Tag Archives: Relationships

Jewels of Her Tears

The tears of a woman
Are jewels from the hand of heaven.
They are a down payment
On a future of love, joy, and companionship.

A man who can’t handle
The tears of a woman
Will never treasure the heart of a woman.
Abba numbers a woman’s tears.
He dances with the happy tears,
Weeps as she mourns,
And acts justly on the angry tears.
A man who follows after Abba’s heart
Will wisely and judiciously
Count each shed tear
A jewel in his heavenly crown.
He will treasure the trust
She shows by crying before him.
He will never harm
A weeping princess of God Most High.

Only a sophomoric sop turns his back.
Only a fool ignores a woman who weeps.
Only a coward scorns the jewels falling from her face.

A Mizpah Mistake?

I remember years ago there were these paired necklaces. The two pairs together made a whole coin, called a Mizpah coin. On the coin were two hearts with beautiful text from the Bible, along the lines of “The LORD keep watch between me and thee while we are absent one from another.” The coin was then cut in two in a jagged way, and each part hung on a chain. It was either a couples thing or a BFF thing depending on how you looked at it.

I was young and naive. I always thought it was such a beautiful expression of care and concern. So much so, that I whispered it in my husband’s ear as they were wheeling him away for a medical procedure. And even as I was doing it, I had this queasy feeling like I was wrong, like it was the wrong thing to say or the wrong situation.

So, while I was eating lunch, I did the Christian equivalent of Bible google. It was not a pleasant situation that I found. The words we as a culture always thought to be so loving and caring were actually part of a threat from a father-in-law to a son-in-law. Let me explain.

The words come from a story in the life of Jacob, later renamed by God to Israel. Jacob’s life spans many years and many chapters in the book of Genesis. Jacob was a right rascal. He’d deceived his father into giving him the inheritance even though the custom was that the firstborn was to receive it; Jacob was second born, a twin who delivered by grabbing Esau’s ankle and following Esau out.

Esau was naturally disturbed, well more like in a murderous rage. So Jacob went on the run and found his way to working for Laban. Laban had two daughters. Jacob did not like the look of Leah, but loved Rachel. Laban agreed to let Jacob marry Rachel.

Jacob was not getting a good and kind father-in-law; instead he was getting a lesson in the wrongness of deception. By the point in our story that the quote is said, Laban has:

  • Tricked Jacob into working seven years to earn Rachel
  • Tricked Jacob into marrying Leah
  • Tricked Jacob into working another seven years for Rachel
  • Changed how much Jacob could earn while he worked for Laban (10 times no less)

So Jacob lied to Laban and took off with all his wives, kids, and earthly goods. Evidently, deception was a family affair because Rachel stole some idols from her father. Laban caught up with everyone and accused Jacob of the idol theft. Jacob, as a follower of God, would have detested idols, so he said Laban could search his caravan, seize the idols if found, and kill the thief. Obviously, Jacob trusted Rachel too much, but Rachel wasn’t done. She sat on the idols and refused to move, deceptively stating it was “that time of the month.” (All of us modern peeps know not to mess with PMS, right?)

With the idols not found, Laban blesses them all, and he and Jacob build a pile of stones as an altar, closing with the following quote before he literally kisses them all goodbye and leaves:

And Laban said, “This pile is a witness between me and you today.” That is why its name is Gal-ed, or Mizpah, for he said, “Let Adonai keep watch between you and me when we are out of one another’s sight. If you mistreat my daughters, and if you take wives besides my daughters, though no one is with us, look! God is the witness between you and me.”

Laban said further to Jacob, “Behold, this pile, and this pillar which I’ve set up between you and me: this pile serves as a witness, that I won’t pass by this pillar to go to you, and that you won’t pass by this pile and this pillar to go to me—with evil intent. May the God of Abraham and the gods of Nahor, the gods of their father, judge between us.”

Jacob also made an oath by the fear of his father Isaac.

–Genesis 31:48-53, Tree of Life Version

So what is the Mizpah Mistake?

First, when you take a Scripture verse out of context, no matter how beautiful, you miss the point of the lesson to be learned and you settle for less than God’s best that the Scripture is designed to give you in life.

Second, it’s the point missed from the entire passage. Sometimes, relationships are so broken, and the people in the relationships are so broken, that we just have to let go. Not only let go, but let go the right way:

  1. Talk it out
  2. Agree to disagree
  3. Set the boundaries
  4. Go your own way.

For My Husband…

Author’s Note: This is based on the song, “Bless the Broken Road,” performed by both Selah and Rascal Flatts. I’m including a link to the Selah version here.

“Bless the Broken Road” in surround sound–
And I believe every word,
Yet the pain in the journey
Sears my heart and floods my eyes.
It wasn’t the North Star
Leading me to your arms.
It was the man
Your broken road shaped in you,
Blessed by Jesus.
But my road still isn’t straight,
And I can’t find the joy and strength
To bless my broken road.
Hold me close and don’t let me go
Until joy in the journey dries my eyes.
Bless me with your love.
Hold me in your arms and on my feet.

Love me
Until I can love you
The way you deserve.

 

I Miss…

There were people in my life.
I’ve opened my hands,
And they’ve slipped through like hourglass sands.
I miss…

Twirling on his arm to Orinoco Flow
Sitting with snacks and talking angels and demons with her
Challenging him to teach me a point of theology
Listening to her argue hip-hop as a musical genre
Watching a new age Jesus with them and bonding
Eating Asian food with them to the flavor of kamikazes

I let go too soon.
They slipped away too fast.
What was lost can never be regained.
But even that knowledge can’t plug the hole in my heart.

Maybe…

If I pray hard enough,
If I wish long enough,
If I want great enough…

We’ll all pass through the crush of the crowd,
And meet up on the other side.
I could only dare to dream.

Make it real.
Take away the pain.

Show Me

Jesus, why is Jane Doe in my life?
She doesn’t listen.
She isn’t human.
She doesn’t care.
She isn’t my kind of person.

*silence with a slice of sighs*

Is she a soul My Father created?
Is she someone I died to save?
Is she made in Abba’s image?
Does she have worth simply because she is?
Isn’t that more than enough?

*silence with a side of remorseful sorrow and silent resignation*

Expecting…

As I stand at the sink washing vegetables,
You sneak up behind me.
Your breath on my neck
Starts to melt my cares.
Then you place your hand on my stomach,
And I catch my breath.
I know that spot is empty.
There’s no way to house new life.
Yet I wish…

I wish we were 20 years younger,
Together as newlyweds starting out.
A grainy grey and white photo hangs on the fridge–
With the next gold medal gymnast
Tumbling around inside of me,
Kicking against your hand held within mine.
That cock-eyed boyish grin spreads across your face
And makes your crinkly eyes twinkle.

But it’s no good.
So I start to inhale deeply
And melt into your arms again,
To appreciate the love, hope, and joy
You’ve birthed into my life.
Knowing that it’s enough for you
Helps grow it into more than enough for me.

A Tarnished Star

Do everything without complaining or arguing. Then you will be innocent and without anything wrong in you. You will be God’s children without fault. But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you. Among them you shine like stars in the dark world.  — Saul of Tarsus, Letter to the saints at Philippi (ICB)

Like a gold ring and a fine gold ornament, so is constructive criticism to the ear of one who listens. — Proverbs (NOG)

I’m struggling with something, and I’m struggling to verbalize it. I think the two verses powerfully express my struggle.

By nature, I’m detail oriented, almost to a fault. And in my detail orientation, I tend to be drawn to things that are broken and need to be fixed. I feel the wrongness almost like a bad chord vibrating disharmoniously throughout my entire being. And the wrongness and related discomfort continue until the thing is fixed.

When I was first discovering this about myself, I was accused so often of complaining and grumbling. I had “a negative spirit” and “never saw the good in anything.” And that made me angry. Wallowing in feeling lousy, I never saw anything good in this gift or skill until I had a manager tell me, “If you can’t give me at least one solution for the problem, don’t waste my time identifying the problem.”

Wow. So, if I could get creative enough to suggest a fix however elementary or dumb, at least I could identify and express the problem. It took a while, but as I parented and solved the problems of parenting, I gained the ability to step back and look at how to solve problems in other arenas.

But even as I was gaining in this skill, I kept being accused of being too critical. And sometimes, I needed to explore or express a problem which I didn’t have the experience to solve. It was a hard place. However, once I looked at the definitions of criticism, I realized the problem.

I went to dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster online. Both sources listed several definitions, including (in my own words) “the act of judging the merits or good and bad qualities of anything” and the “act of expressing severe disapproval or finding the faults in someone or something.” But each source had a different order of precedence for which meaning is used more often for the word.

It has to do with perception and understanding of language. In our “highly tolerant” culture, we forget that things break. It is okay to identify things as broken and needing to be fixed. The problem comes when we perceive others as broken.

People do break. People do hurt. People who are broken and hurt break and hurt others. And while you want to “fix” the broken breakers, you have to be careful that you’re not adding to the broken hurt in the breaker’s heart. And while we will never be completely fixed on this side of eternity, there are measures we all can take to improve.

However, if brokenness comes from medical issues, it might be best to not try to fix the person’s problem. It might be best to let the person’s medical team deal with the issues.

The same goes for brokenness from trauma. It takes a team of specialists to fix that.

But when it comes to people who just don’t know any better, that might be somewhere where you could get involved.

But you have to assess whether the person is ready for the message. A message at the wrong time will be resisted.

And you have to assess whether you have the authority and credibility to make the educational attempt. If the person does not respect who you are and where you’ve been, you might as well try to train a deaf dog to honor whistle commands; you’ll be just as successful.

Also, you have to assess whether it is true brokenness or whether it’s just a difference. Sometimes, we get so set in our way being the only possible way that we cannot see that other ways might exist.

Constructive criticism is a good and right thing. Jesus strongly urged it in Matthew 5:23-24. But you have to have the right motive. You have to set things right with a right motive because fixing for ease or comfort or appearances’ sake just won’t work.

One last thought: what do you do when you can’t make it right?

I think you have to look at what 12-step recovery programs urge in steps 8 and 9.

  • Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

All that is required is an attitude and a willingness to make amends. Yes, you’re offended and you feel the need to fix. But maybe, it’s better to forgive them in your heart and let things go. That doesn’t mean you have to become best buddies forever; it just means that you could work with them on a team without jeopardizing the goals of that team.

The other caveat is that you cannot cause harm to yourself, the one you want to fix, or the people around you. It’s not just physical harm. Poor timing or poor message construction could cause emotional damage, and the emotional damage could result in spiritual damage. Damage is the exact opposite of what a fixer is seeking.

Just my not-so-humble (and confused and confusing) two cents’ worth…