Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Knight Has a Word......

Serena asked me to be guest blogger in order that I can answer some questions that were raised after she finished her account of our story. And may I say that her story was correct in every area. Much of what she wrote about me I cannot remember at all. I am kind of glad that I cannot. I guess that is just a small sliver of the grace that my Father has shown me in covering and washing my mind from some of the wickedness that spewed from my lips. The chronicle of faith that she wrote, as hard as it was for me to read, helped heal me. Thank you, Babe, for obeying the voice of God and writing ALL of it. I love you.

Now, back to the question…

The questions that were raised were, “How do I (Josh) know that Serena has forgiven me and is not living in the past? Do I (Josh) still deal with guilt? Will we tell our children when they get older? Is our marriage stronger because of our trials?”

First question…I don’t have a set list of things she has done that show here forgiveness. She is the picture of a Godly wife. She has given herself to me completely and wholly. She has given me her all. I know that Serena has forgiven me because of how she treats me. Even while I was still acting like the devil, she treated me with respect and honor as if I were still Godly. If she was able to do that when I did not deserve it, then she more than able to do it when I am in my proper place.

I know that she worked extremely hard in order to ensure that her heart towards me remained soft. And when I came home, she remained in the same spirit. I know that those first few weeks and the following year was not an easy one for her. And I think that many of those days she did live in the past. But she never remained there. She purposed in her mind, heart, and spirit that this was her marriage and no one, human or demonic, would destroy it. She put in a tremendous amount of work into our marriage even when I did not.

Now, I know that she has forgiven me fully by the way she serves me and follows where I lead. You cannot fully serve and follow someone completely unless there is nothing between you and them. We have had many conversations about the past and about the future. If she had an area of her heart that was not surrendered to God, she would not have the ability to forgive me. She would forever be stuck in the past.

The greatest display of forgiveness came when I told her that God had told me we had to return to the town where ALL of our heartache and defeat happened. She did not question whether it was God’s will or if I actually heard God. She simply said, “OK.” That single act showed me that she had forgiven me. If you are walking this road, this sign may not be the same for you. However, the truth of that sign for me is this; if she had not forgiven me…if she was living in the past…how could she trust me enough to follow me back to the hurt?

Second question…do I still deal with guilt? This is hard to answer. On one side, because of the forgiveness she has shown me (which is exactly how Christ forgives us…no strings, just love and forgiveness) I feel no guilt. I feel like this most days. But, on the other side, especially when I read this blog, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt. How could I have done this to my wife that I adore and my kids that I cherish? It must have been someone else that did all of that evil…not me.

I do still feel a lot of remorse about the past. I think that remorse is different than guilt. Guilt comes from the enemy of our souls in order to trap us in the past. Remorse comes from a realization that we have wasted the time and resources God entrusted us with; as a result I now know that I cannot afford to waste any more of what He has entrusted me with.

Third question…yes, we will probably talk about this as the kids get older. It rarely comes up any more. At first, it did all the time. Because of our past now, God brings people like this into our lives. I am sure our kids will wonder, “Why do all these people with broken marriages keep coming around?” We have to tell them something. Why not the truth? Out of all of this, we can use this as a teaching time for the boys about how they are to be as men. Not how to be a good husband, but how to be a real Christ follower. I am still not a good husband…I am working on being a Christ follower. That by itself is the one thing that makes me worth anything. In addition, to teaching the boys about this, I will know how to weed out the young men that come for my girls. I know the signs that were in me, I will see it in prospective suitors. If they don’t follow Christ with all of themselves, they don’t get my girls. And to clear up any rumors you may have heard about me…I WILL BE CHOOSING MY KIDS MATES!! Totally not kidding!!

Fourth question…our marriage is absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt, 100% Rock-solid, unwavering, and unshakeable. Our marriage is better than ever. This is not bragging or the assumption that one of us could not fall again. I can say that we are unshakeable because all that I had built had been built on a foundation apart from Christ. And it all fell apart like a house of cards. But, now having to do the work of rebuilding our marriage according to the standards of God, I would not dare to waste the blood, sweat, and tears that it took for us to be here today. It is only in my realization of how inadequate I am that I can fully rely upon Him to be the strength that I need. This is what Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “…for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

I hope this has helped someone. If this brings up more questions, we will answer all of them. It is our desire to be completely transparent before everyone. We will not hide our past but use it as a testimony of how great the love of our God is, how far His mercy and grace reaches, and how it is His desire to restore everyone back to matter what the situation looks like.

Always looking for another way to die…Death becomes me.

~Josh Abdelaziz

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fresh Blackberry Muffins

Fresh Blueberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspooon salt
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat over to 375F. Spray the muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Put the blue berries into a colander and rinse them off.
3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a small bowl, combine the oil, beaten eggs, and milk.
5. Add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until they are just blended. Do not overmix.
6. Fold the blue betties into the batter.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan so each cup is about 2/3 full.
8. Bake 18-20 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned and cooked throughout.
9. You can serve the muffins fresh from the oven.  After they have cooled, cover them with waxed paper to keep them fresh.

Jael made breakfast this morning; she got a cookbook for her birthday.  She has been so anxious to go through the whole thing and make everything. Her brothers were willing to wait the extra hour while she cooked. Yeah, we gotta work a bit on speed and clean-up. BUT since Jael is not even the cleanest eater, I am sure it will take some time.  She learned one of the the first rules of cooking....substitution. Mommy didn't have blueberries, but she had blackberries.  I pretty much left her on her own in the kitchen, because I tend to want things perfect. I interfere too much, and I want her to realize she can do it on her own.  The ONLY thing I measured was the oil.  So, this was ALL her!!  AND she is prepared for the reviews......

P.S. I appreciate the comments on my last blog post. As soon as I get some more time I will be answering all of the questions. I REALLY am glad for the ideas.