The Power of Celebration

Reaching corporate goals, celebrating life, births or anniversaries; hey I’m sure you have partied with the best of them! Our attitude towards celebrations can easily become nonchalant or one of entitlement. It is easy to get into a routine of celebrating in the same manner year after year without helping attendees connect with your reason for celebrating. 

The scripture is replete with instances of celebrations. When the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, Miriam, the sister of Moses took a tambourine and led the women in a choreographed dance (Exodus 14-15:21) as she sang about the miracle of crossing the Red Sea. I can hear her now saying, “What a wonder God has wrought. My mistress gave me Jimmy Choos as I left her house. When I reached the crossing, I was upset. My Jimmy Choos would be destroyed! Look at God! He went before me and made a way! When it looked like things were too much for me He made a way! God dried up the path. I didn’t get a scuff on my fabulous shoes!” 

I hear your chuckles and giggles. In a similar manner, you or I would probably spontaneously move out if we heard a few bars of The Electric Slide or Cupid Shuffle. Like Miriam, no doubt we would be on the floor dancing with abandon, yet not sensually. With Joy in our heart, laughing, reminiscing with our girls! Talking to one another over the music, you can hear tales of woe, songs of deliverance as we danced with greater abandon due to the newfound freedom!

Another instance of celebration in scripture is the wedding at Cana of Galilee. (John 2: 1-11).   Jesus’ mother seems to have been involved in wedding planning. Mary accosts Jesus to produce more wine. He seems to blow her off, but she would not be denied her request. Mary instructs the servants to follow the instructions of Jesus to the letter. At Jesus’ command wine is take to the Governor of the Feast who immediately declares that the best wine was saved for last. 

No doubt, more wine, would mean more merriment as the wedding party waits to view the token of virginity– the blood-stained sheet of the consummation of the marriage covenant. As the sheet flies from the window, shouts rise from the bride’s family, the governor of the feast announces more wine, the music soars and everyone dances in whirling circles celebrating with their friends. 

In 2011 I was recuperating from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. It was the third year of treatment. I had been deathly ill as the treatment was extremely toxic. Despite the prayers of the saints and my daily confessions and petitions I seemed to remain at a standstill. I asked the staff at my church to help me have a party to celebrate life. That year I hosted a little black dress party, supported a local agency that supports families challenged with intimate partner violence, gave away gifts, ate fabulously delicious food, learned a few things to improve my health, laughed and danced with my girls, women in my church, and my circle of First Lady Friends. 

Remembering is important. Retelling the story imprints the memory for posterity. Your children’s children need to know why you commemorate certain days and the significance of their participation in the celebration. The generational transfer of knowledge is facilitated by rituals, photographs, books, and the telling of the story. Be bold tell the story! Commemorate the event! Allow the power of celebration to work for you as you build your family, tribe, and clan. 

IMG_0041Dr. Vivian M. Jackson is the First Lady of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches and Hope Christian Church. Dr. Viv is an international conference speaker, seasoned with 35 years of Christian ministry. She serves families in establishing their children in Biblical truth. Also known as “The Marriage Doctor,” Dr. Viv shares poignant information with couples to help them sustain strong marital relationships.

 

 

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As a girl, I wondered why some couples seemed so happy while other seemed to be sort of stressed out. As a casual observer, it never occurred to me how labor intensive a relationship was. As I matured I understood the dynamics of people working together in team sports and eventually in interpersonal relationships.
My first crush was in elementary school. I recall my love for reading and admired a young man because he was an avid reader. Our feelings were mutual–puppy love. Our mothers thought a date to the movies would be a harmless outing for us.
Mind you, this was early 1962. Black people dressed up to “go out.” We wore our “Sunday best” and took the bus downtown to the movie. There wasn’t an officially labeled “colored only” section but the attendant sat us in a section by ourselves.
I don’t really remember the movie but I remember how controlling this fourth-grade boy was! He was quite the conversationalist but only wanted to discuss topics he was interested in. When I suggested that we get two snacks to share, he decided that one snack would be sufficient. Alarms went off for me and I was suddenly disinterested and could not wait to get home. Needless to say, my love interest ended rather abruptly never to be mentioned again.
Later in high school, I met another young man who was also an avid reader and I admired him. After several chance meetings in the library, we began to spend casual time together. At first, the interactions seemed effortless. After a while, the freedom and frivolity of our interaction dissipated. Control set in. You know the control that monitors how long it takes to go from one side of the quad to the library or how often you are seen speaking with a particular person. Or whether you are mature enough to read certain literature or pursue involvement certain activities where there is no mutual interest.
 I noted that it was becoming difficult to be friends. I began to spend fewer hours at the library. Renewed my acquaintances with classmates. Traits of self-centeredness and selfishness I observed on the date with my elementary crush reared their ugly heads.
The idea of being involved in a relationship was not on my radar screen. I realized in hindsight that I had dismissed the signs of control. Conflict seemed ongoing and never-ending. There is a unique difference between teasing out differences of opinions in discussions and dictating what another person should think and feel or fashioning another person into YOUR alter ego.
I am free spirited, independent, and outspoken. As a study partner or as a casual acquaintance, I expected no claims or demand in the relationship.  Little did I know, in his mind, he had pegged as his girl.  When my free-spirited nature aggravated the vice grip of control, the dynamics of the relationship grew somewhat tense.
I talked through a morass of misunderstood signals, feelings and intentions. It became insufferable to be a friend. Hurt feelings were a barrier to conflict resolution. The faulty relational bridge of our mutual love of history and literature had been destroyed. There was no way we could continue as casual acquaintances.
Now as a married woman of several decades, I get it! Often people are in relationships where it is killing them to love you. For a variety of reasons the relational bridge is out, intentions are not what they seemed and feelings are hurt.  Feelings of being trapped often keep the relationship from growing. Fabricated reasons for together persisting. Fear of hurting another’s feelings promotes lies, and the vice grip of control squashes the individuality of the other into submission or flight.
Too often the relational dynamics seem benign and do not involve toxic volatile intimate partner violence. Listening to what is said during benign exchanges of disagreement can provide insight. I remember hearing these words when I asked the young man to remove his hand from my knee. “I can’t wait until you are officially my girl. You won’t be telling me anything!”
I remember thinking, what did I say or do that made the young man feel he could put his hand on my knee? Why is he threatening to control me? The alarms went off in my head. As a child at the movie, the mothers had given the young man the money for the snacks. After our banter, I knew that possession meant to control. However, I never viewed myself as anything to be owned, bartered for or controlled.
In retrospect, both relationships though very casual could have been extremely damaging to my psyche. Control is a poison in interpersonal relationships that hinder personal development and creativity.
Perhaps I am a bit of a pragmatist with a desire for clarity in the rules of engagement at the onset of a relationship. I need dialogue long before passionate kisses. Understanding the hopes and dreams of a potential suitor were very important to me. I needed to know something about their family, siblings, and employment history long before I discuss the Intentions of our relationship.
Once I got an idea of who the person says they were, the rules of engagement could be clearly stated and agreed upon and “the dance” could begin. When clarity and honesty are not part of the foundation, loving you begins to kill me.

Recently I had an experience. Speaking with a person more than 30 years my junior, I was surprised at the similarities in our vocabulary but challenged by the disparity in the meaning of words I detected as the conversation progressed.

It is not uncommon to hold a conversation with someone only to discover communication barriers due to differences in word usage and meaning. Accurate communication or shall I say effective communication implies a mutual understanding of the words used and an ability to pick up context clues.

I am not sure how far the conversation had progressed before I detected an irritated tone. You know, that all too familiar shrill tightness that emerges when the awareness of disagreement bleeds through. You know, “Ah” (deep sigh), raised brows, and changes in pupil size. Finally, noting the shift in body posture to a more aggressive stance, I was willing to shout, “You are not “getting it!”

As the conversation continued, I was aware of my annoyance with the conversation’s circuitous path. I wanted to shout, “You are not listening. Shush!” Not wanting to appear as rude, crude, or uncouth, I continued seeking clarity. Working to keep my tone soft and engaging.

The conversation became an effort in futility. Frustrations were high. Neither of us was understood. The point of communication is to share information with another to inform, exchange, or perhaps convince or persuade to a viewpoint.

Understanding carries the connotation of information exchange resulting in an enhanced familiarity or knowledge of something. After about three minutes of “circling the runway,” the tone of the conversation shifted suddenly. The subtle tensions eased. Pupils softened. Tightness around the mouth eased. Smile lines almost appeared in acknowledgment that a failure to communicate existed.

Remembering counsel from a friend, I heard myself saying, “You know, you are probably right. That is an option.”

Things to Consider When Communicating

1. Why am I so invested in my opinion?”

2. Why does it matter so much that my opinion is accepted?

3. Am I keeping abreast of the usage of colloquialisms?

4. Is my goal in communication to exchange information or to have others “do what I say?”

5. In matters of faith, are the “holy words” defined by their holy books or the accepted meanings in society?

6. Does a definitive answer exist on the matter being discussed?

7. Muster courage during discussions. Your voice matters.

8. Acknowledge differences of opinions that exist.

9. Disagree when necessary.

10. Avoid being disagreeable.

11. Express appreciation of disagreements but stand your ground.

Dr. Vivian M. Jackson is the First Lady of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches and Hope Christian Church. Dr. Viv is an international conference speaker, seasoned with 35 years of Christian ministry. She serves families in establishing their children in Biblical truth. Also known as “The Marriage Doctor,” Dr. Viv shares poignant information with couples to help them sustain strong marital relationships.

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Hmmm good! Lemon pound cake, chocolate chip cookies, kettle chips, vanilla ice cream, and grape soda. I’m in junk food heaven and loving it!

Seriously though, I love freshly baked cookies and pound cake. I eat kettle chips with vanilla ice cream and grape soda. None of these treats have any nutritional value. The sugar rush is phenomenal and I’m hungry shortly afterwards.

Empty calories rarely provide the energy necessary to engage in thinking work or expending physical energy. Our bodies are designed to efficiently burn fuel. Eating a proper diet provides the necessary fuel to sustain life.

Being sure to eat protein, vegetables, fruit,  the good fats, grains, and complex carbs requires thought, planning, and TIME to cook. I often ask myself, “Do I feel like cooking?” “Do I want to cook today?”

Interestingly, I grew up eating home cooked balanced meals daily. I didn’t eat a lot of junk food. I cooked daily when my children were young. Now as an empty nester, I have options.

Discipline is required to make the right choices about food. One thing is certain; no one can make the decision for me. Join me in making wise choices about food for the remainder of 2015. Let’s eat the foods required to allow our bodies to function at the optimum level.

  1. Eat a proper diet. Eat items from all of the food groups.
  2. Remove processed food items from your diet. If it didn’t come out of the ground, spit it out.
  3. Be willing to shop twice weekly for fresh meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. Remember, the fish market is closed Sundays; “fresh” fish is unavailable Sundays in most stores.
  4. Skip the aisle where the sweets are displayed. If you don’t have it, you won’t eat it.
  5. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. You will think you are going to float away.

The Scriptures encourage a balanced perspective in all areas of living. Don’t get psyched up and go on a campaign. Be aware of your choices. Be willing to change your mind if a better choice exists. Enjoy the journey.

Dr. Vivian M. Jackson is the First Lady of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches and Hope Christian Church. Dr. V is an international conference speaker, seasoned with 35 years of Christian ministry. She serves families in establishing their children in Biblical truth. Also known as “The Marriage Doctor,” Dr. V shares poignant information with couples to help them sustain strong marital relationships. http://www.the-marriage-doctor.com

– See more at: http://www.gospeltoday.com/blog/2015/08/18/food-is-fuel/#sthash.KvsTOXbb.dpuf

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Can you remember the first time your body responded to the presence of a person you were attracted to? Do you remember the physical arousal? The emotional scintillation? The mental distraction? Do you remember smiling at the very thought of that person?

Interestingly, these seemingly benign reactions could be signals or warning signs to keep one out of harms way. The reactions that seem innocent could prevent hurt feelings or angst of rejection. The reactions are normal; examine them. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the other person?

How can one be certain feelings are reciprocated? Can one be certain the scenario is not a “friend in your head” relationship or that one isn’t “leading you on?” Initially, the rightness, wrongness, or the intentions of the suitor are somewhat elusive. In most cases you cannot ascertain levels of sincerity. Integrity and fidelity are character traits that surface as a relationship develops.

What do you look for? How do you know if the person is worthy of your time, attention, and trust? Along the way there will be behaviors that indicate trustworthiness, faithfulness, and follow through. These enduring qualities last after beauty has faded and the effects of gravity are unveiled.

Do you yearn to discover the good and the bad about the other? Does the “mystique” remain? Does that certain je ne sais quoi continue to attract, allure, and intrigue you? Are you so turn’t up you cannot stay away, but you cannot go away either. Interesting feelings…

Be willing to honestly explore an unfolding relationship. Get involved, get invested, or get out. A healthy relationship cycle might unfold this way:

  1. Attraction. You are drawn to each other, “you have chemistry.”
  2. Infatuation. You like each other, you are fond of each other.
  3. Affection. Exchange of affection—touching, hugs, holding hands, kissing.
  4. Conflict. Disagreement, discussion, argument.
  5. Resolution. Settle disagreement(s) and make up (Green, 1999).

The phases of the relationship cycle are repeated and a stronger relational bond can be built. Skipping phases only stalls relational growth. Passing through the crucible of resolution rather than taking the route of avoidance can yield information about levels of compatibility and coping abilities.

As one becomes more infatuated, grows more passionately attracted, and discovers new areas of conflict, the relationship grows in levels of intimacy—emotional, spiritual, and physical. Healthy conflict resolution versus conflict avoidance helps build a strong relational bond. Generally speaking, after several rotations of the relationship life cycle, the tenor of the relationship can tend to be comfortable and accepting for both parties. However, differing desires can create tension and conflict.

A wise old woman is quoted as saying, “Girl, men don’t marry. They mate. You have to help a man find the altar.” Do not mix your metaphors. According to The Holy Writ, it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Corinthians 7:9),

In a word, dating is a horse of another color. Sometimes the rules are not clear. Uncertainty can shroud the purpose of the relationship along with wavering levels of commitment. Oftentimes such instability creates confusing signals.

What guidelines do you have for your relationships? Are you willing to play house or hard to get? What is your current relationship status?

– See more at: http://www.gospeltoday.com/blog/2015/07/14/he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not/#sthash.ypmlmr0f.dpuf

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Tell Them I Sent You

As a child, I was often sent on errands. Initially, I was given a note. Once I had proven trustworthy, I was allowed to speak on behalf of the sender. The scenario would go something like this: Directions would be given outlining what I supposed to retrieve or the message I was supposed to deliver. I would be queried on the content of the message to make sure I could repeat the message without changing its content or intention. The final directive was, “Tell them I sent you. Be certain to use my name.”

Jesus began His ministry with the end in the mind. After He gathered His posse, He modeled the Kingdom lifestyle. He went about teaching, healing, performing miracles, influencing religious and governmental leaders, affecting social systems, and serving people. The influence of the Gospel literally affected every sector of society (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; I Peter 2:9).

One of the most difficult tasks encountered in life is delivering a message in the name of another. Maintaining the tenor of the message “true” to the tone or texture of the sender is a challenge. Messengers have been ridiculed as parrots or yes men or women, endured physical assault and even death delivering their messages. Yet messengers forge ahead knowing the critical nature of their tasks.

Think about it. Messengers are needed. How can we increase the number of messengers influencing societies around the world? Should young men and women be enlisted? Is it considered radicalizing or proselytizing to enlist young men and women? At what age should delegated authority be discussed and released to others?

Delegated authority has been given to establish the Kingdom of God in the earth. Will you carry the message? Will you go in His name and influence every sector of society? Consider these principles:

  1. Live your life according to the principles outlined in Scripture. (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7)
  2. Be willing to look at “your craft” through the lens of Scripture. How do the principles of the Kingdom of God influence your practices?
  3. Familiarize yourself with others who influence society as messengers.
  4. Ask Jesus to show you in the Scriptures how using His name as a delegated authority can influence society.
  5. Join other messengers and multiply your efforts.
  6. Strategize with others to access untapped resources.
  7. Ask the questions, “What about our progeny? How can I include them?”
  8. Develop relationships with others.
  9. Allow trust to grow. Trust is based on skill and relationship. Trust is NOT given to strangers.
  10. Use the responsibility test to develop skilled messengers. Give feedback.
  11. Follow the principles recorded in the life of Jesus. Those who pass the responsibility test can be given delegated authority.
  12. Go. Tell them Who sent you. Enjoy the journey.

Dr. Vivian Jackson, Ed D

Dr. Vivian M. Jackson is the First Lady of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches and Hope Christian Church. Dr. V is an international conference speaker, seasoned with 35 years of Christian ministry. She serves families in establishing their children in Biblical truth. Also known as “The Marriage Doctor,” Dr. V shares poignant information with couples to help them sustain strong marital relationships.

I remember sitting in church with my legs dangling from the pew looking at the rather wide derriere of the lady standing in front of me. Her bouncing hips keeping time as she played the tambourine. She threw her head back as she belted out, “Yes, I’m leaning on Jesus…” My mind wandered as I tried to visualize her leaning on Sunday School Jesus barefoot, sitting on a boulder with people around Him. I chuckled as I envisioned her in her starched white dress and white hat with veil in white duty shoes, standing in the sand on the beach with Jesus. It is funny how the imagination paints pictures!

Fast forward to the 21st Century and I can still hear that lady singing her heart out as the rhythmic pounding of the tambourine thunders in my ears. Now here I stand, trying to reassure myself that I’m leaning on Jesus and not my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5; 4:23). Decisions, choices, and opportunities? Which way is the Lord leading? How do I know what to do? How can I keep myself from the precipice of disaster?

I struggle with this dilemma. I become frustrated, often angry, and fearful. Sorting through emotions is challenging because I want to cut my own path. Sometimes I would rather leave Jesus in the altar, do my own thing, and pick Him up on my way back from the adventure. Invariably, I yield and look back marveling at the miraculous power of Jesus that keeps me from destroying myself.

What constrains me? What is it that sifts through the bent to sin and iniquity warring within? Sometimes I am aware of God’s hand directing me. At other times, I only recognize His help in hindsight. Here are a few principles that guide me.

  1. God’s counsel to my heart is always correct. I have to mature to hear His voice and silence my evil (condemning) conscience (Hebrews 10:22).
  2. God’s counsel can be confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses. Not my boo thang or girlfriend, but legitimate mature saints who know the ways of God. If I cannot bring the matter to counselors, it is probably foolishness and cannot bear the scrutiny of examination (Matthew 18:16).
  3. I am selfish and want my way ALL the time. I can easily deceive myself and convince myself that ANYTHING is the will of God (Jeremiah 17:9).
  4. I must examine my motives by a Biblical standard. I have to ask myself, “What does the Bible say about the situation?” I must search the Scripture for the answer and be willing to follow the revealed principle (Psalm 119:105).
  5. I keep telling myself, that if the offer is too good to be true, it is too good to be true.  In each instance, I have to balance that thought with the principle that every good gift comes from my Heavenly Father (James 1:17). I exercise discernment and examine the hand on the other side of the opened door of opportunity. What kind of character does the person/organization have who is extending the opportunity? Are they worthy of my trust?

Yes, I’m leaning on Jesus, Christ my Savior and like you, I struggle to yield. I was young and now I am old, but I reached the same conclusion as in my youth. Old habits die hard. Satan, the accuser of the saints tenaciously declares that he will return to his house (my life) despite having been expelled. I declare, I’m in it to win it! God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). The eternal God is [my] refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out [my] enemies before [me], saying, “Destroy them!” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Dr. Vivian M. Jackson is the First Lady of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches and Hope Christian Church. Dr. V is an international conference speaker, seasoned with 35 years of Christian ministry. She serves families in establishing their children in Biblical truth. Also known as “The Marriage Doctor,” Dr. V shares poignant information with couples to help them sustain strong marital relationships.

 

The Science of Mom

Measles is back. The outbreak of this highly contagious viral illness that started at Disneyland in December has spread across the country and shows no signs of slowing. As of February 6, the CDC reported 121 cases in 17 states in this year alone, most linked to Disneyland. In 2014, we had 644 cases of measles in the U.S. This is a striking increase compared to the last 15 years, when we usually saw less than 100 cases in an entire year.

measles 2015 CDCI’m sorry that so many people have been sickened in this outbreak and hope that it is reined in soon. This is no easy task given our mobile society and the fact that we like to congregate in places like Disneyland, schools, doctors’ offices, hospitals, airplanes, and shopping malls. Add to that the pockets of unvaccinated people where measles can easily spread, and we have a recipe…

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The morning started like any other, four different alarm clocks sounded announcing the beginning of each family member’s day. Shouts resounded through the kitchen as each announced the appointments of their day just prior to closing the door. My husband reminded me of his annual physical and our early lunch date. Dressed in his favorite short skirt, tights, and tailored jacket, I waved goodbye and closed the door. Glancing at the clock, I decided that the time before our date would be spent best editing a recent assignment.

The time passed quickly but my husband had not called to check in. I busied myself; completed the editing project, attached it to an email, clicked Send, and smiled with a sense of accomplishment. Yet the phone did not ring, nor did he walk through the door. Now he was two hours late; so much for an early lunch and an afternoon of marital bliss.

The phone finally rang. I was not prepared for what I heard. He began by saying that the annual physical appointment went well. Then he lowered the boom saying, “I’m at the Washington Hospital Center to have a cardiac catheterization.” My mind clouded over. I could not process what he was saying. The nonchalance in the delivery of his message caught me off guard, but I managed to control my emotions making a joke about heart examinations and Valentine’s Day.

We had made plans to enjoy an early lunch to miss the giddy young lovers and the press of the Valentine’s Day evening rush for restaurant tables. Now I sat anxiously by the phone waiting to receive a call to update me on my lover’s heart condition. A blur of activity surrounded me in the home office. People milled about, I heard the sound of the cars as they whizzed past, my head was in a whir. It was hard to focus. I was definitely distracted. Waves of agita flowed through my stomach. Uncertainty is the best adjective to describe the long wait that Valentine’s Day.

Hours passed. I paced the floor until I beat a visible path into the nap of the carpet. Remembering funny occasions in our relationship, I smiled as I paced. I became misty at the remembrance of hard times and tense moments deeming them a waste of precious time. The evening dawned, dusk set in, and suddenly it was dark outside. The phone had failed to ring. I stood statuesque staring out into the darkness.

The piercing sound of the ringing phone broke the deafening silence. Robot-like, I lifted the receiver speaking quietly. The doctor’s voice clearly sounded over the hubbub of hospital noises, “Mrs. Jackson? Your husband is fine. He will be released. You can retrieve him in a couple of hours.”

Relief flooded my mind and body. Tragedy often creates an awareness of misaligned priorities. I grabbed a coat, keys and drove to the hospital. I realized I loved my husband deeply and needed to tell him so more often. I retrieved him, we embraced, and I held him tightly, lingering in his arms.

Takeaways

Be honest. Tell yourself and your spouse the truth about your health status.
Be kind. Control your emotions as you process unsettling information.
Be loving. Love is an action word. Allow your love to be heard and seen.
Be present. Be authentically present in the moment.
Be aware. Make yourself aware of the focal point of each life situation. Often you are not the focal point.
Internet Photo Dr. Vivian M. JacksonDr. Vivian M. Jackson is the First Lady of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches and Hope Christian Church. Dr. V is an international conference speaker, seasoned with 35 years of Christian ministry. She serves families in establishing their children in Biblical truth. Also known as “The Marriage Doctor,” Dr. V shares poignant information with couples to help them sustain strong marital relationships.

Contacts: @marriagedoctor2; drviv@the-marriage-doctor.com;

– See more at: http://www.gospeltoday.com/blog/2015/02/14/tender-moments/#.dpuf

Relationships can create interesting scenarios in your life. Some people have life all figured out and can easily give God a few assignments to complete on a good day. Others kinda meander through life and unabashedly get a few things done and are happy at the end of the day. But often putting those two peas in the same pod can make life a living hell without three simple ingredients: a) commitment to each other; b) appreciation of unique qualities; and c) a willingness to sacrifice for one another.

When couples come together both parties deny profusely, that the hidden agenda is not to change their partner into what they want and need. I’ve heard men and women alike say it, “You wait until get through. They won’t know what happen.”  A woman might say, “By the time I wrap him in my arms, his mind goes blank and it will be over and he will be mine.” That sounds like something is going on but acceptance of one another seems to be omitted. I think accepting one another was swapped for fixing one another.

Do you remember the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding of the 80s? It was a classic! A young man converts to the Greek Orthodox Faith to get his woman. He endures the ribbing of the brothers, cousins, and eats exotic foods. He literally walked the gauntlet to retrieve his Bride. He was committed to have her to the point he was willing to make sacrifices. There were  cultural exchanges of food and religious practices. The values of love for family and having fun together we’re woven into the dialogue. Every family member had responsibility. The Greek Papa was king in his castle and the Greek Mama was queen in her castle. As coregents they deferred to one another, discussed matters, and issued proclamations. The parents lived in mutual service to one another and their family, steering the clan to their fullest potential of productivity and service.

The struggle for the Greek woman was that she had somehow lost sight of the values her family embodied. She was looking for something “different” for her life. The young man assimilated into the family through the courtship, the marriage, and the birth of their first child. The movie ends with a poignant scene of the couple is walking their child to Greek School. The dialogue infers that they developed a way to demonstrate their commitment to each other, show appreciation of unique qualities, and be willing to sacrifice for one another. Corny? Yes. Plausible? Yes. The young love birds took an opportunity and developed an appreciated for their unique differences.

The article title, Flexing Your Priorities To Serve Others is thought provoking. What have you done today to serve someone allowing them to be a better self or to perform at a higher level of efficiency because you served them allowing their gift to shine. Occasionally, a small adjustment in your priorities is all that is required to take someone over the top and promote a change in perspective that works wonders for someone else.
Lord, give me eyes to see areas I can serve others. Give me grace to serve without fanfare. Amen