Saturday, March 28, 2009

Love and Respect

A friend loaned me the book Love & Respect: The Love She Most Deserves, The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs about a year ago. It took me this long to get around to reading it, but am I ever glad I did!

I've read quite a number of books on marriage and they were all helpful in some way or another. Other ones I just can't seem to get around to reading. Like the one we had on our shelf for ages entitled something like Building Up Your Mate's Self-Esteem. I just couldn't see how my mate's self-esteem is my problem or how my self-esteem is his problem. Unless, of course, we are purposely trying to tear each other down. Which we aren't, so I didn't read it.

But this book is so good that I would recommend it to every married couple, every engaged couple, and every young adult who is trying to figure out the opposite sex. It's that good.

And it's really very simple. In fact the one weakness of the book is that it is a bit repetitive.

First, Dr. Eggerichs defines the problem. Couples get on the "Crazy Cycle" and can't get off. The problem is that either the husband or the wife acts in the wrong way which causes the wrong reaction in their spouse. So, since I'm a wife, I'll start with saying that the wife does something that shows disrespect to her husband. He feels unloved and unappreciated so he doesn't act towards her in a loving way. That makes her feel unloved and unwanted and then she feels like she can't respect him. Which makes him feel like there's no sense in trying so hard to be loving, which makes.....you get the idea.

The second part of the book deals with the solution to the problem. Dr. Eggerichs presents what he calls the energizing cycle. In this cycle the wife, just as our starting point, shows respect to her husband. He then responds in love to her and she respects him for it and so on. The hard part is that love comes naturally to women and respect comes naturally to men and women need to learn to show respect and men need to learn to show love. I'll let you read the book yourself to find some very practical and helpful suggestions.

One good thing about the book.....and very convicting....is that he hits the women just as hard as the men. Most books on marriage that I've read talk about how the man should be more loving, but the women are left feeling pretty good because they're already doing well in that department. He also talks about how we tend to mother our husbands because we love them and want them to be better....but it comes across as very disrespectful.

The third section is the rewarded cycle. There are times when we show respect and it isn't reciprocated with love or men show love and their wives don't respect them back. Or perhaps their spouse is extremely difficult to love or respect. Or maybe their spouse doesn't even want to work on their marriage. But Dr. Eggerichs shows how his love can be shown regardless of her respect and her respect can be shown regardless of his love.

Regardless of our spouse's reaction, we need to do this for the Lord. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. When I respect my husband, I am really respecting the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ. When a husband loves his wife, he is really being a picture of Jesus loving the church and giving Himself to it.

I definitely recommend the book, but be prepared to be convicted and to make some changes in your relationship!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit


The Wallace and Gromit movies are hilarious. They are for kids, but adults probably enjoy them as much or more than the kids. One of the movies was Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit. I think in the movie the rabbits were making off with the prize produce and Wallace and Gromit were out to catch the wicked animals. It's been a long time since I watched it, so I don't remember how it turned out! Recently we were at an event that was also attended by a wicked rabbit.

There is a couple here in Niamey who have a children's home. The children who live with them are not adoptable but they are children who have been abandoned or who are at risk in their homes. If it weren't for Josie and Bernard, they would probably be street kids. There are about 30 kids who live at CSEN, the name of the center. Recently they celebrated their 10th year anniversary and had a big celebration to which many people were invited.

I take a group of Sahel students to the orphanage every other Wednesday just to play with the kids. One of the babies is my little buddy and he usually sits with me in church on Sunday mornings.

Many speeches were made, including this one by Mama Josie. Some of the children sang and danced. I don't know who the man was, aside from the fact that he was the m.c.! The big moment came when the American Ambassador got up to give her speech. She has been involved there in giving donations and the Marines give Christmas presents. She is well-liked by Nigeriens and the American community alike as she never puts on airs. She is very friendly and personable. Anyway, as she was giving her speech, a white rabbit was hopping around. It was his yard and his territory, after all. He was getting closer and closer to the Ambassador and John and I were surprised that very few people even noticed him. He hopped closer and closer to the Ambassador....who at the moment was wrapping up her speech with a verse from the Bible...then he hopped right up to her foot and bit her on the foot! She yelped and looked down and that was when everybody noticed the wicked bunny! She recovered quickly and had a good laugh along with everybody else. That's part of the reason she is so well liked!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Journals

Suzanne decorated the cover of her journal with clippings from magazines. I thought it was a great idea, and wanted to do it, too. But I didn't know when I'd ever find time for it. Then one night recently the power was off for about three hours. John and I had been planning on watching a movie together, but that was out. Doing anything on the computer was out. Neither of us was in the mood for a game. So, we sat at the table and by candle-light he read a book and I got out all the old magazines and started cutting.

This is what I came up with. The one on the left is my journal. I'm not really much of a journal keeper. I'm perhaps an odd introvert in that I'm not terribly introspective and so I don't think a lot about what's happening and don't spend a lot of time on reflection. I tried to glue on things that describe me...chocolate, coke, things about home. I put on the "pilgrims" because I am a pilgrim on this earth. "Marriage matters" reminds me of what's important. The "Modern Day Rosie" is for the strength and capabilities of us women. I just thought the "Bad Hair Day" troll was cute.

The one on the right is my quiet time journal. I am reading through the Bible in a year. So I read the passage and then I look up things on the internet, print out articles or pictures and paste them in my journal along with my thoughts, what the passage means, and how God is speaking to me through the passage. I've found some great web sites. The first is great if you are reading through the Bible. The second is an excellent commentary on the Bible. It is written in a very understandable style but is not fluff at all. These sites are http://www.oneyearbibleblog.com/ and http://www.bible.org/



Monday, March 02, 2009

Tera Outreach Trip



This past weekend, we took a group of Sahel students up to Tera for an outreach trip. We stayed in the church property of the Bethel church. This property is across the street from the home of a Christian family who let us use the property and who also let us use their latrines. The girls camped in this tent. John and I forgot the poles for our tent, but at least we had cots, so we slept under the stars. The boys slept at the private school property that this family owns and operates.


The first night they kids just sang together and we had devotions together. We went to bed fairly early knowing we had a big day ahead of us the next day.

We spent Saturday morning in Doumba helping put a new roof on their church. The roof beams had been eaten by termites and had collapsed in the rainy season. John had already purchased new beams of a more termite-resistant type of log and the believers had the logs in place and new mats attached. It was up to the kids to mix this dirt and water and make mud. Oh yeah! Fun! It was sort of a cross between making mud pies and mud wrestling.

It was hard work, moving all that mud around. It sucked them right down in and each time they pulled a leg up, it was like moving an extra 20 pounds. They got it done, though, and then they had to transfer the mud from the pit up to the roof and then spread the mud over the roof. When the mud is dry, they'll cover it with thick black plastic and then coat it with mud again.

We were all pretty tired when we got back to Tera. We had lunch and then everybody stretched out...apparently our cots were the choice place to rest. Here we have at least six kids on two cots.

In the afternoon we had a kids' club. I'm not sure how many came, but they all listened well. We did the story of Abraham and Isaac. I told the story and the teens acted it out. On Sunday we told the story of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. There was a man who came in and at first I was a little uneasy. But he was answering questions and totally getting in to the story. Then he wanted a picture and he sat and colored a picture. I think he was maybe mentally retarded or something, but I'm glad he enjoyed himself!

On Saturday night we showed the Jesus film in an open area. It was past midnight before we got everything put away and got to bed. We just dropped into bed exhausted!

The next day we went to two different church services. I didn't get any pictures of the film or of church. All of our meals were cooked by two ladies in Tera, but we had KP duty...rather a simple arrangement, but it worked.

It was a great weekend! It's always good to see old friends again, to be able to encourage the believers, but at the same time it is discouraging to see how much still needs to be done there. Don't stop praying!