Saturday, December 18, 2010

Walking Through Life With You...

In the movie They Died With Their Boots On, with Errol Flynn and Olivia de'Havilland, Errol Flynn plays Custer during the time preceding and during Custer's "last stand." I love the line Custer says to his wife when he knows he'll not ever see her again:

"Walking through life with you has been a very gracious thing…"

What has "walking through life with YOU" been to your spouse?

What would you LIKE walking through life to be with you? Fun? Energizing? A very encouraging thing?

Sadly, if you asked many people today, they would say, "Walking through life with my spouse has been a very trying thing." Or a very stressful thing or a very hair raising experience!

Decide what you want "walking through life with you" to be, and make today the beginning of that experience for your spouse and for those around you.

Challenge: What is "walking through life" with YOU like?! What do you want it to be? Make a FOCUSED EFFORT so that others will have an amazing testimony of what "walking through life" with you has meant to them!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

United in Purpose

Amos 3:3 Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place?

So many times when my children were in high school, I instructed them to be careful of trying to "walk together" down the same road with someone if the person wasn't even sure of which road they wanted to walk down yet! I encouraged them to see where the people they hung around with were heading after graduation, when they were able to decide on their own which paths they wanted to pursue in their lives, and then determine if that was a path that was mutual before making any commitments to someone.

It is so important that when you link lives you are united in purpose. This goes beyond the fun and entertainment part of dating, it goes beyond mutual hobbies and likes and dislikes. It goes to the depths of the purpose of your lives.

My mom and dad are so different from one another. My dad loves sports and activities, and my mom loves reading and poetry. My dad could care less about books, and my mom could care less about sports. But they are celebrating more than sixty years together. The bond they have is the strongest bond possible: the bond of being united in purpose.

Both of them gave their lives and energies to producing an amazing family. They poured themselves into it. Each in their own way, with their own contributions, they gave 100% to ensuring the closeness of our family. When they committed their lives to Christ when we were all teenagers, they realized the supernatural power of God to effectuate and empower the purpose they already lived for.

My husband and I are united in purpose for the same goal: to live lives to glorify the Lord, and to have a family that demonstrates the power of God in the earth.

Isaiah 8.18 ~ Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

Psalm 127.4 ~ As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Isaiah 54.13 ~ And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Psalms 132.12 ~ If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.

Many times when my husband and I were at variance with each other, we would know that we were praying for too many things to be at odds with each other. Our unity of purpose demanded us to keep no records of wrongs done to each other: we had to clear things up immediately. In the 29 years we have been together, we have never allowed ourselves to be angry with each other for more than a few hours without clearing things up.

What is the purpose for which you and your spouse are united? What is the passion of your souls that join you together and command your unity and oneness?

Challenge: Talk with each other and discuss the purpose that unites you. Discuss your goals and see where your unity in purpose is together. Then pull together and watch amazing things happen!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Two Become One part 1

It is a mystery how when you are married, you become ONE with your spouse! I think as you grow together and really make it your business to know your spouse and love him/her despite differences, you actually begin to understand how they feel even before they tell you. So many times I will think something and Gary will do exactly what I was thinking!

Although the marriage is the event that makes you one, it really seems more like a process that needs to be worked out day after day. It become a choice. Here are a few ways to work on really becoming one:

*Care about what your spouse cares about.

*Feel your spouse's emotions with them. Even if your spouse holds things inside, try to understand what emotions he/she is feeling and feel those emotions with them.

*Try to anticipate your spouse's needs and meet them.

*Somehow touch base with each other during the day, even if just for a minute.

Challenge: How are you one day by day? Think of ways each day to show your oneness in a tangible way.

Feeling Safe With Someone

While driving through Italy, Gary and I had a lot of time to be together. Gary seemed bemused at my conversation, but was definitely more in tuned to driving than talking (not unusually). This being a rare occasion when we have so much time together, I said, "Gary TALK to me!" He asked, "About what?" I told him "About ANYTHING… what do you like, what don't you like, what are your dreams, what plans do you have for anything, who do you like, what problems at work are you experiencing, what is your favorite vacation, best memory, worst memory, most funniest thing that happened to you… ANYTHING! I just want to hear you!"

After thinking for a few seconds he said, "That is a LOT of stuff to talk about…" and …silence. After a short while of looking around and driving some more, I decided to contentedly and almost unilaterally carry on my conversation.

I was happy to talk about little things and observances, to note unusual things in our travels, noticing all sorts of details. Gary was happy to drive and look around a little in silence. I decided I would rather let Gary be content in who he is without trying to dig up something to talk about than try to pull conversation from him. After all, I would not be able to look around without noticing things, so why should I expect him to do something opposite his personality?!

I did manage to "test" his knowledge of foreign words, which was a further indication that he really wasn't too interested in little details!

Sometimes I feel that the best way to love someone is for them to feel SAFE with you. To know that whether they are in the mood to talk or not, that you love them and are okay with them and accept them just the way they are.

Sometimes it is the opposite situation: Gary will need to vent or I will need to vent over something. To be safe with someone is to know that they know your heart and believe the best in you. You can pour your heart out, and, if needed, restate things that need to be restated because they came out wrong the first time, or they were misinterpreted.

The worst thing to do in a disagreement, or when trying to reach a conclusion, or in a misunderstanding, is to "defend" yourself. When a team is on the defense in sports, they are determined not to let the opposition break through. When you are on the defense in a conversation, the person talking to you will never feel any opportunity to break through either! It's a funny play on words too: if you're on "de-fense" there IS a fence up that will continue to divide!

You can not make someone feel that to discuss their feelings with you will end up in a debate: they will be aware that your motive is not to understand them but to undermine them, and they will often give up and walk away. Love is easy to approach, believing and hoping the best of the other person.

I love this poem about Friendship:

Oh, the comfort –
The inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words – but pouring them
All right out – just as they are –
Chaff and grain together –
Certain that a faithful hand will Take and sift them –
Keep what is worth keeping –
And with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.

Challenge: Does your spouse feel safe with you. Do they feel accepted just as they are or do you have them "jumping through hoops" to be what you want them to be? Do you allow someone to express themselves to you until you understand their viewpoint, or do you go on "de-fense" and partition yourself from them? Do you seek to understand rather than undermine? Do you allow your spouse to rephrase things that you may have interpreted differently than what they were trying to say, or that they just simply need to restate? Make your spouse feel SAFE and enjoy the "inexpressible comfort" defined in the poem above!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Crashworthiness: Tried, Tested and Sure

[krash-wur-thee-nis] capable of withstanding the effects of a crash; the ability of a car or other vehicle to withstand a collision or crash with minimal bodily injury to its occupants.

Being married to a NASCAR fan, I understand that the most successful race cars are those that are built with the CRASH in mind: and are built to withstand the ultimate crash. Things are set in place: special bars, airbags, anti-fire, special provisions for roll-overs, special driving gear and clothing, that will help the car crash and yet still have the driver survive.

Our marriages and families need to withstand storms and threats and "crashes" like never before. How "crashworthy" is YOUR marriage, and YOUR family? What have you done to PREPARE yourselves for the threats and crashes?

Our last family vacation had the normal, fun-loving, "floating down the lazy river" type moments: we played golf, tennis, and did extreme workouts together. We held daily challenging Bible studies led by each couple, and finished each night with dinner prepared and served by each couple. We played cards, talked, shopped, shared laughter, even visited the "what dreams are made of" Magic Kingdom...

But this family vacation, with all our newlyweds, one soon-to-be-married and one dating couple, had one different, interesting, and SEEMINGLY horrible difference: there was a multiple day THREAT to our unity that showed itself in the form of some ugly interactions and attitudes. TRIED... we made the most of every opportunity, trying to avert the problems, but God had a different idea through the TESTING...

This vacation became the BEST VACATION EVER because it demonstrated our family's "crashworthiness".

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was FOUNDED UPON A ROCK. And every one that hearth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7.24-27)

SURE... we made some "rules of the ring" in the form of action items (see below) on ways to handle conflict resolution. We realized:

*Unity and a solidly closely-knit family like ours, so intimately involved in each others' lives, is worth fighting for and can NOT be taken for granted!

*We are POWERFUL together and ALL things good are only good when TESTED and SURE.

*We realize more than ever the things that could threaten our bond, and have joined together to take action against those things and not allow them in our lives.

Here is our study to encourage others:

Fighting for Our Family

1. Our Destiny is our Greatest Challenge

2. No One is Right – We must fight for Peace

We have “A culture of Quitters”

2 Tim 3:1-5

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of

themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,

ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal,

not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers

of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.

3. Regard Others as More Important than Ourselves

MT 20:28

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a

ransom for many.”

4. Guard Against Bitterness & Grudges

Eph 4:3

Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together

with peace.

Matthew 5:23-24

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother

has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be

reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Col 3:13

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

MT 6:14

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive

you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Jesus – Last 30 hours

• Arrested

• Taken before court – for crimes he didn’t commit

• Betrayed by his friends

• Beaten beyond recognition

• Carried a cross to the place of his death

• Slammed spikes into his hands

Yet he said…

“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing…”

1. Who do you need to forgive?

2. Whom do you need to ask forgiveness from?

5. Love Deeply

1Peter 4:8

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

PS 103:12

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Action Items ("Rules of the Ring")

• Address the “bricks” of offense before they turn into a wall

• Go directly to the offender and don’t gossip

• Stick to the issue at hand

• Seek first to understand before you are understood. Even a fool is thought to be

wise if he keeps his mouth shut. (Proverbs) – Guard our reactions to offense

• Love Deeply, Forgive and Forget

• Stick to the issue at hand (Don’t attack the Character attack the issue)

• Avoid “always and never”

• Leave the other person ‘a way back in’

• Be able to say what the person said back to them

• Don’t leave the issue resolution

**127,672 interactions within the Budzinski family***

Challenge: Make "rules of the ring" or "action items" to take during times of testing and disagreement. Make sure your marriage and family is "crashworthy". Be sure the threats, challenges and problems will come: make SURE your marriage and family are "capable of withstanding the effects"!