Saturday, June 11, 2016

WALK IN LOVE

Being married to a pastor, often  means that daily conversation revolves around sermon series titles and prep and even on occasion lending inspiration to my writing.   As circumstance (or perhaps misfortune) would have it, I was unable to attend this past Sunday when Rick kicked off part one in a Summer Sermon Series:  LOVE IS....  (my added twist --  WALK IN LOVE)

The Team
Actually, I was anything but walking, and especially not in love.   The 5K run that I participated in just the night before (and finished) was memorable and fun!    But, what I would soon come to know as a stress fracture to my left ankle,  left me hobbling/crawling along in terrible pain and grumpy with impatience and  frustration.

1 Corinthians 14:1 paraphrased.   Desire the special abilities the Spirit gives, but let love be your highest goal!

All through the prior week, Rick and I were anticipating and brainstorming about fun ways, creative ways, simple ways, generous ways, obedient ways, and on and on and on ways, to admonish ourselves and others towards "walking in love".

Now, in a moment of helplessness that was threatening my focus inward to self and to self pity,  I had to make some adjustments.

1 Corinthians 13: 4  Love is patient and kind.

Ouch 
With mobility greatly challenged, and the recliner and ice pack quickly becoming my number 1 companion,  I went on line and listened to Rick's part one message on this great mandate, "walk in love."  His  delivery of biblical context and practical application left me both challenged and encouraged.

#1 Even in my compromised state there were countless ways I could walk in love.
Sending an "encouraging note" or a "thinking of you" message  by way of text or phone call.
Speaking kindness. Smiling. Being present and showing thankfulness (instead of taking for granted) EVERYTHING EXTRA Rick was doing to pick up the slack around the house.

#2 We have become so good at "giving" love but what about "receiving" love.  A little more than a week ago our conversation lend itself to how we would walk in love and be a demonstration of being and giving love---not for a minute thinking that God would reveal himself to us through amazing acts of love and kindness in return, as the recipient.

AND

#3 Perhaps today, wasn't about a "physical action" at all.
Perhaps,  it was first, about choosing  a good attitude, a pure thought, a right heart.
When this happens first, the outflow of true, genuine and tangible demonstrations of "walking in love" are unstoppable.

I am eager for complete healing.  I'm a get-er' done kind of gal.   I'm a giver.  I'm a doer.   But for today  I will be still.  I will choose a good attitude, a right heart, and  I will learn (all over again) how to be a good receiver.

No we never did complete our "fun, creative, how-to list of ideas" for "walking in love", rather you continued to write it for us, the amazing friends and family and community that we do life with.
Yes, as much as we teach you, you teach us.  Thank you for your beautiful, sacrificial and heartfelt demonstrations of "walking in love."  ( some are listed below).

Whether you are giving or receiving, take some time to add to it today, in context of your world and your circle of influence.
Because......1 Corinthians 13: 13  Three things that will endure----faith, hope, love.  And the greatest of these is love! 


my new hair color  :) 
  *Receiving countless kind thoughts and prayer messages, via texts, phone messages and mail. (Life is busy, time taken.....matters)
  *Fitness friends making house calls to color my hair
Arm bands and Lip Gloss 
    (a good hair day goes a LONG way)
  *Fitness friends providing  me with tools and disciplines to stay fit and active without using my feet.
  *Prepared meals (from a pastor's wife and busy mother of 3) that lift the burden and lighten the load.
My Mom's famous pie 
  *Your Mary Kay Consultant going out of her way to personally hand deliver your order.
(yes, even lip gloss spells love for some of us)                           *Fresh strawberry pie from mom (good for the soul) and even better, sharing it with a neighbor.
*Your co-workers going above and beyond to cover and be there for you.


Little acts of Kindness is all in the greater journey of Walking In Love.  

I can't wait for the rest of the series....I know it will change us.  ALL OF US!  

Walking (hobbling) in Love, 
Crystal 










Friday, May 13, 2016

A "TURNING 20" BIRTHDAY MESSAGE

A "TURNING 20" BIRTHDAY MESSAGE.

Today marks a very special day!  Our son Matt turns 20.   HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!   I know, I know, turning 20 isn't like turning 16 or 21, but he, being our last born, marks some significance for a couple of reasons.
 1.  The teenage years have successfully (yes, I said successfully!) been lived out, experienced and closed out.  For the parent who has ever stood at the precipice of the teenage years with that "deer in the headlight look, wondering", arriving at this place is an accomplishment in its own right and something worth celebrating!   We are so grateful (and blessed) to have raised 2 kids who've made the "culturally stereotypical teenage years" a myth.  Oh, it wasn't a season free from challenges or obstacles (or eye rolling), but it was a season filled with teaching and moments of God's grace and guidance that were received, respected and built upon.  Positive growth was collaborative, always measurable, and dare I say, even fun at times .... they both made, and continue to make us so very proud.    

 2.  The respectable, hard working, God fearing man Matt is becoming has him poised for the next decade.  One that will most likely bring with it some of the greatest and most dramatic changes in his life. His confident swagger, ambition and motivation, along with the foundation of spiritual truth and personal integrity he possesses, comes with promise of a life being lived to the very fullest.  

Interestingly, 20 years ago:    

The first DVD's were released in Japan
Nintendo 64 was released
The "Macarena" became a worldwide hit 
Hotmail was launched
The 1st Mission Impossible opened in theaters
The most popular Christmas Toy of ALL time was introduced into the U.S.  (Tickle me Elmo)... Sarah (your big sister) owned one and entertained you with it, often. 
Everybody Loves Raymond, debuted

AND BY FAR, THE MOST IMPORTANT....I BECAME A MOTHER TO MY SON. 

Matt, Sarah and Tyler....our 3 adult children (Tyler, by marriage) at Matt's
20th Birthday Dinner
It sure isn't easy to comprehend where time has gone or even to express in a short blog, the magnitude of the sum of all that is wrapped up in the past 20 years....all that has been purposed and accomplished in both his life and mine, but suffice it to say....   
YOU ARE DEEPLY LOVED & CELEBRATED MATT!!   HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY TO YOU.
           LOVE  MOM  
                 5/13/16


  






Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Cost Of Marriage, And 25 Years A Bride

Perusing through an article on marriage just one week before a milestone Wedding Anniversary, I am challenged with a thought provoking question.

"WHEN YOU THINK OF THE COST OF MARRIAGE, WHAT COMES TO MIND?"  

Sarah and Tyler 2016,  Me and Rick 1991 
Having recently witnessed the marriage celebration of our daughter Sarah and son-in-law, Tyler,  it was easy to quickly recount the budget and the cost (still fresh in my mind) that went into making it a most exquisite event, a near perfect wedding day--I like to say, it was one for the ages! 

Just as quickly as thoughts and happy memories of our daughter's beautiful wedding day flooded my soul, they faded into the realization that in little more than a week (April 13, 2016) I too would be celebrating happy memories...
25 years a bride.  

Although I remember it as one of the happiest days of my life, I am far removed from the financial details of my own wedding day.  Twenty five years has a way of showing me,  THE COST OF MARRIAGE isn't about the dollars and cents at all, nor is it really about the happiness, although happiness is a great byproduct.
Rather, what comes to mind has more to do with the giving, the investment, the sacrifice, the commitment and being refined like gold time and time again.  


(Left)engagement picture 1990  and (Right) today 2016
Time may weather our physical bodies but it strengthens our souls

"THE GIVING 
THE INVESTMENT 
THE SACRIFICE 
THE COMMITMENT 
AND BEING REFINED LIKE GOLD  
TIME AND TIME AGAIN"

Standing strong thru the years, started with a shared faith and commitment to walk through whatever we faced together.  It continues with an obedience to God's Word, not just when it is easy and we feel like it, but also when the days are difficult and we don't feel like it.  

Our Wedding Day,  April 13, 1991
                                                                  Often times, the cost of marriage means laying down our pride (which can be really ugly at times), and taking up our cross (which can be really painful at times).  It means putting you before me and we before I.  It means admitting our mistakes and falling to our knees in both offering  forgiveness and receiving forgiveness.  It means being intentional about us, through every season, protecting, guarding and keeping watch over that which God has joined together....our marriage relationship, our dreams and our purposes, both as a couple and as individuals.  

Rarely if ever, do we go it alone. There is both cost and great risk to staying transparent and vulnerable. Surrounding ourselves with good couples, family, and friends, means we always have people who are there to cheer and celebrate with us when life is great, but who also don't hesitate to roll up their sleeves and fight alongside us for our marriage and when times aren't so great.   

A recent Friday night date. 
Loving together, serving together, making great memories together, sharing the deepest levels of intimacy together, raising a family together, laughing together (we've done a lot of laughing), crying together (we've done a lot of crying too), facing victory and defeat together, facing triumph and tragedy together, playing together, praying together....we still don't always get it right,even after 25 years, but we always always invite His Spirit to inhabit every little (and big) detail along the way.

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, THE REAL COST OF MARRIAGE IS GREAT!  


With the helping hands of our Heavenly Father and a deep love and devotion, we count the cost and we pay the price....not just for weddings, but for marriage too.     For it is in doing so,  that we know and experience...
 REAL LOVE
 REAL LIFE
 AND REAL MARRIAGE.

   You and Me Rick Steimling, together forever.....in love, being refined like gold, time and time again, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.         

  Happy 25th Anniversary to the Love of my life!
Crystal