It’s not that I wasn’t taking notice. But I was so involved with the everyday caring that I hadn’t seen what was missing.
Ever been pulled up sharp by God Himself?
And all of a sudden He’s in there, reminding you of His magnificence…His presence that transcendseverything in your life!
I was at the hospital. Oh wait. I haven’t told you about this yet. I’m in a situation of caring for my very ill and only sibling, my ‘big brother’ who is a man of God. Loves Jesus! With all his heart and soul. But now he’s in this situation, only months long now, and finds himself desperate to cry out for the very Presence that heals. The Presence that guides. The comforting Presence that transcends.
I think that I’m ‘transcending’ when I say a prayer, when I read an inspiring passage, but I learnt something today….When we ‘transcend’ something, we actually RISE ABOVE it….We’re not on the same ‘level’ any more.
“Transcend”: “be or go beyond the range or limits of (something abstract, typically a conceptual field or division)” To “surpass” (a person or an achievement).
The dictionary definition doesn’t do it justice, what I saw today.
A man who’s been told his life is dwindling fast away, still holding on to the faith and the confession that is his life…that is Christ. When the news of the brain tumour hit us all we had the ‘right confession’…rising above what was being declared by a faithless world. Though we still continue to try, the help comes in way that is foreign to us, unusual…transcendent. And we feel inadequate, and we feel lack and pain and frustration…and it gives us something to rise above, again. But those of us who experience the transcendence can soar above. We rise.
He lifted his arm right up in adoration of His Saviour. Jesus, the only one who can do anything about this situation, in reality. Yes there are doctors, nurses, hospitals and drugs. And it all helps. I guess. But what transcends it all…what causes us all to rise is the faith, the believing, the knowing the Saviour’s Presence? What causes our spirit to gush, to speak forth praise and worship when we have lost even the capability to express ourselves in words…
The witnessing of it. As I read him the scriptures…his arm upward along with his face in a blessing that gave me the privilege of belonging…of being a part of, his journey. He spoke out adoration, though he could speak little else. A never ending flood of words, though used a lifetime in other ways, and now selected to support the TRANSCENDING faith that carries the Spirit with him…
I’m supporting. I’m caring. I’m believing. But even now and much more…I’m transcending.Rising above the storm.
What an honour.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Sipping coffee. In a cafe on the side of the road, in the sunshine, just watching humanity.
And then, the strangest things…
A guy rides his bike with his helmet on, as per the law. But the helmet is designed to be aerodynamically effective…to make him go faster than he thought he could. Sensible. Except that he has these strands of plastic growing out of the top of the helmet now. Long, white plastic bits that blow in the breeze as he waits, still, for the green traffic light with bated breath. Readied to continue the race against himself and achieve personal best. Readied to cross the line and to outdo himself yet again.
Seeds planted and sprouted? Perhaps an experiment being conducted in order to make him go even faster? Maybe just a whim…I don’t know! But practical?
Not to the magpie, of course…Because it’s actually an invention meant to deter the swooping mother bird as it dangerously selects the target. Not put off even by badly fitting lycra, the bird will peck and peck and draw blood at the sniff of a danger to its babies.
Hence…the strange looking bits of plastic deterrent now attached to the helmet in front of me. Defence, I believe.
Strange. What we do to deter danger. What we do when fear gets the better of us.
Even stranger, evidence of the gripping fear ofanticipated danger.
The worrying thought patterns that dart and weave and infect our conscious minds, no matter what we may tell ourselves in intelligent mind-speak. No. Over-ridden now by the fantasy of imagined disaster stalking us and overcoming our sensibilities until we act totally out of character, irrationally out of social …. acceptability.
This man was once a perfectly normal cyclist who thought and acted within the realms of average-ness (if you can call some of the bike outfits such) until the fear of the attack of the birds wore him down. Now he demonstrates his emotional challenge to all who pass in four wheeled, enclosed vehicle and point and laugh behind cupped hand.
Hmm….I wonder if he realises?
I wonder if he knows?
And then, my thoughts wander to myself. Typical. I wonder if God laughs when I’m gripped by a fear that may be caused by a natural occurrence? To me it may be big, but in HIS bigness He sees beyond and knows the outcomes and the thwarting power of His Word into my fear. And yet I continue to entertain it. I continue to breathe out the confessions of being afraid, of fearing the natural occurrences of my life. Instead of seeing in every fearsome circumstance the hand of the Eternal One who reaches out to touch and guide. Though I know He knows, I take the burden of the unknown upon me. Making provision for the attack, guarding with a defence that, while poignant, is often in the best possible light…pathetic.
The IMAGINED fear…that fear that becomes almost a spirit that lurks, ready…
I believe PLATO once said:
“Courage is knowing what not to fear”…
Yes, I Put on my little bits of plastic to protect and hide from the onslaught. Hedging my bets with the natural, I refuse to hear the Voice and the Prompting…and fail the test again.
Ahhh. Should have known.
He was there all the time. Wasted fear. Wasted time and effort.
Trust – It’s all I need.
2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”
Ever thought about the ingredients of a happy, long lasting marriage?
Today is our thirtieth wedding anniversary.
You can’t say that every day, even every year. It’s a milestone!
To have married the person who has become my best friend, the one whom I trust above all others on this earth, the man who knows more about me than perhaps Jesus….yep. That’s a milestone!
We’ve achieved what appears to impress today’s world, by the number of social media ‘likes’ and ‘comments’…even got flowers from friends!
In today’s world of ‘instant everything’, I don’t wonder that we are esteemed for reaching thirty years… Reaching such significant milestones in relationships is not so common.
JUST ADD WATER!
But a ‘just add water’ solution to what ails a lot of marriages is not possible. There’s no such thing as ‘Marriage Made Easy’!
Here’s the distilled version of some of my ‘instant’ thoughts from our marriage of thirty years, which may stimulate your thinking on this great institution; and perhaps you’d like to comment with some of your own suggestions?
‘Instant’ thoughts that have taken over thirty years to grow!
1. Marriage is not easy!
“Life wasn’t meant to be easy”! – Malcolm Fraser
One if our famous Australian Prime Ministers once quipped this famous line. I think that may be said about marriage… It can be summed up really in a four letter word – Work. And also commitment. Oh and faithfulness. And not to forget some sacrifice, and then… our preferring of one other…so a lack of selfishness…not to forget the compromise and the compromise and sometimes perceived injustice of ‘taking a back seat’…and then, did I say the compromise?
Sorry. I got carried away.
Just read what LOVE is in I Corinthians:
“And though I have the gift of ‘prophecy’ and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”. (NKJV)
– Pretty much all I need to say. Who cares? If you just love…
2. Marriage is hungry!
“Feed the man meat”! – Many an Aussie male
And yes, I jest! It’s not about the food a wife puts in her man’s stomach, or even the way she looks when he arrives home from work each day (honey, I’m home!”) which I’ve read about from those old and oft quoted “1950’s magazines”….You know, the polka dotted frilly apron, the quick fry up of an onion to make his senses reel as you call on your inventiveness in the kitchen…the freshly applied makeup (just in case he’s left a lovely secretary at the office!) Ah me!
“…love cares more for others than for self.” I Cor 13:4 (MSG)
LOVE is an expression of my heart for my spouse. Not a demonstration. Not a worked up emotional response. But a deep caring…
It’s about feeding the emotionalpart of both of you. Involving yourselves together in a commitment to each other, not just during the good times, but the not so good times. (did someone say “vows”?) Learning the language of conflict (there’s a language??) and conciliation, rather than notching up scores and indulging in the ‘one-up-manship’ that can overload and make even the most heavenly marriages sink….
“..doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first”, doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others” I Cor 13:5
3. Marriage loves memories!
“Memories need to be shared” Lois Lowry
Yes it’s good to do fun things, challenging things, have world-changing adventures together…even if it’s in your own back yard. But have them, and do it…together. “Memories are ambrosia” ( a quote from ‘Dancing With My Daddy”- (learn more) that is, sweet to the taste both now and after…they are what sets apart a great marriage in my eyes – the thoughts and the recollections that both partners share and wistfully talk about for many years to come….They build us a bank of love stories with us as the main stars!
I have seen our, at first, feisty and lacklustre relationship (due to two very strong personalities vying for attention…) become smooth and relatively eruption free when we pay attention to those ‘breathing spaces’ that all couples need…the creation of memories.
The odd weekend away. Without the kids. The day trip to ‘who knows where’..just because.. The short trip to the mountains to refresh our care for one another and ourselves, all important and in fact necessary to relieve the daily humdrum and create memories. They are ‘in the bank’ for the days when we need them.
“…”So no matter what I say what I believe and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” I Cor 13:3 (MSG)
4. Marriage takes care of us.
“Take care of you!”– A line from ‘Pretty Woman’
“Self care” – such a buzz word today. But your ‘other self’, your spouse, also loves you to care. But it does require real love. After all, you gave yourselves to one another when you wed…so it is now your responsibility to ‘take care of you’ for your spouse…right? Taking care of YOU is how to reinvent a marriage – because we are all growing, changing, becoming…and there’s nothing less mysterious than something that is always the same…
Care of me for you…Personally, that often means that I allocate time to baking, creating and just plain being me… Because that simply ‘recharges the batteries’ – but perhaps for you it means paying more time to the external you, or the internal you…or whatever part of you needs some ‘me time’… important, none the less!
5. Marriage is about your future.
“You gotta know when it’s time to turn the page…‘ – Torie Amos
We plan for the wedding…But the future can shape our marriage. (which should last much longer!) And if it’s to be life long, let’s remember that we also can have a hand in shaping our future…together.
But to let the future just blindly ‘happen’ is a mistake. Because it can carry with it all the past regrets, failures and resentments that we as humans tend to harbour… unless we “turn the page’. And that involves exercising our ‘forgivery’ and taking our ‘forgettory’ out for a major spin!
I think that’s called GRACE….
“…Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.” I Cor 13:6 (MSG)
And in a nutshell? The answer has to be PURSUE LOVE…
‘“Love never gives up” I Cor 13:4 (MSG)
Till next time.
Photos courtesy Lovers and Light Photography www.loversandlight.com.au