The three-legged race 


                                                                                   

The Lord, Jesus Christ  spoke to me the other night, as I settled down to sleep. He said,”marriage is like a three-legged race. You look and see two people, but I’m right there with the couple.” I wondered how and He answered, ” I Am the bond that holds them together, that keeps them strong. In my minds eye, the image of a couple hobbling along, with their legs bound at their ankles came into full view.  As I looked at the couple’s legs more closely, I realized they had just begun the race, hobbling, struggling to find their rhythm. The wife took smaller strides, as her husband took bigger ones, urging her on. After a few minutes, they find a common pace and rythm and begin to move with ease. Their bound, the couple’s legs moving in unison, now bold and strong. I sensed them smiling. Then I suddenly realize, this is one of many couples, finding their way, moving in the same general direction. Some are at their beginning of their race, others have been in the race for years, possibly decades.

As I watched the couple hobble along, their joint action made them stronger. A strong stride. Immediately, the truth settled over me. Their strength and act of unity, comes from the source of love, direct from the Author of Love, God Himself. He guides them effortlessly, their ease of movement eliciting joy and greater love. I sensed the Lord tell me, it is My Love that keeps them going. It is My Love that they share and are walking out now. The joy in the atmosphere is evident, and so is their love for one another.

I smile, thinking how complicated we make things. Marriage is possibly the most complicated thing in any society. Watching these couples willingly join in the race and keep going, brings the realisation how simple it is, if we allow the third strand, that is Christ Jesus, be our Guide, our Hope.  This lovely conversation with Jesus gives me so much hope and joy. Knowing we have God offering His leadership and direction, the weight of marriage becomes an easy burden, light and refreshing. It is no longer a chore or a duty. There is a lightness and a joy that comes with a sense of adventure. This is going to be so much fun!

Is there anything I can pray for you, regarding your marriage? Let me know. I would love to hear from you. You can send your prayer request to:  biashara1 [at] zoho [dot] com

May God bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

Advertisements

The man she thought she loved


Clara struggles against the urge to wake up. She wills herself to sleep at about four in the morning. She rolls onto her other side, yawns and stretches out onto her back. She dreads waking early and is too tired to sit up, keeping her eyes shut and forcing herself to daydream instead.

Her sleepless husband, already awake and watching the news in the living room, ready to will the world to his prescribed changes. All the lights between their bedroom, stairs and living room blazing. Clara groans and lies on her left side, eyelids fluttering, as she makes out the curtains before her. Why must he lose sleep at all-hours, she wonders. She worries for his health.

Andrew zaps across several news channels, trying to balance what is happening in Europe, the United States and the rest of the world. His mind, blank with exhaustion, emits that tiresome hum. For the past few days, the hum is audible in his ears. He fears the worst, but is too tired to worry, care or do something about it. As with everything else, he withholds this information from Clara.

Clara looks back over the twenty odd years they shared together. She wonders why Andrew’s insomnia takes a turn for the worse at this time of year. He eats more, sleeps less, seems lost and indifferent to his surroundings and once a new challenge arises at work, he tunes back in, smiling, chatty, laughing and loving. Clara cries out to God for clarity in this area of their lives. Talking to Andrew about it, is like drawing blood from a stone. She prays, relishing the calm and peace God ushers into her heart.

Andrew watches more early morning news, focusing on the human stories and intermittently honing in on certain political stories. He gets up onto his feet and petulantly starts his stretch routine. His eyes stare blankly, his heart cold and uncaring. He is fine, he reassures himself, after all, he walks, talks and gets his job done. He mentally wrestles with the curious looks he gets from his wife and children, followed by a dozen questions.

Clara wonders if this is the day she should insist on therapy for him. Odd behavior, like watching melodrama, foreign soaps and wedding shows is clearly uncharacteristic of Andrew. He denies any knowledge of it. He thinks it is developing a fun side to his personality. Clara is certain he is going through a mid-life crisis. She stirs herself, staggering out if bed to the bathroom. She catches her reflection in the mirror, dreading to see the dark circles under her eyes. Much improved, she smiles at her image, delighted at her progress.

Andrew completes a no-perspiration regime and practically kicks the door to their bedroom. His actions fail to line up with his thought and he mechanically heads to the shower. He is silent, staring and intent on completing the second task of the day. The humming in his mind begins to die down in the shower. The relief of the warm water, temporarily drowning out his sorrow, washing away his pain,

The man she never knew


Ada married young. Her husband, seven years her senior treated her like a child. She loved him at any rate and set about building a family with Davis.  The fifth in a family of eight, Ada relived her middle child experiences and vowed to make her voice heard and eventually make something of herself. In contrast, her husband, Davis, a bright, young doctor relished the prospects of his career and worked long hours to secure his future. He was a third-born, who usurped the place of his elder twin siblings. There was never a moment to lose in his life.

Ada trained as a teacher and loved her training of future teachers.  She rose bright and early, spoiling her husband daiky, with a western diet of bacon, sausage and eggs.  Life in their newly independent nation offered choice, right down to diet and Ada made sure they could keep up with new trends.  She stitched her own clothes, while encouraging him to buy the best in the shops.  He dressed like a dandy on weekends,  looking more like a narcissistic model.  Not to be left behind, Ada took the trouble to hot-comb her hair every Friday afternoon and press her best dresses for the weekend.

Within their first giddy year of marriage, they became pregnant.  Davis was none too impressed but suppressed his angst, while he kissed and hugged his bubbly wife.  His concern  for his work hours and the time commitment a child would need. Ada, oblivious to his true feelings, planned, chatted animatedly and prepared for the baby.  Davis eventually cooled to the idea and hoped for a boy.  Ada secretly hoped for a girl.

Soon, his long hours and the strain of waiting up for Davis began to show.  He had never carried keys and believed it to be a wife’s duty to welcome him home all hours, then warm up his supper, serving him and waiting on him as he ate.  She smiled her way through it the first few times, eager to please but teetering on the brink of serious concern.  Her own father and his, had cared enough to keep and carry house keys in their time, in spite of the cultural practices of the day.  She fretted over this, unwilling to hold a frank discussion about their marriage, to keep the peace. Davis revelled in her over-submissive attitude and gradually shifted to a more conservative position in their marriage.  He loved the power to do so and worked harder to maintain his dominance at home.

As the months went by, Ada saw less of her friends, choosing to handle her worries alone. She withdrew from her vivacious, bright and cheerful co-trainers, eating her cares away.  Her slender figure, now much enlarged, shocked her husband, who chose to keep away from her in silent disgust.  She began to cry herself to sleep. Davis spoke to her, reassuring her daily, that all new mothers dealth with frequent worry and anxiety.  The more he spoke, the greater her fears became.

When her water broke, one Saturday afternoon, Ada found herself alone at home, with Davis unreachable at the hospital. She calmly called a taxi and asked her neighbour to accompany her. Davis failed her calls and Ada busied herself with getting to the hospital, assuming he had a medical emergency. Martha, her neighbour soothed and encouraged Ada to remain calm and soon arrived at the hospital, closest to home, a good thirty kilometres away.   She had the baby within the hour, with Martha at her side.

Davis had taken the day off, to watch a football match on the other side of town and had neglected to tell Ada.  He sensed something had happened but eased back into the gregarious company of his friends he rarely saw. After the match, they went out for roast meat and some beers. Davis unwound in the camaraderie and arrived home late into the night.  Martha, the neighbour, heard him knock at his own door, and rushed out to hand him his house keys. He took them without so much as a thank you, lumbered in and promptly passed out on the bed.

He woke up at 10 in the morning, just as Martha knocked on their door, informing him that his wife had their baby and she herself was on her way to visit. He raised one hand to his throbbing head, slurred his thanks, rubbed his eyes and rolled back into bed, falling asleep once more.

Davis woke up with a start, just after 2 in the afternoon, after a vivid dream about his wife and baby. He rolled out of bed, unsteady on his feet, as he hunted for the telephone. He called a friend, unsure of hjs sobriety, pleading anxiously for a lift to the hospital. He cried as he tried to make sense of how callous his actions were, fearing the hurt he would cause his wife.

Ada heard the nurses whispering and wondering where her doctor-husband could be, after placing calls to his place of work and their home half the night. She cooed over her very sleepy baby, kissing her at every turn, willing herself to ignore the gossip. The nurses in turn, treated her with pity, now certain this young mother and child had been abandoned.

Davis arrived at the maternity ward flustered,  half running and half walking in. His friend cackled all the way to the door of the ward, at his expense, when finally, Davis hissed at him, ordering to him stop and wait outside. The nurses at the station, appalled at the sight, exchanged glances and watched the scene unfold. Davis paused at the door, recollected himself, then strode in, head held up, flowers wilting in his hand.

Ada looked up from the baby and teared. Davis leaned forward to kiss her head,  his arms around her, shoulders slumped as he teared up as well.  They cried for a few minutes and the baby girl moved, seeking to feed. Ada raised her, to meet her father.  Davis’s eyes widened in wonder and amazement, as he picked up the precious bundle of love.  Ada began to cry.  Davis kissed their daughter, speaking gently to welcome her into the world. She cried because of the questions she silently raised these last few months.  She cried in anger at the stranger she married. She cried for their baby, their future uncertain. Davis broke down, telling Ada wahat had transpired. She, in turn listened, forgiving all, willing herself to re-build their connection.  Tensions cast aside, they chatted amicably for the next hour, resolute about their future, silently differing questioning and wondering what the next phase will bring.

Keep them close!


old couple smack on the cheekFamily can be exasperating.  No matter, we love them anyway and endure life’s journey with their support.  Family.  God’s gift to us: just because He loves us so much.  Family – you are loved!

pope francis kisses babyPope Francis really kisses the babies on his walkabouts in the crowds.  He kisses the infirm and hugs those in need of a hug.  What a change to the papacy and the face of the Roman Catholic Church.  As an Evangelical, this is something I never expected in my lifetime.  Too cynical for my own good, after years of studying Church history through the ages. God is clearly at work here and the world is stunned but blessed.

love on youOh to be love and love right back!  Incomparable joy!  We need to keep family and friends close – loving them as we expect to be love, exceeding expectations where we can.  Why?  It is God’s idea and the best script to follow!  He loved us first before we could understand His love – indescribable, unfailing, unfathomable, unwavering and all-conquering, every day!

sunset kissThis Thanksgiving weekend, remember to love.  Keep them close and they will keep coming back to love you!

Thanksgiving

Keep them close.

 

Thankful in praise


Thankful in praise

How can I ever thank you, Lord? What a wonderful and awesome sacrifice you paid on the Cross. So I will lift my voice in praise and song; all day long. As night draws near, fill my heart with prayer. As I arise the next day, help my spirit greet Yours in praise and prayer. May my days bless you from minute to minute as I think on the love you give so freely to each and every one of us. Help me Lord to remember You are there and worthy of my eternal praise!

True Love, indeed!


Image

“Love is not a selfish need.  It is not a hunger we feed.  What kind of love pushes away those around us?  What kind of love is it to be alone?”, -Dorcas Lane, Lark Rise to Candleford – BBC One costume drama.

Image

As a costume drama buff, I hope you will forgive me for ‘this one weakness!’

If God loves us unconditionally and seemingly unredeemable as we are, then why do we as humans find it so difficult to love others for who they are? We attended a ‘Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage’ session today and I cannot remember when I last laughed so hard at a subject that generally fails to elicit a giggle, unless discussed in private.  Mark Gungor expounded on how the world is loving and it was alarming to learn about the increase in pornography, especially among women; not that the figures among men decline.  This world is so lost and cruel, we promote porn and self-love to teens and expect they should mature into loving people, and eventually produce loving children.

The rise of individualism, coupled with globalism perpetuate these myths.  The problem with a lie is that you can say over and over again, but no truth is ever established.  And I thank God the same applies to gossip!  Worth a giggle, I think.  The Bible, our eternal road map advises us thus:

Proverbs 4:23 ESVKeep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Do we have hope – yes!  Lots of it!  We have God who is all love, the source and giver of love.  If we would only take time to visit His word and review what He created us for – to love and be loved – then take a deep interest in how that love is to be expressed, then half the man-woman troubles we dread would be gone in days – banished!  Have we lost our way, well yes, when we invite novels that over-romanticize relationships and give women a false self image and hazy picture on men.  Tele-novellas perpetuate the same thing and we do need to pray and ask God what He would have us read and watch. One of my Bible-teachers told us she sought God’s opinion on her daily choice of clothes.  If appearance matters to God, then why not our reading and viewing?

The trouble is that the flesh-man resists, to the point of rebellion, warring with the spirit-man about obedience.

1 Samuel 15:22

New International Version (NIV)

22 But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Image

If my obedience is about loving God and demonstrating it daily, then I  can make my choice – to love and obey.  I really see that love is all I need if I want to love, serve and honour God.  I can further bless Him by loving those He has placed in my life and spend my life unravelling the wonderful and colourful mysteries of love!

ImageImage