And Now I See. . .

In 2005, my husband died. It was unexpected and it was devastating to me. Many well-meaning people shared scripture that were meant to be comforting. But, at the time, I didn’t find much comfort or even any semblance of truth in many of the verses shared.

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,” Joel 2:25a 

“then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.” Deuteronomy 30:3 

“God blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life. He ended up with fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand teams of oxen, and one thousand donkeys.  He also had seven sons and three daughters.” Job 42:12-13 

I didn’t understand how some unknown thing in the future would ever replace what I had lost when my husband died. How could the years we lost together be restored? My husband was dead. Nothing could ever replace him in my heart. Nothing new would replace what I had lost. I couldn’t accept that any of these promises was meant for me, personally.  I was in pain. I grieved the loss of my life as I knew it and as I had dreamed that it would be.

But now, I see. I have a new marriage and with it a new extended family. My new husband is not a replacement for the one I lost. I will always grieve that death in some way. One doesn’t love completely and then forget that relationship. But, this new marriage has taught me that I can love again, that my life did not end. I have been given a chance to experience a deeply passionate love, once again.

This marriage is different from the one I began in my twenties. This marriage is founded on a long-standing friendship and maturity that I lacked 30 years ago. I can love more completely because I understand the fragility of life and relationships. I have learned to give all now, because I do not know what tomorrow holds in this life. I try not to miss a chance to say “I Love you” for I have determined to never again regret words not spoken. I cherish the quiet breaks, the silly moments, the busy times and even the heated, uncomfortable times; for they represent all the things that form a lasting and loving relationship. I vow to speak positively about my husband and to honor him in my words and actions. I am aware how important it is for my all of my children (both through birth and marriage) to have a model of stability to use as a pattern in their own lives.

This marriage of almost 3 years will never replace the 18 years of my first marriage. This marriage is new.  This marriage is a blessing of restoration and joy. I can truly say the God has blessed my later life even more than my earlier life. He has restored my joy.


“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book.

God, you did everything you promised,
and I’m thanking you with all my heart.
You pulled me from the brink of death,
my feet from the cliff-edge of doom.
Now I stroll at leisure with God
in the sunlit fields of life.”

Psalm 56:8, 12-13 MSG






Purple Eye Shadow

Today, I decided to wear purple eye shadow. As I was applying it, I thought about my first purple eye shadow.  I was in Junior High School.  My normal go-to make-up was pretty simple:  Avon cream shadow (usually in frosted shades) and mascara.  I was just beginning my forays into the world of Maybelline and powdered eye shadows.  My mother received a box of samples and included in that box was a Charles of the Ritz eye shadow in a dazzling shade or purple.  She gave it to me and I was thrilled.  It became my favorite shadow.  There was one small issue, however.  When I wore it, my eye-lids would swell.  But, it was such a pretty color, I just HAD to wear it, puffy eyes or not.  Eventually, I did have to stop using it and that was a sad day for me.  I kept that little sample, and looked at it on occasion. purple

I wondered if I would ever find a purple eye shadow in such lovely shade ever again. What if all purple shadows caused the same problem? Should I stop searching for purple eye shadow and just stick with the normal beige and taupe colors?  Obviously, I didn’t eliminate all purple eye-shadows from my makeup selection.  I have several of them in various shades, both cream and powder.  I have purple eye-liners and lipstick and I’ve even used purple mascara.  The only allergic reaction I’ve ever had was to that Charles of the Ritz purple eye shadow.  I’m glad I didn’t write off all purple shadows because of one failure.

How many times, do we dismiss all possibilities because of one failure, one miss-step? None of us enjoy failing.  I go out of my way to avoid failure or even looking silly.  But, what have I missed because I didn’t give something or someone a 2nd or even a 3rd shot?  It took many, many attempts before I learned to appreciate the taste of coffee.  I didn’t think I would ever try sushi, much less like it.  I didn’t give up driving after my first wreck, and I didn’t quit school the first time I scored less than a perfect grade.  I’ve discovered that much of life’s great joys are found after trying and failing and trying again.

I love Habakkuk 3:19: “The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” I fell in love with this verse after I read Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard.  It was through reading this book that I learned that I’m not expected to be perfect.  I will fail.  I will stumble.  But, I must continue the journey.  My strength comes from my Lord God as I MOVE forward.  He will help and guide me.  And, He will love me even when I fail, even when I whine, even when I give up.

We live in a society that doesn’t forgive. Our world is the first to stand up and point fingers at any failure whether it is real or perceived.  The penalties for a lapse in judgment or a moment of weakness can be extremely harsh. The failure becomes a cancer that grows and outweighs anything else in a person’s life story.  Nothing else can be seen.  Only the ugly is magnified and discussed at length.  Any attempt to bring balance to the situation is viewed as out-and-out disagreement and the mob mentality widens the target to attack anyone that does not “toe the line”.

Sometimes, I just have to laugh. What other option is there?  People living in the big extravagant homes, driving the gas guzzling vehicles are often the very ones talking about waste and over-spending.  The first ones to complain about lack of leadership are the last to volunteer to pick up the slack unless they can pick where and how they get to so.  I’ve come to realize that the loudest voice usually has the least effect on positive change these days.  Too often the “activist” is just the passive/aggressive bully that gets everyone else to do the work and only wants the credit.

So, I will do my best. I will attempt new things and retry some old things.  I will continue the journey, treat others in the manner in which I would like to treated and trust that God will lead me to my destination.  All while wearing the perfect shade of purple eye shadow.


The Hamster’s Wheel

I’ve been told that I live my life in a circle.  I remember anniversaries and dates, so throughout the year I remember events that have occurred in my past.  Some are happy, some not so much and some are just incidental.  But, they are memories that come with attached emotions.  I’m told that not everyone cares about dates, or history or remembering.  I guess I’ll have to take that under consideration.

However, we all live life in a type of circle, like it or not.  We carry with us our past and our memories.  Whether it’s the way your mom cooked pot roast or the way your dad took care of household tasks, there are memories and expectations that we carry with us into our adult lives.  These are the things that can lead to some heated discussions as we are building our own homes and families and merging our expectations.

Some small but significant differences that I’ve come across in my two marriages are:

  • Birthdays:  This is YOUR day.  Everything is YOUR choice.  Of course that’s not too much!
  • Thanksgiving:  Cornbread dressing makes the holiday meal,  is rice really an appropriate dressing?
  • Christmas:  I guess we can decide on a budget. . .
  • Red Beans and . . .:  Cornbread! What do you mean you want rice?
  • Starch with a meal:  Don’t you ever get tired of rice?

This doesn’t even begin to touch on the intricacies of balancing the wants and expectations of  two established families with those of the newly minted family.  You have to decide  where and how you will spend holidays.  There’s that tricky obstacle of building your own life without requiring the approval of your parents/family.  If you have a close and trusting relationship with your family, your new spouse may not understand your desire to seek advice about issues.  If your spouse comes from a home where disagreements were punctuated with loud voices and hurling items, you may be offended the first time it happens in your home.  Are you willing to be subservient or do you need to be in charge?  Take a look at your spouse’s family dynamics and you may discover some expectations for your future.

Years ago, I was told that you don’t marry someone and expect to change them.  I think that’s even more relevant in today’s world where “trial marriages” or living together are becoming the norm.  You may have lived with that person for some time, but there’s still the underlying expectation that things will be different and/or better AFTER the wedding.  We want the fairy tale with all the happiness and romance available.  But, just as you expect things to  better after the wedding, your spouse may expect  things to loosen up a bit after the wedding.  For instance, as roommates, chores/bills may be split evenly.  But, as a married couple, is that still the norm?  These are things to ponder and discuss.

One of the biggest failings in marriages today, I believe, is the way we talk to and about our spouses.  You may think calling your spouse a derogatory term is just “being funny”.  But, I guarantee, there will be a time when the name-calling is not funny and the pain will become evident in your relationship.  I don’t care if you refer to the “dumb blond” or the more derogatory “a$$&@A#”, neither are good for your relationship long-term.  They will come back to you in the future.  Complaining about your spouse is another dangerous habit to form.  As you tear apart the person you are vowed to love and honor, you diminish your own self-portrait of your relationship.  Studies have shown that speaking positively about your spouse even during challenging times  will help you make positive strides in your relationship.  Be mindful of the difference between seeking advice/assistance and just complaining to get the sympathy vote.

Every person who gets married has (or has had) a mother and a father in their life in some form.  My advice the to brides of today,  don’t act like you are his Mom.  He doesn’t need you to tell what to do and when to do it.  When my first husband and I were newlyweds, I got frustrated with his inability to put his dirty clothes in the hamper.  The more I brought it up, the less he wanted to comply.  So,  I stopped nagging/asking and just did the laundry that was in the hamper one weekend.  It soon became apparent that he didn’t have any clean underwear.  I never had to mention the laundry again.  The same goes for new husbands.  Discuss issues, come to an agreement and then do what you need to do.  Stop berating your spouse.  No one wants to be nagged over and over and over.

We all bring our past into our marriages.  And intentionally or not, we will recreate our past in some form in our marriages.  We must be aware of both the weaknesses and strengths we bring into our relationships and get off the hamster wheel of needless repetition.