Wives, Are You Cherished? Part 1

This week, Mike and I will celebrate our 5th Anniversary. I asked him if he cherishes me and he hesitated. Then he mumbled something like, “Probably not enough.” It got me thinking. First of all, what exactly does it mean to be cherished? What does the Bible say about cherishing?

Growing up in the 60s I loved a song called Cherish.

Adolescent dreams and romantic schmaltz aside, I must say that

Cherish is the word…no one seems to understand.

But before we define cherish and discover what it’s really like to be cherished, let’s look at examples of women who were not cherished.

Diana, Princess of Wales, longed to be cherished. And she was, by the public, not by her husband. On this 20th Anniversary of her death, we are inundated with documentaries revealing the sordid details of the royal sham their marriage was. She seemed to truly love Charles in the beginning. She loved him when she was a vulnerable chubby-cheeked teenager who still, perhaps, believed in fairy tales despite her own mother’s infidelity and abandonment. It wasn’t long after their 1981 marriage that we saw signs of trouble. A gaunt Diana thrived on public approval while she died inside from neglect. She was definitely not cherished by her husband.

Edith Bunker was not cherished. Archie called her ding-bat in almost every episode. She served him, obeyed him, respected him, but all she ever got from him was insults…well, most of the time. Well I don’t know. Maybe he did cherish her in his own grotesque way. Nah, I don’t think so.

Florence was not cherished by her husband, Chet in the 1952 film The Marrying Kind. (Sorry for using TV and film examples, but they are good ones and I certainly can’t cite real-life couples, though I know many where the wife is not cherished.) So let’s stick to Flo and Chet, whose marriage deteriorated by their 7th anniversary. Why? Because Chet got his head on success, money, get-rich-quick schemes and he lost sight of his wife who he was supposed to be doing it all for. When they were first married, Chet doted on Flo, even telling her to sleep in when he was leaving for work. After a few years, Chet stopped paying attention to his wife, as you will see in the trailer here:

I love this movie. Flo and Chet revisit their marriage in Divorce Court. A kindly (and wise) female judge suspects they still love each other. While recapping their marriage, they seem to have different versions of what really happened. Great line from this movie, quoting Judge Anne B. Carroll:

You know, counselor, there’s an old saying, there are three sides to every story: yours, his, and the truth.

After doing this bit of therapy, they reconcile. The real truth prevailed. Of course today this would never happen. You file for divorce and it goes through the system until your wait period is over and then it gets the beastly stamp of approval. No questions asked. No fault divorce. You want it, you got it. And no one else cares – least of all a judge.

“to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance…”

That word. Cherish. It’s in traditional wedding vows.

We say we don’t feel cherished, but just what is it that proves you are cherished by your husband?

Stay tuned for Part 2 and maybe we will find out.

In the meantime, Mike and I will celebrate 5 blessed years of wedded bliss. We are so thankful for our marriage and the years the Lord has given us thus far.

 

 

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An Open Letter To The Man Who Left The Wife of His Youth

edmund_garrettDear John,

How are you? I hope you’re doing well. It has been seven years since our divorce. How time flies! It’s still so weird for me. Maybe you’re having the time of your life. Hopefully, you are happy. Because you told me you were not happy with me.

Are you happy now?

For me, happiness is fleeting. I prefer joy. I can be happy one minute, miserable the next. That’s emotion. (And you know how emotional I am.) Joy remains, no matter what. No matter what circumstance, I am always joyful. Why?

Because I am possessed!

Wait, it’s not what you think. I am possessed by Jesus Christ. He owns me. He’s the lover of my soul. He belongs to me. He is the only faithful One, my Divine Husband. And He will never let me go.

So I’m doing very well, John, if you care to know.

Do you have joy in your life now?

Are you truly a Christian? Did you pray to God while you contemplated leaving me? Did he say it was okay? Did he say he felt your pain? Did he agree with you on all your complaints against me? Were those things grounds for divorce, in God’s opinion?

Maybe he didn’t even hear you.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear (Psalm 66:18).

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear (Isaiah 59:2). Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him (John 9:31).

So that’s why I ask. Also, I don’t know how you could possibly have confronted my Lord with your desire to divorce me. Because my Lord hates divorce.

Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the Lord has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
15 But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

16 For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”   — Malachi 2:14-16

That describes the treachery of infidelity, according to God.

What is it with you men over 40, 50, over 60? Mid-life crises, end-of-life crises, need a new thrill? What elusive thing are you searching for?

What is it?

I’m just asking.

You need Jesus Christ.

If you had a problem with me or my behavior it was your duty to help me change. Even if I resisted belligerently. You’re the man. The godly man is the spiritual leader of his wife. He admonishes her. He protects and provides. Well, he’s supposed to, according to God. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, He shows you the way. He helps you love and lead. But I’m not sure we serve the same God.

Because I don’t understand how a man could leave a wife who shares a history with him, and children.  I can’t fathom how a man who raised a family, went to church for years, listened to preaching, read a Bible, can decide at 40, 50 or 60, that the grass is greener somewhere else. It is baffling.

Yet men like you think it’s okay, John.

A recent post here on DRR talked about the indescribable love of God. To love someone is much like the process of discovering God — knowing God. The more we know about Him, the more we are able to love Him. Knowing is directly related to loving. You can’t love someone without knowing enough about them. John, did you truly know me? Did you truly love me?

Wait. I know the answer. You will say, yes, I did love you. But I say you never did. Because I don’t believe you know the author of love, the essence of love which is God. 1 John 4:8 says:

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Jesus also said, If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15). And He said he hates divorce.

He hates it because it misrepresents Him. God is  FAITHFUL. God is LOVE. God is TRUTH. God is JUST. God is RIGHTEOUS.

As a witness for Christ, the husband should also be faithful, loving, true and righteous in Christ.

God created marriage to be a display of His love toward us. Real love doesn’t die. Not if it’s the kind of love we acquire from God above. Supernatural love. He gives us this kind of love so that we can love our spouses unconditionally.

What’s with this middle age divorce madness?

I often think about you (not in that way) and other men who have left their wives in middle age. I’ve heard so many heartbreaking accounts. The women I’ve talked to are Christian women. Their husbands did not have any Biblical reason for leaving their wives. In fact, it was the other way around.

Yet, what is so encouraging to me are stories of enduring faithfulness in marriages where insicknessand healthone partner becomes severely ill, incapacitated, or doesn’t even recognize his/her spouse. Imagine. Imagine a husband saying, she doesn’t even remember my name. She can’t talk to me. She can’t even move. Still, I love her so. I will care for her until the day I die.

Til death do they part. Really.

That is sacrificial, selfless love. Like Christ on the cross, who freely gave himself, for his sheep. Are you one of His sheep? Ponder that this Easter season.

I see you have remarried. That’s why I wanted to bring these things to your attention.

Be happy. Better yet, be joyful.

Love,

The Wife of Your Youth

Save

Save

One Word Resolution: Purge!

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My enemy

Here we go again. All that talk about New Year’s resolutions. You turn on the TV where spandex-clad Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb have traded in their wine glasses for hand weights. There are ten new super-foods on my Facebook feed that will melt my belly fat. Eat this, drink that. Ugh. Go away!

Solomon said it best: there is nothing new under the sun. But wait! Yes there is. Jesus said:

Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. — Revelation 21:5

Not that Solomon was wrong, mind you. Not at all. This earth, this flesh, this corruption, this vicious cycle called living serves up nothing new. But if you’re living a life in Jesus Christ and walking in His ways, there is always newness. We renew our minds. Romans 12:2 We behold new mercies every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 He is our hope, and with Him and by His strength, I can do all things. Phil. 4:13

That is why I decided that this is my one and only New Year’s Resolution:

PURGE!

This one word covers so much:

  • Purge my sins – This is God’s work in me, but I pray for greater awareness and conviction of my sins.
  • Purge my body – We all do this one, I’m sure. But I’m not starting a rigid diet or workout plan. After having cancer in 2016, I’m more aware of toxins, pesticides and GMOs. I simply want to get healthy. Yes, I feasted for the holidays and I enjoyed every bite. There is a time and season for everything. ‘Tis the time to get back to healthy eating. Today is January 3rd and I spent one hour this morning in conference with a dietician. Yes! I may have informed her more than she did me (why is margarine still listed as an ok fat?? and canola oil is processed and toxic!!), but I went home with my little food chart and a February weigh-in appointment. I need accountability.
  • Purge the clutter
    dsc05337
    OK, relax. I bought new canvas bins. I have good intentions.

    I’ve been wrestling with this for years. It’s amazing how quickly I can fill space, given the opportunity. It’s coming up on ten years since my move from New York to Indiana. I took a scant amount of furniture with me and slept on an air mattress back then. Now every room is full, including piles of clutter in various corners. Tomorrow I’m attending a webinar called 5 Secrets to Effective Decluttering. Let me guess one of those secrets: throw it out! I’ve also joined the challenge to declutter 2017 items from my home in 2017. You can, too. Click on this link: Decluttering Challenge at Nourishing Minimalism

  • Purge my thoughts, fears and guilt
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    Looking good! Dietician and decluttering in the first week of 2017.

    This is hard. I had cancer in 2016. I praise the Lord for giving me complete healing with no treatments after surgery. Yet I already fear my check-up appointment in February. How quickly I lose my faith and trust in the One who daily sustains me. Then there’s divorce guilt that returns every Christmas season. Both my husband and I go through this. Did I mess up my son/daughter’s life? They probably needed me more than I knew at that time. Every divorce brings horrible consequences for the rest of all the lives involved. But it is not the unpardonable sin. I’ve asked for forgiveness for my divorce countless times. God is not an Indian-giver (can I use that term in this politically-correct era?). He forgives completely. We need to remember that while we continue to pray for our adult children who may still be suffering from our past sin. But it is past. Jesus said, Behold, I make all things new. Another great scripture came to me (providentially posted on Facebook by a believing family member/sister in Christ!) just as I was plummeting into melancholic nostalgia:

18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. — Isaiah 43: 18-19

Amen to new mercies in 2017! And let’s not forget to binge on the Word of God while we purge. Let’s let the binge and purge cycle work for us, not against us!

Have a happy, healthy, joyful, grateful new year in Christ!

Redeeming Christmas: Yes, Virginia, We Are Free to Celebrate the Incarnation. And Please Stop Whining About Paganism.

img_5182To celebrate or not to celebrate — Christmas. That is the question. I am tired of hearing that it is pagan.

Wait. Before we start, let’s throw ChristMASS out. But not the whole thing!

I’d rather refer to it as the Celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic church made a mess…er, mass of it. Protestants do it different. But some Reformed Protestant denominations have held to the Puritan view. They claim the Regulative Principle would not have us add anything to our worship that God did not institute. Thus, since God never told us to make the incarnation a holy day, we simply should not. It is not a part of our corporate worship.

When Divorce Stole Christmas

At one time, I was the ultimate Grinch.  When I was going through my divorce, I didn’t feel like being festive. Our family was split up. There was no Christmas Eve feast with in-laws and no one came over on Christmas Day. It was one of the most miserable times of my life. Joy was at an all-time low. As a new member in the OPC, I researched the origins of Christmas. I know all about Saturnalia and all the other claims ad nauseum. I bought the whole Christmas is pagan thing. Yes, Christmas is pagan when it is celebrated by pagans. But I did hold to that view, albeit briefly. It was convenient to throw away Christmas at that time, so I did. But my heart ached.

From 2004 to 2009, I did not put up a tree.

In 2010, my granddaughter was born with neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer. She had two surgeries and three treatments of chemo before her first birthday. After our Lord brought her (and us) through that, I decided it was time to rejoice at Christmas. Thankful to my God and Savior, I picked out my first tree in five years.

Yet I still had guilt when I read my beloved Spurgeon’s Christmas quotes. I was shocked to find that he abhorred the holiday.

Gradually, I embraced my Christian liberty to celebrate the Incarnation in a way that is God-glorifying. I would not want anyone to think I was in some cult, like Jehovah’s Witness or something. As Christians, we should be true light, knowing that Satan is an imitator and false light-bearer. I’m thrilled to see many ministries refuting the Christmas is pagan myth this year.

If ‘Christ is the reason for the season‘ make it so!

If our government takes away the crèche, the cross and the ten commandments, who cares? Let them all go. Personally, I think nativity scenes are graven images. And I prefer to dwell on Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and not the helpless babe in the manger.

What do you fear, Christian? If you are in Christ, He should be the reason you LIVE. Not for one day. Not for one season, but every day. Are not His Words written on your heart? Could Jesus ever be taken from you? The Beast can’t take the Holy Spirit from me. Forget the tangibles. Forget the temporal.

The following is the absolute BEST sermon I have ever heard on the subject of Christmas. Please listen while you finish wrapping those presents or while you bake those cookies. And I do hope, dear Christian, that there are presents and cookies, and mostly the JOY OF THE LORD this time of year.

https://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/player_embed.asp?SID=1226111531554

From Grace Gems, Don Fortner writes:

We must not, and I trust do not, worship Christmas trees and lights, or even attach spiritual significance to Christmas day. However, I do suggest that we seize this opportunity afforded us by Divine providence to tell people who Christ is, why he came into this world, what he did, and how they may obtain his salvation. It is no accident that once every year every human being in the world is confronted with the fact that the Son of God assumed human flesh and came into the world to save men.

Jesus Christ stooped down toward us. He took on human flesh to redeem us. We should rejoice over this as the shepherds and angels did in that day!

Virginia, stop believing lies. Sorry, but Santa needs to go. The truth will set you free.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He Jesus lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he Jesus will continue to make glad the heart of childhood  hearts of His redeemed saints. -my revised version of that famous NY Sun letter

He came and dwelt among us. And that is something to celebrate. With feasting!

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Joyous Incarnation Celebration to All!

Beauty for Ashes: Christian Remarriage After Divorce

sign direction new life - old life
“…to give unto them beauty for ashes…”

In a perfect church, everyone hears the gospel and believes at a young age.  In a perfect church, two people who profess Jesus Christ to be their Saviour and take marriage vows are truly both regenerated.  Two people who marry in Christ understand the marriage vows to be permanent. Though these sinners saved by grace may have difficulties, they look to Christ for the grace and strength to endure. In a perfect church.

But there are no perfect churches.

In an imperfect church, you’ll find divorced people. Some have been remarried. This is part of diversity in the church. We all have diverse pasts, diverse circumstances and diverse social statuses. We have married couples, singles, widows and widowers…and we have divorced people.

I thought it would be good to start my third year of blogging by revisiting the topic of remarriage after divorce, though I will not argue whether remarriage after divorce is right or wrong. That was the topic that launched this blog. For the Biblical arguments please refer to that post (which was my most popular to date!) here: Can Two Divorced People Remarry?

Secular statistics on second marriages show they are doomed to fail. I do not believe we can use secular statistics for the church. If Jesus Christ is the staying power, the faithful One in the bond of Christian marriage, the marriage cannot fail.

So, I say poo-poo to statistics. Here are three beautiful examples of blessed remarriages [names have been changed to respect privacy]:

I Just Want to Be Happy/Can’t Get No Satisfaction – Couple #1

Alan was a covenant child – raised in the Christian faith. His parents brought him up with the Bible and church attendance. He made a profession of faith as a teenager. Sadly, he did not continue walking with the Lord. Over his dad’s objections, he married young. After 14 years of marriage, he divorced his wife. Alan blamed his family for his lack of happiness and peace. He remarried (without seeking the Lord) and divorced his second wife.

Cathy also grew up in a Christian family, but sought satisfaction in career and family. Her first marriage ended in divorce. Her second marriage was planned, but her intended died of a heart attack before the wedding. She threw herself back into her career. Then she met and married Alan, who came with three children from his first marriage. They bought a home and had one of Alan’s children move in with them.They felt the child needed to attend church, so that got Alan and Cathy physically back to church, but not yet spiritually. It was then that Cathy began meditating on the Word and asking questions. Alan helped her in her understanding and in the process, he repented and rededicated his life to the Lord. Couple #1 sought counsel of church elders. Alan asked forgiveness not only of the Lord, but of his family and children whom he’d wronged. Alan and Cathy  determined to rebuild a Christian family. They adopted four children. Two of them were special needs babies! Sadly, their first baby died at 17 months. They praised the Lord for her life and the privilege of having her, even for a short time. The Lord kept them through trials and disappointments. They went on to raise their children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Couple #1 is one of the most beautiful, faithful couples I’ve come to know in our church. They recently celebrated their 41st anniversary. They enjoy visiting their children, grandchildren and twelve (so far) great-grandchildren. What would it be like, had they been refused marriage? Continue reading

Wrestling With Time: Don’t Look Back, Don’t Worry About Tomorrow. Live for Today With The Abiding Presence

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March is here. Spring is in the air and we’ve already had a taste of it. I’m not ready. I still want to hibernate. I didn’t lose any weight yet. I didn’t finish purging clutter. Wait, wait, wait!

I’m not ready.

But it’s here.

I spent much of January sulking about the past. After-holiday blues hit hard. My cousin Prudence and I talked about Christmas past, when gifts were opened slowly, one at a time, each moment treasured as everyone absorbed the joy of the recipient. We reminisced about a different kind of Christmas, a different world, another time. Remember when, remember when. Remember when one gift a piece was precious. It was enough. Now our grandchildren attack a tower of presents under the tree, flinging wrapping paper, viciously anticipating the next toy.

Prudy and I both had our youngest children, daughters, move away last year. We miss them.

All of my children are geographically far from me. I wish we could all be together again, at least during holidays. I hate that we were split apart by divorce, before they finished becoming adults. I envy other couples my age that have been married 30, 35, 40 plus years. Because that’s what it was supposed to be for me. I envy the shared history and memories, comfort level, children in common, that those couples have: fruits of a long faithful marriage.

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. – Psalm 42:5

On January 29, I was prompted to read Spurgeon’s Morning Devotion which starts:

In our Christian pilgrimage it is well, for the most part, to be looking forward. Forward lies the crown, and onward is the goal. [emphases mine]

I was jolted back into the present. Yes, we must look forward. He says, for the most part, I think because we should never forget what God did for us, how He saved us from our past. We should remember how he plucked us out of places we shouldn’t have been in. I think Spurgeon says this also because it’s okay to treasure certain things in our hearts, like memories with our children and all the blessings in our lives past.

Life is but a vapor…

In February, my 58-year-old cousin Frank died unexpectedly. At his visitation, fifty-eight years flashed before me onscreen. There was a picture of Frank being baptized in the little Brooklyn church where I was also baptized. Those were the days, growing up in that little church. I plummeted further, lamenting over the utter brevity of life. My morning devotions brought me to Ecclesiastes 7:10 where the Lord, through Solomon berated me:

Do not say,
“Why were the former days better than these?”
For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. – Eccl. 7:10

The Lord, through Matthew Henry, scolded me further:

the supposition is a foolish reflection upon the providence of God in the government of the world.” Note, (1.) It is folly to complain of the badness of our own times when we have more reason to complain of the badness of our own hearts (if men’s hearts were better, the times would mend) and when we have more reason to be thankful that they are not worse, but that even in the worst of times we enjoy many mercies, which help to make them not only tolerable, but comfortable. (2.) It is folly to cry up the goodness of former times, so as to derogate from the mercy of God to us in our own times; as if former ages had not the same things to complain of that we have, or if perhaps, in some respects, they had not, yet as if God had been unjust and unkind to us in casting our lot in an iron age, compared with the golden ages that went before us; this arises from nothing but fretfulness and discontent, and an aptness to pick quarrels with God himself. [emphases mine]

How sobering!

Whatever state I am in to be content…

The good old days. They are always reinterpreted through revisionist eyes. Eyes that are so dissatisfied with the here and now, the past looks more attractive. This is discontentment. Paul learned whatever state I am in to be content. Am I? As a divorced, reformed and remarried woman, am I?

It’s a dangerous thing to whine over afflictions designed by God for our good. It’s a dangerous thing to look back, as Lot’s wife did.

The good old days were not really that good.

The Lord showed great mercy and lovingkindness toward me. He sent a new husband my way. He makes all things new, indeed.

Live in the Present with the Abiding Presence

I am reading The Abiding Presence by Hugh Martin, which I highly recommend. I love how he expounds on the timelessness of the Gospel.

… a Saviour the same yesterday, today and for ever, who in his marvelous biography is living with us still by his Spirit. The element of time is got rid of, and cast out. Jesus is with us.

The element of time has no influence at all on the efficacy of the sacrifice. As to past time, he may be called ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’ And to the end of time, he is ‘the Lamb as it had been slain.’

Past time, end of time. I long for the element of time to be rid of!

Yes, March is here. The month that identifies with the Lion and the Lamb. Stormy or calm, blustery or blissful, I am going forward and looking forward to this day:

“…Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. -Revelation 5:5,6

Let time go by. The element of time is got rid of! Let the seasons change. My Lion and my Lamb are eternal, and change not. The element of time will vanish when the wrath of the Lion burns up the earth in righteous judgement and the love of the Lamb collects his children to be with him forever and ever.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Photo credit: http://www.stolinsky.com/wordpress/index.php/tag/lion-and-lamb/

 

 

 

Identity Crisis!: Part 7: Youth, Beauty and the Ageless Goddess Lie

old-people-616718_640I dread haircut appointments. Hairdressers wonder why I decline their offer for color. I may be asking for too much, but surely they can cut and style graying hair. I understand it’s a challenge, but it’s my head. I will sign a waiver if I must, but I don’t want to wash the gray away, pretend to be younger, or have toxic carcinogens leech through my scalp and into my bloodstream.

I am a black and white person, but the only gray I accept is on my head.

Silver – the new blonde?

Women are especially obsessed with looking younger than they are, thanks to a culture that constantly bombards us with photoshopped young bodies. You can’t even check your email without seeing depraved celeb news splashed over Yahoo or other mail servers. Milestone ages of 50, 40 and even 30 arrive with dread. Mid-life women are affected the most. Especially those women who have suffered betrayal and rejection resulting in divorce. We feel we have to look younger, be thin and dress a bit provocatively to attract a man. But really, we don’t want that superficial man. We want the man who will love who we are, not how we appear on the outside. In the online dating world for midlifers, this is hard. Here is a good perspective by a single senior who chose to keep her long graying hair. I love one of the comments: silver is the new blonde! Oddly enough, gray hair has become trendy among young women, as we see in this New York Times article on grannyhair. These are encouraging and offer hope that we’ll finally kill that negative gray hair stigma once and for all.

OK, but I’m talking about more than just gray hair.

What is with this cultural obsession with youth and beauty?

We all want to look beautiful. We are told to hide that wrinkle, lift that chin, tuck in that tummy and bump out that booty. You can cover up your blemishes, dye your hair, and even disguise your sex, but you can’t cover up your sin. Sin rots you on the inside. I can’t help but think of The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Narcissist Dorian Gray (appropriately, Mr. Gray) indulges in every immoral pleasure after making a deal with the devil. He remains young while a portrait painted by an admiring artist reveals the ugliness of his corrupt soul and gets worse with each indulgent sin. While he seems to possess ageless youth and beauty, he is quite dead inside, as revealed by the aging grotesque portrait of his soul.

Think of the American way of doing funerals, which I hate. The cadaver lying in the coffin is coiffed, painted and lipsticked. Morticians do their best to make that lifeless cadaver look alive. But dead is dead. Likewise, the walking dead are those who live and breathe but are dead in trespasses and sin. As Kevin Swanson says in his sermon entitled Overcoming Evil With Good, the likes of Caitlyn Jenner are ‘dead cadavers with lipstick’. Without Christ there is no life. Outside of Christ, we are as dead as the made-up corpse.

Beauty, in our society, is directly related to youth and youth alone. You don’t see any porn sites featuring old ladies, except for that calendar published in the UK some years ago (warning: this is nauseating, click at your own risk) to raise funds for lymphoma. How pathetic that was. They did another one ten years later, more revealing than the first. Yet those old ladies were praised for their daring attitudes and they garnered much respect from our warped world. What they really need is a sense of shame for their nakedness!

Speaking of bold, daring old ladies…

I happened upon this PBS program while cooking one Saturday afternoon. Expounding on her new book, Goddesses Never Age and online course Ageless Goddess, Dr. Christiane Northrup spoke to an enthralled audience. I was already familiar with Dr. Northrup’s new-age approach in her book The Wisdom of Menopause, so I listened discerningly. You can glean some very good truth from what she says. I will grant her that much. She does have a point when she mentions ageless attitude. We should not succumb to what we’re told by mainstream media or by what I believe is a tainted health care system overrun by Big Pharma and greed. Growing older doesn’t necessarily mean losing your memory or getting brittle bones. I am tired of senior moment jokes. Stressed people in their twenties will have those same moments. When the mind is cluttered and overwhelmed by too much busyness and lack of sleep it’s hard to recall anything.

But when Northrup says ‘deterioration is not inevitable‘ she is lying. Here is where she starts to deny that we are actually living in a fallen world. Here is where she denies suffering and death that came into the world because of our sin.

Northrup’s book titles always start with WISDOM of _____.  The source of that wisdom goes back to the snake in the garden. She says ‘your spiritual outlook, thoughts and beliefs need to be surrendered to the healing power of Spirit’ — ah but what spirit? pagan god? Baal? the Universe? Mother Earth? Gaia? Northrup says ‘there’s this life force within you – it’s ageless!’ Dr. Northrup talks about what she learned from people who’ve had near death experiences. Red flag. She learned ‘We don’t die, there’s only love, and why wait…You have the power within you to change everything.’ Does that lie sound familiar?

In her best sex and pleasure video she says you can have this pleasure ‘no matter who your partner is, or even if you don’t have a partner’. She says sex is ‘connecting with your vital life force’. She talks about chakras and Kundalini. Kundalini is, not surprisingly, serpent power. Enough said. These terms refer to Hinduism and yoga practices and they are extremely dangerous to your soul.

She continues on about living a joyful life. But there is no true joy without Christ! Certainly there is momentary pleasure, as she describes. But self-love and self-gratification (self-worship) leads to emptiness. It leads to death, a far cry from joyful life!

I am wondering why this holistic health conscious lady is donning a blonde bob. Does she not care what those chemicals can do to her fearless ageless brain? Her philosophy loses credibility right there. How obviously superficial. I wonder what the portrait of her true soul looks like. Continue reading

Happy 1st Birthday, Divorced, Reformed and Remarried!

It’s been a while since my last post. Summer flew by and circumstances did not allow the time to write. Also, I’ve been wrestling with whether this blog should continue. I realized today that Divorced, Reformed and Remarried began a year ago – so a little celebration is in order.

Happy birthday, Divorced, Reformed and Remarried!

It’s a good time to review past posts and reflect on possible future ones.

Our Identity Crisis! series started in March. Wow. I did not expect so many related news stories to coincide with the subject. Since the series began, we’ve witnessed the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage, the debut of Caitlyn Jenner, and a surge toward gender neutrality among corporations.

Monday is Labor Day. Most students are back in school. I always loved the new school year. It seemed to me a better time for a fresh start. New marble notebooks and blank white pages await. So does this blog.

Blank pages, fresh start!
Blank pages, fresh start!

There will be a few more posts in the Identity Crisis! series and then I hope to move on to less cumbersome subjects.

Stay tuned…

Purging and Pursuing Wisdom in Blogging With Humility

Divorce agreement - approvedJanuary is a great month to purge.  Purge closets. Purge drawers. Purge the papers under the bed. That’s where I keep my divorce papers. For legal purposes, those will have to stay. But I still have drawers full of journals. Interspersed with joyful reflections on homemaking and childrearing are lamentations over a failing marriage. Trying to purge, but how do I skim off the fat (broken marriage and betrayal) and keep the healthy minerals (memories of motherhood)?  It should be as easy as soup. But the skimming process forces me to read them. To shred or not to shred. That is the question. Yet I must purge. I sure could use the drawer space for more fuzzy sox.

So I’ve been caught up in this for several days. It plunged me into melancholy. I started rehashing stuff in my mind. I’m grieving again, with Natalie Merchant moaning in the background. It doesn’t help that this month marks the 10th Anniversary of my divorce being final.

I failed to heed wisdom I wrote about before in my post The Second Time Around: Yours, Mine and Ours, Yes!don’t look back. The holidays always cause nostalgia to flare up, so I need to cut myself some slack. There’s nothing wrong with remembering precious moments with my children. But to relive the death of a marriage is for naught. I will skim through my journal pages with a discriminating eye. I will treasure the good and destroy the evil.

Though this blog says ‘divorced’, I don’t want to focus on that. The title remains as is, but only so I can help others, perhaps, heal from divorce. I will never bash my ex or rehash. I’d like to emphasize marriage – having a God-glorifying one at that.

Maybe I should have made two posts out of this one, but I think it will be okay to segue into: Continue reading

Dead Men Know Best: The Wisdom and Wit of the Puritans (and other dead men) on Marriage. Part 1: William Gouge

Of Domestical Duties (1622) sounds like a boring read. It makes me think of housework. This huge work by seventeenth-century Presbyterian William Gouge has been edited and modernized by Scott Brown and Joel Beeke and separated into three volumes entitled Building a Godly Home. The RHB publication is Gouge’s biblical exposition of family life and relationships in updated understandable language. Move over, Dr. Phil – this is all we need! I have Volume Two: A Holy Vision for a Happy Marriage. Oh my, don’t we all want a happy marriage? Especially the second time around, when all odds are against us. These two points are my favorites:

Gouge on Remarriage After Divorce

Gouge mentions desertion and proclaims, “…liberty is given to the party forsaken to marry another.” Aha! Here’s some backup for my argument in a previous post: Can Two Divorced People Remarry? Thank you, Mr. Gouge, for further validation. Since Gouge has given his approval of remarriage after divorce in the particular circumstance of abandonment, I’m confident he’d approve of my second time around. In fact, I can conclude that the following quote applies to me as well:

The Present Pledge of God’s Favor

“This other must be as close clung to as if they have never been joined to a former. The living husband or wife is the present pledge of God’s favor. He is now your own husband, and she is now your own wife, and not the party that is dead.” –William Gouge

I love that! My husband Mike is the present pledge of God’s favor in my life. What an encouraging little phrase. And close clung to as if they have never been joined to a former. Wow. My marriage is a blessing, especially the second time around, because it is the present pledge of God’s favor in my life now. I must memorize this phrase when I feel those negatives discussed in Yours, Mine, And Ours – Not. And that close clinging really inspires me.

Even though the quote refers to widows/widowers remarriage in Chapter 4: Living Together in Love, I’m sure Gouge would consider my deserter ex-husband as ‘dead’. After all, Gouge was a member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, who collaborated on The Westminster Confession of Faith, which declares the offending spouse ‘dead’. Gouge explains how we must never look back or think of that dead spouse nor draw comparisons between the dead spouse and the new. Such mind wanderings only cause contention and bring misery. It’s funny how that former spouse creeps up (pun intended) in my mind and causes me to project creepy behavior onto my poor dear new Mike. I have to keep checking myself on this.

European Historic Alley At NightIt doesn’t surprise me that something written in the seventeenth century is so relevant for today. And why not? Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. From the days of Eden, male and female had the same issues. While Beeke has turned Gouge’s antiquated expressions to more modern language, the Biblical basis remains. This marriage manual reeks with complementarianism and I love that! There are no feminazi leanings here. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, complementarian means men and women are equal with God, but have different roles. I believe the Bible teaches the complementarian view. Perhaps there will be a future blog post on complementarianism vs. egalitarianism.

thanksgiving-pilgrim-man-character-in-vector-format_MkB0P4od
Is she the one for me?
thanksgiving-pilgrim-woman-character-in-vector-format_MJTJ_Vo_
I wonder if this bloke will get Father’s approval.

Gouge begins with very pertinent chapters: Seeking Marriage and Getting Married. In Seeking Marriage, Gouge makes a good point about marrying someone around your own age, social status, and most especially equal in piety. The updated Gouge explains:

“Happy is that family where both the husband and wife are mutual members of Christ’s body”

I am reminded of the Bible verse:

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

– 2 Cor. 6:14

This is the most important requirement in choosing a mate. Being of one mind and one accord, with Christ as the head of household, is mandatory. I don’t think we’re hung up on social status as they were at that time. (Gouge explains that it’s unsuitable for a man of great authority to marry his kitchen maid). I think it more important for two people to be similar in intellect so they can communicate well and enjoy intelligent conversation. That’s just my two cents. But without shared faith in Christ, marriage is doomed. Yes, there are many marriages of other faiths or no faith that survive happily. Of course it’s possible to have agreeable arrangements. But we’re talking about God’s standard here. We’re talking about the marriage dynamic expressed in Scripture; the sacrificial relationship of Christ and the Church displayed in us mere mortals.

Which brings me to Chapter 5: Caring For Each Other’s Souls where Gouge gets into all the spiritual helps spouses provide for each other. We are to help each other grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are to hinder sin in one another. We are to exhort one another to read the word, pray, and sing Psalms together. This is a favorite part of the book. How often we neglect this type of help in our marital relationship. Yet, it’s the most important kind of help we can give each other.

This is followed by Chapter 6 : Guarding Each Other’s Health, Reputation and Property. Of particular note here is Gouge’s wonderful expose on Husbands and Wives Managing Together the Possessions of the Family. The practice of good stewardship is expressed in this chapter. I love the references to Proverbs 31 concerning the wife.

“…she  may by her planning and diligence bring much profit to her husband. Therefore, in this, among other respects, the good wife which Solomon describes, is said to do good to her husband all the days of her life, for by her hard work and planning did she preserve and increase his possessions, that the heart of her husband trusted her, and he had no lack of gain.”

cooking-stove_GJyH5LdOIs this not a most important function in the marriage dynamic? Maybe she is loading digital coupons onto her supermarket card, cooking from scratch and ditching the hairdresser. Maybe she’s crocheting and selling on Etsy while the baby naps. She’s careful with her husband’s hard-earned money. She’s also an entrepreneur. She’s wise and savvy. This is not a woman needing fulfillment outside the home. This is not a woman doing her own thing apart from her husband. This is a true helpmeet. She complements her husband. And I don’t mean “you look so handsome today, dear.” A complementary role. Working together for the same end.

The last eleven chapters are directed at individual spouses. Five are for the wife. Six are for the husband. It looks like husbands need a bit more instruction! Clearly, just from reading the titles of these chapters, we see differing roles in husband and wife. Here are the key words to the wife: RESPECT, NOT GOING AGAINST HUSBAND’S WILL (2 chapters on this!), OBEDIENCE, SUBMISSION. Here are some key words to the husband: AFFECTIONATE AUTHORITY, HUMBLE GENTLENESS, PATIENT, KIND, PROVIDING, SINCERE STEADY LOVE. That speaks volumes to me and I haven’t finished reading the book yet. But for now, it’s time to get ready for Thanksgiving. Let’s take time to thank God for the gifts He’s bestowed upon us. Instead of turning on the TV Thanksgiving evening, gather the family around and read dead men. They know best!thanksgiving-day_10065509-031914