Give up!

I remember when I was about 5-years-old; my father asked if I wanted to learn how to swim. I responded enthusiastically with, “Yeah,” so he took me farther into the water (we were at the beach) and then he dropped me.

I remember trying to get my head above the water, thrashing my arms around and frantically moving my legs, but my body kept sinking towards the bottom. After a little while, I finally just gave up. That’s when I felt my father pick me up from the water.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the proverbial “deep waters” of life. We are in “over our heads” with many problems or just too many things going on at once. We try to “hang in there” but we slowly find ourselves feeling overwhelmed, tense, or even angry.

I have felt overwhelmed these past few weeks. I kept telling myself “things will get better,” but I just kept feeling more pressure and more stress. Even when I read the devotionals with my husband, I still had other things on my mind and I found it hard to concentrate on the Words we were reading.

Today, I stopped everything that I was doing.  I sat in silence for a little while, then I opened the Bible and read.

The reality is that God allows hardships to happen in our lives: “…he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike” (Matthew 5:45); but just as my father reached down to pull me from the water, God does the same thing for us. In Psalm 18:16 it says, “He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters” (NLT).

Sometimes we have to just “give up” and allow God to rescue us.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
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Work things out!

I remember when my parents divorced. They had a lot of arguments before then, and I think the main issue was that my parents didn’t know how to communicate with one another. Another issue was that my father was always away (he was in the Navy and gone for many months at a time). There were other issues too, but I think those stemmed from the two issues already mentioned.

Even though I did not see my father very often when my parents were married, divorce felt very different. Divorce was like a death. It kind of reminds me of the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16; in verses 22, 23, and 26 it has, “The time came when the beggar [Lazarus] died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he [the rich man] was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side… there is a great chasm separating us.” This was what it was like for me—seeing my father but not being able to be in his presence.

Sometimes I wonder what I would have been like if my parents would have stayed together and saw a marriage counselor and worked things out. Would I have been more outgoing? Friendlier? Instead I find myself emotionally distant from people.

I think some of the issues I experienced earlier in my marriage was a result of my parents’ divorce—how could I truly trust and love anyone if he’s just going to leave me like my father left me? I think this might be a reason why some children of divorced parents get divorced themselves—they have a lack of trust so they do not fully give 100% into their own marriage.

I think my marriage was headed in that direction—divorce, but God intervened. After our 16th anniversary we both took a class, “Marriage Enrichment.” It was taught by Dr. Bill Cutrer and his wife, Jane (Dr. Cutrer is the co-author of the book, “Sexual Intimacy in Marriage,” http://www.amazon.com/Sexual-Intimacy-Marriage-William-Cutrer/dp/0825424372).

The class made me realize that my husband and I had a communication problem—I would say something, but he would take it to mean something else; and when he said something, I would take it to mean something negative. There were other issues too, but I think it steamed from this main issue.

After the class had ended, we signed up for weekend marriage seminars and other helpful courses, and after a while we realized that we no longer needed these courses anymore—our marriage had stabilized.

This year my husband and I will celebrate our 29th anniversary in November. I am amazed that my marriage has lasted this long— sadly, all of my siblings have had one or more divorces.

What is really amazing about my marriage is that I truly love this man. I feel blessed to have shared my life with him— we had the privilege of raising our four beautiful children together, seeing the three older ones get married, and God has now blessed us with three beautiful, smart, and amazing granddaughters.

My wonderful marriage is what drives me to want to help couples. I know that if they could just get through the rough period, then the rest of the marriage would be so much better.

I have a passion to help married people stay together. In fact, I did a study on keeping marriages from ending in divorce (http://books.google.com/books/about/Marriage_Mentoring_with_Couples_in_Marit.html?id=eAdnMwEACAAJ). If at all possible, I think married people should avoid divorce (although, I realize that there are circumstances when it is necessary).

If you are having problems in your marriage, then please find a good marriage counselor (http://www.aacc.net/resources/find-a-counselor/) and try to work things out. Don’t give up!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Be prepared

I thought about the Scripture verse from Matthew 5:45, “…He gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” It made me realize that all of us will have good days and bad days. If we have a relationship with God then we can handle the bad days differently. We need to draw closer to God when we are having good days so that we will be prepared when we encounter bad days. Our problems are temporary. We need to keep focused on God instead of putting our attention on the situation. It seems that if we keep our focus on God as we endure hardships then we become stronger, spiritually and emotionally.