Every Tuesday evening I look forward to working out with my co-workers for our strength training. I eagerly shut down my computer, changed my clothes, grabbed my yoga mat and headed downstairs to get my work out in. As I arrived in the room and started enjoying the music, one of my co-workers gently informed me that my shirt was on backwards. I darted out of the room to get to a bathroom to change it as quickly as possible. As I was changing my shirt around, I was grateful my co-worker had informed me. I would have felt much worse had I gotten all the way home and noticed it when I was undressing. I would have been worried about who saw it and failed to tell me. When I asked others in the room why they didn’t tell me, they said they didn’t see it or they thought I had planned to wear it that way.
Not so long ago my girlfriend experienced the same dilemma. She had gone for more than three hours in the company of others and no one bothered to tell her that she had a big piece of lettuce in her front teeth. The sad part was someone brought it up the next day at a luncheon. She was horrified to know that they had noticed it and no one bothered to tell her about it so that she could correct it. Why didn’t they tell her?
The more I thought about it, I notice things about others all the time, but pick and choose when I decide to say something. It depends on the relationship I have with that person, and how I feel they will take it. But why are we afraid to tell someone something about themselves? Are we concerned that they will turn around and criticize something they have noticed about us? In the Bible, Matthew 7:1-4, we are warned not to judge one another. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”
The Bible is absolutely right. So when we look at others, what do we first notice about them? Do we look for what is wrong with them, before we look at ourselves? If we stop to take a look at ourselves in the mirror, we will begin to notice our own flaws and the areas that need correction. When looking at ourselves, perhaps sometimes we are looking through the wrong mirror. We have tons of mirrors in our house, but I use different ones for different views of myself. There’s a full length mirror in the closet for checking out my complete outfit including shoes. When I am trying to style my hair or put on my makeup I use the large bathroom mirror. However, if I am trying to tweeze my eyebrows or get rid of unwanted facial hair, I have to turn on my super-powered cosmetic mirror so I can really see what I am doing. Often when I look in the cosmetic mirror on the highest power, I see what I would not have seen in other mirrors. I see stray hairs, unruly gray hair, skin imperfections and makeup errors. I don’t have time to focus on anyone else when I see my own flaws.
In order for us to grow we must stop and take a look at our lives and see what we are doing wrong. When I experience problems in relationships with others, it is easy for me to see what is wrong with them, and miss what is wrong with me. Perhaps it is time to do some self-reflection and look at our lives through God’s mirror. What is God’s mirror? It is simply the Word.
James 1:22-25 (NIV) tells us: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 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.”
By looking at the Word as a mirror, we can study it and determine what changes we need to make in our lives. If we focus on what to do about our own imperfections, we won’t have to worry about others imperfections. By reading the word daily we can do a self-check to determine if there is anything we need to do before we leave the house. So with that being said…Do you have your shirt on backwards?
There are times in life where time stands still and nothing else matters. For some it comes in times of adversity, sorrow or illness. When we hear the words, cancer, heart attack or stroke, we are willing to do almost anything for our loved ones. About a week ago, my baby sister was faced with such a dilemma. On Friday, her and her husband loaded up the car, left Fort Worth Texas, heading to Kingsville, TX to take their youngest son to college. They were excited that the last pea in the pod was finally heading off to college.
About an hour before they left, her husband had complained of feeling slightly dizzy, but after a quick trip to the restroom, he felt well enough to drive. Off they went on the trip they had been planning for months. As they were enjoying their 7 hour drive, they discussed their plans to arrive in town, check in the hotel, do some dormitory shopping on Saturday, and prepare to help their son move into his room at noon on Sunday. About halfway there, they stopped at a gas station to fill up and grab a quick bite to eat. When her husband got out of the car, the world began spinning around him. To his surprise and hers, he was so dizzy her could barely walk. Although he had been driving the entire time, he was now staggering like he was intoxicated and could barely walk. My sister took over the wheel and resumed their ride to Kingsville.
After about ten minutes in the car, the dizziness turned to nausea and vomiting and as a result they had to pull over at least ten times during the remainder of their drive. As they got closer, he got worse and worse until he was totally unable to walk a straight line without tipping over or vomiting. My sister, who is a nurse, was extremely worried. When she could no longer hold him up and was concerned that he was becoming dehydrated, she had no choice but to call 911 after arriving at their hotel. The ambulance came immediately and took him to the local community hospital.
My hubby and I were watching a movie around 11:30 p.m. when the call came in from my sister who was following the ambulance to the hospital. I stayed with her on the phone until they arrived. Having worked in the emergency room before, she knew it would be a long night, but she promised to keep us posted. My husband and I immediately began praying for them as did my other sisters. I stayed up as long as I could waiting to hear back from her, but didn’t hear anything until early the next morning.
Even after being checked in to a room, he was still experiencing the same symptoms and all of the tests that the small hospital could run all came back negative. As far as they could tell he had not had a stroke, but there was concern of a possible brain bleed. However, they needed a Neurologist and an MRI to make a real diagnosis. The MRI was available, but there wasn’t a Neurologist in the area. There were two hospitals in Corpus Christi, which was roughly 30 minutes away, but one hospital was full and the other would have to use Tele-med in order for the Neurologist to try and diagnose what was causing his problem. As my sister was trying to figure out what to do, all she kept thinking was “If I can just get him back to my hospital at home they can figure out what is going on.” As the hours ticked by, she became more and more concerned that if they didn’t figure out what was going on real soon, he could experience permanent damage to his body and perhaps his brain. As she weighed the options we continued to pray at home.
A few hours later she called with some hope. She had taken a leap of faith and contacted a trusted peer she had worked with over the years. As a cardiology nurse, my sister had seen several similar emergencies with heart patients. The lady she contacted just happened to be the supervisor at “Life Flight”. Even though the lady was on vacation, she informed my sister that she would do everything possible to help them to get her husband back to Fort Worth. She called my sister back and informed her that the plane was out for scheduled service and did not know if the plane could be available before 2:00 p.m. My sister continued to weigh the options just in case plan A did not come to fruition. In the meantime we continued to pray and began to ask others to pray for the situation.
Several more hours went be before I got a text on my phone that simply stated “We got the plane.” The lady had come through or should I say God came through and used the lady to be a blessing to my sister and her husband. I happened to be a repast dinner when I got the news and my sisters in Christ celebrated with me especially when the picture of the airplane appeared on my phone. Wow, look at God” was all we could say.
This story actually has a good ending. My brother in law was flown by plane, then helicopter back to Fort Worth and they continued to run tests. Turns out he experienced severe vertigo due to a viral infection. He is now doing outpatient rehab and should recover fully soon. My sister managed to get their college bound son checked into the dormitory and she and her older son took another adventure to pick up the car they had to leave in Kingsville.
As my three sisters and I sent over 100 texts over the course of five days, the constant theme that appeared over and over was “Miracles do Happen.” My baby sister had managed to get a plane to pick up her husband. My oldest sister had figured out how to do research on her new i-phone and send us a link describing his diagnosis, (trust me, this is huge), and my middle sister had managed to alert thousands of people via Facebook to pray for our brother in law. For me, I couldn’t figure out what to blog about this week, but when I got the last text on Thursday night from my baby sis indicating that they were finally all home safely, I had my answer.
So perhaps you need a miracle in your own life. Maybe it’s physical, financial, emotional or spiritual. Maybe it’s for you or maybe for a loved one. Whatever you do, don’t give up because, “Yes, miracles do happen.”
The first time I was going through divorce I remember being afraid to have that crucial conversation with my parents. I knew my mother adored my husband and she was very proud that I was a minister’s wife. She beamed as she shared with others “this is my daughter the one that is married to a minister.” I felt like I was going to ruin my Mom’s hopes and dreams for me.
So when it was time to make that important call to my mother I was a nervous wreck. I was worried that my mother was going to be so disappointed in me. I surely wasn’t going to talk to my Dad, so my plan was to talk to Mom and have her to tell Dad. I decided to start the conversation by informing Mom that I was probably going to be moving again and then explain the reason as being "because we were going to be getting a divorce. '
After I got it all out, to my surprise Mom didn't give me a lecture about how we should stay together regardless of what was going on. Instead she said, “You girls don't have to to put up with the things I had to in my day and time.” She listened to what I had to say and then reminded me that she raised us to be able to take care of ourselves and said I would be alright on my own. She then went on to ask where I was moving and how soon.
Unfortunately I had to have this conversation with my mom twice. The second time we divorced, (yes, I married and divorced the same husband twice) it was even harder to explain but once again, Mom showered me with unconditional love. As I now experience my own children getting married, I hope I never have to have that conversation with them. My husband and I are praying for them that each one of them finds love and happiness and that they do it right the first time.
So what should you do if your child informs you that they are struggling in their marriage and possibly heading towards divorce court? Here are my suggestions:
When I was young and wanted something really bad, I used to cross my fingers. I had no idea why I crossed my fingers, I guess I learned it from my sisters or my friends. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t, but when I didn’t want to take any chances, I crossed them. We may have even made requests of others to keep their fingers crossed. Think about it, how many times have you used the term?
The other reason I have seen individuals cross their fingers is when they are telling a lie or want to invalidate a promise. When telling a lie, individuals will hide their crossed fingers behind their back. Perhaps you have said something you really didn’t mean and protected yourself by keeping your fingers crossed.
So where did the crossing of the fingers come from and should Christians be in the habit of crossing their fingers? Should we be hoping for luck or telling little white lies? I did a little research and what I discovered will have you crossing your fingers more often. Actually, the early Christians crossed their fingers to symbolize the Christian cross to protect themselves from evil. Because Christians felt the cross had power, the crossing of the fingers symbolized the cross to ward off evil. Early Christians also crossed their fingers whenever someone coughed or sneezed, once again to protect themselves from the evil coming out of others. In those days and times there were many plagues as there are diseases today. Sounds like I need to keep my fingers crossed when I am around sick people.
There was one more reason why the early Christians crossed their fingers. During times of persecution, believers didn’t know who to trust. In order to recognize one another they crossed their fingers as a symbol of the cross to recognize whose side they were on. Maybe that’s why we as members of Greek fraternities and sororities, use signs to recognize one another.
Now that we know where the practice of crossing fingers comes from, perhaps we should use the symbol for its original meaning. Back to my original question... Does your marriage need help? Perhaps you should keep your fingers crossed. Satan is attempting to destroy marriage and divine intervention and the symbol of the cross is our only mode of protection. Marriage is divinely ordained and we should do all we can to protect our marriages from those who desire to destroy them. The Bible states in Mark 10:9 (NIV) “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” As marriages are in trouble across the nation we must invoke God’s protection against all of the evils attempting to destroy God’s people. Satan knows if he can destroy families, then he can destroy communities. We must take a stand to seek his help to have strong families and marriages.
How can we protect our marriages from evil? Here are three scriptures that we can use against the evils that attempt to destroy couples.
1. "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."- 1 Peter 4:8"
2. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:12
3. "Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace."- Ephesians 4:2-3
Don’t forget to keep your fingers crossed.
Living in a stepfamily means eventually having step-grandchildren. When I first married my husband, he already had one grandson, so I instantly became a grandmother. When we finally had the chance to meet, his mother introduced me as his grandmother. As I attempted to take on a grandmother role, I realized that our grandson already had three grandmothers who were a part of his life. In addition, he had three grandfathers. Boy, I bet he was good and confused.
Children used to have two sets of grandparents, but now due to divorce and remarriage and children being born out of wedlock, children can have numerous grandparents. If you add in the next generation which would be our parents, the number goes up even more.
Last year two of my husband’s children got married and we added three additional grandchildren to our family. Next year, we gain a new granddaughter. Because our new grandchildren live out of state, we haven’t had the opportunity to get to know them. In fact they may not even recognize us as their grandparents because they only met us once at the wedding. We will have to make an extra effort to get to know them.
In the midst of helping children to adjust to stepfamily life, grandparents can play a positive role in helping children to transition. Grandparents are often great at building family unity can provide some stability to a complicated situation. Grandparents are vital in children’s lives. Since my parents lived out of state, my husband’s parents stood in the gap for us. Here are five ways to be great Step grandparents:
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach