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Small Things Matter

Sharing some thoughts about a lovely morning that my husband and I experienced three years ago because I didn’t get anything new written this week.

“Sunday Morning Submission”                 Lisa Frisch                            June 22, 2014

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

Here’s what mutual submission looked like in our home and marriage this morning.  My husband and I were sitting at the breakfast table when five “beeps” from the microwave indicated that my tea was ready.  He quickly got up, retrieved my cup for me, and resumed eating his cereal.  Then, while he was in the shower, I noticed that the Sunday newspaper was in the driveway.  Knowing what an important part of his morning the paper is, I went out and got it, took off the bag and rubber band, and laid it on the kitchen table before heading upstairs to get ready for church.  While I was showering, he made our bed, a chore that is mine on weekdays.  As I entered the bedroom, I remembered that he leaves on a business trip tomorrow and asked if he needed any laundry done today.  Never mind that I was glad the answer was “no” since I don’t usually do laundry on Sundays.

Here’s why these small things, done with the other person’s comfort and happiness in mind, are so important.  Having him get my tea for me and make our bed made me feel loved and cared for.  Not having to go out for his newspaper and realizing that I would help him prepare for his trip gave him the assurance that his needs are important to me.  Neither of us demanded or even asked the other to perform these acts.  But, by doing so, we have built a foundation of loving trust that our spouse is looking out for us and wants to add to our contentment.  That becomes very important when any sort of conflict or difficult decision arises.  At that time, each of us can be sure that the other is not only concerned about his/her opinion or desire, but that there is goodwill toward the other and an intention to seek and do what is best for both of us.

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
 Philippians 2:4

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Wedding Words

When Dave and I married in 1984, we set up a tape recorder to capture the songs and words of our ceremony.  Thanks to some digital magic performed by our son Eric since then, we are still able to listen to the recording.  A few weeks ago, we marked 33 years of marriage and are now anticipating Eric’s marriage to Amanda in just a few days.

Dave and I listened to our wedding recording during a recent car ride that was sandwiched between attending our Best Man’s mother’s funeral and taking our sons and future daughter-in-law to a concert.  That may have been more sentimentality than my husband needed in one day!

What fun it was to listen to the love songs of that time.  We were blessed to have the music played by Molly Rondeau and sung by our friend, Julie (Schoenberger) Monk.  I laughed as we drove along, remembering how I forgot to have my mom seated until most of the theme from Ice Castles was over.  Meticulous plans are sometimes forgotten during the excitement of the day!  Dave experienced his own nervousness that day when our participating priest didn’t arrive until just before the ceremony began.

I was definitely paying attention as the first chords of the Bridal March were played.  I took the arm of my 14 year old brother and walked the aisle with a  smile that never gave way to tears.  However, listening to the recording in the car over three decades later, I heard words that caused me to weep with JOY.  Father Missler opened with a blessing, praying, “Increase their faith in you and in each other and, through them, bless your church with Christian children.”  Hearing those words, I suddenly realized that the prayer was answered!  Dave glanced over to see me crying, barely able to say, “He did it!  God did it!”

There was more to come. We repeated our Words of Intention, Dave being cued by the priest, and I following my pastor.  We promised to love, honor, cherish and sustain each other and to be faithful to each other as long as we both shall live.  What we didn’t say is something that I sheepishly tell the wives in my marriage classes about.  When Rev. Steindam previewed the wedding vows with us, I asked if we could leave out the word “obey” since we wouldn’t be bossing each other around!  He consented.  (I cringe when I remember how smart I thought I was at 23 years old.)

Riding along, we listened to Father Missler read from the fifth chapter of Ephesians about wives being submissive to their husbands and husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church.  Rev. Steindam then gave a message describing how two people who were strangers to each other are drawn together in an irresistible way – a gift from above – and how we must not allow commonplace experiences or difficulties to cause us to lose the vision that brought us to this day of commitment.  He finished by challenging us to read the Bible passage from the book of Ephesians many times throughout the years.

My eyes welled up again as I thought with amazement how God has brought us through every life experience to this moment in 2017 when I am honored to share with women in our church what the apostle Paul taught to the believers in Ephesus about a wife’s respect and submission (see A Different Approach for Wives).  Because of Love and Respect Ministries, I have come to better understand why my husband needs respect and how blessed a couple is when they obey God’s instructions for marriage.

On that day in March of 1984, Dave and I lit a unity candle as a “symbol of one new life that has been created out of two lives”.  Praise be to God!  We are His and He has made us one. I eagerly anticipate hearing the joyful music and  the Wedding Words as our son and his beautiful bride marry.  We will pray with them, applaud them, and celebrate with both families as their new life as husband and wife begins.

The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:23

 

 

 

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THREE GOOD MEN – PART 2

Part 1 of this series was written in September about my youngest son to honor him on his 27th birthday.  As the year 2016 ends, I celebrate by honoring my husband, David, who was born on New Years Eve.  I mention him often in my writing because we share so much of life together.  Describing what I love and admire about Dave in about 500 words is possibly impossible, but here goes.

Of course, Dave is not just my husband.  He was a son and brother for over 20 years before I met him, and he picked up his great work ethic, value of faith, and love of family from his farming parents and six older siblings.  I have great admiration for the way he helped and cared for his aging mother as she lived as a widow and experienced Alzheimer’s Disease.  His example certainly demonstrated to our school-aged sons what honoring a parent can look like.  It takes self-sacrificing commitment to be a good son, a good husband, and a good father simultaneously.

When Dave and I met, he was living at home and finishing an accounting degree, while I was already working and living on my own.  He was brought up in Catholic traditions, while I am from a protestant background.  Once we married and decided to have children, this 25 year old man began facing and making decisions about how to provide for and lead his own family.  I so appreciate the way he has considered my opinions and feelings in each step of our married life.

Dave and I shared the blessing of having had our mothers at home during childhood, so when we had our first child, we decided that I would stay home.  Dave took part in raising our sons by being available for doctors’ appointments and school activities, taking us to church, and leading the boys’ Cub Scout groups.  He put aside his love of farming for a career in newspaper publishing and passed along his strong work ethic by helping Eric and Kyle with paper routes.  He has rarely missed a day of work and has earned much respect from employers and co-workers, but has also been faithful to be home at dinner time and to spend weekends with us rather than at work or on a golf course.

Father’s Day 2008 at Eric’s graduation from Otterbein College

My husband has shown his love for me by supporting me in my volunteer work and interests.  When Eric and I were involved in the church praise band, Dave learned to run the sound board.  When I have come up with a creative idea, he has helped me track down the supplies and make it happen.  When Kyle wants to talk, his dad listens and encourages him.

I am so proud of what my husband has accomplished and so blessed by his strong Christian values that permeate every area of his life.  Dave has become a role model and mentor, not only for our sons, but for other husbands and dads and for people with whom he works.  He is at the top of my list of Good Men.  Happy Birthday, David!

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4 Questions to Help With Decisions

Last week, I made a decision and acted on something that has been weighing on me.  Such a sense of relief followed that I began to consider writing about decision-making.  I don’t feel especially qualified to do that, since I often struggle to decide.  It’s not that I make bad decisions; it’s just that it can be a long and stressful ordeal.

Interestingly, it is often the pretty insignificant choices that can trip me up, things like what to order at Panera Bread or which sweeper to buy.  Perhaps the culture we live in presents far too many options, when a simpler  life would do.  When a new department store opened in our mall, I was struck by the visual overload of SO MUCH STUFF.  It takes determination for me to approach that sea of clothing and make a selection!  But the problem isn’t temptation to buy more things.   I just want to find one perfect thing.

A few years back, I found myself in need of a new vacuum cleaner.  Despite the fact that most of our floors are bare, I was determined to find one that was powerful, durable and lightweight.  So, I entered and nearly got lost in the world of on-line reviews.  I spent more hours agonizing over that decision by reading the pros and cons of various makes and models than I want to tally.   Probably more than it has taken me to pick a car or a house!  Of course, having my husband’s wisdom and leadership in those larger purchases confirms the old adage, “Two heads are better than one.”  In the decision that I acted on last week, one that was not regarding a purchase, his insight and willingness to discuss the issue with me were key.

In addition to my husband’s wise counsel, I have appreciated decision-making advice from Ben Carson’s book, “Take The Risk“.  Dr. Carson advises a Best/Worst Analysis comprised or four questions.

  1. What is the best that could happen if I do it?
  2. What is the worst that could happen if I do it?
  3. What is the best that could happen if I don’t do it?
  4. What is the worst that could happen if I don’t do it?

The hopeful perspective of the best that could happen if I act often lessens my attraction to stay in my comfort zone (the best that could happen if I don’t do it).  Taking the risk of GOING is what the Lord is calling me to do, after all.  He is my greatest source of wisdom and leads me, like a shepherd, to the best decisions.  When I ask his will in prayer, God sometimes answers with a quick yes or no.  But, in his desire to mature and strengthen me, he often seems slow to answer, letting me choose to seek his will through his word, the Bible.

Our pastor shared a great “rule of thumb” for decision-making with my husband and I as we struggled with the best way to help a friend in need.  He quoted the apostle Paul, saying, “Let the peace of Christ rule.”  “If you don’t have peace about something, even if it seems good”, he said, “don’t do it.”  With that advice and more prayer, we were able to realize that there was a middle ground between  agreeing to the friend’s request and a flat refusal.

Frankly, I do not enjoy the tension of indecision, but life’s years include many large decision, and its days are full of countless small ones.  I try to make healthy choices, be pretty content with what I have, and follow the Bible’s commands.  Those decisions bring peace.  Sometimes there is risk involved.  Sometimes we make mistakes.  But, for me, having the freedom to choose and having a loving, all-wise Creator who wants to show me the way makes life good.

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. 

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may

love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  Genesis 30:19-20

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