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It was a beautiful, bright, winter Saturday.  The kind where the air is crisp and wet, thick with the anticipation of some wintry mix threatening to keep everyone inside, fireside bound for the whole of the day.  Except the bright boldness of the sun dared anyone to mention inclement weather, as she spread all her rays out over the earth like a mama’s proud arms, welcoming her babies in to the warmth, love and comfort that only a mama can assure.  Yes, the sun was working her magic and wooing all of the women as they excitedly dressed and prepared to go and wish well another Darling, preparing herself to take on a new last name and a basket full of responsibilities to go along with it.  They were all so excited that though aware of the blue temperatures outside, they were motivated to be with her, share with her, celebrate her and tell her exactly how to be the best wife possible to this lucky man.  So excited they were, in fact, and having done this several times before for a friend, a niece, sister, cousin, that they got caught up in the excitement and familiarity of it all and forgot to consult with their their editor and manager about what they should say.  Surely He cares that much about us, to inform us on how to inform others about how to do His will?!?!  Yet they sauntered out there, laughing, playing happy games, conversing amongst themselves, sipping the sweet, inviting nectar of joy and eating the tenderly baked, enticing confections of comfort and started talking out of turn.  Their guards were down–which can be one of the worse times to speak aloud at all, especially in a group setting and especially when you haven’t spoken with your manager.

No, they weren’t rude or harsh, but they spoke more from their own heartaches and past mistakes rather than from truth.  And Darling, so eager to please and be the wife she felt her lover deserved, took it all in without a sieve.  She swallowed it all whole thinking that it’d be better to receive it all now, soak up the moment and try it out later to see for herself if these platters of advice from the kind, well-meaning women in her community, would lay softly on the palate of her intended.

Seeing that she was a hungry girl, and wanting her to do well in this call, they talked more and more and became braver in their offerings, leaving no room in the house untouched.  From the Kitchen to the laundry room to the bedroom, Darling was told exactly what her man would like and wouldn’t like, and how she should conduct herself if she wanted to stay married. Shucks, it got so good in there that even the younger, unmarried school girls started placing their offerings before her, as if they knew anything about this scared calling for themselves except for what they had been warned against or had seen played out in some version the Housewives franchise.  They meant well. . .

No one seemed to notice that Darling’s once bright, anxious, joyful eyes had now dropped to a half moon, wandering, listless stare.  And those that did notice figured that she was probably just getting tired and wanted to open gifts.

Not all of the talk was unproductive and unedited but one of the comments that I think dimmed her light a bit came from the back of the room, an auntie, older, respected, and thought to be wiser than most of them said,

 “Don’t tell your business.  If anything happens in your marriage, keep that between you and your husband.  Don’t tell people what’s going in your relationship because you’ll choose to forgive him and they won’t.”

If I were a betting woman, I would bet you that all across the world, there is some version of this same bit of advice being told to women all over the world.  But is it biblical?

It just doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me.

Darling finds herself in the position of being recognized as that “good thing” that the gentleman has been searching for.  She is so excited about being with this man and so she sets out to plan her wedding, for some, the day of her dreams.  As she plans, she chooses the women who will stand closest to her on that day.  They smile, cry, tilt heads to the side, clutch hearts and prepare for months of sentimentality and love, anxious for the big day.  Then, after the day has come, they have all celebrated, eaten cake and burned it off with the Cupid Shuffle and the Electric Slide, the couple drives off into the sunset to live happily ever after . . . and the supporting cast members are supposed to just walk away and stay out of their business?

No.  I think we’ve got this all wrong.

I don’t believe that you should share your business with just anybody just as much as I believe that you shouldn’t have just anybody in your wedding.  Marriage is sacred and we should treat it as such from the moment we start dating.

The bible speaks often about community and how we are to conduct ourselves as we live in community with each other.  One example is in Galatians 6:2 encouraging us to: Carry each others burdens…”

I should be able to talk to a select few women in my life, or perhaps one woman, who is close to me, loves me, sincerely cares about me and my marriage when I am happy and when I am struggling to be the wife who respects her husband as I am called to do in Ephesians.  I should be able to go to her and trust that she will keep my confidence and lead me to the throne to receive help and healing for my heart, mind and marriage.

Now, to be clear, I do believe that our first move should always be toward the Lord, in prayer.  We shouldn’t ever get into the habit of running to friends and family for help when our God has already set Himself up as everything that we need.  But the place where most people get mixed up is in forgetting that God places people in our lives who we are to grow with.  He will often use people to show us His love for us, to show us His hand of provision, and even His hand of correction can come down through the people in our lives.  Don’t shut people out because you have been told to cover your relationship like a newborn child in the middle of a war zone.  Be wise about the people you have in your life, and trust God to use them to lead you into His call for you, which is holiness.

I have some of the most amazing women in my life.   Truly.  They love me.  They like me.  They applaud me but they also challenge me.  They know who I am and they know that I aspire to be pleasing to God, so they never let me compromise that. I am free to pitch a 60 second fit but they are are there, one (and sometimes two) at a time, to gently get my head back in the game and get back on point.  They are consistent as I parent, in my friendships, my work, relationships, goals, and yes, my marriage.

I think that we should talk more about this and unravel it a bit more.  We’ve got to debunk this myth and see what the Lord has to say about it.  While it has some value for keeping the sanctity of your marriage, I believe that it has taken a turn and put more of us in bondage than anything else.  I believe that there is a reader who needs to be free and know that she just may have someone in her life that she can be completely transparent with about her marriage, to the glory of God and the edification of her and her husband.  I also believe that for some of us, it runs a little deeper and we need to clean house and get some new Frans ’cause the ones we have on staff have taken an extended, paid vacation.

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Tonight I Tripped Over a Barbie Doll

It was pitch black dark in the den.  After a long day, tired and frustrated I was making my way down to the breakfast room for some sense to be talked into me.  For some words of prayer to be spoken over me.  And there she was.  Just a smiling.  All sprawled out on the hardwood floor like that’s where she belonged.  Like I was in her way.  Of course because it was dark, I got a little nervous about what exactly was lying on the floor that sent my feet into an impromptu jig that could have rendered my body bruised and scratched tonight.

Then I realized it was her.  And a funny thing happened.

I didn’t get mad.  I didn’t think about how she got left there or who it was that should have picked her up.  I fought the temptation to use that as a time to run that movie in my mind where I play the thankless mom who cleans up after the girls and cares for the huni and am often overlooked.  Because it’s a reality show that plays on repeat in my head most days.

But not tonight.

My immediate thought was gratitude and thankfulness.  I smiled at that ole barbie.  Because I thought about my little girls and the great joy that they bring me everyday.  I thought about how much fun I have playing with them and how much happiness I receive when they are happy.  And let me tell you, after a day like today when we run out of time for afternoon naps and have to endure each other in our sleepiest, crankiest of states, these were gooooood thoughts to dwell on.  And a sure blessing from God and a sign of His growing me that these were among the first thoughts to spring into my psyche.

This job of being mom and wife is hard.  And everyday carries with it a new challenge, a new opportunity for me to get over myself and enjoy this life I have been given, to see my children and husband as gifts, not burdens and to realize that I am so blessed to have this family of mine.  On the sunny days and the rainy ones.  While the babies are napping and when they’re running off of remnants of last night’s sleep.  Oh, Pamela.  That you would count it all joy.

Tonight I tripped over a barbie doll and instead of wanting to throw her out of the nearest window, I smiled, placed her in her “bed,” and thanked God for the little girls who clamor to play with her each day.

Rock on all you wives and mamas out there.  You are never overlooked.  He longs to be gracious to you and He always sees you.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

Marriage Letters: On Transition

Huni, Huni, HUNI!!!

Transition?  Huh!  It’s the story of our lives, right?!?!  We’ve been transitioning since the moment we decided to change almost everything and move our family farther away from our will for our lives and closer to His.  Every conversation had, every decision made, every box packed, every box unpacked, each tear of joy and sorrow, each goodbye and each hello, all have been another part of our transition story.  It’s been bittersweet, but it’s been a journey that both of us are so moved by, daily.

Ironically, I think that’s what has made this transition hardest for me– the “dailyness” of it all.  I haven’t began to feel yet like the transition is over.  Cool thing that happened today was that I started to feel some of my motives changing and, as a result, I gained a bit of new strength accompanied by some new brain juice to fight with.  That was really cool, really, sweet and really, very needed.  For as much as as we can realize that in the center of His will is the safest place, and for as much as we encourage each other on to great works, I am searching for level ground.  I am looking for the waves to rest and the boat to stop rocking with such a rowdy sway.  I don’t know all of what God is trying to do in us, but I do know that He is trying to make us stronger and more effective.

In the meantime, I have needed you and I have needed for our connection to be strong, steady, comforting, joyful.  I have needed you to be a place of comfort and consistency among all of the change.  Thinking about what I need and alllllll of the conversations we’ve had in efforts to make this transition smoother makes me think about what we’ve learned in this process.  Well, what have we learned, Huni?  If the Lord were to send us another couple that was transitioning in anyway, what would our testimony be at this point?  What would we tell them?  How would we encourage them?  Let’s not waste this opportunity.  transition and its tremors are often the demise of many unions.  Let’s begin to get this figured out.  I have a feeling that searching through it and getting an understanding of ourselves in this season will yield fruit not only for others transitioning, but for us.  Right now.  This sounds like a date night conversation!!!  no?  ok, lemme know!!  I love me some you!!!!!

pamela t.

Genesis 3:1

So, this year must be THE year to get married!  Who knew!?!  I have several family members and friends who have agreed and set a date to enter into covenant with another person this year.  In 2012 I am a part of 5 weddings.  Yep, 5.  The first two of five weddings have already occurred with the most recent being one of my little brothers, thus my mysterious silence for the past two weeks.  The first was for a dear Fran of mine from college.  She’s probably one of the sweetest people I know and I was so honored that she has cherished our relationship through the years so much that she would desire to enter into this covenant with my prayers and support.  So, I figured I’d share what I’ve been up to by sharing some of what happened with the weddings!

My Fran, Ayana, and her husband J.R.were married in Charleston, SC on July 7, 2012 at the Charleston Aquarium.  She had a short, sweet ceremony with the Charleston Harbor as the backdrop.  Even though there we were in the middle of the fierce July Charleston heat, there was a cool breeze blowing off from the water, at times so strong that we had to anchor ourselves or be blown away by more than just the love and beauty of it all!  So, here are a few flicks from the day:

So pretty, right?  And again:

Planning a wedding can be so stressful.  And my dear Fran Ayana has waited a long time to meet her special someone, fall in love, don a beautiful gown and mark the start of their lives together forever with a beautiful day.  It was so good to see her smiling and having such a good time that day.

My huni and I had a good time as well.  I was a bridesmaid and that can keep you pretty busy but I was able to hook up with him and have some fun taking a few flicks, being our fabulous, zany selves.  There we are!  The fierce bridesmaid and her hot boo!  (I wanted to write, “the fierce bridesmaid and her fierce boo,” but I figured he might have a problem with me using the adjective “fierce” to describe him . . . .)  :0)

     

Another fun, fun, fun part of the weekend was hooking up with all of the other bridesmaids.  You can tell a woman by her Frans, and Ayana is just so abundantly blessed because she has some WONDERFUL women flowering her life!!

A couple of the women that Ayana chose as bridesmaids, turned out to be women I knew from undergrad–which is where Ayana and I met.  We went to different schools but we were in the same campus ministry and met at a retreat. (this same organization is also where I met my huni!)  So there were some women there who were a part of the ministry, a woman there who I actually went to undergrad with and had no idea that she even knew Ayana and there was a woman there who attends the same church that I do and we had never met until she came to my house for the bridal shower that we had for Ayana!  Craziness!  Sweet, sweet, craziness!

I was also able to see another of my good Frans, Quiana, who was there to witness the union between Ayana and JR.  Please send prayers up for Qui.  She’s getting married in September and if you’re married, ever planned a wedding, or anything associated with the two, you know how pressing and full this time can be.  I’m praying joy, grace, favor, peace, and love for her and her fiance, Josiah, during this time and beyond.  Please agree with me on her behalf.

SO here are the last few flicks of the girls and me:

   

   

Good, good times.  Really.  We had so much fun.  Sweet love, new friendships, good food, dancing, laughing, woooo!  It doesn’t get any better than that!!

Just about a week ago my little brother took a lady by the hand, said some originally written vows, poured out his love and decided to spend his happily ever after with Mrs. Brendalyn Thompson.  The two were married July 28 in Durham, NC and had a nice, contemporary wedding true to their own unique style.  We were all swept away by their ceremony and danced the night away with the happy couple.  I didn’t get to take as many pictures of this event but I definitely wanted to share the few that I have:

Boooooooooooooooooooooooom!!  It’s official!!  Wooooop Woooooop!!!

Big, sincere, loud, congratulations from my heart to both couples.

Seeing two people unite and decide to share their lives together can be one of the most beautiful events to enjoy.  It is sentimental on so many different levels as it is an incredibly important and big decision for any one person to make.  Almost every woman I know wants this.  She wants someone with whom to share all of her life, for the rest of her life.  It’s a holy thing, marriage.  It’s a covenant.  It’s one of God’s many dwelling places and it is an instant ministry through the testimony that it offers its witnesses.  Everyone is watching.  Everyone.  Including our enemy.  It’s no small wonder marriage is so hard.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh.

22 And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man.

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.

3 Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? (Genesis 2:21-3:1)

Ever since Huni pointed it out to me, it has done nothing less than intrigued me that after the man and woman are united, free, naked and not embarrassed, having forsaken all others, moving in complete oneness and in agreement . . . we meet the serpent.  And from the moment he enters the picture, he begins his evil regime to steal, kill and destroy like only he can.

We know what he’s all about so I won’t give him any more shine than that.  I’ll simply say this: After we’ve cried with the couple, laughed with them and celebrated their decision, they really need our prayers.  Actually from the moment we learn of their intention of courtship and all throughout the life of the marriage, they need our prayers!  They need for us to hold them up and support them by speaking truth, kind words, and pouring into and onto them goodness, love and mercy as they move through life together knowing who their enemy is.  And Frans, he is tireless.  So should be our prayers.

Please pray that people would honor God in their marriages, their families and their lives together.  Every time you want to open your mouth to criticize or critique another person’s marriage, pray.  Submit yourself and your loved ones to Christ and trust Him to do the necessary work in you and them.  Don’t let satan use you to disrupt God’s work–whether you agree with it or not.  And Frans, I am talking to myself here!  Wooo!

There are times when Huni and I get into it and at just about that moment when I am about to totally let my flesh have her way, spotlight, microphone, music and all, I get a glimpse of satan, reclined, knocking back root beer floats, eating hot buttered popcorn enjoying the show.  And I come to a screeching halt———MAD, because I forgot who the real enemy is–it’s not huni.  It’s satan.  How quickly we forget.

We need each others prayers and support.  Please choose to participate in giving God glory, not in helping satan fool us all.

Marriage Letters: On Friendship

E 2 tha T,

That’s what your friends call you, right?  Or something related. . . ET, E, Easy . . .

I wanna be your friend.  Your best, good friend.  yeah.  Like Forrest and Bubba.

When we first met, friendship was a requirement for me.  I needed to know that you’d stick around and try to get to know me and find value in friendship with me before I let you pursue me for love.  That was my deal with basically every guy I dated but you were the one who actually took me seriously and dug through my rough places to find the diamonds that I worked so hard to hide while I protected myself from everything and everyone.  Even you.  You stuck it out with me.  You decided that if it took befriending me to get the chance to love me, then you’d be Stevie and I’d be Dionne and we’d make them think we wrote the song! Hey!  And you. were. my. friend.  For reals.  Before and during our dating relationship, we had such a sweet, deep friendship.  But . . . (yeah, there’s a “but”) . . .it’s different now.

I hear you on the phone with your friends, and I hear how hard you laugh and how much you share and I gotta admit, I get a little jealous.   I don’t feel included anymore.  I don’t feel as close to you as I know we could be and as I close to you as I want to be.  And I hear you say that I shouldn’t expect for our friendship to look like my friendships with the women in my life.  (How many times have you said, I am not Chasity!!!) And I get that.  I do.  And it’s not that I want our friendship to look like any other friendship I have but there are aspects of those relationships that I expect to see in our friendship because, I feel, our connection should be greater and deeper than any other connection I have with anyone else on earth.  And when our relationship doesn’t look like our friendship is strong, it’s discouraging because it’s a reminder of how things are different from what they used to be and that we aren’t as close as I want us to be . . .as I feel we should be.  What are we gonna do?

I don’t want to replace your other friends.  You need them, just like I need my friends.  And you know how much all of my friends mean to me.  What it is that I want, is my buddy back.  We have allowed some very good, good things to come in and squish all of the room for friendship, out.  When was the last time we played Phase 10?  Marcus still has our tennis game . . .we could play that!  I know that I can lean on you and talk to you about anything and I know that we can have a really, really fun time together, laughing until crying and talking late into the night, but it’s not our way anymore.  We happen upon these moments, or they hunt us down through circumstances but we don’t run after opportunities to find joy in each other.  Marriage is a gift for so many reasons and it’s a serious matter but I think that one of the reasons we have each other is to make life a little bit sweeter.  Friendship does that for me.  And I want us to be friends.  Best, good friends.  Like Forrest and Bubba,  David and Jonathan, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and Dorothy.

But really.  What are we gonna do?  I can’t blame you, I’ve played a big part in this too.  It was impressed upon me a few months ago that I need to be more vulnerable with you and trust you more.  uggggggggghhhhhhhh.  Two very difficult things for me to do, but I think they’re so difficult because I keep looking at you and your limitations and not the spirit of God who resides inside of you and empowers you, eliminating your limitations.  Even though you can make me madder than a wet hornet, you can bring me joy like no other.  And I just want to enjoy you more.  I don’t want our marriage to slip into the mundane and then glide into this survival, day to day mode where we just take care of each other and our children, but we don’t fully enjoy our lives together.  It seems like a sure indication that a marriage is headed down that road is when the friendship starts to wan.  I know that we are friends.  There’s not doubt about that.  And I know that we have a good time together, but I want it to be better, richer, funner!  ;0) So, here.  Let’s have a do-over-midway-start-over.  E 2 tha T, will you be my best good friend?  Check yes or no.

I love you!!

pamela t.

Marriage Letters: On Our Anniversary

Oh, Huni.

Seven years.  Wow.  Seven years ago today we trotted our little scared but in love selves down that wide aisle, ready to give ourselves away all for the chance to love each other the rest of our lives.  We had no idea what our tomorrow would look like but we were sure that no matter what the view, we wanted to see it together.

Remember that wave of fear that rushed over us when we stepped into the vestibule, after we said I do and you planted a big one on me?  Emmanuel!  We were sooooooo scared!  Who’d a thunk it?  And I’m not even sure why.  Those few moments alone, without all the hustle and bustle of making  preparations for the wedding, without the swarm of family and friends excitedly supporting and anticipating the union, all we had was ourselves and all this love that was supposed to get us from there to eternity.

We have since learned that love, as great and important as it is, is not enough.  You need my respect as well as my love and I have learned that the more I love you and respect you, the more I participate in the Lord’s work of making you the man that He’s purposed for you to become.  I apologize for all the ways that I have not loved you and the times that I allowed myself to think that I knew better at the risk of disrespecting you.  I’m really sorry, Emmanuel.  Our marriage is a big deal to me but I am only now opening up to allow God to heal all the broken bits of my heart and while He’s doing major surgery on me (which is probably going to last a lifetime) I’ll have these bouts of hard-to-love-me and hard-to-see-my-love. It’s a side effect of brokenness.  But I’m in the fray.  And I ain’t going nowhere.  And I’m grateful to have a partner who’s as committed to this thing as I am.

So. Here we are.  Seven years later.  No longer afraid,well, at least not for the same reasons that were there seven years ago. . .

You’re my gift.  I get so humbled when I think about my little girl self and see the woman that I am today.  God is so great.  He’s so good, so incredibly sweet to me to have built me to be a woman of great strength, wisdom, and power in my own right and then put a little polish on me when he gave me you.  I’m a movement by myself but I’m a force when we’re together.  ;0)

I’ll take this seventh anniversary as a chance to tighten my grip on your hand as we  move from waltzing to marching into our purpose.  And the beauty of it is that in this season, we’re a great deal clearer about what it is and how to do it.  SO here, we go!  So excited to see what this next chapter brings.

loving loving you,

pamela t.

The Marriage Letters are Coming Back!

So, just a few weeks ago, I went to a bridal shower given in honor of a new Fran, Ms. Jessica Orr.  It was really my pleasure and delight to spend time with her while some of the women she loves gathered to celebrate her.  She’s a sweet, funny, pretty, cRaZy woman who loves Jesus, likes to be called Jecca, and who cannot wait to marry this dear man she’s fallen in love with, Mr. Colton Janes.

There she is, kissing some other man . . . :0)

We sat talking and laughing, like ladies do at bridal showers, and she told me that she’d been on the blog.  She said that she really enjoyed the marriage letters and that she and her husband-to-be wanted to try and write marriage letters to each other once married.  :0)  So sweet, I thought to myself, and I was really encouraged that she felt so inspired by the letters.

Many of my Frans and readers have commented to me about the letters and so I thought that it would be a great idea to bring them back.  Huni and I really enjoyed them and they sparked a great deal of reflection and communication between the two of us.  Much of the hope that the originator, Amber Haines from therunamuck.com, hoped for the letters have come to pass in our marriage and others who’ve read the letters posted here.

Next Monday is our anniversary and, I felt, a great time to bring them back.  So, there it is!  The Marriage Letters are coming back!  Talking with my Fran, Rey, this weekend I got some good ideas about some topics to start me off, but I’d love to hear from any of you as well about some topics for the marriage letters.   Please leave your ideas in the comments.  For those of you who prefer, you can email me:  mrs.pthompson@gmail.com.

For more information on the marriage letters series, where it came from and why I joined and am excited to do it again, check out www.therunamuck.com, which is where I first got the idea and linked up every Monday in April, and also check the category titled “marriage letters” here on pamelluce for the letters previously written.

Marriage Letters: On Outside Influences

Huni,

Outside influences.  This is a good one.  Well, you took away my cable.  All the good influences are now so far from me . . . I can’t hear from them like I used to . . .Kardashians, Braxtons, Ice -T and Coco . . .  :0)     joking . . . tee hee hee . . .  :0D

I’m thinking of the sweet comment you made this past Saturday about one of your closest friends, wishing that he and his wife lived closer.  I wish they lived closer too.

I’m thinking of another of your close friends who has moved away and how I saw you grow and change as the two of you grew even closer while he was here.  I’ll miss him and his wife when they have completely transitioned to their new city.

I’m thinking of the couples with whom we spend our Thursday nights, the older couples in our life and other friends who form a circle around us and cover us with their love, encouragement and prayer.  The Lord has been so good to us, blessing us with people who love us, enjoy spending time with us, pour into us and are honest with us.  We have manifestations of Proverbs 27:17  all around.  And we are sharper.

As we’re being thoughtful and prayerful about this next transition in our lives, it’s important that we have relationships with people we can trust, with whom we can share what the Lord is doing in our lives and in our hearts.  There are so many outside influences clamoring to taint our bond, so we have to cling to Christ and be open to the people He gives us and the ways He chooses to love us and guide us through them.

We are a reflection of each other and our support groups are a reflection of who we want to be and what we can become.  If we want to be great, we have to surround ourselves with greatness.  Influence is a choice, but the people and objects that influence us can be subtle and therefore blur our ability to determine when something has changed the way we think or relate.  We need to be careful and protect our hearts and minds through prayer and the word.  If our marriage is a ministry, and through it the Lord can reach people, change and save their lives, we need to be driven closer to Him and closer to each other so that we can show up for Him and be effective.

I’m so grateful for who you are and the kind of people you attract.  We have a beautiful life partly because of the beautiful people in it.

Loving loving you,

pamela t.

This concludes the marriage letters for now.  Please visit http://therunamuck.com/2012/04/29/marriage-letters-on-outside-influences/  to read more letters.  The letter written by Amber today was just plain good.  Seriously.  A must read.

Marriage Letters: On Loss

Hey Huni,

I had to think about this one for a minute.  At first I was thinking, we haven’t really suffered any loss.  But then I remembered that we walked down the aisle in complete bliss and love but our faces were still moist from fresh fallen tears due to the hurt from mourning Grandma Willie Mae.  A few short months later, we were back at it again when we loss Granddaddy WJ.  And recently when I cried and said goodbye to Linda, you were there with hugs and prayers and “It’s gonna be okay” enough that I believed you.  So, we have experienced real loss as we said goodbye to people who had been in your life all of your life but who made an indelible mark on me in such a short time and vice versa.

But some how I felt that I should dig a little deeper and really think about other ways that we have experienced loss.  And I don’t mean to whine because by God’s grace we have had such a blessed life, but we have certainly had some losses from which to recover.  One that comes to mind is when we were expecting Izzie, had just moved back to NC from MD and there was just no money. None.  And the promise of money was like a watermark; hard to decipher and very uncertain.  Times were hard, but then they got harder!!  Whew!!  The threats and losses almost overwhelmed us.  The loss of peace of mind, security, and, at times, faith, was a sure sign of how much trust we needed to gain.  I am so thankful for you and how you stood strong, a man, the man, taking care of us and doing whatever it took to make sure that we were okay.  More than your efforts though, I appreciate your walk with Christ because that is what gave us strength to keep looking for hope when all signs read “Give up!”

I wouldn’t dare downplay losing comfort in comparison to losing people.  To lose any person is a priceless and irreplaceable loss. We face that every time we visit 410.  I am so thankful that I got to lose comfort with you first, though.  Having those extremely hard times with you made me feel a little safer in the case of a more tragic loss.  I have an example of how you’ll handle yourself and an illustration of your heart.  Lord knows that loss is not a way that I would choose to experience Him but I thank Him for you and pray that He’ll allow me to keep you when loss knocks again.  I’ve been learning so much about how God chooses to show us His love and you are one of the ways.  I’m grateful that I get to hold your hand to take some of the sting out of loss.  Thanks for all the ways you’ve been there so far.

Loving you,

pamela t.

Next Monday will be my last letter in this series.  This has really been some sweet writing for my marriage.  I am grateful to share it with whomever chooses to read it.  There are some other really good letters out there that have pulled me toward my husband in real ways and they may be a joy and a help for you to read as well.  Take a look at http://therunamuck.com/2012/04/23/marriage-letters-on-loss/.

Marriage Letters: I Trust You Because . . .

Huni,

I trust you.  And trusting is so hard for me to do.  Me?  Trusting anyone or anything?  Me, the one who’s been so dangerously betrayed by those who were supposed to be trustworthy.  The little girl in me always remembers that and she begs me to protect myself and trust no one.  I have had to fight fear and try so hard to receive your good and know that you are safe and it’s been a fight.  A struggle.  But I do trust you.  Or I, at least, am trying to because I know that it is important for our marriage and my growth, (and your growth, for that matter) and I try to live believing that you are trustworthy.

The first glimpse of just how trustworthy you are came after a series of Impact retreats and conferences.  I remember telling you that I appreciated how your character remained the same; when everyone was watching, and when it seemed that no one was watching (because I was watching . . .more than I care to admit :0)  I knew then that I could trust you to be yourself.  And that this cool guy with a heart for the Lord and great character, was truly that . . . and more.

That palpable sense of trust covered me still when, through our dating relationship, you showed me yourself, your family, your God, your heart, your love.  Emmanuel, you surrounded me, every time you got the chance, physically and emotionally.

And here we are, almost seven years into our marriage, but ten years of walking together, striving to know the other, striving to truly love one another and make each other happy and I know it, strong and sure:  you are trustworthy.  I’m thinking about how you let me lay all of my fear, shame, sin and ugliness before you and instead of judging me, you loved me and became angry for me, seeking a way to protect me from further hurt and harm.

So when I act like I don’t trust you, please continue to be patient with me and continue to love me through it.  This trust thing is a huge plunge for me.  At times it glides and at times skids, rough and rocky.  The opportunity to trust you is hardly about you, but more about all that that moment represents.  You think, “Pam, you know me.  You can trust me.”  I think, “You’re asking me to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and I don’t even exercise on a regular basis.”  Huni, I do know you.  You are the sweetest person I know.  I know you want good for me and you mean good for me and I want to allow those truths to blanket me and make me feel safe.  Because that’s trust’s right hand man–safety.  I’m the one in this situation who needs to work harder for the trust to flow better.

As I grow to show you how much I love you and trust you, I try to remind myself that it’s safe because your love for me is another way that God shows me that He loves me.  And I want to give you the same grace.  I want to lavish you in the freedom of knowing that I trust you to make good decisions for the health and benefit of the girls and me.  I want my love and trust for you to make you feel strong, confident and capable in the world, daily, because I know that God desires to use me to show you just how much He loves you and what He thinks of you.  What a privilege and a high calling to trust you and to represent Christ in loving you.  He loves you best, but He must think a great deal of me to give me the charge of loving a man like you.  I know that as I lean into Him and rely on Him, loving you and trusting you in a way that He desires will accomplish all that I hope for you, and greater, all that He has in store for you.

I love you E.T.

pamela t.

If you haven’t joined me yet, please consider writing your spouse a marriage letter.  This experience has been rich for me, to ponder these things, to share my ponderings with my husband and plant seeds on behalf of my marriage.  I’ve also enjoyed reading the letters of others and being encouraged at the glimpse of the way other marriages work.  Visit:  http://therunamuck.com/2012/04/15/marriage-letters-i-trust-you-because/  to see what I mean.