Sunday, April 17, 2016

Soul Food

I'm going back a few years with this post, but it's more relevant to my life than ever...

What is it about doing something we love that so energizes and refreshes us? What is it about seeing something beautiful that deeply touches us and makes us stand in wonder or break down in joyful tears? 

Over the summer, I've been reading Kris Valloton's Spirit Wars: Winning the Invisible Battle Against Sin and the Enemy. It's been very refreshing to be reminded that who I am is made up of three interwoven parts: my spirit, my soul, and my body. When one part is being affected negatively, every part reacts. I know that when I spend too much time indoors, my body aches for fresh air and exercise and that when I eat too much or too little, my body reminds me with tummy upset or dizziness. I can feel in my spirit when I've gone a day or two without being in the Lord's presence because I start craving that intimacy with him. But when I start feeling sad, hopeless, and lonely, I don't always realize my soul is trying to get my attention. 

My soul is defined as the seat of my mind, will, and emotions. It is the part of me that makes me, well, me. My personality, my desires, my dreams. It seems that as believers we often neglect this aspect of our triune being. We've learned to feed our spirit and our body, but the soul has been pushed away as being "worldy" or "fleshly." We have stopped being "soulish" in order to be "spiritual," without realizing that one cannot function without the other. A life lived neglecting our soul is a disservice to the One who created and died for it. 

Kris Valloton explains that feelings of depression, hopelessness, loneliness can sometimes be spiritual attacks of the enemy. But sometimes it is our own neglect of a third part of who we are. 

So enter my husband. He's got down the idea of nurturing the soul. I have watched him do things for the mere pleasure of it, even if it's not practical--which to me is a completely new paradigm. What he eats, watches, listens to, drives, and plays are all done because of the joy they bring him. When he is engaged in an activity, whether working on his old jeep, spending time with friends, eating a huge ice-cream sundae, or wrestling with our dog, he is fully engaged in the moment. It's wonderful! I can see how refreshed he is when he gets back to work. I don't think that in that moment he realizes that he is feeding his soul--he just feels that something is out of place and this is the way to make it right again. 

I'm learning to be more like my husband and pay closer attention to my own soul. "Let go of the need for everything to be necessary," I heard the Lord say a few weeks ago, "and do something simply because it is fun. Make something, buy something, learn something, just because it's beautiful." How freeing to have that kind of permission! And how amazing the difference it makes in my life!

I originally posted this almost 3 years ago. Since then I have discovered a love for art and for creating some beautiful things myself and supporting others who do the same. I have found art to be extremely therapeutic and refreshing! I now find myself always looking for more ways to incorporate it into my life. Check out my Google plus profile to see just how my husband and I have begun to do that!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Growing Pains

The last few years for this family have been hard. Following a dream and following God have not been easy. We have met new friends in new cities only to have to say goodbye again. We have been without a stable home and without a church family. We are lonely and tired of moving and ready to dig our roots deep in one place. 

On top of everything else has been what I call "marital puberty." It's the fact that my husband and I have been trying to live our individual lives while being married. The only way I can explain it is by describing the difference I have felt the last few months. Something has shifted in my mind and I believe in my husband's as well. I have started seeing he and I as a team and not as two married individuals. And even though our daughter is three years old, I've just now started seeing us as a family, instead of two individuals who share a kid.

I know it sounds strange, but it explains all our frustration and loneliness over the past few years. We had been trying to fit our "married with young children" family into the mold of "single" or even "newly married with no kids." We were still trying to keep up with the social calendars of our single or newly married friends. We couldn't understand why nobody could understand what we were going through. It's just that we were looking for deep friendships among the wrong people.

I'm not saying we can't have single friends or friends with no kids. I am saying that we shouldn't expect something from them that they can't give us. We were putting pressure on people to support us when they had no grid for what it's like to be married or have a child. It was unfair to them and frustrating to us. 

I have been amazed at how the Lord has brought people into our lives who are young, married, and have small children. We no longer have that longing for someone who understands us. We now have someone to whom we can say or who can say to us: "I'm going through that very thing. Let's go through it together."

Dear friends, is it time to go through some "marital puberty" in your relationship? Are you still trying to live your life the way you did before you got married or had children? Ask the Lord to help you let go of friendships that are toxic to or simply not helpful to your marriage. Ask him to bring you new friendships that will understand and support you right where you are in life.

 by Native Light Photos

Monday, April 4, 2016

Kings For a Day

(Back in January I pledged to keep up more with family and friends this year. I've also pledged to live fully in each moment and not let social media or technology dictate my time. I apologize that this means less posts for my readers, but I don't apologize for my decision. I hope that this means I can inspire a few of you out there to do the same!)

Recently my husband and I got to spend some much needed time being spoiled by another married couple. They cooked for us, prayed for us, and encouraged us with their love for each other and for the Lord. We left their home refreshed and with bellies and hearts full and looking forward to our next time together. I had no idea going into their home that I would be so changed by their love.

In my life, I see myself as the one that encourages others. Even in our marriage, my husband and I are always giving to others. We love doing it, and it's one of just a few things we actually have in common. 

It's extremely difficult for me to accept help, and worse yet, to ask for it, from others. But slowly and tenderly, the Lord has been showing me that I don't have to have it all together. That I can honor people by allowing them to do something for me. That being served doesn't mean I'm not humble. Quite the opposite. Asking someone to pray for me is very humbling. 

I was so blown away by the fact that these two just wanted to spend time with me and my family. It was new and strange to be invited as guests and not have to do anything. It was uncomfortable at first, and deliciously refreshing. I know this must be how the Lord sees his children: "Come sit down. Have some food. Say everything or say nothing at all. I just want to be around you."

I think about all the dear friends and family who have given into our lives over the last few years, some for a very short time, and some who are still giving. I'm overwhelmed by their love and friendship. I'm so thankful.

Marriage is not just about a husband and wife. We need other married couples and families and individuals to walk through this thing with us. If you don't have anyone, ask the Lord for a few. Your marriage, and life, and family will be richer and fuller because of it.