Monday, July 26, 2010

Your Turn

Create your own banner at!I'm taking a break from my vigilance post this week.

And I'm gonna' let you fill in the blanks.

So c'mon and play along with a comment or a linkup.

**Why are you fighting for your marriage?  What makes you want to be a vigilant wife?  What does vigilance in marriage mean to you?**

Looking forward to your input...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On Reality and Dreams

Sometimes my dreams are so vivid that I can't distinguish them from reality.

Like last summer when I was training for my first half-marathon.   I had this recurring dream that I was walking, and for whatever reason could not pick up my legs to move them.  I had to just drag them, using every ounce of everything I had.  It was scary, that dream.  And it felt so real that it left me wondering for weeks what was wrong with me and hoping that whatever it was wouldn't flare up in the middle of the race.  I still sometimes wonder if it was real, expecting my legs to just cease working at any given time.

Funny thing about dreams : the more real they seem, the more details the imagination fills in, the harder they are to distinguish from reality.

Furthermore : bad dreams often equate with fear or anxiety.  But good ones represent hope.  Things you can't wait to actually live.

I have this dream of getting published someday.  It's restrained by fear that it will never happen.  Because fear and hope, although polar opposites, sometimes go hand-in-hand.  Like sweet and salty.  Only, rather than complementing flavors that make each other taste better, these two flavors oppose.  And I am faced with the Iron-Chef task of mixing unexpected flavors to create the most delicious gourmet dish.  So I can serve it to my Maker. 

The One Who gave me the dream itself.

What do you dream about?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Anyway Love

It was dirty.  Really ugly.  Digging in the dirt in my crocs without socks kind of dirty.  The kind of dirty that soils even those who haven't had direct contact with the dirt itself.  And I don't mean the cool kind of dirty.  Like when you're feet are so dirty that they leave footprints on the floor in front of the bathtub as you prepare to clean them off.  Nope.  This kind of dirty stains even the pretty little pouffy thing I use for my shower gel.

It started with unfulfilled expectations that not even I knew I had.  He failed to meet my unspoken demands.

Then it drifted over to the eight-year-old.  She didn't get what she wanted either.  Except I was not nearly as merciful of her temper tantrum as he was of mine.

The ugly then found itself in the kitchen surrounded by more dirt.  Old food stuck on dishes kind of dirt.  That's when it smeared itself all over my attitude and contaminated every single person in my family.

Soiled, we each went on with our tasks.  Clean out the garage.  Clean up the kitchen.  Plant the new flowers before they die.

And the ugly in mommy's attitude muddied the afternoon.

But then evening came.  And the shower-mercies rained and washed away the dirt.

And he loved me anyway.

Because that's what he does.  Because that's what He does.

And I bask in the unyielding, forever love that Love Himself gave me in the man I call husband.
tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Monday, July 19, 2010

Old Love Never Gets Old

The fact that we were watching it for the fourth time was insignificant.  I had only really watched it that one time when we saw it in the movie theater last summer.  So when I watched Up, and it came to the part of the montage where we get to see Carl and Ellie grow up and get married, dreaming of all kinds of adventures they ended up never taking, I sobbed. 

Not because they never made it to Paradise Falls together.  But because of the beautiful picture of marriage.

The love that holds on to a husband (or wife) even when the dreams don't come true.  The love that transforms the other person and truly makes them more complete.  The sticky-love that chooses to remain faithful no. matter. what.  The love that grows deeper along with the wrinkles.

There is an elderly couple who lives at the end of our road.  I sometimes pass them in my car as they are walking.  They usually wave and smile.  Sometimes they appear to be chatting with each other.  Other times, their mouths are still.  But always they are holding hands.

I can't wait to grow old with my man and still want to hold his hand.  And chat.  And take walks.

Create your own banner at!That's why I'm a vigilant wife.

How about you?

Link up and let us know...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Extreme Makeover : Life Edition

I used to be a slave.  An unpaid servant to things not holy.  Actions and attitudes that led me into dark living and spiraled down from there.  Deeper into living life as it was never meant to be lived.  The life that makes me feel worse at the end of the day rather than invigorated.  Rested in my soul.  I didn't even realize it.  But I was sin's slave.  And this slavery led to dirty cover-ups and heart-crimes that would make anyone sick.

"Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness." ~Romans 6:19

I read it this morning and it resonates with me somehow. I read the preceeding verses that play out like an "Extreme Makeover" episode and realize that I. am. a. new. person.  And I don't have to make choices that pull me deeper into that dark and ugly living that pretends to be real life.  I don't have to live the pretend life.  Instead, I can live, really live.  And rest in the One Who makes me righteous.  The One in Whose eyes I am holy. Because "(I) have been set free from sin and have become (a slave) to righteousness."  Period.

I mull it around inside my soul and realize the implications of this overwhelming truth.  Because of what Jesus Christ did for me, I can live a new life.   I. Have. New. Life.  In Him.

And in this truth, this real life, I can rest.  Really, truly, rest.

I can now turn my back on doing what comes naturally.  Like complaining in my heart and harboring bitter attitudes.  Like worrying about how I'm going to get everything done instead of trusting the very Creator of Time to lead me into and through my day.  Like fearing the what-ifs instead of savoring the what-is.

Yes, I turn away from my natural inclinations, the way I've always done things, and I turn to God.

I offer Him my mind.  Use it for your righteousness, Lord.  Because when I allow my mind to act as a slave to its former master, it worries and fears and complains.  Which leads to more worrying and fearing and complaining.  But when I offer my mind to Holy God, He frees me from worry.  And fear.  And I realize there is no reason for complaining. 

I offer Him my hands.  To use them as He pleases.  For building up others with the words I write.  For providing a meal for my family.  For creating a card to send to a friend in need of encouragement.

I offer Him my lips.  Lord, please use my lips for Your right and holy purposes.  To speak truth.  Gently but boldly.  To withhold bitter arguing and complaining.  To encourage and build up my daughters, even when they are driving me crazy.

And then, I wait.  As I rest.  Because I know that I know that I know that He hears my prayers.  And that these are the prayers that He loves...the kind of prayers that speak His very words back to Him.  The kinds of prayers that rely on His strength alone for the answer. 
holy experience

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting To The Point

Before I had kids, I thought I wanted boys. I was convinced that my husband and I should have 5 kids, all boys, who would run around crazy with life and bring me along for the ride.

But God knew better.  As it turns out, God knows best.  And He gave me two girls instead.  So rather than five boys bringing me along for the ride, I found myself with the calling of pointing my girls to the ride itself.  The only true ride with the only true thrill.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." ~Proverbs 19:21

Right now, I hear my girls upstairs with their Littlest Pet Shop friends and a whole band of princesses.  Today they will travel to Brazil.  Or Japan.  It's not yet been decided.  And as I listen to their giggles and their flying Little People airplanes, I am reminded of the fine line that separates their imaginations from life itself.  I am reminded that imagination fuels life.  But, more importantly, it is life that fuels imagination.  And, consequently, I am reminded of my job as the mother of girls -- point them to the very Creator of Life.  Show them how to live.  Real life.

It's not an easy task, this raising girls thing.  This raising kids thing, actually.  I regularly find myself in an overwhelmed state.  Overwhelmed with the drama of a friend's hurtful words at lunchtime.  Or a sister's mean look.  Overwhelmed by the silliness that makes dinnertime last much longer than it should.  Overwhelmed by the growing pains of a tender heart that doesn't understand how a friend's parents could get divorced and send her to another school.

And it's not for the faint of heart.  It's what sends me to my knees wondering what the Lord was thinking when He thought that I, of all people could handle this task.

That's when He lovingly picks me back up and reminds me that He, the Sovereign God of all that is, knows best. 

"You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees."  ~Psalm 119:68

He points me back to His truth.  So that I can point them.

That's what being the mother of daughters means to me.  Trying to figure out how to do just that.  Point them to Life Himself.  And enjoying the ride.  It's why I'm so excited about this brand new blog I've started following called modsquadblog.  It's dedicated to mothers of daughters.  (Because mothers. of. daughters. make a m.o.d. squad.  Get it?)  And today, I'm linking up with them in answer to the question  "What does being a modsquad mom mean to you? 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Covenant Committed

For the first several years of marriage, my husband and I worked in college ministry.  Which led to way too many late night pizza parties, lots of philosophical discussions, and some really great friendships.  It also led to so many weddings that we actually had it as a line item in our budget for several years.  "Wedding Gifts."  At one point, I was sure I could be a wedding planner based on my experience alone.  But that's a whole different blog post.

Anyway -- the budget line item eventually changed from "Wedding Gifts" to "Birthday Gifts."  And we are now in the season of life where our kids go to birthday parties more than we go to weddings.  A lot more.

But last weekend was different.  We got to go to a wedding.  A very special friend from one of those college groups of long ago got married on the Fourth of July.  And we got to be part of it.

I was a blubbering fool for most of the ceremony.  It was a beautiful one.  With a most exquisite bride whose inner beauty radiated throughout her whole being.

But the part of the day that stuck with me most resolutely was in some of the final words of the pastor.  Just before the groom got to kiss the bride...

"From now on, it is no longer your love that will sustain your commitment,
but your commitment that will sustain your love."

Yes!!  That, my friends, is marriage.  Vigilant commitment.   The kind that sustains love.  The kind that chooses to love actively no matter what I feel like doing or how I feel like acting.  It's what keeps us married even on those days when it feels like it might be easier to just not be.

And I am finding that when I am actively pursuing this vigilant commitment, actively loving my husband, it helps with the feelings.  It propels the lovey-doveys.  (Yes, I just pluralized that adjective and made it a noun.  Don't hate me.)  Because "it is no longer (my) love that...sustain(s) (my) commitment..."

There is another part of the day that will stick with my family and me for a very long time ...

Apparently photographing guests during a wedding reception has become much more fun during our hiatus from wedding world.

***Wanna' be a vigilant wife too? Here's how it works...
Leave a comment here about your husband and one way you choose to serve him today or this week. Or, if you have a blog, get your permalink for the post you'd like to share (a permalink is the URL to a specific blog post) then paste it into the nice little McKlinky thingy right here so other people can read and be encouraged by your vigilance. I also ask you to kindly link back to here so that your readers can read more vigilance stories.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

No Place Like Home

After about five hours in the car yesterday and ten hours of (really amazing!) sleep in my own bed with my own pillow, I am home.  So why do I feel so . . . blah?  That I-don't-know-what-to-do-today-so-I'll-just-do-nothing-and-hope-my-kids-don't-notice kind of blah.

I mean, I was refreshed.  Replenished from five days spent with the friends who became family during those nine years we lived away from blood relatives.  And yesterday when my kids and I loaded up the car through the tearful goodbyes, I somehow felt ready to return to my own home of three years.  Freshly.  With rested mind-eyes and renewed intention.

Because time spent with a good friend doesn't just make you feel better, it makes you better.   Not just in conversation.  But in the way she serves her kids and loves your own.  She makes you a better mom.  A more intense lover of Jesus the King.  A more wholehearted wife.  A better friend.

It's why we cried yesterday as we drove away.  Because those water droplets that fall from heartstrung eyes know the truth of a good friend.  And they don't want to exchange the moment for the memory. 

But we must.

Because, in spite of it all, there is no place like home.

And now, after three years living here, four and a half hours from there, this is home.  Not just where we abide.  It's where we live.  And so, I begin to pray that my heart can catch up with the here and now.  That my children's hearts can do the same.

So today, we will transition.  Letting our hearts figure out the moment to memory exchange.

And then we'll probably call our friends and let them know we made it...


Monday, July 5, 2010

Crack Prevention

Create your own banner at!I have always wanted to have a home in the country.  With a really big yard and room to run or picnic or whatever my little heart might desire to do.  It always sounded so tranquil.  Like a peaceful, simple place to thrive on the inside of my ever-frenzied heart.  Quiet enough to hear the quiet.  And thrive in the life of who I've been called to be.  Having grown up in the country, my husband shared this dream with me, wanting to someday return to his roots and have his children grow up with that kind of lifestyle as well.  So three years ago when we moved back home after nine and a half years of learning how to be grown ups and out on our own, we bought a home in the country.  And it has been great.

But a few weeks ago when I mowed over a snake (YES A SNAKE!) in my yard, I started to rethink this whole living in the country thing.  That is, until my sister told me that she find snakes all the time in the brush around their house.  My sister, who lives right smack in the suburbs of an extremely metropolitan city.  So I apparently will need to just get used to the snakes(?!?) and continue living the dream.

That said, however, there are some things about city living that I do indeed miss.  Sidewalks, for example.  And being able to run to the store for some milk, or bananas, or shampoo, and be home within the hour.  But one thing alone tops that list.


So when we moved away from the city and entered country life amid Amish neighbors and boisterous bovine, one of the places I missed the most was ... well, it was Target.  Seriously.  I used to go there to wander.  Especially when my kids were toddlers.  I would follow my nose through every clearance section in our (then) local Super Target and amble through every department, just to browse.  Ahhh, just remembering it makes me want to go change into khakis and a red t-shirt while holding a scanner of some sort and declare happy greetings to every passer-by (i.e. my kids and husband).

Well, today after an appointment in the city of LeBron, I got to return to that beloved retail kingdom.  Something I haven't done in months (due to the inconvenient location of the nearest Target).  Along with the wedding gift for which I had gone, I snagged some frivolous much needed items in the $1 section, as well as some $3.24 pajama pants on clearance.  Yeah, I know!  And I had so much fun that I decided to stop at the Old Navy I knew I would pass by on my way to the interstate that would lead me home.

Upon entering Old Navy, I heard the most adorably bright pink summer bag calling my name from the clearance section.  So I picked it up and carried it around as I browsed the other clearance items, all while evaluating my need for such things.  But I heard nothing else calling my name, so I started to make my way to the cashier.

That's when I heard another voice.

It wasn't the voice of those great metallic flats I saw or the really cute sundress I passed.  It was, rather, the voice of reason.  The voice of truth.

It reminded me that frivolous spending does not make a vigilant wife of me.  Because spending our money wisely is something that my husband and I work very hard at.  Together.  We budget together monthly.  To spend every dollar on paper before we actually spend it.  And, even though the bag was only $7, and the pj's were only $3.24, and the $1 items were only, well, $1, it all adds up to more money than dishonoring my husband is worth.  In fact, there is no amount of money that could pay for the crack in our unity that such a purchase might cause.  And, although my husband would still love me and probably make jokes to dismiss my frivolous spending while teasing me about my "bag lady" status, if I bought this unneeded (but adorable) bag, I would be doing just that...making way for cracks in the foundation of our marriage. 

And I am a vigilant wife.  And vigilant wives do not make way for cracks in the foundation of their marriages. 

So I shushed the call of the adorably bright pink bag, and I hung it back up where I got it.  Then, listening to the voice of truth, I turned on my heels and walked out.

Because no bag is worth a crack in my marriage.

Not even an adorably bright pink summer one.

***Wanna' be a vigilant wife too?  Here's how it works... Leave a comment here about your husband and one way you choose to serve him today or this week. Or, if you have a blog, get your permalink for the post you'd like to share (a permalink is the URL to a specific blog post) then paste it into the nice little McKlinky thingy right here so other people can read and be encouraged by your vigilance. I also ask you to kindly link back to here so that your readers can read more vigilance stories.

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