Friday, September 27, 2013

Food for Thought: Loyalty, Trust & Good-Doing

I ran some errands this morning and stopped at a fast-food joint for lunch.   As I ate my lunch and diddled on my iPhone, I overheard the conversation of a 30-something couple in the booth near my table.   

He complained about his wife to the woman across from him.  He didn’t like that she was hanging on to her old sports’ trophies and family mementos from her childhood.   That she wouldn’t combine her bank account with his until just recently—he admitted to his lunch companion that he had been bankrupt.   He complained about the way his wife did things at home, about her job, about her education.   

He also explained to his female companion what a great man and father he was, and how lacking the wife was as a home-maker and as a mother.    He covered a LOT of ground in the short time before they left the diner.   

I felt physically sick throughout my quick little lunch, as I listened to his litany of complaints.   I warred within myself because I really wanted to ask him what he would think if his wife was meeting a man for lunch and speaking about him the way he was speaking about her.   I wanted to ask him why he married her in the first place?   AND I wanted to upbraid the young woman stoking his ego by egging him on and handing him more ammo to lob against his own wife.   

I wanted to, but I didn't--even if he was young enough to be my own son.   Instead I said a prayer for his wife.

As I left the restaurant, I spied the man and woman near my car.   She got into a van with a stick-figure family on the back window.   He got into a sedan with a car-seat in the back seat.  

While driving home, I had time to reflect on my own marriage and how THANKFUL I am for the trusting relationship I have with my husband (of almost-35 years!).    We have our ups and downs, but one thing I know:  
I trust him to always have my back.   How blessed I am to have a husband who wouldn’t DREAM of running me down—never mind going out to lunch with another woman to do so!   

There is, among women, a tendency to think that “sharing” with girlfriends and telling them about hubby’s less-than-stellar moments, well?--that isn’t really gossip because (don't you see?) “we’re just having a heart-to-heart talk to get advice”—after all.   Really?  
This is a “heart issue” which goes back to our motivation.   

Is the sharing really done out of love for the man or to get pity from the friends and make ourselves feel better?    When are we crossing a line from "sharing" into "gossip" and disloyalty?     

Certainly it can be very helpful to get another’s perspective and helpful advice for a problem we’re having at home.    However:  better to be very selective about the friends we consult.   Definitely not in an open group, not in a restaurant with volume on “High” for all near the table to hear, and certainly NOT with a friend of the opposite sex (I don’t care HOW GOOD of a friend he is!!!).   

St. Paul wrote to Titus that the older women should be the ones to teach the younger women to LOVE their husbands and children and by word and example show them how to run their homes in a God-pleasing manner.   AND all of that with the express purpose of giving glory to God.  

So then.  If we follow the logic of Paul’s words, it would make sense that when we need advice, we would consult with an older, wiser and more-experienced Christian woman.     Expecting your “same-age” (or life situation) friends to be able to give solid, God-pleasing advice is like 11-year-olds giving each other advice on how-to-drive a car.    Think about that one.

Loyalty to your husband should be your first thought and putting the “best construction” on his words and actions whenever you get into an argument.  Running to girlfriends and “tattling” on him is back-stabbing and not the “good” we are to do him all the days of our lives—and it adds drama to your life that hurts your marriage.

Proverbs 31 outlines our relationship with our own husband:   “doing him good all the days” of my life and doing my work so that my hubby’s name is exalted rather than my own.     Genesis 2 explains that I was created to be my husband’s helper (not the other way around as the world would have us strive).     Titus 2 explains that maintaining self-control and being kind are also part of my "job" description as a wife.   Harder to do, but worth the effort, especially where our relationship with our own husband is concerned. 

A wife of noble character who can find? .... 

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good not harm ALL the days of her life.
.... Her husband is respected at the city gate, 
where he takes his place among the elders of the land.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; 
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom, and 
faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household 
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed; 
her husband also, and he praises her:
    'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.'

...a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned, and 
let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:30 - 31 NIV

Friday, September 20, 2013

Time Passages (A Song Title, A Noun and a Verb)

For those of you who have wondered "Where has Titus Two Friends been?" I'll tell you.   Back at the end of 2012, I had this BRILLIANT (I thought) Idea--yes, capitalized because it seemed to be that important!--that I should update some things on my blog--earlier in '12 I had changed the blog-look on the advice of a young friend.   AND I wanted to fix a few problems I had on the back-side of the blog.

Seemed like an innocent Idea.  At the time.

So, <cue the eerie music that foreshadows horror & disaster for our brave heroine> I went to work behind-the-scenes and started my little "fixing" stuff.   

Tweak.  Click.   Zip!   Zing!  Pow!   Click.  Tweak.  Mmmm?  Yep.

Well, there I was with things "fixed" (or so I thought) and a few more left to do.   Several days later I "tried" to go back in to write a new blog-post and --what is this?-- I couldn't get "in."  Knock!  Knock!    I mean, I couldn't even FIND the little button that blog-owners use to get IN to their own account.   


That was irritating, but oh well, I was in a hurry to do something else, too, so I got side-tracked, and each day went by and my blog fell further and further behind.  I "meant" to get back to it--but real life has a way of intervening with "more important" stuff like meals and laundry and family responsibilities.   

Time.  It flies.   

I'd catch myself thinking "I should write about this," and then remember I was stuck outside the door without a key and oopsie daisy--real life again would call:  YOOOHOOO!--and I'd forget about it again.

Then just recently, I got an email from Google mail, and--what is this?--miracle of miracles!   Hello?   I completely forgot that I had changed the email associated with my blog-account.   Well, that explained why I couldn't even SEE the back door knob, never mind having a KEY to get in!   HA!   I can be SUCH a nitwit at times.   Short memory, too.  But that's a whole other topic!

Anyway...I am working now to restore things to what I used to have on my blog--no more sleek, trimmed to the lean look.   That's not me.     

But restoring the pages and gadgets takes time.  

And TIME is what I wanted to talk about today.   Somehow when I was younger I thought I'll have MORE time when I get older.   But no, that hasn't been true.  If anything I feel it rushing away, between my fingers, much faster now than ever before.   

Rushing to do this.   And that.  Hustling between daily chores that really aren't URGENT!  but feeling like I have a TIME CRUNCH bearing down on me!    Being irritated when "little" things prevent me from getting done with a boring chore, because there's something else I'd RATHER be doing instead.   And then biting off the head of a loved one because I'm irritated.  

Compounding and pressing in on all sides.   

Some (most!?) of my busy-ness comes from the bushel-basket of activities of my own making.   All of them "good" and even mostly "meaningful" in their own right.  Plus I work part-TIME.  And that's a necessity.

But a LOT of busy-ness comes from getting carried away and forgetting my PRIORITIES.   When I feel the most harried and harrassed by TIME nipping at my heels is when I stupidly 'allow' myself to get side-tracked with silly-ness.   Like playing too many games-in-a-row on my iPhone.   Or caught up with social media-izing on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest.    Ad nauseum.   Total fail.  

Actually?  I've been pretty good about sticking to my resolution to continue my daily Bible reading each morning.  But honestly?  On the days when other stuff crowds in and I fail to sit down in the morning to read my Bible?   I feel like I've been cheating on God--the lover of my soul.   Almost without fail, the remainder of my day is marred by pushing God away.  

Would you DREAM of saying this to Him?  "Hey, God.  Not today.  Okay?  Because my other stuff is more important than this half-hour with You.  And seriously, God?  You expect me to get up even EARLIER so that You can talk to me through Your Word?   I'm too tired for You.  I need to sleep much more than I need some wisdom from You.  Go away."

I won't say THAT (^above) because I actually LIKE getting up in the morning!  AND I really LOVE my morning routine (brush teeth, dress, cappuccino, Bible reading, then GO!).    But I HAVE let some pretty inane stuff push Godly living OFF my list a few times in the MIDDLE of my day!   I don't even want to tell you how bad it can be sometimes.  

So.   Whatever it is for you or me, we all could use a sort-of mid-year kick in the britches reminder:   

keep those priorities straight.  

  • If "make good food for the family" was on your PRIORITY list on January 1, and you're not doing that, figure out what IS stopping you.  Fix it.  

  • If "get more exercise" was the goal, then cut out a half-hour of sitting & watching TV or reading blogs (but not mine!) and go walking.   
  • If "read my Bible daily" was on your New Year's Resolutions, add it into your schedule, your "To Do" list for the day.   

Re-resolve to STICK WITH THE PLAN!  

Ask God to bless your daily work.   Because He LOVES to bless His children.   

And You--my dear friend--are a Daughter of the King.     

There is a time for everything
and a season for every activity under Heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot
... to kill and ... to heal,
... to tear down and ... to build,
... to weep and ... to laugh,
... to mourn and ... to dance,
... to scatter stones and ... gather them,
... to embrace and ... to refrain,
... to search and ... give up,
... to keep and ... to throw away,
... to tear and ... to mend,
... to be silent and a time to speak,
... to love ... and to hate,
... for war and ... for peace.
Eccelsiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

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