The World Can Break Your Heart…Yet Fill It To OverFlowing!

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Who hasn’t felt joy in this life that filled our soul to overflowing at one time or the other?  The immensity and grandeur of it all!  Who knows from whence it came or why it left, but for a moment in time, it was ours! Perhaps it was on a bliss wedding day or the moment when we first held a child, our child, in our arms. Or perhaps it was a moment when we exchanged a glance with our spouse or a word of love with a parent. Moments of joy are plentiful in this life, if we open our hearts and let it in. Yet…

Who hasn’t, at one time or the other, felt pain in this life that left our hearts broken? The immensity and grandeur of it all! Who knows from whence it came or why it left if it ever did? But for a moment in time, it was ours! Perhaps our hearts broke on the break up of our marriage or the moment when we first received news of the death of a child. Or perhaps it was a moment when we had an ugly exchange with a spouse or words of hate with our parents. Moments of pain are plentiful in this life, even if we don’t open our hearts to it.  Yet…

“…it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so…righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.” (2 Nephi 2:11-12)

I don’t like opposition in my life, but when I stand back and analyze it, would life without it teach me anything or develop in me any attributes or characteristics of a Godly nature?

“Don’t Let The Old Man In!” But Eventually, He Breaks The Door Down!

In 2018 Toby Keith told this story about the song he wrote for a Clint Eastwood movie.

Out on the golf green, Eastwood shared that he’d be starting work on The Mule in two days, which also happened to be his 88th birthday. Struck by Eastwood’s relentless energy at an age when many are content to sit and reflect, Keith asked how he keeps going.

“He said, ‘I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in,’ ” Keith recounts. “And I thought, I’m writing that.” 

What was to become “Don’t Let the Old Man In” transfixed the country singer/songwriter, who had soaked in enough about the film and Eastwood’s character to take a stab at a song. “People were talking to me and they would say, ‘Did you hear what I just said?’ And I was like, ‘No,’ because I wasn’t listening to any conversations. I was consumed by ‘Don’t Let the Old Man In.’ I worked so hard on it,” Keith says. “When I finally sang the line, I thought, it’s got to be dark, it’s got to be a ballad and it’s got to be simple.”

Many moons I have lived
My body’s weathered and worn
Ask yourself how would you be
If you didn’t know the day you were born

When he rides up on his horse
And you feel that cold bitter wind
Look out your window and smile
Don’t let the old man in

The ironic nature of this exchange is Eastwood is now 93 years old, and sadly, Toby Keith just died at the young age of 62! “Don’t let the old man in, but eventually, he will break the door down!” Yes, be it young or old, the man with the sickle will find his way into the lives of your loved ones and, yes, even into our own lives! “Don’t let the old man in” is a beautiful way to go through your life. But as Keith found out, you don’t have to be ‘old’ for the Grim Reaper to visit you; you merely have to be living!

Like Toby Keith said, “Its got to be dark, it’s got to be a ballad and it’s got to be simple.” For many, that pretty much sums up the nature of this life to them. As my wife and I have aged the ‘old man and the old woman’ has crept into the lives of many of our friends. Each month brings the news of another friend who has passed on to the other side. It is like the tiles in our mosaic life are slowly losing the glue that holds them in place. Our panoramic life looks like a jigsaw puzzle, missing many pieces!

The ‘old man’ may get into my house today, tomorrow, or not for another twenty years. However, I have a foundation of faith in the afterlife that serves as a ‘balm of Gilead’ to my soul. I am a firm believer in Jesus Christ and that through Him and by Him, I will rise again, as will everyone who has ever lived! He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6) He is my hope and the author of my salvation. He will keep the “old man” from robbing me of all I cherish! “Where (old man), is your victory…and where is your sting! Death, has been swallowed up in victory! (1 Corinthians 15)

Married To The Ultimate Woman!

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On our first date, we stopped in to see my older brother and his new wife of eighteen months. We were on a blind date that had been set up by my younger sister. She had called me up just the week before and told me that ”this girl” had started working in her office on campus and that she was everything I ever wanted. My little sister knew me very well, so I took the chance and gave that girl a call. So, now here I was on the first date, stopping in to see my brother, which was really nothing more than a chance for me to see what they would think of her. We stayed for a short time, exchanged pleasantries, and we were on our way.

After the date, I went back to my brothers to see if they were going to give a thumbs up or not. It always helps when your family likes your girl. My sister-in-law opened the door, and almost before I could get in, she exclaimed, “I want you to marry that girl so bad, I can hardly stand it!” Within weeks, I felt the same way. I could hardly stand to be apart. When I left her apartment, I couldn’t think of anything else except “When will I see her again!” Our courtship lasted less than four months when we tied the knot. Some forty-six years later, I still have that same feeling. “When will I see her again!” I don’t want to pretend that being married with children has always been a bowl of cherries. No matter what, this life presents challenges, and sometimes it’s just the ‘pits’ you get instead of the fruit you expect. But, I know through personal experience that life is wonderful if two people commit themselves, body and soul, to each other. We have found that choosing Christ as a centerpiece has stabilized our home and our partnership. Our faith has also brought us peace when times are troubled and brought love into our hearts when contention was at the door knocking.

I write these words to all those who watch TV, go to the movies, and are constantly being fed a bleak picture of marriage. You can have a successful marriage. All men are not quickly drawn into dishonor, as the media portrays. Maybe these men are more interesting to watch on the Silver Screen. Men of honor may not be so attractive. They usually live everyday lives that most people don’t really care about! I am reminded of the episode of Seinfeld when they wanted to make a show about ‘nothing.’ It was absurd! How boring! But to honorable husbands and wives whose lives will never grace the Silver Screen, their boring lives are beautiful. They are worthy of praise and each couple should receive an “honorary” award for best picture.

I am nominating my wife as “The Ultimate Woman” because she has earned it…and I believe it! And millions of other men feel the same way about their wives. I think that thought is wonderful, and it should be shouted from the rooftops because people should know that marriage, with all its complexities, is divine. Because, I believe, it is ordained of God. It’s Valentines! Kiss your sweetheart and hug them. And don’t forget to tell your beloved how you really feel. The word “LOVE” should be a word that easily escapes our lips! And maybe the day will come when I can be “The Ultimate Man.” Till then, I’m happy she is patient, and she should be. Because…well…she is the “The Ultimate Woman!”

Seven Small Habits Of A Great Wife!

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Everyone is different so there are no sure-fire habits that work in every marriage, however, I share with you seven small habits my wife has that make her a great wife to me. I emphasize ‘small’ because all of them are easy to do, but seem so hard to maintain over an extended period of time.

1) When we walk together in a private or public place, my wife will often grab my arm and hold onto it. I don’t know why,  but my manhood soars as she seems to place herself in my care.

2) She smiles at me…a lot! How can you not love someone who is smiling at you? There is a warmth that exudes from a person who habitually smiles. How mad can you get at someone who bats her eyes at you when she has done something you don’t like? It’s hard to stay mad at someone like that.

3) She nudges me the direction she wants me to go, be it regarding physical, mental, or spiritual things. But she doesn’t shove me.  I don’t like being shoved. I suspect nobody does. I respond better when she encourages me.

4) From time to time she tells me I’m the greatest man she has ever known. I know it’s not true, but I like hearing that she might think it. Being told by your wife that she loves you is pretty common. Having her say you’re the greatest, or the nicest, or the most spiritual, or handsomest, or that you are the best at anything stays with you. When you got a wife who says that, you don’t want to disappoint her.

5) She laughs…easily! Nothing brightens my day more than hearing her laugh. It doesn’t matter if it is over something unimportant, dumb, or just silly. Hearing her laugh makes me think I am succeeding in making her happy. And believe it or not,  I think most husbands have that goal at the top of their list.

6) She looks at me when I speak to her. By looking at me she lets me know that she values what I am saying and that I have her attention. When the kids were little, she was wonderful to stop, look at,  and then listen to what the kids were saying. You can’t communicate love better than that.

7) She is affectionate! The world is a brutal place. When you walk out your door it is a battleground where your ego is being put on the line each and every hour. When I come home, I need someone there who will put their arm around me and help give me the strength to go out and face another day. I know it sounds corny, but her touch gives me strength and the courage to go right back out there and ‘fight the good fight.’ (2 Tim. 4:7) Without her touch, I feel alone in the world!

These seven small habits make a big difference in my life and in my marriage. There are many more, and I am sure that each relationship is uniquely different. Yet, as men and women we have essentially the same needs. A man and a woman, united,  can scale to great heights in this life.  At times, you can almost touch the stars,  and certainly a part of heaven can grace our marriages if we follow the example of our Savior by living a life of service and unselfishness.

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