Monday, March 30, 2015

Does Your Husband Possess this Superpower?

Before I go any further, I want you to be a fly on the wall in the Cochran house, and listen to this short conversation between Patrick and me By conversation, I mean that I talked and he stood there  I’m a little embarrassed already.

So, I was feeding Riley Grace her supper when Patrick walked in the door.

“Are you here?” (Me, confused as to why he was home early)

…….” (Patrick, speechless as he looked around, acting as if I MUST be talking to someone else because CLEARLY he was here)

“No, I mean, are you home?” (Me, attempting to clarify the previous question Clearly, as a husband, he has (or should have) the superpower of MIND-READING!...But he didn’t seem to be accessing that power at the moment.)

……..” (Patrick, still looking behind him and smiling, acting as if I HAD to be talking to someone else I, on the other hand, KNOW that he KNOWS what I mean. Wow, now I apparently have the mind-reading superpower, too!)

……..” (Me, now possessing the same superpower, since I seem to know that he knows but won’t let on that he knows, I’m patiently waiting for him to ‘fess up.What I really meant was, “Are you “home” home?” Isn’t that clearer? Don’t we all know what repeating the word and emphasizing the first part means??.Oh dear)

Ok, now we’re all confused! Too much mind-reading going on, and not enough clarity!

Please tell me that I’m not the only one who has experienced this. Even in this cute 2-minute interaction, I can find some not-so-cute issues. What went wrong?

1.      (Mis)Communication: I didn’t say what I meant. I thought I did, and in my head, my tone (and our previous knowledge that he wasn’t supposed to be home yet) should have helped him to understand what “Are you here?” really meant. It made sense to me, so it should make sense to him. What I should have said (and did say later on) was “Are you home/here for good, or are you going back to work?” That would have eliminated the room for miscommunication if I had said that to start with.

2.    (Unfair) Expectations: I expected him to understand what I meant, even with my extremely vague questions. No one can read minds! It’s never good to assume that you can or expect that someone else can. Lots of harmful miscommunication can happen this way. If you don’t know, then ask, and if you’re not sure if someone else knows or you can see that they are interpreting something wrongly, then speak upwith gentleness!

3.    Criticism: From the beginning, I was being critical of Patrick because I was assuming that he knew and was just giving me a hard time. Sometimes, this situation plays out comically, and sometimes it ends rather negatively, depending on our moods. We may think it’s funny, or we may become irritated or easily offended when the other person doesn’t “get it” immediately.

Proverbs 21:23 “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.”

That verse may seem a little too serious for this situation, but I think it carries a lot of weight in light of our small miscommunication. Sometimes, we are too quick to speak and judge others’ motives and actions. As you ponder this short verse, I hope you’ll take time to evaluate how you communicate with your husband. Are you quick to hold unfair expectations and judgments? Are you too quick to speak? Do you expect that he should understand what you mean even if you are not very clear? Do you expect him to read your mind? Do you expect that you know every meaning behind his words, actions, and body language? What are you communicating with your words, actions, and body language?

Pray that the Lord will help you to guard your mouth and tongue in any and every conversation with your husband or with anyone! Let our speech be sweet, kind, and clear!! Miscommunication can be a nasty business. Unfair expectations can ruin a relationship. Criticism is just plain sinful. There are so many aspects that make up effective communication, and we can all safely concur that mind-reading is not one of them! J

Always, Jacquelyn

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cuddle Up for Safety: A Lesson on Security

Instead of the common phrase for car safety, “Buckle up for safety,” Riley Grace would encourage you to “Cuddle up for safety!” (not in the car of course she’s buckled up very tightly in the car!) Riley Grace has two favorite “safe” spots. These spots are two places of safety and security for her. Her first safe place she loves is when her Daddy is holding her. She loves to be held by him with her head on his shoulder and both arms holding on to him. Her second safe place is sitting in between my legs on the floor with a hand on each of my legs, pulling them as close to her body as possible. In her little mind, she is safe in these places with Daddy and Mama. We love our cuddle bug! She wasn’t always cuddly, and she has to be in the mood to be close, as she is very independent and has an opinion of her own. However, when she wants to be close, she lets each of us know as she snuggles into her personal safe spots. I wish I could bottle up these moments and keep them forever, but I know of course that she will grow up, and eventually not want or need to be this close to Daddy and Mama (and of course, that’s a healthy process). She’ll need us in different ways, but not in the heart-melting, cuddle-up-close, cute-as-a-button kind of way.

When I considered Riley Grace’s actions, I starting thinking about a few aspects of her thought process. What must her little mind be thinking as she holds her arms up to Patrick or pulls my legs as close to her as possible?
1.  Why does she feel safe in these places?  She feels safe in her favorite spots with Daddy and Mama because she TRUSTS us. She also feels a certain COMFORT within these safe spots.

2.What causes her to want be in her safe places? She wants to be in these safe places because it gives her a sense of SECURITY to know that she has us and can depend on us for security. She also may feel threatened by a SENSE OF DANGER at certain points, which causes her to turn to her safe places.

3. What kind of security is she receiving by seeking out her safe places? Even though she does not have the same cognitive, physical, and emotional capabilities as an adult, she knows that she has needs in each of these areas, and so she seeks FULLFILLMENT OF THOSE NEEDS by looking for her safe spots. She receives mental, physical, and emotional security in knowing that she is safe with Daddy and Mama.

Now, consider your own life. No, you are not an 18-month old little girl anymore (or maybe you never were!). BUT, you do have a mental, physical, and emotional need for safety and security. You have natural tendencies and courses of action when you seek out safety, whether it’s certain decisions while driving through a storm or certain defense mechanisms when you’re in the midst of a conflict or trial. Whatever the situation and whoever the person, we all desire safety and security. 
So, where do you turn? What is your “safe spot”? What is the one place that you know you can turn and be completely secure? Who can you trust and find a place of comfort and security in the midst of a threat of danger? Who do you turn to for the fulfillment of your need to be secure mentally, physically, and emotionally?
Many times, our answer may be in physical relationships. It may be in our parents, spouse, children, or close friends. It may be in our savings account or our academic or professional status. It may be in our job, our church, or our position. These things aren't necessarily bad, BUT they cannot ultimately meet our needs of true peace, comfort, and security.
Instead of the choices listed in the previous paragraph, I hope the answer to each of these questions is To the LORD, the Creator of all things, the Lover and Protector of your soul, and the Provider of all of your needs (especially your ULTIMATE NEED OF SALVATION)! In the midst of danger, stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, the first inclination of our mind and heart may not be to turn to the Lord, or it may be just that. He alone is the ultimate source of peace, comfort, and security, and can fulfill all of our needs in a “safe spot”.
Just like Riley Grace TRUSTS us and finds peace and comfort in her relationship with us as she encounters threatening circumstances, so, too, can we look to Lord to fulfill these needs for us! It may not be our natural tendency to look to Him, but through studying the Word and seeking Him, we can train our minds and hearts to turn to him and rest in Him as the source of all security. Once we turn to Him, we will feel safe and secure in all seasons of life. Even if our circumstances are still threatening, He can provide us with all that we need to stand strong amidst the storms of life.


1.      Evaluate yourself. What places do you turn for security that are healthy? What places do you turn for security that are not healthy?

2.    Evaluate the Scriptures. What do these Scriptures say regarding security? What do they show us about our Heavenly Father? How can you apply what you’ve learned from these verses to your life?

Psalm 121 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”

John 10:28-30 “2I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

3.    Prepare your mind for action. What verse (listed in number 2) speaks to your heart most about finding security in the Lord? Memorize it so that in times of danger, stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, your mind will be prepared to trust in the Lord instead of focus on the circumstance. 

Always, Jacquelyn