Love ❤️ is….

As we embark on the Hallmark Holiday, Valentines Day, we are inundated with images of “love”; from hearts of chocolate to chocolate covered strawberries to roses, whose cost inflate during this month to the point you need a second mortgage on your home to afford, to diamonds and pearls. These images, coupled with television advertisements showing people in love, reaching for each other in idyllic images of love, leave people who don’t share these experiences feeling as if they are unloved and unlovable. The reality, however, is that love is not a feeling at all, but commitment.

When we were married, twenty two and a half years ago, part of our wedding vows included these words: “for better or worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, so long as you both shall live”. So long as you both shall LIVE, not so long as you both shall LOVE. In the years following that vow, we have been tested, for sure; tested in health, tested in financial ways, tested in relational ways; yet we both acknowledge and hold firm to the vows we made to one another.

Sadly, this message is largely lost in our society today. Too often, we seek the “feeling” that love is, and as soon as the challenges come, we mistake the hardship for a lack of love, when, in fact, it is merely a lack of commitment to work together through the hardship.

During our hardships, I had Christian friends who encouraged me to leave, telling me that I was justified in leaving because God would not want me to be unhappy. I remember one friend, however, who had the courage to tell me that God would honor me for honoring my commitment.

By no means am I suggesting someone stay in an abusive relationship. What I am saying is that true love is not based on the flutter-feeling by you get when Love is young. In my experience, Love deepens over time as you choose to work together through difficult times. For our relationship to be successful, we had to put Christ at the center of it to anchor us and pull us towards Him and each other. If it weren’t for Christ, I don’t know where we’d be. I am very thankful that both of Ian honored the commitment we made so long ago.

I wish you many blessings Valentines Day this year.

SB

Love 131 I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. 2 I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned—but if I have no love, this does me no good.4 Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; 5 love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; 6 love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. 7 Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.8 Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. 9 For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial; 10 but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.11 When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways. 12 What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete—as complete as God’s knowledge of me.13 Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:-13 | GNT

Presence

In the stillness of the morning, before the world is awakened, I feel Your presence, Lord. Reflecting on answered prayer, and those still waiting, I praise You for all You’ve done. I thank you for who You are, and know that I am fully Yours. I pray that You will shape my will to what You want it to be; give me strength and courage to look for You in new ways, to show others who You are that they might seek and find what I have. Thank You for Your Presence.

Make good choices.. Love, Mom

After a brief text exchange with my college son last night regarding various recent events in his life, he replied, “I’m making good choices, mom”.

When our children are young, we make their choices for them, but as they begin to grow up, they need to begin making choices of their own so that we can help to teach them the difference between good choices and bad choices. We’ve all made bad choices, and so will they. It’s funny, though, how our perspective changes once we are the parent. The truth is, we don’t like to see our kids make choices hat we know will lead them through heartache because we know it will be painful. Worse yet, they could make a choice from which is hard (or impossible) to recover.

When the time comes for them to be completely independent (which, although sad in some ways, IS what we want for our children) I want them to be prepared to think through the consequences of all of their decisions. One method I have used is this admonition: MAKE GOOD CHOICES.

Life is all about choices. I have seen people make some very, very good choices in life, and I have seen people make some very, very bad choices. For every choice car we make, there are consequences. If we are forward thinking enough, we can think about what tho consequences might be given choice A or B, which may help guide us to the best choice. Ultimately I know my children will own their own choices, both big and small. Who to marry, field of employment, place to live, church to attend. I want to equip them with all of the tools to make the very best decisions. But how do we do that?

1. Teach them to think and seek advice from wise people.

The Bible is full of wise advice, as well as examples of good and bad choices. Life, too, is full of good and bad choices. It’s important to talk with our kids about choices we see others make, and point out alternate choices that could have been made to affect different outcomes. This process will help develop critical think skills essential in making good decisions.

Finding other people who can be trusted with choices is also important as we teach our children; people other than their parents who they can trust (face it, when our kids are working hard to prove their independence they may not seek our advice).

2. Let them fail. (This is hard)

This advice is hard to execute because we want our children to have everything better than we did. If we can teach them to own the consequences of their choices in the smaller, seemingly insignificant choices , they will be better equipped to own the big ones too. As we’re teaching them, it is important to refrain from the dreaded, “I told you so” responses that do nothing for building healthy relationships. Let them discover, on their own, consequences from negative choices. Again, this helps build their own decision making process.

3. Love them

Most importantly, continue to love them and keep open relationship, even if the choices they make are different than those you would have made. This step is particularly difficult if their choices are poor, but even more important in this case. Our kids have got to know they always have someone who will help them in time of need.

4. Model itWhether we like to admit or not, our kids follow our lead; the good as well as the bad. For this reason, it is equally important for us to model the lessons we are trying to teach. MAKE GOOD CHOICES.

copyright 2018 Journey-For-Life. All rights reserved

Please follow my journey!

The first step

The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step.

No matter how long our journey, it always starts with the first step. The dreaded first step is always the hardest, especially when we believe that the journey will be a difficult one. If we never take the first step, though, we never start the journey. If we never start the journey, we miss out on much that the journey brings. True, the journey will bring trials and tribulations; but through those trials will be learned lessons; and through those learned lessons, knowledge; and through that knowledge, wisdom; and with that wisdom, fulfilled dreams that may never have come to fruition without the first step!

I encourage you, friends, no matter what the journey, TAKE THE FIRST STEP! You can do it! Find someone who can encourage you, perhaps hold your hand as you stake the first step. As you venture out into new territory, find others who will support and encourage you along the way, even if they aren’t on your same journey.

You can to it, friends! The first step seems like a doosey, but I promise that once you take that first step, the journey will begin. It is important to note that the real first step occurs in your mind with deciding that a journey is necessary in the first place. This is where the manic happens, In anticipation of the journey. However, the journey cannot begin until you take the first step!

it is also important to remember that you are not journeying alone. God is always with you, and He will help you along your journey!

Here’s to the FIRST STEP!

SB

Ps. I’m interested to hear about your first step! Please email me about your journey at sbjourneyforlife@gmail.com!

COPYRIGHT 2018 Journey-For-͏Li͏f͏e. All rights reserved,

Entertaining homeless angels

In the cold, crisp, December air, I see my breath as I scurry about, trying desperately to make progress on my never-ending to-do list. Scampering quickly from one store to the next, I barely noticed the disheveled homeless man holding a cup in his cold, chapped hands. He didn’t say a word, merely sat quietly on a remnant of a crocheted blanket. Dirty, grimy, probably hadn’t showered in weeks. Suddenly my heart was overwhelmed with compassion and I wondered how he might have ended up in such a bad way.

I stepped inside the door of a little shop so he wouldn’t see me, and reached inside my pockets to see what cash I had. I’m fairly disorganized, so I found a crumpled up dollar here, and a folded dollar there. I also found gum wrappers, ticket stubs and store receipts– those would do him no good. Counting, one, two, five, ten… $15. Enough for a warm meal and a cup of coffee. I would offer to take him to the small coffee shop down the road where I happened to know the owner. I knew, too, that she made delightful grilled cheese sandwiches on jalapeño bread, and brewed the very richest, strong cup of coffee around. Yes, this would be my feel-good, good deed of the day.

Feeling better about myself, I turned and pushed the door of the shop, ready to approach my homeless friend. To my dismay, he and his blanket were gone! Where could he have gone so fast? It was literally just moments ago that I had brushed past him! And then I remembered two scriptures. The first, “be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unaware” (Hebrews 13:2 KJV). And the second, Matthew 25:40 “in as much as you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me.”

My heart sank with grief. Had I missed an opportunity to do something for one of God’s angels? Why hadn’t I thought faster, or been more prepared with a message? I was so wrapped up in my own list of meaningless things to do that I forgot about doing things that truly matter. I prayed to ask God to forgive me and help me to recognize more quickly the opportunities He gives to be a blessing to others.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved