Beginnings: When a Daughter is Given Marriage (Guest Blog by Mary Wilson)

Mary is devoted Christian who desires to daily walk a life that brings glory to her risen Savior.  She is wife to Jeff and mother of two adult daughters, Emily and Katie.  She currently works full-time as an interior designer. She has spent many years serving in youth ministry as well as women’s ministries in the church fellowships where she has served.  Having a heart for teaching, she has enjoyed the positions she has held. She has participated in several mission trips, three of which that has taken her overseas.  She can be reached thru her blog, elegantbutsimple.wordpress.com. 

My youngest daughter Katie  married last month.  She was the first in our immediate family and the first wedding on either side of our family in 22 years.  We had not experienced the planning, preparation, and detailed work that went with a wedding.  Nor the joy and emotion surrounding the giving and taking of a bride.

For my husband Jeff and I, the prayers through her growing years had been answered.  She married a young man, Tyler, whom we love as our own, and on some days I would tell friends that I love him more than my own children.  He is a Christian, devoted to his faith and heading toward a life in the pastorate.  He is tall, a Texan who stands strong in his beliefs and a man that will care for and love our baby through their married years of life.  All sound reasoning,  in my head. But this season’s passing also started a beginning of a struggle in my own heart.

 In Genesis 2:24 it is written:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  (Genesis 2:24 ESV)

And the two shall become one flesh.   Katie is no longer responsible to the family she grew up in but now will submit to her husband and tend to the affairs of her household.  All the days of preparation really don’t prepare this young bride, nor her family, for the transition that will take place.  In the passing of time, as she comes and goes from her new home and a new routine begins, so does a new life together.  Although still a part of our family, I now had to recognize that my job as her mom was to love and support them, holding them closely to my heart as I lift them in consistent prayer and be there for counsel.  Her new beginning in some respects, however, also marked an ending to an old way of life.

As much as I considered it an ending, I also recognized this is God’s design.  And as a wife and a mother, I know that through the years of raising our girls, my job as a Christian was to model for them what they were to become.  My job, as I had always known it, was ending.  Her job was just beginning.  Tears never really flowed for me as she walked down the aisle to her future, because my heart was at peace.

In this life change, I also recognized there was a beginning for me as well.

In the days before her wedding, I reflected on what scripture teaches concerning the model of the older women teaching and training the younger women.  We read in Titus that:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5 ESV)

As her mother, my job is different now.  As much as I know Katie’s adjustment to married life will be smoother with the loving support of her family, my place in her life has become that of a teacher/trainer.  I never feel that God really calls us to an end.  As one of my loving pastors taught me , “When God closes a door, He always opens a window.” 

What I have learned is that we both are experiencing a beginning.  I do not see her every day.  My role is not a day-to-day responsibility as before, but my encouragement will be more important than ever. As her counsel, teacher and trainer, my job is to point her to her God-given job of supporting and loving the man she has married, encouraging her to be self-controlled, pure, kind and submissive.  She now walks alongside me in this role. I am further along than her, but both of us have the same responsibility.  She has now become closer to me with this new beginning in understanding.  The ending to this story? I have been transformed by God’s peace  to fulfill a new job description, one that only He can do.

Two Faces of Social Networking

image via blog.hudsonhorizons.com

I was one of those people. . .who said they’d never sign up for Facebook or Twitter. . .who said if I did, I wouldn’t get hooked and spend hours of time pouring over my friends’ entries. . .I was wrong.

I thought I would be the classic lurker, coming out only occasionally to say what I thought. By nature, I am normally kind of introverted and am not really sure if what I have to say is worthwhile.

But these sites have proven to me that I am more of a social creature than I thought.

So many of my “friends” are brothers and sisters in Christ, either from my present local body of believers or from past churches where we’ve served. Others are friends from the long past who now serve God where God’s placed them. It has been refreshing—no, a kick—to see where God has taken people, what God is doing through these folks. Their stories have built my faith to a higher level and made me grateful for our God who hears and answers us!

Not only that, but I have met new believers from around the globe. . I am not a world traveler or important person. . . yet I get to glimpse into the hearts of other believers, find out about their struggles and victories in the faith.

Yet, as with all things that humans create, social networking has its downsides, too. . .I hate to admit it, but I struggle at times with not so much the things that are written there, but the things that aren’t.

Like, What did she really “mean” by that?. . . Why doesn’t he ever comment on something I post?. . .  Lord, WHERE ARE ALL MY FRIENDS?!?

It’s enough to drive one over the edge & I think that’s just what the enemy would like. So, I step away from the paranoia and wrong thinking, for a while, while the Lord does some renewing of my heart and mind where it should be. . . .I want to be an encourager in Christ’s kingdom, not a detriment to it.

This year, I am establishing new boundaries. . .I will try (!) to limit myself to specific times of the day to the sites. . .at lunchtime while I’m taking a break anyway, I can read and eat at the same time. . .then in the evening for a quick look to see any updates, then I’ll shut it down to pursue other evening activities.

It’s easy to drive yourself crazy with this kind of stuff, though. . . Have you ever found yourself on both sides of the Facebook Fence? In a Twitter Tussle? Know you’re not alone. . . .

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

Under the Terebinth Tree

image via lajupaulk.3.blogspot.com

“Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abizerite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress.” Judges 6:11, NKJV

The Bible says the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree on Joash’s property where Gideon was working that day.

Terebinth trees are mentioned several times in the Bible.  A terebinth tree is similar to an oak tree, according to an article in The Jewish Encyclopedia,  and “originally denoted large, strong trees .”

One sturdy tree or stand of such trees provided shade, indicated the presence of water, and served as a convenient topographical landmark, before days of modern-day maps.

A good place to put down roots. A comfortable place to live one’s life, in the shade of a tree.

That’s exactly where the Angel of the Lord confronted Gideon.

Where He revealed a daring new plan to Gideon, where it took more than a little convincing of the reluctant warrior and future judge to get onboard.

Biblical scholars designate such an appearance of the Angel of the Lord as a miraculous visitation of the preincarnate Jesus Christ, in an event called a theophany.

This theophany didn’t occur on a high, holy festival day or even a Sabbath day, when Gideon might have been meditating on or worshipping God.

No, it was just an ordinary workday while Gideon was down in a hole, doing what he needed to do. Albeit, it was in a difficult time of Israel’s history when the Midianites ruled Israel and times were hard. Kind of like today.

What about you? Has God confronted you at your own terebinth tree?

Has God ever asked you to do something difficult, uncomfortable, or perhaps even “dangerous” for Him when you weren’t expecting it? We’d love to hear about your terebinth experience.

When believers share faith stories, it affirms our belief in the greatness of our God– our God is always at work! (All stories and comments appreciated.)

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

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