Problems and Praying and Ironing

Last week, a close friend and I had a long talk–the kind where you open your heart and share your soul. We mentioned a few things we’d been praying about for years and decided that certain problems just drag into infinity.

“I remember thinking that by the time I turned 30, I wouldn’t have any more problems,” I said. “Isn’t that crazy?”

“Me too. Definitely by 40.”

“Do you think anyone actually lives that way? Without problems?”

“If so, I don’t want to meet them.”

“Don’t you wish we could take a giant iron and smooth out all the wrinkles in life?”

“Yeah, a wrinkle-free world. That’d be great.”

Later that day, our conversation about a wrinkle-free life gave me a strong desire to iron. My ironing board is upstairs in a spare bedroom.

As I began ironing, I remembered my grandmother’s old wooden ironing board across the hall, in my office.

When my mother was growing up, a teenage girl named Jimmie kept her during the day.

Mother loved Jimmie.

She said Jimmie’s skin was the color of eggplants–so soft and smooth. Jimmie used to let Mother touch her arms while she ironed.

(Jimmie and Mother, May 1938, right after my grandfather died.)

When Mother was six, Jimmy had a baby boy. Being an only child, Mother was thrilled. My grandmother let Jimmie bring him to work. Mother pretended he was her little brother.

The two of them sat under the ironing board while Jimmie ironed.

And every time Jimmie ironed, she sang hymns–deep, rich praise songs from the bottom of her soul. It was a spiritual thing, Mother said.

Jimmie didn’t live a wrinkle-free life. She had problems like the rest of us. 

Almost seventy-five years later, my mother still remembers Jimmie’s faith.  

And then something caught my attention on my grandmother’s ironing board.

A recovery rock.

An Al-Anon friend painted it for me a few years ago.

An unmistakable softness filled me. 

Peace doesn’t mean the absence of problems. Peace means believing God’s in control. No matter what. Click to Tweet. 

“… In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV Click to Tweet. 

Have you ever wondered if other people had problem-free lives?

Is there a Jimmie in your life–someone whose faith helps keep you centered?  

Thoughts on trusting God? 

Love,

Julie

 

When You Married Your Exact Opposite

For years, I believed a big fat lie. I thought to have a good marriage, husbands and wives had to enjoy the same hobbies, foods, and even have similar personalities.

When we married 36 years ago, my husband Rick loved loud cars. He talked about RPMs, MUSCLE CARS and MOPAR–things I didn’t understand.

I loved books and libraries and diagramming sentences.

I kept thinking pretty soon he’ll discover the beauty of literature, antique shops, and brussels sprouts.

I couldn’t change him, but guess what?

Something better happened.

We went to a car show this past weekend in Tucker, GA. This wasn’t our first car show, but this one was special.

Rick delivered a customer’s car he’d restored to the show. A 1967 Camaro.

He’s wiping smudges. Car people do that all the time. 🙂

Richard, my FIL, helping …

Cars, cars — everywhere you look.

Brittany (our son’s girlfriend), Chase (Brittany’s rescue German shepherd), our son Thomas, Richard (my FIL) and Carolyn (my MIL).

My FIL showed me some neat cars–a 1936 Ford.

Rick with his happy customer …

From what I understand, the way a car sounds is really important.

Listen…

But you know what’s even more important?

Listening in marriage.

After all these years, Rick still loves loud cars.

And I still love quiet words.

Here’s our secret connection.

A few months ago, we started praying for each other.

Every day, I ask God to bless the work of my husband’s hands as he fixes cars.

He asks God to bless the work of my hands as I write.

Marriage-changing.

Life-changing.

You don’t have to understand someone to pray for him. Or her.

Is there distance between you and someone you love? Praying this way might bring you closer.

Love,

Julie

 

 

A New Way to Pray

I’m one of those people who loves writing in a prayer journal. I have stacks and stacks of them.  I even have a cozy corner in my bedroom to pray. So what’s the problem?

Lately, my journaling was pretty much the same words over and over again. I’d worked myself into a ritualistic prayer routine that felt dry. Dutiful. Worn out. I could almost write “ditto,” and check prayer time off my to-do list.

Yesterday, I filled the last page of my old prayer journal,  and this morning I held my brand new pristine journal. Sometimes a clean sheet of paper can be intimidating.

Here we go again. It’s up to me to fill these pages with meaningful stuff.

The Lord seemed to say, “You’re trying to control, Julie. Even your prayer journal. Give it to Me.”

Then I remembered how a family member had led us in worship one morning. He was in drug rehab and read to us from his journal. He cried his way through it. He read God’s words to us.

I asked the Lord if He’d remind me of His love for me like He did that day. Deep in my heart. Real and personal. I picked up my pen and started writing….

My Julie,

I love you with an everlasting love. You are so precious to me. I call you by name. You are Mine. Fear not. I am with you. I hold you with my righteous right hand. I only ask one thing today–Trust Me with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Me, and I will direct your path. I am your God–the Great I AM. I bought you with a price. You are my beloved daughter. I will never leave you or forsake you. Rejoice. I am with you.

“Lord, forgive me. In my busyness, I’d forgotten Who You are and how to listen.”

Love,

Julie