Hi! I'm Sonia. I'm so glad you are here. There's a story in the Bible in John chapter 4 about a woman with a broken past. That's my back story, but then that woman (and this woman) met Jesus. This blog is a glimpse at the"now story". Welcome to John4Four. Thank you for taking the time to read! I hope it blesses you.
Happy Monday! I just read a devotional right now from Our Daily Bread and because the verse referenced is my life verse AND because it’s a beautiful reminder for the week ahead, I am sharing it here. Let His love sing over you today. Let’s tune our ears to His voice singing love and speaking truth over us. Have a blessed day, friends! Tomorrow I have a Mother’s Day story to share with you so stay tuned 🙂
With all my heart, Sonia
Here’s the devotional:
He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
A young father held his baby boy in his arms, singing to him and rocking him in soothing rhythm. The baby was hearing-impaired, unable to hear the melody or the words. Yet the father sang anyway, in a beautiful, tender act of love toward his son. And his efforts were rewarded with a delightful smile from his little boy.
The imagery of the father-son exchange bears a striking resemblance to the words of Zephaniah. The Old Testament prophet says that God will joyfully sing over His daughter, the people of Jerusalem (Zephaniah 3:17). God enjoys doing good things for His beloved people, such as taking away their punishment and turning back their enemies (v. 15). Zephaniah says they no longer have any reason for fear and instead have cause for rejoicing.
We, as God’s children redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, sometimes are hard of hearing—unable, or perhaps unwilling, to tune our ears to the exuberant love God sings over us. His adoration of us is like that of the young father, who lovingly sang to his son despite his inability to hear. He has taken away our punishment too, giving us further reason to rejoice. Perhaps we might try to listen more closely to hear the joy ringing loudly in His voice.Father, help us to hear Your loving melody and savor being held safely in Your arms.
#valentinesday2021 I just searched this hashtag on Instagram and there are 446,000 posts already and we haven’t even gotten to the day yet! We are an obsessed people with all things love, love, love. I am glad for that. I, too, love love.
Do you remember that book that was turned into a movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo? Here’s the summary from Wikipedia, ‘The book is a “self-help” guide aimed for single women. The premise of the book, as stated in the title, tells women readers that if a man in whom you are interested in is not making the effort to pursue you, he is simply “just not that into you.”’
Then there’s the quote from Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Basically stating that people will show you how they feel about you. We tend to ignore red flags, signs, warnings and that gut-feeling all in the name of getting love from that person(s). We all make these mistakes so this is NOT an, “I’ve got this! Let me tell you all the answers” blog post. (Well, spoiler alert, there is an answer but please just read ‘til the end). And I believe you don’t even reach adulthood before having this type of scenario with at least one, if not a few, relationships.
Side note: I’m sorry for the downer Intro on Presidents’ Day/Valentine’s weekend! Hang in there…I’m going somewhere with this.
We all search for love, long for that special love, the unconditional, never going to leave you, no matter what, thick or thin, “I’m amazed by you“ love. Totally normal! What isn’t normal is what we sacrifice & compromise to get it from those who never intended to love us in the first place. (Cue the Johnny Lee song “Looking for Love in all The Wrong Places”).
So, I’ve been married to the love of my life, by God’s grace, almost 16 years now, and I put that Johnny Lee song to rest quite some time ago – but even now, all that love Mario has to give doesn’t cut it because we are just plain human and fail each other and, at times, flat out break each other’s hearts.
But still , we all need that perfect love and we tend to spend our lives trying to attain it in all sorts of ways, when it exists and is free and readily available if you want to accept it: JESUS, God’s only Son. ❤️
I’m serious! I spent 35 years of my life without accepting His love in my heart because I thought I was too damaged, not good enough and certainly not holy enough. But I’ve been in that relationship with Him for 11 years now, and He has NEVER EVER let me down.
Don’t sell yourself short & believe the hype that love like that doesn’t exist or that it’s for other people, the “put together, well-behaved” people! And don’t miss out because you think you are “a good person” and don’t need “religion.” We all have that longing for the perfect love and the answer is the one and only, the Savior of the World, Jesus.
My Valentine’s prayer for all of us is that no matter where we are, we look up & let that love fill us to overflowing knowing that God sees every part of us and chose us as His own. Most amazing of all, He died for us. He literally laid down His life us to give us something we could never get on our own…everlasting life, everlasting love. Grab your Bible or type in Google, John 3:16 and read it, and then put your hand on your heart. That’s the heart He died for.
Thank you for reading the next part of “Holy Duct Tape for the Hot Tempered Wife.” With all my heart, Sonia
My husband and I were sitting at the stoplight to turn onto our street when it struck me how far we have come from the couple we used to be. Things are far from perfect, but I thought about how much we have experienced in our 14 years together and how easy it would have been for either of us to walk away. I looked over at him in the car and said, “You know, our marriage is like the stories we see on TV of people who overcame incredible obstacles, like that man who was born without arms who now works as a Nascar racing engineer.” I went on to tell him that if our marriage was put on display in physical terms like that it would be the same kind of impact, incredible odds being overcome to achieve what looks to be impossible! If I were to read the story of my marriage on paper I would think, “There is no way these two people are going to make it!” I wouldn’t bet on us, just us. But here’s the thing, it’s not just us. My husband and I started living our lives with God a little over halfway through our marriage. Through a series of gut wrenching life events, we came to a place where we were ready to stop doing things our way. We walked into a church in June of 2009 and started to listen and things started to change.
My husband is a trumpet player and started playing when he was 12 years old. He was a very good player so after high school he toured with a band. In his early twenties he decided to go to school and get his degree in music. When he showed up for the first lesson with his college music professor (one of the best classical trumpet players in LA) he was told that he had to relearn how to play the trumpet. He had been playing his instrument for ten years thinking he was great at it, and now he was being told that he learned bad habits along the way. He had to start from the bottom – like he had never played trumpet before. He said he wanted to quit. He had to relearn all the mechanics of breathing and a whole new technique. If he did not go through this process of being broken down, he wouldn’t have survived as a musician but his success depended on it.
That is the story of great change… and it means believing God through the process of being torn down to be built up again the right way. Our marriage is in that process and sometimes we soar and sometimes we crawl inch by inch through another day, another learning experience. If it was just up to us, we would have been done. It is hard. Thankfully we look to God and believe Him when He says, “Behold I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) Mario reminds me often that it takes two people committed to making it work. Sometimes one or the other is stronger and pulls the other along but we are both in it for the change God wants to bring. Our story is not the fairy tale like the ones we have read about before. Our story is riddled with brokenness, but that’s where we have found His greatest miracles of redemption. The Nascar engineer story reminds us that the world sits up and takes notice when people overcome. So in these fierce marriages of ours, we too can overcome and be a testimony of our great God with a great plan far beyond what we ever imagined possible.
Here are the verses to meditate on today:
Ephesians 3:17-21 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Day 4 Themes:
1) Believe God & trust Him!
2) Stop looking at our inability & look to God for He is able.
Dear Father God,
Thank you that, no matter what, You don’t give up on me. Thank you for the numerous do-over’s and the countless reminders that You are for me and my marriage. I pray for my husband and me to heal from the past hurts we have inflicted on each other and to keep our focus on You. I pray that we see each other with new eyes and that we embrace an even greater passion for each other. I pray we pray together. Only You can remake our lives. We trust in Your power to bring beauty from these ashes. It’s for Your glory we continue on. I love you. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!!!
Next excerpt from “Holy Duct Tape for the Hot Tempered Wife”
I found myself on a cold winter evening last year seated at a dining table, my husband next to me, staring across the table at our pastor and his wife. This was no casual meeting for coffee. This was an intense discussion about our marriage and deep issues we were dealing with at the time. If ever I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, this was one of those times. But before I go into that – let me back up. How did we get here? The few months that had led up to this evening meeting were the hardest my husband and I had encountered in a while. We were dealing with the loss of a family member due to cancer, the purchase of a new home and the end of my husband’s first (grueling) semester teaching full time…all of this in the span of eight weeks. We were emotional, sleep-deprived, disconnected and disgusted with one another by the time we found ourselves at that table each explaining our “side of the story”. My husband recounted, verbatim, some horrible words I had shouted at him during one of our recent fights. I was shocked to hear what I had said to him. I mean, I know I had said them, but to hear them that way caused me such embarrassment and shame – partly because of who we were meeting with and also because they were just so wrong. I’m sure at the time I said them, I felt justified and maybe even proud of myself for having such cutting things to say, but here they were on display for the four of us to behold, and I wanted to run out of there. Our pastor and his wife were patient, offered insight and prayed for us, but there was one thing in that conversation that stuck out to me and pierced my heart. Toward the end of the conversation, our pastor turned to my husband and gave some guidance and direction and then he turned to me and said, “And you, Sonia, you have to start acting like a Christian woman.” He said some other things after that to offer encouragement, but that phrase played out over and over in my head, “start acting like a Christian woman”. Things didn’t magically get easier the days that followed, but I was thinking more and more about what it means to be a Christian woman. I am often so worried about me, consumed with me and want to make sure I am okay that I forget all else. I forget that to be a Christian is to live a life in service of others, and if you’re married, first and foremost, in service to your husband (and lest I forget to add this disclaimer, husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives so it’s a mutually giving situation when done the way God intends it to be). My husband is not without fault in our conflict, but a hot-tempered wife is not just hot-tempered for the sake of being difficult, there have been things along the way in life that molded us into a “I will never be hurt again. You will not hurt me. This will not hurt me” kind of person. All that to say, living sacrificially is the exact opposite of everything I know instinctively. So here’s the good part, the part where we get some answers, some of the “how to be a Christian woman” part. Here’s a verse to start thinking about:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
There are a few things going on that are key, one of them being to give (stop being so selfish) and the other is to be changed by the renewing of your mind (humble yourself – you aren’t right all the time, you know).
This journey I am on feels so foreign to me that sometimes I feel like I’ll never get it right, but I know that God says with Him all things are possible. If He says it’s possible to get my mind right, to get control of my emotions, to live selflessly and to have a thriving marriage, then I’ll believe Him.
Day 3 Themes:
1) Get over ourselves. I know, but really, we need to! It’s time.
2) Let’s change our minds to have our minds changed by God’s love and His Word. Enough with the negative self-talk!
Thank you so much for reading & thank you for your patience.
With all my heart, Sonia
P.S. Another extremely HUGE key part of this story is that we let
people in to help keep us accountable! It is so humbling to deal withyour dirt with others, but it is healthy when done in a safe
environment! Let’s not give up but instead give in to God’s way of
doing things (and let others in!).