Monday, October 11, 2010

Unexpected Expectations

I was never one of those girls who dreamed of her wedding day all of her life.  I mean, I dreamed of being married, but the wedding day in my mind didn't really make the radar screen.  I don't think I was like a lot of little girls who dream of big fantasy, fairytale weddings where millions of dollars are spent on ensuring her perfect day.  The kind of dreams on which bridezillas are built.

But . . .

Those dreams of being married translated into some pretty fierce expectations for the life after the wedding.  I'm thinking wifezilla pretty much sums it up.

Thing is, I didn't expect to have so many expectations.

Like passion every night.  And doing the dishes together, every night, while chatting about our days.  Like never letting our children get the best of us, but working through everything. together. every time. always.  Like never, ever keeping secrets.  Only ever complete transparency, which meant telling each other every detail of every part of every day.

Needless to say, it didn't take long for my wifezilla expectations to come face-to-face with the big huge pill called reality.

Thankfully, my husband has always been an amazingly understanding, Spirit-controlled man who does not get easily angered.  But there was one evening when he'd had enough.  He looked at me in my hope-dashed state as I dealt with the reality that he was going to watch football instead of joining me in the other room while I rocked the baby (or something like that), and he just simply said, "Don't you ever just let anything go?"

That night was a turning point in our marriage, I believe.  It cut me to the core in an Extreme Makeover kind of way.  Extreme Makeover : Wifezilla Edition.  And it forced me to think through all of the expectations I had for our marriage.  Actually, for my husband.  All that I expected from him.

And I realized that the list was long.  R-e-a-l-l-y, s-u-p-e-r  l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g.

We were just talking about that recently.  Strangely, I had never realized the makeover that God started that night almost nine years ago.  Amazingly, He's still rebuilding.  (Yes, it's that extreme!)  My husband brought it up, actually, and told me how thankful he was for the different woman I'd become.  The kind of woman that can let go of some of her expectations and filter them first through the Word of God and His expectations and then through the marriage that is ours.  Not mine.  But mine and my husband's marriage.

I still dream of an awesome marriage.  I still have super high hopes.  But they look different now.  They're more our expectations.  Less mine. 

And I am so much happier for it.

How about you?  How have you dealt with unrealistic expectations in your own marriage?  Are you letting God and your husband help define those expectations? 

**It's Vigilant Wives Club Monday!  And I'm starting something new . . . going through the book by Dr. Julianna Slattery called Finding the Hero in Your Husband.  You can find the schedule here if  you'd like to read along.  OR you can link up through the comments here and join in the discussion.  OR maybe you'd like to write about something you're learning in your own marriage and link up right here in the comments.  You can do so by leaving your link in the comments.  (No linkytool today -- let's see how that works.)  Either way, I hope and pray that you are encouraged today in your marriage.

**By the way -- did you hear the news?!?!  I'm moving.  To here.  See you there!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Untamed Mercy

It's been three weeks since the mercy storm blew through. I still cry when I see its destruction everytime I drive through the treeless void it left behind.
Yesterday as I drove through, the song “Mercy Seat” played loudly in my car, bellowing God’s mercy to the innermost parts of my soul. I was already crying for the truth of the song . . .

I know where there’s a place
Of mercy for you
He said that you could come into his
Presence without fear
Into this holy place
Where his presence hovers near.

And it hit me like the metal that wrapped around the trees on that fateful tornado-storm day. The very God, Who’s hand is stronger than the biggest funnel-cloud, tore open a path for me. For mercy. His very Word destroyed death and darkness. And now I can hover fearlessly close to Almighty Creator God.

The storm blew through and did as it pleased with whatever it pleased. A funnel shaped cloud that reached down to the ground, the trees and buildings and road signs giving way. Like the darkness that must give way to Light.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

A costly storm, no doubt. It cost Him everything. And now, His ilimitable fingers move funnel-shaped clouds through my soul. Where He wills. Were it not for mercy.

Try as I might, I cannot ignore the storm’s catastrophic effects. Hundred-year-old treetops twisted right off their trunks. Roofs gone. Buildings demolished. I know that someday most things will be repaired and it will be the new normal. But the three-week span has not stopped the tears I still cry when I see the devastation. Because the picture of untamed mercy sears deep in my soul. Power married mercy in the shape of a funnel.

I asked my husband if it did the same to him. No. I mean, nobody got hurt. No lives were lost.

True. And yet the effects of the unbridled power of the tornado storm point me to an even more mind-blowing miracle. This miracle called mercy.

The raging might of God’s untamed mercy blazed a path all its own. A path that tore apart the evil one’s plans for sin and death and darkness.

This mercy storm has far-reaching fingers that graze my inner soul, destroying my false beliefs and wavering institutions. They bring up an unsettled part of me the likes of which I have never before dealt. The part where I am forced to face the truth of the worth of God’s mercy. The cost that He paid to ensure my safety. And the truth of my own worth. How much He says I’m worth.

So this mercy storm knocks me down to my knees. Speechless. Powerless.

But for His mercy.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his pathes beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)

Big News and then some more

When I was twelve years old, my family moved from Huntington Beach, California to the booming metropolis of Stow, Ohio.  In a very strange twist of grace, I actually thrived because of the move and found my life to be quite an adventure because of it.  While the geographical changes were drastic, the life changes were monumental.  It was my first real face-to-face with any sort of meaningful life change.

I went from attending a small, private school where my parents knew every family to a rather large public middle school filled with lots and lots of boys kids my age.  Oh, the friends to be made! 

I also went from living about five miles from the beach, where we had hurricane and earthquake drills, to living about fifteen miles from the snow belt, where we had tornado drills and snow days.  And the hallways at school were no longer outdoors.  Instead, the entire school was enclosed.

Because of all the inevitable change that comes with not only starting middle school but also starting over in a completely new place, I decided it was time to reinvent myself.  So I got rid of being shy.  I took the opportunity to befriend everyone I met.  My parents said I finally came out of my shell.

And so my first big move in life was a very positive experience.  I believe it set the stage for the three re-locations my husband and I have done over the tenure of our marriage.  Especially the move that took us to Paris, France for several months.  Adventure.  Opportunity.  Excitement.

So --- I've decided to relocate.  That's right . . . and then some more is moving!  Because it's time for some refining.  Because I'm tired of explaining that there's no "e" after the "some".  Because I like new.

So, go ahead and mark your favorites bar with the new link.  It's andthensomemore dot net.  Don't forget to spell it out.  And change the dot com to dot net.  Because I'm up and running over at my new place while I tie up some loose ends over here.  I'll be here for a few more days, but after next Monday, the move will be complete.  And I don't want you to miss a thing.

See you at the new place

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wisdom Building

It happens more than I'd like to admit.  Everything will be going along just fine.  And then it hits.  It's usually something relatively inconsequential like choosing the wrong color socks.  This morning, it was about the clean pants she put in with the dirty laundry.  She'd only worn them for about an hour, and I was trying to make a point.  But Monday morning before school is not the time for point-making.  So in the midst of trying to make a point, we lost the peace of the pre-leaving-for-school hour.  And I lost an opportunity to fortify the home that I am so diligently working to build.

EVERY WISE woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:1 (Amplified Bible)

Funny thing about wisdom is that it's not really wisdom if it's not used.  I can know what I need to do, but if I don't do it, I am unwise.  Like the little nudge inside that I ignored.  The one that reminded me of what's really important this morning.

That truth sobers me in light of the idea of building my house.

If I want my house to be strong, I will build it with wisdom.  Not brute strength.  But God-strength.  The kind of strength that is founded on the fear of the LORD.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10)

I can know how to serve my husband and love my children and nurture their souls, but if I don't do it, I am just like the foolish woman who tears down her home with her very own hands.

And wisdom is kind of tricky.  I mean, I do need to teach my daughter to put only what is dirty into the dirty laundry pile.  But, in all honesty, we've never even discussed that.  So why would I choose Monday morning before school to introduce it?  Wisdom knows the truth and seeks the right time to make it known.

Not just with my children, but my relationship with my husband desperately needs this kind of wisdom too.  The kind that builds instead of tearing down.  Not just with words, but with appropriate silence.  With prayer.  This kind of wisdom knows that the wise woman who builds her house has tremendous power to influence her home.  The wise woman realizes that she sets the climate for her home, whether she likes it or not.  And not only that, but she proactively sets the climate for warmth.  By fearing the LORD above all else.  By asking for wisdom from her very generous God.

So today I am asking Him for wisdom.  The kind of wisdom that only He can give.  The kind of wisdom that will build my home.

So -- I have a question for you --- what does wisdom look like in your home?  Leave a comment...I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

***It's another week of Vigilant Wives Club. Here's what's going on if you'd like to keep up.  If you'd like to link up, please do so by adding your permalink to the linky tools thing here at the bottom of this post.  Or feel free to just paste your link in the comments section.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Magnetic Mess

The fog settles on the hills, over the trees in my front yard.  I glimpse Fall and breathe in deep.  The misty morning air settles nicely on my face as we kiss and hug and they run to the bus waiting at the end of the driveway.  I step back inside, close the door and thank God for this morning.

Thank You for the calm.

It's not usually this peaceful inside.  There have been seasons where peace and calm have reigned averarching quiet like the misty morning breakthrough.  This is not one of them.  So when we have a morning like today, I can't help but take notice.  And I pause in gratitude.

There is a mess inside.  And it is not the laundry/clutter/dirty dishes kind.  It's the personal inside kind. 

Daily, I awake wondering if today will prove chock full of reminders.  Because sometimes it wakes me up, staring me square in the face -- this messy emotional pit God is using to draw me near to Him.  To keep me there, eyes fixed solely on Him.  The only Rock that stays put no matter what.  It's not there today.  Not yet anyway.

Regardless, I turn to Him first thing.  Because I must.  There exists no other option.  If I am to conquer this mess, it is only through Him.  His truth.  His Spirit living inside.

I am called to be free.  It is for freedom that He set me free.

I ask Him to redeem these emotions.  Redeem this mess.  He reminds me that He is working.  Somehow He assures me that He has ordained it.  He uses a friend to reveal that He sometimes uses hard times as magnets to pull us closer to Him.  He reminds me that He let it get messy.  He knew I couldn't ignore this one.  Couldn't just push it aside and wait for the motivation to clean it up.  He knew I couldn't clean it up.  I'd have to ask Him to do it. 

That's where He wants me.  Eyes fixed on His ways.  Seeking His truth for my daily.  For my hourly.  Utterly dependent.

And He gives me eyes to see that even this is good.

You are good, and what you do is good; 

teach me your decrees.

~Psalm 119:68~

holy experience

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Adventures

Tomorrow begins a new adventure for me and for my marriage.

It involves a weekly commitment, several other women who want to seek God as the center of their marriages, and a book called Finding the Hero in Your Husband by Dr. Julianna Slattery.  I read it a few years ago, and now I am honored to pair up with one of my friends and lead a group through it. 

I was wondering if you'd like to join in?  My group will meet physically every Tuesday morning, but I was thinking how awesome it would be to meet here cyber-ly (did I just make up a new word?!?!) every Monday during the Vigilant Wives Club.  My plan is to talk about some of the issues that the book brings up each week and then get your thoughts, much like an actual small group.  I am growing a passion to encourage you in your marriage.  As a wife and as a Godly woman.  You don't have to have a book to join in, but if you want one, you can order it here.  I know you would greatly benefit from reading it. 

The book helps us as women to realize the incredible influence we have on our husbands and to learn to use that influence in a way that encourages our husbands' (sometimes hidden) hero-ness.  It helps us understand how to use that influence as Godly women in a way that promotes intimacy in our marriage rather than dissension through manipulation.  I don't know about you, but I do know that I have had times in my marriage when I have really struggled with letting my husband lead our family.  Spiritually as well as in other areas.  So I am very excited to learn how to encourage him to be my hero, the one that God intended for him to be, even as I seek God's purpose for me as a wife.

So next Monday, October 4, I would like to start working through the idea of what it means to be a wise woman who builds her house.  (Proverbs 14:1)

But for now, I'd just like to introduce the idea of it and get your thoughts.  Wanna' join in?  I would LOVE to journey with you through this.  And I would be honored if you'd come along.

Here's what I was thinking...
  • Each Monday, I'll post some thoughts about the book (here's a schedule, if you want to know some of the specific dates and what we'll be discussing).
  • I will also ask some questions for discussion.  You can join in the discussion by posting your comments at the bottom of the post.  Feel free to comment on each others' comments as well as the post.  Or you can post a link to your own blog and discuss it more in depth if you want to.
  • If you want to link up a post about how you're encouraging your man and being vigilant as a wife, you can use the Linky Tool thing at the bottom of the post.  **If you've never done that before, now is a great time to start, so we can get to know each other better and truly encourage each other in this mission we're on as wives.  Here's how . . .  After you've published your post, you will click on the title of your post.  This will give you the permalink for that particular post.  You will then copy that link from your browser and paste it into the little linky tool thing here at this post.  Also, please be courteous and refer back to this blog.  OR you can simply post your link in the comments.
So that's the deal.  What do you think?  I hope you're excited like I am.  I think we can watch God work a revolution in the state of Christian marriage if we each commit to serving our husbands intentionally and to encouraging with the power that we have as women who truly seek His ways for us as wives. 

See you next week . . .
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