Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Disposable Relationships?

I love it when things that I see day in and day out suddenly have new meaning. God's once again blessed me in the quiet of my morning watering today and I have to share what He showed me. During a recent storm we had and knew was coming a few days in advance, my hubby and I knew the winds were expected to be around 55-70 mph so of course that meant taking our plants off our pot shelves so they wouldn't tip over. There are two morning glory plants we have been blessed to grow this year that we couldn't take down because they have wound their vines along our porch pillars. My hubby suggested in taking some velcro and securing them around the pots to the posts. Sounds great right?

Only problem with a great idea is when you don't implement it. Not sure where we got busy but that great idea never materialized and of course that evening as the winds picked up their speed. Things look pretty great. But evil happens in the darkness when we sleep and that is just what happened. When we woke up and opened our blinds from our bedroom that overlooked our back porch, my hubby said, one of the morning glories didn't make it.

Not understanding his point, I asked him to clarify his statement. He pointed out that one of the morning glories had blown off.

"I thought we were going to put velcro on that? Didn't you do it?"

"No, but it's too late now. I think it's gone."

When we rushed out back, (I  know for a plant right?) but if you understood my new admiration for this beauties, you'd get my point with the concern.

There hanging by the vines were the morning glory plants still wrapped around the post but the pot and the soil were on the ground.

Not sure how long that poor plant hung in there but the roots were void of all remaining soil and the poor thing looked so bad.

We immediately went into rescue mode and got a bag of soil and the pot and began trying to re-pot this plant and water it. We secured the plant's pot to the post and while the leaves hung limp from the post, no new blooms were present that day.

To understand the importance of morning glories blooms are that they only bloom in the morning and are gone by mid-day. So to not see it bloom at all was downright disheartening. We prayed for the best since this was our best plant out of the two.

After two days of waiting, my hubby said he thinks the poor thing isn't going to make it. It went through too much. I wanted to believe in miracles and asked God to restore my plant if it was according to His will. I know God can literally do anything, even bring that poor lifeless plant back from the dead.

So this morning while I am watering it, I notice the leaves are still drooping and browning. The poor thing looks so miserable. I wondered if it was worth continuing my efforts. It would be so much easier to simply grab more seeds and begin replanting before the frost is due in. Ready for the eye opener now?

When I glanced up, I noticed on the plant, that two blooms have opened. Are you as excited as I was? I mean here I was, considering simply scrapping the poor thing and putting it out of its misery when despite all appearances it was making a come back! Two blooms is something to get excited for! It means despite everything on the outside, it was slowly working its way back to being a healthy plant again.

See where this is going? God moment!!

God showed me that too often we look at the relationships in our life as being like that plant. Sometimes they are vital and thriving, beneficial even! Then at other times, they look like my poor plant, dying a slow death. Even despite all the best intentions to nurse it back to health, it looks easier to put it out of its misery and replant it. How easy relationships become disposable when they no longer serve our purpose. They might not look the way we want them too, they might not be producing anything that is nice to look at any longer, or even they aren't simply worth the extra effort they need to thrive and survive. We are simply to busy to invest the time to bring them back and restore them.

What about you? Are you doing the same thing in your own relationships? How invaluable have people become in your life when they no longer do what you want or need them to do? How far are you willing to go to heal them? Are they even worth it?

This could be the relationship you have with your spouse. Suddenly things don't look as vibrant as beautiful as it did when you married. Stress has eaten its way into the very leaves of your plant, causing them to shrivel up and die. Perhaps it no longer looks as beautiful as it did when it first started growing. Perhaps the leaves are yellowing and falling off, perhaps it isn't producing new blooms. But deep down inside, life still grows. As long as you are willing to try, God is able to make ALL things new again. He is the great restorer and redeemer of life. We aren't meant to go through this life alone, thus the reason for my plants vine to intertwine and enable it to grow stronger in order to move forward.

Even the tiniest of vines need help to grow and move forward.

Isn't it worth the time and effort to try and save it rather than simply taking the approach of most and simply throw in the towel, and find or grow a new plant?

People are the most valuable thing in our lives. They are worth it and need our time and energy in order to thrive again. They are simply waiting for you to take notice and not give up no matter how long it takes. Trust in God and believe and like me, soon you'll look up and see life growing again. I encourage you today, before it's too late, take some time and work on those relationships. Pray over them and trust God to make a positive change in them.

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?Though one may be overpowered,  two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning." ~ Ecclesiastes 4: 9-13

There is simply a life within us all wanting to shine!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Weak Spots

Being a first time home buyer, my husband and I were super excited to jump in and begin working to make our home truly ours. Since it wasn't a brand new home, there were some things that needed improvements and some things we wanted to see incorporated into our home that were important to us. Both my husband and I are very outdoorsy people and we truly looked forward to spending time outside working on our landscaping both in the front and back yards of our home. We wanted trees our kids could lay underneath on hot days to escape the heat and perhaps ponder the wonders of the universe by looking up at the sky from beneath the leaves of a tall tree. We wanted our home to have "curb appeal" and to offer an invitation to make visitors and even strangers feel welcome. We wanted to add fragrant flowers to entice birds and butterflies to stop by on their way to another place as a haven of rest for the weary.

We wanted the sound of water to be a significant feature in our backyard, a place to simply find a getaway just outside out sliding glass doors, an oasis, a garden of eden perhaps in the making. We knew the vision we wanted and it would take time to make it happen, in fact it took well over 10 years and we both think it wasn't complete, of course lack of finances and manual labor will do that to you, but we both knew what we wanted.

Marriage is a lot like home improvement. It takes time and effort to make is successful and it's a work that will never be complete because like our home, it is always changing. New products come out on the market that we never considered before to incorporate into our home but that would make welcome additions.

In fact just laying in bed this morning, I believe God gave me such an insight into what goes wrong in marriages and results in either affairs or divorce. I call them weak spots. Those are the areas that we all have where we simply wish that things were better. For me, I often tell my husband I wish he were more romantic, the kind of characters I often read about in my romance novels, the ones that possess a certainness about their future, they know what needs to be done, they are strong leaders and never fear when things go wrong, they always have a plan and that is to protect and care for their loved ones. Now don't get me wrong, my husband does all that, but on occasion I wish that he would plan something unpredictable that shows me just how valuable I am in his life, a romantic getaway that shows planning, and is geared to the things he knows I love. For him, he needs that physical confirmation to let him know he is loved, either though a hug or lots of physical touch, cuddling on the couch while watching a movie together or just knowing at any point of his day, that I think the world of him.

When we avoid dealing with those potential "weak spots" it opens our marriages up for the enemy to use those to gain entry into our lives and marriages. He finds people he can utilize to satisfy those needs in the way we can only dream about. Rather than realize those weak spots as what they are, we will often times, willingly sacrifice our marriages for that one thing that is missing in our marriages instead of simply having that need met by our spouse.

No one would neglect a leaky roof to work on the other areas of the house while each storm continued to wear away at the roof, ceiling and destroy the house beneath it, thinking it's simply something we don't want to work on right now. I'd rather have a new bathroom than deal with a leaky roof.

Yet that's just what is happening to our marriages. We all have those "weak spots" if we are honest and willing to admit the truth. Those can also change throughout our years together. If we don't fix our "leaky roof" now, we only have ourselves to blame when the roof caves in. That's why it is so important to work effectively as a team to strengthen our marriages and eliminate those weak spots. For me, it means putting 100% commitment into making sure my husband's weak spot is met by me and not by someone else who can easily turn his head. The same hold true for him, he needs to commit to fixing my weak spot, even if he thinks it's foolish or dumb. Both of these areas are important to us in different ways and if we value our marriage and our spouse, we will want to make those areas stronger and not weaker.

I often wonder just how many affairs could have been prevented if we simply addressed those needs first instead of blaming our spouse for their faults. It's take two to make a marriage dissolve. One to walk away and the other to do nothing to fix it. Aren't our marriages and our spouse worth the effort? Can we agree to work together much like a home improvement project to see that things are fixed now before it's too late?

If you found this message insightful, I would encourage you to thank God for this insight. He provided it this morning and for us, we are working on daily projects to improve our marriage. It's the small things that matter today, and over time, we'll soon see that the efforts we make now will only benefit us later and will make our marriages stronger and ones that outlast all the others.