verse...a couple thousand times.  Lately though I've been wondering not just about what Jesus said but more about what he wants us to DO with what he says.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  Matthew16:24

I guess the problem I and most people have (if we are honest with ourselves) is the whole "deny yourselves" part. 

I mean I pray and I ask the Lord to guide me, to lead me, to show me what he wants me to do and basically he already has.  DENY YOURSELF.

Stop making it about me..what I'm comfortable with...what is convenient for me....what doesn't disrupt my life..what doesn't require anything but me showing up (if I even decide to do that) timing, my preferences, my limits, my will. MY..MY...MY... MY...MY.

I imagine the Lord sitting up there shaking his head as we run around in circles trying to figure this whole thing out and saying exactly that :)

The next part is kinda scary too. 

"Take up your cross"

What's that all about?

What is my cross?  What is the purpose of my cross? Where am I suppose to take it to?
I wonder maybe if I think about his cross and it's purpose and where he took it, I might find the answers to the questions about mine.

Because the next few words spell it out plain and simple.

"Follow me."

Follow him where?
Okay..I'm going to go out on a limb here and throw this out there....

In giving up our will?

Remember that moment in the garden?  When Jesus faced the cross and he was so distressed at the cross he knew he would soon take up?
Nevertheless, he said..."Not my will but thine be done."
He knew it wasn't going to be easy, he knew it meant pain and agony and a major disruption in his earthly life. (Literally)
But he obeyed.  He didn't make it about him.

He made it about us.

And I want to follow him in that.  I want to make my life count.  To make it about someone else.  To really go about BEING a disciple and not simply reading about being one.

I want to take up my cross, to follow him into the world and off my pew to make a difference in someone's life.
I want to stop making excuses about how it's going to affect me and more about how his kingdom and the people he created are affected by my obedience.

Who knows what he may do?  He may turn my whole comfortable life upside down.

Psst.....Can I confide something?

That scares me! 

 I kinda like my life :/

But ya know what scares me more?

Doing NOTHING at all.

 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:22-25