~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.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Featured Short Story: A Glutton for Punishment by Rebecca Benston (Chapter Four)

When Sissy answered the phone, Jane said only two words, “Go ahead.”
Sissy answered her with a very succinct, “Consider it done.” With that, she hung up the phone. It was too late to turn back at this point and truthfully, Jane didn’t want to. She just wanted Pete to get what was coming to him. A couple of weeks passed and Jane didn’t hear anything from anyone. She wasn’t sure what, if anything had happened. Maybe they hadn’t done anything. Maybe it had all been an exaggeration. After all, Pete had already stopped by twice to pick Emma up for his visitation and Jane had refused to let her go. His breath had smelled of alcohol and his new girlfriend had been waiting in the car on both occasions. There was no way Jane would turn him loose with her daughter.
He had filed contempt charges against her in court and she was waiting to find out what would happen next. His next visit was scheduled for this coming weekend and Jane was worried that the third refusal to let him take Emma might land her in jail. She had already racked up $500 in fines.
Emma was sleeping on the couch when Jane flipped on the evening news and sat down to watch. They covered a story about a local fireman who had rescued a toddler from a burning building and then the anchor started talking about a car accident that just occurred out near the edge of town. They flashed to a shot of a car that looked a lot like Jane’s old car. It was twisted around a tree and the caption that was running below the shot read, “Fatal crash takes the lives of two, alcohol and speed a factor.” Jane looked more closely and saw the bumper sticker on the back end of the car that read “Back Off, Sucker.” It was the same sticker that Pete had kept on his car for years. She thought for a moment and then shook her head. She turned up the volume in time to hear the anchor say, “The victims have been identified as 31 year old Peter Anderson and 26 year old Janice Turner.” Jane switched the television off and sat there for a moment. There was no way this was possible. Pete was dead and so was his new girlfriend. Just as she was starting to process the information in her head, the telephone rang. It was her mother, she was worried that Jane had seen the story and was calling to make sure she was okay. Jane assured her that she was fine and then she called her friend Sissy.
“Sissy, hi, this is Jane,” she said.
“Hey, girl,” she said in her usual upbeat tone, “how’s it going?”
“Well, I just saw on the news that my ex-husband was killed in a car accident,” she said numbly, “I think I might be in shock, I still can’t believe this.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” she said, “are you alright? Does Emma know?”
“No, no she’s sleeping, I hadn’t even thought about how to tell her,” she said, “What am I going to say to her?”
“I’ll be right over, hon,” Sissy said, “don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.”
Jane hung up the phone and waited. It was close to 8:30 p.m. and Emma would stay asleep for the rest of the night. Jane put on a pot of coffee and sat down to wait for Sissy.
When Sissy arrived, she came in and sat down with Jane. She took her hand and said, “Are you alright?”
“I think so,” she said, “I hadn’t expected something like this, I was just thinking that I was going to have to go to jail this weekend for refusing to let him take Emma again. My God, it’s my fault for thinking such awful things.”
“Now, honey, I told you we’d take care of things. We weren’t going to let you go to jail and we sure as hell weren’t going to let him take Emma. He really should’ve been more careful,” Sissy said, an almost imperceptible smile on her lips.
Jane looked at her and then it dawned on her. This hadn’t been an accident. Sissy had done something. She had really made something happen. For a moment, Jane didn’t know what to say to her friend. She thought she should feel bad but then as she thought back to all of the terrible things Pete had said and done to her over the last few months, she sighed.
She looked at Sissy, who was still staring at her with that smile on her face. It was so incongruous to the situation. Jane stood up and walked into the kitchen. She pulled two coffee mugs from the kitchen cabinets and poured two cups of coffee. She took one to Sissy and sat back down on the couch. As she watched her little girl, Emma, sleeping soundly on the couch, she felt a sense of calm wash over her. She didn’t need to worry about Pete anymore. It was over. It was finally over.
“What now?” she asked Sissy.
Sissy looked at her with a smirk and said, “Got any cake?”
THE END

We hope you've enjoyed this short story by Rebecca Benston. You can find more by this author by visiting her website at http://www.rebeccabenstonwrites.com.

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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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