Kingdom Building Through Dad

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“The male of the family carries the weighted glory

in his tone and words.

The Kingdom building within each home is strengthened

by his grace and mercy.”

Sounds like the strength of assurance with Ashlyn built kingdom strength into our family.

Great job Dad!

(A text I sent to Bucky)

A Diamond Under Pressure

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When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.
Peter Marshall

Dedicated to my jewel of a husband, Rodger H. Elofson “Bucky”

He serves. He gives. He perseveres. Daddy advice on cars, classes, “can I send you a picture of this weird thing on this friend of a friend’s leg and you help her?”, leaky faucets, every boo-boo and illness under the sun, a few fender bumper calls, money money and more money, plane tickets, directions/I’m lost, bugs and more creepy crawlies, sign this, mail that, “could you call, they’ll listen to you”, necklace tangles. . .Husband cares through early morning/late night tears, four tube feedings/day, numerous transfers, pharmacy issues, doctor consults, comfort tendings that change by the moment, watching “girl” tv, learning hair dressing styles, marathon showers, hugs I can’t return, high maintenance needs like where do I spray this perfume again?, computer fixes, endless pillow props, drives back and forth  forth and back to Houston in our handicapped access red convertible 😉 . . .He does hold down a full time job. . .He has an occasional guy’s card night. . .And he remembers to return a tennis ball OVER the net a time or two.

See what I mean? He has a few facets going on. . .

A Room Full of Life . . .

At a church function, November 17,  for our youngest daughter, we completed the milestone for all four daughters to make the True Love Waits commitment for marital purity. We are so very proud of our Kathleen! We celebrated at home with her sisters with flowers, candles and a cake 🙂

TLW Hands

At public functions/events, I am acutely aware of what a privilege it is to witness life evolve for my daughters. I don’t take these moments for granted, but they carry a poignancy of life that is richer, further reaching  than ever before. Thank you Father, for my witness in Kathleen’s life. Amen

I also find myself struggling outside my little comfort zone bubble. My bubble is a protective dome of people that see me often and so there is an unspoken level of “we are all use to this and so. . . ” God is always good for love shows up and people choose to enter my “speechless” world of disability. They make love real in eye contact, hugs, kisses, a story or two. . . And I marvel at their courage to remember me, to see beyond the effects of the disease to who I am. It would be easier to busy themselves within the event .

Not only does God show up but so does my humanity. Life in the room threatens how I define mine. Lives go on for others and I feel myself slipping backwards in some bent perspective that comes up with twenty-five ways to say, “Why me, Lord?”

I’m was a mess of gratitude and something I can’t put my finger on. . . a toxic emotion that caused discontentment to rise with the morning sun. I reached for Streams in the Desert to read and my heart dropped to my feet. . . . Is it possible, God’s been ease dropping in on my heart life? LOL All kidding aside, this devotional gave a word to my emotions. I was offended by the life in the room. Not the people, but how I perceived their life stacked up next to my circumstance. (Divorce? Loss? Bankruptcy? Loneliness?) I felt challenged by His direct heart massage to get the Truth flowing again. I now have insight into what I’m feeling, why I’m feeling it and where to go with the offense. (Now, I’m finding my “pride” does not want to admit to you, I can be offended. Ouch)

Streams in the Desert: November 18, 2013

This does normalize our humanity in tough circumstances. But the main “point” is God speaking into my circumstance. The offense is the result of my confinement inside my own body. I do suggest an empowered change. . . “even if I am confined to a dungeon, my soul CAN prosper.” In Faith, their are perspective in choices to be made. I have to choose to be free in Christ Jesus. We all have confining circumstances, to some degree (Job, Difficult Marriage, Prodical Child, Health Challenges, Etc.). It’s all too easy to be offended.

Our humanity is going to show up at family events, the message of a movie that hits too close to home, an immature comment, stress that plays out in behavior and all too familiar: Holidays!!!   I can promise you at least once this Season, you will find yourself offended, (How about traffic? How dare those other drivers slow you down, today of all days when you have so much to do?) Been there.  Then what you gonna do with it? May I humbly suggest that we all make a commitment, right here, right now, to bind that ugly offended/offensive response at the manger bed of our baby Jesus and N-O-T let it move into our behavior or our words? Don’t you think our precious Holiday memories would will be better celebrated with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh?

Let’s rise above the “offense”

and refuse to move into an offended posture and be “blessed is he/she”!

Roads That Cross: Reality X Expectations Part Two “Where’s My Letter?”

Sketch by Lyubov Malygina of  "Penning a Letter" by George Goodwin Kilburne 1871  Donetsk, Ukraine www.behance.net

Sketch by Lyubov Malygina of “Penning a Letter” by George Goodwin Kilburne 1871
Donetsk, Ukraine
www.behance.net

 

Dearest Connie,

About ten years ago, I became aware that expectations were significant in relationships. I’m still learning about the importance of this concept for life in HIM.

It all started when I was very hurt and angry with Bucky. I had just had it and I had been learning that the primary posture of prayer was face down in the Bible: prostrate prayer. (Of course I thought it was kneeling.) I was crying out to God, threw myself on the ground, face down, on the girls pink, playroom carpet. Sobbing. (Okay, so I admit, I can be a bit dramatic at times, I’ve got a tender heart!) When I quieted long enough to hear anything other than my own pity party. . .I heard GOD say. . .

“What if this is his best? What if it doesn’t get any better than this? What are you gonna DO THEN?”I thought a while. I don’t think that had ever occurred to me! Oh God, help our ignorance in marriage!!!

Well, then, God, I will have to accept it as his best, and move on. I can’t expect more than he knows how to or is able to give. People can’t give beyond what is all they know.

It forever changed my perspective and I began understanding about other family members, and friends. . .

Most people do not set out thinking, “I’m gonna let this person down. I am going to personally sabotage every expectation they have, whether it is appropriate or not, and hurt them so they don’t ever want to be in a relationship with me anymore.”

As I watched myself, people in ministry and their woundings, much, not all, but much of their pain was from unmeet expectations. We, most often, are not even aware of the expectations we put on ourselves, others and God. We just know severe disappointment. We never think to link it to expectations.

Three Common expectations that set us up to loose ground,

in Kingdom relationships and the truth as I’ve experienced it.

(Expectation) I am a Christian, therefore God will not allow me to suffer.
Being a Christian does not make me an exception to worldly suffering.
The lesson is to expect at some point to understand the suffering of Jesus through my own pain.

(Expectation) Men and Women marry to complete themselves in each other and find happiness.
God created marriage to symbolize Jesus’ relationship with the Church.
Read the letters from Paul to the first churches, full of real people with issues. We are complete only in Jesus. (This process is finished when our earthly bodies die and go to heaven.) Our marriages are a training ground to learn to sacrifice, love and enable others. Why do we expect happiness when two selfish, bull- headed people marry? The lesson is to pursue 1 Corinthians 13.

(Expectation: This is my own personal albatross!) If I love and my intent is good, it will all turn out rosey.
If I offer or receive love, I can count on when, not if, that person will let me down or disappoint me. Efforts to love are always somewhat misunderstood because of the imperfection of our flesh!! (God gets the intent and invests it!!!) Love makes us vulnerable to hurt. The lesson is to love anyway. Love is the only thing that is eternal, why would we spend our time doing anything else?

So, it all comes down to laying our expectations at the cross. And doing that as often as an expectation is revealed.  A path will be worn shortly, from your pilgrimage there. Let them die there. It’s hard, partly because we cling to our expectations. They are linked to desires and dreams. We hold tightly because we falsely believe that is the source of our “life.”  We never get rid of them completely. Many are hidden and new ones create themselves over night. The best of life comes when we accept what God offers is enough . . .

Your grace is enough: 

2 Corinthians 12:9

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [a]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Dear Lord,
Help Connie and I see our expectations for what they are: hinderances to love and Kingdom building. Reveal to us what our expectations are in our marriage that minimize growth of our marriage relationships but also who we could be with others as well. We know it will be painful to allow our expectations die at the cross with Jesus. We cling to them because we believe met expectations bring life. That is a lie1 What truly brings life to love is as we release our expectations and recognize them, you give us what we need. We love you and want to expand our hearts to greater selfless love in your name.
Amen

In HIS LOVE and mine, your twe

Roads that Cross: Reality X Expectations, Part One

Life’s complicated. That’s clarity:  Complain… or Communion. ~ Ann Voskamp

The equation supposedly goes like this:  if your reality is greater than your expectations, then you’re happy. ~ Ann Voskamp

As for expectations — your expectations have a direct correlation on your irritations. The higher your expectations, the greater your irritations. ~ Ann Voskamp

Go to the following, Ann Voskamp link and let it sink in. Not just wash over you like a wave, swim in it. Take a long, luxurious swim and then come back and share thoughts that lead to an intimate letter to a friend.

www.aholyexperience.com/2013/09/how-to-figure-out-the-equation-of-a-good-week-a-good-life/

With Ann Voskamps Inspiration:

Have you been married long enough for real, imperfect love to grow hot with unmet expectations? And the intense, glowing embers cool and you are desperate in prayer? Reality and expectations cross, that’s a painful point that called me to pivot my posture after focused prayer.

Before you read the recent letter I wrote a dear friend, we’ve a bit of prep work to do: Years ago, now, when I finally released my dear husband from being my god into freedom to be husband. My prior expectations had been super-human. It took quite the pivot to turn my expectations supernatural. Milky language (Hebrews 5:13) we can all digest? Turn from husband for ALL to God for ALL and lift the burden to enjoy the giftings of marriage to this incredible man.

Let’s EXPERIENCE our expectations smoother the life that the gifts of marriage, friendship and parenting hold for us. Now take a deep, Kingdom breath, and imagine the “what if” when we lift the heavy, wet blanket of expectations off those we love, and turn our hearts toward heaven. The reality of heaven: messy faith, messy hope and messy love. . .

And so my friend said three of the most empowered words in a Kingdom Conversation. . . . “Tell Me More” (and when I did not write her soon enough, her precious prompt in text message, “Where’s my letter?”)

Part Two, “Where’s my letter?” Tomorrow 🙂