Monday, February 27, 2012

Live Oak Lenten Jouney -Tuesday, Week 1

This year for Lent, I am giving up perfectionism - something that is abstract and a little unusual for a Lenten discipline. Over the past year, God has opened my eyes to my sinfulness in this area of my life. I have realized that as I constantly try to control myself and my environment, I reject God as my savior and redeemer. I try to find perfection in myself, rather than in Christ. I have definitely been working towards giving up the control that I crave and returning it to God, but I thought making a true commitment to doing so during the time of Lent would be the best spiritual journey I could undertake at this point in my life.

I've mentioned my struggle with perfectionism a few times in past blogs but I am not sure anyone other than me realizes how much it affects my entire life. When I do something wrong, if the number on the scale isn't what I think it should be, if I drop the ball on a project, I don't just think I've done a bad job or feel guilty, I feel ashamed and worthless. Unfortunately, I have begun to notice that my son is picking up these traits as well. It is more for him than for me that I want to stop the shame trips. Whenever there is a need for discipline, I always tell him that he is not bad, his choice was bad. Yet, that is not what my actions are telling him.

Objectively, I can affirm that I truly believe a God who created me (or anyone else) and sent his son, Jesus, to die on a cross for me (and everyone else), would not have done so to save creatures He believed to be worthless. I know that in God's eyes, we have immense worth. It is my vision which is the problem.

I am hopeful that God will really work on me in these next six weeks. I want to focus on grace and mercy rather than guilt and shame. I want to accept the love and forgiveness that is freely offered to us (though accomplished through great suffering) and reflect that love to my family. I want to be satisfied with doing my best and getting 'good enough' results, rather than mourning my inability to reach perfection. I want to internalize what I tell my son, that we can't do anything perfectly, because only God is perfect.

Chesney Szaniszlo


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Intro to Lent

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 days (not including Sundays) that the Church calls Lent. It is a time for us as individuals and as a Christian community to reflect on, and repent of, our sinfulness. It is a time to consciously recognize our great need for the saving death of Jesus on the cross. Historically, the Church has encouraged its' members to 'give up' something during this period of time as an act of worship to the God who has given up so much for us.

This year at Live Oak, we want everyone to either 'give up something from' or 'add something to' their daily routine in order to increase our daily dependence on God's grace and mercy. Our dependence on God is something that we often push aside in our daily lives and the Season of Lent is a great time to be reminded of how much we need God and how much God wants to be included in our everyday routine.

Each day, Monday through Saturday, a different member of the Live Oak community will be posting about their Lenten Journey - how their lives and faith are being affected by their personal committment this Lent. We hope that you will check in daily and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Many of you picked up our Lenten devotional booklet on Sunday or have hopefully, received it in the mail by now. If you need a copy, please let me know -

We will also be reading through the Gospel of Matthew (1 chapter a day M-TH; and then Good Friday and Holy Saturday - the day before Easter).

Please join us on this journey. It's going to be amazing!



Monday, February 13, 2012

The Making of a Marraige - part 2

Men and women communicate in such different ways that sometimes it is a miracle we can have a discussion with each other at all. I was amazed to discover that when my husband or son say they are thinking about 'nothing' they really are thinking about 'nothing'! As a woman, I am not quite sure how that is possible - but I am willing to go with it!

Because men and women have such different ways of communicating, the most important thing you can do to help your relationship is to drop your guard and your pride and be willing to meet your partner on their ground. I know this is hard. I know that more often than not we can be resentful of having to be the one to compromise (on the way you discuss issues and on the decisions you make on those same issues) but you have to remember that your spouse probably feels the exact same way. Your husband or wife probably feels like they are the one who always compromises just like you feel you do. You are both probably right! A marriage that works has to have two people who are willing to work together and compromise. Whether you like it or not, marriage is a partnership: That means that you might never get your way 100% least on the big stuff. And that is okay. Being in relationship with a member of the opposite sex is difficult, but it shapes us and refines us. If you are only in relationship with people who say 'yes' to you, you are not going to grow and develop into the person God is helping mold you into being through the spouse he has gifted to you.

When communicating with your spouse be aware of the different ways you communicate with each other. Take his/her emotional and physical needs into consideration when discussing hot button topics. When things get difficult, remind each other that you are a team, not adversaries. Take the time to pray and ask for guidance from God. Most of all, remember that you have chosen to spend your lives together and that you love and want the best for the other before yourself.


As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 TNIV)


Monday, February 6, 2012

The Making of a Marriage - Part 1

For the next three weeks, since it is after all the month that we celebrate Romantic Love, we will be looking at certain aspects that play a role in making marriage work well: sex, communication, and roles.

As a Christian, I believe that the rock solid foundation of marriage has to be the covenental promise that is made between the husband, wife, and God at the time of the marriage ceremony. This is a holy promise and is not one to be taken or broken lightly.

While it is this covenantal aspect of marriage that creates the bedrock to build the marriage on, a husband and wife still need the building materials to create the relationship that shelters and nurtures that relationship. The first building material we are looking at is the physical relationship between a husband and a wife.

God created sex and He called it GOOD! He created us to be sexual creatures, also something that is GOOD! When sexuality and the act of making love are put in their proper place, there is nothing sinful or dirty about them. The proper place for these things is in the marriage relationship - a committed, life-long, monogamous relationship.

The physical relationship between a man and a woman helps to bond them together. I know that once the kids come and the romance fades, the frequency and passionate nature of love making begins to fade. Don't let this happen in your marriage. If you get nothing else out of this blog today, pay attention to this: MEN NEED SEX TO FEEL LOVED AND WOMEN NEED TO FEEL LOVED TO HAVE SEX. It is a circular patter that someone is going to have to start it and usually, women, it is easier for you to get the ball rolling. It may not seem fair, but there it is - deal with it. :) You will not be sorry.

Sex may not be what 'makes' a marriage, but it can certainly break it. Don't stop taking care of this very important building block of your marriage!


The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. - Genesis 2:25