Till Death Do Us Part

I’ve had times in my marriage that I wanted to leave, times when I wasn’t happy, and times when I wondered what my role was in our marriage.

That being said, we are still together. My husband and I have been married for over 15 years. We have been together for nearly 20 years. Something must be working.

One of the main things that kept me from leaving was to reread my marriage vows. We promised to love and support each other no matter what. In sickness and in health. For richer for poorer. As long as we both shall live or until death us do part…

Remembering the promise I made has given me peace and comfort that our marriage, built on love and mutual respect, will keep on growing and last forever thanks to the Lord’s guidance.

We have been through many ‘phases’ in our marriage. The romantic phase at the beginning. The realisation of the reality and communication required for a successful marriage as we discovered our differences once the rose coloured spectacles of romance were removed. We had children. That one decision changed a great deal for us. Suddenly, it wasn’t just about the two of us. Now there were three, then four, then five of us.
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Are You a Victim?

Are you a victim?

Slightly? Partially ? Entirely? Is it interfering with your life as you try to enter a more spiritual state with the help of the Lord? Or are you a ‘Me Too’, forever identifying with states of anger, blame and acrimony? There is nothing wrong with confronting someone who has harmed you physically or emotionally, but to brood on resentment indefinitely and let it lay claim to your life is not part of the Lord’s great plan for you. I know that this goes against the grain of much psychological practice which encourages people to feel that they have been diminished by others and endlessly to analyse their hurt in all its toxic details. But if we wish to attain sound emotional and spiritual health we have got to move on. For the truly stricken this might not be possible without intervention, but we need, as a primary goal, to escape from our bondage.

‘Bondage’ might seem too strong a word until we explore what being a victim entails. It involves harboring a strong sense of grievance at having been injured. We brood because we cannot forgive, and to live in a constant state of unforgiveness is forbidden by the teachings of the Word and The Writings. We are required to forgive seventy times seven, but how? Maybe, we can come to the realization that we are all human, living in mediate good. No one is perfect, and we are all bound to make mistakes. If we earnestly ask the Lord to free us from our stubborn negativity, He has promised to answer our prayers.

Sometimes being a victim encourages jealousy when we observe that many people have more, or manage better than we do. Instead of rejoicing in the good fortune of our friends, we are caught up in a covetous wail of ‘Why not me?’ Our attitude towards life becomes warped as it pivots endlessly on ourselves. Self-absorption takes the place of ‘Love your neighbor’, as it diminishes our sensitivity and kindness. This can breed entitlement when we feel that we have suffered and must be compensated: by the Lord, life, and those whom we encounter. Our victimhood demands attention, sympathy and consideration. We become increasingly self-limiting.

There are many strands in life. It is a tapestry of the Lord’s provision, full of promise and possibility. To allow ourselves to become absorbed in victimhood excludes bright colors, original patterns, intense creativity. We need to repeat as our creed ‘This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it’. We need to let go.

Terry’s Passing

This is a Guest post written by Geneva Echols

For the last year an a half I have worked as companion and caretaker of an adult woman living with severe limitations and disabilities. I was asked to move in with Anne and take over the daily care of her, her house, and her needs. Though I work as part of a team of caretakers, I am in the unique position of being the lead nurturer and authority in Anne’s life, though she is almost twice my age.

I am convinced that the Lord lead me to this job, this life, and this family. And He has been present here every day since.

I moved in 2 weeks before Anne’s mom, Terry, passed away from ovarian cancer. I knew them from church, when I moved down to GA in 2011, but I had only really gotten to know them when they rented me a room while I looked for an apartment in 2013.

Terry was someone to look up to; to immediately admire and esteem. She exuded confidence, faith, intellect and patience. She would make the time to invite you to her home for food and conversation, always leaving the guest with a sense of worth, love, and acceptance. But even as she accepted you, she would gently guide anyone towards the Lord through example mixed with active listening. In short, she is one of my heroes, and I will always be grateful that the Lord put her in my life.

Terry was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014. I still remember the night she called me to tell me. I was alone in my apartment, sitting in the dim evening light. I answered her call expecting to chat and maybe talk about our weekly dinner. She was calm as she explained that all of the symptoms that we had been observing were not just prolonged indigestion, but a large tumor that was now inoperable. She didn’t have many answers or even a clear understanding of what the next step was, she just knew that she had to start making some plans for the future. My role in that plan was to be part of the team that cared for Anne. Without thinking about what that might mean, what might be asked of me, I said yes.
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Why I Love Jane Eyre: Spiritual Identity

Swedenborg talks about how every person is a church. Within every individual there is a marriage of good and truth that creates the church within them. This doesn’t mean denomination or the building where congregations hold service, or even the group of people that call themselves a church. It is everyone’s personal spiritual identity.

Finding one’s individual and unique spiritual identity is a lifelong journey that I am only just beginning and already struggling with. I have often felt the need to conform and I can feel anxious or stressed when my church might be different from someone else’s. This might manifest as a need to make those around me believe what I do, but it might also make me feel that I must change what I believe to fit what someone else says is true.

But like most things in life, the trick is to find the balance between the two options. To listen to those around me in a way that allows me to find what I can accept as true or what I feel I need to change about my beliefs. If what someone is telling me feels uncomfortable or out of sync with what I believe it could be because what I’m being told is not true or maybe what I believe needs some refinement. We have to not only follow the Lord’s Word and bend our will to His, but also not let ourselves get trapped by what others say is true.

This past year I took an english class in which we read Jane Eyre. This is my favorite novel and I have read it many times but it wasn’t until this most recent reading that I really appreciated the spiritual journey that Jane goes on through the course of the novel. She goes through a significant transition from a dependent and downtrodden orphan, to an independent and self-confident woman all the time finding confidence in her own spiritual identity.
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