Dance Lessons

I never know where God is going to take me when I sit down and open His word. This morning was no different, I need to get used to the feeling of, “today is the day God is going to teach me something”. I just didn’t realize I would be getting dance lessons this morning.

I am studying Matthew today and 19:6 was highlighted in neon. “So they are no longer two but one flesh, what therefore God has joined together let no man separate.”

I have come to think of marriage as a piece of artwork all in its own. It is a dance that has a rhythm and a beat unique to the two dancing. Sometimes the beat is soothing and makes me feel like I could fall into it and rest forever, sometimes it is a fun, rapid beat that energizes me and sometimes it is heavy metal that is chaotic and hurtful to the senses and cannot be sustained for long. However, it is continual and goes from one song to another. Sometimes we dance in perfect harmony and sometimes we collide and step on toes and even fall. Sometimes the one who is supposed to be leading gets lost in the music and we twirl and spin around without any guidance or knowledge where we are going.

I like to think that marriage should not be about falling, that falling isn’t the end all”, it probably should not even be about stepping on toes or the occasional collision as the beat goes on so to speak. What if marriage isn’t so much about “dancing happily ever after” so much as learning to extend goodwill to our partner and presume goodwill from our partner? Maybe it should be about learning to step out of the “its not my fault I don’t know that dance, or I hate that music” frame of mind into the taking responsibility for our actions frame of mind?

WOW, there’s a thought. Let’s take some dance lessons so we can appreciate other types of music.

It is important to remember in this institution called marriage that God designed it from one end to the other. God made man; God made woman, God made the music we dance to. He didn’t make us the same He didn’t give us the same taste in music and what’s more, I cannot believe that he did that mistakenly. He didn’t make one partner who was right and one partner who had no musical sense whatsoever, He made two partners that were simply “different”.

This brings me back to Matthew 19:6. “So they are no longer two but one. I still believe we are to maintain that we have different (not wrong, simply different) outlooks but we are to operate and function as a single unit, in harmony. The next part, “what God has joined”- WOW, wait a minute, how did we miss that because we certainly overlook it quite often. Do we, and the world in general for that matter just ignore that explosive statement, how did we let that one slip by……………….God joined us with our spouse?…………..doesn’t that make it a holy union? Maybe it is time we start treating it as such?

“Let no man separate”. Ok, this is a compact little nugget that holds a wealth of meaning also. I think that we tend to take this too literally. I think we tend to think it means a third party or other earthly interferences. Maybe we need to look at this statement in a little different light, what if we take it more personal? Couldn’t the statement, let no man separate, include ourselves? Uh oh, I knew there would be a life lesson for me today in here somewhere.

Maybe we need to take responsibility for making our marriages what God intended them to be, I don’t mean to exclude God but to at least do our part. Maybe we need to start taking responsibility for our actions, our thoughts, our deeds, in effect, our marriages. There are all kinds of music out there, all kinds of dances, none right, none wrong, all simply different. Learn them all so that when the time comes we need to dance to different music or dance a two-step instead of a waltz, we can. Sometimes it takes no more than an open mind and the habit of extending or presuming goodwill.

It seems to me that if we remember only one thing, that we should remember that GOD JOINED MY SPOUSE AND I. That should make it worth any length we have to go to in our marriages, and should make it worth any sacrifices we have to make. We have something special, something worth working on, something worth getting a little uncomfortable for or something we can risk looking a little silly for.

We have a holy union arranged by our Father.

Period, it really is that simple.

DottieImage

Who are women who ride motorcycles, what does it mean to us, what has it taught us, where is it taking us and how does God fit into this world on two wheels?

I will attempt to answer that in a fashion that is true for most women riders, but I guess mostly I can write about the personal meaning of riding, what it has taught me, where it is taking me, and how God fits into it all.

Who are women who ride motorcycles?  Well, depending on where you look,  of the people who ride motorcycles, 12 to 20 percent of us are women riders.

We are your wives, girlfriends, sisters, aunts, mothers, and grandmothers, we are the women you love. We are unique and fiercely independent, brave, bold, intelligent, and creative.  We are resourceful, inspiring, successful, adventurous, risk-takers, tenacious, and for me at least, in love with life  and the God who provides that life.

Edward Winterhalder says that “there is something about the motorcycle that intrinsically appeals to human nature.”

Yes, yes,  yes, but for me and most women I suspect, it goes much deeper than that. So to answer the questions what does it mean to me and to us.

Riding is independence, riding is pride, riding is freedom.

I am not a “biker bitch”, I am not a “biker chick”. When I ride, I am a woman who is fulfilling her destiny………………….on a motorcycle. My time on my motorcycle is not an ego trip, my time riding is a time that informs, inspires and empowers me.

More than that however is God finds me there, every time and fills me with words that are fluid, poetic in my own way and philosophical from His point of view. Riding is unending inspiration, mile after mile. Riding is not a hobby, riding is not a bad habit, riding is the cohesion that hold my world together.

Riding is freedom in the wind, it is the rhythm of the road, it is all about putting distance between  you and the mundane.

Riding with God is bringing your true self to life, it is fulfilling your destiny while fulfilling His.  Riding with God enhances all that I am and all that I do. It is visualizing and finding the courage to put into play what God is laying on your heart. For me, riding my motorcycle and loving God are intrinsically intertwined, mile by mile my true purpose is being revealed.

I find great truth in the old quote “Two wheels move the soul”

While far from a pro yet, I am just starting my fourth season of riding my own  bike, I have learned a few  important facts about riding a motorcycle.

Look where you want to go. The motorcycle tends to go where you are looking so keep your eyes on the road. I learned this the hard way. Look long enough at the scenery and you end up being the scenery.
Assume you are invisible, because to a lot of cagers you are. You might as well be under an invisible cloak. They simply do not see you. Scary but true, especially at intersections.
Ride your own ride. Never try to keep up if it means riding over your skill level. This proved to be one of the most important things I had to learn and stand firm on. Sometimes it isn’t easy.
Inclines are a bitch to handle when stopped or anytime you aren’t moving very fast.
If it looks slippery, it probably is.

  • Learn to swerve. The bike will follow your eyes, so look at the way around, not at the dead skunk you are trying to avoid. It really sucks (and stinks) when you run over dead things.
  • Potty before you leave. Bumpy roads and a full bladder are no fun .
  • Money tends to disappear fast when shopping for the new bike. If you don’t believe me just ask my husband about the price of bike bling.
  • Parking lots are good places to practice those stupid U-turns the DOT insists you need to know how to do.
  • People carry dumb stuff in the back of their pickup trucks and it inevitably blows out when I am following them.
  • Dress for the crash, not beach or an elegant night out on the town. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Flip flops, shorts and a bike just don’t work for me.
  • Rain gear is a must-have but you have to put it on for it to do any good. It rained so hard on us but our rain gear was in our saddle bags… Don’t even ask.
  • Wild turkeys and deer travel in suicidal packs.
  • There are always people watching lame attempts to park the dang bike. It helps to have your own personal cheering section when learning to park. It does not help when people (Hubby, who shall remain nameless) is standing behind your bike pushing it forward when you are trying to push it backward.
  • Bees can sting you when they slam into you at a high rate of speed. At least they have the decency to die after they sting you.
  • Get your key out of your jeans pocket before putting on chaps, jacket and gloves.
  • Get over your hair, nothing works.
  • When getting gas, make sure the kickstand is really down 
  • Fattening but delicious food is the only food you can eat when traveling on motorcycles.
  • Sand and gravel are evil works of the Devil
  • When pulling in to get gas while following Hubby, it is absolutely mandatory that he do twenty five twirlies around the parking lot before landing in front of the gas pump so you learn to do U-turns for the pesky motorcycle drivers endorsement. Twirlies are usually accompanied by a big grin on hubby’s smug face…….just sayin
  • Riding a motorcycle engages all that is within you. Ride with safety in mind, in fact do all you can to be safe, ride for what it gives  you, ride because it good for the soul.

 

Like I said yesterday, where the world sees a hardened biker, God sees a disciple. The is much to be gained from gathering with other believers while traveling on a motorcycle. It doesn’t matter whether you gather in a formal “church” setting, or if you gather in a parking lot after a chance meeting, or in a restaurant halfway across the country. What matters is ” For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

……………………and so I ride

Dottie

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I am a woman who rides a motorcycle. I am a woman who loves Jesus.

Before I go any further here let me say that I am not discounting or disrespecting any woman who rides pillion with her man on a motorcycle, not at all. I am simply going to talk about what riding my own motorcycle has meant in my life.

Life for each and every one of us is a journey; we all know that, we travel our unique, individual paths to our personal awareness. As our story unfolds however, we find that God almost never takes us on a straight line from point A to point B. That would be to easy and not much fun!

In our journey we are challenged, prepared and changed. My journey involved a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic Motorcycle. My husband rides also, and there are two motorcycles in our garage, mine being the prettiest and the fastest……………………just saying, anyway I digress.

Learning to ride my motorcycle was liberating for me, it helped me to embrace and overcome challenges, it gave me courage, fortitude and made me dig inside myself for those things. Learning to ride is like a dance, a partnership actually where you learn harmony, power, strength, balance, confidence and where positive changes happen.

Riding my motorcycle I found an outlet for the part of me that screamed for adventure and freedom, I found independence and at the same time community. I found the power to change, overcame the fear of failure and learned the feeling of success.

As I learned to  ride I found a new understanding of myself and as my life on motorcycles progressed I found myself pulled more and more to the spiritual part of riding that you can’t help but feel  when it is just you and the wind. You feel the whisper of God refreshing your soul.

God found a way to connect with me on a motorcycle that I believe could not happen any other way. So where was this leading, because if there is one thing I have found on this journey with Jesus is, He always has a plan for me and sometimes the path is unconventional, which is a huge understatement actually.

Why did motorcycles speak so loudly to me and why did I connect with the life of a biker almost seamlessly? Then it came to me, where some see a frightening, intimidating biker, God sees a disciple.

Riding a motorcycle allows a person to reach people in a unique and individual way. People are drawn to someone on a motorcycle, especially a woman on a motorcycle. When people are drawn to you conversations are imminent. When you feel passionately about spreading the Good News of Jesus, you turn those conversations into possibilities for Christ.

There is nothing like sitting at a stoplight on your bike with the bright yellow patch on your back proclaiming your devotion to Christ and someone yelling across two lanes of traffic to you………….Praise God! There is nothing like sitting under a tent at one of the biggest motorcycle rallies in the nation and praying with a stranger who spotted you and wandered over because he was in pain over losing a close relative.

Sure, we all go to church each week and we go to bible studies and mingle with other like-minded Christians, but that’s easy and comfortable. It is a whole different kind of evangelizing to be out on your motorcycle, far away from home and to be able to talk to others of the love of Jesus. That is the kind of rider I want to be, the kind who’s passion for Christ exceeds the passion for riding.

…………………and  so I ride

Dottie

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The Ultimate Purpose of Marriage

Just when we think we have all the answers, the question changes! I am still thinking about God, and marriage and how the two work together.

What if marriage really isn’t about you and your spouse as much as it is about you and God?

Maybe we have been thinking about this marriage thing in the wrong way all along, (hence the huge divorce rate). Maybe God uses marriage to make us both happy and holy and we just forget about the holy part.

How often do we say about our spouse, he or she is my soul mate, he or she makes my life complete? Maybe God wants to be the one to complete us and He never intended our marriage partner to be the one we look to for that particular fulfillment?  Isn’t that really just idolatry? I know it is strange to think of our spouse that way, but it seems to me that if we let God complete us, the rest of marriage would fall into place more easily. I think that maybe our fulfillment and reason for being should be God and not our spouse and in turn, that would make us a far better partner in our marriage.

What’s more, if we really are looking to our spouses to be our God, how are they ever going to live up to that? There is no way they can; if we are looking to our spouses to be our God, we are setting our marriage up to fail.

Maybe just maybe, God guides us into marriage to help us on our journey to eternal existence with Him?

I say this because I am trying to reason this out; if happiness was the goal in marriage we would do as millions of other couples do, get a divorce as soon as happiness seems to fade into the mundaneness of real life. Or what about being in marriage only for what we receive, primarily love and attention, divorce would soon be imminent because as humans our attention span is limited at best and we are a pretty selfish bunch. But when you stop to think about it, isn’t that what is happening in the world? The divorce rate is astonishing and it could just be because we have our thoughts on ourselves and not what God intends our marriage to be.

I think that when trouble comes, and it will, we need to put on our grown up panties,  suck it up and jump on the road to finding eternal happiness, jump on the road that leads to life with the only one who can give us complete wholeness, purpose and eternal life. If husbands and wives have a common destination the journey can’t help but be a whole lot easier.

I know I have written about this before but it is not an easy concept for me. Apparently I have to get myself out of the way, put my spouse in the correct place in my life and put God in the place where He belongs. I am quick to admit to say that marriage works best when God is involved but I think maybe I had the order wrong before, God should be in the top spot. There is no brighter beacon , there is no greater comfort, there is no better way to complete a marriage than to look to God to do it.

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A Cord of Three Strands

Why do we get married? We have heard many reasons, to meet our romantic and emotional needs, we marry with the idea that our spouses will be  all we ever wanted or all we need. We marry looking for fulfillment in the marriage relationship. Finally, we found the spouses of our dreams, life is good.

Then not long after the marriage and honeymoon are over, we step back into real life and say to ourselves, wow, my partner has a lot of changing to do! We we have all done that, admit it.  Darn it, just as I entered marriage with my idea of what my marriage would be all about, so did my spouse, but neither of those purposes lined up with what God wants from our marriage.

Could it be that God intends for our marriages to shape us into the image of Christ? Could it be that our marriages are not all about getting every little need met in each other but the process shapes us into the people God wants us to be?  Could it be that expecting to get all our emotional and romantic needs met in marriage is really just self gratification and not a solid base for a marriage?

Now I know that these things are important and they do have their place in marriage, but should it be the primary concern we have? Are we more committed to the notion of what a marriage relationship should be rather than what God wants for it to be? Maybe part of God’s plan for marriage is to teach us to be givers and not takers, maybe we are to give with no expectation of getting anything back?  Now that is food for thought!

It seems to me that maybe just maybe we are making it harder on ourselves that it has to be? Bear with me here, is it true that if we are striving to become the people God wants us to be, if we are growing into the image of Jesus, if we are letting God truly take control of our lives, that indeed, our greatest needs are being met and our marriages grow?

It doesn’t take two to build a strong marriage, it takes three. To make a truly strong marriage it takes two people willing to give up…………………..give  up control, give up selfishness, give up the marriage to God.

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We do forget to share the business of marriage with God, to ask for Gods help is to take the first step in having a stronger marriage. Don’t ask the question did I marry the right person, ask am I being the right partner to my spouse?

I read that God wants for us not happiness, but the joy which results from Godliness. That sound like a plan worth following.

“Marriage Takes Three”

I once thought marriage took

Just two to make a go.

But now I’m convinced

It takes the Lord also

And not one marriage fails

Where Christ is asked to enter

As lovers come together

With Jesus at the center

In homes where Christ is first

It’s obvious to see

Those unions really work

For marriage still takes three.

 Author: Peter Tanksley

Dottie

Jesus is not my buddy, He is much, much more!

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God is holy.

There is a certain feel-good giddy, emotional free for all when it comes to our relationship with Christ. We love to talk about the comfort we get, the feeling that God is always there for us, He is our best friend, the fact that we can let Him wrap His arms around us and tell us everything will be ok. There is nothing wrong with the concept that Jesus is our friend, that He is our buddy. However……………..

It seems to me  that thinking like that can lead to the erroneous notion that our glory is almost as important as Gods glory. We must never forget that the grandeur of God is on a scale that we can’t even imagine let alone live up to.

God is holy.

A friend in earthly terms can at times be undependable, can have their attention diverted to somewhere other than you, can even at times turn on you, an earthly friend can be frustrating, impatient, demanding and can fail  us.

God won’t.

God is holy.

Oh we may experience all those emotions as we strive to walk with God but His attention is steadfast and unconditional and always directed towards greater good.

It could be that we have been conditioned in this life to see God as much less than He actually is. I think that we as humans tend to lose sight of the actual grandeur and holiness of our Lord. We tend to look at our relationship with Jesus for many things other that what it really is.  It isn’t purely about the feel good  emotions, He comes to us and gives us forgiveness and atonement for sins. That is something no earthly friend can offer.

God is so much bigger than we tend to think of Him, I honestly think our perceptions get distorted and we try to fit Him into the earthly box we have built for Him. He is so much bigger. God is not limited by earthly boundaries.

God is holy.

We don’t have to wonder if God is going to respond to our texts or phone calls, or how He will respond, we don’t have to wonder if He is really listening or if He “gets” what we are telling Him. We don’t have to feel silly or worry about being humiliated for our earthly failings. We can talk to Him  without abandon and without fear of revenge. He will  keep our secrets but may make us reveal those very secrets in ways that help us and not hinder. His relationship with me is not based on making Himself feel better or making Himself look good.

God loves us for who we are, not in spite of who we are! God is the only one capable of that.

God is holy.

What is holy?

How holy is holy?

R.C.Sprout makes an insightful observation:

“The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or wrath, wrath, wrath, or justice, justice, justice. It does say that He is holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of His glory.”

From Bible.org

To be holy is to be distinct, separate, in a class by oneself.

To be holy is to be unique, with no rivals or competition.

To be holy is to be morally pure.

To be holy is to be holy in every aspect of ones nature and character.

Holy calls attention to all God is. His love is holy, His justice is holy, His mercy is holy, His knowledge is holy, His spirit is holy.

Exodus 15:11

1 Samuel 2:2

Psalms 86:8-10

Psalms 24:3-5

Isaiah 6:3-5

I think I will focus on that this day.

Dottie

Tears- life is filled with tears, our children are born crying and when our loved one end life on this earth, we mourn them with tears. The bible tells us time and again that we will suffer, we will have trials and we will have tribulation. It is a fact, it will happen and it seems that we had better find a haven that will shelter us as we navigate the storm filled waters of this journey.
The verse that snagged me and drew me in this morning was Psalm 84: 5-7. It is beautiful and relevant.
I think that it is a symbolic reference and gently reminds us of the burdens we will (not might) carry as we journey to meet God. We know that burdens and travel through desolation always go before triumph and are in fact, part of our pilgrimage. It would seem that we would see the comfort in the fact that we are not the only ones to suffer but somehow that does not make it easier to navigate through our personal embattled road.
What does give me some comfort is that we can be certain that by making this voyage  we will experience the faithfulness of our God. We can be positive that this journey is pre-determined, leads us in the right direction and has a beautiful, wondrous and glorious destination. We are all familiar with the ever popular quote that “ it is the journey that counts, not the destination”, nowhere does it mean more than this journey of life.
Mark Talbot says it quite eloquently,” it is stifling when we lose perspective during suffering; it is like forgetting to breathe.” He goes on to remind us to “breathe in the word that God has breathed out for us.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The bible is chock full of suffering, it seems God’s people never enjoyed the freedom from suffering. This is what Mark Talbot says Job needed to hear after he accused God of keeping him from catching his breath, “Breathe! Don’t panic! Slow yourself down! Don’t take everything to be as it seems. And don’t irrationally conclude that things will never get better.”
So carry on and go from “strength to strength” moving towards the courts of the Lord with obedience in our actions and reactions in response to scripture, to gain faith and wisdom and finally gain the crown of life.
That seems like good advice for us also, breathe out our grief, our cries and wailings and linger in this still place, move towards the light and breathe in His grace.

Psalm 84:5-7

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.[a]
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

Dottie ……………..who is thanking God for the journey.