Thursday, December 5, 2013

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints

I have so much to say about our trip.  But when I am sad, I write.

Death is such a bitter, awful, repugnant event.  It is a severing of ties, a change forced upon us, leaving a gaping hole that time will attempt to fill, but it will never be a perfect fit.  We go around with a loss of more than a loved one.  We lose what was, and we lose what could be.  

I want to introduce you to someone----a person who was truly an answered prayer for my family.  Our neighbor, "Mr. Darlo" as my kids called him, Darlo Pack. But we called him Brother Darlo.

Brother Darlo was one of a shoe full of kids raised by a hardworking daddy and a loving mama.  He was no more special than any of his "D" named siblings, but loved richly all the same by a mother who taught him about the Lord in the hills of West Virginia.  He used to tell how his mom and dad would be out working on the farm, and how she would tie the babies up to a tree to keep them from harm's way.  He didn't say this with disdain or disgust, but rather with a fond admiration for both his selfless mother and for a way of life long gone by. 

Brother Darlo was a jack of all trades with a heart as big as the moon.  He could fix cars with a smile on his face while little kids climbed all over his equipment.  He was quick to help without being asked, and had even been know to hire a little boy to work in his shed shoveling manure----and pay him a whopping $20 for it. He changed diapers and always put them on backwards. He was quick with a laugh and a popsicle, and loved to "cut up and carry on" at something funny. 

He was giving until it hurt, and never did a person truly in need leave without somehow being warmed by his generosity.  And yet he wore the same clothing in his garage most days, drove the same Ford Ranger pick-up truck, and rarely went anywhere tremendously special.

Brother Darlo rarely sat still.  He wasn't happy unless he was working, either in his garage, taking care of a honey-do list from his wife Miss Marie, or at the church he attended.  But he had a stubborn streak.  At 76 he was told to slow down, and he carried on as though he had not heard it.

And this morning his heart wore out.

Now we are sad, and no doubt countless others are too.  But we are also thankful.

We are thankful that Brother Darlo and Miss Marie were the last people we said goodbye to in Ohio.  That we got to hug his neck, cry on his shoulder while he cried on ours, and tell him we loved him and how thankful we were for all he had done for us. If he was here I would joke with him about how we didn't mean to break his heart when we left, and he would laugh until his eyes became moist with happy tears.

I know beyond all doubt that God allowed Brother Darlo to be a part of our lives for many reasons, and I am so very thankful for him being an extra grandpa to our kids.  The highlight of their week was when the kids would come over and be spoiled beyond your wildest dreams, eating candy and watching a movie or three, and having pizza, and McDonald's, and. . . .

But we are most thankful that he was "Brother" Darlo.

You see, Brother Darlo had not always been the joy-filled man that we knew.  We got to enjoy the best of Darlo.  Back in West Virginia, between the sufficient meals and the hard labor, his mama told him about Jesus.  About how one day, God would show him that he was lost and undone in his sins, and that he would need to go to Jesus in repentence so that he could get saved.

Darlo left West Virginia, joined the military, was married and raised a family, and had a successful business.  He used to tell us about how one time he was working on a car and it slipped off the ramp and he could have been killed.  What his mama told him never left him.

But it wasn't until he was 60, in the altar of a church that doesn't teach the knee-route way to salvation, that Darlo cried out to God for forgiveness and became "Brother Darlo".

At 60 is when Brother Darlo really, truly started to live.

He would weep with thankfulness at how God just blessed his soul while working alone in the garage.  He would get happy when he did come to Liberty, and you could just tell that the Lord was filling him up with that "joy unspeakable and full of glory" that the scriptures talk about.  He was brokenhearted about the years he wasted without salvation, and by all the "should have beens".  But he was humbled by his God's graciousness to him, and wanted others to have the same.  He was far from a perfect man, but he was perfected in the soul by the grace and mercy of God.

When I think of Brother Darlo being in a place now in perfect peace and love, I know he wouldn't leave if he could.  We are not saddened by what happened to him.  Paul said, "O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?"  There is no sorrow but for selfish pity, for losing a sweet light in this surrounding darkness, and for our inability to be there to soothe those back home.

Thank you God, for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Thank you for the love you shed abroad in our hearts, and help us heap it on each other.  For it is a true testament to you and your abundant goodness and mercy towards mankind.   You didn't have to bless us with Your love, but I am so very humbled and grateful that you have.

Love to you all----

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Little House on Maco Drive

Hello friends!

It has been a while since I have had a chance to blog.  I don't really have time to blog now, but I tend to write when the feeling strikes me.

I wanted to share with you a poem I wrote in December of last year.  Jason had told me the night before that he was giving up his pastoral position at Liberty, our home church.  In this process of moving across the country, I have had many people ask me how I was "holding up".

God never gives us a job to do, no matter how big or how small, that He doesn't provide the tools for.  One saying that I don't particularly care for is "God doesn't give you more than you can handle".

No------God doesn't give you more than HE can handle.  And if you are going to handle it, it is because He helps you through it, and there will be things that you have need of that you will have to ask Him for.  Most often He doesn't carry you over or around it.  But He gives you what you need to go through.  Because when little tiny "us" can do something difficult for us with grace, it reflects on His love for us, and lets the world see Him. 

This poem is the first step in my journey westward.  I had to grieve what I was leaving behind, and He helped me tremendously with that.  After Jason told me we would be leaving Liberty, I didn't know or really think much about where we would go.  I was just stuck on leaving here, leaving my home.  I remember walking around the house after everyone had gone to bed, tears streaming down my cheeks, tight feeling in my throat as to not wake anyone-----and this poem is what I got.  It reflects a typical summer day at our house:

  The Little House on Maco Drive

On a quiet street in a quiet town on a road most folks don’t drive down
There’s a house that’s much alive----
Before the curve on Maco Drive.

There in the yard are lots of swings and pines in which the birds all sing,
An occasional misplaced bee hive
At the little house on Maco Drive.

There’s bikes and bats for whiffle ball and for those that are not too small
There’s a trampoline outside
The little house on Maco Drive.

There’s a garden where food and kids both grow and in the winter piles of snow
To take a sled and slide
Down the backyard at Maco Drive.

Across the street, if you really search, through the trees you’ll see the church
With God’s sweet love inside
Down from the house on Maco Drive.

The toys, they stretch from wall to wall-----the laundry pile is always tall
And any blank space is prized
In the crowded house at Maco Drive.

Daddy’s got a project found, pick blackberries all around
The yard, Mom makes a pie
With the good things found at Maco Drive.
Children sleep hard at the end of the day, lots of work and lots more play
Bible story and bath time
A peaceful evening at Maco Drive.

The memories drip down the walls and fill the room like bittersweet.
Aching joy but thankful still for days, some dark, yet still complete.
The laughter of my young ones, etched in ceilings and in floors,
Stages of development tucked in behind the doors.
Spots where prayers were cried out by Mama on her knees,
Places where God filled the cracks with His sweet, blessed peace.
And though I know I cannot stay and linger long inside,
All the important things will come with me from Maco Drive.

Thank you for my family, Lord, I don’t deserve the joy
In a Godly man, a beautiful girl, and three precious little boys!
Following you means we must live a life of sacrifice-----
Thank you so much for the precious time
At our little house on Maco Drive.

Craziness at the second moving sale.

May you be strengthened knowing that if you have been saved by His grace, there is no place where He won't be.  Love to you all.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

No one can stand whining and complaining. Unless it is creative. . . .

There is no substitute when Mama is ill, but Daddy does a pretty good job.  I have found that creative complaining is more palatable than just plain old whining, and usually gives me a chuckle.  On my sixth day of fever, I give you a remake of the Bruce Springsteen classic, "I'm on Fire".  Because I am. 

Hey little girl is your daddy home?
Did he go and leave you all alone
I can't play, Mama's just too tired
Ooh ooh ooh
I'm on fire

Tell me now baby did he change your poo
Can he make dinner like I do
Oh no
Oven needs to be higher
Ooh ooh ooh
I'm on fire

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife
baby edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley
through the middle of my throat

At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
and a freight train running through the
middle of my head

No Tylenol, the situation is dire,
Ooh ooh ooh
I'm on fire

Ooh ooh ooh
I'm on fire

Ooh ooh ooh
I'm on fire

Monday, September 16, 2013

Poison darts or arrows?

In the summer of 2010, we joyfully announced the expectation of our now 2 1/2 year old son.  Although news of him was a surprise to us (and after the initial shock was absorbed) we were thrilled to be expecting our fourth child----and third son.  I could not imagine life without my sweet little man, a gentle, considerate, slightly shy compilation of his older siblings.  He has soothed sorrows, brought much joy, and delighted our entire brood.

By the fall of 2010, I was growing weary.  Yes, I was pregnancy-weary, and I was homeschooling-weary, and I was housework- and discipline-weary.  But what I was really, really weary of was all of the intrusive, rude, misguided statements.  Statements framed as questions, yet hedging judgement and disdain for something of no concern to them.

"Are these all yours?!?  My, you will have your hands FULL!  Another boy?!? Your poor daughter!"

And my personal favorite, the one reducing the intended recipient of the question to a 10th grade health class flunky:


Being the wife of a preacher man does not come with an automatic proclivity to keeping one's mouth shut, although there are so many times that would be most helpful.  I did mostly smile and nod and "Hahaha" to the bulk of the commentary, but I do recall one unfortunate woman who received a, "No, perhaps you can enlighten me.  I just keep waking up all swollen like this" quip.

Four kids entered me deeper into the Freak Zone, deeper than special needs, deeper than homeschooling and deeper than a husband who preaches the gospel.When I talk of autism spectrum stuff or homeschooling, I make waves. When I introduce myself to people and tell them about my husband, I sometimes joke that I am wearing the "Scarlet P" on my chest, for "Preacher's Wife".  I can sense in some an icy demeanor change upon that announcement, but generally people are still respectful.  But for some reason my swelling abdomen was a permission slip for commentary about population control.

And four kids isn't even that many kids!  I live fairly close to Ohio's largest Amish population.  Fourteen, sixteen kids-----THAT is a lot of kids.  Four is still "regular mini van".  Four is just past needing only one hotel room, just past the family sleeper car on Amtrak, just past pickup trucks with extended cabs.  But it is still a normal amount of kids. 

Just like so many other societal "norms", we are going against the Book in our attitude and in our world view.

The Bible teaches us that:
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.----Psalms 127:3-5

God rewards us with children.  They are his reward to us.  And like all blessings, they are given to us for at least two reasons:
1.  For our enjoyment
2.  For our edification.

We are to find joy in our children.  Children, like spouses, are given to us in part to bring us joy.  If we aren't feeling joy in our relationships with our blessings, it is a sign that something is not right.  Usually for me, this is a sign that I need to get down to business with the Lord by praying about the situation, searching the scriptures, and asking for His wisdom to discern the truth about my heart.  Sometimes I see my blessings as burdens.  This is a huge red flag that needs to be addressed when it arises.

Children teach us how to be better children of God.  My marriage has taught me about the mercy of Jesus.  My parenthood has taught me about my His wonderful, marvelous grace.  The Lord is so patient, so long suffering, and so willing to bless me--even in spite of my willful disobedience, my stubborn nature, my lack of showing grace toward others.  It shows me, that in comparison ---not to other moms or people on T.V., but in comparison to Him and Him alone---- that I am NOT patient.  I am NOT long suffering, and I do NOT extend grace even to my flesh and blood children as I should.  It helps me to humbly ask His forgiveness (and many times, my children's forgiveness) for my ways, and that humility reminds me of who I am in His sight.  I am only the daughter of a king through the merciful spirit of adoption. That knowledge in my soul gives me strength to extend grace to others.

There is not a respect given toward children in our world.  We
                                    preoccupy them with gadgets, rather than teach patience, diligence and respect;
                                    pacify them, rather than show them how to work;
                                    shelter them, rather than instruct how to handle responsibilities;
                                    thrust them into a popular culture they don't have the tools to navigate in. 

Our blessings should be cultivated gently and carefully and purposefully, like a garden.  Gardens will weed naturally, but a carefully cultivated garden will yield much fruit for the labor.

Hannah purposefully raised a child, only to give him back to the Lord.  In surrendering what she held so dear, she actually found her heart's desire; a child that would honor the Lord with his life.  By contrast, Eli took a less diligent approach to child rearing, and reaped a garden full of weeds, fit only to be burned down.

Big, wonderful families are blessings from God.  Those doing the task of raising them need our support and encouragement, not our scorn. 

I had two differing reactions this week to my "big" family.  Earlier I called on our first rental possibility in Oregon.  Upon finding out how many children we have, the landlord exclaimed, "Oh honey---that's too many kids for my septic tank to handle."  This left me in Mama Grizzly mode, although it would not be the first time a person has frowned upon or discriminated against our number of kids.

But today, a sweet older man at Sam's Club saw me with the kids, and we were having a good time eating pizza before shopping.  He watched us for quite some time and said to me, "I bet you wish you had four more swirling around you.  They sure are wonderful." 

And that was awesome.

Lord, help us to see our little people as blessings. Give us wisdom to teach and live out lives before them that are honorable and exemplary of what You want us to be.  Help us to encourage and support those with small children in any way we can.

Love to you all this beautiful day-----
Sandra :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two Tired

 Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. 
 Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. 
 If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. 

As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.  

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.            Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

Have you ever laid in bed, so thankful in prayer to God for life's trials that you had a full heart about to burst and tears streaming down your cheeks? 

If not, you sure are missing something.

This weekend, my husband had preaching appointments in Kentucky and Tennessee. I feel like it is the start of the "Good Bye Tour" for our family.  We are moving to Oregon, and although we plan to be back to this side of the country to visit family and friends, we will be a long, long way from our home, in a far away land not too familiar to us, for a time frame known only to God.  So it is nice, in the midst of packing, cleaning, and selling things on Craigslist, to take a break now and then to fellowship with family and brothers and sisters in the Lord.

We decided to test out the little RV that we purchased to help us travel West and work out any kinks we had on the road.  So we piled in on a busy holiday weekend and headed south.  We had plans to visit Mammoth Cave and the Creation Museum, and to visit a few of the many we hold dear.

All was well until about 41 miles north of Cincinnati on 71, when we blew a tire. Jason guided the RV to the shoulder of the busy highway, and we quickly loaded the children off, down a knee-high grassy hill, over a ditch, and up the next hill.  For the next 3 1/2 hours the kids and I huddled together on a sleeping bag, including our 2 year old, and read library books and talked---no iPod, iPad, or TV around.  We talked about why this had to happen, and how God had a plan in all of it, even if we never knew what it was.  We prayed for Daddy, and that the Lord would protect.  I am always amazed at the resiliency and maturity of our children when things like this happen. 

Jason tried to help me, but the very instant, and I am not kidding in the least bit, that he entered the grass his body responded with hives all over his arms and legs.  So he was stuck by the RV, and I was relegated to mothering on the grassy knoll.

For  2 1/2 hours car after car sped by our little group marooned on the highway.  Jason held a sign up that said, "NEED JACK", and later I tried too.  (I didn't really care at this point if "Jack" was a mechanical instrument or the name of a mechanic.)  And NO ONE STOPPED.

Finally, about hour three, a nice gentleman stopped and attempted to help.  He didn't have the right type of tool, and he tried his road side assistance program, even offering to upgrade his membership by $30 to help us.  But the operator stated he would need to upgrade $60, and he was out.

The sheriff that was paid to help stopped, and he tried too, and by that time our road sided assistance company showed up.  The tire was changed to the spare, and at the end of it all we spent from 5:30 p.m. until 8:52 p.m. on the side of 71. 

After spending the night in the parking lot of a sister church, we woke up greeted by the pastor, his wife and another preacher.  We shared the story of our breakdown, and after visiting for a few minutes we were off again on our journey.

Not 30 minutes later, guess what?  Another blown tire!  But this time we had no spare.

So we called roadside assistance AGAIN.  It was just as user friendly as the day before.  Roadside assistance programs should unplug all of their GPS equipment and employ bloodhounds. We would have been found quicker, even if they were released from the company's Miami headquarters and we were in Kentucky.  They never did show up. 

But this time we made a different call too; one to a brother and sister that are members of the church we had just been at.

They immediately came to our aid, driving two cars to carry us all to their home, where we were fed, showered, and loved.  The kids got to play with their friends and made new ones.  The search was on for tires that were to be specially ordered on a holiday weekend, and in spite of the brother searching diligently, it was apparent that none would be found in time for us to return to Ohio.  So a different brother and sister allowed us to use their much-nicer-than-ours minivan to not only get to our destination, but drive back to Ohio. 

Another brother offered to chauffer us back the entire 6 hours to our home, and countless others offered their cars, food, and hospitality.

As I laid in bed Saturday night at yet another brother and sister's home, I was praying and thanking God for His beautiful, merciful, graceful, loving provisions on our little family.

And I thanked Him for blown out tires.

Without blown out tires, I would have missed visiting with brothers and sisters, and little spiritual nephews and nieces, that I love with a Godly love.  I would have missed seeing the hand of God work by placing on His children acts of kindness that they extended to us in faith----not in faith that we deserved it, but with faith in the One who supplied their own needs. 

And I would have missed out on all the love shown by God to me, demonstrated in the obedience of His children.

You see, there have been times that the Lord has put on my husband and I to help someone----to "cast our bread upon the waters".  To help someone in need that we are pretty well certain would not be able to return the favor in the same way.  I want to be very, VERY clear that I am NOT advocating a "help to be helped by God" system. What I am advocating is obedience to the Spirit.  If the Lord deals with your heart to give to someone, whether it be time, money, or resources, GIVE. 

To demonstrate this to the kids I took a piece of their waffle at breakfast----the last piece of waffle-----the one that they could have eaten gladly, instantly, and might have felt that they needed themselves----and tossed it into a bowl of water.

Instantly it began to dissolve, and after three seconds I retrieved the soggy waffle from the bowl.  I said to the kids, "Looks like it is wasted, doesn't it? Can you get any use out of it?"

But Solomon said, "you will find it after many days."

To find it at all would be miraculous---but to find it after many days?

That is just GOD.  It just is.  God loves a cheerful giver.  An obedient, faith-in-the-Lord giver.  Not a "I'll-give-'cause-God-is-watching-and-I-might-need-Him-one-day" giver; not a "this-makes-me-feel-good-about-me" giver; but a truly faithful, obedient, loving, cheerful giver. One who knowingly throws his last morsel of bread into the water, giving it in faith,  KNOWING that when he is hungry he will find it again after many days.  You aren't casting it on the waters so that you can retrieve it and use it; you are casting it because it is what God wants you to do.  Isn't that a demonstration of sacrificial love?

I detest the idea of karma, and it is such a popular notion in our society.  Karma says, "you get out what you put in".  So if you are generous, you get generosity.  If you are mean, you reap bad things.

But GRACE is so much better than karma.  Grace gives me what I DON'T deserve.  Grace gives me what I need, abundantly more than I could ever provide or procure for myself, and it does it in HIS time, in HIS way, using HIS methods and HIS children.  If I got what I deserved. . . .

I would still be sitting by I-65. 

Love your neighbor, brothers and sisters.  It is that Godly love that we have for one another that allows this dark, cold, uncaring world to see the Light of a beautiful Savior.  One who loves them just every bit as much as He loves you and me.  The first tire the Lord showed me how it looks to provide for myself (and He still helped us!). The second tire He showed me what it looks like when He does the providing.

So very, very, very VERY thankful for my Jesus, who constantly amazes me with His wonderful, matchless, abundant grace.

Love to you all,

Monday, January 14, 2013

It Takes Two to Tango

It takes two to tango.


My husband and I have been married for almost 17 years.  I married my first boyfriend on a hot July day at the age of 20, in a nondescript ceremony notable only that it was an elopement and despite the situation, I was never more sure of anything in my life.

Sixteen years.  Five residences.  College.  Jason pastoring a church.  Lots and lots and lots of work.  Four kids, an autism diagnosis, food allergies, difficult high risk pregnancies, postpartum depression, more laundry than you might ever be able to imagine, home schooling. Too much burning the candle at both ends.  Bearing the heavy, heavy burdens of others we have tried to minister to.  Trying our very best to parent our children as God would have us to, so that they might grow up to glorify Him----and being crushed down repeatedly by our mistakes and stumbles.  Crying tears of sorrow together, laughing together, and crying thankful tears of joy to God for one another and this beautiful, blessed adventure He has put us on.  Bearing one anothers faults and weaknesses with tender grace and love that only He could give us for one another. Enjoying one another, preferring one another----knitted together, he and I. 

As part of my Christmas gift this year my husband purchased ballroom dancing lessons for us.  This is sort of a “bucket list” activity for me, if I had such a list.  One of those things that logistically wouldn’t be too difficult to do----but the reality is babysitting, work, home responsibilities . . . and it became another one of those hopes deferred. 

I have realized that I have a lot of tiny hopes deferred. Little things, like making a quilt, going on a fun girls only trip, vacationing with my hubby alone, taking music lessons, replacing the kitchen sprayer with a Diet Coke gun like caterers use.  This is just a stop on the train of life, in FullTimeFamilyland.  If you get off the train and constantly look to when the next train is coming, and how soon you can get on it, you will surely miss the tremendously great things to be found here. 

Back to the dance lessons.

I have no dance knowledge whatsoever.  I don’t even watch “Dancing With The Stars” (who decides when one is a star? Hmmmmmm).  So our first night of lessons the instructor gave a very good preface to how ballroom dancing “works”.

“Ladies, don’t try to take the lead.  In ballroom dancing, the men always lead, and the ladies always follow. Men, you must give clear directions to your partner if you want her to do something.  Take small steps.  Relax and enjoy what you are doing.  Practice for five minutes every day, or you will forget what you have learned and when you have to learn a new step, you won’t be able to just get up and figure it out.”

She demonstrated both the men's steps and the ladies’ steps.  It was helpful for me to see what the men would do, as I could better prepare my steps with a view of the bigger picture.

On the floor we went. Jason’s feet slid forward, mine slid backward.  Our legs stepped in time to the rumba beat of the Drifters, he leading and I following.  Occasionally my mind would wander, and I would not know where we were in the step.  So instinctively I would charge ahead in my box step, throwing us both off course. 

In ballroom dancing the man leads with a gentle hand motion just under the woman’s shoulder blade.  There were times when I understood the signal; other times the signal was hastily given and I was not prepared for the step in proper time. 

But the times where we both knew the step, where we both knew what was coming and what was expected, we moved in a seamless, fluid motion.  I found it easy to relax when I stopped trying to lead.  Jason was better able to anticipate his signals when he didn’t have to fight to stay on course.  Then we could just relax, enjoy the dance, and (almost) let the dance take care of itself while we simply enjoyed being together.

Aside from good Godly premarital counseling and prayer, I cannot think of a better thing for an unmarried couple to do than to take ballroom dancing.

Enjoying the dance of marriage requires a few things.  One, it helps to know what the dance looks like in the big picture. If you get in God’s Word and beg Him for a vision for what Godly marriage looks like (DISCLAIMER:  I KNOW THIS IS TRUE.  I HAVE DONE THIS.  TRUST ME.  GET READY TO BE VERY SURPRISED AT HOW WRONG YOU ARE IN YOUR VIEW OF MARRIAGE), you will soon find that it is a beautiful reflection of His love for us.  It is a servant relationship, one in which the husband loves the wife as his own body, and therefore would do anything to preserve her.  And one in which the wife, in a meek and quiet spirit, lays aside her desires and focuses on the needs of her husband. When you both have the “big picture” in sight, you can each relax knowing that your needs WILL be met----by God, and by your spouse.

Secondly, each partner has a job.  That job remains static and must be fulfilled at all times.  The husband leads.  The wife follows. 

It is much, much easier to follow the dance, or the husband, when
gentle and timely instruction is given.  Many a wife has used the reason of faulty leadership for not following her husband.  A woman’s need for security and love is very great, and a thoughtless, selfish, or unprepared man is very, very hard to follow.  It is kind of like taking a cat and throwing it into a bathtub.  Every fiber of its being is fighting against the bathtub. 

It is much, much easier to lead the dance, or the home, when the dance partner is
patient with mistakes in leadership,
encouraging when appropriate steps are taken, and
trusting that the lead is following the “big picture” that she has educated herself about, and thankful for his efforts.

Many a husband has used the reason of a wife that won’t be lead as an excuse to bow out of leading his family.  A man’s need for respect is very great, and a harsh, brazen, selfish woman is very, very hard, nearly impossible, to lead.  It is kind of like a mom sweetly inviting her son to learn to write his letters, then abruptly grabbing the crayon, hastily demonstrating it, and telling him that he is not anywhere close to forming it correctly so we should just quit, all while he is only four years old.  (Yes, I need to wear the cone of shame).

Are you enjoying the dance?  Do you know God’s purpose for your marriage?  Husbands, are you providing clear, purposeful direction and modeling a preference for your wife’s needs above your own?  The Bible states that “whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).  Wives, is your trust in God or your husband?  Are you encouraging to him, a breath of fresh air, seeking to ease his burdens----or as the scriptures describe, “a contentious woman is as a continual dropping of rain” (Proverbs 25:24)? 

The music started on the day you said “I do.”  For the dance to work you must both do your part.  And you must practice the dance every day.  When life throws you a new step----a new baby, a job loss, a health problem, grief----you need to already know how to dance. 

We came home last night to excited kids asking what we learned, and so we decided to demonstrate, much to their satisfied, peaceful, happy faces----faces showing the serenity and security of children who know their Mama and Daddy are crazy about each other.  I count it a blessing and have thanked God many times to have grown up in a home where I could rest knowing that my parents were committed to their vows and to one another.

May God bless you in the dance, and may you seek His face to learn how to enjoy it, that your home might be a fruitful vine for the Lord---as many eyes are watching this demonstration of God’s love.

Love and God’s richest blessings to you,
Sandra J