Being Happy with Less than Perfect – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

As my family grows it gets harder for us to show up and sit still for a family portrait all at the same time. We’re not good at staying on task, with the different ages and energy levels at play.

And our colorful personalities are hard to corral to get everyone focused on the camera without our faces expressing everything from hilarity to stoicism. It’s quite challenging.

There are fixes for this. Sometimes Photoshop is nice, but it can also be a disaster. We have one photo where there are too many legs for the number of people lined up.

Then there’s the one where my creative son traded everyone’s head for someone else’s on our family football team. That one had to go.

Also, trying to be all-inclusive can backfire. When my nephew couldn’t attend my sister’s wedding we included a framed picture of him in our family portrait. A friend saw it and thought its presence meant he had died. We’re so glad you’re still with us, James.

It’s good enough

I changed the banner photo on my website this week, resolved to show my family as we were on a beautiful fall day at Amazon Park. We’d asked a stranger to capture the moment, it was a low resolution camera, and some of us were ready for nap time though I’m not mentioning names. It’s not a perfect photo, and some family members are missing, but I’m happy with what I have.

An aside: I’m going to break a writing rule and include a random, unrelated tidbit. I played at the same park and crawled on the same cement dinosaur that’s in the picture when I was a kid. It’s a senior moment, I know, but hey, it’s my family.

We have what we need

I don’t have to list our problems or brag about our accomplishments. We’re all imperfect, his grace is enough, and love covers a multitude of sins—all those wonderful phrases from Scripture that give us hope for a perfect future.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 4:9-10 ESV).

We’re in this life together, folks. And Jesus really is all we need.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

 

Letter to a Wife – Proverbs 31

From a guy’s perspective, a man who values his wife more than riches or the great coupons she finds. My brother has consented to let me post his anniversary letter this week. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

A great woman is hard to find, she is worth far more than pearls, opals, topaz, or great coupons. Her husband trusts in her, if he is smart. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life, with the exception of sharing from her large chocolate stash in that desk drawer.

She constantly shops for the best values, found in high-end stores (just looking), or second-hand boutiques. Her second-hand is as lovely and her first, by the way. She works hard to keep her husband looking sharp, which can be a challenge.

She is like a Trader Joe’s buying rep who scours the country looking for yummy surprises and hard to find finds. She is up before 10, preparing mochas when her husband doesn’t have time. Otherwise, she gladly accepts his breakfast while she reads the paper, with still more scouring.

She looks over a field, discovers that her husband has grand ideas concerning it, and says, “You’ve got to be kidding.” She lets him landscape and plant a garden anyway. God bless her.

First thing in the morning, she dresses, always styling, rolls up her sleeves and gets to work. If she is wearing short sleeves, that means its July. She keeps work in balance, and really knows how to juggle. She puts the home in homemaking and gladly works side by my side.

She is quick to help anyone, anytime. She doesn’t think twice. She quietly challenges her husband to put compassion over practicality.

She doesn’t worry about her family when it rains or snows, because she has already found great deals on winter clothes. Her own clothing is always sharp and classy. And unlike her husband, she pulls off retro.

When her husband deliberates with city fathers, they roll their eyes and look to her, knowing they’ll now get the real story. Her children know and do this too. She keeps an eye on her household and keeps them all productive. Especially her husband.

Charm can mislead and beauty fades, but seriously, how does she still look so good? Colby is to be admired and praised (she is wincing right now but I tell it like it is).

Her life secret: She humbly and wisely walks before God. My decision to link up with her 32 years ago was the second best decision I ever made.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie.

Terry Sheldon, guest blogger. A letter to his wife, Colby Sheldon, as they celebrate their anniversary 2017. Terry also blogs periodically for City Salt Church in Eugene, OR.
Note: Slightly modified from Proverbs 31:10-31 TUV (Terry’s Unauthorized Version)

Understanding a Woman’s Mind – 2 Kings 4:25-27

When relationships are difficult it’s hard to wait patiently for a solution. This might be by God’s design. Sometimes he hides things from us. Perhaps we have trouble understanding our spouse’s mind because God has closed a door. But why would he do that? Why should understanding be locked up?

Maybe it’s all about God’s timing.

It’s so hard when no matter how much we love someone or how hard we try, understanding can remain out of our reach. The most difficult part is remaining in that state without getting angry, casting blame, or withdrawing our love.

I did all of those things when, at the onset of menopause, my emotions became unstable. I would calmly start discussing my concerns with my husband, but discord would escalate to the point where neither of us could sort it out. There was no making sense of it.

I learned in 2 Kings this morning that one of God’s prophets, someone who understands things the rest of us don’t, was befuddled by another’s thinking.

Elisha prophesied that the Shunammite woman would have a son, and it came to pass the following year. But God hadn’t told him everything.

 

So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there is the Shunammite. Run at once to meet her and say to her, “Is all well with  you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?”

And she answered, “All is well.” And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet.

And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, “Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me.”


2 Kings 4:25-27 ESV

 

Why would the Lord hide things from us? In verse 27 we see the prophet told his servant to leave the woman alone. Time needed to pass before her issue and its answer would be known.

It might look like I’m really hung up on this trust thing, but I’m convinced that’s what living life with God is all about.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-9 NASB

 

Like the prophet Elisha, my husband and I found it sometimes takes time to reach a place of understanding. When we acknowledge God in all our ways he straightens out the path before us. When the time is right, we’ll understand.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis