Sow In Love

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As I looked out my window this week, I noticed my flower and garden beds. This warm weather tempts me to get busy. But I know the cold will eventually pervade the south once more before the spring months. As I continued staring at my lifeless beds, I thought about the different ways a garden is compared to this thing called love.

 Soil Preparation

Get to know your mate BEFORE the vows. Plow the rows straight. Be honest even if it means you may lose them. With those first tender seeds of love include seeds of hope, patience, kindness, and respect. Be sure to add goodness, gentleness, and temperance.

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Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Dead Heading and Weeding

Deadheading is the process of removing old flowers. Marriage goes through all four seasons. It’s your choice to sow the seed therein. The same kernel that worked in summer will not grow in wintertime! Learn to change with the seasons. Pinch the seasonal blooms and tuck them away before sowing new seeds.

While you are deadheading check for weeds which appear out of nowhere sucking the fertilizer and water from your soil. Left alone they will reproduce until your garden becomes a patch of weeds. Quickly pull and discard.

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A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverb 15:1

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Ephesians 4:26

Bugs, Bees, and Butterflies

An invasion of a harmful pest can destroy a garden overnight. Destructive pests in a garden are like bad habits in a marriage. Online affairs, pornography, secrets, and the like will eventually destroy trust and love in a relationship.

But not all insects in a garden are harmful. Some are beneficial. Good habits in a marriage solidify the relationship. Habits such as quiet moments together, evening or morning walks, an afternoon stroll on the beach, a hike through the woods, date night, movie night, cuddle time, and forgiving.

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I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me. Song of Solomon 7:10

Perfect Light

In the light of love a garden will thrive, but in the light of comparison, the fruit will suffer.

For example, who doesn’t like an unforgettable love story? But sometimes we may forget that it is just that—a fictional story. If not careful we may begin expecting our spouses to be like the flawed semi-perfect character on the page.

My man isn’t a Darcy, Knightly or Captain Wentworth. He loves me more like a Hub McCann (Second Hand Lions) Tell Sackett (Shadow Riders) or Mr. Fredricksen (Up). For those who haven’t seen the movies, Hub, Tell, and Mr. Fredricksen are crotchety, ornery, lovable men.

But I knew that about Hubby going into the relationship. It’s one of the reasons why I fell in love with him. He doesn’t speak with flowery words. In fact, he hardly speaks at all. Yet, he buys me the most heart-hugging Valentine and Mother’s Day cards you could ever imagine.

Somedays he drives me nuts. Yet craves my attention. Expects the best. And challenges me to meet him half way. Other days I drive him insane. I  give no quarter. I expect his best. I crave his undivided attention. And dare him to meet me half way.

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I confess, dearest reader, I love him more today than the day we married because I’ve come to realize we both are two imperfect and broken people in need of a perfect Savior to mold and shape us into His image.

And in that perfect light this marriage of mine has gone through endless house remodeling and repairs, menopause, and man-o-pause, sickness, miscarriage, disease, death, family squabbles, addiction, fits of anger, bouts of silence, and lack of money. And that is the first thirty years! But rather than give up we choose to forgive and make up.

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And in our efforts to cherish each other, no matter the present circumstances, we have harvested two exceptional children, amazing love, fits of laughter, delightful secrets, passionate embraces, furtive glances, and knowing smiles.

 

So this is love…

 

Love is a veritable garden of delights—and heartache. No two are alike. Not one perfect. The soil must be plowed, fertilized, and watered. The beds need constant tending. But if you are willing to get yours hands dirty, you can produce a bumper crop.

Happy Day of Love, dearest reader!

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Desire’s Promise ~ Karen Jurgens

Karen Jurgens is here today to tell us about her new novella, Desire’s Promise, available on Amazon! But first, here’s the book blurb.

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Carlie Livingston is steering into her last year of college in Oxford, Ohio, confident that she and Lance Holloway are headed to the altar after graduation. Those plans are wrecked, however, by her dad’s infidelity, causing her parents to walk through a messy divorce. Will she have the same fate if she marries her college sweetheart who comes from a secular family? Her mother insists she will.

She tests God’s Word by letting Him take the wheel of her life. But if God is in control, why are all her close relationships crumbling?  Nothing makes sense.

Just when it appears hopeless, Clay McKinney two-steps into Carlie’s life, promising to provide everything she’s looking for. But if he’s God’s answer, why can’t her heart release Lance? Where will her final destination be on this journey of trust?

 

  1. Tell us about your novella.

My novella introduces Carlie, a Christian girl, who plans to marry her secular boyfriend, Lance. Those plans fall apart when her parents’ marriage fails due to her dad’s infidelity. Stressed by the pending divorce as well as her mom’s warnings about being unequally yoked, she decides to put her relationship with Lance on hold. Although Lance doesn’t understand why he’s being rejected, Carlie decides to put God’s Word to the test by trusting Him for her future mate. Just when it looks like she’s lost all her close friends, God answers her prayers in an unexpected way.

 

  1. Why did you feel there was a need for this book?

It is written out of a ministry I founded two years ago, Touched by Him Ministries. I had been praying for exactly how the Lord wished to use me, and He gave me the answer: Christian marriage. As a mother, I had a strong desire to see my daughters grow up to marry godly husbands. As a retired high-school teacher, I saw a great need for guiding and counseling teens during those vulnerable years. This evangelical story is for every teenager and young adult who is looking for a happily-ever-after marriage or for anyone who enjoys reading a romance with college-age characters.

 

  1. What marital advice would you offer a young girl looking for love? Especially one raised in church, but who is discouraged by so many failed Christian marriages?

I would encourage every young girl to pray daily for her Christian mate and to trust the Lord with her future. Especially be patient because meeting the right person isn’t magic, nor does it happen overnight. God works through the lives of many people to bring about the right circumstances for that special day to arrive. It’s like piecing together a patterned quilt or composing a symphony using many different instruments. Once it happens, you can look back and see how the Lord was working all along. Believe that God’s Word is true, memorize it, and stand on it. It will never fail, especially in this day when it appears that so many good people fail. A Christian marriage involves three: a husband, a wife, and Jesus Christ. And a strand of three cannot easily be torn apart.

 

  1. What’s next for you as an author?

 My current WIP is Desire’s Deception, and it’s a novel about Carlie’s parents, Steve and Gwen Livingston. As Book 2 of the Desire Series, it deals with how Steve’s infidelities almost destroyed his Christian marriage. Gwen deals with deep hurt along with forgiveness and trust issues, while Steve copes with turning away from his secret life that led to sin and away from God. Can their marriage be saved? So many couples face these same issues—with a variety of different circumstances. I hope the story will minister to all couples experiencing marital difficulties leading down the road to divorce. With God at the helm, rough waters can be crossed safely to shore, even when it may appear hopeless.

 

picmonkey-photoKaren Jurgens, a native Cincinnatian, has been a Texan transplant for thirty years and counting. Since retiring from teaching in 2014, she has begun a new career writing, blogging, and speaking through her new ministry.

Her first contemporary romance novella, A Christmas Mosaic, was published in October 2015, as part of a multi-novella anthology, Warm Mulled Kisses. Book 1 of The Desire Series, Desire’s Promise, was just published through Amazon in October 2016. Book 2, Desire’s Deception, will be published mid-2017. The series deals with Christian marriage principles and targets adults of all ages.

She is a Crew Member at https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com and a member of ACFW. You can also find her ministry posts monthly at www.heartwingsblog.com  and can also follow her personal blog about scriptural answers to life’s trials at Touched by Him Ministries: www.karenjurgens.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness After Infidelity

Wedding Photo~Pixabay

Pixabay

The dress and veil, tuxedo and flowers, family and friends, all speak of happily ever after. But what happens when our dreams are shattered by the very one who promised to love and honor?

Below is an actual interview that took place six years ago. However, I changed the woman’s name not to hide her or her husband’s identity but to protect the innocent in their lives. I hope by hearing her testimony you find strength for your own journey.

God bless,

Gail

 

If you happened to pass Mary on the street, you wouldn’t bother taking a second glance. She isn’t a movie star or a pop diva. Her name has never been in lights. But Mary, like so many others, is an extraordinary woman living an ordinary life full of wisdom learned only by brutal experience and sheer faith. What she has to offer enriches all those who will listen.

Married forty-seven years to one man, she is the mother of five, grandmother of nine, and great-grandmother to eight. Along with her husband, she has worked in the ministry for over twenty years. Sixty-three-year-old, she has now set her eyes on the mission field.

I recently visited Mary in her newly remodeled home to ask the formula for a long and happy marriage. She ushered me into her cozy office where we were surrounded by pictures of her children and grandchildren. I sensed a strong familial pride from the woman who now sat across from me. Settling on the overstuffed couch, I began our interview by thanking Mary for her openness.

“Thank you, Mary, for sharing your secrets to a successful marriage. Also, I would like to extend thanks to your husband for being willing and allowing you to share a little of his past. Not in pride or shame, but as a victorious testimony of God’s faithfulness. Both of your lives reveal God’s ability to do all things if we’re willing to allow Him access to the problems. So, my first question is, has it always been easy.”

Mary smiled. “No.”

“What made you want to stay with someone who had been unfaithful?”

“I believe the Lord put it in me to look at the pros and cons of walking away from my marriage. Although it was hard, I chose to stay. But, I found it even harder to forgive. In not forgiving, I kept repeating the same mistake over and over again.”

After a brief pause, as if wondering what to say next, Mary continued.

“When we choose not to forgive, we have a tendency to bring unfaithfulness into every argument. And it keeps eating away at us. When I chose not to forgive, I didn’t walk away physically, but I walked away spiritually, causing a division in my marriage.”

“And yet, no evidence of that division is seen today. Can you now say that someone can truly forgive infidelity?”

“I can’t speak for those who don’t know the Lord as their personal Savior. But, I can honestly say forgiveness was only possible with the Lord’s help. How can I not forgive when He’s forgiven me?”

“What a profound statement. Isn’t it amazing that we often forget that? How did you get beyond the pain of betrayal?”

“By walking hand in hand with Jesus, casting down the thoughts of the past, and bringing everything under the blood. I cannot tell you that I am free from the thoughts of the unfaithfulness, but I can say by looking to the Lord that I am able to walk in victory each new day.”

“Do the thoughts of the past include physical reminders?”

“Yes. There’s a child.”

“Would you say it’s harder to forget the past when there is a child involved?”

“I don’t think so. I have accepted her. Through the years, we have developed a relationship. I know that she loves me and I love her. I am thankful for her marriage. She too had a rough beginning, and her husband has been there for her. I am thankful for that.”

“I am so glad to hear that. Can one love their mate as they did before infidelity?”

“First, let me say, both of us were young, and I can say I didn’t know how to love. Add not knowing how to love to two people who don’t talk their problems out, and they will eventually drift apart. When they do, someone will be there to make a spouse think it’s okay to break the marriage vows. But it doesn’t have to end there. I love my husband more today than I did the first twenty-two years of our marriage. When we gave our lives to the Lord twenty-six years ago, God drew us closer together because we chose to forgive each other.”

“What would you say to someone who is going through this situation as we speak?”

“I’d ask them if they loved their spouse. If they said yes, then I would ask is that love strong enough to forgive and not bring up the past? If they couldn’t answer, I would tell them how the Lord was my lifeline to forgiveness. How He taught me that what He has cleansed isn’t unclean, but forgiven. I believe forgiveness through God’s love can bury the past and cover it over so deeply that it can’t be revived.”

“What would be your advice to young people contemplating marriage?”

“Your love for each other is going to be tried. When it looks like you don’t know where the next penny is coming from do all you can to hold to each other. Hold through sickness and health, the loss of a baby, and infertility. Look to the Lord, and He will make a way when it seems there is no way. Trust in the Lord always. He will never lead you wrong.”

It has been six years since talking with Mary. I am happy to report she and her husband are still happily married and working for the Lord. To God be the glory!