Keeping the Promises

Laughter floated in the air as food was prepared and decorations set. Flowers filled the entry ways, overflowed from vases on the mantel, tables and all around our home. Friends and family gathered yesterday to shower my daughter with blessings as she prepares to enter this new season of life and celebrate the upcoming marriage to her fiance. What a joyous time it was. We saw faces we hadn’t seen in years. Some came from far away, others from down the road. My sweet aunt who was married to her love for 74 years was there. Some newly marrieds and some who will be someday came too.

Along with lots of wonderful gifts for her home, our friends and family brought their love and blessings with them. My friend told us a beautiful story and shared some things she wish she’d known as a young bride. Then I prayed for my daughter.

It didn’t take long for me to settle on what to pray for her in her marriage. Her father and I celebrated 23 years of marriage the day before her shower so I was thinking of our story as I was thinking about how to pray.

Twenty three years ago in a small wedding chapel in Tennessee we vowed to love each other.

We promised to love each other when times were good and when they weren’t. To love each other in times of sickness and wellness, during feast or famine, and highs and lows.

We laugh now at the kids we were then because we thought we had it figured out. Now we know we still don’t have it figured out.

But we’re learning. We’re growing together, loving each other, and getting better and better at it. We’re keeping the promises.

We’ve experienced abundant joy and faced tragedy; enjoyed many blessings and walked through painful seasons. And we’ve done it for 23 years.

We’re better because of each other and for each other.

I began the prayer for my daughter with Ephesians 4:32. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

It’s not the typical marriage verse but I know from 23 years that when my husband and I are practicing this, we’re doing well. When we’re not following it, things aren’t as good as they can be.

I prayed for her the same things I ask for myself:

“Father, thank You that we can come to You with confidence and know You hear us. Thank You for our friends and family gathered here to celebrate our daughter’s life. And thank You for the divine gift of marriage.

Father, You promise to give us all we need to do what You’ve called us to do. Draw her near to You. May she look to You for guidance and wisdom as she grows into the woman You’ve called her to be.

You call us to kind actions and words but Your desire is not that we just do kind acts but that our hearts are tender which leads to kindness. God, keep her heart tender. Let her eyes be fixed on You and may she remember Your kindness and extravagant love toward her.

Give her a wholehearted love for You, Father. Because as her love for You grows, so will the love for her husband.”

And we all said, “Amen.”

“Love is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit, reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.”   C.S. Lewis

photo by Markie Pearson Photography

Extravagant

Friends

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My daughter and one of her friends laughing and ice skating

There’s nothing like a good friend.

You can be yourself………..but if you’re not, she notices.

You can share the deepest parts of you.

She knows your story and you know hers.

With her, it’s okay to not be okay.

She’ll let you be scared but help you be brave.

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forever friends

Your laugh makes her laugh. Your tears break her heart.

It always feels like yesterday, even when it’s been a long time since you’ve connected.

She makes you better because she lifts you up and she loves you.

She’s an original and so are you.

 

 

 

 

 

F is for Fun

In response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge Alphabet.

This photo was taken in a hurry. I barely stopped to take the photo because the people on Beale Street were moving at a certain pace and I felt the need to keep up. BB Kings Blues Club is where we sat and listened to some of the best music ever, ate a wonderful meal, and laughed our faces off. Well not off…..we still have our faces, but you know what I mean.

Last weekend my husband and I, with two other couples went to Memphis, Tennessee for a night. This was out of the ordinary for all of us because sometimes we let the responsibilities of life crowd out the “just for fun” part of life.

All of us have full-time jobs and families. Juggling work, raising families, running small businesses, renovating a home, and all other sorts of happenings in our lives, cause us to forget the importance of spending time with friends.

Last weekend we got away from all the “must do’s” of our lives and enjoyed some time together. We enjoyed the music and food. The lights and activity on Beale Street were exciting. But the laughter we shared was the best part of all.

Laughter is like a balm for a wearied soul. It’s healing and soothing. I encouraged it in my Live Like it Matters Challenge a few months ago in my post called Laugh.

 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.   Proverbs 17:22 NIV

Laughter can also be contagious.

Do yourself and all those around you a favor today and laugh.

Then do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

 

 

Laugh

A happy heart is like good medicine,
but a broken spirit drains your strength.        Proverbs 17:22 NCV

It’s time for another Live Like it Matters Challenge. This week’s challenge is fun for you and those around you.

We all know that laughter is good medicine for the soul. It’s proven to be a great stress reliever with other short-term and long-term health benefits. So this week laugh with someone. If you have to watch the latest episode of The Middle to get your funny bone started then do it. Or watch Jimmy Kimmel’s “I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy” pranks. Or search out anything by Tim Hawkins.

The point is to share your laughter with others. Go see a funny movie, or play in the leaves with the little kids and the dog, try to do a headstand, or tell a joke. Be sure to try the headstand against a wall while others watch. I promise you will laugh and so will they just because it’s ridiculous that you’re trying to do a headstand at your age. And only tell a joke if you’re good at delivering the puncpicmonkey_image (2)h line. I’m terrible at this so I won’t be joke-telling as a way to share a laugh. But I can make the funniest faces you’ve ever seen.

Remember, we are laughing WITH others. Do not laugh at others or at their expense. Unless it’s the kids in the Jimmy Kimmel videos.

Or unless you’re my older sister, Marlina, who has ILS. Never heard of it? It’s Inappropriate Laughter Syndrome. She can never seem to hold back uncontrollable bouts of laughter when someone she loves dearly falls or trips or hurts themselves in some way.

Have fun this week as you share your laughter with others.

More

I want more.

Sometimes I don’t want more. Sometimes I’m fine with how things are.

Then I’m reminded how much more I need by my angry shout or judgmental comment. A dark thought or harmful words. Not doing my best. Not giving my all. Fearful or prideful. Careless or hopeless. Lazy, stingy, or controlling. Thinking I’m better than or less than.

Oh how I need more. More love and joy.  More faith and patience. More compassion. More laughter and hope. More grace and mercy. More truth.

Jesus will give me more.  Jesus will make me more.

Loving more deeply and giving more generously. Seeing more clearly and living more freely. Working more diligently. Speaking more carefully and serving more purposefully.  Laughing more.  Dreaming more.  Believing more.

I want more of Jesus. He is more.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ[b]—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Philippians 1:9-11 NLT