"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."~from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

APOLOGY to READERS who followed a SEARCH to HERE & didn't find it

On July 18, 2017, I drafted almost 3000 blog posts that I had published since 2008 when I began blogging, rather than edit each one. So if you clicked here from somewhere else and ended up with the post unavailable or error, I am sorry but this is why. It'd be too much work for me to go back and fix them. There's an explanation on 7/19/17 as I'm still learning.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

More RELATIONSHIP Words from Jesus Listens - Part 2

Part 1 - Back on August 1st, I shared a search from one of my favorite devotionals for 2022, "Jesus Listens" but only gave 13 of the 27 and even that was a bit over-whelming. Those were from January to July in the book (thus Mid Year review). Even though I compiled them for my August 1st post as a 'review', I had actually done this back in July. So today's Part 2, although I am working on this post only 10 days after I posted the first one, it's been a bit longer for me, since I did that post & search actually in July and I don't want to lose the rest of the 27 (which is not really 27, a few are used in one devo). {I realize I won't really lose them because I can search for RELATIONSHIP again - this seems to be the story of my life (lol)}

My real reason is to keep these before me as I continue my 2022 One Word focus on RELATIONSHIP. It's another one of those WORDs that you start but you know it just will continue, like STRENGTH from 2021 (and honestly most of my One Words still do since 2012). 

As I reread that first post and those 13, I found it to be a little overwhelming. I guess that's why reading one of "Jesus Listens" devotional each day is such a blessing, but doing the full book would be too much. I appreciate having a prayer with the scriptures and the pace for 
each day! I thought about doing each one on the actual day but then I might have to reflect and write more on each one (and I may) but for now, I am putting them all together here. I hope it might encourage you to get your own copy of "Jesus Listens" ... you won't be disappointed. In case you need to recall from that 1st post, these are only a quote from the prayer, with the word RELATIONSHIP, so reading it in full context will help you better. Continuing after July 17th with August 2nd:

"...This delightful discipline {*of praise and thanks} nurtures my soul and enhances my RELATIONSHIP with You  - providing an easy way for me to draw near You."~August 2, Jesus Listens, page 225.

* this concept of discipline is given in the part of the prayer prior to this part.

"...It's essential for me to remember that my problems are temporary but You are eternal-and so is my RELATIONSHIP with You."~August 16, Jesus Listens, 239

 "... As I keep focusing on You and enjoying the rich RELATIONSHIP You offer, my fear gradually subsides. I will trust and not be afraid, for You are my strength and my song." (Isaiah 12:2; I Samuel 30:6; Psalm 33:5) August 18, p.241

"...This practice of voicing my trust in You keeps me close to You..."September 6, Jesus Listens, page 261

"...This rich communication with You brings me real relief. It also strengthens my RELATIONSHIP with You and helps me find the way forward..."September 13, Jesus Listens, p.268

"Lord, please lead me beside quiet waters and restore my soul. Just as lovers can communicate deeply with very few words, so it is in my RELATIONSHIP with You-the Lover of my soul." September 27, Jesus Listens. page 282

I thought this would be a good prayer point to end this post, however, there is only one more RELATIONSHIP left for September ... and then only a few more from October - December (but I will wait until then for those few). The last one in September is even a better place to end. 

"... Gratitude enables me to perceive You more clearly and to rejoice in our Love- RELATIONSHIP. ..." September 29, Jesus Listens, page 284

Almost every one of these prayer parts are at or near the end of the prayer, except for this last one. In my mind, it's because Praise and Gratitude should always come first. In fact, a little praise, encouragement, good words and thankful hearts would help us in our earthly RELATIONSHIPS. It's just that the greatest praise and thanks goes to our Heavenly One first and always, no matter the circumstance, He is in control; He cares for you; He cares about your RELATIONSHIPS; He wants us to prepare our hearts and lives to look for the best in each other and do our best with all He has given us and does for us, including the RELATIONSHIPS that are most difficult (or when they are) so we can be Jesus to them or as most like Him as we are able and ask for His help, when we can't. 

Note: I will have to have one more of these blog posts later for the last ones from October - December. I have another book that I am reading day by day on my One Word "Change My RELATIONSHIP" that has 400 results in that search, which makes sense since it's a book on RELATIONSHIP - mostly our difficult human ones. I pray each of your RELATIONSHIPS is being changed and made better each day

Pastor Rick Warren & his Awesome Relationship is suppose to be ending today. I have some other RELATIONSHIP reading plans with You Version. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

(My) Best RELATIONSHIP is with God!

Last week (August 4-5, 2022), Pastor Rick began "Becoming Best Friends with God" on the Daily Hope Radio (podcast) broadcast and his devotionals. Because my very life, friendship and RELATIONSHIP with God are the most important, I have spent most of this year focused on that RELATIONSHIP. I'm pretty sure that when my One Word for 2022, became RELATIONSHIPS that God was suggesting (strongly) that I need much work on my earthly, human RELATIONSHIPS but He does not (at all) mind me deepening the RELATIONSHIP I have with Him so that He can help me with the others; guiding and showing me the areas and the people He hopes I work on. 

Trust me, I enjoy much more my Best Friend Jesus and spending more and better time with Him. Yet the fruit needs to show around the people He has placed strategically in my life to grow me, sharpen me and refine me for His Kingdom purposes. I could write at great length about God & Me, however, I just want to highlight in this blog post Pastor Rick's teachings to LISTEN or READ (in case you missed them) because I think you'll enjoy them as much as I do. It is the most AWESOME RELATIONSHIP - the one you have or begin with*God/Jesus/Holy Spirit:

Becoming Best Friends with God – Part 1 August 4, 2022  Becoming Best Friends with God – Part 2 August 5, 2022

Becoming Best Friends with God – Part 3  August 8, 2022

I'm pretty sure there's a Part 4 tomorrow (August 9) because Pastor Rick finishes 
on August 11th with this series.
UPDATE: It is actually

What Destroys Relationships and What Builds Them – Part 1 and Part 2 tomorrow

Pastor Rick wrote the following excellent devotionals about our RELATIONSHIP with God (August 5th - August 8th, 2022):

[and Pastor Rick ends with the opportunity to trust Jesus with your life]

I really enjoy the "Talk It Over" parts of these devotionals. So, I'm sharing the one from August 8 "... Value what He Values":

  • What gets in the way of you being a friend of God? What adjustments could you make in your thoughts or behavior to remove those barriers?
  • What’s more important to you than knowing God? Why do you value it more?
  • Describe the relationship you have with your best friend. How does it compare to the relationship you have with God?
  • What are some things that you know God values? How important are those things to you?
Perhaps, I should take the time to pause and think about my own answers truthfully - I pray that each day I live more in sync with God's values and living them out; caring about what God cares about ... if I were to answer any of these, it would be a complete blog post. If you'd like , you may share one in the comments and remain anonymous (lol). If you have a good human RELATIONSHIP, it may be a good topic of discussion. I will be talking them over with God, Himself. These "Talk It Overs" are excellent questions and thoughts, for small group discussions. Be encouraged that the God of the universe cares enough about YOU - to want to be your Friend; Love YOU freely and fearlessly; He cares about what matters to YOU and matters the most; God deserves your BEST time of each and every day; He values YOU and wants YOU to value Him and all He shares in His Word (Philippians 4:8).

 I really appreciate this article "12 Things Jesus Valued that We Must Value"  - just in case you need a prompt to respond to the question above. [Jesus and God - are the same] In fact above I placed an * because I wanted you, as a reader to know, it's important to deepen your RELATIONSHIP with the Triune God as Jesus, Father God, and the Holy Spirit. And yes, RELATE to all 3 as 1! Jesus told us that there is no way to the Father (God, the Father) except through Him. (John 14:6) and (John 10:30). Yes, Lord - Life, Peace, Love, Truth, Faith,  Service, Sacrifice, Gratitude, Prayer (which is communication with God)and Fasting; SOULS ... RELATIONSHIPS! I do value all these and hope that You continue to show me clearly all You value and how I need to value the importance of each to a hurting world.

Thank you, Reader for reading (and if you choose to share (wink, wink) 😉 in the comments any of the "Talk It Over" or whatever. God values YOU! God's best!

Friday, August 5, 2022


Pastor Rick Warren had another 2 great devotions that I read and really cherish but I did not write a blog post about either (until now), because I just don't have as profound thoughts as he shared ... but, boy - do I agree!!! So I wonder why don't I have more to add? Most likely, because although I can point to the lack in the other (or others), perhaps this points to me too. I know while in Mexico, I often asked God to give me more humility, like I saw in the Mexican people, especially the women I had the honor to meet (of course, it's not every woman but more the women than the men). Ouch! Do I dare even write that ... well, I did. So there - now back to the 2 devotionals, in order:

August 3, 2022

"Healthy Relationships Depend on Selflessness"

"Selfishness destroys relationships. It is the number one cause of conflict, arguments, divorce, and even war." ...

“The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life."Galatians 6:7-8 (The Message)

And after the beginning boxed quote:

James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (NIV). 

August 4, 2022

"Humility Builds Relationships"

"Pride destroys relationships. It shows up in a lot of different forms, like criticism, competition, stubbornness, and superficiality." ...

“Be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves.”   Philippians 2:3 (NCV)

I don't know if you have read these short devotionals by Pastor Rick Warren, and I considered (not really) copying it all and just adding my 2 cents after each line that strikes me (but I know better). I really do. 

Let me just add my 2 cents (and you can figure out to which part of his devotional I am referring to ...) [wink, wink] ... because when I wrote, I agree - I also might agree but have not experienced it. So, although I might like to shout "Amen" to what he shares, there are some places that I just might need to hold back, due to my inner head shaking, knowing that I've either seen or not seen this in my RELATIONSHIPS. Like the parts on the opposite of my title - Selfishness! Ouch! I swear as we get older, it seems that we tend towards being more selfish. I certainly know first-hand how selfishness destroys RELATIONSHIPS. Yet the other person, usually does not realize, admit or see themselves as selfish - in fact, they seem to think that they are very generous, giving far beyond what is deserved. Now, if we are Christians (at least in times past), you know that we do not deserve what God has given to us. Nowadays, sadly, too many are under the belief that they are privileged and entitled to more or better. [I will refrain from my views on this in our current society; but let me tell you, it's very hard for me to do this. Yet, I do not want to be like them in any way. However, that is also why there is so much destruction; too much deception and defensiveness; and way too much evil! (I should add a 'd' before that last word - devil). God help us.] There are more and more broken RELATIONSHIPS and way too much selfishness, bullying, negative remarks and comments instead of more mending, healing and positive words exchanged everywhere, but especially in social media. We have forgotten how to love like Jesus; we have forgotten how to relate or listen; we have forgotten how to build bridges and build up one another - out of our personal self-centered self (selfishness) - more of me, less to others. Whereas Pastor Rick shows us, we need less of "me" and more of "you" - selflessness - "thinking of others, more than yourself" and "putting their needs before your own". I have not seen that selflessness bring out the best in my relationship(s). I'd like to see this. I'd like healthy relationships! I'd like to be able to build trust or build back trust, but sometimes all the wishing or words just does not make it so. This does not mean that I don't agree or hope and pray that forgiveness will come in a visible way so that RELATIONSHIPS can be mended and move forward but reality is what it is. So I pray a little harder and work on selflessness anyway along with that humility. Great attributes (fruit to grow) in your life like these two, so we can build and not destroy the RELATIONSHIPS around us and the world so in need of Jesus - the real Jesus Christ and His attributes! 

You may notice that I chose to focus on the first devotional, rather than the second; but that's because I already mentioned about me and humility - it's just like me and some of the fruit of the Spirit, I need more of - like patience ... I do choose to allow Jesus Christ to control my thoughts, heart, attitude and reaction. Yes, it's that reaction that I really need His control more each and every day. Don't we all??Don't we need less reaction and more action? More waiting ... pause and let the Holy Spirit rise up and respond more Christlike (less like the d(evil)! We need to shine light in this darkness. We need to seek to be Spirit-controlled, not self and selfishly. We need to take off the spirit of pride - uproot it every time it rises up and seeks our way, like a spoiled child. We need to listen more, speak less and be ready to build, not tear down and destroy the differences between us but find a common bond ... a uniting force that Jesus Christ gives equally to each human being - one human race racing to the finish line and helping each other to get there too, together! One body under the humble authority of one Kingdom under God. I'm so thankful that we can encourage every RELATIONSHIP towards a more giving and generous understanding of inclusiveness, not being exclusive - acceptance, not more rejection and restriction. A healthy wholeness that wants RELATIONSHIPS healed and restored. Repentance and restitution to the many we have wronged. More and more aMazing Grace, like the grace that we are given each and every day! Honor others more than seeking for yourself - be humble like Jesus!

Thank you for reading! But I hope you read from Pastor Rick's devotionals to receive a message for you and yours, for hearts joined together, working to better our lives, not take away from others - in order to do this; but to find strength to build RELATIONSHIPS that will last and love more deeply (selflessly and humbly)!

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Listening in Relationships

On August 2nd (2022), after re-evaluating my RELATIONSHIPs and deciding that I will start anew, with a different perspective about one of my RELATIONSHIPS (the most difficult one), Pastor Rick's Daily Hope devotional (in my email as well) was:

To Love, You Have to Listen

Living in a household with two people that are hard-of-hearing, but both have hearing aides - just don't always have them in; and also very hard-headed (meaning stubborn and set in their own ways), so listening and hearing are very key every day issues and frustrations. As I was reading Pastor Rick's words, there is so much(so you really need to read it in full if this is an issue for you, too-it's brief) but this just stands out:

 ... "You can hear something and not really be listening. " ...

In our case, it is both - can't hear very well, even when we think we do; and also we hardly ever listen well. One of us tries more than the other. Frequently, we just want what we're saying to be heard. Because of this, I have a notebook, where I frequently write out brief message, yet sometimes the response is long. I really try not to write at great lengths (contrary to my blog posts-lol) and really try to focus on the most important. Mostly because if what I write strikes a sore spot, I use to get pages of response. I asked for him to write those on separate pages, not in the notebook. The notebook is meant for short, informative messages. I tend to stay with that, but at times I find myself doing like he did, reacting. Since I established this written communication to avoid flare-ups or any arguments, I need to hold back often from writing, too. 

I so agree with Pastor Rick's first statement: 

"Listening is probably the most important skill in building friendships and relationships."

Both of us, as educators, were highly involved in Human Relation classes that included Communication as a large component of it (60 hours required by the State of Minnesota). This was/is a very important common interest and value for both of us (so I thought; without really noticing it was kind of one-sided - "I talk, You listen", which carries through until today). I struggle to get my chance to speak or that I won't be able to, so I speak fast (without consideration at times and interrupt) to get my part in and because of poor habit, I also speak loud to be heard. I know that both are inexcusable as bad habits of mine, which I try to work on and be aware when I am doing it. Being short of patience, is a fault of mine also. I am just saying this because I know I need to work on this especially if my emotions are involved; and that God is helping me work on this. He allows me much grace, so I, too, must allow grace.

However, the most important statement from Pastor Rick for me, that goes with this problem of mine (ours) is: 

... "Listening with empathy means you listen without interruption and you listen for what’s not being said—the feelings and fears behind the words. And you don’t need to try to fix the situation; sometimes healing comes just from someone listening! "


This is a good message - much needed by yours truly!

Listening without listening to the other is a one-side dialog, not a conversation.
Often, in my case, it's not even a dialog, but a lecture or teaching point
that I need to hear/ pay attention.  Whereas, when I speak, I usually am expressing feelings or asking about something.

This is when a RELATIONSHIP becomes a RELATIONSHIP.
When it's mutual listening and sharing.

The word RELATIONSHIP has RELATE as its root word. 
So "relating" is part of this -
"Relate" means to make or show a connection 
and feel sympathy with as you identify with ... 

Make Listening an integral part of your mutual RELATIONSHIP(s)!


A Side Note: In 2022, I have been enjoying a Daily Devotional that I frequently have shared on here - "Jesus Listens". I know and have known that Jesus Listens, my problem is to be still and know - how to LISTEN to Him. Hmmm - same problem (sigh, ouch)! I really do try to do this as well as I am working on it with the human relationships, but when I am still, giving Him (God) a chance to speak (not audibly, but by His Spirit within me), my mind starts to wander and ramble on and I lose staying focused, waiting in the silence to hear Him. I get anxious, I guess, in the waiting and not hearing. Or not thinking He will speak. Then there are times that I hear Him speaking in so many ways and connecting what I read in His Word with other devotionals and email messages - as if He is speaking to me from all sides just to get my attention. I will do better Lord! If I want to be heard or given attention, I must do the same first. 

"Lord, help me to be especially sensitive to my hearing skills. May I listen twice as much as I speak, but yet be very liberal in applying Your keys to all my life situations. Whenever You return, I pray I’ll be ready and so will my household. In Jesus name, Amen." {from a YV plan}

As I am writing to publish this, Pastor Rick Warren has finished the Awesome Families parts 1-4; and moved forward to our Relationship with God. "Becoming Best Friends with God - Part 1". I was going to wait until Friday, and give you a break in reading my posts, but I never know when something I hear or read in Awesome Relationships will inspire me to write again. Thank you for reading. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

"You Can Fake Religion But Not A Relationship"

Very recently, I read a devotional with this title "You can fake religion, but not a RELATIONSHIP", which is similar to the Christian cliché that I'm guilty of using: "Christianity is not a religion, it's a RELATIONSHIP". Once again, this stuck with me, like "Strong Marriages...", so I was mulling it over because what the devotional mentioned just wasn't enough for me. As you know, this causes me to go on a 'google search' and so I did, but I'd like to share my own opinions and thoughts about this.

First, as regards the part, "you can fake religion" ... sadly this is so true, and more and more true, in the days in which we live.  "A group of people adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices qualifies as a religion", according to an author at GTY (Grace to You), close to the definition by Merriam-Webster. I think most of us can agree with this definition. In the devotional, I think the main point was stated in the sentence: "... we can fake religion all day long and for our entire lives if we want; it's called posing." So, I looked up what 'posing' means and found: to assume a particular attitude or stance, especially with the hope of impressing others. I definitely have found this to be true in the Church, or with people faking that they are religious or affiliated with such-and-such religion, as if it absolves them from a situation or being responsible. They are very good about picking up the Christian terminology and using Biblical quotes, many times out-of-context. On one hand they say one thing, but on the other hand, they act differently - also known as a 'Pharisee' or a 'hypocrite' or as another cliché says: they "talk the talk, not walk the walk". Good at saying the right things but not behaving in the way they themselves suggest. I, even know a RELATIONSHIP that had a great influence in my life and even in the life of my children, who spoke professionally about building self-esteem and other human relation topics, but in that person's home life, or personal life, it was entirely different and esteem was lacking. So it happens in non-religious ways also. We all need to do better "to walk the talk"; and not fake it. Back in 2017-2018, I read and reviewed a book "No More Faking Fine", which we also do too often. So yes, we do and can fake religion, likewise, "The Difference between Real Faith and Fake Faith by Pastor Rick Warren, explains this. The passages in scripture given in the devotional are Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV); with Matthew 28:8-10 and Revelation 3: 20.

The second part, about faking ... a RELATIONSHIP, I think is speaking about a RELATIONSHIP with God through Jesus. A REAL RELATIONSHIP! Because in real life, I have to disagree - because I believe that there are "fake RELATIONSHIPS". In fact, I 'google searched' and right away came up with millions of results like: "20 Signs You're in a Fake Relationship" and "15 Ways to Identify You are in One"I must admit, that I have not read them (i didn't want any more ideas-lol) - I just needed verification that I was right that people do fake RELATIONSHIPS. Thus, "You Can Fake Religion But Not A Relationship" is not true completely. I have read and reread the devotional, trying to understand or find out what I'm missing, and my conclusion is that it must be referring to a spiritual RELATIONSHIP only because human RELATIONSHIPS are capable of faking a lot. "Religion Vs Relationship" clears this up much better. I really enjoy what their image quote says, because being in Church, does not mean you have a RELATIONSHIP and not always will it indicate you have a RELIGION and not being in Church, does not necessarily mean that you don't.   (especially since Covid-19) {Yes, we do need fellowship and gathering together with like minds but we still can worship, be in the Word daily, and be with God everywhere. Worship is Life. Living it.}.

Also reading a Catholic response to "Is Christianity about Relationship, not religion?" by Father Mike Schmitz, is interesting and helpful for me (having been raised as a Catholic). It gives me that perspective. 

It was even more interesting to see that the results in my initial search turns out with some other related links of Religious compatibility and RELATIONSHIP. But this opens up a whole other topic of diverse opinions and of great length (for a different time).Yet, as regards my own life, it clearly does and did impact me greatly.


When I began writing this post, I had a different thread or purpose in mind, I started agreeing with the title, yet this is where I was led. Glad I worked through it. As you might be able to tell, I am doing quite a bit of soul-searching as regards my RELATIONSHIPS. It helps me in sorting out my thoughts to write it out especially when my own RELATIONSHIP and my spiritual life have been greatly affected; but my religious beliefs are an integral part of me. I have not always lived up to my RELIGION in my RELATIONSHIPS yet I also have tried not to be fake about either. Sometimes I am overly honest and at other times, I have not been until later. It has stained my spiritual walk. My Christianity is not fake, it is based on what I believe from the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ. For me, being a Christian means following Jesus Christ - His Way & His teachings, the best I can. I hope through the MESSES of my life journey that this blog has shared, I have begun to walk the talk better. Maybe I need to go back and read some of the articles I linked. But I choose not to be a FAKE - in my Religion and in my RELATIONSHIPS and also as Esther Fleece wrote: "No More Faking Fine ... Ending the Pretending"! 

I hope that if we have a RELATIONSHIP, you find it and me to be REAL. If not, we need to work on it, right? I know that day by day, my RELATIONSHIP with God, is vital to me and very REAL, and getting better. I pray yours is also. If not, having a real RELATIONSHIP with God, is available always. If you need help, scroll down and follow the links in "Do You Know Jesus".

Thank you for reading. 


Monday, August 1, 2022

Mid -year 'RELATIONSHIP' Review from Jesus Listens - Part 1


The week of the 4th of July, I decided to do a search for RELATIONSHIP in the "Jesus Listens" devotional (since, besides having the actual book and reading it daily, I got a great deal on the Kindle ebook, which allows one to search). The search highlighted 27 references starting on January 4th through December 26th. Some of them were in the same devotion, so I have decided that I would share the key sentences from these prayers with the Word RELATIONSHIP - mainly because they focus on my RELATIONSHIP with God, which, as I've stated, has been my first and main area to center on this far in 2022. Since half the year is rapidly gone, I will continue with my God RELATIONSHIP as I expand now to those earthly RELATIONSHIPS (that I have avoided facing or working on; as to what God desires to do in each RELATIONSHIP). I hope that I will begin shifting my godly RELATIONSHIP principles to those here on earth while staying attuned to that Awesome RELATIONSHIP with God (the Father, Son & Holy Spirit) and refining all my RELATIONSHIPS to reflect the influence that God has given me.

Here are some of the results of "Jesus Listens" as regards RELATIONSHIP:

"I've discovered that You are the SomeOne who can satisfy my deep-seated longings. In my RELATIONSHIP with You, I become more completely who I really am." January 4th, Jesus Listens

"My RELATIONSHIP with You has been secure ever since I trusted You as my all-sufficient Savior. Help me remember that I a Your beloved child - this is my permanent identity." February 10, Jesus Listens 

♬"The More I love You, the More I seek You,
The More I seek You, the More I love You"🎝

"Telling You all my struggles enhances my RELATIONSHIP with You and creates a peaceful intimacy." March 25, Jesus Listens 

"Instead of weighing myself down with matters that are not my responsibility, I yearn to make my RELATIONSHIP with You my primary focus. Please remind me to talk with You about whatever is on my mind, seeking Your perspective on the situation. Rather than trying to fix everything around me ..." March 27, Jesus Listens 

"I've been learning that my intimate RELATIONSHIP with You is a powerful antidote to feelings of loneliness." April 19, Jesus Listens 

"I've found that thanksgiving and praise put me in proper RELATIONSHIP with You - opening the way for Your Joy to flow into me as I draw near You in worship." May 9, Jesus Listens

"My RELATIONSHIP with You transcends all my circumstances!" ... "And help me really believe - in the depths of my being - that my adequacy rests in my RELATIONSHIP with You, Lord" May 10, Jesus Listens

"When I choose to talk with You about the situation, I'm blessed in several ways. First, communicating with You - in all circumstances - strengthens my RELATIONSHIP with You." May 19, Jesus Listens 

"Knowing I'm perfectly, eternally loved improves my RELATIONSHIP with others and helps me grow into the person You designed me to be." May 30, Jesus Listens

"In You I have found Joy Inexpressible and full of Glory! Thisamazing Joy is available nowhere else; I find it only in my RELATIONSHIP with You." June 7, Jesus Listens 

"An ungrateful attitude dishonors You and weakens my RELATIONSHIP with You. Help me remember that I am receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken - no matter what is happening in my life or in the world." June 12, Jesus Listens 

"Help me to be joyful always and pray continually. I've learned that the only way I can keep rejoicing is to find moment-by-moment pleasure in my RELATIONSHIP with You - the One who is always with me. This RELATIONSHIP is so full of comfort and encouragement that it's possible for me to be joyful in hope even when I'm struggling with adversity." ... "Thanking You in every situation strengthens my RELATIONSHIP with You and increases my Joy." July 12, Jesus Listens 

"Through spending time with You, I begin to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is Your love for me. Sometimes the RELATIONSHIP You offer me seems too good to be true. You pour Your very life into me, and all I have to do is receive You." July17, Jesus Listens 

I only shared through July for now, don't want to get ahead of myself.

I noticed or re-realized how much my RELATIONSHIP depends on an Awesome God as I re-read these and made them my RELATIONSHIP prayer and also how no human RELATIONSHIP could or should compare, although we really should exemplify the beautiful concepts of how complete His Love is and no human can fill that place in us - it's meant just for God! Our expectations in our human RELATIONSHIPS should not place that person in that role or believe or treat them like they should reach or comply. After all, they're only human, and so are we. At times, our human RELATIONSHIPS have wounded us and left us expecting more; (and then others have healed us) leaving us still with residual of the difficult RELATIONSHIPS - yeah, we carry the side effects (baggage) in the next & the next until we heal. So, it seems we need support, counsel and life-changing RELATIONSHIP principles, in order to respond differently and truly transform those difficult ones through biblically-based principles as our guide; and there's no better example than Jesus!

The Bible says plenty about RELATIONSHIPS, yet too many of us hold misconceptions of what it really says and what is right in response to the many dilemmas we face. I have finally learned, after years, that I can only change myself (which is difficult enough) so I certainly shouldn't think that I can change the other one in the RELATIONSHIP, who I think should change (they probably do too), but only God can make the changes in them through His Spirit at work in them. There's nothing or no way I can change someone else. So here's where I begin on my other RELATIONSHIPS - by me CHANGING, and maybe I will Change My Relationship(s) - one day at a time, one RELATIONSHIP at a time. I want to become healthy in my RELATIONSHIPS for the rest of my life journey and 2022 will help me reinforce, remind, and renew the right and best ways to apply the knowledge to living it out better with God's help and guidance by His Holy Spirit. 

I commit to my RELATIONSHIP changes starting today 

August 1, 2022 
(the anniversary of one of the RELATIONSHIPS I need to change, God willing) 

[This was a review of my readings but also of my progress. So how am I doing with my RELATIONSHIPS? God & me 8+ with OTHERS 4-...needs improvement]

So, this is just a beginning of my RELATIONSHIP review - it's the real-life review that counts the most! Jesus IS Listening, for this I am so thankful, now I need to do a better job of listening to Him. 

*** I hope you remembered that the Jesus Listen has/had this Discussion Guide available on Kindle for free. Although I have only shared the LOVE Discussion, there are 10 more: Peace, Health, Discipline, Joy, Freedom, Healing, Humility, Community, Obedience, Responsibility. Also available on the Jesus Calling website. Maybe it's time for me to do some more of this.

postdate: On August 2nd, Pastor Rick Warren's devotional -  "To Love, You Have to Listen"

[Sorry, for 2 posts in one day. I did not realize this was set for today too, because this is a little past Mid Year, which should have been a month ago, but this was a good time for me to review in this way. This post was here though since the beginning of July, whereas my 1st post today, was not and was more of a therapeutic one for me to write.]

Restoration Celebration Some Day


{this originally was the title when I started this post} No More Anniversary Celebrations on August 1st ... For years! No surprise. An awkward moment for others as to what to say or whether to send a card, and yet I have finally become accustomed to the fact that it won't be celebrated or even acknowledged by the other half, however I still consider it a momentous event in my life. There are many reasons (that I won't go into today) but today marks 46 years of marriage, that we will not be celebrating it together. One of us, does not even think of us as being married, just living or sharing a house together, I guess out of necessity or obligation. Yes, we both have failed in many ways our married life, but we are still legally married and live together.

A few years back, after returning from Mexico, I decided I would mark this day with another reason to celebrate, or better yet I chose to go out and get me a new car. I really needed one since my 1996 Ford van barely made it home. In fact, it was loaded to the brim with some of my earthly possessions and my 3 dogs, when it broke down completely 2 hours from the border. It was the transmission, so that's a pretty big part to have to fix, but I did & made it back to Minnesota. It just was not going to make it much further. Because of this, I felt justified in purchasing a 2007 Dodge Caliber, which only made it until this past winter. But each year since I got it, I had something to celebrate on the 1st of August, my new car. When I finally took it to a repair shop, I was told it wasn't fixable and that they would not even allow or be liable for me driving it home. This sounds pretty much like my marriage. What a sad comparison! Not too many of you would compare your marriage to a vehicle. It was all rusted out underneath. So has my marriage been for many years. Underneath the main frame, the foundation of my marriage, was corroding. It never had been built solid with the necessary basics, nor was it maintained, until it was totally in a state of bad condition beyond repair and all warning signs had gone unnoticed. So this year, I no longer thought I'd have my Caliber car and the date to celebrate on my anniversary. But, lo and behold, a special young friend and mechanic, told me that he would pick up the car and tow it home to find out if it was salvageable, because he's good at restoration of vehicles. I wasn't sure about the timing or if I could ever trust it again, so when another vehicle became available that I thought I could afford, I purchased a new 2013, but not on any significant date. Meanwhile, he found out that he could, and DID restore the 2007 Caliber. I only wish the same could be said of my marriage. 

SO, Believe it or not, I decided to do a 'google search' about the celebration alone on this day ... and there were millions of results. I was shocked! The first one was from Wiki How with "12 Ways to Celebrate An Anniversary in a Bad Marriage". WOW! Many I have tried in the last half of our marriage. I was not sure if my non-existent marriage relationship qualified as bad ... or what? But I decided I needed to read this and some of the other results given. You would think by now, I might be able to come up with my own ideas on how to celebrate alone. It seems like most of my adult life, I've had to learn to substitute ways to celebrate and make this occasion and others memorable and enjoy the day, by myself or with other special people in my life, without revealing always the event or that I was celebrating. By reading through the google search results and choosing to read some, I found out, I am not alone and that there are other kinds of reasons that people are befuddled about what to do (alone) on their anniversary. Another one I found helpful to share: "Surviving An Anniversary..."

The day is still significant to me! It will always be a mark in a significant way to my life journey. I have invested many years into staying on course, or returning to the course, like the prodigal story in the Bible. I am content to no longer think that our marriage is salvageable, or believe in the happy-ever-after in my marriage. Years ago, no - decades, I decided that rebuilding takes more than one and that the term: irreconcilable or incompatible described this relationship. In fact, I concluded, what I already knew deep inside ... that it was never meant to be. Yet God in His mercy and grace, has been faithful to me, and the promise of Romans 8:28 that God works for our good in all things, and He has throughout all these 46 years of marriage and more years invested in this relationship, He will. I have seen the good and the people and circumstances that God has allowed in my life to help me through this... for better, and for worse; for richer or for poorer; in sickness and in health ... God gives me the hope and strength; the love and perseverance to press on. Waiting while God continues to work in each of us; the best is yet to be and worth celebrating, God's faithfulness and His promises of restoration. With God, through Jesus Christ, nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26) and He, who began a good work in me, is faithful to carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6 and 2:13), I believe and hold on to God's Promises, and await even Joel 2:25 of restoration. That's worth celebrating! 

[Why even write a post like this?]

In case, like I, someone else needs to be encouraged in their emptiness, as I was as I read Wiki and others in my search. I truly was flabbergasted. I understood the ones about spouses after death (or divorce, which is a death of sorts) BUT in a marriage struggling or bad or on the rocks, I could not even fathom that there would be much or anything. I just knew that today I needed to stop and write something - for me, and hopefully that one other who needed this hope in an endless trail of disappointment, regret, chaotic life choices, whatever hurts. God can heal and will restore, if we give it to Him (one day at a time - sometimes one second, minute or hour at a time) until the release comes and we know. He never fails, He always forgives, He is with us in the good and the bad, we can depend on Him! He is faithful! He still redeems! 

[* image - where I enjoyed my delicious anniversary dinner, with dried up flowers (dead, symbolic) I've saved since Mother's Day, but not from my spouse or our children. This is near my spot on our deck, where my new pup can join me. The card I gave him was tossed out. It was a personal note to go with a book I gave him, "Streets of God" (he did keep that). I then left on this top 10 weather day to a special lake spot a little north from here with Bella (pronounced Bay-yah), our new pup, she'll be 1 year old at the end of the month]  

To my faithful visitors;
all of you who spend your valuable time here with me
I do appreciate you so much!

Thank you for taking your time to visit!

Love, Sweet blessings & Hugs!