Thursday, September 3, 2015

First Day of Love

Among all the encouraging comments I've get on my blog there is always that one that likes to throw me off balance. They are negative and while not rude, they do make me wonder why I even bother to keep writing. When I first read them, I get angry and defensive. Why are these people reading my blog anyway?! But then I realize, they come from a woman's heart who has lost all hope of ever regaining friendliness much less romance in her marriage. My heart weeps for these women. I am a child of such a marriage and I know first-hand the effects of living in a home with a loveless marriage. 

It's to you dear woman that I write today. 

You deserve more. You deserve to be loved and cherished because you were made by One who loves and cherishes you.

But you cannot do it alone. You cannot suffer in your self-made cage of bitterness and remorse. There is no encouragement there. There is no healing there. There is no changing anything in there.

If you have resigned yourself to "nothing will ever change" or "if only my marriage were that good" then guess what? Nothing will ever change. Your children will grow up seeing you angry and cold, and they will struggle in relationships all their lives. And so it will go for your grandchildren. Your husband will dwindle away to an empty shell of a man and find his needs met in other ways. If he's like my own father, he will find other women and eventually leave you for one of them. If he's like my uncles, he will find addictions and pornography to throw himself into. 

Alone and abandoned, you will struggle to make ends meet while your small children go from daycare to daycare while you work 2 jobs. Your older children will hate you for "making Daddy leave." Mother's Day, Christmas, your birthday will come and go without a single card or call. 

I spent the first 20 years of my life living with this. It is a fate I want you to avoid. 

But more than that I want you to know what a life of love is like. I want you  to know what it's like to look into the eyes of the One who loves you and see yourself in them. I want you to see yourself as completely pure and beautiful in His eyes. That's where the key to a happy marriage starts. 

But more importantly, that's where you start. 

Right now. In your kitchen, living room, in your car, close your eyes and let go, dear one. Let the pain and hiding and despair and loneliness out. Let the tears come. Let the sobs come. Let the great heaves of everything shake your chest and body and tell Him everything that you have been trying to hold together all this time. Tell Him what you think of him and what you need from Him. And feel his arms wrap around you. Feel his peace surround you like warm rays of sunlight. Ask him to encourage you. Ask to see yourself as He sees you. Ask him to bring people to you who will love you right where you are.

I only know this because I have been in this place many times. And each time, He comes through for me in ways more wonderful than I could have ever asked for or thought possible. This is where I have learned to come when I don't know what to do in my life or marriage. He always shows himself. In a Scripture, a dream, a new friend. 

Let today be the day you start your love story. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Guilty as Charged

A couple of friends and I have had conversations this week about the thing that seems to plague all women most of the time...guilt.

I feel guilty about standing my ground when I know I'm right. What if I hurt the other person's feelings? 

I feel guilty about honestly saying no when I don't want to do something.  What if I'm just being selfish?

I feel guilty about not attending every function I'm invited too. Or accepting every friend request on FB. Or smiling to every person I meet on my walks. 

I feel guilty about buying myself a new shirt. Or a new book. Shouldn't that money be used for something better?

I feel guilty for just wanting to be alone--a lot--instead of out partying it up with people. 

I feel guilty for sitting my kid in front of the TV for a few minutes while I write this. 

I feel guilty for just wanting a foot rub at the end of the day, and not a steamy evening of romance.

One of the Bible's name for our Enemy is "The Accuser"...boy does that fit! I am, almost at all times, too selfish, too nice, too busy, too fat, too disorganized, and the list goes on. And I am not alone. Every woman I know is under this constant harassment from the thoughts in her head. Whether she's heard them from her mother, the media, or her own reflection, they echo tirelessly, and get louder in her weakest moments.

But what does our Judge say about us?

"God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it!
All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled
and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe
of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked
through the streets!
So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you,
 why do you let yourselves be bullied by it?
 'Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!' Do you think things that are here
 today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention?"

Woah ladies! Everything that once stood against us and made us "guilty" is no longer there! The Bible goes one step further and says that those things are not even worth thinking about!

So write yourself a list of all the things you've been feeling guilty about and bring it before the Lord. Read 2 Colossians again. And then tear that list up. Burn it. Toss it. Tie it in a rock and hurl it into your nearest big body of water. Because those things no longer have control over you. And when the Accuser brings them back to mind tomorrow, or next week, or next month...remind him of what Jesus says about you in 1 Peter 2:

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him
 who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

Scripture from The Message Bible and the New International Version.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I Need You

"It's taken us a long time to get here, but I've enjoyed the journey with you."

In just a few precious words, my husband summed up all the ups and downs of our past few years together. We were sharing a quiet moment cuddled close, and I could hear his heartbeat. Why, oh why, were moments like these not more common with us? It felt just like it did when we were first dating. As if our marriage had come full circle in some way. I could feel my heart and mind rest in that moment, not worried about the next. This is how it should always be. I had lost sight of that somewhere along the way. We both had.

I need my husband. And it wasn't until I came to that realization in my heart that I was able to open up to him and be vulnerable. I'm such an independent person. I am the one who anyone can call to be there for them. But in being that person with my husband, I was robbing him of being there for me. 

I need my husband. Not in a co-dependent way, but in a he-makes-me-a-better-person way. He is our family's pioneer, bravely leading us into the next great adventure. He is our provider, braving frigid weather and sometimes dangerous work to give us all we need. He is our patient one when I go flying off the handle. He is our comedian, always finding a way to make us laugh in spite of ourselves. 

I need my husband, but does he know that? The better question is--have I told him? Have I told him how scared and tired I am? Have I told him that I need a defender and protector? Have I told him that many days I just don't know how to be a wife and mother? 

I let him know, alright. I nag and put him down and treat him like a child. I question his every decision and even his motives. And then I wonder why he pulls away. Why he becomes silent and distant. And so I nag some more. And the cycle continues.

But when I humbly ask for help...when I admit that I don't know...oh what a man emerges! My hero! My champion! My knight in shining armor!

My challenge to myself, and to all of you, dear readers, is to let him know. Not by nagging or berating, but by being vulnerable. It's such a scary place to be. But there's no feeling like it when you step across that line.