Hard to Love

I love country music because it’s about real life. A current song out now is “Hard to Love” by Lee Brice. As I listen to the lyrics, faces of people cross my mind.  People who are hard to love, and the people who love them.

Read the rest of this devotional posted at Circle of Friends Ministry today.  What a privilege to contribute to their ministry!

This ministry also is the publisher of Isn’t It Time for a Coffee Break by Amelia Rhodes.  The giveaway is open until Wedneday, January 9.  Details can be found here.

A giveaway with encouragment!
A giveaway with encouragment!

What a privilege to partner with them sharing good truth about life and friendships.  Have a great week!

Brenda

When A Mustang Marries a Buick

You can ask my children what my husband and I fight over.  They will tell you: cars and fences.

Recently, we’ve had not-seeing-eye-to-eye discussions over cars.  We drive cars we can afford.  They are older and are purchased at no-debt cost.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is our taste when we have to buy one.

Our choice in cars mirrors our personalities. 

My husband and I are as different as night and day.  He’s like a Buick, steady, solid, dependable, comfortable.  He loves cars just like this.  Ones that don’t stand out in a crowd.  It drives me crazy.Driver and Limousine

While I value solid and dependable, if I’m going to drive something, I want something sporty, sleek, and not-so-comfortable looking.   Which probably explains why I wear high heels and play basketball against fifth grade girls even if I end up in a knee-brace.  I like adventure, movement, living outside-the-box.  I don’t want to be purely comfortable and solid until I can’t move anymore.

That's me with our short-lived ragtop.  It cost as much as our mower.
That’s me with our short-lived ragtop. It cost as much as our mower.

So when a Mustang married a Buick, how do you compromise?

In twenty-three years of marriage, I’ve learned compromise.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding describes the different worlds that collided when I married Mr. Buick.  This is what I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Compromise balances extremes, smoothing rough edges and making weak edges strong, making a better, more complete unit.
  2. Compromise brings out the best of both parties, making each one’s differences poignant, yet accepted.
  3. Compromise speaks love to your children, modeling tools of a healthy relationship.
  4. Compromise models strength.  Strength of character, strength in setting boundaries.
  5. Compromise is selflessness without giving up dignity.
  6. Compromise requires courage.  It requires giving up complete control and trusting the other party.

While compromising over cars is not a big deal, when it happens, it builds my confidence and trust in my husband, and his in me.  It strengthens the foundation of our marriage in times when big compromises become deal makers or breakers.  It gives voice to biblical leadership that displays partnership, not a dictatorship.  It gives a gift to our children that we are committed to each other and our marriage, not to self and our rights.

So, what does compromise look like when Mustang marries a Buick?

It means there are two Buicks in the driveway, a Honda in the garage, and a minivan for sale.

But you’ll only see me driving the Honda.  High heals, knee brace, and all.

And as for the fences?  There’s a picket fence in front of our garden.

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But that’s another story.

There’s still time to enter the giveaway for Isn’t It Time for A Coffee Break by Amelia Rhodes.  Details here. 

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You Don’t Understand. A Teenager.

We stood there, our voices rising.

“You’re not listening to what I’m saying” I said, exasperated.

“You just don’t understand!”

These rants went back and forth like a ping pong ball.

I do understand. If only you’d hear me. 

A conversation between a parent and teenager.

These scenes flashed through my mind as I audibly heard Psalm 116:1 this morning,

“I love the Lord, for He heard my voice.”

What a poignant statement from David.  He heard me.

I wonder how often communication with God is like the scene above.  This conversation played out for years between my firstborn and I.   Most times, I understood what Firstborn was saying.  But the adolescent mind of not-thinking-parents-know-anything kicked in fast and furious at thirteen and didn’t stop.  Just about every conversation included a faulty communication.   We said things to one another without hearing each other .  False assumptions and expectations were road blocks.  How could I let her know that I understood her, that I was on her side? That I heard her?

God has a sense of humor placing teenagers in our lives to make us understand Him better.  David’s simple statement that God heard him reminds me that faulty assumptions, expectations, and different perspectives aren’t just barriers between parent and child.  They can become barriers in our communication with God.  Like teenagers, how often do we think God doesn’t hear or understand our situation?  In response, do we become obstinate, argumentative, losing faith that He knows what is best for us?

Unfortunately, I can’t compare myself to a gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love God-Parent (Psalm 103:8) in how I handled the faulty communication in our home.  While I thought I understood my child and had good intentions for her, I failed at communicating in gracious, compassionate, slow-to-anger ways.  Thank goodness our Lord is not that way.

When we don’t feel like God hears us or we don’t see immediate answers, we are assured, like David,

He does hears us.

If we seek to listen, understand and trust His goodness for us, we can rest in what He’s doing, even though we don’t  see His perspective or wisdom in the moment.

I wonder what we’d discover about God if we took time to trust His wisdom, understanding He knows us better than we know ourselves (Psalm 139), and that He’s on our side.

Hind site is always 20/20.  Fortunately for the other teens in our home, I’ve learned from the mistakes of broken communication.  I’ve learned my Firstborn did listen during those years.   I’m learning to be more gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  Now when a teen says, “You don’t understand!” I can listen with grace and better understanding.

Perhaps, like David, they’ll even feel heard.

I’m thankful God isn’t a first-time parent with us.

 When we don’t think He hears, He is patient.

 When we tell Him he’s screwing up our lives, He is gracious.

When we tell Him we’re done with Him, He is slow to anger.

When we don’t trust Him for our future, He is abounding in love.

When our rant ends and we realize He is on our side, we can also say,

I love you, Lord, for you heard my voice.

Because you have turned an ear to me,

I will call on you as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2

Where do you need the Lord to hear you today?  

Holy and righteous Father, thank you that do not fail like earthly parents.  Thank you that you know us, love us, are gracious and compassionate with us.   Thank you that you hear our every cry, our  every question, our wrestling and our cares.  Thank you for not turning us away when we come to you frustration, angst, even anger.   Thank you for not turning a deaf ear to us.  Thank you for hearing our voice.