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.

 

 

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.