~I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.--Revelation 3:8~

This Month's Thoughts for:

Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.

Psalm 43:3 NIV

Body-Now that all of the holiday celebrations are nearly over, it's time to look at taking care of ourselves. If you haven't already been, you need to find the right balance in life so that you can have time for exercise and to strengthen yourself.

Mind-Whether you're a student or a graduate, it's never too late to learn something new. Keep your eyes and ears open so that you may find guidance through God's word.

Spirit-Take time each day to pray and talk to God. He hears you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Featured Short Story: A Glutton for Punishment by Rebecca Benston

Jane Anderson sat in the kitchen looking out the window of her small, third-floor apartment. She had been looking out at the parking lot where her car had been just two hours earlier. Everything had been okay two hours ago. Or at least, it was as okay as it could be under the circumstances. Jane was going through a divorce.

The whole thing had come as a complete surprise to her. She had been sitting home with her two year old daughter Emma one day, doing her normal daily routine when her husband had come home from work. He’d moped around for the better part of the evening and after a few hours; he had disappeared into their bedroom. When he reappeared twenty minutes later, he was carrying a suitcase and a duffel bag. Both appeared to be full and he headed straight for the coat rack by the apartment door.

“Where are you going?” she had asked, puzzled at this turn of events.

“I’m leaving, I don’t want to be here anymore,” he had said. And that was the extent of the explanation she was given. He had disappeared into the night and she didn’t hear from him for several days. She was confused. They had a good life together. The apartment was average, they had two cars that ran, they were able to put food on the table and everything had seemed fine.

He called her three days later on a Friday to tell her that he would be dropping off some diapers for Emma. He said that he hadn’t changed his mind and that he wanted to get a divorce. Jane was devastated. The two of them had just celebrated their third anniversary a couple of months back and everything had been fine. She asked him what had caused him to make this decision and he replied that he simply wasn’t in love with her anymore.

Jane was a nervous wreck. Aside from the fact that she had virtually no work experience, she was often ill and she had no way to support herself and her young daughter now that her husband was gone. Her counselor listened attentively during their sessions and even gave her information about support groups that she could attend. It didn’t help though. Jane still felt like the rug had been pulled out from under her.

One evening, Jane’s friend, Sissy Duncan called her to say that she was back in town and that she wanted to get together. After some consideration, Jane called her neighbor, Zsa Zsa Dresback and asked her if she wouldn’t mind looking after Emma.

Jane dressed in a simple black pantsuit with low heeled shoes and a few pieces of costume jewelry. Nothing gaudy, just a little something to give her some sparkle. When Zsa Zsa knocked on the door, she told Jane to have a great time and to stay out as long as she liked. Jane thanked her, and then kissed Emma’s cheek before heading out the door. She headed downstairs. She hardly ever went out and she really needed some advice from them. She got into her car, a newer sedan that she and Pete had purchased only six months back, and drove in the direction of downtown.

She was headed for the Tiger Lily Lounge, a local hangout for singles. Sissy and her friends had been meeting here for drinks every other month or so for the last ten years. Jane was new to the group, having met Sissy at the local gym during a last ditch attempt at keeping her last New Year’s resolution. The two had hit it off immediately and Sissy had invited her to meet the rest of the girls. Jane had immediately liked Kate and Lola. They were just average, middle-aged women trying to make sense of being single in a society that was overrun with substandard dating material. When she arrived, she saw the group sitting at a table near the bar. She headed across the room and took a seat at the table.

“Hey, ladies,” she said, halfheartedly. She was on the verge of tears. Just the sight of a friendly face had nearly crippled her. She didn’t know what to say to them. They only knew her as the married one who didn’t say much about her home life.

“Hey, how are you?” Sissy said, getting up to come around the table and give her a quick hug. “Are you holding up okay?”

“Yeah, hon,” said Kate, “what can we do to help?” Her southern drawl made Jane feel as though she genuinely cared, even though they had really only spoken to one another a couple of times.

“You know, we can help,” said Lola, “What’s been happening?”

Jane looked from one to the other and took a deep breath. “He’s threatening to take our daughter, and everything else he can get. Our final hearing is set for next week and from what they said the last time, he’s got every right to take the car and anything else he wants. What about my rights, damn it? I don’t work outside the home, so I don’t have any rights, I guess,” she said. The words poured out and as she laid out the details of the separation, the ladies faces grew dark and she noticed that Sissy’s smile had turned into a scowl. Sissy laid a hand on top of hers and said, “Let’s all take a ride.”

The ladies went out to the parking lot and got into Sissy’s shiny, new SUV. Once inside, Sissy drove them to a secluded spot just outside of town and parked the vehicle. They were parked at the edge of a local reservoir park in one of the lots that overlooked the water. Sissy turned around and said, “Listen, you’ve known us long enough now and it really seems like you need our help. Can I trust you to keep this just between us?”

Jane shrugged and said, “Sure, what are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about a solution to your problems,” she said and the smile returned to her face.

Stay tuned for more of the story...

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Tips on healthy living, healthy loving and healthy habits!

Healthy Relationships: Where do you fit in?

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 New International Version

In relationships, we are all put to the test in one way or another. Whether we are being taught a lesson in trusting others or in learning to love selflessly, we must always be on the lookout for signs that the enemy is lurking nearby. Sometimes what we think might be one of God's tests for us is actually our own ego struggling to overpower His influence in our lives.

If you are fighting constantly over the same issues with your significant other, take a step back and ask yourself, "What would God want me to do here?" It could be that He wants you to take enough pride in yourself to stand up for your right to be respected in the relationship. Maybe you need to step up and express your dissatisfaction with the way you are being treated in order to make your loved one understand what you need. Or maybe you are with someone who is treating you unfairly and God wants you to guard your heart.

If your usual tendency is to run away from a relationship when you aren't 100% satisfied with the other person's behavior, this could be an indicator that you aren't being realistic in your expectations. No one is perfect and learning to love one another's flaws as well as one's gifts is part of a healthy relationship.

A great resource for you to check out if you are having difficulty sustaining relationships is "Safe People" by Townsend and Cloud. I am currently going through a Bible Study with some ladies and we are using this book as our guide. There is alot of great information about boundaries and how to identify traits in others who may be unsafe for us. If you get a chance, check this one out.

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