Run, Baby, Run!

I Choose to Pursue You

February is National Marriage Month. So for the next four weeks, I will post excerpts from my book, I Choose You Today: 31 Ways to Make Love Last. We’ll look at submission, commitment, and pursuing your mate. On March 1, I’ll draw a name from all who have commented on any of the posts for a free copy of the book

 

As for husbands, love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her,” (Ephesians 5:25)

Another business trip, another city. The worst part of that first day on the road is taking my clothes out of the suitcase, hanging them up, and pressing those that didn’t fare well during travel. I had just mentioned to my husband, Ron, that morning how much I dreaded that sometimes-twice-a-week task as I moved between client locations.

Now, as I pulled the advertised no-wrinkle blouse from my bag, an envelope fluttered to the floor. I fetched it from the carpet as I threw the blouse in the ironing pile.

Ron’s handwriting: Mag. His pet name made me smile immediately. I sank down on the foot of the bed and turned the envelope over. “I love you” was written across the sealed flap.

A sweet note inside reminded me of his love for me, how much he missed me every second I was gone and how he dreaded the empty side of the bed. A little flirting, a little prayer for my upcoming week. A sweet surprise, but not the first. Ron has pursued me consistently in the past thirty-eight years.

He’s the romantic; I’m pragmatic. He can recall the date of our first kiss and never forgets an anniversary or special occasion. He has created elaborate romantic surprises for me over the years, capturing my heart again and again.

I could take a page from his book. I’ve been guilty sometimes of saying to him the morning of his birthday, “I didn’t get you a card. Will a kiss do?”

I should be better at this. I grew up in a home where every day my father said to my mom, “Dottie, did I tell you today I love you?” She always responded: “Yes, but you can tell me again.” They were perfect together. Mom often appeared annoyed when Dad (in his seventies) would say to the waiter, “Hey there, buddy, look around. The most beautiful girl in the room is with me tonight.” She said it embarrassed her, but truthfully, she loved every romantic moment.

Ron’s envelope got me to thinking about the impact his pursuit has made on me. Knowing he always has me at the forefront of his thoughts and affections has created a great confidence, not only in our relationship but also for me personally. I’m not twenty-five anymore, but he still sees me as beautiful; he is still attracted to me. I trust his heart, if not always his eyes!

I’m so glad it’s his heart he uses when he looks at me.  I never wonder whether or not he truly loves me, needs me, and wants me. His pursuit speaks volumes, and it draws me to him time after time.

Doesn’t he deserve the same from me? That confidence that comes from being relentlessly pursued? He owns my heart; he knows it. But I want him to feel it. I want him to experience the same confidence and assurance his pursuit affords me. I want him to know that my affection and attraction to him have not only remained steady, but they’ve grown over the years.

I know Ephesians 5:25—with its directive to give up ourselves just as Christ did for the church—is addressed to husbands, but Romans 8:29 says, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son” (NLT). God is in relentless pursuit of those he loves. God sent Jesus to pursue us and I am called to follow Jesus’ lead—to pursue those I love.

So, what does it mean to engage in a pursuit? Merriam-Webster defines it like this: to follow and try to catch or capture (someone or something) for usually a long distance or time. I want to capture my someone’s heart for a very long time. I want to be in love with Ron every day I draw breath.

I will admit, it doesn’t come naturally for me. I’m a list maker, a busy girl, and I’m not necessarily wired for pursuit. So, it’s a choice I want to make on a regular basis—even if I have to plan it. Spontaneity is overrated anyway.

I find Ron hard to resist when he’s chasing my heart. I’m betting I can create a major distraction when I’m in full pursuit.

So . . . what will you choose? What’s standing in the way of intentional pursuit (time, personality, issues, hurts/disappointments)? Are you willing to set this aside? What needs to be addressed in prayer or forgiveness?

Conventional wisdom: “She chased and chased me until I caught her.”

Larry Graeme (my dad!)

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Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship and conflict resolution. A writer and popular professional speaker, Deb focuses on topics related to the family and women. Kregel Publications released her first book in November 2013 entitled, Related by Chance, Family by Choice. Abingdon Press published I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last in June 2015 and Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight in June 2016. Read Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond and My Purpose Now.

Find Deb’s books at Amazon   ChristianBooks.com   Lifeway Stores and Independent Christian Bookstores.

It’s National Marriage Month!

February is National Marriage Month. So for the next four weeks, I will post excerpts from my book, I Choose You Today: 31 Ways to Make Love Last. We’ll look at submission, commitment, and pursuing your mate. On March 1, I’ll draw a name from all who have commented on any of the posts for a free copy of the book! 

There are times in life you make a commitment to something without fully understanding what that entails. Kind of a leap of faith, a let’s roll with the punches and hope for the best sort of deal. I’ve been there, and I’ll bet you have too.

A few years ago, we took a family vacation. I mean the w-h-o-l-e family. My husband, Ron, and I. Three adult sons, their wives  and two young grandsons. It involved a three-hour flight, one rented vacation house, two rental cars, and a huge amount of luggage. We did the beach and Disney and Universal Studios, and a concert in San Diego. We knew going into the week there might be some moments when we might get frustrated or impatient with one another. As a family, we can be a bit dramatic, so we weren’t blindsided when it happened.

But it was at sundown on the sands of Corona Del Mar that things took an unexpected turn . .

We engaged a photographer to snap some family photos on the beach just as the sun was setting. Each son, his wife, and baby (one still hitching a ride in Mama’s tummy) took a place in front of the lens to capture a special moment at the edge of the Pacific.

At last, it was our turn.  The photographer positioned us, asked us to kiss, and then something odd happened . . . Ron took a knee. Literally, he fell to his knees in front of me. For a brief moment I thought to myself, Oh, Lord! He’s having a stroke! But I quickly realized my concern was misplaced when I saw him produce a beautiful ring box from his pocket.

“Would you do it all again with me?” he asked. “Would you still choose to marry me?”

I was stunned. The kids all stood nearby, whistling and clapping. Apparently, they’d been in on the surprise. I was caught off guard, but I negotiated the lump in my throat and finally found my voice. “Yes, sweetheart. I’d do it again. I’d still choose you.”

He beamed. I cried. Then I reached for the ring.

He did good. Clearly, he’d been taking notes as I browsed jewelry-store windows. It’s one of the things I love about this man: he has a giving heart. We finished the evening with a fabulous dinner on the beach surrounded by the 8.5 people most important to us.

But the best part of the night for me came later, as we sat and talked about our evening.

“What on earth gave you this idea?” I asked him. “You never even proposed thirty-eight years ago.” We met young and knew we were supposed to marry, so we simply began making wedding plans.

“I know,” he said with a grin. “You didn’t have a proposal story. Every woman should have a proposal story, and I wanted you to have one. This is yours, even if it’s a little late.”

Somehow, that made it even better.

At nineteen, when we got engaged, we didn’t know anything. I mean it when I say we knew nothing about what life would bring our way. We had no clue that marriage would be a full-time job requiring energy and effort we didn’t know we could produce, much less sustain.

We hadn’t envisioned babies with ear infections at two in the morning or caring for elderly parents while raising our children. Layoffs, second mortgages, braces, and college tuition. Moments that pushed us hard and occasionally created conflict between us. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always worth the effort—made possible because we did it together.

So, when the question came, “Would you do it all again?” it was with a full understanding of what those all those years of life together meant. That he would desire to repeat it all meant the world to me. The fact I was still able to say yes without hesitation tells our story. We love one another fiercely.

Love is not a feeling, and neither is marriage. Each is a choice—one that must be made every single day, even if it’s spoken through gritted teeth. And we are smart enough to know we could never manage on our own; we are very clear: united in Christ is how we started and how we must continue if we plan to finish strong. And that is our plan.

It’s an act of our will to choose our marriage, day in and day out. And it is God’s grace that makes that choice possible. Those couples whose marriages thrive have learned the secret: it’s all in the choices you make.

And sweetheart, I choose you, again today.

What’s the secret for hanging on to the happily ever after feelings from the day you said, “I do”? It could be as simple as four little words: “I choose you today.”

Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Words have the power to create. God spoke the world and life itself into existence. We enter into life in Christ by a confession of our mouth. When faith speaks, mountains move. Our words can bless or curse. Words count.

What if we chose to bless—not curse—our union, regardless of our feelings in the moment?

James tells us: “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!” (James 3:5 THE MESSAGE).

Our life is based on a simple principle that marriage is always a choice—one that benefits from a daily renewal of our commitment to one another. Christ followers are charged to live in God’s truth. Feelings are not the foundation for truth; feelings are subject to change. God’s Word is the foundation for truth and it never changes.

Choice is a gift from God. God expects us to choose our marriage, choose our spouse, and choose to live in a way that is pleasing to him. It is then, and only then, we will live the life God meant for us to enjoy.

What will you choose today?

Someday, We’ll Look Back on This . . .

It wasn’t immediately humorous in the moment. But it didn’t take long to find the funny. Even today, looking back, it makes me chuckle.

Two years ago, my husband and I wrote our first book together. It might also be our last.

Although I’d published two books prior, it was the first time I’d worked with a co-author. Writing friends warned it could be challenging, but I’d waved that off with little concern. We’ve been married more than four decades, and best friends since high school. This was going to be fun.

As we began the work, we looked back over our 40 years. We recalled both the magic and the tragic. It was fun to reminisce. Raising three sons and building our businesses were proud achievements. Helping my parents transition from this life to the next was demanding—but we did it together. Trips to Disney, Little League and PTA, ministry, extended family and great friends. The conversations renewed the awareness of God’s blessings in our life.

Turns out, the process of getting it on the page, however, wasn’t that easy.

We recognized there could be only one pair of hands on the keyboard, so we developed a process for collaborating on the content. Once we’d talked it through and taken good notes, I sat at the computer and wrote the chapters.

I guess as I wrote, my own personal perspective found its’ way to the page more than I realized.

It seems we each have laser sharp memories about our life together. The problem is we often didn’t remember them exactly the same way.

When I completed a chapter, I read it aloud to him. I noted, fairly often, an odd expression on his face during these times. I began to recognize it as a look of doubt or conflict or confusion. But he’d let me finish the read. Then he’d pronounce: “I think we need to revisit that section about . . .” He’d then proceed to correct my memory and substitute his own version.

And that’s when the trouble began.

How could we have such different accounts of life’s moments together? We were both present. Neither was comatose. And yet, totally different memories. Sometimes the conversations got a bit heated.

Did I mention the book was on marital conflict?

On one specific occasion, in the middle of what we prefer to call intense moments of fellowship, Ron held his hand up in the internally recognized STOP position, and began searching for something on my desk.

“What are you looking for?” I was more than annoyed.

“A pen. Where do you keep all the pens?”

“Why do you need a pen?” I demanded.

He snatched a red pen from my drawer. “This is great stuff. For the book, for this chapter. Let me write this down before I forget it. What was it you just said about . . .?”

In the moment, I thought, he’s crazy. This is serious. We’ve got a deadline, and he’s pulling new material from our current conversation. We don’t have time for this.

But then, the absurdity of the moment found my funny bone and held on for dear life. We’re fighting about a book we’re authoring on marital conflict. I began to laugh. Not a ladylike chuckle, but a deep belly laugh.

He looked up from his editing with a “what’s so funny?” expression. And then it caught him. And he joined me in the moment.

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

He was right. This was good stuff. Real stuff. The messy marriage mania that catches us all if we survive long enough. As a newlywed, I would have felt hurt or offended or marginalized. But forty years in the trenches puts things into perspective. And perspective – how we choose to view and assess the world (and the people) around us – is an important skill.

If it’s not a big deal, don’t make it a big deal.

The laughter broke the tension, and we hurried to capture what became some of the best moments of the book. Real. Transparent. Authentic.

Life is too short for drama. The old saying, someday we’ll look back on this and laugh is true. I’m still getting mileage out of the memory. But what if we could shorten that timeline, and remember that laughter is the best medicine in the moment?

 Father, help us put things in perspective today. Let us choose to view life through your eyes. Give us strength to resist picking up an offense. It is your command and our choice.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Prov. 17:22 MSG)

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Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship and conflict resolution. A writer and popular professional speaker, Deb focuses on topics related to the family and women. Kregel Publications released her first book in November 2013 entitled, Related by Chance, Family by Choice. Abingdon Press published I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last in June 2015 and Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight in June 2016. Read Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond and My Purpose Now.

Find Deb’s books at Amazon   ChristianBooks.com   Lifeway Stores and Independent Christian Bookstores.

 

 

Family Matters Fun Fam Friday!

The wedding singer often has to settle for the chapel vs. the headliner’s arena. Perhaps getting creative might be critical to keeping their dream of fame one day. Here’s another funny from Tim Hawkins on the topic of wedding music – and how it might go badly off track. Find it here: Inappropriate Wedding Songs

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship and conflict resolution. A writer and popular professional speaker, Deb focuses on topics related to the family and women. Kregel Publications released her first book in November 2013 entitled, Related by Chance, Family by Choice. Abingdon Press published I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last in June 2015 and Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight in June 2016. Read Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond and My Purpose Now.

Find Deb’s books at Amazon   ChristianBooks.com   Lifeway Stores and Independent Christian Bookstores.

Genuine Article – or Cheap Knock Off?


The month of January is connected to new beginnings, resolutions to do better, do more, do less, or do something different than you’ve done in the past. Social media hollers: “Make this your best year ever!” That’s a lot of pressure. But according to the ads I see, dramatic weight loss, toned abs, career boosting greatness, and world peace apparently are waiting.

I saw this quote recently: “Someone busier than you is making it happen!” It’s a frantic reminder I’m falling behind on my to-do list; someone is beating me to it! As though it (whatever it may be) is in limited supply and only the first 25 on-the-ball doers can snatch the prize. It’s not true.

The pressure is magnified by Facebook. You’ve seen the posts: “I signed up for three online courses guaranteed to advance my career. That promotion is locked in!” Or “I did XXX at the gym today. Totally pumped!” I’m so far out of the gym loop, I don’t even know what the XXX would be.

Please don’t misunderstand. I believe progress toward goals are worth the time, and when you move forward, you deserve to celebrate. I’m a to-do list girl. I love checking off the boxes. But are they the right boxes?

Interestingly, January is also official “National Be on Purpose Month.” I don’t think there’s a parade or a pageant, but it’s a thing. Please note the wording in the official title: “be” not “do.”

Why is that significant? Because as His children, who God called us to be is more important than anything we could ever do without clarity on that single point.

Who has He called you to be? It’s about identity. We’re hearing a lot about it these days, but what is it?

The Oxford Dictionary describes identity as: The fact of being who or what a person is.” Another from Merriam Webster is helpful: “The qualities, beliefs, etc., that make a particular person or group differ from others.”

Identity theft is common these days, and I’m not talking about someone hijacking your debit card PIN. The Fallen One is all about stealing what the Lord has given us. (John 10:10). If he can talk us out of who God designed us to be, we may adopt an identity and work to invent ourselves. And often, we do it as an imitation of someone we admire. So instead of living as the genuine article, the one and only you, we become a cheap knock off of someone else.

Author Ken Boa is on target: “Scripture clearly teaches that we were never meant to be autonomous individuals who make our own way in this world apart from God. We cannot even know ourselves without knowing the One through whom and for whom we were created.”

God’s imprint for us is unique. He knew us before He formed us in our mother’s womb and set us apart. (Jeremiah 1:5). And deep in our spirit, we know that’s true. Even when we’ve achieved the success and accolades we’ve worked so hard for, we’re often surprised at the emptiness we experience at the finish line. Authentic identity is powerful, releasing freedom that can’t be duplicated.

We need to protect ourselves against identity theft. He created, crafted, designed, and fashioned each of us, calling us on purpose for a (particular) purpose. I struggle less with this now than ever before, but it’s a daily vigil. And Holy Spirit is invited to tap on my heart when I stray. I keep Him busy some days.

Are you becoming His genuine article? Or are you busy doing good things?

“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), created in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” Ephesians 2:10 (AMP)

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Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship and conflict resolution. A writer and popular professional speaker, Deb focuses on topics related to the family and women. Kregel Publications released her first book in November 2013 entitled, Related by Chance, Family by Choice. Abingdon Press published I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last in June 2015 and Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight in June 2016. Read Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond and My Purpose Now.

Find Deb’s books at Amazon   ChristianBooks.com   Lifeway Stores and Independent Christian Bookstores.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Matters Fun Friday!

Weird Things Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 11.47.35 AMWhile marital conflict is no laughing matter, there are some humorous videos that might help us see the light when it comes to our own behavior. So for the hearty laugh at the end of your week, watch for a shot of Friday Fun at Family Matters.

The goal: take your relationship seriously, but yourself less so. Thank goodness our kids didn’t have camera phones when they lived in our home! View it by clicking here! Weird Things 1

 

Find our new book on making your marital conflict work FOR you instead of against you:Don’t Go to Bed Angry

Power Up!

By Deb DeArmond

“I wish I had a picture of my mom, “the young man said. “You look just like her.”

Sounds nice, yes? Fail.

Just five minutes earlier I learned that he was the baby in the family, the last of nine children—and that his mother just celebrated her 83rd birthday.

“She wears her hair just like yours. And I think she even has those same shoes.”

He smiled at me. I smiled back. It kept me from bursting into tears or screaming hysterically or something else inappropriate for the moment. It was a business setting and those types of outbursts are generally frowned on, you know.

Truthfully, I’m certain I am old enough to be his mother. But I’d have been a lot happier to hear she’d been a teen mom, now still very much a youthful, with-it kind of gal. Not someone 83.

So what to do with his observation . . .?

For starters, I’m getting my hair cut today and may consider refreshing my highlights. And those shoes gotta go. I’m sure that some senior citizen will consider them quite a find at Salvation Army.

In all fairness, our conversation did nothing more than remind me, once again: the sand in the hourglass is shifting. If someone said to me today, “You’re only as old as you feel,” I’d smack him. Life has been both exhilarating and demanding of late. Exhilaration can be demanding. It can also be a carnival ride: bright and colorful, while moving very fast, and right up until the moment you think you might lose your lunch—it’s fun.

And it all requires energy, which has been in short supply lately.

This morning, I recognized my power pack light was blinking. I’ve failed to plug into the source—His power consistently of late. It hit me yesterday on an airplane as I listened to Natalie Grant on my headphones singing “Your Great Name,” and couldn’t keep the tears from streaming down my face right there in seat 3B.

 “All the weak find their strength at the sound of your great name.”

It was a moment. Just ask the lady in 3C.

It’s not that I forget I need time in His presence, drinking Him in. But of all the things that pull on me, demanding my time and attention – He is the kindest and gentlest of them all. He doesn’t push His way to the front, knocking my world off its axis to get my attention, but waits with expectancy, believing this daughter who has been given so much – redemption, new life, and unbelievable favor – will appear and sit at His feet. That He waits while I wade through other stuff is a level of love I don’t understand.

“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being,” Acts 17:270-28a.

God’s plan for my life at this time of my life is ambitious to say the least. He set me on a path I never saw coming and I’m running to catch up with it all daily. I love the path. But I love Him more and I have no illusions about whose power is required for the race.

The enemy would like me to believe there’s a prescribed number of minutes each day required for the recharge I need. Not true. It’s a minute by minute presence with God, talking to Him throughout the day and listening intently for the direction of His Spirit that empowers. It’s an embedded awareness of the living Word in everything I touch. It’s also time to simply sit at His feet and recognize the majesty of our great God.

I’ve been trying to live and move and have my being under my own strength, my own power these last few weeks. It’s embarrassingly insufficient for what He’s called me to. Especially since I’m at the age where I’m reminding folks of their 83-year-old mother.

God has no intention of letting me off the hook for what He’s called me to. His word is clear that He never changes His mind about His plans for us: “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn,” Romans 11:29 (NLT). Since that’s the case, I’d better change my mind and my practices to include a constant recharge.

I’m back on track. That young man did me a favor.

But I’m still getting rid of those shoes.

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Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship and conflict resolution. A writer and popular professional speaker, Deb focuses on topics related to the family and women. Kregel Publications released her first book in November 2013 entitled, Related by Chance, Family by Choice. Abingdon Press published I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last in June 2015 and Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight in June 2016. Read Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond and My Purpose Now.

Find Deb’s books at Amazon   ChristianBooks.com   Lifeway Stores and Independent Christian Bookstores.

 

Your 2018 Plan: Is God Laughing?

By Deb DeArmond

 

Oh, this will be fun!

“Complete the jigsaw puzzle found in your backpack. You have one hour for this task.”

It was the next assignment in a long list of to-do’s. The retreat organizers clearly understood that we needed a break at this point from the intense journaling, prayer assignments, and scripture reading. A full day, alone in the great outdoors originally sounded onerous, but I had enjoyed it – most of it. And now, a puzzle. Fabulous.

I was surprised when I pulled the plain box from the backpack assigned to me. No picture. No clues to what we were creating. Okay. A mystery puzzle. Tough, but intriguing.

I sorted the straight-edged and corner pieces and completed most of the frame. 17 minutes already gone. That surprised me. Gotta move. I began to sort by color, but found few pieces that fit together. Did I mention the pieces were small? Tiny, almost.

I did manage a few multi-piece blobs, but couldn’t fit them into anything already assembled. 32 minutes. Ugh. This is impossible. Nobody could make sense of this. But I kept at it. It looked like a flamingo and a barn might be part of the landscape, but that made no sense. Maybe it’s not a bird, but a Vegas showgirl’s headdress. Not that that’s more feasible.

At the 48-minute mark, I switched my thinking about the clock: Oh, good. Only 12 more minutes of torture till I’m done. I eyed the river and thought about tossing the whole thing in the water. But how would I explain that?

When the alarm on my watch rang, I gratefully slid the pieces into the box, and turned to the journal page I was directed to once the puzzle was complete where I found the following instructions: “Take a moment to ask God the following question and record the response in the space provided:

“What is God teaching me through this activity?”

I had many immediate thoughts (meaning before prayer):

  • Who in their right mind could miss this box with no picture??
  • That’s a lesson in frustration.
  • Thank God that’s over!
  • It’s just a lesson about patience or something!

 Oh. That last one tagged me. I’ve often joked that when gifts were handed out in heaven I thought they said patients, and decided to pass. Let’s say it’s not my gift. I’m working on it.

And then God’s Spirit prompted me to do as requested. I prayed and asked the question: God what are you teaching me through this activity?

 His answer knocked me for a loop: “Trust. I’m teaching you about trust.”

I was stunned. I do trust you, Father! I’ve trusted you for my salvation, my family, my finances – everything.

Then clearly, I heard, “I can’t trust you.”

I felt like I’d been punched. Hard.

And then He gently showed me all the times I had what I believed were all the pieces of a picture God wanted me to complete in my life. Ministry. Career. Kids. Marriage. Finances. And because I felt equipped, I ran ahead of Him, rather than seeking Him for each step along the way. It was almost as if I was saying, “I got this God. Go help someone who needs your direction.”

Tears came quickly. He couldn’t trust me with the full picture because I’d take off without him, running at my own pace, on the course of my choice. Self-reliance at its worst. Confident, but often, wrong.

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He brought this experience to me this morning, as I reviewed my goals for 2018 in my beautiful new planner. I love the process of a new year stretching before me on paper and dreaming of the possibilities. I’m a bit of a planner wonk.

I was putting the finishing touches on the goals when God reminded me of this experience. How much time had I spent in prayer before I recorded these plans? Not enough. Thank goodness for erasable ink.

There is an old Yiddish saying, “Man plans and God laughs.” Kind of harsh, right? I think of Him in the heavenlies clucking His tongue and shaking His head at our self-determined, but poorly informed path. But it’s Biblical: it’s based in part on Proverbs 16:9 that says, “People may make plans in their minds, but the Lord decides what they will do,”(CSB).

As I said. I’m (still) working on it. What about you? You may know where He wants you to go, what He wants you to focus on – but do you know His plan for getting you there safe and successful?  My prayer for 2018 is simple:

I will trust you, Father. Hand the pieces to me one at a time until I develop the ability to rely solely on You. I will seek your face for each and every step, and pray it becomes my supernatural instinct – to occur even when I’m not aware of it. Let it become my new normal in 2018.

Sound familiar? I’d welcome your company on the journey – and your comments along the way!

 

 

 

 

Curing the Holiday Hiccups

by Deb DeArmond

“Aren’t you just devastated?” my colleague moaned.

“No, not really. I mean, we will certainly miss them,” I replied. “But they are clear that California is where God is taking them. I want them to be where He wants them to be. It was such a gift to have them here for two years.”

I told her about a dinner, hosted by my hubby and I — a gathering for a few family members recently. The purpose of the event was to share a meal and bid farewell to my oldest son and his wife as they prepared to relocate back to the west coast. They were set to leave the next morning.

“Oh, that would just be impossible to think about,” she said, shaking her head. “I couldn’t stand to lose my boys.”

Her declaration of “losing her boys” made me smile. Her sons are in elementary school. I can clearly understand her feelings, even if I don’t share them. But I did at one time . . .

My boys are all grown up with careers, with families of their own – adults. It took some getting used to – that awareness that mom and dad are not the central force in their lives. But we did get used to it—and we appreciate God’s clarity about the concept of leaving and cleaving. “Train up a child in the way he should go . . .” the Word says. Most importantly, Mama, remember they are to GO.

With the holidays approaching quickly, I want to encourage you to remember that God set them apart to stand with their spouses. That can become an issue and a bone of contention when it comes to holiday celebrations. Here are a couple of tips to make the season far more enjoyable for everyone:

  • Communicate early. Make sure you discuss what everyone’s plans or intentions are for celebrating the holiday. Make no assumptions, as it may lead to disappointment for you and them.

 

  • Be flexible as to what and when and where and how – and you may be surprised with the best day ever! Traditions are great, but if they no longer work, create some new ones.

 

  • Be fair. You don’t get to have them 100% of the time. They have in-laws, friends, and may decide that this year is not your year. Don’t pout or punish them. Make your own plans and prepare for a lovely time.

 

  • Celebrate their independence.  It’s a sign you did a great job of prepping them for adulthood. This is what is supposed to happen, and because it did, you can rejoice.

 

So, don’t hold so tightly to those adult kids that they want to squirm free of your grip. Make this holiday season one of the best celebrations ever.

Check out additional tips in my book on in-law relationships, which can be a holiday challenge: Related by Chance, Family by Choice at http://bit.ly/RelatedByChanceFamilyByChoice