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In Defense and Caution of Praising God

By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf

Consider the benefits and detriments of praising God. Okay, so perhaps there really are no detriments. But there are cautions to how we perceive what we are praising. In the beginning you are so desperate for clues of Hope that anything is worthy. Your MLCer looked at you without anger or with less hatred than has been recent norm; he called, smiled, seemed happy, sad, remorseful, guilty, confused... Midlife Crisis is a journey; life is a journey. Praise God for the journey--bumps and all. Praise God for the opportunities that enable us to grow and for the jolts that push us back onto the path or that show us different paths. God answers prayers and sometimes his answer is No, and sometimes he leaves the outcome up to you or to both of you and the way each of you handles the situation. Thank God for the no's as well as the yes's, and maybes. Though we may not understand God, have faith and thank Him anyway; for every matter has its time and way, although the troubles of mortals lie heavy upon them. (Ecclesiastes 8:6)

Instead of looking for signs and clues from your MLCer to praise, look to God and life and praise in general. The detriment is that sometimes we spend so much time looking for little things that we miss life as it passes by or that we place stock in tiny things with no meaning or with a meaning different than the meaning we attribute. A baby's first smile might be due to the wonderful feeling of gas. Your MLCer may have come over to check the oil on your vehicle because someone else guilted him into it with a duty speech; while you are saying a Praise the Lord and analyzing the meaning, he's feeling resentful. Praise God that he changed your oil, providing you with safe transportation, but refrain from attaching a meaning to the action.

I've seen Standers in support groups lose their faith because the group as a unit is so desperate for what they see as a successful outcome that they encourage the scavenger hunt for signs and clues; the danger is that often people link expectations to the clues and signs. The greater a person's expectations, the greater the risk of falling when the expectations are not met within their desired time frame--or ever. Standing is about accepting, not expecting. Praise God for clean air, but please refrain from interpreting the cleanliness of the air as a sign that your MLCer is progressing, or reconnecting--even if you have clean air because he ordered you a new filtration system, maybe he purchased the system because he got bonus points or frequent flyer miles.

I'm Kenda-Ruth and I believe in marriage.
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