I'm glad it's Marriage Monday again which means, it's time to reflect about my own marriage despite the busyness of Mondays. Our topic this time is about commitment.
My first decade of marriage was not all smooth sailing as many marriages are usually due to lots of adjustments. Thanks to our very good friends and family who helped us weather the storms in our journey.
Most of our couple friends who have greatly influenced us are from our church. They have served as our support group thus we are also happy sharing our experiences to the new couples because we do believe how our couple friends' support, good modeling of love and commitment, encouragement and prayers worked well for us.
All our couple friends don't believe that divorce is the ultimate solution to marital problems. One friend though whose American husband is our church elder confides that the only sin her husband would consider divorce is adultery. No matter how terrible her behavior could turn in the past when their kids were still growing, her husband would always forgive her. In my case though, when we had a somewhat serious infidelity issue at the time when I and hubby were apart from each other, I sought support and advice from a few selected friends in the church. None of them suggested divorce. Instead, they prayed hard for both of us. They asked me other strong reasons why I should leave him, or if he had been ever unfaithful when we were together, the same questions my parents who have been happy together with each other for about 50 years now asked. I answered them, "never" and told them he's been such a caring husband and a dad to our 2 kids and also very hardworking And so all of them bid me to forgive him and give him another chance the way he was also asking for. He showed true repentance and renewed commitment, although we both struggled a lot during our healing time especially if I would recall the betrayal. But let me tell you this now, especially you, e-Mom who asked, that this forgiveness I offered him consequently led to his conversion to Jesus Christ.We praise God for this bitter turned sweet experience!
Now, I feel more effective in encouraging those who have struggles in their marriage. I can minister more for all the heartaches I went through. God used those heartaches so I can deeply understand and empathize how it is to suffer so I should be more willing to reach out those who need my encouragement and prayers. Our commitment is deepened when we are willing to forgive no matter how grave the sin is as long as the spouse is willing to recognize that sin and work things out. Just like Jesus Christ forgives if we confess our sins, we too should sincerely confess our sins to one another and offer/accept pardon. It takes humility and courage, of course, to open up our guilt to someone we love and who are we not to forgive?
With this experience, I can now share to other couples that it's good to stick together no matter what, to avoid temptations. Some couples are even tempted even if they are with each other, how much more if they are separated with great distance? I Corinthians 7:5 says, "Do
not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to
refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give
yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come
together again so that Satan won't be able to tempt you because of your
lack of self-control." Because my father read this verse to me when I was plotting divorce, he instead made me realize that I shared the blame for what happened. Then, our commitment got ever strengthened since then and we keep renewing it on a daily basis. Why do we need to do it? I have my own weaknesses, he has his own imperfections so if we don't tolerate or forgive each other every now and then, how can our partnership endure?
Be more encouraged and blessed by other Marriage Monday posts over at Chrysaliscafe.com.
Have you ever wondered why when we get older we
tend to get fat and suffer from more illnesses? Aside from living a (more)
sedentary lifestyle, it's mainly because our natural body enzymes
deplete with age so we need to replenish them with raw foods. That's why I'm getting to love raw food more such as somtam, fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies and salads for their enzyme content.
Enzymes aid with our digestion so if we eat more processed foods and nothing raw at all, we are causing an imbalance in our system increasing our weight and reducing our body resistance to viruses and bacteria that attack our immune system. The more we eat raw food, avoid processed foods and minimize cooked food intake, we deposit more enzymes to strengthen our immune system to shield us from heavy enzyme withdrawals with heavy workload, adrenaline rush, polluted air, pressures of all sorts or emotional struggles.
Enzyme-loaded food include pineapple, papaya, cucumber and sprouts, asparagus, lettuce and many fruits and green leafy vegetables. Now, you ask me why pineapple and papaya are good diet fruits? It's because they can help digest food such as meat to make the nutrients available for our body use and the waste will be eliminated more quickly. Therefore, metabolism is hastened helping our body in equilibrium not gaining more weight, and making it healthier.
Aside from the enzyme contents raw food offer to protect us from illnesses and weight gain, they also make us more active and rejuvenated making us look young. No wonder God intended fresh fruits from the garden as basic food, not meat and cooked foods. Aren't we also saving much energy by eating raw foods? Hmmm, I'm finding more reasons to support my newly found healthier diet!Let me now go blend pineapple, carrots, green apple, basil and dates for my dinner.
In my two decades of working, I have dealt with different bosses. In most cases, I got bosses who impressed and encouraged me a lot with the way they show their leadership and management. Some gave me so much freedom to be myself and they inspired me to contribute more. These bosses have already attained a high degree of success. These are the leaders who are never threatened if their subordinates succeed because they are already confident of themselves. They usually believe that if you under them do great things, all the more that they are elevated as you are under their leadership.
However, there are also bosses who are not easy to deal with. These are those who are just climbing up the ladder trying to prove themselves. These kinds of leaders are still struggling to impose their authority. The tendency for these kinds of leaders is, if someone has more experience or more knowledgeable and skillful in the organization and speaks out her/himself, s/he can be a threat to their authority. So, in this case, you as a subordinate will either just keep quiet even if things go wrong that need to be fixed or improved under their leadership or be daring to iron things out for the system's development. If you do the former, you please your boss but you are still a part of the system that makes you uncomfortable or unhappy. On the other hand, if you do the latter, these kinds of boss might pretend to accept your new ideas but deep within them, they feel being challenged and incapable and they will take things against you later like in an evaluation or some kind of request or favor you may ask from them.
So if you fall under the second category of supervisor or leader, you are in a dilemma. It's either you become dumb and deaf and not perform the way you should or be daring to still try on what you want to improve. Otherwise, start updating your resume. You're lucky if you find a boss under the first category as your wings won't be clipped so you can freely soar higher and higher that your wind also pushes them up all the more.
During our first decade in marriage, hubby and I had to struggle a lot with our different faith. This was the consequence I suffered for equally yoking with unbeliever. There were times that he would just drop me and our two toddlers off at our church then he would go to his extra job or to his friends to play basketball or for a drinking spree. I felt like my heart was breaking especially when our daughter or our son would ask, "Why daddy isn't joining us to church?" But God miraculously changed him six years ago. How I delight to recall when he and my daughter sang in the church, "Something happened to daddy, he's not the same anymore... Mommy said he met Jesus and He washed him white as snow..."
I must admit that I made a mistake for allowing myself to be married to an unbeliever but I had never given up on him despite his worldly ways before. Instead I kept praying fervently for him that one day God would let him join me and the kids to church and in our family worships. Our two kids would always bid him join us and sometimes he would... until he allowed the Holy Spirit to work in his life and he finally accepted Jesus. At first he would refuse to pray as he's not used to it. But now, he is willing to pray and even lead our family devotions. Although sometimes I still have to remind him that it's devotional or church time, he has grown so much in faith by God's grace. And we've never been happier and more blessed as a couple than we are now sharing one faith, praying to God together for our children, for our loved ones for daily guidance over our lives, thanking and praising Him. Such a great blessing and rejoicing how God has completely transformed us as a couple!
Indeed, "a family that prays together sticks together" despite the struggles and challenges for we allow God to be in control. We as a couple can turn mountains into valleys by the faith we strongly share in our marriage and we have more effectively shared our faith to our very own children as they closely observe us how we express our acts of faith and love. Undoubtedly, God-centered relationship works and prays hard for the fruit of the Holy Spirit - love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (Galatians 5:22).
When I went to see my two boys playing at the kids' community playground this afternoon, I noticed that their field needed some cleaning. Trash, mostly food wrappers made of plastics, was all around. So I asked my early teenager son to lead the community service and all his friends playing with him on that playground everyday simply followed him. His nice buddy even went to his house to get a garbage bin for them to put all the trash they collected.
They all felt good after doing a great job and jokingly vowed that they would penalize someone who would throw any trash around. Such a cooperation led them to even think more responsible and to be mindful of their environment. It just needs some adults to somehow guide them if they seem to forget to care about their environment until they themselves grow old to voluntarily do it themselves and also guide the next generations. Here in Malaysia, they call such community cooperation "Gotong Royong" and the kids want to preserve such caring for each other and for the community to their next generation.
Now, the village kids have left the garbage bin right at the playground, visible to the garbage collectors and the kids so that they will always be aware and reminded not to scatter their trash again.
Like Daniel and Joseph, I do believe in dreams. I've been learning to interpret my own dreams. Recently, I dreamed of very positive symbols for starting the new year. One was, I was happily picking very healthy oranges and apples. Another one just the other night was slaying a lion by shooting it with a gun. Yes, I killed it even if it was so powerful then I was able to go on with my flight to my destination. What all these dreams mean?
To me, I do believe that success rarely comes by chance. It's a product of hard work, ingenuity and right attitude. Like in the case of reaching my destination, in my dream it was represented by my catching a flight but a lion was threatening me so I had to deal with it, otherwise I would not get to the plane that would take me somewhere. In real life, there are a lot of obstacles in reaching our goal. They can be people, circumstances or own SELF for wrong attitudes. So with this dream, I reflected a lot to assess myself and identify the lions that block my way to reach a greater height. For example, I should be more proactive, more time-conscious and much clearer with my goals and priorities.I should be smarter in dealing with bad situations even tough people hard to deal with and should not be overcome by negative thoughts or attitudes.
I really wanted to start this year right! By God's grace, I declare 2013 to be a brighter, healthier, happier and a more productive and wholesome year for me and my family ever. In Jesus' name we will together slay all the lions along the way for His glory, Amen!