Mended — Book Review

Several weeks ago I received an invitation from Blythe Daniel to review and launch a book she and her mother had written. To be honest I was a bit hesitant because my own mother and I did not have a good relationship. (To be honest, we didn’t have a relationship.) My hesitancy came because I’ve really wanted to understand and forgive her and  I’ve not been able to do so. Plus, she passed away several years ago and it’s hard to rebuild a relationship with someone who isn’t here. But…

Through reading Mended I’ve come to understand a bit more of the person. This book contained some of the most healing words I’ve ever read. Most importantly, we are only responsible for the words we’ve said and the things we’ve done. We cannot and should not let ourselves think we can fix everything. Nor should we make ourselves totally responsible for the healing that must take place. We can only handle what is ours.

Forgiveness is a huge part of mending any relationship. We can always choose to forgive even if they don’t deserve it. Jesus did!

Verbal, emotional, and sometimes physical abuse was part of daily life for me. I was a hostage in a very controlling situation and truly felt I was the person at fault. It wasn’t until I left home for college and had very limited contact that I was able to put the situation into some sort of focus.  Through these words of Helen McIntosh I was able to reach a level of forgiveness that hadn’t been possible before: When we are the victim and need to forgive someone who has hurt and offended us… They may never even apologize or make amends. They may be deceased or in jail or another place you can’t reach them or oblivious to their offense. But we remain their prisoner until we let the offense go. pp.94 Letting the past go and committing to not dredging it up again has given me a kind of peace that has freed me from the pit of my mother’s words and actions and my own self-condemnation.

For me, this book was worth every word. Did I regress into the bad memories? Sometimes? Did I have moments of clarity when I started to understand? Yes! Can I move on and begin to understand the person behind words and actions? Yes! Can I forgive? I have to! There’s really no other choice.

Thank you, Blythe and Helen, for these incredible words! I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to rebuild (or build up) any relationship. It’s truly powerful and worth the time.

Consider these Words that are gems of light scattered throughout the book:

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15

Words kill, words give; they’re either poison or fruit–you choose. Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Harvest House Books and Blythe Daniel. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

 

5 Ways To Improve Any Relationship

I often think about being the best wife, friend, teacher, worker… I can be.  Perhaps I can do more, be more, give more… Certainly all of the above but there are some very practical, down to earth ways we can show those around us they matter most.

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I believe the #1 way to improve friendship is to take yourself out of the running for 1st Place.  Narcissism destroys more relationships that any other personal characteristic.  Anytime we think we matter more, in any way, than the person we’re relating with ruins any chance of building up the other person.  Jesus said it best when He said, ‘love others’ in response to what is the greatest commandment.

Steven Covey, in his book First Things First, makes it clear that we must know the wants and needs of the other person to become successful.  In our relationships, we really need to know what another likes or dislikes.  Remember anything we might think is fun may not be enjoyable to someone else.  Get to know your friends, husbands, co-workers.  Talk to them.  Discover their hobbies and interests.  The best relationships take the desires of the other into account first.

When you’re building friendships and relationships don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.  If it’s more than one-sided the other person is just as interested in you.  If your friend says let’s go see a dirt bike race and you really can’t stand the dust then tell them.  Remember, if your friend is truly interested in creating an awesome relationship they’ll find someone else to go with and both of you will discover something about the other.

That leads us to trust.  If a friend chooses to do something with another person do not put a guilt trip on them.  Building relationships with other people adds more to the friendships you already have.  Learning to trust others is a huge growth issue.  One does not need to know everything that their friend is doing every moment to build a strong relationship.

kindness-710209_960_720Last, but certainly not least, choose kindness.  In Aesop’s fable, The Lion and the Mouse, the moral is, a kindness is never wasted.  Perhaps something you’ve done in the past will lead to its reward in the future.  True kindness, like love, is based on wanting what is best for the other person.

 

Sometimes, when I read a list like this, I think I have to do everything.  Not so!  Even choosing one of these suggestions will make you a standout, awesome friend.  Go for it!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Given a Wedding Dress

Do you remember the hours spent thinking about your wedding dress?  The style, the train, the veil…I do.  I was between my sophomore and junior years in college when Ray and I married.  My sorority sisters (Gamma Omega Kappa) made my dress.  For days 2nd floor, Whitney Hall, was covered with satin and lace.  What a gift…One of my favorite parts of scripture is Revelation 19:6-10.  (In fact I like it so much I have it memorized.)  Verse 8 says, “Fine linen bright and clean was given her to wear.”  We are told in the next sentence this clothing represents the righteous acts of the saints.  One word stood out, clearly for the first time…given.  All of a sudden this portion danced for me again.  I am not earning my ‘wedding dress’ by the good things I do. (Even though I am expected to do them.)  It will be given to me to wear.  It will be given by Jesus who forgave ALLof my sins, covered me in His blood, washed me whiter than snow…I will be covered in the pure, white linen of His saints because of what He did.  Not by anything I can or will do. 

Father, I am humbled and totally unworthy to exceept this gift.  Yet, I totally love it.  Praise You and thank You!!!!!   AMEN

The dress above is not the one I wore, just one I really liked.

I grew up in a family that went to church every Sunday but really had no true idea of who God and Jesus was.  Depending on the particular church, (We moved around a lot.) He was an observer of my actions, hellfire and brimstone, always there….I know now He was there because there seemed to always be something missing in my life.  After I met and married Ray God made himself visible to me.  Ray led me to affirmation of faith and baptism.  I have never doubted that he wants me to have a relationship with my Lord that is greater than what I have with him.  The plan of our lives is God first, spouse next, and anything after that comes after that.  There is no better way to enjoy the purity and sanctity of marriage without having God in the primary relationship position.

Exodus 20:3 tells us we are to have no other gods.  Unless we keep sight of the fact that God is God and we (or our spouse) are not we will not be able to build the relationship that God wants.  Keeping God first and knowing He will ‘grow’ our marriage relationship allows us, as a couple, to recognize what is most important in our earthly lives.  He loves us, He cares for us, He wants what is best for us.  Once we recognize that it is much easier to be the helpers, lovers, and friends God intended both relationships will grow and flourish.

Heavenly Father, thank You for creating marriage.  Grant us the ability to see You in our coupleness.  Let us model to the world around us the joy of making You first.  Help us learn to forgive one another with love and grace.  Let the sanctity of marriage show through us.  Make it so!