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" SOMET Eagle "

Written By: Barry Lee Harwood

The rest of the story
Through My Eye’s

Who’s the Man; Me – Or the Man in the Mirror?

There’s something about “washing your hands” of the past. There’s something about a 180° turn; facing the opposite direction and walking away from childish behavior. There comes a time when we need to move away from a “lifestyle that’s gone out of style” and become the person we used to be!

In 1971 I committed my life to Jesus Christ. I spent the next thirty-one years trying to “change without changing”! I tried to walk to the Promised Land with one foot in the Kingdom of God and one foot in the world; I single-handedly redefined insanity! In 2002 I came to accept what I knew all along; the fact that “me and the man in the mirror” were responsible for all the heartache in my life; both mine and the hapless women who had accepted my “come-on lines” as truth. A backslidden Christian is the most dangerous animal on the planet. My past was riddled with self-absorption, chaos and unpredictable behavior; a life ruled by the five senses. My soul was outta’ control! I spent those years running from my purpose which left a trail of carnage, destruction and misunderstanding. It was time for a change.

My repentance and God’s forgiveness met head on in February of that same year. Finally I had come to the end of myself! I had run out of “wild oats” and had no desire to re-up my supply. Most people don’t have to go below the gutter to initiate a change; reckon I’m a little more stubborn than most! But “stubborn” is a good thing if your life is in perspective! In 2002 “Change” was the only alternative; finally; it was my only alternative! Actually, it was my only alternative all along but “my self-serving self” ignored it! At this time in my life; I believed it. Now; it was time to remove my disguise; it was time to be born again … again! The Rock n’ Roll ride was over.

Here Comes Love Again

When I “changed my mind” and “turned my heart around” my whole life turned around. I found the purpose I had lost - I found the path I had strayed from - I found the reason why I had strayed away - and then - I found the woman with whom I would spend the remainder of my life! Why didn’t previous marriages work; who’s to say I hadn’t already found “Mrs. Right” years before? Finding and keeping Mrs. Right requires finding and being Mr. Right! We “find” the right person by “being” the right person!

A man has to seek God’s way of “doing and being right” first; and everything else will fall into place in the right order at the right time! If I want to drive to New York from Nashville I’d need to head north. Any other direction would be the wrong direction and would not take me to my intended destination. I had always tried to find “Mrs. Right” without being “right” myself. If “the man of the house” has a broken compass; or no compass; or refuses to use his compass the marriage will eventually end up on the rocks. In 2002 God took the pieces of my broken heart and put them back together to make a brand new man; and God reasoned that “the new man” was good enough for this woman; her name is Claudia. At this time in my life (and for the first time in my life) I wasn’t “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places” and for the wrong reasons; in fact I wasn’t lookin’ for a love relationship at all and neither was she! Sure; I can use the old cliché and say that “it was a match made in Heaven;” and it is.

Two Destinies Become One

The love story of how this “match made in Heaven” manifested on earth begins one Sunday afternoon as I was finishing my HeartStrings Cafe weekly webcast! A friend “messaged me” as I closed my show and said, “I want to introduce you to the next “Mrs. Harwood.” I dismissed it but my friend insisted- and insisted – and insisted! Finally; I contacted Claudia. The rest (as they say) is history! At the time Claudia and I met we had both experienced the full effect of “life’s up’s and downs” and we were past the point of playing games. Since we lived in different states, our initial contact was by phone, e-mail and private chat room! We became “new best friends” to each other. We weren’t using the obligatory “pitch & woo” techniques; we were just getting to know each other. Claudia put something in my heart that’s never been there before. As we got to know each other we found that emotional ties ran deep; we could cry as much as we laughed together. Our hearts were tender toward the things of God. We had fun with life and we were very passionate about who we were and where we were going! I felt like she was God’s confirmation that my life was back on track! “I must’a did somethin’ right!” It would be easy to stand here and tell you how I’ve changed; “talk the talk”. It would be easy to show you by my actions and attitude that I’m a different person - focused and on track – “walking the walk” but - the fact that God brought Claudia to my life told me I was in the right place at the right time; doing the right thing for the right reason and motive! God wasn’t about to put a treasure like her into sullied hands! It’s like; when I turned my heart and changed my mind God said, “I gotta’ lil’ somethin’ for ya’ … somethin’ I been savin’ for just the right time!”

Life is a search for the right “soil” to plant and grow. Although my priorities were in better order; I needed someone to “keep me in the moment” so that God’s plan and purpose could unfold without my hindrance. Claudia needed to be placed in the right environment to release the gift in her heart! She is a gift; from God to me. She is a gracious lady with a heart that looks for ways to give to others. She looks for a need in people’s lives and she finds a way to help. She is resolute; she makes necessary changes and choices in her life without complaining, resentment or apathetic attitude. She is selfless. She is filled with creative energy and talent. Before we met, she had never been with anyone who recognized her gifts and abilities and if they did; didn’t take her seriously enough to allow her to develop them. Unused talent searches for its intended purpose. We wouldn’t use a Kentucky Derby winner to plow a field; we wouldn’t use a NASCAR champion to drive a limo! Sure; a purpose is served but it’s not the intended purpose! Talent that is belittled and ignored is most powerful because it requires struggle to make it visible and by the time the world see’s it; it is strong and well developed. Unrecognized talent is a light shining in the darkness. When Claudia and I came together; two purposes became one. Seems we both had the same dream; we just needed each other to fulfill it! God “hid” a treasure for us to find; He drew a map leading to where the treasure was buried; and then He “tore the treasure map in half and He gave one half to Claudia and the other half to me. Our lives had been a search for “the one” who had “the other half” of the map”! Our destinies included each other. When we met; the two halves of the map became one and we’ve been discovering buried treasure ever since! We would never have found God’s hidden treasure for our lives without each other. Claudia not only love’s and appreciates me for who I am and what I do, but she’s capable of actively participating and contributing to it. We brought out the best in each other and fell in love with what we discovered; we fell in love with the best! Everyday I still believe it’s truly a match made in Heaven! This part of the puzzle is complete and the rest of the pieces fall into place much easier!

It Gets Better!

Anyone who chooses to discover and follow God’s predestined plan for their life will impact the hopes and dreams of everyone around them. I believe that millions of people will be affected by any two people being obedient to God’s will, plan and purpose. The Bible says in Matthew 18:19

Matthew 18:19 (Amplified Bible)
19 Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and [a]everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.

There is tremendous power in agreement. I looked up the Greek word for “agree” in Strong’s Concordance - #4856 – it is sumphoneo. From sum (meaning) “together” and phoneo (meaning) “to sound;” so, sumphoneo means “to sound together!” We derive our word “symphony” from this. Metaphorically, the word means to agree together in prayer that is harmonious! Within a marriage there is “built-in” agreement between the man and woman. It’s one thing for two (unrelated) people to pray and agree and then go their separate ways – separate lives – separate churches; whatever; God will honor the prayer of agreement and the job will still get done. It’s another thing for two people - who have vowed to honor a marriage covenant - to agree and believe. Claudia and I agree with God; we work to become what His word says we are. When we agree in prayer there are actually two covenants enforcing our prayers. Ours is a marriage with a mission; going into all the world “tying heartstrings together” with people we are destined to meet. As I always say,” everyone is a puzzle piece that is missing from someone else’s life.” We complete the puzzle in one life and that, in turn, completes the puzzle in lives attached to that life and so on and so forth!

We Value Our Values!

There’s no “trial version” of marriage; it is a covenant. On the day that a man and a woman recite wedding vows to each other they have no experience with marriage. Even if we’ve “lived” with a person for years; marriage changes things! Suddenly there’s a lifetime commitment and although we say, “we knew that” – now – “We know that”! Marriage vows say, “I’m going to handcuff myself to you and throw away the key! The honeymoon is the beginning of the journey; 24-7-365 - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday! When people cohabit without commitment and benefit of marriage they only fulfill part of their destiny; and that part will be skewed and out of sync. If self gratification is your motive and your presupposed definition of love; it’s over before you start!

I watched a Stone Mason building a wall in front of a house one day. Some of the stones fit together perfectly; others had to be chipped and broken to make them fit together. So it is with marriage; it’s a full time job! I’m not saying that everyday is wedded bliss – but that’s the goal because “happily ever after” is possible. Some days are better than others but every day is better than the day before! (That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!!) We may not meet each others expectations every day but we’re committed to the journey and divorce is never an option so whatever needs to change will just have to change!

There is a quality of love that Claudia and I share and strive to maintain; a love that does not take our own needs into account. We strive to have higher goals for each other and value each other above our own self. We seek love that transcends self interest and misconduct toward each other. It’s a given; if you’re around someone long enough, they’ll eventually do something that hurts you, but we are not “emotional bookkeepers” and we don’t keep records of “hurts, offenses and faults” for any reason. Our goal is true Love; love that is selfless.

True love binds itself to the object of its affection; true love promises and obligates itself to the object of it’s affection for the good of that person; and does so at its own expense. True love is when I make Claudia the object of my affection and put her above my own self. True love is self sacrificing and goes beyond self interest.

When we recite wedding vows we’re actually saying, “We bought a ticket and we’re boarding the train.” Marriage is the train ride to an intended destination. We met – we became attracted – we fell in love; but “in love” is just a starter kit! Five years down the road we should be able to look back and say, “We just thought we were in love”! On the day of a wedding there are two people getting on the same train and helping each other get to the same destination. The journey is the “happily ever after”! It’s not all about what we can “get” from each other … but rather; what we can “give” to each other. We have to meet each others standards and inspire each other toward higher achievements. God is “restoring the garden of Eden in our hearts”; He knows what it looks like because He created it in the first place! Everyday we see a little more of it being manifested in our hearts and it spills over into our daily life.

This is an abridged chapter from the forthcoming book by Barry Lee Harwood

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