When hosting a tea party or how not to husband bash By Amber O’Brien

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Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21 

Dear Sweet Sister:

I recently attended a tea party fit for a princess. Real china and crystal candelabras set the lavish table and soon scones, quiche and chocolate covered strawberries followed. My sweet sister shared her gift of hospitality with five friends by preparing ahead of time and considering every detail. She greeted us with warm enthusiastic hugs  and as the tea “steeped” she asked questions of each guest so a new neighbor would feel welcome. Sweets were arranged on a separate table on a three tiered display next to her signature “peace sign”.

But ………..then the carefully prepared picture perfect scene turned sour.

For the conversation turned toward sharing negative things about our husbands. Lighthearted jokes soon snowballed into complaints and ungratefulness. Regrettably, I laughed along and joined the banter.

But then…..

the gracious and wise hostess offered a suggestion that turned the tide of the rest of our elegant tea party.

“Why don’t we go around the table and state someone good about our husbands? I’ll start..

And then she shared a sweet routine they share when he returns from a business trip. (Her husband puts on a dinner jacket and they dance in the kitchen to celebrate)

Soon the energy flowed as each women shared a positive item. One sister and her spouse text each other the words of songs during the day. “That’s so sweet!…I love that idea”. And soon, because some of us knew each other well, we added additional positive things we knew about our friend’s husband and reminded each other of something we admire about their marriage.

The tide turned from a drip dripping of negative comments that wear away at relationships to a refreshing rain of positive compliments that resulted in  new ideas and renewed appreciation.

In the book of proverbs the impact of a wife’s nagging and negative words is compared to an irritating leak…drip, drip, drip.

A nagging wife is like water going drip-drip -drip on a rainy day. Proverbs 27:15 

In our Liz Curtis Higgs book study entitled, Bad Girls of the Bible,  we learned in the story of Samson and Delilah the impact that words can make. She literally nagged him to “death” as he eventually gave his secret of his strength away and this resulted in not only his demise but the death of thousands of Philistines in the final scene. Before his physical death, her nagging and ultimate betrayed ended in the emotional death of their relationship.

Words can tear down and words can build up. When we bring up negative dirt on our husbands in public, we are rolling ourselves in the mud too as a husband and wife become one flesh when married. Have you heard the phrase about not airing your dirty laundry? What a appropriate comparison for who wants to look or smell dirty laundry?

I know the excuses for I’ve used them myself. “I’m just venting” or “My friends are my therapist”.  But a therapist would not personally know your husband and pass on this information. Your friends probably will. In the least, their opinion of your spouse is being infected and healing takes longer the more you pick at a scab.  Our role is to protect and nurture our relationships. Unfortunately, we often play the “victim” card and try to get others to feel sorry for ourselves or take our side concerning a differing of opinion.

What should you do the next time you are tempted to focus and discuss a negative quality or action of your spouse? When a friend calls you up and starts to air her own dirty laundry?

Take out some bleach and start scrubbing.

Overpower the negative with the strong bleach of kind words.

Take out a pen and start writing positive things about your own spouse. Then the next time the situation arises say them out loud. When a friend shares some of her own dirty laundry perhaps say to your friend…”I know Joe isn’t perfect but what is something good about him? I’ve always admired this about him or your relationship.” A true friend will support your marriage and help you out of the pit of self-pity.

Do some of these complaints need to be addressed? Maybe. But out of respect for your spouse, pray about it first, asking God for wisdom as to whether this is something to be overlooked or needs to be addressed. Then, if you decide to go to him about your concens, you can clean the laundry together. If you are one flesh, then it is both your responsibility to do the bleaching together rather than individually throwing out the dirty laundry into your front yard. Wouldn’t you rather your spouse come to you then to tell his buddies about your negative qualities or mistakes?

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. Proverbs 14:1

Challenge: Sit down write now and write 10 positive things about your husband. Better yet, put it on his pillow tonight. Let him know that you see the good in him. Let the healing rain begin and soon you will benefit from the good fruit that will result.

 

 

If Love is Not a feeling…..then what is it? by Amber O’Brien

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Love is Long-suffering….Love bears all things, believes all things,  hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

I Corinthians 13 

Dear Sweet Sister:

Do you know what true love looks like? A fellow sweet sister and her husband who deals with chronic back pain sat down for a meal this past weekend with my husband and I.

But Her husband couldn’t even sit long enough to finish his lunch as standing is just a little. less. painful. than sitting. He stood at the outdoor restaurant, not to see the view but to find some relief from his chronic back pain. The same pain that has progressed  over two decades as they continually seek medical care and God’s intervention. This was their first outing in months together as the pain has recently intensified.  His face (too young for a cane) grimaced in pain as he slowly walked using a cane to steady himself. My heart hurt just watching him suffer and I could only imagine the long-suffering heart of his wife who cares for him each and every day.

She patiently “waits”  on God as she also lovingly “waits” on her husband. For months she would bring food upstairs to the bed as it was too painful to help him move downstairs.  She  has chosen commitment over fleeing, so most days she is housebound too.  However, her example of faithfulness reaches to her children and to me and to so many others like the ripple effect of a stone tossed in a pond.

She spoke these words across the table as gently as her life demonstrates them.

Love is not a feeling……..Love is a commitment.

She faithfully  holds on to her marriage vows of “Better or for Worse” with one hand while her other hand clutches onto God’s promises to be faithful to her and her family.

Her greatest concern is her children’s “Character” and oh what a real life lesson they see day in and out as both their parents remain steadfast in hope and trust in God despite failed procedures and chronic pain.

She has an eternal perspective and talks about this earth being just a “blip” compared to eternity.

She is committed to God and to her husband. She desires for her children to someday have spouses and most of all “to be” spouses who know what true love means.

She. Is. More. Beautiful to me than any runway model.

She models true unselfish, everlasting, committed Love.

What should you do sweet sister when the feelings fade? When life disappoints?  When you want to flee? To give up?

Look to God’s love in flesh on the cross. Did Jesus feel like carrying his cross? Did He feel like staying on the cross? Remember Him in the garden begging that this bitter cup would be taken away? He was all human and all God.   Jesus could have come down at anytime.

But He stayed. He stayed because He loves you and wants to spend eternity with you.

Love Stayed.

Love provided a way.

Love. Always. Wins.     Because…………

Love is not a feeling…..Love is a commitment.

 

 

 

#3 The Woman that needed healing Man…Does Jesus love His women

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Are you tired my sweet sister? Weak? Feeling alone and that no one understands what you are facing? Physically drained from the burden of Pain? Or maybe drained from grieving a loss? Are you so weary that it takes extra energy to do normal everyday activities?  I have been there my sweet sister and so has our sister we study today.

Our tired sister reached out in faith and she was healed. She traveled 30 miles to touch Jesus despite a twelve year long illness. She traveled alone as she was considered “unclean” because she continued to bleed.   I hope and prayer this small study will bring you one step closer on your journey to touching Jesus. May you find healing for your weary heart, body and soul.

Please join me in reading about our sister in Mark 5:25-34

Read this dramatic interaction again slowly as you put yourself in her lonely and desperate shoes.

 

  1. What do you think her ailment was?  (twelve years of bleeding so she is referred to as the hemorrhaging woman)

 During our discussion one thought was perhaps she had fibroids or         was in perimenopause? Could her bleeding have been from polyps or colon cancer? This is all speculation as the bible gives           no more detail except that she has bleed mysteriously for 12 years.

  1. How old was the child who was ill in the story surrounded this one? Look up Luke 2:41-52 and see how old Jesus was when he was found in the temple teaching?

 Yes! The answer is 12 for both cases.  Twelve is the age in Jewish   tradition that a young boy becomes a man and is responsible for himself spiritual. More on this to follow. I have found that numbers    have great significance and importance in God’s word.

 

  1. Do you think Jesus knew who touched him? Why did he ask the question and what did his question give her the choice to do?

 Is God all-knowing? Yes…and Jesus is “God with skin” so of course   Jesus knew who touched him. He also knew her heart and all her sufferings. The mysterious bleeding and the time, money and    dashed hopes she had spent on doctors. How she bore this alone as she was considered in this culture to be “unclean” and if she              were to touch someone else they would be considered          “unclean” too.  She was most likely looked down on as in these times it was believed that her “sin” must have caused this illness. She not only needed physical healing but confirmation that God had not   abandoned her and was not punishing her with this ailment. By asking this question, she needed to exercise her faith once again by professing in public what she had done.

 

  1. Do you think it took more faith to touch his garment or to profess out loud what she had done?

 Absolutely. It took more faith to publicly profess that she had               violated “religious law” and put others at risk to becoming      “unclean” as well and risk a rebuking or even having the power be taken away. She showed great faith in not running off with her       miracle (stealing a miracle) but staying and trusting that Jesus   would be kind and loving.

 

  1. How did Jesus address Her? The only place in scripture where he used this word to address a woman?

Daughter.   Yes.. he called her Daughter.  This is huge              sister…don’t rush through this.

 If he calls her daughter, than he is saying that He is her father. If she is His daughter, she has rights to a royal inheritance as He is the King of Kings. She has the right to come forward and    ask for healing. God says in His word, that a Father will give to his children what they need when they come to him. (Luke 11:11)

 How thirsty she must have been to hear that she had faith, when she had been judged and looked down upon for so long. And to add insult to injury, she had been blamed for her illness.

 Jesus stopped his travels for a woman. An unclean woman who       was rejected, alone and considered an outcast.

He not only healed her instantly, but he called her “daughter” in         front of her accusers. He saw her heart and let everyone know that     it was not her sins that caused the illness but her faith in Jesus   Christ that resulted in her healing.

 

  1. What might the number 12 have to do with all of this? After twelve years of suffering what may have been happening within her soul?

 In Biblical times a young boy is considered to be a man at after the age of 12…think Bar mitzvah.  Bar means “son” and mitzvah      means “commandment.” So a young Jewish boy who turns 13      (Son of Commandment) is now spiritual responsible to know and     follow the commandments. (no longer are his parents           responsible for him spiritually.)   So after 12 years of growth   through suffering, she is now ready to  be called not a daughter      who still has the weak faith of a child but a daughter who has the    strong faith of a woman.  She is now a mature womanly daughter     who has a deep faith that has been tested and survived. Picture a mature tree that has been through a drought and its roots have gone down deep in the ground searching for water.  She persisted and did not give up until she found the living God  who came to heal the sick.

Man……does Jesus love his woman.

 

  1. Please look up James 4:8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Look this up and underline it in your bible. Put next to it today’s date.

 

So my dear sister sister. This is what I hope you gleaned from this study.

  1. God wants us to draw near to him and reach out with our hands for Jesus.
  2. God see’s your suffering and notices you. He stops and turns to you and looks in your heart with kindness and compassion.
  3. Sometimes God doesn’t heal right away as with this woman of 12 years of suffering.  Sometimes God waits and “heals our bodies in heaven”.
  4. She was growing in her faith during this dry desert time. God is more concerned with our spiritual health than our physical health. Our souls will last forever, while our bodies are wasting away in this fallen world.
  5. Drawing near to Jesus can mean prayer and reading scripture, repenting/going to confession, attending church and spending time with your sweet sisters.
  6. How to be healthy physically? Eat healthy foods and exercise.
  7. How to be healthy spiritually? Eat the word of God……the bible and the Eucharist. Exercise your faith as this woman did as she drew near to Jesus.

Pray and ask with faith for Physically healing, but be most concerned is your spiritual healing.

because……………Man……Jesus loves His Women.

Oh Give My Husband a Brand New Wife

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My friend’s sobs echoed over the phone as she shared that her husband didn’t value the “new her,” but instead wanted to keep her back from growing into the vivacious woman I knew her to be. How sad that he couldn’t value growth and put in the effort and grow to love the “new Kelly.”  I sat down and wrote this poem after our phone conversation.

A Brand New Marriage

Oh give my husband a brand new wife
One that will serve him lovingly
Give him the helpmate he deserves
And may that “new wife” always be me

Oh give my husband a hot mistress
One that will surprise him lovingly
Give her energy and fresh ideas
And may that “mistress” always be me

Oh give my husband a new best friend
One that will listen lovingly
Give her wisdom to find the good
And may that “best friend” always be me   

So how does one protect one’s marriage as we grow individually and through the seasons of Life?

Here are some tidbits of advice that my husband and I have gleamed through the years.

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Happy 27th Wedding Anniversary to my husband!

Keep dating.
Our priest from Gettysburg College, Father Phil gave us the advice to “keep dating” when he met with us before our marriage. With each season of our marriage, life has changed, and so have our dates. A neighbor babysitter coming over for two hours a week so Dave and I could go out when our children were small, intimate lunches when we started our business, family members who watched the children so we could take a long weekend. Be creative, be proactive, and just do it.

“The best thing you can do for your children is to have a good marriage.”
This was the advice we received when we went to a day-long marriage encounter. This quote helped take away all my guilt about leaving my children to “date” their father or travel with him.  The children will grow up and share their own relationships and putting our spouse first is a way to model for them what a thriving marriage looks like.

A successful marriage is the union of two forgivers.
– Ruth Graham Bell.

Yes, your partner is not perfect. Yes, they are irritating at times. Yes, they keep hurting you.
This is what Love is about. Forgiving and seeing the overall good in your spouse. May they see the overall good in us. For we are imperfect people, who make mistakes and we can be so irritating to others. Love is a covering. Love does not “keep a record of wrongs,” so when you are angry or hurt or lonely, write down 10 good things about your husband and see if your perspective changes. Keep a record of Rights. What is right about your hubby.

This weekend seek out a way to date your spouse. What are some creative ways that you like to spend with your spouse? Please share them in the comments below.