Why the blog?

I write as the Spirit moves me. I have prayed about what I'm supposed to do with my life a lot. A lot. Writing. Writing is what I believe God is leading me to do. Whether or not He wants me to write for anyone to read is His business. Much of my writing has been therapy for me so maybe I'm the only one who is supposed to read it. So, why the Blog? As a sounding board, a note pad, a place to keep my ideas and thoughts. A place to share and promote my books, and photography. Written prayers, a place to vent. Possibly, even a place for the unknown reader to learn about the love of Jesus.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Holiday Season is Upon Us!

The Holidays are coming, the holidays are coming!!

The Holidays are coming along with shopping season.  With that in mind, all ten of my books will be on sale.  Prices drop beginning Nov 1 on both paperback and e-books.  Once a week, one book at a time will be free on Saturday.  Go to Amazon often to get a great deal on books for your friends and family. 

Buy now at Amazon.com

Buy now at Amazon.com

Buy now at Amazon.com

Buy now at Amazon.com

Buy now at Amazon.com

Buy now at Amazon.com

Buy now at Amazon.com

Buy now at Amazon.com

Buy now at Amazon.com

Buy now at Amazon.com

Monday, October 28, 2013

United in Love

My husband and I recently completed an 8-week marriage course.   Now, I had done classes, seminars, week-ends and the like in the past and really did not have high expectations of learning a whole lot.  Maybe, I would learn a little bit more about my husband, maybe correct a flaw or two in each of us.  Learn a lot?  Probably not.  However, I love my husband, we have a good marriage, and I wanted to strengthen it even more, and prevent repeating past mistakes.

You see, I had endured a 20-year marriage that, well, ended in divorce.  It was painful.  Not at all something I wanted to repeat.  I was determined to be proactive, Christ-centered, focused on improving us.

I didn't expect to improve me.

When I received the materials for the course, I was surprised for a lack of a better word.  There were reading assignments, scriptures, probing questions, surveys, and classroom assignments where we had to speak in front of everyone in the group.  Yikes.  

The first session was on respect.  I read the lesson and immediately broke out into tears.  My reaction was to re-hash the past.  There was no respect in my previous marriage.  If I had taken this course with my former spouse, would it had saved the marriage?  God commands wives to respect their husbands.  I had been hurt, humiliated, degraded, embarrassed.  Respect was long gone.  I knew that then and now I am reliving those feelings I had in the past.  I didn't like this.  Feelings were foreign and this class was all about sharing feelings with our mates and 20 other people, some of whom were complete strangers.  One couple knows my ex-husband.    

To be quite honest.  As a writer, I have  difficult time writing emotion.  I have "feelings" sheet that I often refer to. My characters are not touchy-feeling, and like me most have tough exteriors.  

I had to answer this question honestly and share it with the class:   Is there anything in my life hindering me from respecting my spouse or myself as God intended?  

My answer:  Past relationships, specifically my previous 20-year marriage. 

I was going to have to put that in a steel box, lock it up and focus on the right now.  Let me tell you, that was difficult.  Habits created over the past 20+ years is really difficult to break down, define, and then change.  Respect, trust, forgiveness, vulnerability.  All concepts that had been crushed.  

How do I show respect without being fake or dwelling on the past?  I find it fairly easy to show respect, however, having respect for someone who does not "deserve" it is way hard.  There is a difference between respect and just being nice.  Respect comes from the heart.  I can be nice to my spouse and have no respect for him whatsoever.  I know, I did it for a long time.  If my former spouse said or did something to embarrass me, which happened often, I smiled politely and said nothing.  On the inside, I was ashamed to be his wife.

Trust.  That's tough, too.   There was no trust in my former marriage.  I have had a difficult time revealing my past to my husband, which leads me to believe he does not trust me.  Or maybe I cannot trust him to understand.  I did not tell him everything about my past when we were dating or even after we got married.  Not, that he needed or wanted to know all the nitty, gritty, sinful details.  I, however, heaped guilt upon my own head.  I did not feel worthy of him.  I was certain if he knew "the truth" he would hate me and leave me.  I certainly did not feel deserving of such a wonderful man. 

My husband, however, assured me he was not going anywhere.  I believe him now.

I learned to be a control freak.  One is not born with the need to control every aspect of their life.  It is a learned behavior through years of hurts, disappointments, lack of leadership from those who should be the leader.  I learned I had to control the finances, raising the children, pretty much every detail of every waking moment, my emotions, who I allow to know anything at all about me.  Mostly, I learned not to show emotion in public.  I was right, and everyone was wrong unless it was done my way in my time frame because whenever "it" deviated disaster struck.  If something went wrong, "See, I told you.  You should have listened to me."  

When class time rolled around I was terrified.  We had to answer four questions from the book.  In front of class. Standing up.  With all eyes on me.  And they took notes on what I said.  I knew, I just knew I would be the only one with problems.  I learned that:

1)  We were not the only divorced couple.
2)  I was not the only one who had been severely hurt in a previous marriage.
3)  I was not alone.
4)  I was not the only one who struggled with emotional intimacy, 
5)  I was not the only one who had built great big walls around my heart so I would not get hurt, again.  
6)  I was not the only one who struggled with feelings of inadequacy, judgment by others, had difficult time speaking openly and honestly, giving over my struggles to God. 
7)  Pride, selfishness, insecurity is in everyone.  
8)  We are all afraid of getting our hearts broken. 

We talked about living dependent, independent, and interdependent lives.  Babies are dependent on adults. We grow and become independent as a single person. In a marriage, however, each spouse must be interdependent.  A marriage will only work if both parties are fully committed to being interdependent.  Fully committed.  Both parties.  To each other and God.  I and others realized that commitment is vital.  I mean, come on, I was so committed to a dying marriage that I held on for 20 years!  

Prayer was a big focus of this class as well.  Prayer with my husband is something we have done off and on.  Nothing too deep or specific.  Until now.  Through the classes our prayers have deepened in meaning, intimacy with each other and God, have become so much more specific and honest.  We are beginning to show each other our hearts through our prayers.  I can hear and know what he prays for in private and he can do the same.  It connects us.  

In my previous marriage, I don't think we ever prayed together.  Not privately, just the two of us.  Dinnertime prayers often seemed staged or rehearsed, grandiose, but not intimate or personal.   Prayer is preventative maintenance.  Prayer brings us back to what is real and important.  Prayer puts God first and self last.  It brings you into a closeness only God can give.  

Through this class I am learning that true Biblical, Godly, spiritual love IS possible.  God took woman out of man and through the act of a wedding God re-joins us spiritually to be one.  Godly love in a marriage is not self-seeking and does not depend upon the other person.  How I love him does not depend on how he loves me.  For a marriage to be successful, in God's eyes, this must be demonstrated by both parties.  It IS possible.  

Most of all, I think I learned forgiveness.  So much in life and love is hinged on forgiveness.  No one is perfect.  No one. Not me, not my husband, not you either.  Jesus Christ came to this earth to rectify that and to perfect us in his crucifixion.  

Acts 2:38:  "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Acts 10:43:  All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
Acts 13:38:  "Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you."

Through repentance and baptism, God forgave and remembers our sins no more. I believe in forgiving and forgetting as well.  However, God gave us a memory.  Sometimes it is necessary to forgive but reconciliation is not possible, healthy, or even safe in some instances.  I also learned that forgiving oneself is the hardest of them all.  I'm getting there.  I can stand tall and say, "Yes, I had premarital sex in my youth- and my husband knows it. Yes, there is sin in my life.  Yes, I suffered through and survived divorce.  Yes, I did all that I could.  Yes, I prayed about my marriage.  Yes, God is in control. Yes I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ without whom I am spiritually dead."

You cannot change your spouse, you can only change you.  In my marriage, there is no me without you, Mark.  We are United in Love.  

(United, Together in marriage, Together through life.  From Family Dynamics Institute.  FamilyDynamics.net)

Colleen Wait Edits

Colleen Wait Edits

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This YouTube channel was created to add video to my blog.  Read it here:  www.colleenwaitwrites.blogspot.com.  I write about my life, my books, my family, my cats and kids, and of course travel.