Category Archives: marriage
It started out like any other day. I was in college. Classes began at 0700. Not my favorite way to start a day, but that’s how it was. Midway through the morning the office contacts me saying I have a phone call. I take the call to hear my frantic mother in a panic. My father had been taken to the Emergency Room with severe chest pain.
Three and a half weeks later, he passed away. He never woke up from a surgery designed to save him from the heart aneurism he had experienced. His body shut down and he would never speak to me again. I often wonder if he could hear me as I spoke to him, sense me as I hugged him and reminded him of my love for him.
My world had been flipped into absolute chaos. I was mad at God. I hated God. I wanted to die. I had no idea how to move forward. Without my father, moving on with life didn’t even make any sense. I had been thrust out of a state of perfect contentment. A great college, beautiful girlfriend, wonderful family. All of that shattered in a single phone call.
Some of you may know the feeling.
Your marriage is in a downward spiral. You don’t know what happened. You can’t explain it. But things just aren’t what they used to be.
Your children have pushed you to the edge. You don’t know how it got so out of control, but you think to yourself, “If only we lived in another place, another state, another house with another school, things would be better.”
You lose someone you love unexpectedly. The circumstances might be a fast-acting, terminal cancer, car accident, suicide or any number of other possibilities. Regardless, someone in your life is now no longer there and you have a hole, a gap, in your world.
Your finances have driven you underground. You are so far in debt you can’t even see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. You have no room for generosity, you’re stressed about how to feed your kids, you have stopped answering phone calls from debt collectors and you’re just hoping to somehow disappear off their radar.
Everyone one of us has a story. A moment when life got messy, chaotic, unpredictable and painful. A story that makes us ask, “How do I get back on my feet again? How do I recover from this? Will I ever have contentment in my life or will it always be this way? How do I experience peace again?”
If this describes you, I want to offer a solution. A path to contentment. A path to solid footing again. A path that blows the “light at the end of the tunnel” out of the water and brings you into direct contact with the Maker of light.
First, read Psalm 136.
Pathway to Peace #1 – Give “Thanks” to God!
Thank God for the mess and chaos of life. Use those opportunities to seek the will of God and how He might be growing you or preparing you for something bigger and better in life. Read Psalm 136 again and see the times when God’s people could have chosen to give up. We’re reminded even in our worst moments of discontentment, chaos and pain to offer thanks to God for all He has already done. Have the discipline to remember all that God has done for you in the past and to offer an attitude of thankfulness to Him. A heart of thanks turns our attention from ourselves and moves us into a place of peace and contentment. It reminds us that life isn’t about my happiness, but it is about God purifying me into holiness.
Pathway to Peace #2 – Remember God’s Faithfulness!
This is where some discipline is required. In the pain and chaos of life, it can be difficult to see God at work. Our tendency is to assume He has left us for the time being and has moved on to someone else. Maybe He has given up on us or someone else needs Him more badly. Either way, we convince ourselves that if we are going to find peace, to grow our marriage, to heal our pains and to begin to get up on our feet again, it’s all on us. So we put all the pressure on ourselves to make it happen. In doing so, we fail to remember God’s faithfulness. Every verse in Psalm 136 ends with, “His faithful love endures forever.” No matter how far we fall, how unfaithful we are, how bad or deep our hurt is or chaotic life has become, God is the faithful one. We are unfaithful to our God. His love endures forever. He is faithful. If you’re feeling the chaos, it might be time to remember God’s faithfulness.
Once again this summer I am spending a week, sitting on the sand of Carolina Beach, North Carolina. I’m soaking up a lot of sun and family time. It has been a great week.
Last summer after our trip to the beach, I posted a series of three blogs about the lessons I was learning while at the beach. You can find those here or by searching for posts on, “Beach.”
This year I picked up a couple things as well. For instance, the danger of always saying, “Tomorrow,” or, “Maybe later.”
While swimming in the ocean, my sons said, “Dad, can we boogie board?”
“Of course,” was my reply.
“Hey Dad, can we have soda with our dinner?”
“Absolutely,” I would say.
“Dad, can I tell you about these facts I’m reading about in my book?”
“I’d love to hear them,” I would say.
But at home, too often the answer is, “Maybe tomorrow. I’m tired. I’ll get to you later. Maybe next week we can do that. No, you can’t have soda for supper.”
And before you know it, tomorrow becomes ten years and you aren’t sure where the time went. Then you live in regret because you missed some of your kid’s best moments.
So, yes, there is a danger in too many “tomorrows.”
Do you have a son you should be playing catch with? Do you have a daughter you should be having a tea party or playing Barbies with? Do you have a child you should be listening to because they have questions about something they read?
Did you just tell them, “In a minute,” because you just had to finish reading this blog? (I hope not.)
Try changing your answer and watch their eyes light up.
Last fall I played in a men’s flag football league in Fairfax, Virginia. It was a blast. One of my teammates was named, Bryan. He and I played defense on the same side of the field (this meant we got to know each other really well). He had a great phrase he would use during crucial moments of a game. He would look at me right in the eyes and say, “Time to do work, Rodda! Do work!” Granted, the grammar isn’t great, but the phrase gets the job
did done. That phrase and his intensity always challenged me to run a little faster, to jump higher and work harder than the guy lined up across from me.
Now jumping to present day life. Our Campus had an awesome Sunday. Our theme was, “Get Right With God.” We had really cool stories lined up for people to tell about how God has impacted their lives. We talked a lot about the Jordan River and water in Scripture. It seems to me that water, especially the Jordan, carries some powerful significance to God. Every time the Jordan is mentioned, it seems there is some transition in life, something leading to victory and hope.
- Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan
- Moses’ passing the mantle of leadership to Joshua
- Elijah passing the mantle of leadership to Elisha
We challenged people to come to the banks of the Jordan. To get their feet wet. To make a commitment. To dive all in for God. To give Him full control of their lives. To immerse themselves in the waters of baptism.
Then, we handed them a card. We challenged them to fill out the card and to tell us about a commitment they might need to make. We also asked them to tell us how we could pray for them. What things in life were holding them back from giving God their all and how we could we be praying for them.
Then it happened. I sat down that afternoon to read the cards. I began to pray for individuals by name who were going through some very serious things in life. And to think they trusted us enough to tell us what was going on behind closed doors. I believe it was a huge moment in the life of our Campus.
One man wrote…
I want to serve as a better example for my family – wife and kids. To live a life with God and Jesus in control.
…the strength to save my family.
And still another said…
My marriage. It is dying.
And this was just the beginning. As I prayed for these people and families, I was overwhelmed with emotion for them. I was blown away by their honesty and their stories. And that’s when it hit me. Do work!
Satan is doing work. He’s working. He’s getting after it. He’s destroying lives. He’s lying to people about what brings fulfillment and purpose. Oh yes, Satan does work!
Am I ready to, ‘Do work?’
The field is there. The people are ready. The hearts and souls of people are open and ready for transformation. As my friend Bryan would say, “It’s time to ‘Do work!'”
I wanted to share a quick post for a very special person.
See the new header on my blog? It has cool pictures of me and my family on it.
My wife made it for me.
Thank you, Misty.
You’re talented and amazing. I’m blown away that God gave you to me. I love you! Thanks for taking time to make me a special picture, just for my blog.
You can see more of her work here.
Let’s just be honest, many men don’t truly value their wives. Let me be more honest, I have not always valued my wife the way God expects me to. For that, I am eternally in debt to my amazing wife.
My guess is that most of you who read this blog have probably heard a song by Bruno Mars called, “Just The Way Your Are.” I’m not necessarily a fan of Bruno Mars personally, but I truly enjoy this song and wish that all men felt this way about their wives.
I want to challenge every man out there who has a spouse, is engaged or who would like to be married some day; when you have a wife, cherish her, love her, sacrifice for her, die on the side of a mountain for her. It doesn’t matter to me if you are on to your second or third marriage (or more), but if you will love your wife the way God intends, you will see your marriage bloom into something amazing.
Ephesians 5 offers some guiding principles. Some people take offense to them. Men believe they can never live up to them. But let me tell you where God stands on your marriage. God says this in Ephesians 5:25-27 (Message)…
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.
Your love for your wife should reflect the love Jesus has for the church. Jesus died for the church!
Your love for your wife should make her whole and complete. Does your love for her leave her feeling as if she is whole and complete? Or does she feel like something is missing?
Your love for your wife should bring out her best to your family and the world. How do you speak about your wife to your friends, neighbors and co-workers? Is she the “old ball and chain?” Or is she so much more than that to you?
Your love for your wife should bring out the best in her. If something isn’t right, don’t blame her first. Look at yourself and ask if you’re doing everything in your power to bring out the best in her or are you putting her in no-win situations.
Your love for your wife should have her looking holy, blameless and radiant to everyone on the planet. Can you say that you do that for your wife?
This passage is a great challenge. I believe that if men took it on fully, they would find the most satisfying and rewarding relationship with their wives. Everything would change if men would follow through on their role in the family. I wish I could say that I have lived this perfectly. I strive for this standard, but often I fall miserably short.
I mentioned Bruno Mars because I think that men (and women) go into a marriage or relationship thinking the other person will change. We often view the other as a project or someone we can fix. And when that philosophy doesn’t pan out, we give up. The relationship ends. And in many cases, the lives of those involved will never be the same.
So I’m posting the Bruno Mars song (I can’t vouch for comments on YouTube nor can I vouch for the ads). You should listen to it. Bruno isn’t perfect either I’m sure, but the words say a lot about how men should look at their wives (not other women walking by, by the way). And at the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I have even imagined Jesus singing this song to the church. When the church is on its game, smiling like Jesus knows we can, the whole world takes notice.
God has given you a helper, men. And when you treat her the way God expects, you will not experience a better relationship with anyone, ever, on this planet. So get out there and love your wife like you’re supposed to. Sacrifice for her. Bring out the best in her. Never leave her.
If I told you that risk was greater than failure (r>f), would you believe me?
Some of you would. More of you wouldn’t. For many of us out there, risk is equally associated with the possibility of failure. And most of us out there want no part of failure. We are taught and trained to believe that we must succeed and that failure is not an option.
But what if I told you that failure was a great option? What if you began to believe that your failures were simply steps forward and that they were necessary for you to be successful?
Seth Godin says it this way in his new book, “Poke The Box,”
Risk, to some, is a bad thing, because risk brings with it the possibility of failure. It might be only a temporary failure, but that doesn’t matter so much if the very thought of it shuts you down. So, for some, risk comes to equal failure (take enough risks and sooner or later, you will fail). Risk is avoided because we’ve been trained to avoid failure. I define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance…and if you have anxiety about initiating a project, then of course you will associate risk with failure.
Honestly, sometimes I get stuck. I am afraid to fail. There are probably many reasons for this. Some linking back to how I was raised. My beliefs growing up were that when I made mistakes (sinned), that somehow God was then against me and all of the work was on me to make things right with God. I grew afraid to mess up, paralyzed, afraid to move for fear of getting out of line with my God or my family. As a result, I fell in line (for the most part) like a good soldier.
My story has lead me to where I am today. I have been in full-time ministry for 9 years. The first 8 years of ministry, I took a lot of risks. I made poor decisions and many of them did not pay off. Those failures have fed into my feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. My thoughts go something like this, “How could God use such a failure? How can God use someone who has made so many mistakes? Surely God will just find a more talented, qualified person to do amazing things.”
Sometimes, my thoughts win. I fail to risk everything for God.
Other times, my heart for risk wins. I succeed and risk all I have for God.
Does that make me bi-winning?
I want to risk everything for God. I hate the status quo. I despise common. I abhor same old.
What if Jesus was afraid of movement and collisions in life? What if Rosa Parks allowed a fear of failure to keep her from sitting right where she belonged? What if failure prevented Martin Luther King Jr. from having a dream? What if fear paralyzed our Presidents in times of crisis when we need them to be our fearless leaders the most?
Mr. Godin has nailed me on this point. I’m tired of being afraid of failure. It’s not a good feeling. I want to do more. I want to risk more. Why? Because God created me for risk.
When I “push the envelope”…God sends another box of envelopes.
When I stand on the edge of the cliff…God sees a bigger cliff around the corner.
When I turn over a new leaf…God sends fall.
When I shift a paradigm…God says that’s just the beginning.
Even when I think I have risked as much and gone as far as I can go, God can do more and wants me to accomplish more. He wants the same for you.
Ephesians 3:20 – Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Are you risking everything to make your marriage a success?
Are you risking everything to bring your children up in the right way?
Are you risking everything to make sure you are a good steward of your finances?
Are you risking everything to tell your friend, neighbors, co-workers and family about Jesus?
Are you risking everything to make sure God has your entire heart?
Are you risking everything to love the unlovable?
Are you risking everything to make sure that God’s name is made great?
Are you risking everything for the mission of God and His Kingdom?
Sorry everyone. I forgot this post last week.
Anyway, in just one word, how can I pray for you today?
I’m working on a sermon right now. The topic; humility. More specifically I am trying to answer the question; can I love like Jesus? Jesus had a love that was rooted firmly in humility. There was no sense of arrogance with Jesus. Never a time when He forgets His mission and uses His power for Himself. Never a time He fails to think of others. Jesus is the absolute, most humble man to ever walk the earth, yet the most powerful at the same time.
1 Corinthians 13:4 – “Love does not brag, it is not proud.”
Jesus never puffed Himself up. He never made Himself a display. He never sought riches of earth. He never embellished Himself to make it to the top. No, but He did humble Himself even to the point of death, death on a cross. Jesus was humble. Love is humble. Jesus is love.
This got me thinking about me. It raised a mirror to my face. It made me confront the ugliest side of me. My pride. It wasn’t long before this became very practical for me. Allow me to set the stage.
I woke up one morning in a bad mood. I was not myself. I’m not even sure why I was so grumpy, I just know I didn’t feel like myself. Before my kids had even left for school I had already been a little bit of a jerk to them. Before my wife even left for work I had already made things awkward with her. I wish I could remember the details, but I think I tried to block that morning out. It simply wasn’t pretty.
It so happens that morning that my son left his backpack in the van. I begin to drive it to his school and the entire way I’m thinking to myself, “I need to surrender my pride. I need to go home and apologize. I need to say, “Sorry,” to my wife. I need to hug my kids and apologize. I need to just man up and do the right thing.” Intellectually, I knew exactly what had to be done. I pulled in the driveway, walked in the door, sat at the table and for the better part of the day felt like I gave my wife the cold shoulder. Why? What kind of jerk acts that way? I know what I need to do, why can’t I do it?
Because there are two words that for some reason are the toughest words to say; “I’m sorry.” Instead of telling people, “I’m sorry,” we use a lot of other language. We say things like, “Yeah, I feel really guilty about that.” Or we say, “I know I shouldn’t have acted that way,” or even, “Yeah, that was a stupid thing to do.” We hurt people in our lives. We all make mistakes. Not one of us is perfect. We all probably owe at least one person in our lives an apology. A good old-fashioned, “I’m sorry.” But there’s this little thing called pride. Our pride elevates us above the idea that we could possibly make a mistake. And the words, “I’m sorry,” seem to be an admission that we are at fault. Well, we can’t have any of that can we? We want to maintain an outer appearance of perfection and having it all together, while on the inside we rot away because our hearts and minds are pushing us toward what we know we need to do and say.
This is a very personal post for me (I understand you might think that there are different words that are the toughest to say). I can think of many people in my life I need to apologize to. If I truly want to love the way Jesus did, I need to humble myself and not allow pride to deceive me.
Now, the questions can be directed at you.
Who do you need to apologize to?
Do you have a hard time apologizing?
Think of a recent instance in your life that requires an apology on your part?
Have you apologized yet?
If not, find someone and ask them to hold you accountable. Make your relationships right. Love people with a humble love. And at least for me, that can sometimes mean saying, “I’m sorry.”
This post at allprodad.com was sent to me in an email from a friend. I want it to be very clear that I didn’t write this, it is not mine, it is sole property of allprodad.com. Click here to read this post on their website. If you are too lazy to click the link, please read the post here. This is a fantastic list – “10 Signs You Are A Workaholic.”
- Most of us have been taught to “buckle down and get the job done.” Work ethic is a sought after quality, but in some cases over zealous dedication to work wreaks havoc in other aspects of your life. When do you know that you have crossed the line to something more destructive? To be a dedicated and productive worker is a very good thing, but there is a fine line between dedication and addiction. The following 10 signs will help you to determine if you’re a workaholic.
When you’re with friends and family, what types of conversations do you have? If you’re a workaholic, chances are your input will almost surely be work related. Whatever the latest “huge account” you are obsessed with will take center stage. You can manage to waddle through the small talk, but your conversations will always lead back to work. Your existence has been built to revolve around your job.
- Who Are Your Friends?
How is your social life? Are the same people you socialize with also the same people you spend the majority of your life with at work? Friendships are made and last based on common interests. The workaholic is usually not able to connect long term with others outside of his profession.
Are you able to properly delegate responsibility to others on your team? Can you give up total control and trust workmates to complete an assignment? “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Do you find yourself saying that in your head even when it’s not true? The workaholic needs total control. To them, nobody could possibly do the task as well.
You carry it everywhere you go. The Blackberry™ never leaves your side…even in church or on vacation. The thought of missing an important email or tidbit of information worries you to obsession. Your daughter just made an incredible sand castle right in front of your feet. You barely look up to notice and your eyes go straight back to the Crackberry. You need help.
- The Roll Over Days
Your neighbor is complaining that it’s only September and he’s out of vacation days. Every year your wife lobbies her company for more personal days to be with family. You? Last time you checked you had 8½ weeks of rolled over vacation days. The last time you spent an entire week away from your job is when you didn’t have one. You always threaten co-workers that “one of these days I’m going to take the whole month of July off.” You never do.
- Desk Cafeteria
What is inside your bottom desk drawer? Cans of soup, crackers, and pre-packaged tuna lunches? Your desk cafeteria helps rid you of that annoying human trait—hunger. Who has time for lunch? If you work through it you might be able to justify leaving when you are supposed to leave. This way you might catch your son’s ballgame. However if that still isn’t enough, the ballgame goes on the cut list. The workaholic only takes lunches that are business related. Otherwise it’s the desk cafeteria and nose to the grindstone.
- I’m Not Sick
Your nose is completely clogged. Your throat feels like you’re gargling razor blades. “I’m not sick, I just have some allergies.” You pump yourself up with whatever over-the-counter medication you can find that is non-drowsy, and off to work you go. All day long your germs spread through the office like a marauding band of pirates. You might consider your dedication as productive. The ten employees you infected and who are now out sick were never a consideration in your mind. They are just weak.
- Middle Of The Night Brainstorming
It’s 3 am. Your wife is sleeping soundly beside you. You are wide awake trying to figure out the secret to landing the account you are chasing. The hours tick by as you lay in silence brainstorming. Another sleepless night but you think you might have found the edge you needed. Your health and disposition may suffer, but you got what you were after. The workaholic always has trouble sleeping.
- Your Roommate
Do you spend quality time with your wife on a regular basis? Take her on spontaneous adventures? Spend evenings just talking about anything with her? Or has your marriage become more like a roommate situation? You have your life, she has hers. You just happen to sleep in the same bed. Quite possibly you don’t even do that. Since you are up working late on the computer, it’s easier for you to just sleep in your home office. Your marriage is a shell and at this rate, it might be headed for eventual failure. This is not the type of provider she was hoping for.
- Who Are Those Little People?
You remember your wife being pregnant. You certainly remember them being born. What you can’t figure out is, “Who are these little people making all this noise while I’m trying to work at home?” “You kids go watch TV upstairs so Daddy can work.” Do you have personal relationships with your children? Do you know who their teachers are and their best friends? What are their hopes and dreams? Looking ahead into the future you’ll ask your son, “I was a good Dad right?” “I provided for everything you ever needed.” Your son will look you in the eye and say “Dad, the only thing I ever wanted was your time, but you were always busy.” That is the fate of the workaholic.
So, are you a workaholic? I think I failed on 9 out of 10. I am no officially, depressed. Guess it’s time to be a better dad, an All Pro Dad.