Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Learning Love: The Marriage Cycle



Hello Sharecroppers. It's been a while I know.
When you are a bi-vocational momma ( that's redundant isn't it?since the word "mom" denotes multi-vocational, but I digress)....
  As it goes, I was super busy doing multiple jobs and going back to school. Talk about a full plate.
So the blogging took a little break.

In the meant time I have been writing music, juggling a full schedule, and trying to keep my head from exploding.
I have also been doing my best at nurturing my marriage in the middle of it all.

Aww, marriage.

"When two become One" by Mr. Peruca

It would imply an age of merriment - you know, merry age? ( ba-da-chh!)
But on a serious note,  experience proves it's not an "age" at all. It's more like a series of phases. Marriage can not be learned in a class. It's on-the-job learning at its finest. Marriage employs  learning love, and teaching love- and highest of all-  God love.

Amidst the learning and teaching there is a cycle I have observed in 15 years of marriage. Here is my take on what the " marriage cycle" looks like:

Phase one- Happiness, warmth "Oh my gosh I'm so in love",
Phase two- Contentment.  "I wish this moment could last forever", etc.
But Then an action or verbal event triggers
Phase three - discontentment about something, "Wow I never knew he/she/I _____."
Followed by
 Phase four- a period of questioning. "Does this mean___" " Who did I marry?" "Can I accept that?"
Phase five- the period of confrontation and frustration as two try to understand the other, and try to get the other to understand them.
Then that period goes into
Phase six- a period of contemplation. The fight/argument/discussion comes to a head and both parties feel at a loss. They don't want to keep arguing as it is getting nowhere, and just going in circles. During this phase, a mental analysis of self, the other, the situation, the state of the marriage- past present and future- take place.
After this phase it goes back to
Phase seven- confrontation. "OK I had time to think about what you said...."
Phase eight- understanding, then
Phase nine-compromise. I like to call this co-promises. Rather than thinking about what I am losing, think about it like It's promises you make to yourself and each other regarding working toward the a harmonious resolution.
This then cycles back to
Phase ten- contentment and
back to
Phase one- happiness.

The unique thing is this cycle can span a day, a week, a month, or a year, maybe more. But I can guarantee, you ask any couple married for more than a year, they can attest to the cycle.

It would be nice if we could have the " Hallmark " movie moment all the time, but real life and  different people don't make for sappy, predictable TV.

The truth is God is prepared for every phase and season of our daily lives. This is why he has granted and curated new mercies unique to each of our days.

by Mr. Peruca
The joy of marriage is that once you had had enough tense discussions and heated arguments, you can face them with positivity knowing that you'll be back at One.

Now to single out one phase, eight is possibly the most challenging. Phase eight forces you to really empathize with your spouse and go beyond feeling what they are feeling. It puts you into understanding what motivates the feeling they are experiencing.
Yes- you must get to truly know them. This is where the past comes out in the open, and when the present collides with prior selves. This is when you realize your spouse used to be afraid of the dark, so the TV on in the bedroom is soothing even though for you it's unnerving.  Or they experienced a mental trauma at age six with a family pet that they forgot about until you decided you guys needed a cute terrier. This is when you realize they were bullied in elementary school and going a different way home every day is a conditioned protective measure, not, as you presumed, a spontaneous act of adventure. Understanding is easily the phase that requires the most patience, yet it is where the most love learning takes place.

Understanding can not be skipped. If it is, phase one will be superficial, causing a break down in contentment. As the years go by and each phase cycles completely and healthily, phase one and two are experienced for longer and longer periods, until there is nothing left to question except death's parting. And even that, if your life was lived for the master, will pose no questions, but rather a statement at the end of it all
"Well done". 



Monday, April 10, 2017

Why not?

Image result for grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection


Why Not
So even if you have nothing much to say
why not
 pray?
And when you have no kindness left to give why not
give your last?
When you're all touched out, and worn out
why not
lay?
Why don't you go ahead and sing even if you can't hold a note?
Or
 if singing is too hard then maybe
 just hum-
and if suffering is long
why not have a good cry ,then
look to the heavens and ask the Lord "why?"- "when?"
Yes life's unpredictable-
why not
laugh in the Devil's face?
Look straight in the mirror and,
Stand out in that crowded place.
Why not be intentional-
living for God-
then use your last hour of  the day
in His word.
Or when you're too tired
why not whisper His name?
 and just let the grace of
His love fan the flame?

And when sleep is distant
why not think of smiles,
and things that bring warmth to your heart,
 whispering praises for a while.
When success's inconsistent
why not voice the sadness,
yet still tell God Thank you
because what you don't have
gives meaning to what you do?

Then he'll say that perfection is being curated;
that even your weakness is strength underrated.
When God is involved , the limit's celestial
He sends forth his Spirit and you are created.

-Created to be his original vision.
This world is the sharpening tool of precision
exposing and molding and trimming, refining.
His Grace is enough. Live freely.
Why not?



Monday, March 13, 2017

Breathing Room

Image result for hope
*Image from Web*



Psalm 18:18-20King James Version (KJV)
18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay.19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

For the past month I have been bubbling over with pure excitement! Every time I have a quiet moment joy rises in me from my center and I have to let it out in an exclamation of praise and laughter.
I have caught myself randomly laughing, unable to hold in the physical stirring of anticipation and elation in my belly. 
Why?, you may ask. I am excited about the very near-future.
For a number of years my family ( like many others) has endured trial and hardship. It felt we could not get out of a cycle of financial oppression.  And while some things were effects of not-so-great choices, there seemed to be one wave of challenge after the other preventing us from coming up for air. In the last year however it felt the heaviest for all of us. Yet it was in the heaviness that our faith became the strongest. There were only two options- throw in the towel and give up, or "batten down the hatches" put our heads down and plow through.
I wish we could take the credit for the perseverance and faith, but God gets that. His own Spirit of strength was made perfect in our weakness.
Sometimes the only faith we had was mere faithfulness- commitment and determination to remain and do what we said we would do.
Yet, hope in the future and in a God who is infinite in wisdom gave us the push I needed, to walk on.
Suddenly, as year 2016 ended, and 2017 began, a renewed sense of hope was ushered in with it. Yes, this is the case with any New Year, but this was different. It felt more tangible and more than wishful thinking. It was more than simply a drive to succeed or fortified will-power. Something was planted in my heart, that let me know- know- we were about to walk out of oppression into a large place.
In the meantime, gratefulness flows from my heart, but it is a thankfulness that is fueled by the Holy Ghost. It is a joy that wells up in my soul, sparked by the Spirit of God himself. I can not help but let out a "whoop!" and say an emphatic " Thank you!"
I am myself blown away by it, wondering in my mind where it is all coming from. I lay down to rest and  take notice of the joy that bubbles up. It's remarkable.
And the enemy of my soul takes notice too. 
And he has attempted to put doubt in my mind about the genuineness of my praise. He has whispered that my thankfulness is shallow and superficial- that I am only praising God because the heaviness is lifted. 
The Devil is a liar! If he says it, then the opposite must be true.
So I know my worship is real and deep- and I will not stop. 
In the prison he is worthy and will receive my praise. 
In the large place he remains worthy and my praise too will remain.
Psalm 118:4-6King James Version (KJV)Let them now that fear the Lord say, that his mercy endureth for ever.I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Is God waiting on you?


Image result for crossroads
image credit: the odyssey online
Isaiah 30:18  Therefore Yahweh will wait, that he may be gracious to you; and therefore he will be exalted, that he may have mercy on you, for Yahweh is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for him. (WEB)

In the context of the scripture there is this theme that Israel feels they are able to rely on themselves. 


15 For thus said the Lord Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, “You will be saved in returning and rest. Your strength will be in quietness and in confidence.” You refused, 16 but you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”; therefore you will flee; and, “We will ride on the swift”; therefore those who pursue you will be swift. 17 One thousand will flee at the threat of one. At the threat of five, you will flee until you are left like a beacon on the top of a mountain, and like a banner on a hill. 
Many times when we say Lord I am waiting on you to move on my behalf, our "waiting" on God is really an undercover demand in disguise. We say we are waiting on the Lord, but really we are bargaining with the Lord. "Lord I will not move until you do this and this."
We stand still, not truly out of  "wanting to please the Lord" but rather out of fear.
In other words, we do not trust God enough to walk on.
Maybe God seems silent, because he is waiting on us to fully trust him.

I know this may seem so opposite to what is traditionally taught.
None of us want to make a move until we know it's the Lord's will. Acts 5:39

Yet consider this-

Have you obeyed the gospel? Yes.
Are you filled with his Spirit? Yes.
Do you acknowledge the Lord daily? Yes.

Then you are in his will, and in his will you are safe.
Walk on and walk in the Spirit, responding to what comes your way, in the Spirit.

But now you reached a crossroad and need to know which way to go.

Is option A transgressing the law of God? Is option B?
    Yes?
Easy. Choose the path of righteousness. James 2:10-12.
    No?
Then evaluate-

 Will option A  hinder my growth in Christ? Will B? Hebrews 5:12
    Yes?  Choose the one that won't.
    Neither?  Move on to next question.

 Will option A compromise my ministry or calling? Will B 2 Thess 1:11
    Yes.  Choose the one that won't.
    Neither.  Move on to next question.

 Will option A negatively affect the ministry or calling of another? Will option B? Acts 15:32-41, Philippians 2:3, Romans 12:4-5
     * Now this does not ask will another be in agreement by the decision. We can not control the emotional response of others, but we should be able to determine how much impact our involvement/presence/ministry affects/influences/supports another's.
    Yes.  Choose the one that won't.
    Neither.  Move on to next question.

Do I prefer one of the options A or B?
    Yes. Choose your preference.
Now, Walk on and walk by Faith, responding to what comes your way in the Spirit.