Elizabeth and Mary. The relationship between these two women in the Bible has always fascinated me, because I see in it the very ingredients that bond women together. Come with me for a moment and see these two women in Scripture, not just as characters in a story, but as real women whose stories are so much closer to our own than we realize...
Your gentleness has made me great.
Recently, my husband and I have been scouring through our marriage "garden" for weeds. Our marriage is fantastic; we've never argued and any disagreement has developed as an illuminating discussion, not a clash of wills. However, as we've read through Vertical Marriage by Dave and Ann Wilson, we've discovered a few weeds in our garden. They're not full-grown--we were barely aware of them--but we recognize their potential to take over our carefully-cultivated fruitfulness.
In the course of that weeding process, I have become intensely aware of my own selfishness.
Having written about how to confront someone lovingly, I feel it is important to add a postscript to the discussion, and that is: It is not our job to change the other person. It's simply our job to communicate with the other person. Change is up to God.
Over and over, I see people (particularly women) reinterpret the idea of lovingly confronting someone into subtly manipulating someone to change. Let me explain how this works, and why it can be a relationship-killer.
"Do you know who is going to be most sad when Yaasha marries someday?"
When my mother asked this of my father, I sat up straighter in the back seat of the car and tried to pretend that I wasn't listening with all my might.
"Who?" Daddy asked. Yes, who? My mind echoed.
"Asher. Those two are always doing something together, and he seems to really enjoy the time she spends with him, and to listen when she talks to him."
A wiggle of pure delight danced in my chest. My brother Asher is almost 11 years my junior. So while I'm in my mid-20s, he's in his mid-teens. That age gap is often a huge hurdle for siblings. For my brother and I, it's just another reason to spend more time getting to know each other.
Sometimes we're afraid to serve someone because we think that what we have to offer is too little. I cannot count the numerous times when I have done nothing simply because I felt that, if I was going to bless someone, I had to do so when I could offer a lot of time or commitment. So I failed to reach out to others in Christ-like love because I felt inadequate.
And I missed so many opportunities.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.