Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lessons to Learn from Kate Gosselin

Last night, Jon and Kate Gosselin announced their separation and impending divorce. It was somewhat surreal and sad as the world who has watched the miracle of twins and sextuplets be brought to life now watch their lives become transparent and vulnerable on the screen. I have to admit I wasn't surprised at this given what we've watched between Jon and Kate through the seasons. But, lest we forget that for all of us, we could be right where they are in the blink of an eye. I'm not married, but there are a lot of lessons for me to learn from Kate. And, Jon isn't completely absolved I'm sure, but I'll let the men in the crowd speak from that perspective. I see enough from Kate that I'm learning lessons that all us women should take note of....

1. Marriage takes commitment and work - When people get married they are all caught up in the dresses and the decorations and quickly forget what happens after the honeymoon. Every day a wife has to arise and ask God to keep her heart pure and focused on being the wife He's called her to be. Every day won't be romantically glorious, but when you marry for better or worse, marry the one you want to go through the "worse" with because going through the "better" is easy. Going through the "worse" takes commitment. Kate worked a lot to keep her house in order and everything in its place. What if she'd done the same with her relationship with Jon?

2. Follow His Lead - A wife needs to first follow God's leading in her life, then followed by her husband's lead. Submission is a tricky topic for a lot of people to talk about, and as a single woman who has been single a long time, it won't be easy for me one day, if God blesses. But, when a wife sees God as her authority and the way He created marriage as a picture of the gospel, following the lead of a godly husband is easy. Kate was pretty commanding and dictatorial on the show. I don't know if that was better or worse off camera, but it was obvious she didn't respect the role Jon had in the marriage as leader.

3. God first, Husband second, Children third - In our society, sometimes this gets out of order, and I'm not talking about #1 and #2. Even those that put God first will many times put children ahead of their spouse. In Kate's defense, with eight children, that's tough to keep in order. But spouses that make the commitment to spend quality time together, without the children, will benefit from the nurturing aspect that brings to the marriage. Because when the children have grown and gone, you want the marriage to still be flourishing and sparkly.

4. Edify and build up your husband - As I mentioned earlier, Kate wasn't the "gentle, quiet spirit" type, nor did we see much edification or building up of Jon from her. I sound this battle cry to every girl I talk with about relationships. Men are fragile. The way to tear a man down is with your words. Kate did that in the middle of K-Mart, a pumpkin patch, and oh yeah, on national television. As women, we are born with a power over men (see Genesis 3) and we have the ability to take a man to the heights or to the gutter. That is a power we so often abuse, mainly because we don't realize our own strength to do that. If you are married, edify your husband daily. If you aren't married, find ways to build up the men in your life to get good practice for the day you may be filling that role as a wife.

5. Love the Lord Your God with All Your Heart - In past episodes, the Gosselins were touted as Christian examples. I don't know their heart, or what their beliefs are, but somewhere along the line, the focus of loving the Lord with all their heart got put on the back burner, I fear. This should be a stark reminder to all of us, whether married or single, that our first love is the Lord our God. If we keep that as our focus and cling to Him daily, we won't live a life problem-free, but we'll live a life where God will walk us through those problems victoriously.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Top Five Reasons I Heart Elise

I am blessed with so many wonderful people in my life and one of those sweet blessings is Elise. Our paths crossed at church..I've known her since she first came to our church as a child when her Dad came as Minister of Music. I watched her grow and God uniquely connected us while she was still in high school. Providentially, that happened, just a year or so before she lost her Mom and as I have walked that road before, we have shared many tears together. Elise is just one example of the many sweet spiritual daughters I have that God has graciously brought into my life even though I've never, nor probably will ever, bear my own children. I could probably write a blog post on each and every one of them...and maybe I will one day...but let's start with Elise, since we just had some wonderful quality time a couple of weeks ago and I was reminded of these five things that night...

1. She loves old movies and musicals - We are kindred spirits when it comes to movies. Whether it's the old black and whites or the big musical productions, we love them! My favorite Christmas movie is Holiday Inn...not White Christmas....not It's a Wonderful Life. And, Elise is always game to watch that movie, even during the off season. The movie of choice a couple of weeks ago was Mamma Mia!

2. She names inanimate objects - I have this quirk about naming cars, cell phones...making non-human things have a personality. Must have been all those years of talking to my stuffed animals...but I digress. Elise shares in that love and on this recent night, we discussed what she should name her new Nissan during a joy ride we took in her new vehicle. Her former car, a Saturn, was named Sally, so it was very important that she bond with her new car and give it a name. She just told me yesterday she has decided upon Jake...good name!

3. She has no problem being goofy - I'm all about deep, serious conversations, but sometimes, you just gotta cut loose. This night the goal of watching Mamma Mia wasn't just for the beautiful scenery and love story...but so we could sing-a-long! Yep, Dancing Queen...Honey, Honey...The Winner Takes it All....Take a Chance on Me...Waterloo. Laughing, singing, loving...it's a great combination. And even though I can be goofy with her, she finds it uber cool that I graduated high school in the 80s. In fact, I drug out the old yearbooks so she could work on an outfit to wear to an 80s birthday party the next night. It's much more tolerable being old, when you are old AND cool.

4. She gushes about boys - Sometimes with real Moms, girls don't come completely clean on the supposed loves of their life, but with "pseudo Moms" they normally do...and I welcome that. Sometimes it's the harsh reality of a boy who did her wrong...sometimes it's the sparkle of a possibility of a boy being interested....and sometimes it's mere infatuation with an unattainable boy. This night, it was the latter....Robert Pattinson....or "Robbie P" as she affectinately calls him. Edward from the movie Twilight. I refuse to watch the movie with her until I've read the book, but she had to show me the extra scene on the DVD (which she owns, of course) of Robbie P playing the piano....quite an attractive thing for us girls with a love for music. She can have Robbie P....I'll take Robert Downey, Jr....he's more my age...and equally as appealing.

5. She is just the daughter I'd love to have - I love Elise as if she were my own. She's been through a lot in her short little life, but I'm so proud of her and know God has big things in store for her. A few years ago, Elise gave me a sweet wooden angel with an inscription on it of what I mean to her. I have it displayed on my kitchen hutch and my heart melts every time I read it. I know if her Momma were here, she'd be so proud of that sweet girl. Miss Pat, your legacy will live on.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Table Topics - Senior Predictions

It's that time of year where every kid is chanting, "School's out, school's out...teachers let the monkeys out!" Ok, well, they used to chant that...now it's probably some rap version. For those who are bidding a farewell to their school days and graduating, this time of year is glorious. I'll never forget that Senioritis. It was bittersweet, but I didn't get that then because when you embark on your life after high school, you have no idea how much your life will change and how few of those people you'll ever seen again. I've been blessed to keep up with a few from my Senior class....the most consistent, my friends, Julie and Rod. But, thanks to Facebook, I'm now connected to a lot of those folks and it's refreshing and somewhat surreal to be able to chat and talk with them again.

I was on the newspaper staff in high school and loved it! Most of my fondest memories surround the time we holed away in "The Dungeon" (our underground Newspaper Offices) and ran the paper, goofed off and literally had to lay out the paper with a waxer. (No computer for us) At the end of each year we produced a Senior issue complete with Pet Peeves, Senior Wills and Senior Predictions. The Predictions were my favorite. One of our classmates recently scanned in a copy of that page so we could squint and read the various predictions...hilarious! I credit my friend, Julie, for most of those funny ones...and I think she even crafted mine...which was....

Rose - A traveling comedienne....traveling in search of an audience

Ha ha. Seriously, though, that is probably most accurate. So, today's table topic for my loyal blog readers....

What was your Senior Prediction?

Everybody throw your caps in the air....and discuss.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Tonight I meet for the second time with the ladies in our church's weekly Wednesday night Bible study. Last week, we kicked off our study of the book "Surrender: The Heart God Controls" and our conversation was glorious. When I found this study last Fall to add to our lineup of classes for 2009, I knew by just glimpsing at it, my world would be rocked. One of those convicting lessons we all need to hear, but don't want to take the pop between the eyes to listen.

Surrender is defined as "To give up one's self into the power of another." For a control freak, Type A, planner like myself, God sometimes has to pry my fingers off of things to surrender. If I hold that tightly to those things and withhold His Power to lead, am I really walking in complete obedience? Um, that's a negative. If I call Him "Master," then that is how I need to respond to Him, surrendering my entire life to His Hands.

The book's introduction told the story of Japanese Lt. Hiroo Onoda who, in 1944, was sent to a remote island in the Phillipines to conduct guerrilla warfare for World War II. He was never told the war ended so for 29 years he continued to live in the jungle, ready to go back into battle at a moment's notice. Even after hearing the war may have ended, he never heard it from his Commander's mouth, so he pressed on, unwilling to surrender. Finally in 1974, a college dropout, Norio Suzuki, went searching on Lubang Island convinced Onoda was still alive....and found him. Lt. Onoda, like a true soldier, still wouldn't believe the war was over without getting official word from his commander. So Suzuki traveled to Japan to find his commander, Major Taniguchi. Taniguchi went back with Suzuki and read the orders to Onoda. And he surrendered. After 29 years wasted, 30 lives lost at Onoda's hand on the island, and 100 others wounded, Onoda realized the damage of not surrendering.

Even Jesus surrendered. In John 19:30, it says "..Jesus said, "It is finished." With that He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." Read that again..."He bowed His head"....He didn't "slump over" and just die. In Jesus' final moment, the moment where He took on all our sins forevermore, He didn't just die...He surrendered and bowed His head. The ultimate surrender.

After formally surrendering to Philippine President, Ferdinand Marcos, Marcos pardoned Onoda for all the crimes he committed while in hiding. His 30 years of non-surrender was wiped away in one pardon. Just like our lives of non-surrender are washed away by the blood of Christ. If we just are willing to let Him have complete control. This should be a painfully glorious summer as we walk the journey to surrender.