Posts tagged Friendship

Four Years and Running

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It was four years ago, on July 19th, that I stood across from the woman I love and exchanged vows. It was truly a happy day. We were both able to relax and take the day in. We were able to celebrate life and the love we have for one another in the midst of all the people that have cared for us and invested in our lives. Yet, on that day, as I stood smiling across from this wonderful woman, I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of tale I had fallen into. What would life be like? What would our adventure together consist of? Thus far, it has exceeded my wildest expectations. It has been an adventure like no other.Sometimes, it’s just fun to reminisce. It is life giving, to remember some of the details about your past together and celebrate the relationship that God has given you. I feel truly blessed.  I have an abundance of happy memories and would be pressed to come up with a handful of unhappy ones. God has blessed my wife and I in so many ways, and I am thankful for his goodness in our lives. Even if tomorrow my life was over, I can say I have no regrets in my relationship with my wife, and that is an incredibly wonderful feeling.

So, just for a few minutes, I would like to reminisce about some of the tales my wife and I have woven together in our first four years together.

After we were married, we were to leave for Jamaica the next day. We didn’t make it to Jamaica the day after our wedding because we slept through our flight. Oops. So we stayed in Houston an extra day. It was so great. We just recounted the day before. We ate at Saltgrass, which we usually do every anniversary now, and we slept because we were exhausted from the wedding. We were also worn out from wedding preparations.  We ironed at least 40 table cloths until 5 AM the morning before our wedding. Once we got to Jamaica, we had such an amazing time. We rode four wheelers through the jungle, zip lined through the jungle canopies, and fed hundreds of tropical fish hot dog buns while snorkeling (who knew the fishies liked hot dogs).

Shortly after this, we had to fly to California. We hiked all the way up to the Hollywood sign. We met a lot of interesting people in Hollywood. We got to see a lot of sights I would just as soon forget.

Some of my favorites times with her, were driving back and forth to Tyler several times a week as we both stove to finish school. The long car rides gave us so much time to connect and talk about life. It gave us time to dream together. I enjoyed getting to sit in classes with her. We would always compete on tests. She beat me on majority of the tests, but my GPA was where I got my victory. In December of 2008, we both were able to graduate together, and got our MA in psychology.

Shortly after graduation, we wanted to hear the pitter patter of little feet running around the house so we got a dog. We drove to Dallas just to get our pup, and we named her Jacksie. She got her name because she is a Jack Russell, and also because that is what C.S. Lewis named his dog. We had so much fun playing with this dog.

Together, in the last four years we have gotten to meet several people on my bucket list: Ted Dekker, Norman Geisler, Andy Stanley, Chuck Swindoll. We have taken road trips. We tend to love time together in the car. One time, we drove 14 hour straight home from Tennessee and listened to a book the whole way home. It was such a great memory.

Another one of my favorite memories was when it snowed in December in Southeast Texas. We played in the snow and drove around.  It looked like a whole new place, since everything was blanketed in white. That was definitely one of my favorite Christmases.

I remember when we first found out that we were going to have our son, Hayden. What an interesting stir of emotions that was. When Devon was in labor, I worked on paper and played angry birds for a few hours until things got intense. When he made his way into this world it instantly brought us closer together. Then, I slept around the clock in the hospital. I was more tired than Devon, it must have been from all the hard work I did.

When we got Hayden home, I was not prepared for the sleep deprivation coupled with excitement. It took us a couple of days to figure things out. I remember a set of pajamas with buttons made us both break down and cry. They were tricky and we were taxed of emotional resources. I can remember taking care of Hayden in shifts. I got the night shifts and would watch movies or read books.

I could go on and on, but I will just stop here. What a blessing these past four years have been. I am looking forward to writing the rest of our story together. Who knows what the next fifty years of marriage hold, provided I don’t tap out before then.

Thanks for being a part of my story Devon Fults. Who knows what twist and turns our story will take? What an exciting story it has been.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Facebook Friday: Unfriended

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Facebook is a fun place to be…most of the time. There are those people that seem to always have the witty status updates that make you chuckle every time you read them. Then there are some folks who help you start the day with encouraging comments or inspirational words. But, there are also those people that only post things that seem to annoy you worse than ten thousand fingernails screeching across a very large chalkboard. Finally you reach a point where you unfriend them. I mean, they will never catch on. They have a couple of hundred Facebook friends. Your lack of presence will go unnoticed.So you just sort of disappear from the feed quietly. It is done. You no longer have to deal with them.

Have we not all done this? I am pretty sure I have had a few people remove me from their feed as well. You can remove someone’s “presence” from your internet life with the click of a button.

I would love to say this only goes on in the land of Facebook, but sometimes we unfriend people in life as well. They do something to upset us, hurt our feelings, let us down, or just make us downright angry, and we decide to go Cee Lo Green on them and say “Forget You.” It is really easy in fact. When someone doesn’t live up to what we think they should, you can just close them down and shut them out. There are 7,002,265,265 (as of this second anyway) other people in this world that we can devote our attention to after all. Why worry about this one Joe Schmo who just royally ticked us off ? When one relationship breaks down just cut your losses and move on to another. Right?

Well, that could be a good plan, but there is a slight snafu. With every relationship, if you are around someone long enough, conflict will arise. Every friendship we have will have its share of problems. Why? Because people are busted and broken. We make mistakes and let our emotions get the best of us at times. As John Ortberg says, “Everyone is normal until you get to know them.” Just ask my wife. She thought I was normal when we got married, and now she is stuck. Poor girl. Please pray for her tonight, okay?

The truth is, people will annoy, aggravate and hurt you. Sometimes people will let you down and mess things up. It is just part of it. Relationships are messier than eating ribs and corn on the cob without napkins or silverware. So we can continue going through life unfriending people or we can realize that no one is perfect and people will make mistakes. We can choose to hold grudges and let hot, molten lava run through our veins, or we can enjoy the healing springs of forgiveness. As those four ancient sages, the Beatles, once said, “Life is very short and there’s no time, for fussing and fighting my friend.”

Sure, sometimes it is tempting to unfriend people in life. Actually, at times it is the easiest thing to do, but that does not mean it is the best thing to do. If you keep unfriending people every time there is a problem, your Facebook feed becomes an awfully lonely and dull place.

Overlook people’s faults. Forgive. Seek restoration if at all possible. Don’t give up one someone just because they hurt you. Above all, look in the mirror and know that you mess up too. Extend others the same courtesy you would like to be given.

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. –Matthew 18:21-22

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Facebook Friday: Innocent Until Proven Guilty

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One thing I have noticed about Facebook (and life) is that it is really easy to make assumptions about others. Sometimes we read other peoples words without understanding what they mean, so we make assumptions. We make assumptions about friends people have, photos they post, places they go.That is, sometimes we question the intentions or character of someone else because we don’t understand their behavior, decisions, or what they say. Sometimes people even say things about others to question their character. So, instead of checking our facts, we make assumptions based on what they say.

At times, we condemn people based on what we think they did or meant. Aren’t people supposed to be innocent until proven guilty? When it comes to the behaviors or words of other people, there should be no room for assumptions. We must not let perception drive our relationships. Instead, we must mind the gap. What gap am I referring to? The gap between what other people do and how we interpret it. When it comes to the actions of others and the words that they speak we can fill in that gap with one of two things. We can believe the best about others or we can assume the worst. When it comes to other people, we can believe the best about their intentions and what they say or we can assume the worst until we get the chance to address the issue with them.

So what is my point? If you don’t know what someone means by what they say or you don’t understand why they acted the way they did then go talk to them. Please, just go talk to them. Don’t assume you know their heart or intentions. If you assume the worst from others, you will find it every time. Instead, believe the best about others until you get the facts straight from the person. Assume people are innocent until they are proven guilty.

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. – Matthew 18:15

Don’t assume you know another persons motives and let it cost you a relationship. Believe the best. Have a talk. Don’t let assumptions drive your life.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

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