Two Are Better Than One

Today is my wedding anniversary. As I reflect back on 42 years of marriage I am thankful for my husband and the way our relationship has refined us.

There have been seasons in our marriage. At first we had to learn to live with each other. Children came early in our marriage, and we helped each other parent. When our son developed leukemia we worked hard as a team to support him and get the medical care he needed.

That was followed by a season of grief. Our marriage had been drained of energy and we needed to begin again.

God has been faithful in guiding us and renewing our love.

We have been blessed to see each of our adult children marry. We are thankful for the son-in-laws and daughter-in-law that have increased our family joy.

Now we are grandparents, fully enjoying the blessing of family. Through the years we have learned about ourselves and each other. We know each other’s strength and weaknesses. We have helped our spouse to make changes.

My husband has helped me react to situations with greater patience and thought. I once wrote an angry letter and mailed it immediately. After discussing it with my husband I was ashamed. I went back to the mailbox and inserted a colorful note, requesting that postman send the letter back to my return address. To my amazement and relief the letter came back to me.

We have different ways of doing things—even the simple task of making coffee. While I will measure the coffee grounds after grinding the coffee beans (8 tablespoons for 11 cups of water), my husband puts a generous amount of beans in the grinder. Then he dumps all the ground coffee into the filter lined basket.

He is certain that he has the right amount. He adds a dash of salt (my suggestion) and some cardamon seeds (again, my suggestion) and turns the brew on. I am thankful to have fresh brewed coffee ready every morning. Sunday mornings he brings me a cup with cream and coconut oil when I am still in bed. 

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10a

Marriage

If you are married, how has marriage refined you? If you are single, do you have a friend that challenges you and encourages you to develop new perspectives?

This post is part of #Write28Days.

Jesus and the Family

This advent season we have attended beautiful concerts. Our grandchildren participated in a Christmas program at their church. The fours & fives sang Away in a Manger. Older children read scripture and sang additional Christmas carols. Advent is a time to share the celebration of Christ’s birth with others. 

I have been writing Christmas cards and receiving messages from friends that date back to my high school and college days. Our friendship continues.

Christmas is a time that ties family and friends together. And yet, some of the deepest pain comes from loss and broken relationships during the holidays.

God sent Jesus to an imperfect human family. This is significant. Jesus lived a sinless life in a human family and then offered himself as payment for our sin. He offers us salvation and the opportunity to become a member of God’s family . . . forever!


Nativity

When we reflect on this truth we see God’s great love for us and find the joy of Christmas.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46: 10

The prompt for the Five Minute Friday community is: STILL

Live in Harmony

It’s Friday and the prompt for Five Minute Friday is: AGREE. We write for five minutes on the prompt that Kate Motaung gives. Sometimes I go over the time limit but I try to stay within five minutes.

Marriage provides the opportunity for personal growth, for learning how to work through disagreements. My husband and I agree on many things, but at times we have disagreements.

We have learned about the importance of listening to each other. We have come to appreciate our different perspectives. We are both being refined.

Here is a simple illustration. My technique for chopping walnuts has been to place the walnuts in a plastic bag and pound them with a rolling pin. Since my husband is now retired he is in the kitchen more often and was upset by the pounding.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m chopping walnuts.”

“Why are you doing it like that?”

“I have always done it like this. My mother chopped nuts like this.”

“The noise hurts my ears.”

“I’ll try to do it while you’re not around.”

Not long after my husband came home with a nut chopper—a glass jar with a plunger that has sharp blades. My immediate reaction was that I didn’t need it. But I have tried it out and I like it. I now chop walnuts with this nice device.

Amazing Microbiome

// My women’s Bible study is studying the book of Romans. We are now on chapter twelve and it includes wise instruction on relationships.

Live in harmony with one another. Romans 12:16

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A Diatribe on the Kelly File

Megyn Kelly’s diatribe at Newt Gingrich on the Kelly File illustrates a     festering wound in our culture. The sexual revolution that endorses sex outside of marriage has hurt many women. Feminists have embraced an idea of equality that does not take into account the differences in nature that men and women possess. What would the early feminists think about our progress?

The early feminist movement addressed issues important to the respect of women. Hilary Clinton mentioned the Seneca Falls Convention in a speech she gave. The convention took place in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. It is informative to learn a little about the early feminists.

The most well known were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, daughter of a lawyer, and Lucretia Mott, a Quaker. The three other women were also part of the Quaker community: Martha Wright (Lucretia’s sister), Mary Ann M’Clintock and Jane Hunt. Each was married and had children. This group of five women organized the first women’s right convention.

They were concerned about educational opportunities for women, the right of a woman to own property, the right to her own children, the right to vote, the right to decent jobs.* Together they wrote the Declaration of Sentiments. Elizabeth Cady Stanton made the final revision of the document. She wrote: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal**. At the convention 100 people signed it.

Today women in the United States enjoy freedom and opportunity. We can applaud many of the changes that have taken place.  The focus on    reproductive rights, that Hilary Clinton constantly mentions, did not fit in the perspective of these early feminists. They were pro-life and pro-family.

In the publication, Revolution, Stanton wrote: The strongest feeling of a true woman’s nature is her love for her child; and the startling facts in the above extract [NY times article on infanticide], multiplying as they are on every side, warn us that all things are inverted. Objectors cry out to us who demand our rights, and the ballot to secure them, “Do not unsex yourselves.” It is against this wholesale unsexing that we wage our war.

We are living today under a dynasty of force; the masculine force is everywhere overpowering the feminine, and crushing women and children alike beneath its feet. Let women assert herself in all her native purity, dignity and strength, and end this wholesale suffering and murder of helpless children. With centuries of degradation, we have so little of true womanhood, that the world has but the faintest glimmering of what a woman should be.***

The hope of these women was that marriage would be strengthened by equal participation in the marriage covenant. They were against the abuse of women by men. They promoted education and protection of their right to their children. They acknowledged the nurturing nature of women.

Reproductive rights have not improved overall respect for women’s feminine nature. The availability of the pill and abortion has not reduced the abuse of women, but instead made it easier for abuse to take place without consequence. When Planned Parenthood neglects to pursue charges against a man who brings a teenager, a minor, in for an abortion, that perpetuates the abuse.

Many women today have more in common with the early feminists than with Hilary Clinton. We would prefer to pursue improved education on women’s health and fertility. We would like young women and poor women to have alternatives to abortion, the support that they need during a difficult time. We would like all women to be informed of the risks and side effects of hormonal contraception and abortion.

True reconciliation between men and women comes by following the Bible’s principles for healthy living. The Bible teaches love and respect in the marriage relationship. When we believe Jesus (we are all sinners needing forgiveness) and follow his ways we are able to forgive and love.

marriage

Women are speaking up for healthy relationships at Women Speak for Themselves.

*Cady Stanton, Elizabeth and others, eds., 6 vols., History of Woman Suffrage, New York: Fowler & Wells, 1881-1922, 1:70-71

**Oakley, Mary Ann, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, New York: The Feminist Press, 1972.

Sharing this post with Thought Provoking Thursday and Christian Blogger

Spiritual Mothering: Book Review

L of L

Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt was published in 1992. I have had it on my shelf for a while, but the time was right for me to read it now. I have enjoyed the examples of relationships provided in the book. The purpose of the book is to shine a light on relationships between women that lead to a growing faith and maturity.

Each chapter is preceded by a real life example of a relationship.  The lessons are  developed from the example. Biblical women and scripture verses are included. The beautiful relationship between Mary and Elizabeth is referred to in several chapters.

The Visitation by Philippe De Champaigne
The Visitation by Philippe De Champaigne

The  chapter on  forgiveness  highlights  Abigail, the wife of Nabal. Her story is told in the 25th chapter of 1 Samuel.    From Susan Hunt’s  perspective, Abigail had an attitude of forgiveness toward her rude husband who was prone to drunkenness. She was free to focus on the dramatic events when David, the future king of Israel, was requesting food for his men.

I had never thought of Abigail in that way. It is true that a forgiving heart has freedom. An attitude of unforgiveness/bitterness is a burden that impacts relationships negatively.

The  book  points  out  the value of women’s  relationships  and the   potential for mentoring. In our culture we have much busyness and competition between women. The loving encouragement in a friendship, modeled by Mary and Elizabeth, is a gift. This is a season of life when I am thinking more about the way I relate to younger women.

As  the  book concluded I thought about the pattern  of  a one-on-one  relationship—the intensity of this manner of mentoring. A few years ago I participated  in  a discipleship group with two other women.    Although I led the group, we were learning and growing together. We shared our lives and challenges with transparency. We prayed for each other. We all benefited.

I am blessed to have two daughters and one daughter-in-law. It was wonderful to spend four days, all together, during the holidays. We have good relationships and will continue to learn from each other.

This book makes the point that a woman does not need  to  have  a   biological daughter to have a mentoring relationship; she doesn’t need to be a certain age. A godly woman can bless a younger woman by taking an interest in her and making herself available. The book is organized for group study, with discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I recommend it!

Linking with Make My Saturday SweetLiteracy Musing Monday,  Essential FridaysGrace & Truth,  Faith Filled Friday, Friendship Friday,  Booknificent Thursday and Thought Provoking Thursday