Wednesday, May 24, 2006

An almost- compliment

Doing the morning ritual of make up and hair, with Julia faithfully by my side. ( Oh the memories this ritual will make...)

Upon fininshing my hair this morning and flipping it up, Julia's attention is caught by the motion - and she looks up wide eyed and amazed at the transformation. ( There is a big one.) :-)

'Wow mom! You look almost like Belle. Except Belle don't wear those flip-flops. '

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Reading / Respect

Been reading a ton lately.... and have wanted to blog about it - so I'll commit myself publicly and come back as I can... but one of my new favorite books is "The Cross Examination of Christ", by Randy Singer.
It's worth it's own post so I will come back to it.

Also, Jason and I got to go to a Family Life Marriage Seminar a couple of weeks ago - and while there we picked up two books by Shaunti Feldhahn - "For Women Only' is the one I am reading, and Jason is reading the one for guys. ("For Men Only." Of course Jason, being the overachieving reader - is reading both.
I have to admit, I'm always embarrassed to read things that sound so simple but they are for me a 'lightbulb' or 'aha' moment - but I embrace them the same, and for me, today, I read a little part in this book that turned the light on.

In the book, Shaunti sets forth the results of a survey asking men whether they would rather feel unloved and unwanted, or inadequate and disrespected. Results overwhelmingly showed that while the majority of women would rather feel disrespected, most men would rather feel unloved. And there is a difference. That alone made me think twice.

Which would you rather feel?

When it comes to respecting my husband, I think much of the difficulty with this for me personally is defining respect. Most often we start and work from the definitions in our own head - which is great if your definition matches up with the one who's expectations you are trying to meet. But it's takes a while in life to discover you might need to check in and make sure your definintion is the same in the first place before you start trying to plan all the ways to live up to it!

She mentions that if we want to be clued in, a 'disrespect barometer' in men is anger.

Very simple.
Very a-ha for me.

I know we do it to men .... a simple comment and all the sudden they find themselves in a muck with us they didn't see coming and want desperately to get out of, and they can't even figure out how they got there in the first place. It's so clear to us, and to every woman we might later share it with. :-)
But as intuitive as we think we are, we just don't get that we do the very same things just as cluelessly.

'I'm just trying to help'.
'It's so obvious what needs to be done...'
'If you would just...'

And if you are like me, (and female), you may read those phrases, think of the last time you thought or said them, and can justify exactly why you were right.
Umm Hmm.

That's what I didn't get. I'm a help meet... a ' helper' - thats what I DO... I'm supposed to help! Right? How in the world can I offer help and not come across critical?!? Doesn't the very nature of a correction or help suggest some level of inadequacy? Hmmm.. I wonder... does it have to ? Or do we just carelessly let it?

"The funny thing is- most of us do respect the man in our lives and often don't realize when our words or actions convey exactly the opposite. We may be totally perplexed when our man responds negatively in a conversation, helplessly wondering, What did I say? Combine this with the difficulty many men have articulating their feelings (i.e., why they are upset), and you've got a combustible - and frustrating situation." ( p.24)

I recognize the anger when it happens.... but am just now learning to backtrack to the last few things I said and recheck them for something that could be understood as disrespect or condescension. Sometimes it's obvious... I know what I meant and I know how it sounded. And he's got a reason to be angry and I've got a responsibility to repent. But sometimes it is a genuine mistake - and checking in with him on how he understood what I just said helps - offering different words as well as encouragement helps lessen the tension and keeps us on track of what we really want to talk about rather than tripping us off into an emotional 'discussion' neither of us really enjoys of the past and present mistakes we make with each other.

Most of all, from the seminar and these few pages - I loved learning about the source of respect, again. It's counter-cultural, and so I needed to be reminded of it. The world doesn't often set out to reinforce God's truths... so if we just 'go with the flow' of what's around us, we will find ourselves quickly as unhappy as the rest of the married couples we are called to be a light to.

"Just as you want the man in your life to love you unconditionally, even when you're not particularly lovable, your man needs you to demonstrate your respect for him regardless of whether he's meeting your expectations at the moment. ( A-HA!)(Duh - I know... but still A- ha!)
'We've become such a love- dominated culture,' Dr. Eggerichs says. (Of Love and Respect.) 'Like the Beatles said,'All you need is love.' So we've come to think that love should be unconditional, but respect must be earned. Instead, what men need is unconditional respect - to be respected for who they are {i.e. our husbands}, apart from how they do."
"... Just as our men can choose to demonstrate love towards us even if they don't feel it at the moment, we can and should choose to demonstrate respect toward them. In fact, the Greek word translated as 'respect' in Ephesians (5) , phobeo, means to be in awe of , to revere. It's not just a matter of bland regard. We are supposed to be highly valuing our men! " ( pgs. 26, 27, For Women Only)

God gives us the ability to do that - to offer respect unconditionally and to highly value - based on worth much more than just in the moment. We might not be practiced at it, and it may seem foreign, especially in those moments of conflict or disagreement, but that is when it is all the more applicable. After all, we are thankful when they choose to love us in our unloveable moments.... and we have a lot of them. We might find a lot more of our unloveable moments covered by unconditional love as we offer the same kind of respect.

God's wisdom is amazing. When we give up on the game of 'who goes first'.... and just obey God in relating to our mate for the sake of HIS worthiness.... we find alot more of the peace, hope and genuine contentment His truth promises.

When I sit down and think about it... I have no problem with respect. I think my husband is wonderful, and I can think of non-stop reasons why. Now, however, to let that be the mindset of every moment, not just the ones with an absence of conflict.
To let God's wisdom be the guide of my role in marriage... so that He can be more fully glorified. ( And Jason and I both would reap the fringe benefits of that...:-)

Random catch -up

I have slowed down in posting some... just rearranging schedules and priorities some, and in doing so I haven't been able to get to this as much. But I will try and be a little more frequent!

Got to go to Branson with my dad, Meme, Susan and Charles this weekend .... it was tiring but fun.
I can remember as a kid hating the heat, hating the lines, but LOVING the atmosphere.... and I think that is a pretty universal feeling for kids. And growing up hasn't changed it. We loved it and the kids were wiped out. It was great. I can see how the passes we bought are a much bigger investment that we realized at the time.
Fun... laughter.... they all lend to a family cohesion and appreciation of each other that can get lost in day to day routine. I love making these memories.

Julia is always deciding what she wants to be when she grows up. Usually it's a doctor and a cowgirl.
This morning however, she announced that she wants Eli to be a Captain and she will be the first mate that gets to say "Aye Aye, Captain." Hee hee.

(I'm betting that won't last long, though.)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Checking out of reality.

Saw "United 93" Last night.


Movies are usually an escape. Or so I say. I can honestly say I have never sat through a movie physically uncomfortable and shaky from beginning to end. It is sobering, especially in the fact that for once you have no room to talk yourself into the possibilities for the ending.

It seems to be a very objective movie when it comes to the possibiliteies it makes conjectures about and it fills in the blanks realistically.
Much like I imagine the news is supposed to be, but never comes close to being anymore. You witness the events- without the commentaries.

Ordinary people making extraordinary moves ... because *life* demanded it.

I couldn't sleep last night. There is something about movies that let you check in and out of reality easily, but when the movies reflect life and there is no 5 minute thriller wrap up at the end... you think a long while on that.

It makes me wonder, even though I don't watch a ton of tv or movies anymore, how many real moments I have checked out of for the convenience of a "nicer, more pleasent" reality. It makes me wonder why we as a culture are so easy to take by surprise, and left dumfounded by evil.

On different scales, the moments that shock us continue every day. Darfur, Invisible children, and the man a few blocks away that that tried to kidnap a child.
I don't want to become more aware of the depths of evil in this world or paranoid by what I see as I open my eyes. But I certainly want to become more passionate and connected to the power of our God and His ability to change it.

He wants to use us to do it. I wonder how available we make ourselves? Or is it easier to check out?