Tag Archives: marriage

All you need is prayer

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Prayer is good for the soul. It connects us with our Creator. Our hearts, minds and will are molded, bent, and yielded to God’s will when we truly are seeking after Him. So, if this is all true, and we know that it is according to God’s Word, WHY is it that we don’t find ourselves in a posture of humility and prayer? Why do we think we can solve it all on our own, as if there’s some badge we’re aiming to attain declaring our wisdom? Why do we allow ourselves to be anxiety riddled trying to figure it all out on our own? And why do we go to Him only after we’ve exhausted all other options?

For me, I’m guilty as charged. I allow myself to get distracted by other things. I pray at mealtime, bedtime and over my husband as he heads out to work; the rest of the day, I find myself “sending sky grams,” as our former pastor used to say, which isn’t bad but on the other hand, isn’t near enough. God knows it all but we still need to be (get to be!) in a conversation with God. And a conversation is a two-way street, involving both listening and speaking. You can’t be in a true conversation with someone all the while running hither and yon, not focused on what you’re doing, spouting off a grocery list of needs. Sure, you can talk up a blue streak, but the most important part of a conversation is listening. Hate to break it to you, but to really listen, you have to be still and quiet.

My husband likes to tease me that when I’m in a conversation with a friend, I’m so focused on them and what they’re saying that the building I’m in could be on fire and I’d never know because I’m so “locked in,” as he says. Why do I do this you ask? Because I don’t want to miss out on important details of the conversation out of being distracted by what is going on all around me. Now, if I feel this way about a conversation with a dear friend, how much more should I defend and protect my time in conversation with the Lord?

I’m well-versed on how to pray and even assuming the posture of prayer. I have loved reading Pastor Cymbala’s books on the power of prayer, as well as many other wonderful reads over the years. I know prayer is where our power is found as believers in Christ. I mean, the God of the universe, Creator of all things, wants a conversation with me! That trumps (pardon the pun!) a phone call from the President of the United States!! However, I also know that our enemy hates for us to pray for this very reason. In fact, he will do whatever he can to distract us, stir up doubt and disbelief all to keep us in a place of defeat and spirit of hopelessness. Therefore, it becomes imperative for us to be intentional. Intentionally carving out time daily to not only be in God’s Word, but to be in constant conversation (prayer) with Him.

Once again, I’ve read and re-read books on praying for my husband; Stormie Omartian has some great resources! I want to be a prayerful wife, mother, daughter, friend….my desire is there and I’m confident this is where power and solutions are found, so I must ask God to help me carve out uninterrupted time daily. After all, we are in a battle for our marriages, children, families, and on and on it goes. I’m not dissing counseling, wise biblical counseling that is, but God’s Word is chock full of counsel if we’ll just open the Word and pray scripture. He should be our first go-to, not our friends or spouses. I’m confident I’d have much less stress if I’d simply go to Him first who is the only One who can advise me and give me the wisdom I’m seeking.

Will you join me in praying fervently for our homes to be a place of peace, our marriages to be shored up on the foundation of Christ, our children to thirst and hunger for the things of our Lord and coming to saving faith at an early age?

 

 

 

“Happy Mother’s Day!”

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These words used to bring tears to my eyes. Tears for a couple of reasons, actually. I had a wonderful, loving, godly, fun, best-friend kind of Mom for 23 years of my life. She was the nurturing type, full of mercy, peace, and grace. She poured into me, sacrificed in huge ways, and most importantly led me to Christ. God called her home at 47 years of age. For many years, I was conflicted with ‘why God did you take her from me when I loved her and needed her so much?’ and thoughts of being at peace knowing she was safely in the arms of her loving Jesus, free from pain. Sprinkle in the tormenting thoughts of ‘why does Jesus heal some, and yet others have to suffer, gaining their ultimate healing?‘ If I’m being honest, I still struggle with some of these emotions, and probably will until Jesus takes me home.

As time passed, after *marriage, I never thought I’d hear the words “Happy Mother’s Day!” I watched and celebrated my friends who were celebrating their pregnancies and subsequent births of their bundles of joy. While I was truly happy for them, I found it increasingly more difficult to hide my own feelings of desperately wanting to be a Mom and have a child of my own. Eventually, we found ourselves on the path to fertility treatment. It was a lonely, depressing world of disappointment upon disappointment; not to mention the thousands of dollars spent on a hope unrealized.

God had other plans for my husband and me. Unaware at the time, we faithfully prayed and trusted Him for direction and wisdom. The Lord kept opening our eyes to adoption. While it took me awhile to warm up to the idea, God slowly prepared me for a new journey. I have to admit, this path is not for the faint of heart. We went to training in and out-of-state, completed physical exams, psychiatric exams, interviews, background checks, counseling, mounds of paperwork, home visits, and created a book of pictures introducing our family to birth mothers who would then choose a prospective adoptive couple. As my husband jokingly says, “we did everything short of having a body cavity search”.

Nearly two years into our process of becoming a “waiting family” or “paper pregnant” as they call it, we found ourselves fighting disappointment when we still hadn’t been contacted by our agency that a birth mother had looked at our profile, wanting to meet us. It was then that God showed up in a big way! The Lord led us to our precious birth mother through some friends. Ironically we met with her for the first time near Mother’s Day. It was this initial meeting which led to accompanying her to doctor’s appointments, long chats over lunch, meeting her family and at long last, joining her in the delivery room as our baby boy was born! Truly, what at first appeared to us as our “Plan B” quickly turned into God’s “Plan A” for our family. We could not have asked for a more beautiful story had we written it ourselves. God was in every single detail.

I struggled trusting God that He would answer our prayers for a child of our own. The enemy hurled doubt left and right. The Lord, however, held our hands and affirmed us throughout our journey to our son even when our fears threatened to take over. The Lord continued to speak to us not only through our own prayers, but through others as well. We felt encouraged and edified, almost as if God was carrying us through til the very end. He was faithful and would not let go.

As my husband and I often tell our son, “God made us a family”. And, He did. Undeniably one of the most difficult holidays of the year for me, Mother’s Day, has now become one of the most joyous days of my life. God heard our cries for a child and He answered our prayers. God’s ways are often not our ways; His plans are not always our plans, and His timing is often not our timing. Know that He can be trusted with the longings of our heart. He is a good, good Father.

*marriage-another God story of how God brought my husband to me in His timing, not my own.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. (Psalm 145:17, NIV)

So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. (James 1:17, MSG)

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. (Psalm 57:10, NIV)

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7, NIV)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,… (Ephesians 3:20)

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. (Psalm 34:18, MSG)

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.          (1 Samuel 1:27, NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

Conflicted

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From time to time, I ponder whether or not to remain on facebook. I feel like some of you will get me, while others may shut me down. That’s why I’m in a real quandary.

There are so many things I love about connecting with people I’ve not seen or heard from in a zillion years! When I happen upon a newsworthy post, it is a good thing making me happy for my connection. However, if you’re like me, you are growing rather tired of only seeing the ‘highlight reel’ of everyone’s lives. This is where I struggle. I think it causes others to feel discontent with where they are in life, what they have, who they have, where they’re not traveling to. Y’know? This then leads to the almighty comparison trap. What really gets me in a jerk though is when people are hurt because of being left out of an event they weren’t included in. It’s like those who have excluded others tend to forget that for a moment and go all out posting pictures of all the fun they experienced while those left out are seeing it blasted all over social media. This especially sticks in my craw when it involves my child. Never mind that he’s “just four” and that he doesn’t have his own social media accounts to see for himself. What matters is that I, as his Momma see it. I get it that we have limits to how many can be invited to a party…makes total sense. But don’t go and blast it all over facebook with pictures galore of the fun that my child is not included in. It hurts my heart.

If you’re close to tuning me out because you’re thinking, “she just needs to get over it!” then hold the phone a minute. Why is it that so many adult women are feeling left out and alone from social events? Honestly, it almost feels like high school sometimes with the invention of facebook, only the cliques are broadcast all over your broadband. If social media was designed to bring us all together, then why is it making people feel so alone? Why are there more marriages coming to an end? Why is there cyber bullying? Why are more and more people feeling less and less content?

I truly want to believe that so-called “posters” on social media don’t mean any harm. They just want to share their pics with all their zillions of “friends”. Or, the wife who always receives the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers “just because”. Or, the proud Mommas and Daddies who post pics of their darling who made it on the cheerleading squad; received a ginormous full-ride scholarship to their dream school; had the dreamiest prom; made the best grades; went on the most awesome senior trip…..and on and on it goes. I haven’t even gone into the lavish vacation pictures we all see plastered everywhere, never mind this may just be “so and so’s” second trip to Disney and third cruise within six months. Seriously? What about those who can barely make ends meet? What about those who are lonely singles or struggling to hold their marriage together?

Lest you think I’ve not participated in any facebook faux pas, I have. Sure, I’ve posted pictures of a trip to the beach or my child’s birthday party, even flowers my husband brought me “just because”. I, too, am guilty as charged. Does that make this any less of a problem though? I don’t think so.

Whether I decide to remain on social media or not is still unknown. My husband reminds me that it all depends on what you do with facebook. I don’t mean to pick on facebook per se; it’s really all social media. I have learned many important events such as weddings, engagements, illnesses, deaths, new jobs, baby announcements, and connected with many long lost friends through social media. I’ve been encouraged by its posts, convicted by its posts, felt left out by its posts, envious by its posts and all the rest. I have a girlfriend who is not on facebook for all these reasons and more, challenge me to give it up for a week. a month. two months, and on and on, as a test to see if I really need it in my life.  Something to ponder for sure.

I’m really curious what you, my followers, think of the glorious invention of social media. Sure, there are pros and cons. However, do the cons outweigh the pros? Do we really need to be connected in every way imaginable to know what’s going on, or can we survive going back to being in real fellowship with our friends… in person….. catching up on all the news? Is it possible we might even be more productive if we we weren’t linked to the social feeds? Something to ponder for sure, which is why I battle with to leave or to stay. Let me hear from you!

Pearls of wisdom

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Pearls of wisdom

Before I was a SAHM, I would listen to Christian talk radio during my commute to and from work, and occasionally when I’d leave the office for my lunch break. I cherished this time alone, in my car, gleaning so much wisdom from teachers I enjoy, and respect because they teach sound doctrine from God’s Word. Now that I’m home, I truly thought I’d be able to take advantage of this teaching via radio even more. I don’t know what I was thinking; it’s not been the case.

This morning, however, as I was leaving my son’s school, I turned on Moody radio, which is my favorite Christian broadcast network. Not being familiar with the programming guide, I wasn’t sure who I might be listening to. I was happy when I recognized the voice of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, formerly Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Her radio program, Revive Our Hearts, has been a lifeline to me on many occasions. Today was no exception. She, along with her guests, were talking about the ministry of motherhood. Think about that with me: the ministry of motherhood.

One of Nancy’s guests said she receives letters from many young Moms saying, “God has really put it on my heart to write books, to teach, to have a ministry.” Her reply, “What you are doing as a wife, as a mom—what I’m doing pales in significance, except that it’s what God has called me to do. But in terms of impact and longevity and multiple generations and the kingdom of God being furthered, as you love your husband, as you love and train your children, as you train younger women, you are furthering the kingdom of God. She goes on to say “I think sometimes we want “ministry,” but we forget that we already have ministry. If God has given us children, if God has given us a husband, we have built-in ministry already. Those things are not an obstacle to me doing ministry. They are my ministry. That has to be my first ministry. If I can love my husband successfully according to God’s Word, if I can love my children and nurture them in the admonition of the Lord as Scripture says, then I believe God will bring ministry out of the platform of the diligence that I’ve given to those primary areas God has already called me to.”

Whoa! I have to tell you, this conversation really whet my appetite for more. How many times have I myself questioned “am I doing all I can?” or “is there not more for me?” I have heard Moms talking to each other complaining that there is much more to life than being a Mom; I need something for myself, something to call my own. It may seem like your desires for a career, even your hard-earned rather expensive degree is taking a backseat to the season you’re in as a Mother. Motherhood is a gift, a calling. Sometimes when we’re in the thick of it, it’s easy to forget that. Believe me, I need reminding often myself!

It (motherhood) takes sacrifice. It takes diligence. It takes that self-control that we’ve been talking about. It cannot come from inside us. It has to come from God living out His life in and through us. The tool He uses especially in my life happens to be motherhood. Motherhood actually becomes one of the tools God uses to shape and mold me; as one author said, “to chisel me for eternity.” So if we recognize that motherhood is part of God’s process . . . it’s not an obstacle to God’s process in my life; it is God’s process in my life. It’s that sanctifying, making you into the image of Christ. Again, that’s as we embrace whatever the calling is in the role God has for our lives; there’s purpose to that, and it is through that that we are sanctified.

The interview continued, “We do have to be very, very intentional about getting time to hear God even in the midst of all the stuff that’s going on in our life. It’s hard sometimes. It takes a lot of intentional focus for that to happen. I think that’s probably the most important aspect of mothering, is that our children see and recognize how important the Word is to their mom—that we’re in the Word, that we’re praying for them. They recognize that. They see it. It’s foundational. And hopefully, that gives them a desire to put that as a priority in their own lives.”

What this radio show taught me today is that my calling is ultimately to be a wife and a mom. That doesn’t translate as “I’m only a wife” or “I’m just a mom”. Marriage and parenting are two of the highest callings in God’s economy. To heed this calling is a huge undertaking and will keep us plenty busy. Caring for the home, or managing the household, is a machine. Organizational skills, communication skills, leadership are all required for this job description. It is not for the faint of heart. I feel like there is always a heap to be done around the house. Laundry, errands, groceries, cooking, cleaning, making meals, etc., etc. is no small task. In fact, when littles are around, It can be a real challenge to accomplish even the most minute of details. It’s okay. Patterning and modeling these roles to our children of what a godly Mom and wife look like is time consuming and it’s not a race, rather a marathon. After all, our children are on loan to us from God. We have them for such a short time and our role is to groom them into responsible young adults to live on their own one day. That’s a challenge, folks!

Mothering is like ditch digging. As mothers we can do nothing to persuade or convince our children to love God. We can dig the ditches, but we can’t fill them. We can teach our children about God, pray for them, live the Christian life before them, and expose them to others who love and serve God. But only God can give them spiritual life. God doesn’t need our help, but in His sovereign plan He invites us to take part actively, to co-labor with Him as He works in their lives.

Oh What a Night!

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I can’t believe we did it, actually! After oh so long, we bit the bullet and hired a trusted sitter so we could have a night out….just the two of us! What a concept!

Sure, we’d had friends watch our little so we could attend a memorial/funeral service or the hubs’ work function, but not for an actual date. All I can say was, it was well worth the investment just to be able to finish a thought, much less share in a conversation, eat and actually enjoy our meal while it was still hot, and wander in and out of stores WE like to go to.

I realized that even though we’ve been married nearly 15 years, and spent nearly 12 of those years pre-child, it is vital to have quality time together. It’s easy to put the child(ren) first above the spouse, and that is just not healthy. I’ve personally witnessed good, committed marriages go by the wayside while the couple were raising children or once they became empty nesters because they didn’t put a priority on cultivating their marriage.

The concept of placing such emphasis on “the child(ren)” was somewhat foreign to me until we became parents. Granted, these offspring naturally demand more attention once they come along, and it takes concentrated effort to keep them from taking all the time and energy. Like you, my brain cells are few and far between and I’m easily distracted by the immediate “needs” of my child calling after me constantly, “MOMMY!!!!”

For instance, what seemed like ‘just the other day’, was actually a week’s time! For some reason (you expect me to remember why?!), I was following my husband in his truck and noticed that his passenger tail light was out. I made a mental note to tell him once we got home. Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next…one interruption after another & one “MOMMMMMMMMMMMY!” after another, ’til that important piece of info drifted out of my brain for an entire 7 days mind you, until out of the blue while driving down the road together, I happened to remember I hadn’t told him about his failing light. My husband was astonished I’d forgotten to tell him for an entire week. Ah, so goes the life of a Mom.

Before my husband and I had a child, we would offer to keep friends’ children for them so they could go out and enjoy a date night without having the extra expense of hiring a sitter. It was something we felt we could do to help out and minister to our friends. It also gave us practice being around kids more. I now can understand why our friends didn’t go out more, even with our offer of free babysitting….it’s not always about the money; sometimes it’s just easier to fall in the trap of “doing what we always do” and take the kids along or hauling the kiddos to and fro for their activities because “it’s just the new normal” and we buy into the lie that we don’t need to take time for ourselves; that somehow it is only a luxury.

So, I’m/we’re committing to planning a date night once per month in order to invest in our marriage. Now, I’m not saying we’re going out on expensive dates mind you. It may be a couple hours for a quick bite to eat and hitting a few antique stores. Or, it might be coffee and hanging out in a local bookstore. Still yet, it could be sitting out at a park for a picnic and hitting up a food truck for an ice cream. The point is, taking time to invest in our marriage. I sincerely believe this conscious effort of getting out alone together will pay off in spades for years to come, long after our child is grown!

C’mon! I dare you to do the same!