Tag Archives: trials and tribulation

Ya’ Know How A Plumber’s Toilet Never Flushes?

My husband isn’t the programming kinda’ computer geek, but works in the industry.

People that know my husband associate him with computers.

People that know me, know I can’t live without a computer. We make a good couple.

computer 011

So aren’t you surprised to find a computer like this in our home? I’m not talking about the dirty screen, look down.  At the keyboard.  See?

It was one of those Slick Willy Salesmen kinda’ deals.The hubbster bought me a brand new computer for school several years ago.

The enthusiastic salesman bragged about their warranty. ”Yeah, anything happens to this, and we’ll give you another one. You can drop it or the kids can spill milk on it, and we’ll give you another one.”  He was just revving up his motor mouth.  “Yea, you could walk out into that parking lot right now, drop it in a mud puddle, drive over it with your minivan, and we’ll give you another one.”

SOLD! To the mother of six who weekly has precious items altered, broken or “borrowed.” Like a sage, he predicted the future of my spankin’ new computer, and promised protection. That warranty was my armor.  Nothing could touch me now.

I began filling up my Jiggabites, or whatever they’re called, with my grade program, my assignment sheets, and all my homeschool business. The hubbster imported all the data crucuial to running my world from the desktop. I was golden.

After a few weeks, the #5 popped off.

Just like that. Decided it didn’t like his new home and ran away with a spoon,
or single sox.  Not sure.

I’m a sport.  I can live without #5.  If the pioneers could live in dirt houses, I could live without 5.

Then the D took a dive.

Now, I do type nearly 100mph, I mean wpm, thanks to Mr. Short my Typing I teacher, but even my smokin’ speed on the keyboard shouldn’t have burned off those little keys.

When the space bar started freaking out on me I was done with my martyrdom. I drove my mini-van back to the computer store.

I found the nearest salesman and waved my keyboard in front of his face. ”I want my new computer. Look, not even a month old and the keys are popping off. My kids didn’t even have anything to do with this. Nobody dropped it or used it for a skateboard ramp.Those keys just fell off.”

“OK. We can send that in for you today to get fixed.”

“Send it in?  No.  I want my new computer today.”

“It doesn’t work that way,” he explained. “These are minor problems.  They don’t justify a whole new computer.”

“But the guy who sold this to me said if anything happens I get a whole new computer,”  I explained.

I could tell he was getting a little uncomfortable. “Well, he…ummm…ummmm… he didn’t mean it that way.  You must have misunderstood.”

“No,” I forced myself to smile at the kid who didn’t know how to correctly tie a tie,  “he promised me a new computer no matter what.  He said I could even drive over it in the parking lot and you would give me a new computer.”

I recognized the conscience squirm. He recognized his mother in me.

“I’m sorry, but he was wrong, we have to send your computer away,” he explained.

”Can’t you fix it in the store?” I asked.

“No. We don’t have technicians in the store, we send all our repairs out.”

“How long will this take?” I asked while mentally calculating how this would set back my school calendar.

“Oh, about a month.”

“A MONTH?  You want my computer for a whole month? I can’t live without it for a month!  I homeschool and all my assignments and grades are in here. Can’t you find someone to fix it locally?”

“No.”

Desperate times make for desperate mothers. “Can I take it out in the parking lot and drive over it with my mini-van, bring it back to you and get a new one?”

“No,” he said.  “That kinda’ wouldn’t be right.”

“But, the guy said!”  I was doing the conscience squirm and he was staring at me like he was my mother. “It was his idea in the first place.”

He just stood there, eyes shifting around the store, looking for reinforcement.

“So you won’t give me a new computer even though my salesman promised one for anything that went wrong,” I repeated. 

“No.”

“And if you send it away it will take a month?”

“Yes.”

I walked out.

The hubbster, being the nice guy that he is, bought me a different computer from a different store.  We had wanted one for the kids,  so we figured they could live without the 5 and the D and with a jiggly space bar. 

Then, we kinda’ forgot about it.

computer 013

The thing is built like a tank, weighs enough to use for a weapon, and gave us absolutely no other problems.  The guts are great, so we keep using it for games, email and watching YouTube videos.

The other day  Boy Wonder, our 16 year old college freshman said, “Dad, did you know you could just order a new keyboard?”

“Oh?”  I could see the wheels churning.  Hubby was trying to remember why we needed a keyboard.

“For our kids’ computer,” Boy Wonder explained.  “I can just order a new keyboard.”

Hubbster and I exchanged “OH, DUH” looks and told him to order away. Why did it take so long to figure this out?

The computer-Geek hubbster and I are in  good company, with our policy of using broken things.

Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

The Lord accepts brokenness as a sacrifice we lay on His altar, and allow Him to alter. Then He uses brokenness to display His glory through healing.

“Somehow You use broken things”

EVERLASTING LOVE
When tender hearts hold broken dreams,
Somehow You use broken things,
To teach those tender hearts to sing,
Of everlasting love.
When all around is cold & gray,
The ice soon melts, the gray soon fades,
Your Spirit takes them all away,
In everlasting love.
I can’t repay your love,
That’s understood.
I’ll try each day, my Lord,
To do all I know I should.
When days are filled with trials and tests,
You turn those troubled times to rest,
Through it all my life is blessed,
With everlasting love.

What do you have that is broken? 

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

I know how to get it fixed.

More Than Nike Conquerors

“More Than Conquerors” sounds cool when launched off the lips of Christians trying to flex their spiritual muscles and proclaim a power they’re not really feeling.

It might be displayed on t-shirts and Bible covers, but not always in lives.

We have to remember, this phrase powers over  a Nike slogan. They just do, Christians more than conquer.

more than conquerers

This phrase is a compound word in the original Greek language HUPERNIKAO, to vanquish beyond.

HUPER translated above, chiefest, exceedingly abundantly, exceedingly, very highly

plus

NIKAOtranslated overcome, conquer, prevail, get the victory

Yep, Nike got their name from the same root, NIKE, the means of success.

We absolutely have the exceedingly abundantly conquering power, but we struggle to tap into that power.

Here’s another place HUPER is used.

Philippians 2:9, “God has also highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above (HUPER) every name.”

We can have HUPER conquering power because our Savior has a HUPER Name above all Names.

When I read about HUPER, I can’t help but hear the way my relatives would say it.

The upper Midwest has a lilting, Scandinavian accent, especially the older generation. Growing up in North Dakota I couldn’t hear it because I was surrounded by it. We moved to Kansas for seven years and y’all know what? When I came back I could hear the big ol’ Norvejhun accent. They love their vowels, full, round and long.

Ya’ gotta’ hear them say SUPER with their accent. Not the meal, the adjective used to express great delight and happiness.

It takes me a half second to say super. Depending on the age of the speaker and how close they live to the Canadian border, they can take up to three seconds to say this word.

The syllables are drawn out  long enough to ascend and descend the accent mountain.

First you go just a little down with the first syllable, like you’re revving up the vowel engine, then charge up with the full vowel sound,  SUUUUUUUUUUU,  then  coast back down, PERRRRRRRRRR.

The R’s are very round and full at the end of words. It’s not the East coast where their r’s just fall off the end  with a weak schwa sound. Scandinavians say their R sound an extra long time, then kinda’ swallow it.

The only thing better than SUPER is  SUPER DUPER. Nothing is better than the superlative SUPER DUPER.

SUUUUUUUUUUPERRRRRRRRRR   DUUUUUUUUUUPERRRRRRRRRR!

Let’s get back to that Super Duper Greek word Huper and the super translation – “EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY, EXCEEDINGLY and VERY HIGHLY.”

Romans 8:37 "In all these things we are more than conquerors (HUPER) through Him that loved us."

What are the THINGS Paul is speaking about? Go back a few verses.

v. 35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

Oh. Those things.

As soon as the words tribulation and distress are mentioned, we fill in our own blanks. We all have burdens and heartbreaks that cause us to cry out to the Lord.

In America we Christians don’t generally have to be concerned about nakedness, but there’s sexual abuse. We don’t face physical swords, but there’s spiritual wickedness after our families and churches. Have unbelievers in your family? There could be persecution. Lost a job?  You might not be suffering a famine yet, but are worried about provision.

Recognize  the words exceedingly abundantly from another verse?

Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding (HUPER) abundantly above (HUPER) all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

We can live as  HUPER conquerors because of His HUPER Name and His ability to answer our prayers HUPER above what we ask or think.

We just need to remember to ask. Pray without ceasing.  Don’t give it to the Lord in prayer and take it back in worry. Pray until you pray.

Isn’t that HUPER SUUUUUUUUUUPERRRRRRRRRR DUUUUUUUUUUPERRRRRRRRRR? 

 

Making your home sing Mondays

Do You Pick Your Scabs?

As a sister wedged between two older brothers and one younger one,
I didn’t have a Princess type upbringing.
It was rough and tumble, as I kept up  with the boys and their adventures.

I learned I couldn’t fly off the front porch like Superman, and still have the scar on my chin to prove it.

I learned to throw rocks like a boy, and my sister still has a scar on her chin to prove it.

I learned to ride a bike down the steep 5th Avenue in Helena, Montana,
and still have the scuffed up knees to prove it.

My knees might have healed better, if I hadn’t always picked at my scabs.
I couldn’t help it.

The scabs started to dry around the edges and my little fingers,
with dirt under each fingernail, would have to just start
picking
poking
scratching
peeling
and eventually
pick the whole scab off and start the bleeding process all over.

I know, disgusting, right?
My dear mother not only tried to keep me from danger,
she tried to keep me from causing further harm to myself.
I know she told me not to pick my scabs over and over,
I just couldn’t stop.

Doesn’t that scab just look perfect for picking?

As an adult, I still pick scabs.
I know, gross, right?
Only now they’re on my heart and not my knees.

Just as I am beginning to heal and trust the Lord for a trial He’s allowed,
I begin picking at the edges with lack of faith and questions.

Why did you allow this?

I previously blogged it’s OK to ask the Lord WHY,
but after He’s answed, we believe and don’t ask again.

This isn’t fair!

That’s right, we deserve so much worse.

Why do things keep happening to me?

I can’t handle this Lord!

This Lord promises and provides His presence, His power and His peace.

The real question is~
why do we hinder healing by reliving the agonies of previous victories?

Sometimes, it’s a little overwhelming to know that apart from a miracle,
my cancer most likely will not be cured.
It isn’t always easy to accept that an Innocent Man is in jail.
There are even times when I weep over wrongs that happened years ago.

I’m a big girl.
I should know better.

Those wounds were cleansed by the blood of Jesus,
He carried me safely through the flames,
and He spoke peace to my heart.

There is no reason to relive the agony,
I should only be praising Him and thanking Him
for His presence during the trials.

I gotta’ grow up and stop picking at those scabs.

Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs

My heart had been overwhelmed with physical and spiritual trials.

I was crying  out to the Lord,
even when  I wasn’t even sure what to ask of Him.

Once, a little whisper came to my heart,
“Music.  You need music.”
The Voice reminded me of a verse I had memorized a few decades ago
about psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
I started listening to more Christian music, watching youtube videos,
and singing during the day.

 

It helped.  Music  sooths the soul.

 

Then, we received a phone call from a Chrisitan friend we hadn’t been in touch with for years.
When you get a phone call like that, it’s for a few reasons.
1.  Someone you have in common died.
2.  They need something from you.
3. The Lord is working through them.

 

We were thankful to learn that #1 wasn’t the reason, nobody died.
We thought it was #2.
A man going into the mission field was coming to our area,
needed to be picked up from the airport,
given a place to stay for a few days, then brought back to the airport.
We were busy, we were stressed, for a few minutes I doubted the Lord.
“Now, Lord?  Really? Now?”

 

But, I’ve learned.  The Lord makes no mistakes.

 

I repented of my questioning and agreed.
We’ve committed our home to the Lord for hospitality,
and He was just receiving our offering to Him.
To bring someone into our home at a time when our hearts
were battle-sore and weary was not a mistake. 

By faith we trusted. 
By faith we ventured to the airport late at night,
picked up a stranger, and brought him into our home,
trusting the Lord’s plans were for our good.

 

When hearts are one in Christ, there really are no strangers,
just brothers and sisters we haven’t met yet.

Remember my hungering cry for music to soothe my soul?

Remember my trusting by faith the Lord was working
something for good in my life?

 

 

The Lord knew what He was doing.

 

This brother had a guitar.
This brother loved to sing praises to the Lord.
This brother ministered to our battle-weary souls in a way youtube couldn’t
begin to touch.

 

It didn’t take long to figure out why the Lord called on us at a time
when our hearts were weary with well-doing.

It was #3  – The Lord was working through that
friend we hadn’t talked to you years.

 

He wanted to answer those wordless cries of my heart
and bless our family with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

 

Thank you, brother Tim.

May the Lord bless your service to Him, as you blessed us.

Laughter Doeth the Marriage Well

Not that 24 years makes me an expert, but I think I have learned a few things about marriage.

Laughter makes all things better.

Sometimes you have to laugh, or you would cry.

Marriage is hard because well, uh, because men are men and women are women.

I know,  that’s deep.

We’re different.  We think differently.  We act differently.  We find solutions to problems differently.  We define what’s a problem differently.

The Lord certainly had a sense of humor, and of course, a sense of purpose, when he determined a man and a woman would marry and “the two shall become as one.”

Two completely different human beings have to  learn to live and act together in harmony for the good of their marriage, their immediate family and others around.

A high calling from the God Most High.

Yet, after 24 years of those struggles and trials that either make you crazy or crazy in love, we have become one of those couples who finish each other’s sentences, say the same things at the same time, or utter a few words of direction and the other person knows what it means.

Most of the time. And when that isn’t working, laughter works.

I can joke about my husband’s ears.  It is easier than getting angry.

I can joke about my husband’s eyes.  It is easier than getting angry.

The reality is, it will only get worse, because we actually will begin losing our physical sight and hearing as we age.  I guess the older I get, the LOUDER I will have to laugh, making sure he is standing in front of me so he can read my lips in case he STILL can’t hear me.

I have learned to accept him, as he has learned to accept me.  Since he doesn’t blog, he doesn’t have the occasion to tell you I RARELY remember to check the gas gauge  before I drive off – always a few minutes late. This behavior is unfathomable to him, but he has learned to accept this, laugh, and try to help keep the vehicles in gas and keep me on time. By his kind example, my children have also learned to look out for me in my areas of weakness, helping and reminding, and yes, sometimes laughing.

Some things that bother us about our spouse can change with time, with changes in habits and with gentle encouragements. But in reality, those things that irritate us, are probably the things that are doing the most good to make us more kind, more patient, more loving and more understanding as humans.

Who would you rather go through life-changing moments with?  Someone who loves you or a stranger?  I would much rather have my husband point out something in my life.  He is saying it for my good, a stranger might be saying something out of annoyance or to avoid being affected by the consequences of my actions.

 

Laughter blows off steam in the same way anger does, but the release will have no guilt, no apology needed, and can bring about the relaxed attitude needed to find common ground and resolution in a situation.

It’s not laughing in mockery.  It’s not laughing at sin or a situation that is serious.  The laughter isn’t in refusal to admit there’s a problem, but it’s a cheerful acceptance of the situation until the Lord gives wisdom for resolution.

If you are having marriage ills, try laughing. It’s good  medicine.

HAPPILY EVER AFTERS Don’t Just HAPPEN

Everyone, especially women, adores love stories with the Happily Ever After Ending. They have this fairy tale idea that the Happy Ever After automatically begins right after the honeymoon.

 

Grandkids and Wedding Cake Topper 056

 

 

We’ve all heard the saying “The Honeymoon’s Over.” That saying isn’t without cause. When the wedding planning, the ceremony and the honeymoon are over, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and WORK on the marriage. Sometimes I wonder – if brides put as much effort into planning their marriages as their weddings, would our divorce rate divebomb instead of skyrocket?

There’s a delusion that a girl’s loneliness, problems, and inner struggles will be solved IF she can just marry the prince.

Truth be told, issues will only be magnified by the marriage until they can be resolved. They aren’t resolved by the signing of the marriage license or by saying “I Do” through a misty, romantic lace veil. Marriage isn’t a band-aid to put over owies. Marriage is the union of two people committed to stay together to love one another, heal one another and help one another be transformed into a more Christ-like image.

A few days ago, I blogged about my husband. Young single women may have sighed and longed for a spiritual man such as my husband. Young brides may have been inwardly disappointed that their husbands aren’t quite like mine. Older women probably smiled knowingly, understanding what was written between the lines. Because, I didn’t tell you the whole story.

That isn’t the man I married.

I didn’t marry a perfect man. I married a man with a Perfect Savior and one who allowed trials, older believers and the Word of God to transform him into the man he is today.

Happily Ever Afters Just Don’t HAPPEN.

This isn’t to indicate that I was the perfect wife, that I upheld the marriage single-handedly and transformed my husband into the man he is today. We both had faults, we both were immature, we both needed to grow. But, we loved one another fiercely, we were committed, and we were best friends. I don’t want to sit and list all of his mistakes, they are as far as the east is from the west. I don’t want to talk about mine either, at this time. I just want to talk about my role as a HELPMEET during our formative, growing-up-together years.

1.  I loved him. No matter what, I chose to love him. Titus 2:4
2.  I prayed about each character issue, fault, or sin I thought I saw in him. I purposed to not say anything about the issue until I had prayed about it at least three times. That reduces the fleshly tendency to nag. It reduces irritability. It forces you to be humble before the Lord; as you begin to confess your husband’s faults, you get convicted about your own. Sometimes you begin to see the log in your own eye. Matthew 7:3

3.  I purposed to be a helpmeet. In Genesis 2, Eve was created to be a “help-meet” to Adam. In the Hebrew it simply means “one who helps.” Are you willing to help with all areas of your husband’s life? We only think of helpmeet in terms of household chores and spiritual ministries. What about besetting sins? What about weaknesses? What about sins of omission? It is still your job to help. Remember the old-fashioned vows – for better and worse?

4.  I submitted. This is not a word the world loves, but since the Lord uses it, we should understand it, love it and honor it. I learned to submit with a pure and loving heart, not just gritting my teeth and displaying outward physical obedience. I knew submission had to begin inwardly and I understood I was following the Lord as I followed my husband.

5.  I trusted the LORD to continue the work He began in my husband. Philippians 1:6 Women sometimes think they can marry any man and make him into the man they want him to be. An older woman, Ann, once warned me, “You get what you marry.” It wasn’t my job to change him, it was the Lord’s.

The overall goal in our lives for our husbands has to be for their good and for the glory of the Lord, not for our own benefit. Do we want our husbands to grow so they can be intimate with the Lord, or so they don’t irritate us as much?

 

For our 20th anniversary, my husband planted a beautiful  rose bush in our front yard so he could bring me red roses often. We learned to prune correctly to force, not hinder growth. To keep damage from spreading, we  pinch off and pick up all leaves with fungus and bugs. We fertilize and water. Even when we do all these things and the roses bloom month after month, there are still the thorns. Because of the beauty of the flower, we continue to put diligent work into the bush, even though we often get scratched. Sometimes we bleed.

A beautiful rose just doesn’t happen. Neither does a marriage.

 

 

Read my husband’s story and why he’s glad he’s not
The Man She Married
.