On This Day, Seventy-Four Years Ago…

canstockphoto9100017[1]My mom would be celebrating her seventy-fourth birthday today had she survived her battle with cancer four and a half years ago.

As I shared on the blog before ( http://deniselfair.com/remembering-my-mom/), she did not receive Christ until very late in life. The second half of Mom’s life was riddled with challenges that led her down a dark and difficult path emotionally. But, in my early childhood my mom loved life.

She was vibrant, loving, nurturing, and amazing!

My Mom Margaret E. Kellander March 24, 1942 - November 23, 2011
My Mom
Margaret E. Kellander
March 24, 1942 – November 23, 2011

As I celebrate her on her birthday, I chose to remember her that way.

Indulge me briefly while I reminisce about the top three indelible marks she made on my life.

~ She had given me a love for homemaking. I love to garden and preserve fresh fruit and vegetables.  I remember summer days spent by her side as we picked garden fresh tomatoes, climbed ladders to pluck tart green apples, and shucked endless ears of corn.  We’d then prepare jams, freeze corn, and can tomatoes for days on end.  Nothing tasted better in the dead of winter, with snow up to my belly button, than Mom’s sweet strawberry jam slathered on warm bread.  I think of her every time I look at my pantry shelves with neatly arranged canning jars, full of tomatoes, apples, and grape jelly.  A love for sewing, knitting, crocheting, and creating through craftiness were also passed down in this love for homemaking.

~ She instilled in me a love for animals. Mom had a soft spot for critters large and small.  Growing up we had ducks, hamsters, gerbils, mice, cats, dogs, and fish.  I’m certain, if we would have had the space, we would have had goats and horses too.  We keep the animal population in our house to one small dog due to space.  But, we’d have a population explosion of the four legged kind if we lived in a more rural setting.

~Lastly, she left me with the overwhelming desire to sing out loud no matter how bad I sound! Mom loved to fill the air with her out of tune melodies…so do I!  My children chide me just like I had often chided her.  Unfortunately, I also inherited my not-so-great singing voice from her as well.

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”     Psalms 16:6

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Love,

DLF

P.S.—to my sisters, Beth and Sarah (who also inherited all three traits), I’d love for you to add your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Why Do I Talk to My Husband Like That?

 

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It felt like my heart was in my throat as I swallowed a hard, cold lump of air. I turned to my daughter, as we sat at a red light and asked her what she was talking about. She went on to explain to me that I seemed to be upset with her daddy all the time lately.  She looked at me with her big blue eyes and ask me if something was wrong.

Was I mad at Dad because of something he did?

Was I feeling sick and didn’t want anyone to know?

Did I still love Daddy?

My answers were quick and short as we turned the corner and pulled into the drop off zone at school…

No.

No.

Of course, I still love Daddy!

The conversation made me weep the whole way home. It was crushing.

I had been short on patience with the man I love more than any other human on this earth.  The excuses were numerous and valid.

I wasn’t sleeping well.

Some extended family issues troubled my mind.

He was worried about work and not as emotionally available for me.

I’ve often felt like the only woman in the world that had so much trouble displaying the love for my husband that I have in my heart.

Have you ever felt that way?

When I’m not with him, I think about how wonderful he is, how well he cares for us as a family, and all the wonderful aspects of his personality that I find so attractive.

Then he comes home and tracks mud across my freshly polished hardwood and stinks up the powder room and I turn into a completely different woman!!! Words fly from my mouth before I can stop them and condemnation floods my soul.

My husband and I have been married for almost nineteen years and for all those years, I have thought this struggle was uniquely mine. Yes, there have been a handful of friends who confided in me that they share similar struggles with their men as well. But, overall I thought that it was a sign of a spiritual weakness in me, a struggle that I alone battled.

My eyes were opened to a greater truth two weeks ago when I started taking a class on biblical counseling at my church.

The first topic was marriage.

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We looked at Genesis chapter two. Man needed a helper.  The animals were brought to Adam. None were suitable helpers.  God made woman from man’s rib. Man had dominion over woman. Everything was blissful.

Then in chapter three everything changed! The chapter is entitled, “The Fall of Man”.

“To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your pain in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’”     Genesis 3:16

If you have been in church for any length of time, I’m sure you have heard teachings on the fall of mankind from this very passage.

Presented in a different context, God opened my eyes and I saw for the very first time why I struggled to communicate my love to husband in the midst of certain circumstances.

In chapter two, Eve, as she represented womanhood, was content under her husband’s authority. She was astutely aware of the fact that she was created from him and for him.

After the fall, as a consequence of the fall, it was determined that the harmonious relationship would no longer exist without struggle. “Her desire will be for her husband” would become her desire to challenge his authority.  “He will rule over you” would become his tendency toward harshness or insensitivity, and perhaps unawareness of her needs.  So, the battle began.

The struggle is real, my friends.

We now live in a new age.

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1Corinthians 15:22

“So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam a life giving spirit.’” 1Corithians 15:45

Jesus is the answer.

Knowing this, I no longer feel condemnation during those moments of struggle. I know why I struggle and I confess those struggles to Christ, repent, and turn to Him for life-giving help. The more quickly I do this, the more loving our relationship becomes. The more I grow in my love for Christ and from Christ, the more His grace changes me and my expression of love for my husband.

I can then echo Paul’s words in 1Timothy 1:14, “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

Love,

DLF

 

 

 

Supreme Sacrifice

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Happy Supreme Sacrifice Day!

Yes, today really is Supreme Sacrifice Day according to the website, holidayinsight.com.  The word “happy” may not seem appropriate for a day called “Supreme Sacrifice”.  But honestly, how can we feel otherwise?

In his book, The Discipline of Grace, author and Bible teacher, Dr. Jerry Bridges, wrote an entire chapter entitled “Preach the Gospel to Yourself”.  He reminds us that because of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ we are saved, justified, redeemed, and made holy.

Eternal life is our’s through the precious blood of Christ!

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”        1John4:10

Is there any better day to preach the Gospel to ourselves and live in the reality of His grace?

Love,

DLF

Remembering a Saint

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Are you sipping a shamrock shake while wearing a green shirt, staring out your window at a green river, with a four leaf clover in your hand? If so, I would say that you are a hard core fan of Saint Patrick’s Day!

But, who was Saint Patrick and why do we honor him on this day, March seventeenth?

It is assumed that he was born in Bannavem Taberniae (thought to be in England, Scotland, or Whales) in 386 A.D. into a wealthy family. His given name was Maewyn Succat.

At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland to herd sheep. In Ireland, some years later, he heard God tell him to return to England.  He set out on foot and walked mile upon mile, jumped on a boat and returned to England.

While there, an angel told him in a dream to return to Ireland. He then spent many years studying and growing in faith.  He became an ordained priest and changed his name to Patricius Daorbae which translated, “Patrick who was once a slave”.

He returned to Ireland spreading the Gospel among the Celtic pagans (Druids). Persecution raged. On March 17, 461 A.D. Patrick was challenged by a Druid magician to a trial by fire ending his life in a magician’s death.

This is by no means an exhaustive account of his life. There is much more written with great historical accuracy.

There was no limit to the legends that were birthed after his death. Ridding Ireland of snakes was one of them.  If I have whetted your appetite for more, if you are a trivia buff, or if you’re sitting in a dentist’s office waiting room for hours today, google Saint Patrick and enjoy finding more tidbits!

Love,

DLF

Spring Cleaning

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Hello Friends! Have you started your spring cleaning yet? I have! Nothing feels better than a freshly cleaned room.  I love to get into all the nooks and crannies and scrub away the dirt and dust.

I thought the blog could use a little sprucing up as well.  I chose a simple clean theme.  My only concern is that I think it may look a little masculine. Please comment here or on facebook and let me know what you think.

I’m also going to change up the content a bit.  I’d love to hear more from you!!! Is there anything in particular that would pique your interest?

Love,

DLF

The Ox, The Deer, and The Bird

My four-year-old cockapoo loves to take walks every morning. Yesterday when we were walking a sudden loud, “caw, caw” grabbed our attention.  Up on the corner of the roof of the house we were passing was a crow almost as big as my poor frightened puppy dog.  Startled, she turned and left out a yippy bark.  That, apparently, was an invitation to the crow to swoop down right in front of her and land on the road only a few feet away from us. At the end of the leash was a distraught little puppy while the nasty crow strutted beside us, right down the center of the road.  It was taunting her! It kept saying, “Caw, caw. Caw, caw.” The whole scene was pathetic!

Isn’t that the way temptation can be? We’re moving through life, minding our own business and it swoops in and torments us.  Distracting us to the point of ineffectiveness.

Let’s look at this passage in Proverbs that speaks of temptation:

“All at once he followed her (temptation) like an ox going to slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.”   (Proverbs 7:22-23)

As we look at these two verses, the Lord reveals through Solomon’s words three ways that temptation can enter our lives.

 

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Picture the ox going to slaughter, tied up, yoked to his master. A slave to whatever the master wills, even on to death.  I see this as the temptation attached to addictive sin—drug use, alcoholism, eating disorders, etc.  Are you in this kind of struggle, my friend? Are you fighting this enslaving temptation to sin? Take heart God has the answer. We’ll look at it in a few moments.

 

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I can relate to the deer probably most of all. Our poor deer was careless. Walking through the woods, our friend, Bambi, stepped right into a noose and was snared by the enemy.  Had our deer been more careful to watch his step he could have avoided that trap and not suffered the life threatening consequences that resulted. Can you relate as well as I can?  Our answer to this type of temptation is also coming soon.

 

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The third critter in this passage is the bird. Our little bird darted right into a snare.  He was clueless. I imagine it was probably an invisible type of net.  He had no idea what he flew into and how he got so tangled up! Is this speaking to you? Can you relate?

God is so good! He provided the answer to how to avoid all three of these temptations in the next chapter of Proverbs.

Proverbs eight talks about how wisdom calls out and how the “fear of the LORD is to hate evil.” Verse ten says, “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold…” Verse twelve says, “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.”  

Are you a slave to the temptation of an ongoing sin?

Do you find yourself unprepared, carelessly stepping into sin?

Are you so busy, and disheveled in life that you find yourself dealing with sin, clueless as to how it happened?

The wisdom of God is in His Word.

Let’s make more time for Him.

Let’s make more time for His Word.

Love,

DLF