Tag Archives: Love

The break I never wanted to end…

2 Jan

Oh my goodness! I haven’t blogged in 13 days. I had the most amazing break! I thought about writing a number of times, but my thoughts wouldn’t come together all the way.

My husband was home for two weeks. Today is his first day back to work actually and it’s given me a chance to reflect a little more on this break I had.

First of all, I loved every minute of having him home for two weeks.  I shared with him last night that I had anxiety about him having that long of a break.  In the past, it hasn’t been wonderful for us to have that much time together.  I’ve often felt angry toward him and annoyed at the same time.

My dad is a bit of a workaholic. It’s very drilled in my mind to work most hours of the day every day.  I am not opposed to taking breaks, but then you get right back at it and get things done.

My husband is much more of a “when I’m on vacation from work, I want to relax” type of guy.

So, in the past, he’d be home and I’d be expecting him to get a bunch of projects done, and he’d be expecting me to let him take a few naps and lay around watching television.

That just led to me resenting his vacation time.  I remember very vividly one time when he was home yelling at him about when was *I* going to get a vacation???  He works 40 hours a week, and every weekend and every vacation he gets to do nothing… but I still have to cook three meals a day, do dishes three times a day and laundry and cleaning and kids baths and on & on & on.

Because of the incredible growth in our marriage, this break wasn’t like that at all.  In two weeks time, he worked on a few projects around the house that needed done and I curled up and took naps with him.  We both cleaned up the house and dishes and helped the kids when they needed us.  We played games and watched television with the kids and also just alone after they were in bed. We went on a date and enjoyed hosting friends at our house for New Years Eve.  We spent lots of time laughing, cuddling, and talking.

As a bit of a side note, I haven’t slept well since the time I started having kids 8-9 years ago. Between pregnancy, crying babies, and my constant anxiety…. I just sleep lousy at night. And no matter what day it is, I’m up no later than 6:00 AM because I can’t toss and turn anymore.

But something wonderful happened in the last two weeks.  I slept every night.  I slept in every morning (Like even til 9:00 AM!!) And I felt rested and relaxed.

I was afraid of the last two weeks before they happened, and now, it ended up being the best two weeks EVER! And I realized, I love my husband so much.  Every part of him.  The parts that are different from me AND different from the way I use to demand that they be.  I enjoy every chance I get to be with him.  I feel safe with him.  I can be honest with him.  I feel relaxed and comfortable in his arms.  He makes me laugh.  He is sweet enough to make me cry daily. And he’s strong enough to take my emotions and mood swings when my hormones or feelings get the best of me.  He knows what to say and what not to say to help me quickly get it back together. He serves me in so many ways I never paid attention to before and in ways that really help me now.

My point? I wouldn’t trade the respect journey I started in August of 2012 for anything! I have changed so much.  And this year, he changed so much.  And I couldn’t be more excited to be married to this man than I am now. More than once this break we said we love our kids, but we’re so ready for life when it’s just the two of us, so we can focus on each other even more.

I never believed my marriage would ever look like that.  Maybe you’re struggling today to believe yours ever could either. I’ve been there.  I’d encourage you to read this… where I started.

Practical Application:

It has to start with you.  He/She won’t change by your desire or brow beating.  When you change and focus on your command to respect unconditionally (even the man who doesn’t deserve it) or love unconditionally (even the wife that doesn’t deserve it) you’ll see the change you always tried to force with your words or actions.  Not because they have to — but because they want to.

I (choose to) love you.

12 Sep

This is going to be one of those painful posts to write and read because it’s going to be brutally honest, raw and real. Why do I bare enough of myself to write these posts?  Because we’re all a lot better off knowing what life really looks like, instead of constantly viewing a bunch of people wearing masks and performing plays for the public eye.

Ready for the truth?

I didn’t love my husband when we got married.

I loved the idea of being someone’s world, being the princess in the story, feeling like someone was going to romantically spoil me for the rest of my life, feeling safe, feeling fulfilled, feeling accomplished, feeling – well – gushy, mushy, adoring feelings from the exciting process of dating and planning a wedding.

That’s not to say I didn’t care for him, and have intimate feelings toward him.  Of course I did.  But love?  I was so clueless and didn’t even know it.  By the world’s definition, I would have SWORE I was MADLY in love with him.  And if love really means, “Finding someone who makes you feel like a million dollars” then well, I guess I did love him.

But once you say “I do” and REAL LIFE happens – you don’t always feel like a million bucks.  In fact, you start to figure out that this incredible, handsome, funny and romantic person can really be a shallow, mean, and selfish man.  And if you think this is some sort of husband bashing session – think again.  If I could describe for you what he’s went through to live with me… I’d be forced to use profanity because “safe words for children’s eyes” can’t even do it justice.  He’s been to Hell and back living with me.

I know it sounds drastically wrong to say what I’m about to say… but it IS the truth.  I didn’t fall in love with my husband over the last 12 years because of all the good, fun and romantic things we’ve done.  I fell in love with my husband by living out our vows…. all the negative sounding ones.

Hanging together when you’re tapping into the bottom of the financial barrel is what love looks like.

Being forgiven when you’ve been the world’s biggest jerk and you know you totally don’t deserve a second chance (or 100th) is what love looks like.

Forgiving someone who has crushed you in a way you didn’t know anyone ever could, is what love looks like.

Sitting on the side of a bed instead of being at work when the doctor says, “normally it would be too risky to perform surgery but we have no choice… if we don’t, your gall bladder will burst and we’ll lose you and the baby” is what love looks like.

Being so exhausted with a newborn in the house that you can’t even work up enough strength to speak nicely to each other, but going to bed together every night anyway is what love looks like.

Picking up clothes off the floor for 12 years that for some reason, can’t be put into a laundry basket is what love looks like.

Going to work at a job you hate to provide for your family is what love looks like.

Driving a piece of junk vehicle so your spouse can have the better one is what love looks like.

Packing his lunch every day is what love looks like.

((Take time to stop right here – grab a piece of paper, and keep going.  What does REAL love look like in your marriage?))

I’m not saying that coming home with flowers, cuddling on the couch watching movies, attending a sporting event together, and holding hands on a walk isn’t love.  It absolutely can be.

However, and this is the part that the world misses, it can’t JUST be that – or it’s not love…. it’s lust.

It’s easy to “love” someone who is lusting over you.

It’s hard to love someone who is living every day life, values sleep because of the job they must keep to provide for the family, and doesn’t have the time or energy to stay up on the phone all night long saying “no, you hang up first.”

And let’s be honest.  We all secretly wish we could have that life long experience of being lusted over.

I still find myself broken over not being loved in the romantic ways of my dreams.  Just two weekends ago I spent an hour crying my eyes out because what I think would be so simple to speak love to me, my husband is oblivious to – EVEN THOUGH I’ve spelled it out in about one thousand and fifteen conversations over the years.

It would sure be easy in those moments to say – “I want out. You don’t love me.  You are so selfish.  You don’t listen to me.  You don’t even try.  You don’t care.  I’m trapped.  You’re a dead beat of a husband.”

But that’s not true.  My husband doesn’t show his love for me in just the ways I desire to be swooned over.  He shows love to me every day living life with me, putting me first, providing for us, fathering our children, coming home right after work, listening to me talk, and a million other choices he makes every single day.

You don’t have to be married long to face this truth – either it’s time to give up on love and assume “you fell out of it” or realize that REAL love is hardly attainable before you live your life together and you’re going to choose to keep working at it.

Love is a verb.  It’s a choice.  It’s an action.

If we desire to be choosy — we should be a WHOLE lot more choosy BEFORE marriage instead of after.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say – but hear the truth in this statement.

I could have been a lot more choosy in finding a husband.  I could see differences, but I threw that to the side assuming he’d change because I was smitten over his lustful eyes for me.  (And I don’t just mean sexual advances.) When I say lustful eyes, I mean – his longing for a serious relationship, his excited attitude about spending time with me, his willingness to talk all night long, his constant compliments and long glances, the whole “I’m totally attracted to you” shebang.

I was smitten – hook, line and sinker.  I don’t regret it.  He’s a good man.

But – I hardly have room to complain that he’s not as outgoing as I am.  I knew that.

Or that he doesn’t have a close relationship with his family.  I knew that too.

Or that he didn’t shower me with gifts, love notes, and special events because I also knew that.

Or the secret hidden list that I rarely ever talk about with anyone but God of all the things I wish he did, said or cared about to fulfill all my dreams.

He’s a male, and he’s a type C personality — so he probably doesn’t have an organized list, nor could he sit and randomly rattle off a bunch of things he wishes I would or wouldn’t do — but those things show up too in different moments on his face.

I hurt him.  I disrespect him sometimes.  I fail to fulfill him in all the ways that would make his dreams come true.

But he chooses every day to love me.

And I love him right back.

Because we both know, love is about giving – not about getting.

And because we are making that choice, we actually will live happily ever after.

Practical Application –

Admit the false lies the world has spent millions of dollars plastering everywhere that love is a romantic feeling and if it’s missing, your spouse (fiancé, boyfriend) is a dead beat.

Make a list of what real love looks like in your marriage.

Talk it out.  Thank each other for making the choice to love daily and for never giving up…. even when it feels like there’s move giving than getting in rough seasons.

 

Visual Reminders

6 Jun

For the sake of honesty, I’m going to admit that my mood is easily changed by circumstances. Not always 100% of the time, but frequent enough that I’m able to quickly lose sight of the kind of heart attitude I really long to have, and one that Jesus would desire I live out.

I wrote a post pretty recently about the fruits of the spirit, and how if Jesus is living in me – and He can’t be anything but Holy, good, and faithful to truth, then He will always act on the fruits of the spirit and give me the power to so as well. However, I still have the choice to act in my flesh and reject the power of the Holy Spirit. And sadly, I still do that more than I wish I did.
Even if it’s just in my thought life, and nobody else knows about it.

Things that happen in my life to change my mood are as follows, because maybe you relate to some. (I’ll put the fruit of the spirit I lose in parenthesis.)

– My family members neglect to care about things that are important to me and I start to act unloving (love)

– Plans that we’ve made for our future begin to unravel because of circumstances or finances and I become depressed. (joy)

– What I see in my mind as the best situation for us is NOT the direction I feel like my husband or God is taking us. (peace)

– My kids start acting up and misbehaving and I quickly become impatient and brash with them. (patience)

– I find out someone said something about me that is cruel or untrue and I think or say very unkind things about them in return. (kindness)

– When I’m working on respecting my husband and he says something I feel is unloving or uncaring and I revert to the mindset that he doesn’t deserve me to be respectful or good to him. (goodness)

– When I make a commitment and then realize I really don’t want to do what I agreed to do and try to think of a way out of it. (faithfulness)

– When I’m trying to teach someone something and they just don’t seem to be getting something that should be so easy to get so I start to get irritated and harsh. (gentleness)

– When I know what is right to do, but my flesh demands something else of me that promises immediate gratification or pleasure and I give in. (self-control)

The honest truth is that I WANT to live in the strength that the Holy Spirit provides to live out these fruits.  Nothing about me wants to live in the flesh.  But just having the scripture memorized and desiring to do it hasn’t been enough for me.

So, I’m going to create some visual reminders.  I want to lay my eyes on things that help me stop, take a deep breath, PRAY, and move forward in the right way, instead of throwing it all out the window and following that unhealthy heart attitude that is always there to tempt me.

And now that I have my kids home for the summer, I thought this would be a GREAT thing for them to be apart of too.  I was thinking about something for us to study this summer, and this is going to be it!  We often pray about and talk about the fruits of the spirit, but I think they could use some visual reminders too.

So for the next nine weeks, starting on Monday, we’re going to cover one fruit per week, and see if we can’t get some better habits set in our house and some visual reminders up to help us all out.

Practical Application:

Make some visual reminders – it can be words on a paper, a picture of someone, a scripture, a drawing – ANYTHING that will help us remember the fruit we really want to be pouring from our lives.

Put them in the places you need them.  (For me, I need a patience & gentleness reminder where I do homework with me sons.  And love, kindness, goodness, & self-control reminders in places where I interact with my husband.  As well as a peace reminder taped to my debit card.  And a joy reminder in my purse so whenever I leave the house I can remember to take my attitude of joy along.)

Be faithful and constant to STOP, breath, PRAY and use those reminders to walk in the spirit and NOT in the flesh.

Running from or chasing a feeling….

6 Apr

I don’t know why this just hit me tonight, but it seems to me like when I look around, almost everyone is running from or chasing a certain feeling(s).

Feelings dictate most of our choices, don’t they?

We feel haunted, trapped, ashamed, or disgusted by our past, so we run from it.  Sometimes we run so far from it that we cut out everyone we know who might know any part of it. People have been known to up and move a few states over just to get away from those feelings.

We feel unloved, unwanted, unhappy, or empty and so we run from relationships.  That’s really what causes divorces isn’t it?  I mean, we say it’s an issue like money, work, addictions, etc… but it’s not really any issue at all.  It’s the feelings we have or seem to be missing that ultimately makes us choose to walk away.

We feel worried, fearful, full of anxiety, or intimidated, so we don’t step out in faith, take big risks, or put ourself out there.  We take the predictable, planned out, and usual path instead of stepping out in any kind of faith or letting anyone else lead us.

On the flip of that,

We chase all the feelings we desire.

We cling to and “worship” objects, people, places – ALL SORTS OF THINGS that provide the feelings we want to experience.

Excitement, Love, Respect, Relaxation, Peace, Security, Trust, Happiness, Freedom, Acceptance (totally not an exhaustive list here!)

The problem? Feelings change.  Feelings trick us.  Feelings don’t last forever.

I know for me… I’m always desperate to feel loved and wanted.  My mood is up and down ALL the time based on how loved and wanted I feel.  About a million things a day make me feel loved and a million more that don’t.  It’s a constant battle all day, every day.

My reality has far less to do with any circumstance, person, action, or situation itself and FAR MORE to do with how I feel about it.  When I think about it, it’s a lot of pressure on everyone and everything to keep me feeling good all the time.   And my chasing good feelings is actually putting demands on others.  And my running from feelings is actually limiting watching God show up and take what was bad and use it for good.

Anyway, this is one of those few and far between posts where there really is no practical application.  This is just raw and real thoughts that always come out best on paper a computer screen.

I guess if it’s always about how I feel or don’t feel, it’s really all about me.  That sounds a little selfish when I put it like that, doesn’t it?

New mercies every day!

12 Mar

I sin every day.

More than any other section of scripture, I relate the most to Paul in Romans 7:15

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.”

21-24a 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am!

25b So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

This truth is really frustrating some times.  I can teach pretty well. With the ability to teach as a woman I’m realizing for me comes the temptation to try to teach men, play Holy Spirit, and judge other women.

I don’t need any more temptation to do those things.  I fail enough on my own at this as it is.

When we recognize sin in ourselves – daily sins – it’s a good place for us to sit and meditate on this section of scripture for a while.

Lamentations 3: 19-23

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. 21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

There are two words in there that make this one of the most powerful verses in scripture for our walk with the Lord.

EVERY MORNING.

Men have this uncanny ability to fall asleep and reset.  You can have a disagreement with your husband in the evening hours, you go to sleep that night, and somewhere in there, he sets a “reset button” and wakes up like nothing ever happened.

Have you ever experienced this women?  Most of the time, a woman doesn’t have that super power.  Partly because we’re wired different but partly because of the first part of that scripture.

“I remember – I well remember.”

Somewhere in the translation of remembering, we meditate too long and too hard on our mistakes (or the hurts from our husband) and we stop reading the next verse and we do become consumed.

Because of the Lord’s great love – we are NOT consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning.

If we keep meditating on our failures instead of the truth to overcome, we will never taste new mercies every morning.

The same is true in our marriages.  If we meditate on our great love for our husband, we aren’t consumed by his short-comings or failures, and we can bless him with new mercies and compassions every morning.

Practical Application:

1.) Make the choice (because it is a choice) to decide what you’re going to meditate on. Your failures – or God’s mercies.

Your husband’s failures – or his strengths.  Your own home – or someone’s elses life.

2.) Accept that new mercies are available to us every day.  And once you accept your own reset button from the Lord every morning, you’ll be more free to push it for others when they sin against you.

Making two arguments that didn’t turn into a fight.

14 Feb

OK, So typically – I would never get on and brag about the fact that Josh and I were making two arguments last night that just happened to contradict each other – and it was a GOOD thing!

Mostly because in the past, I would have called this a fight.  And it would have played out as a fight.

It would have started by one of us saying something the other disagreed with, and instead of keeping it about the situation… one of us would have  IMMEDIATELY taken it and made it personal.

This very rapid knee-jerk reaction would instantaneously change the direction of not just the conversation, but also whatever was left of that day and the next.

Through the course of the conversation, I would grow more careless in my words, and he would eventually stonewall and stop talking.  At which point, I would then talk MORE to make up for his silence and before long – I would be emotionally crushed by what felt like a total lack of any kind of love to leave someone so upset to hurt so badly while refusing to talk to them, and he would have been also feeling completely unloved that I could make a simple disagreement so personal and be so hurtful and disrespectful with my tongue lashing.

Last night, while I will not claim that it was fault-less because I can see a couple of areas where a little improvement is still needed – it was an experience we’ve never had.

We remained calm and did not take it as a personal attack just because we needed to talk about a specific situation in our lives.

I was much more respectful, patient and willing to give what he had to say more weight than I would normally be tempted to do when we’re working something out.

And what felt like the BIGGEST change of all to me is that, He didn’t shut down.  He kept talking.  And more than that, he was willing to say some scary stuff to me about where I was off the mark, that I really needed to hear.

I hate to admit it, but even in the middle of being put in my place, he came across as so darn sexy.  I think I was so shell-shocked that he was still talking to me that I gave what he was saying a chance to really penetrate my heart.

I’m glad he said some of the things he said because he made some REALLY good points that I needed to hear to help me change my perspective of the situation.

I’m not saying I didn’t still have some valid things to discuss.  I did.  But I wasn’t as right as I’ve always thought I was in the past.  I went into the conversation viewing him as a very smart, capable and loving man who I wanted to share my concerns with.  Not a stupid man I needed to correct with my wisdom so we could make the decisions I wanted to make.

Let me finish with the best part of the story!  And I didn’t see this coming at all.  Even though the conversation didn’t end with total resolution to the entire situation, when we got into bed, he rolled toward me and wanted to hold me.

I have never felt so loved after being told something I needed to reconsider by him before.

Neither of us let the situation become MORE important than the love and unity of our marriage.

We slept soundly and we’re having a great day today.  We still have some things to decide and work through, but we maintained respect and love.  And I’m amazed this is even my story I just typed. Because Chistians or not, arguments happen and they typically go down the same way for all of us.  Women get mean.  Men shut down.

Practical Application-

You can’t make your spouse do anything, but setting an example is more powerful than you might realize.

When my spouse and I disagree – make a choice NOT to make it personal.  Even if it’s about something I need to work on, it’s about a specific topic, not about EVERYTHING I’ve ever done or EVERY area of my life.

When I need to say something, refrain from using the words ALWAYS or NEVER.  I wrote a post on this before that is really worth reading here.

When I have a point to make, use respectful words, tone of voice, and do not bring up anything else but the specific topic at hand.

And always remember, the love and unity of the marriage is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT that whatever we’re fighting about!

Valentines = RESPECT not love???

19 Jan

Hey Ladies (Girls Only this time guys… sorry : )

Through out the last 6 months I’ve learned that men appreciate being loved – but they thrive on being respected.  I know we as women thoroughly enjoy all the romantic and gushy present and gifts, but instead of giving what we like to get – or even just a tool or tickets to a game like we normally gift – let’s REALLY blow their socks off this year with a TOTALLY FREE present that will light them on fire (and no, I’m not just talking about sex – but do that too : )

**Even if you don’t normally celebrate Valentine’s Day (because we don’t) this is STILL the perfect time to do this!!!!

I’m asking you to join me this year in a Valentine’s Challenge/Present.

Starting THIS MONDAY January 21st let’s put together a “25 Reasons I respect you” present.

There are a number of ways you can participate.

Here are some ideas:

1.) Starting Monday – leave a note in his lunch/in the bathroom/in his vehicle one per day (25th day will be Feb 14th V-day) that says “I Respect You Because…..”

Optional- Also write them down in another location and put them together in a book to give him on Valentines Day. Your book can include printed out pictures of him working, being with you, playing with the kids etc… or can just be words!

2.) Start Monday and work on your list, but don’t let on what you’re doing.  Then buy a picture frame and print your 25 reasons out and frame them.

3.) Start Monday and give him a gift each day with a note that says why you Respect him.  This can be SUPER cheap or expensive depending on that you want to spend.

Example: Buy a bottle of Mt. Dew and attach a tag that says “I respect you because no one else at work can DEW what you do!”

Or a snickers Candy bar and say “I respect you because no one can make me SNICKER like you can.  You’re SO funny!”

Get on Pinterest – there are SO many ideas out there!

4.) Start Monday and pick something your husband loves (especially something you’ve never maybe taken interest in before) and make a play-on-words respect list of 25 things from that.   You can tell him one each day – or put it together and give it to him Feb 14th.

Example – Tools.  Tape Measure – I respect you because no one measures up to you. Then, continue with Hammer – Saw – Wrench – etc.

Or football – I respect you because you take life’s “tackles” and get back up with such confidence to keep leading our family.

Nascar – Basketball – Golf – Poker

 

WHAT you do is not going to be the important part.  The important part is that you use the word RESPECT and NOT THE WORD LOVE!!  He knows you love him.  And you tell him that daily.  What he isn’t always confident of is if you respect him as a man.  So tell him you do!  Just like if he made you a list of 25 things he loves about you would light your heart on fire…. this will nourish his soul in the same way!

**** You do NOT have to do this for your husband only.  This is a FANTASTIC present for your Son, Father or Grandpa too!!!!!!!

How about it?  Are you up for the challenge?

Practical Application:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE comment below any other ideas or suggestions you have.  Also – tell me what you’ve “picked” to do and some ideas you’re using.  Especially if you pick something like Football or Golf because other women who have never taken an interest in those things could REALLY benefit from your  ideas too!

 

You have my full permission to share this with anyone you want – reblog it – pin it on pinterest – email it – Share it on Facebook

Let’s light up our men’s life this year, and in the mean time – remind ourselves of all the things we respect about them too!!