REPENT: Just Do It! (WOW! Write.On.Wednesday! Blog takes 2.25 minutes to read)

Today is the National Day of Repentance. Tomorrow will follow with the National Day of Prayer.

Somehow I never knew about it until today. I’m thankful that I did just learn about it, because yesterday my friend Preston Lund shared something on FACEBOOK. Here are his words:

“What happened to repentance? It’s like ‘as long as I am honest about my sin issue it’s ok.’ I don’t think that’s true. I think repentance somehow activates God’s grace, the imparting of His power to overcome. When we repent with genuine contrition and mourning over sin, then it’s ok because we are working on it; God is working on it. But if you don’t care, God knows and He isn’t going to violate your will and demean His relationship with you. Repent. Just start trying however you can think to start trying. Call someone. Pray this prayer. “I want to want to want to be like You Jesus.” Don’t be prideful, and don’t let my hypocrisy stop you if you see me fail. Just call out now and be saved, be renewed, restore incredibly important fellowship with the God who gave you life, TWICE!!!!”

He understands that repenting is a missing piece of the puzzle of our Christianity and our responsibility as a believer. We miss fellowship with our Lord when we continue in sin and we miss being an example to others who are questioning, wondering, and maybe considering following Christ. We’re not perfect, but when we repent we at least show that we are serious about our relationship with God.

Last week I blogged: The Standard of Measure by Which We Appear to be Holy. Preston’s words embellish what I wrote about. We think we can fool God and man. We think we can “get away” with things, but we can’t. My husband Joe and I often meet with many couples whose marriages are failing. Usually they’re failing because of an affair, but that isn’t the real reason. Peel back the layers on the onion and you’ll find a very pungent odor. Peel back the layers of marriage and you’ll find the root sin of pride along with its other manifestations: selfishness, wanting to be happy at the expense of anyone else, pornography, lust, sexual addiction, selfishness, gluttony, anger, greed, jealousy, envy…..and I’m sure you can add many more to the list.

Let’s take a minute and ask the Lord to reveal our sin to us. THEN, repent of it. REPENT means to turn away from it. Walk away. Run away. BOLT! Don’t look back and don’t do it again. Stop toying with it. Stop playing with it. Stop being tempted by it. STOP IT. Ask those you’ve hurt to forgive you, and make amends to make things right. God has the glue to hold friendships, marriages, and life together. But we have to make the effort to correct our wrongs.

THE KEY: Take the first step and just do it.

Special Needs – The IMPORTANCE of RELATIONSHIPS: Marriage, Family, Friends, etc.

Previously Posted – Newly Posted to THIS our NEW BLOG/Website

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MARRIAGE:

With a divorce rate hovering somewhere in the 80-85% range, we know it takes a lot of work to make marriage work, along with all the other relationships one has in the world of special needs.

In order to make marriage work, Joe and I have had to Divide and Conquer! That would mean splitting up and one of us accomplishing something while the other “mans the fort”. It’s not always our first choice, not fun, but it’s what works! The idea for YOU, is to consider how this technique would work for you. Here are a few ways we made it work:

1-      In the early days, one of us would go to church. The other would stay home with Joey (and our girls, sometimes). The one at home would bundle up and pack up the car with the children, meet whoever was at church and trade places. That worked during those years when we could have Joey with us IN church and when there was no place to put him AT church.

2-      If Joe was asked to speak somewhere or meet with someone, Cindi would manage things at home, allowing each the opportunity to go out.

Additionally it’s important to Pamper Your Marriage!  We can’t do life as usual for very long without some kind of relief from the pressures of caring for another’s full-time needs. Here are few ideas:

  • Plan intimacy
  • Take time to sit and talk, hold hands, take a walk
  • Grocery shop together and make a recipe together.
  • Plan a weekend away when you have opportunity. Just don’t forget to come home.

Talking things  out is crucial to a marriage. That takes time. Here are a few ideas that will help you think what might work for YOU:

  • Write out “care issues”.
  • Talk through decisions until mutually coming to an agreement (working through smaller pieces of the decision rather than the big chunk).
  • Offer solutions without judging or jumping to conclusions.
  • Show respect for each other’s ideas.

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS certainly include extended family – the children we have and our own siblings. This relationship can be tricky because we to accept help but not take advantage of those who offer help.

We wanted all of our own children to be treated the same but knowing there are some things the person with special needs would need that they won’t. Because of that, we were careful not to ask or expect our own children to care for our son unless we asked them to do so like we would of a babysitter, and then followed through with also financially compensated them. We never wanted them to feel obligated all the time to care for their brother.

We made sure to have family rules, which included the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do so for them” and Mark 12:31, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” If we could follow that, we thought we’d be able to set a good example for our children, neighbors, teachers, etc. Also, we always desired to work as a TEAM (Together Each Accomplishes More).

Family meetings and goal planning were always tops on our list as a family, so we knew we were all on the same page, and no one could say they felt left out or unimportant. Everyone had a “say” at our meetings!

OTHERS: Friends , teachers, aides, administrators, people at church are folks to keep near us for the well being and help in development and learning of our child with special needs. Our goal? BUILD BRIDGES rather than BURN BRIDGES. These people will give us help in getting to the next step of life. Not everyone will be able to help and be a part of our child’s journey, but it’s important to give as much help and advice (to those willing to learn) so they can be of help and assistance for YOUR life journey. Not all advice we will receive will be helpful, but we can accept it, try it, and use what works – disregarding the rest.

For daily doses of hope and encouragement join us on FACE BOOK at UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

Dear Arnold (as in Schwarzenegger)

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Previously posted/re-posting to THIS – our NEW WEBSITE! WELCOME!

Dear Arnold Schwarzenegger,

We see you at every conference we do for FamilyLife around the country.

Sometimes it’s the husband, and sometimes it’s the wife, but here is the all too common scenario:
“I made a mistake and had (“X” numbers of affairs for “X” number of years.) NOW, I want to make things work with my spouse.”

OK….it can happen, but it probably won’t happen until:

1- ADMIT you SINNED
2-GO for counseling to get the help you need to understand your wrongs/sins and what you will need to do to get back on track
3- RE-BUILD TRUST – you can, and while it often takes a few years, it can be done

We hear that you are sorry for your mistakes, etc. and you want to restore that relationship – and we pray that will happen for you….but let’s not forget that you need to be truly remorseful and want to make the changes needed so that it won’t keep happening, something USA Today along with 60 Minutes, Hannity, and numerous other shows quote you confessing to other affairs….indicating this is a purposeful pattern. From our experience, getting on track with God (or getting back on track with God) is the foundation upon which to build true lasting reconciliation.

We agree with your own words – that you “made a mistake,” that you “are not perfect”, that you “screwed up” by fathering a child and kept that secret for 14 years…and (according to USA TODAY 10/1/12) that “You can’t run from your mistakes. You have to confront them.”

But at what point in those 14 years did you consider confessing your sin to your wife and to God and stepping up to be the man you should have been? Have you even done that yet, or are you just looking for someone (the public) to say, “Yes, we support you, and feel sorry for you.”

USA Today’s sub-headline (pg. 2D) was: SCHWARZENEGGER HOPES HE, SHRIVER RECONNECT. And you know what? All of us who speak on behalf of making marriage matter hope you can reconnect, too….but as you are known for your well rehearsed line, “I’ll be back” – realize that will only begin to be a reality when you own up to the sins you need to confess: adultery, deception, lying, and probably a few others the public isn’t privy to.

We, the public don’t need to be privy to your sin…that is between YOU, GOD and MARIA…..not in a book (that I will personally not be interested in reading) to air dirty laundry in public. I’d like to read the book you write when you confront your sin, ask for forgiveness and model a marriage for your kids and your future grand kids that will make your marriage the legacy it could be if you get back on track.

And should you (or others) like some resources to make YOUR MARRIAGE MATTER:

www.familylife.com – Marriage information, conferences, books, tools…..

STEPPING UP by Dennis Rainey: http://shop.familylife.com/p-2307-stepping-up-video-series-leader-kit.aspx

CHOOSING FORGIVENESS: http://www.amazon.com/Choosing-Forgiveness-Your-Journey-Freedom/dp/0802432514