Friday, May 3, 2013

My first love...

God has a way of confirming what He's told you over and over again until you begin to listen, hear, see, and understand.

Not so long ago, one of my dearest friends in the entire world gave me a book called "Jesus Calling." It's short, quick devotionals. Today's really hit home for me, and ties into my earlier blog post this week.

YOU CANNOT SERVE TWO MASTERS. If I am truly your Master, you will desire to please Me above all others. If pleasing people is your goal, you will be enslaved to them. People can be harsh taskmasters when you give them this power over you.

If I am the Master of your life, I will also be your First Love. Your serving Me is rooted and grounded in My vast, unconditional Love for you. The lower you bow down before Me, the higher I lift you up into intimate relationship with Me. The Joy of living in My Presence outshines all other pleasures. I want you to reflect My joyous Light by living in incresing intimacy with me.

(Taken from Jesus Calling, Page 130)

I'm sitting here this morning, kind of frustrated because the job server for my main contract is down. I have to complete at least 200 pages of transcription every two weeks. I'm way behind because life has thrown us some curveballs this week. But then this stark reminder. My first love. The lover of my soul, who longs to share intimacy with ME, his beloved daughter. What love this is that He has for me, and I must BE in that light. Wow.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

God's Lavish Love for me...

(Disclaimer:  You know, I'm not God.  I would encourage you to go to the Word of Truth yourself (AKA the Bible) and SEE for yourself what God has to say on marriage.  Don't take my word as His absolute truth.  These are only my thoughts.  Just a thought before you waste money on another marriage retreat, or a book, or what some guy has to say about marriage.  The answers really are in the Bible.)

As of late, I've been hit with a revelation about marriage.  Saying there is something wrong with your marriage is like saying something is wrong with God himself.  He created marriage, so it is already perfect.  What is wrong is there are two imperfect individuals, where the enemy begins to hide in their individual issues and secretly tries to divide and conquer a one-flesh bond because he knows the danger of this great mystery.

My issue?  I have idols.  An idol is anything that comes before God in your life.  And if you thought a man could be jealous for his wife if any man should try to hit on her, that pales in comparison to how jealous God is for your love, to be first in your life.  My idols are seemingly innocent things.  For example, getting caught up with what is going on with my husband and making his issues my issues.  Missing my three boys from my first marriage as a battle to even see them continues to rage.  Raising a large family.  Throwing myself into countless hours of working from home.  All of these have taken priority over my Abba, who is my first love. 

So today, as I'm hit with the very fact that it is time to make Jesus my first love again, I am drowning in His love that He has lavished on me, that I should be called a daughter of God! It's so nice to KNOW God all over again, to be in intimate fellowship with Him. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

From a Mother's Heart

Yes, usually this blog is about being a wife. But today, I feel a strong need to write a letter to each of my children.

Dear Chase,
I can't believe you're almost 15. Wasn't it just yesterday I heard your tiny squeak, rocked you to sleep, laughed every time I burped you and you sounded like a clucking chicken? I look now at the young man you've become. You are stubborn and strong willed, and you have an amazing sense of humor.  Never again can I walk to the front of our church as we pray over our tithes and offerings and not remember the moment when we got done praying and you put your hands in, saying, "Church on 3!  Break!" I laugh every time.  I love how your mind is so bent on science and the wonder of how God made things work.  I love to experience life with you.  My prayer for you is Proverbs 2:10:  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Don't forget what you learned about God when you were young, and do not depart from it now. God is your ever-present help in times of trouble. You are so amazing, Chase. I'm so glad God gave me you as an wonderful gift!

Dear Abigail,
Your very name means "father's joy." You truly are your father's joy, both here on Earth and in Heaven.  You are my joy too.  You have grown into a young woman over the past six years I've known you. You long to please others.  And I pray that longing turns into a strong desire to please your Daddy God. My prayer for you is Colossians 1:9-11:  For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,to  please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.  You have also a very compassionate heart for others.  I pray that this trait is grown in you.  You melt my heart every time you tell me you're praying for my boys to come home.  You see things and feel things.  I look forward to watching you grow and mature in Christ, my daughter.

Dear Hunter,
You, my dear son, are what is known as a peacemaker.  As Matthew 5:9 states:  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  You are already a son of God.  I had the unique privilege as a parent to pray with you as you made the choice to decide for God and accept Him as your savior.  You are strong-willed yet you do not stand for injustice.  You have a spirit that draws people to you.  I never see you lacking in friends.  You work quickly to mediate and bring peace to any situation.  My prayer for you is I Timothy 2:1-6:  First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.  I pray that as God takes you before kings and all authority, Jesus Christ will flow through you as mediator.  I look forward to watching you grow and mature in all the knowledge of Christ Jesus.

Dear Rachel,
I never thought I'd be so blessed to have a daughter with my name. Funny how God worked that one out, huh?   Your very name means innocent lamb.  You are very innocent.  You are very caring towards others.  And you have a great desire to love and to be loved.  My prayer for you is Ephesians 3:14-19:  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. I pray that you know this love of Christ through both your earthly dad and mom, that you are able to comprehend and accept that love and feel secure in that love.  I love that you persevere through so much and still manage to show love and compassion towards others.  You truly are a gift from God.  And I pray that one day, you will be able to accept me as God's gift to you as a mom.  I love you to the moon and back, kiddo.

Dear Caleb,
I love how silly you are.  I love every face that you make.  Your expressions are priceless.  I love that even at 7 years old, you still want to snuggle up with mom. I'll never forget the five million and ten times you've come up to me and said, "I love you, mom," with an awesome strong bear hug.  I also love that every time I see you, you just HAVE to tell me a knock-knock joke.  My prayer for you is Psalm 32:11:  Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart. May your heart grow and rejoice in the Lord! I am so grateful that I get to call you mine.  What a blessing you are!

Dear Hannah,

I know I've told you this countless times, but you are an answer to prayer of a desire of my own heart. I prayed for you for ten years.  God's grace and favor truly does rest on your life, even from the time you were conceived.  The docs told me immediately that you weren't going to survive.  And yet there you were, nine months later, screaming your head off when you were born.  You may be tiny, but you are definitely very intelligent already, and you have a very strong will.  I pray this trait will be used for God's kingdom and not by the enemy to destroy your life.  But you are giggle box at heart, and you love all things girl.  I can't forget all the stories about Sarah, your best imaginary friend, who lives in a sparkly purple house.  My prayer for you is 2 Corinthians 12:9:  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  I pray that God's grace is perfected in your life through weakness, and that you always know that His grace and favor continually rest on your life. I love you, little one.

Dear Nate,

You are the only kiddo God specifically asked me if He could send.  I knew that if your dad ever had a boy, he wanted to name you Nathanael because of Nathanael in the Bible who saw angels ascending and descending from heaven.  Even at 3, you're always telling me that you see angels.  We have never talked much about angels other than in me praying over you at night.  But my heart is warmed because I know without a doubt that you see them.  I love all of your snuggles at night.  I love that you're learning to gain your own identity and independence.  I love that you're all boy and don't want anything to do with girly stuff.  My prayer is for you is John 1:49-51:  Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He *said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” I pray that you will always see greater things in life and in everyone.  You are indeed a great gift to your mom. I cannot wait as I watch you grow and mature.  I love you!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In the midst, I BELIEVE...

When I met you six or so years ago, our entire relationship was chaotic. I thought by now that maybe it would not have been so chaotic.  Marriage is bliss, right?  A few days ago, it was revealed by the heart of my Father as to why it's been so chaotic.  My heart grieves for you, my husband.  It sees your destruction at hand, knowing full well that this battle for your life, God's plans for your life, for your very soul could very well go either way.  My heart grieves because you're so far away these days.  This marriage is going through a test like no other.  I never know what side of you I will see on this day. I may have my man is a knight in shining armor day, full of gentleness and tenderness and love. Or it may be a day where your anger, your pride, your hatred, your bitterness, all the works of the flesh have overpowered you and none of your family can stand against the onslaught, all of us cowering in fear of the show at hand. 

But you asked me today if things were ever going to change.  And the answer is I BELIEVE so much in the power of God working in you, that He will indeed carry you to the day of completion in Christ Jesus, that I know that they will permanently change.  The frustration will be gone in your life.  A complete freedom is coming to you; every chain will be broken off of your life and off your torrid past.  You will see and feel things in light of God's love for you.  I know it will happen because He's done a great work in me. 

But in the meantime, oh, how my heart grieves. The depth of the grief in my spirit for you is nothing I've ever felt before.  The only thing that could possibly break my heart in such a way from watching your life is happening before my very eyes.  I will stay with you and stand with you right by your side, ready to fully enjoy life with you and watch as the Father restores you.  I know the hard fall is coming soon.  And when the scales drop from your eyes, just know that you can come to me, and I will still love you then as much as I love you now, yet I know I will love you even more.

What I know more about you than anything is God gave you a persevering spirit.  I have watched you rise up time and again after being knocked down.  There is something so wonderful in you, so beautiful in you that I know my heart will rejoice in the joy of your salvation as much as it is grieving and heavy right now.

I do believe in you, and I still love you even when you're so far away.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pain unlike any other...

I am beginning to understand the depths of what it is as a wife to have my heart so broken that I cannot bear the pain of it in the realization for the first time that my husband has never really KNOWN God.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's not a lemons into lemonade kind of day.

It's been such a long day, Daddy. I'm tired. I wish I could see you face-to-face right now. I need a face-to-face with You so I can climb up in your lap and cry as you hold me close, stroke my hair, and bottle up every tear I've poured out today. There is this part of me that knows You have so much more for me to accomplish in this life and that I need to hang on for the lives of these little ones that you've entrusted to my care. Then there's the other part of me that longs to be in Your presence.

I have nothing left in the way of what makes me strong as a woman, a wife, a mother, an employee... I am empty, and I am just done with the way this family and this life is going. There has to be more!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Vacation, schmacation!

This marriage sometimes seems like a dark winter that will never end, like the Queen of Narnia's rule over the snow-filled land full of terror and spiritual darkness.

Our family went on a fun-filled vacation this past week. Except that my husband came down with pneumonia and spent a few days crashed out in our hotel room alone. I wish I could say it was all roses after that, and in some ways, it was. We had a blast at NASA Space Center in Houston as well as with some wonderful friends and their children, who became fast friends with our children. The quietness of a small town smack dab in the middle of Louisiana was refreshing as well.  The girls got to see their Nana and Papa; Hannah and I spent time walking down a long, quiet road picking wildflowers and her talking up a storm.  I even spent time swinging on a porch swing, watching the hummingbirds come to feed as I took in God's beautiful creation.

It's a stark contrast to the pain that wounds my heart right now. The Bible is true. Hope deferred makes the heart weary. That has to be what I'm feeling. Hope deferred. Love deferred. I just want to stand before you God and have you be proud of me for how I've treated your son, my husband, despite how he's treated me. I'm trying, God. Oh, how I'm trying to not react in the flesh. I can't be the gardener for this marriage and keep watering it much longer all by myself.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

For She Who Believes

God never ceases to amaze me at His timing. Had you talked to me even a few months ago, I would have told you about the deep hatred I had for my husband. He was NEVER going to change. He would NEVER be able to love me the way that I needed. Marriage wasn't worth it.  He could have died, and I was certain my life and the lives of my children would be better. In fact, my stress level was so high back then that I was having severe chest pain, worrying my doctor that I might have a heart attack in the near future.

Except that Christmas Eve, after two weeks of being separated, God got a hold of yours truly.

Five years of knowing my husband, and that night, I let go and allowed God to do some serious heart surgery on me. Years of pain and bitterness made me sick to my stomach as the hurt resurfaced. That night, no matter what the cost, I chose to forgive my husband for years of words that crushed me, that trampled on me, and that left me alone and despondent in my hatred. Something in me changed that night. It was God's Christmas gift to me.

But that change also allowed me to dig my heels in and want to make this marriage last forever. I wasn't going to allow divorce to wreck another marriage and another family. Love isn't easy, guys. It's the toughest thing in this world to do, especially in the light of loving your spouse unconditionally. Sometimes, love has to be tough and set painful boundaries. Love has to say NO because it's the best for everyone in a family. Love has to say that you have a choice to make a change for your family because we need you as a husband and father.

But our marriage has thankfully withstood a very painful fire that almost burned us to the ground. It's still enduring a trial, which I'll share more about later as God works and moves in the midst of it. It has barely managed to hang on through some dark times. I'm certain our marriage will withstand any fire that comes our way now. And I'm certain that I can't imagine life without my husband now. Even our marriage counselor saw the difference, telling my husband that she saw something in me that she hadn't seen the first day I walked in her door... that I truly love and honor my husband now. And you know what? I do. I never thought it was possible. But with God, all things are possible for him who believes.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What is free?

Last night into today, I learned something new about God and his attitude towards sin. I had one of those moments as a wife yesterday where I had to go off alone and begin to process things. I had to pray because suddenly, my strength was absolutely GONE. I've had so many of those moments over the past five years, especially so over the past few months. It is true where your strength ends that God's strength begins. It is also true that God really wanted you to rely on His strength all along.

Being married is HARD. Don't let anyone tell you that it isn't. Many married couples celebrate anniversaries by the grace of God, which is true of mine. Marriage is for LIFE. Nothing good comes from divorce, which is what I'm beginning to painfully understand now. Yet something so precious, so great, comes from getting married again. Something even greater comes from staying married for LIFE. I know that I still wait as healing comes to my family in waves. We take small steps forward and sometimes, it feels like HUGE, faltering steps back.

Today was a HUGE step back. I found that for the first time, I wasn't really angry at my husband. I was disgusted with this huge demon in his life called Anger. Anger that overwhelms. Anger that makes excuses. Anger that says, "I can never change. I will trap you in my grasp forever." Anger that screams and curses in its rage and that cannot allow wisdom and understanding to enter in. Anger that controls instead of being controlled. You see, I know that the man that God created my husband to become isn't angry in a sinful way. If I had not seen the picture of who God would mold him to become, then I would have not had the strength to marry him in the beginning, when I was still suffering from the pain of absolute rejection.

But today, I also see that while sin breaks the heart of the Father, He still loves us. As the teacher to my children, the good that came from this day is that God doesn't yell at us in Anger. He chastens us in love, never screaming or yelling at us that He hates us. He disciplines us because He loves us so much.

As a wife, I am placed in situations where I'd rather not be, being called upon to speak the truth of God when I'd rather not, instead being quiet so as not to break the happy bubble or bring on a verbal onslaught. Not so easy when God isn't letting you even sleep because He needs to use you to speak a painful truth. Sin is so damaging, God will do anything to keep you from it... even use you as a wife or a husband to speak what He needs to speak.

So today, I keep that picture in mind. I'm reminded of something I read on Facebook yesterday. That knight in shining armor on a white steed has NOTHING on my husband. I know it may seem a major setback, but in the end, my husband is still God's son. And I want my Daddy, on the day we meet, to be proud of me for the way I've treated His son, my husband, despite how I am being treated.

But today, as my husband's keeper, I pray for his freedom from anger that controls. I pray for all-out breakthrough in his spirit for complete healing from places of deep pain. My husband will step up and lead our home even if he's scared sometimes. As a mother, I need him to teach our children about who God is and why He loves them. As a wife, I need to know that when I fall down, he will love me and support me through it. And as a family, we will continue to grow and love and be a place of safety for each other and for our children as they grow to know Christ Jesus. The peace of God is prevalent in my home and in my heart. And I fully believe that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is complete Freedom.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Time for what joy I can find...

With a deep breath and a sigh in my spirit, I begin this blog today, March 20, 2013. I never thought I'd be writing from a place of such brokenness. But I am learning today how to become my husband's keeper, his joy and crown. I am learning about my relationship with Jesus Christ through my husband. I am learning how I am also the keeper of my family, the teacher to my children, who are the very example of my relationship with God. This journey, it has a long story.

But let today be a place of beginning of what is in the process of becoming new... all things become new in Christ, of that I am certain. But the painful part is the TIME of waiting for my joy to become complete in Christ. I am in a place I never could have imagined for myself so long ago. But what I do know is that God knew all my days before they even began, and He knows me so well that He isn't surprised by the crazy circumstances.

And so with that, I'll begin telling you of the journey of what brought me here to this place, and what God shares with me about being my husband's keeper, the keeper of my family, and the sharer of His Immeasurable Light.