Chapter 27 – Clearing the air!


April 11, 1975“Why do men and women try to control each other early in their marriages?”  We know first hand because this happened to us!  When we met, we were traveling and neither really had a place we could call home.  Bill had been living in his dream town, Jacksonville, Florida when he left it and all to join “Christ is the Answer” ministry.  I also gave up all my belongings, dropped out of college in Norfolk, Virginia and also joined the ministry.

Long story short, we met, fell in love, left the ministry and got married.  Our first decision, aside from the wedding date, was where to live.

Bill, of course, wanted to return to Jacksonville.  While initially the idea sounded good to me, we actually visited there before we married, to see his friends and let them know about our wedding.  Bill also visited my home town and I visited his, both staying in our childhood homes and meeting each others parents.

I don’t know why, but I bluntly said I couldn’t live in a state where we had no family.  His response was, “Fine, we will live in Irwin.”  His home town.  He actually happily left Irwin and moved to Jacksonville because he hated the cold weather.  I said it was not so cold in my home town, but he insisted his parents could help us get started in life so off we went after our honeymoon!  It only took him two years to decide to move south and actually more to a beach area (we both love the beach), and not far from my parents.  So why did he insist we move to where he hated the weather?  In later years, he would confess, if he couldn’t have his way, why should I have my way!

We recently began reminiscing, a lot! A friend recently posted this long-lost photo of our wedding day on Facebook.  Our photographer, who had been my boss, offered to take the pictures and make us an album as our wedding gift.  Sadly, he said the pictures must have been lost in the mail as I never received them.  He claimed he mailed them to me.

Coincidently, we also recently attended a “Happy Together 2013 Tour” in Clearwater, FL.  What a great time of memories as we relived our teen years with about 2,000 others over the age of 60.

These two events caused us to reflect back on our dating and early married years.  Good memories flooded over us all weekend and we had a great time.  We are now in the stage of life where we are spending more and more time together.

After learning of some problems with a newly wed couple, we began to talk about our first “battle” of the wills.  We never really fought, only when we were going through the divorce process.  But we did try to win our way by manipulating each other.  The most evident battle was our first decision on where to live.

So our conclusion to this conversation.  Bill said if only I had said to him, “I only have one year of college left.  Why not live in Norfolk (or Virginia Beach) until I finished college.  Then we could decide where to live.”  Had I taken that approach, he may not have responded as immaturely has he did.  I had to think about it and concluded, I was just afraid of living in a new state, not having any family around with a man I only knew for a few months.  I couldn’t think clearly and he certainly was not looking long-term at what was best for our relationship!

We did not search for God’s response to our dilemma as to where to live.  The Bible clearly tells us: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

We simply never sought Godly counsel.  That is the way of American Culture.  If there is a moral to this story, it is to seek Godly counsel whenever you need to make a major decision!

Thankfully, the Bible also has a wonderful scripture that helps us accept our past mistakes:  Romans 8:28 …”And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

For more wisdom on how to make good decisions, visit here:  http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/7-step-biblical-decision-making-process/

Chapter 25 – Forgiveness


forgiveness-hug-300x280The topic of forgiveness has been consuming me these past several days.  We still are in awe we were able to forgive each other for the travesty in our own marriage.   We truly count our blessings and cherish each other all the more as we are witnessing so many passing from this life into eternity.  As we were recently reminded, life can end in a flash.  The 34-year-old son of friends was killed as the result of a car wreck.  We can’t fathom the grief or tragedy this family is now enduring.  But we do know there was a lot of love in the family and that it had been reciprocated in kind for years!  This helped our resolve that we want to live our lives to the fullest and not have any un-forgiveness in our hearts.

This is what I learned the other day:  It is really HARD for us mortals to forgive each other;  however, our LORD forgives us instantaneously, as soon as we ask HIM to forgive us, it is done!  1 John 1:9 says,  If we confess our  sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It is that simple!

I have been blessed to experience it instantly by a man (Bill) and by our LORD (constantly).  There is nothing so sweet as being forgiven when you are the one who committed the offense!  So for some, this may be a “so what moment?”  For me, how the LORD knit this together in my heart, mind and soul was interesting.

I know the sweetness of forgiveness because I was the one who initiated our divorce, the one who ended our marriage and tore our family apart.  You can read our numerous blogs about how God caught my attention and brought about the reconciliation of our marriage (most recently relived in our Tribute to Larry Hurst).  But yet, this is a new revelation to me!  Here are three circumstances that helped me come to a new truth:

1.  Our church is going through a transition as our Pastor resigned about 8 months ago, so we are in the process of calling a new Pastor.   This is our (Bill and Debbie) first time to go through something like this.  And we have learned there is no way around it, people get hurt when a pastor leaves, no matter the circumstances.  So our congregation needed to hear some healing messages.  We have had a variety of guest pastors preaching the Word each Sunday.  Several preached on the subject of forgiveness (and in fact our Pastoral Candidate taught on this subject in Sunday School as he was candidating).  We know these messages were so important and well received, if nothing else, by us!  So I am sure these great sermons and teachings began to work in my heart and mind to focus on this topic.  I know they are also making Bill think!

2.  Recently, Matthew West came out with the song, Forgiveness, which has an amazing and interesting testimony behind it.  In case you don’t know, it is about how a mother forgave a young man (age 24) who killed one of her daughters (20 years old and her friend) while driving under the influence of alcohol.  I recently heard the full testimony (listen to the clip in the link to Forgiveness and look for the video) of the mother.  As a mother of an only child, a beautiful daughter, my heart was deeply moved by this mother’s story.  In fact, my heart was pierced to the core by this story.  It seems every time I turned on the radio, this song was playing!  Maybe that is why I am also consumed by the topic of Forgiveness!

3.  This year I am again reading the Bible cover to cover on a daily basis, in chronological order (my second time reading it this way,  but in a different version this MyBibleyear).   I just finished the book of Genesis (with a side reading of the book of Job).  I love how I can read the same chapters year after year and each time something new pops out.  This time, it was about forgiveness!  The reading really got to me and it took me a few minutes to connect the dots!  Is this message for me (am I carrying unresolved forgiveness) or is God using me to reach someone?  It was heavy reading and I kept mulling it around….Lord, what do I need to take from this? Where do I need to apply it?

My revelation began as I was re-reading Genesis Chapters 41-45, about the life of Joseph, the son Jacob (Israel) favored.  Remember the story of the “Coat of Many Colors?”  “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors.”  (Genesis 37:3).  Here is a quick recap where Joseph’s life continues, from Genesis 41-45:  His brothers not only hated him because of the coat (and his father’s favor) but a dream Joseph had, they would one day bow down to him.  So his brothers sold him into slavery but told their dad he must have been killed by an animal as they found the coat shredded and full of blood.  He was then falsely accused of assaulting the wife of his owner and subsequently served years in prison.  Finally he is redeemed by his God-given gifts.  He ends up becoming second in command to Pharaoh and is put in charge of all the grain in the land, knowing a great famine is coming.  And when the famine began to affect his father and brothers, they went to buy precious grain from their brother – unbeknownst to them.  Joseph instantly recognized them, but they did not know who he was.  He was able to keep his “secret” from them for a time and put his brothers through some cruel hoops….and then it hit me!  What did it take for Joseph to forgive his brothers?  Think about it.  You suffer for years about what someone has done to you only to see that bad turn into good!  You are now second in command of a great country!  He has not seen his brothers for over 20 years and they come to him for food.  He  knew one day they would bow to him, but he played with them instead of accepting reality!  The way Joseph behaved was more surprising this time I read about him.  Look at his victorious life!  He has risen as high as a man could possibly go in his position, he had great power and authority.  I had to look into the commentaries to see what was going on.  It just didn’t stand out to me.  How could he be so cruel to his brothers?  I learned he needed to test their sincerity!  And then my immediate remembrance!

When Bill and I had our “moment” at the foot of the cross and forgave each other, I couldn’t immediately reconcile!  I had to “test” Bill’s sincerity and made him wait nearly eight months before I would consider remarrying him! And since that day, we have continued to forgive each other for our faults and foibles!  So how wonderful to see this picture, but Ruth Graham Bell posted on Facebook…and below it is my conclusion.

Used by permissionwww.PeaceBeWithU.com

Used by permission
www.PeaceBeWithU.com

I finished Genesis today (Jan 29, 2013).  I kept waiting to read some very well known scriptures.  Since I am in a different version, I thought maybe I missed it!  But alas, here it is near the end of Genesis, I finally read one of my some of my favorite verse in Genesis 50:

 15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’  And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. 21 So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.”  So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. 

Finally, a human being could show instant forgiveness, as soon as he knew it was according to God’s plan all along!

(For more about the life of Joseph, whom many see the foretelling of Jesus in this story and the redemption of mankind, here is another blog with it in great details.  It is told in three parts, Chapters 25-27:  http://injil.org/TWOR/25.html)

Chapter 8 “Being married to you is like riding a bull!”


I love my husband so much! He is so funny! My next post was going to be called, “the good, the bad, the ugly.” But life this morning was just too cool, and a preview of the good, the bad and the ugly, so I have to share a quick blog.

I remember the first Marriage Bible study we took was under Rev. Paige Young and his wife Sibby at Ferry Farm Baptist Church.  They became our role models! Anyway one block was on learning to describe your marriage through illustrations ( Jesus taught by parables because our human brains can’t grasp how deep and wide His love and creation is). Bill said I was like a bulldozer!!! Can you imagine how I felt? He quickly added, “in a good way!” He then went on to compliment me on how I get things done! Phew, I was worried for a few minutes.

So fast forward to todays wild bull ride. I had a flight scheduled to be with our daughter for three days. We live in Florida and she is in Virginia. So we cherish our precious time together. I checked in on-line last night and was about to walk out the door to drive myself to the Orlando airport at 9:15. My flight departed at 1:00 pm and I would arrive in Richmond at 3. My sister was going to drive up from Tidewater to meet us, shop a bit, go to dinner, then attend a special meeting with Jessica. She was going to share some major accomplishments in her life! Wow, what mom wouldn’t want to be there?

My husband is not into much computing. He does enjoy on-line Sudoko and does some research for things like vacations, cheap tools, or as the president of our Deacons this term, looking for parts to change our nursery cribs from drop down fronts, now illegal, to stop the drop. He has a junk email account and only goes in it periodically.

As I was scurrying around to leave, he was relaxing (or as he may admit, staying out of my way) he checked his account. He saw it and thought it was junk, then took a second look: “Debbie, your flight was cancelled and you are now booked to fly tomorrow!” I said, “don’t joke with me.” (Why on earth would this important news go to his account that he hardly uses???)

He hates it when we are apart! I looked at it and called the airline. Yep it was true! So instead of being a bulldozer, I became a wild bull! For the next hour he witnessed my highs and lows as I tried to get another flight!

I posted a prayer request on Facebook while on hold. I needed a miracle and to be CALM. Ok, I got my miracle but I was hardly calm! I can’t begin to write all the scenarios, but I said I would pay any price to get there on time! Bill was praying I cancel the whole trip or at least not spend money we did not have budgeted!

We are now driving to Ft. Lauderdale. Bill said he could drop me off so I could make my 1:38 flight time! I’ll just be in 40 minutes later, but still able to have dinner and attend the meeting! No time to shop and the flight was discounted for all my hassles (I had to get a supervisor after it looked impossible to get me there.)

So I am praising God for yet another miracle in my life!

Thank you my Heavenly Father for your mercy and good gifts!

Please pray for Bills safe trip home. He has a doctor appointment this afternoon. It is abouta 5 hour round trip for him!

PS – Today is August 22, 2011.  How funny that this was one of my most read posts!  And many wanted to know, how did the trip go.  First, Bill made it safely to the doctor’s office and all was good for him (just to check on a spot).  My flight was the smoothest ever!  I made it with only minutes to spare, and because, the plane coming in was a bit late!  I arrived at the gate at 1:13 and the doors wer to close at 1:15!  They had not started to board!  Thank you LORD for your mercy!  My sister, daughter and I had a wonderful evening together!  Jessica and I seem to wear each other out, so on the way to the airport Thursday, once again, we are playing beat the clock!  AGAIN, only minutes to spare!  As we are fighting through traffic to get there on time, she says, “Don’t worry mom, I WILL get you there on time!”  LOL!  We did, again, with only a few minutes wait until I boarded the plane!  Now, both flights were out of small airports, otherwise, I never would have made it! Ft. Lauderdale and Richmond, VA airports – my two favorites!