November 27 – Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

He who finds a [true] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22

Right now, as I write, winter has come and cold has once again become the description of the morning.

I am in my forty’s and it’s been getting cold around this time my entire life. Therefore, you would think I would learn to put all my “cold gear” up in a safe spot when the cold time is over so I will have it the next year. I can’t find a thing!

Oh well, I guess I’m not the only one, because the store is out of my size in just about everything I need right about this time every year…just saying, fellas.

But finding my soul mate was a bit different than finding a pair of misplaced gloves or a stocking hat (man, how I wish I had paid attention to this when I was young and knew everything). My mate for life wasn’t lost; just hidden.

The Biblical account of Adam laid out in Genesis 2 gives us a clue. God puts Adam in the Garden He made for him with a few important instructions. And then He gives Adam the privilege of giving names to the animal population. But before He does, God states, “It’s not good for man to be alone. I will make a fitting helper for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

The man didn’t have a clue that while he was naming those animals, he was “finding” a wife. He couldn’t have known what he needed, but it was obvious out of all the creatures he saw, nothing “fit” him.

God had hidden his mate in a place he could never look…on the inside of him! I don’t know how, I just read what it says. And that’s the only sense I can make of this thing called marriage.

Try as I did to find the perfect person for me, I fell short. It was when I gave myself to being busy with what He was leading me to do, that I “found” her. “And the man gave names to all the cattle and to the birds of the sky and to all the wild beasts; but for Adam no fitting helper was found. So the LORD God cast a deep sleep upon the man and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that spot.” Genesis 2:20-21

This “one flesh” idea we call marriage derived from the Father of All Creation Himself. And many of us have suffered deep scars trying to figure it out. Believe me, I’ve got a few of my own.

But the sacredness of such a covenant is other-worldly. And nothing in the universe fulfills like waking up to discover the one thing you’ve been missing. I have to say, “wow!”

October 2 – Constructive Criticism

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Proverbs 9:8

I was a bit of a feisty girl growing up. (Not that I’m not now! <wink>) My husband tends to blame it on all of my small-town girls basketball training (thanks, Coach), but it’s probably a bit more than that.  Yes, I know it’s the original cop-out, but Adam and Eve messed it all up for everybody, right?!

I remember clearly a conversation my daddy had with me one evening.  He always liked to talk to us in his living room chair when an “issue” came up.  I sat on the living room steps right by him, expecting that I was in for a long talk. Now I can’t remember what the entire discussion was about, but the crux of the matter stayed with me.  There was a flaw in my character that was creating a problem for me, and dad wanted to get it nailed down.  Though I recall distinctly that he continued to focus on this ONE area, all I could hear was “Jennifer, you’ve got LOTS of BIG problems! You can’t do anything right.” Looking back, I see how calm and insightful he was, and how utterly patient with my consistent rebuttals of “why this,” and “why that.”

Let’s face it.  (It’s taken me awhile.)  I was horrible at receiving constructive criticism.  I think my dad probably held his breath watching me grow up those last few teenage years, because he obviously saw it.  And to this day (don’t ask Lorenzo) I struggle with responding to even a syrupy-sweet corrective comment as a “wise man.” And frankly, I’ve only gotten somewhat better because I now have young adult children who stink at the same thing occasionally. (And they always feel free to call me on it, of course!)

So, reading this Proverb, I am challenged. I want to hear direction and correction from friends, family, or God, and be able to say, simply, “okay.” “Okay, I hear you.” “Okay, I see that.” And “okay, wow, so glad you love me so much!”

We are the “wise one” to heed and receive instruction, because it only makes us better and stronger!

Since I might be the only one needing this pep talk, put me on your prayer list.  “Feisty” meeting “Okay” is no small feat!

Jennifer 🙂