Steps

This morning I woke up thinking about divorce. My parents were divorced when I was a child. They say that children are resilient and can adjust/overcome their circumstances. I believe that to a certain point. If the parent remarries and the stepparent actually steps in and assumes the role of a loving parent, accepting the child as his/her “own,” then the child can adjust.

If the stepparent is opposite of a supportive and nurturing parent, then the child will mourn the loss of the family unit and the effects can last a lifetime. That child would be forever thinking about “what if” or “what could have been” – if the parents had just put more effort into working things out then things would have been different, they would have been “one big happy family.” Dwelling on the past is not healthy.

What’s the point? Divorce happens, and it happens frequently. If you are going to marry someone with children/grandchildren, then love the children/grandchildren as your “own”—as if you had given birth to them or that you willingly adopted them. Be the kind of parent/grandparent to them that you always wanted to have, or if you had great parents/grandparents growing up then emulate that for them.

God gave us this example: “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure” (Eph 1:4-5, NLT).

We are called to love others as ourselves (Mark 12:31), and that definitely includes loving one’s stepchildren/step-grandchildren. Find the joy in being a stepparent/step-grandparent, just as God had “great pleasure” in adopting us into His own family. I think we would have less maladjusted children and adults if every stepparent/step-grandparent did this.

Copyright © 2018 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
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The Three Biggest Things I’ve Learned from Being Married for 33 Years

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. We’ve come so far considering we could have been a “statistic” based on the factors we had: only teenagers when we married, we only had a high school education, we had our first child within the first year of our marriage, my parents were divorced, we only knew each other for a few months before getting married, we had a long distance relationship (me in California, and he in Florida), and we had terrible conflict and communication skills.

We had our “ups” and “downs” over the years, and I was even on the verge of getting a divorce earlier in our marriage. Yes, we saw a counselor and took marriage enrichment classes/seminars, but the turning point of our marriage was when we turned everything over to God. I’ve learned so much these past 33 years, and these are the three biggest things that I learned:

  1. I learned that I had to stop trying to be “right,” and to realize that no one is perfect so I had to be more forgiving.

It seemed that I was in a competition with my husband all the time. I wanted to always prove that I was right to a point where I would get angry about it. I spent more time arguing my case that I never really listened. When my husband did something wrong, I would use it against him and bring it up when we had arguments.

No one is perfect (especially me). If I don’t want people to expect perfection from me, then I shouldn’t expect it from other people, most especially my husband. Since I make mistakes all the time, I know that my husband will make mistakes too so I have to forgive him, just as I would want him to forgive me. I’m not always right; I had to listen more and talk less, and I had to realize that just because he did things differently that it doesn’t mean that my way is “right.”

  1. I learned to “pick my battles,” to let the “little things” go, and to choose my words carefully when there is a real issue.

I remember arguing about how the toilet paper should be placed on the holder, and how that argument would expand into other issues from the past. Does it really matter how the toilet paper is put into the holder? No! I realized that there are more serious issues. When these issues arise then that’s when I have to say something, but I had to choose my words (and tone of voice) carefully so that my words can be received.

  1. I learned to truly love my husband, to appreciate him, and to build him up as often as I can.

It used to make me so jealous that my husband had a photographic memory. He breezed through the doctoral program and graduated with a large dissertation after four years, while I struggled and nearly dropped out. The two years that followed his graduation were extremely difficult for me, but he encouraged me when I felt like giving up, he proof read my work several times, and he picked up the slack at home. I graduated after six years of being in the program, and I could not have done it without him.

I’ve come to appreciate how much smarter he is compared to me; and even though he is smarter, he never rubs it in my face. He brings out the best in me, so I try to bring out the best in him. I encourage him by pointing out the positive things about him, or about the positive things he has done or is doing. I am there if he is having a bad day and he needs someone to listen to him. When he gets a migraine, I massage his head until it goes away. I also tell him that I love him every day (they say action speaks louder than words, but words are still important).

Thirty-three years seems like such a long time, but I still have a lot to learn. I don’t think we ever get to that point in our marriage where we can stop trying to love, to support, and to serve our spouse.

Most of all, I continually thank God for His intervention in my marriage, and thank Him for the wonderful man He has given to me to be my husband.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights… Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger… No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need… serve one another through love… And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ” (James 1:17, 19, Eph 4:28, Gal 5:16, Eph 4:32, CSB).

Copyright © 2017 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The Truth About “Fifty Shades of Grey”

I never thought there would be a day when sado-masochism would be considered “romantic,” but it has happened with “Fifty Shades of Grey.” What makes this storyline so appealing to people? Is this really the type of relationship women secretly want? Would the lead female character endure these sexual games if the main character wasn’t a rich guy?

“Romance” has progressively been redefined over the last few decades. My idea of romance came from Disney movies like “Cinderella” or “Sleeping Beauty,” but when I was a teenager, the big “romance” movie was “Endless Love,” basically a warped Shakespearean love story about two teens who have sex and encounter tragedies in their lives. Then, when I was a young adult the romance movie was “Pretty Woman,” a story about a prostitute and her rich client falling in love with one another. Seeing this progression, it makes sense that society would consider “Fifty Shades of Grey” as “romantic.”

In a world where there is no real moral standard, “romance” or “love” can be anything. The truth is that the people who are enthralled by “Fifty Shades of Grey” have a miserable existence— they have no real purpose for living. They gravitate to a twisted “love” story because they desperately want to escape reality, and the storyline is so void of realism that it pacifies their need to forget about their own lives.

The real issue isn’t about sado-masochism disguised as “love,” but an internal emptiness that people generally feel. The popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a symptom of a greater issue— the need for God. Only God can fill human emptiness by giving people a true purpose for living and providing them with a new outlook on life. An invitation is given to all: “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life… Oh, that you would choose life… You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life…” (Isa 55:3, Deu 30:19-20). Now, get a life!

Copyright © 2015 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Move on

I think it’s great to plan, but sometimes things don’t go the way we plan so we have to improvise or “make the best” of the situation. Sayings like “if you have lemons, make lemonade” is a good example. I love to plan but many times things don’t work out the way I had hoped. I have to remind myself that I did my best and sometimes things are out of my control.

For some reason I think about 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient and kind… It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable… Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

We should have patience whenever our plans fail, we need to react in love instead of being upset, and we need to look beyond the current circumstance. There are greater things to think about, so when we feel disappointed then we need to give it to God and move on.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

30th Anniversary

It’s about 12:30 am and I just realized that it’s now November 24th and it’s my 30th wedding anniversary. Who would have thought that the marriage of two 19-year-olds would last this long? I just can’t believe how God has blessed me.

US-80sI love the guy that God gave to me—he’s funny and always makes me laugh

ForPost10 He’s a loving father and grandfather For Post1 For Post3 For Post2

He loves God For Post6

Finally, he loves me, despite my imperfections For Post9 For Post7

Happy 30th Anniversary to my best friend and husband. I look forward to spending many more years with you! I love you!

for Post8Matthew 19:5-6, “…a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The potter and the clay

I saw this news article today and it broke my heart: http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/01/health/diy-plastic-surgery/. This lady wanted to improve her appearance but it wound up costing her limbs.

Our society makes it difficult to “grow old gracefully.” The emphasis is on looking young— people see celebrities getting plastic surgery and then they want to do the same thing.

I have to admit that there were times when I looked in the mirror and wished I could change something about myself. I see the laugh lines getting deeper and the number of fine lines increasing on my face, then there’s the loose skin I have on my belly from giving birth to my four children…

I used to wish that I was taller, but over time I grew to love being only 5 feet tall—it’s funny but some strangers still treat me like a little girl.

I came across this Bible verse several times over the last few years: “…Will what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me this way?”…” (Romans 9:20). These Words made me realize that I should be satisfied with the way I look—wrinkles, loose skin, and all. God made me this way. If He didn’t want me to have loose skin then He wouldn’t have allowed me to get pregnant; and if He didn’t want me to have wrinkles then He could have ended my life while I was still young.

I realize now that my focus shouldn’t be on my external appearance; I needed to concentrate on changing my heart: “…beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God” (2 Peter 3:4, AMP).

I need to love how God has made me. I know God loves me, and He has blessed me with a loving husband who thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world. What more do I need?

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Confrontation

Someone mentioned to me that confrontation is difficult for them. It’s true that no one wants to be a “bad guy” and most of us want to make people happy. But there are times when we have to confront people. There’s a way to do this that is loving and uplifting. Here’s what I shared with that person:

“You can use the “sandwich technique” when confronting someone— say something positive, say something negative, then say something positive.

For example, you need to confront someone about their viewing of pornography. You would start with, “___, you do so much to help people and I know that your heart is to serve God.

It has come to my attention that you have been viewing pornography. This is a sin—a sin against other people, but most especially a sin against God. Viewing pornography distorts how you see women/men and it corrupts your heart. You are valuable to God and He loves you. He wants you to stop sinning. We have a group of men/women who meet and they are accountable to one another. I want you to join that group and I want you to find a person that you can be completely honest and accountable to. I want to follow up with you every week just to see how you are doing. I want you to also confess this sin to your wife/husband so she/he can help you through this process.

I love you as a sister/brother and I want you to flourish as a Christian. Most importantly, God loves you.”

I used pornography as an example only because, unfortunately, it’s so prevalent in our society— what a horrible tool of Satan, tarnishing and defiling the image of God (the human body) that God, Himself, created! Sadly, Satan has enticed both men and women in this sin.

Anyway, the point is, we need to confront people when we see that they are heading in the wrong direction. We do this because we love them. When we confront people, we do it with love (Ephesians 4:15) and humility (Galatians 6:1). We need to help one another get through this desert called “life” until we get to the Promise Land which is Heaven.

 

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti