I remember . . . her hazel eyes captured me so easily. I loved to make her laugh, and smile, and just . . . be happy.

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I sit in the dark now and gaze at the brightly colored lights on the Christmas tree and the tiny village nestled under its branches. She loved the miniature houses and model trains.

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HOW TO KINDLE ROMANCE

December 11, 2014 — Leave a comment

One of the most important aspects of marriage is Kindling the Flame and Stoking the Fire. Those two things are similar, differing only in the fact that the first is getting things started—the later is heating them up and keeping them going.

Perhaps because we grow up hearing fairy tales, we anticipate finding a spouse as the end game when in fact it’s just the beginning. The implication is that once the discovery of that special someone has been made the work is done.

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Often I speak about trusting God.

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Perhaps I’ve missed the point of suffering for Him, because I haven’t suffered—not really.

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A patient recently asked me how my year has been.

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I sat for a moment to think over the past 12 months, and realized how much life has changed in one short year.

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What is Santa bringing you for Christmas?

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That was the question we all loved to hear when we were kids. We didn’t know our parents were eagerly listening to find out what we would say to those who asked.

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Be thankful for everything. Is that actually in the Bible? If so, how can I be thankful for something that is difficult to endure? To put it another way, how can I be thankful for what seems to be contrary to God’s will—my suffering?

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I can’t imagine God expecting me to be happy when I’m forced to walk a path so painful that I wonder at times if I will live through it. But is happy the same as thankful? No—it isn’t. It would be mockery to be happy while watching a child suffer a horrible injury, to see a family torn apart by unfaithfulness, or a wife die an agonizing death from cancer.

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This year a number of my close friends have suffered losses that are difficult to endure.

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When Gwen walked into my life so many years ago I felt in many ways as if my life had just begun. In many respects that was true.

When God called her home six years ago it seemed for a time that my life was over. I was wrong about that. My feelings overwhelmed me at the time and rendered me incapable of imagining the incredible plans that God had in store. I’m sorry to say that I have to admit that I wasn’t certain God could place meaning in my life again that made it worth getting up each morning.

Some of you are there today. I know because I attended funerals for your loved ones this year. Each Christmas I talk about the difficulties the holiday season brings. Perhaps it’s because there are so many wonderful memories attached to those whom we have lost. Perhaps it’s simply the aching in our hearts for missing someone so much that it’s hard to get up in the mornings, hard to face the bright lights of the holiday season, and a hard to smile and say Merry Christmas when our hearts are broken.

I was asked this year by a dear friend as we stood at the front of the church during his wife’s funeral if it gets any easier. I respect him too much to lie to him, so I told him no, it doesn’t. But praise be to God, his grace truly is sufficient to get me through the worst of days, and to remember that regardless of the pain I feel his plan is best. I may not understand. I may not choose it, but I can know that it is best.

God is sovereign.  He does nothing without great purpose.

I’m often asked about romance, kindness and passion—all good subjects.

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Sometimes the questions are very personal, like this one from a friend.

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Years ago, a friend approached Gwen with a horrible situation.

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She explained that she and her husband had been verbally attacking each other for weeks.

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As we approach the holiday season, I’m mindful that not everyone is without pain—many are suffering. I’ve been there, and learned that people who love us—friends and family, often don’t know what to say.

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This may be your first Christmas season without your husband or wife. Or perhaps it’s the first one you’ll spend without your daughter or son. If so you may feel empty, desperate, depressed or lonely. Then you smile and say, “Merry Christmas” to a friend, and something you didn’t expect happens–you feel guilty.

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