Opposites

For many years now, I’ve noticed that my husband and I are “opposites.” For example, he’s an “extravert” and I’m an “introvert.”

This morning, while in the bathroom, I noticed the towels we hung after we used them—his was neatly folded, while mine was just thrown over the holder.

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He’s also very meticulous when he puts away the dishes or groceries, while I put them away wherever they will fit. I used to notice how other married couples tended to be opposites of one another too—some were only slightly opposite while others were “polar” opposites (one was really loud and the other was very quiet).

My theory for why “opposites” attracted was that the other person had characteristics we lacked— like two puzzle pieces, when two opposites married, then they became one, complete, person.

The idea of opposites made me think about how opposite we are to God—He is righteous, and we are not; He is loving, and we are unloving; He is sinless, and we are sinful.

I thought about how the Bible describes our relationship with God as a marriage— “For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name…” (Isaiah 54:5), “When that day comes,” says the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband…’” (Hosea 2:16).

We are extreme “polar opposites” of God, yet He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us—there is nothing we can give to God but He can give us so much. Those that believe and follow Him become a “new person.”

My husband’s extroversion and neatness has influenced me to be a little more vocal and to be a little neater. My relationship with God has influenced me to stand up for what is right, to be more loving, and to be more conscious of temptations and to ask Him for forgiveness when I commit sins.  

Our marriage should help us to be a better person. I may never be a “perfect” wife, but I am a better person than before I got married (before my marriage, the towel would have been thrown on the floor and the dishes would have remained in the dishwasher).

I am definitely a much better person now than I was before I became a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. I am thankful that God has given me these opportunities to become the person that He wants me to be.

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

I’m alive!

I never thought I would ever say, “3 miles? No problem!” or “6 miles? I can do that!” There was a time in my life when I could barely run 15 minutes on a slow setting on my treadmill and one mile was a long distance for me. I compared my running with my Christian walk. There was a time when reading one Scripture verse every day was difficult and I only prayed at meal time. I can truly say that God has “shook me” so that I take my relationship with Him more seriously. I don’t think it is a coincidence that I am able to accomplish more now than I ever had before.

I was weak in every aspect of my life— my marriage, my teaching, my time with God, my time with my children, my personal discipline, my self-control, etc. Everything I did was based on my own efforts and strength—there was nothing supernatural about it. The turning point for me was when a voice in a dream said, “You are weak… it [demonic forces] will overtake you.” I knew then that I can’t do anything without God—I needed to build that relationship with Him—I couldn’t continue having occasional conversations with Him when it was convenient for me and my schedule.

My desire is to stress to you the importance of reading your Bible and praying to God everyday (even when you don’t feel like it). Now I read a one-year Bible in the morning with my husband then pray, and I read a certain book of the Bible at night. I say this not because I want to appear “holy,” but to say that if I can do it then you can too. I do it because I need to grow spiritually strong—I don’t ever want to face a spiritual attack without proper “armor.”

In our reading today we came across these passages: “You will experience all these blessings if you obey the LORD your God: Your towns and fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed… The LORD will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain… If you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways…” (Deu 28:2-6, 8-9, NLT).

I think if we have a sincere desire to follow God and we build that relationship with Him by reading His Word, praying to Him, and studying the Bible, then He will bless us. I know He has blessed me more than I can even imagine possible. He has breathed new life into my withered body and dying spirit and I can truly say that I am alive.

Today I ran 13.11 miles—all things are possible with God!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

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My teaching philosophy

My church ministry calling is to counsel and teach people within the congregation and surrounding community.  I have gained valuable teaching experience through the public and private school system, through Sunday school and adult discipleship classes, facilitating on-campus classes and through online teaching.  The short-term goal is teaching a curriculum or subject, but the long-term goal is to help form and shape the vessel that God can use for His glory.

I feel that God is calling me to teach, mentor, and influence the next generation.  I find great satisfaction in teaching others from a Christ-centered perspective.  My desire is to help people grow in their relationship with Christ.  I see a need to help believers build a stronger understanding of what it means to be a Christian.  The advantage of a Christian education is that basic scholastic learning allows the learner to realize God’s general revelation, while the study of Christian doctrine exposes God’s special revelation to students.  I believe teaching in a Christ-centered environment is a more holistic educational approach.

Several Bible verses guide my teaching.  Colossians 3:23 reminds me that I must do my work for the Lord, while Ephesians 2:10 and John 15:16 tells me that through Christ, God has prepared me for the work that He has given me.  In order for me to be a good teacher, I must be faithful in both my growth in Christ (2 Peter 3:18; Micah 6:8) and my love for others (1 John 4:21; John 15:12).  As a Christian, I believe everything is “theological.”  Not only is my worldview a Christian one, but everything I see around me points to the Creator God.  For example, the “Great Man” theory of leadership claims that leaders are born, but this is only part of the explanation.  The Bible says that God gifts people with certain abilities (Romans 12:6), and “all things are from God” (1 Corinthians 11:12).  So, leaders are not simply born to be leaders, they are created by God with abilities to lead. 

I believe in all that we do, we should do it as if for the Lord (Col. 3:23).  My desire is to help people grow in their relationship with Christ.  I see a need to help believers build a stronger understanding of what it means to be a Christian.  The Bible should always be the starting point in teaching any subject matter, and the basis for which all facets of life is evaluated.  Christians should be encouraged to infuse their faith with their everyday life, and the role of Christian schools is to reinforce the Bible into one’s personal life philosophy and decision making.  Christianity is not only what the person does, but also what a person is.

I think everyone should have a personal philosophy– what drives you to do what you do, and how do you go about in doing it? So what is your personal philosophy?

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Never give up

After reading our Bible this morning I went downstairs to work out. As I was running on the treadmill I kept constant watch on my time, pace, and distance. When I found myself slowing down, I would adjust the pace; and when I got tired and felt like quitting, I would grab the handles and keep going.

It reminded me of God and His Word. The Bible helps us to gauge our progress in our Christian walk— how are we compared to those mentioned in its pages? Are we following the good examples or the bad ones? Ephesians 5:8 declares, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!”

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What do we do when we feel like giving up—do we grab onto God (like I grabbed the handles of the treadmill to keep me going) or do we just fall to the ground? Joshua 23:8 says, “…cling tightly to the LORD your God…” Psalm 46:1 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Finally, 2 Corinthians 4:1 states, “…since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.”

If you haven’t been reading the Bible or turning to God for help, then I urge you to start today.

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti