Wednesday, September 12, 2012

10 Best Decisions of our Married Life... #8 Trust & Respect

Recently I began to share something I composed some years ago to be part of a document for a niece as she got married in June 2004.  That document was created as a compilation of entries under the title:  
The Wisdom of the most important women in your life.  
Each woman who submitted an entry chose her own subject matter.  I promised to post my entry on this blog.  This is the eighth of our top decisions in the list of:
The Top Ten Decisions Guiding Our Married Life
By Uncle John and Aunt Linda Worden
8.  We will support each other with mutual trust and respect confident that each is striving to know and do God’s will.
Ephesians 5: 22, 23, 25 THE MESSAGE Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ.  Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church - a love marked by giving, not getting. 
One of the greatest gifts Uncle John has given me is to trust the choices I make about how I spend my time.  I have many friends whose husbands demand an accounting of everything that has been done, spent, said, with whom, where, when, etc.  And then there is often criticism of those choices.  This trust is precious and for us it has given us both freedom to exercise the strengths we have received from God.  There have been some times when each of us has seen a worrisome expenditure of time and energy in the other.  We have expressed that and it has provided a good balance for us in seeing mistakes we were making.  It is easy to get over committed and find ourselves operating under significant stress.  One time when that was true for me, I talked to Uncle John about my feelings and his counsel was, “Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that God wants you to do it.”  That freed me to resign from a position I had so I could take better care of my family.  But to be honest, this is an on-going choice which we have to work on.  It is easy to be critical of how our spouse spends time but it has worked for us to talk about our view of things and get the other’s perspective about what they are doing.  The principle that needs to be at work here is that each partner must be thinking of serving and giving and then trust and respect are the result.  We have absolutely no regrets for having followed this decision throughout our lives.  The truth is, however, that we are still working on this one in our marriage.
2012 Update:
We continue to seek balance in our lives and probably both err on the side of being too busy with many "good" things which may result in the neglect of the "best" things.  We are people who enjoy serving and pleasing others so we need to evaluate our motives in service quite often.  This is an area that has little that is clearly black and white.  So many choices confronting our reservoir of time and energy are in the gray area - good but are they best?  

Within the past two weeks, we had an opportunity to host a table of materials sharing the ministry of our local Pregnancy Resource Center.  When this opportunity was made known to us, I immediately thought, "We should do this."  John thought the same and volunteered us for the opportunity.  But inside of me, I really didn't want to sacrifice my time.  I really preferred to stay home and not have to face strangers who may want to engage in conversation.  But I felt it was something God thought was important and so I willingly participated in the event.  As we stood at our table, shared literature with some and spoke with a few, an older woman and young man uncomfortably drew close enough to begin a conversation.  That conversation became a powerful moment in which we were able to share God's heart for life and his offer of forgiveness and truth that can set a person free in spite of past mistakes with life long consequences.   It was truly a God ordained moment as stated by the older woman - the man's Grandmother.  She told us we were sharing the exact words they needed to hear.  

As our time concluded at the table, we both knew we had been vessels God used in the lives of at least two people who had been thinking they were facing a hopeless situation which was nearly crushing them.  

For me, the conversation had brought great joy.  As I listened to the young man, I silently asked God for the words, wisdom and thoughts he wanted me to share.  The result was a clear example of the truth of a scripture prayer I noted in my Bible many years ago.
Ephesions 6: 19 - 20  Paul asks the Ephesian believers to pray this for him:
"... that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador... Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."
 In the margin of my Bible is this date and these words:
 4/1/04 My prayer!
"Thank you, Lord for answering my prayer as an opportunity to speak opened.  Amen"

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