Saturday, July 15, 2017

The hardest battle I have ever been through...Part 1

For those of you still hanging on and reading my blog, kudos to you after such a long absence. I have been a horrible blogger...but in my defense my life has been turned upside down in the last year.

The last post in Sept of 2016 I was very vague on details of something I was going through. I was battling with fear and anxiety because in June 2016 my life changed. I am about to get very personal and let you in on something that I wasn't quite ready to share until now...I feel God was telling me it was time.

K and I had been trying to get pregnant since January. We talked and prayed and did more talking and praying and felt it was finally time for the next step. We had waited long enough. 5 long months of pregnancy tests and waiting and in June while I was working at vacation bible school, I found out I was pregnant. I was cautiously excited and very nervous. Deep down something was telling me something wasn't right, but I was only 5 weeks. I went in to the doctor and after getting poked and waiting more on test results, I was sitting in my car when I got the call that I was going to miscarry. It was the hardest news I have ever gotten in my life. I really struggled with how to cope with the pain of not being able to carry this baby. I was going to be 35...would I ever be able to get pregnant? Questions swirled around in my mind...doubt and fear. Was it my weight? Did I work too hard? I can honestly say that this life experience was the most grueling and heartbreaking of my life.

But I have to share with you that there was someone who pulled me out of the darkness: my Lord and savior. Going through what I did with the miscarriage changed my relationship with God forever. Where once I was an every Sunday, check the box kind of Christian- was no more. When I felt like I couldn't go anymore and all I could do was cry...He was there. He held me and listened. God was there through it all. He brought me to this wonderful bible study:

It completely changed the way I viewed God and waiting for Him to answer a prayer. One of the most important points I took away from that study was that we have to shift our focus from the object of our wait to the person of our faith. That meant I had to focus more on God instead of the constant waiting to be pregnant. I still struggled and I would love to tell you that once we got my doctor's permission to start trying again that I didn't get disappointed every month I wasn't pregnant, but I did. It still taught me a valuable lesson on waiting on God. We have to let it go to Him. He works everything for our good, and sometimes what we want right at that moment isn't what is good according to His plans. And His timing is always perfect. It taught me to trust His timing and not doubt what He was doing. We studied David...a wonderful example of someone who waited on God and trusted Him. Sure, he struggled and made mistakes, but he was a man after God's own heart. We all struggle and mess up, but God loves us and forgives us. I never want to go back to the way I was before. This hurt and heartache brought me to where I am now and I am completely ok with that. I accepted Christ when I was 14, but I didn't know what it meant to really love and live for the Lord until a year ago. That changed my life. I only hope and pray that you accept God's love and devotion to you. There is so much joy and life to live in His presence. You always have a father there for you; a best friend to listen to you. All you have to do is let Him in! Ask Him into your heart and He is there. Our lives as Christians won't always be great; trust me. But, He is always there for us through it all. He died for us to save us from this world. I will forever praise Him for all He has done for me.

This song, Even If, by MercyMe also had a big impact on my faith in God; it spoke volumes to how I view Him and how I want my faith to be...

Stay tuned for the next post..the changes in our life didn't stop here...

Until next time, God is good, all the time!

Friday, September 30, 2016

We All Struggle With Something...

I have been working on a part two for my makings of a Christian wife series, but God put it on my heart for the post today.

I used to not like listening to sermons. Don't get me wrong, I love going to church and I love our pastor. But I never used to like sitting and listening to a sermon from someone else. I viewed it like I view audio books...I didn't want to listen; I am a reader.  But then I discovered Right Now Media thanks to my church. It is the Netflix for bible studies and I have completely fallen in love with it. Right now I am doing a study on changing the mind. It deals with issues like worry, anxiety, fear, and how trusting God and changing your mind can battle these issues.

I have been struggling with anxiety and fear and today I finally realized why. I have not been happy with some circumstances that K and I have been experiencing. I haven't been satisfied with some outcomes and I have not been trusting God to change my way of thinking. I have been asking God to help me through this trial, but I haven't been allowing Him to change my mind. I have been wallowing in self-pity and discomfort and this is not the way I want to live. I have absolutely no reason to give in to this way of thinking. God is my salvation and I am blessed beyond belief. I am learning that He doesn't expect us to think that life and marriage will always be peaches and cream by following Him, but I will still praise Him in the hard times. That because of Him, I can get through this. The devil will take us at our most vulnerable state and attack us with fear and worry and anxiety if we let him and I refuse to allow this continue to sit with me. I used to think that the devil had no power over me. I know that everything comes down to choice, but I would roll my eyes on the inside when someone would say something about the devil being the enemy. But he is real and will attack especially if you are living for God. I have learned a very important lesson today: happiness is a choice. I can choose to be happy with what I have been blessed with or I can choose to be miserable and seriously, what fun is that? 

Some people go through some really hard situations. Bad things happen to good people and sometimes it's completely out of our control. What we can control is how we react to the situation we are given. My faith in God and his ability to help me in this struggle is what will get me through tough times. 

I hope this random stream of consciousness made sense because I had to share it without going into a lot of detail. Just know that whoever you are reading this, you are loved and I am praying for you.

My life verse that I will commit to memory Phil 4: 6-8:

Thanks for reading! Until next time, have a great day!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Challenging Myself (Want to Join?)

It starts out as something small:
The garbage not being taken out, 
the mail piling up on the corner of the counter, 
or not filling the sponge wand with dish detergent after he uses it. 

I try my hardest not to nag I let these things "slide".  What I really do is let them fester inside and they come to a boiling point...

And this is what happened over the weekend: The pot boiled over.
I was dealing with stress from several different areas of life in general and lately we seemed to be nit-picking each other. ALOT. I was getting aggravated with him over such little things. And the pot completely over boiled because I didn't let him know what was bothering me from the beginning. After a long talk and a melt-down on my part, I wanted to do something different than focusing on the things that he did that bothered me. We were better than that. We were letting the stress of life get to us and I didn't like it one bit.

I started a new video bible study series this morning:

This is one I missed at our church because I had a choice between this and Revelation and I felt God was pulling me to study Revelation. I was really happy when I realized Right Now Media had this series and I could watch it on my own. It was perfect timing (as God is always teaching me) with what happened this past weekend.

This series starts by studying Ephesians 5:21-31

I have done several posts about this verse before. And I promise, I am not trying to "beat a dead horse". I know how controversial and difficult this topic is. But I am going to use a phrase my pastor loves to use...Don't take it up with me...take it up with God. I'm just quoting the word. One thing Jimmy Evans (the teacher of this series) stated that I loved was that submission does not mean dominance. We are equal partners in this marriage. We are not the boss of each other: the boss of our home is Jesus Christ.

So here are a few things that resonated with me in this study this morning...
  1. The #1 Need of a Man is: HONOR
  2. The #1 Need of a Woman is: SECURITY
  3. Intimacy is the PRIZE of marriage
  4. God's Role for Men in Marriage: Nourish and cherish their wives...bring your wife to her full potential
  5. God's Role for Women in Marriage: Honor Your your Husband's cheerleader
Isn't this powerful?? All of these points can be talked about for hours, but #5 really spoke to me. Something that Jimmy Evans said spoke volumes to me: Don't let the devil focus you on what your husband is doing wrong.

Isn't that exactly what I was doing?? I was completely focused on what K was doing wrong and was missing what he was doing right. I was being selfish and focused on my stress and how swamped I was and what he wasn't doing. So after this lesson I made a challenge for myself. 

Each day this week I will praise K for something good he has done.

I want to continue it after, but I think this is a good start to get into the habit of it. I realized how little I praise K for the things he does for us, for himself, for me. This goes beyond just thanking him for what he does. I want to be his biggest cheerleader. I want to encourage him to reach his full potential. God definitely has his way of challenging me!

How often do you praise your spouse? Feel free to join me in this challenge! 

Until next time, have a great day!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

10 Ways to Have True Intimacy with Your Spouse

Recently, I have had this want to grow closer to God. I don't want to just be knowledgeable about the bible, (although inspired by my sister, I am on a quest to read the bible from cover to cover. As we all know, I am an avid reader and after talking to her about it, with all of the books we read...why not just read and study the bible from Genesis to Revelation? I realize that this will take a long time, but I am up for the challenge!) I want to really know God and connect with Him on an intimate level. I want my prayer life to be more than just praying in the morning and asking Him for the things of the day.

Well to help me on my journey, I am three videos into this wonderful series from RightNow Media:

It was exactly what I was looking to have an intimate relationship with God when you have a busy life. Sometimes we get so sucked into our routines and busy schedules that we forget that we just need to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to Him and connect. Mary and Martha's story can be found in Luke 10:38-42. Mary and Martha were sisters and Jesus goes to visit them. Martha is busy prepping and cooking, while Mary sits at Jesus' feet in awe and completely attentive; not worrying about her sister's fretting and the work that needed to be done. Martha fusses and complains to Jesus about Mary's attitude. (Isn't that just like sisters? Martha actually tattled to Jesus about her sister!) And Jesus says: 

So what does this have to do with marriage? Well, I am glad you asked. After this morning's video...I got to thinking. How many of us do this very thing in our own marriages? We want a deeper connection with our husbands, but we are just going through the day to day motions. 

While listening to the story about the sisters, I realized I am like Martha. I focus my attention on what needs to be always growing to-do lists and forget sometimes to just sit next to my husband and enjoy his company.

How many of you have long to-do lists? I am currently enjoying my summer off and have at least 20 summer projects to do that I want done before the summer is over. Everyday I create a to-do list with chores to accomplish before the day is over. There is always clothes to wash, dishes to clean, beds to make, supper to cook...and it all needs to get done. 

How many of us want a deeper connection with our husbands? All the things on our to-do lists are important, but not more important than connecting with him. Let's go even deeper than just about true intimacy? 

Intimacy is defined as a close familiarity or friendship; a closeness. Synonyms include togetherness, friendship, affection. I strive for that with K. It is so important to me. I don't want to lose the connection we have and sometimes it happens when the day to day and trials of this life take over. It feels like we are robots operating in what we call this life. 

To have true intimacy with our husbands should be at the top of our to-do lists. It isn't just a sexual thing; although that is also important. True intimacy should be a part of our everyday lives so we don't lose what is important to us. 

Here are some ways to achieve true intimacy with your husband:

  1. Listen to him when he talks. Really listen to what he is saying (no distractions. Put down the phone. In fact, put it in another room. I find this helps me.)
  2. Have a real conversation with no interruptions at least once a day (about anything!)
  3. Pray together
  4. Lean on him during a rough time (this is so important. Speaking from personal experience, if you are going through a tough time, lean on him. Tell him about it, even if you feel he won't be able to understand. K has been my rock recently. I couldn't have gotten through it without him.)
  5. You know how big I am about hugging. Hug the man! He will appreciate it! Hug him for at least 20 seconds.
  6. Have a day (as often as possible) that there are no electronics allowed. No phones, tablets, t.v., nothing. Do something together that requires you to rely on good ole fashioned fun. (dancing, put a puzzle together, karaoke contest, adult coloring contest)
  7. Hold hands. In the car, on the couch while you watch t.v. Make sure to touch each other.
  8. Pray for your husband daily. Thank God for him and ask God to watch over him. (I am currently doing a 30 day prayer challenge all about my husband.)
  9. Be honest with him. If he hurt your feelings, tell him. If you want him to do something, ask him. Don't assume he knows what you are thinking. Keep the lines of communication open.
  10. The next time you have a disagreement, let him win. If that's too hard, find a way to compromise. Or better yet, at least be the first to say you are sorry.
I hope these tips help you to reach a great level of intimacy with your spouse. I know it will help me to remember to put K at the top of my list. The next time you are making your to-do list, put your spouse at the top of yours!

Until next time, have a great day!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Trudging Through A Year of Biblical Womanhood

When I don't like a book, it is so hard for me to get through it. I have a hard time getting to the end. It's like a race you are trying desperately to reach the finish...who am I kidding? I know nothing about races. I don't run...

Anyway...I started this book in April. I am a pretty fast reader. I try to read a book every two weeks; not ways possible but I try. So not even halfway through this one, I was desperately trying to finish this book. I really wanted to like it. I have grown to like year long journeys. I find them very inspiring. This book, however, was not inspiring. 

Rachel Held Evans embarks on a year long journey of the Bible. In this journey, she will practice Old Testament customs and learn more about herself and her Christian faith. Or so we are led to think. What starts out as a month by month task list devoted to particular virtues (Grace, beauty, submission, valor etc) ends up a whine fest drowned with overtones of sarcasm. I was highly disappointed in what I thought was going to be an informative guide into the Old Testament beliefs but it was overshadowed with studying other religious practices and her own spin on her beliefs and interpretations.

What I did like was her honesty about the Proverbs 31 wife. Because let's be honest...She is one hard woman to copy. She is the epitome of the perfect wife and how we should be, but impossible to copy. And Rachel makes her own frustrations known. What she resolves is to use the Proverbs 31wife as a guide and not to try and copy her. We are our own wives and some days dishes will stay in the sink or supper will be two hours late. We shouldn't look at her and focus on our failures, but highlight our victories and take pride in what we do and not what is lacking.

I also completely related to her fears of motherhood. She rents a computer baby for two days to test motherhood, but relays in detail her thoughts and fears on the responsibility of being a mom; which was like reading my own fears. Although I hope to one day be a mom, like Rachel I fear the change parenthood brings and the responsibility it carries.

I think some of my biggest problems with this book was even though she devoted a month to a certain topic, some of them, like submission and domesticity were done with mockery and "her dragging her feet". Her whole view on submission was lacking for me. She used a book with how to be a good wife instructions and I agree that some of them were far off (taking your husband's shoes off? Really??)  but because this was so out of character for her, her husband was reluctant and weary of it. She had to clarify with saying "this is for the project". Submission is looked at like a curse. What is wrong with wanting to help your husband? With taking joy in caring for him? I do agree that marriage is an equal partnership; but I don't think there is anything wrong with submitting to him as Christ calls us to do.

So unfortunately, this will definitely not be on my top 10 list. It might make my most disappointing list...but some aspects of the book were interesting and she did have a good sense of humor. I would rate this book 2 stars.

Until next time, have a good night! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Makings of a Christian Wife Part 1

Things have finally started to slow down over here. For the last month, I have been busy preparing my preschool class and classroom for the end of the year. This includes an end of the year production that the children get to be on stage and perform the two songs they have practiced since the beginning of the year. We had one little boy who knew every motion and word of the songs. We just knew he would be our star; however, we were surprised at just how he became our star. Instead of singing the words and doing the motions, he walked to the end of the stage stayed silent and waved to everyone and smiled the whole time. It was really funny and cute. We learned kids will be kids.
I was reading a very interesting book that inspired this post. Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood, takes us on a journey of her quest to apply biblical principles to her life as a wife and mother, sometimes quite literally. Much like the children in my preschool, we prepare years for our weddings, but when we enter into the marriage, we stand in shock of what's presented and don't know what to do. Sometimes that's because of lack of instruction from our parents and mentors, and sometimes it's because of lack of attention at what these mentors or parents tried to teach us.
I can't tell you what is the right or wrong way to be a wife. I am learning that each and every wife is different and operates differently. Some wives are domesticated and take care of everything and some husbands rather have this responsibility. Either way it's what works for you and your husband and what God is calling you to do as his wife. Because let's face it, we have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders.
What I can tell you is what I have learned from studying the bible, reading many Christian marriage books, and advice from trusted Christian influences at what works for me. And the wife God has called me to be. This has been a work in progress.
I haven't always been the wife that I am. I have prayed daily from day one to be the kind of wife K needs. By the grace of God, He helps me daily. After reading a passage in the book I mentioned, I felt this overwhelming urge to share some advice to other wives, especially new wives. If I could give advice to new wives this is what I would tell them:
1) Pray for your husband daily and pray for the strengthening of your marriage
2) Build your husband up, try to keep the criticism and nagging to a minimum (I am still working on this one)
3) Remember that you are a team...don't be afraid to ask for his help
4) Don't be afraid to tell him what is on your mind when something bothers you. Do this in a loving and respectful way. (Yep...still working on this one too.)
5) And while we are on the subject...don't assume he knows what you are thinking. Because he doesn't. This was probably the best piece of advice I ever received: they are not mind readers and men think so differently than we do. I learned this the very hard way. So no matter how many times you walk back and forth to the laundry room with arms full of laundry and sigh loudly because he isn't helping...just ask. It will save a lot of aggravation and headache.
6) Say I love you every day...points if it's several times. Especially every time you hang up.
7) Hug and kiss every day. Touch everyday. Keep your connection strong.
8) Laugh a lot. Laugh at each other.
9) And finally, be your husband's best friend. Go to your husband with everything. Every joy, hurt, story...everything.
I still have more to say and will be back soon with Part 2. Until next time...have a great day!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Let's brag about our husbands...

I have to admit...I was taken by surprise, but first let me explain. K and I just celebrated 16 years together.

Here we are at his military ball in 2000. That is the night I said "yes" to being his girlfriend and my whole life changed. I posted this picture on facebook and was talking to a friend about it. She asked if she had known K was a veteran and I had to tell her that he was in JROTC for his high school. I bragged about some of the accomplishments he did while he was in JROTC. And then I apologized for bragging and what she said surprised me. She told me not to apologize because too many women complain about their husbands. She continued to say it was refreshing to hear someone praise their husband.

After the conversation it really made me think about what she said. So many times I have seen on social media negative comments about husbands or marriage in general. This is what fueled the want to have this marriage blog in the first place. I understand every relationship is different and we all hit bumps, road blocks, and pot holes in our marriages. K drives me absolutely insane sometimes. But, he is also an amazing man and I love who he is and I love sharing that with others. Why don't we do more of that instead of complaining about them all the time? And better yet, why don't we share what we love about them to...our husbands?? It might even make their day. I challenge you to make them smile! I also challenge you to brag about them to one of your friends. Praising and bragging about our husbands not only will help them feel good about themselves, but will also help us to feel good about the men we married. Why would we want to be grumpy and angry with them all the time? That's no fun.

One more tip: if you are having a tough time with your spouse, make a list of all the good things they do for you or things that make you smile. It will help take some of the anger away. Make sure to thank them for something they have done for you.

My Bragging Rights on K:

  1. He is an extremely hard worker and wonderful provider
  2. He always makes me smile and laugh
  3. He knows how to make me feel better when I am having a bad day
  4. He went from a part time teller to the financial controller of the bank he works at
  5. He takes great care of me when I am sick
I could keep going, but you get the idea :)  
Until next time, brag about your husband!