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 . . .

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mercy Storm

Thank God for battery-operated alarm-clocks. That's what wakes us up. Going on 14 hours with no electricity. No water.  Last time this happened we wondered if there might be some merit to our Amish neighbors' way of life.  They were probably unaffected by the storm. 

We should've been Amish, we joke.

We lay there listening to the steady breathing of our two little refugees camped out on the floor next to our bed.  Mid-dawn moments bring clarity to the previous evening's close-call. 

I just keep trying to remember what kept me at work for those last two minutes.  Why didn't I leave two minutes earlier? I can't for the life of me remember why. 

He whispers the what-if and the almost-reality hits me hard.  There had been a storm.  A tornado that ripped apart 12 miles of our community in a few breathtaking moments.  If he had been two minutes earlier, he could've easily been right smack in the middle of it.  Probably on the remote road where it first touched down.  It tore apart buildings, cars and greenhouses.  It lifted treetops from their trunks and slammed them down onto the freeway.  The freeway that he was exiting and that nobody was on.  It tore apart dreams and years of university research.  It ravaged my favorite place to walk.  Yet it did not touch a single human being.  And my man was spared.

The overwhelming mercy of Almighty God creates its own windstorm that marks my soul irreparably.  The mercy storm touches down, leaving nothing in its path but that which is unable to be destroyed.  The Rock called I AM.  Mercy gives way to mercy.

Who are we, Lord, that You would spare us so?  Thank You, Almighty God.  We don't deserve Your mercy, Holy, Sovereign God.  But we will bask in Your goodness.  For You are good.

 You are good, and the source of good;
train me in your goodness.
~Psalm 119:68 msg~

Celebrating at Emily's today . . .

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Monday, September 20, 2010

What I Want For My Marriage

When I got married, I had dreams of life as a wife.  You probably had dreams of your own.  Here's what some of mine looked like :

-Happy mornings waking up next to the love of my life, cuddling in the pre-dawn before sending each other off into the day ahead. 

-Nightly passion that would roll into the wee hours, neither one of us caring about the early-morning meeting we'd have to get up for.  That's how enamored we would be with each other.

-Playing football together every Saturday and Sunday afternoon with our five boys before heading inside for chili and cornbread. (It was always autumn in this part of the dream.) The fact that I have two girls and zero boys is nothing short of proof that God absouletly knows best and proves Himself always perfect and full of mercy in that divine plan of His. 

As you probably know, it did not take long before I realized that some dreams are actually fantasy and simply can not come to fruition.  Particularly when it comes to marrying two different people with two different sets of lifelong dreams and ultimately surrendering them to Almighty God to mold those dreams and make them His own.

So for the last 14 years, God has been molding our hearts together and making us one through and through.

Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. 
~Genesis 2:24~

He's also been molding our dreams. And, I am finding that some of those dreams I had as a new bride have changed a bit as we become the one flesh that makes our marriage what God intended.  The one He has purposed for both my husband and for me.

And now my marriage dreams look a little different :

-You already know the one about getting old together, holding hands on our porch swing, drinking lemonade while talking and laughing about the adorable things our grandchildren say.

-But what I really want for my marriage is to show Jesus to people by the way we love each other.  I want it to be a marriage that exemplifies the lavish grace of God.  Through the forgiveness and grace we extend to each other and our children as well as our neighbors, our friends, our parents, our siblings, even strangers.

That's why I come here every Monday and renew my vigilant commitment to my marriage. Because I want my whole life, including my marriage, to help make God famous.

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What are some of the things you want for your marriage?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Faithfully Fresh

I need a fresh perspective.  New.  Because I've let some things get stale.  Things like searching for ways to serve my husband.  Like what to write on Mondays about being a vigilant wife.  Like my daily motivations for why I'm doing what I do. 
I was thinking about this stale state and remembered this Scriptural gem that has always amazed me.
God's loyal love couldn't have run out,

his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!

Lamentations 3:22-24

There is something so poignant about loyal love being created new every morning.  Something truly breathtaking about faithful newness.  I think it relates here.  Even though Jeremiah was writing about the nation of Israel and his steadfast hope in Who he knew God to be.  I think it relates because God is God.  Always.  No matter what.  His character is unchanging.  Therefore, His love and mercy never ever stop. 
And . . .
they never, ever gets stale.  Because His faithfulness provides fresh love and mercy every.single.morning. of every single lifetime.
I could use your prayers as I seek His faithfully fresh way to lead me in this blog, and this vigilance in my marriage.  I have been asking Him to show me where He would have me go with this little club of vigilant wives.  I've been asking some hard I fulfilling my purpose as a wife?  Am I encouraging my readers to do the same?  How can I do this better?  
And I would love your input.  And I would seriously treasure your prayers.

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Link up with us today and let us know how you're vigilantly serving your husband . . .  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What I'm Doing About My Obsession With Mail

I have this long-standing love affair with mail.  E-mail.  Snail mail.  I love it all.  I remember going out to get the mail when I was a child and finding what seemed to be endless amounts addressed to my parents. Nearly  It didn't matter that the majority of it was either bills or circulars.  From my perspective, the fact that my parents would merit the sending of something  through the mail made them somewhat heroic.  Because I loved getting anything in the mail.  Still do, actually.  Excepting the bills, I suppose.

Magazines.  Love them.  Lands End catalogs.  Uh-huh.  I even like getting those little cards reminding me that I have an upcoming dentist appointment.  But nothing beats the excitement I feel when I sort through the mail and find some sort of hand-written note or card.  Especially when my name is on that top line.  Upon discovering it, I rush inside before opening and reading it so I can soak in every word that was written just for me.  **That wait is not as easy as it once was now that I live in the country and have a pretty long driveway.  And, I feel convicted to confess to you that I don't always have the fortitude to wait.  Sometimes I just rip it open on my way up the driveway.  Then I get inside and read it all again.  Since we're on the topic of confession, I also struggle with waiting until my kids get home to open the occasional invitation or card.  And I actually called my husband at work one time to ask if I could open a piece of mail that he got before he got home.  Okay -- now that I've spelled it out, I feel better for getting it off my chest and at the same time kinda' concerned.  Maybe this obsession with mail is something I need to deal with?

I've handed it down to my daughter as well.  In fact, when she was three-years-old, she loved mail and mailboxes so much that I actually put one in her room that I decorated just for her.  She still has it.  And it's stuffed with cards and postcards and notes.

There is just something about getting mail that warms my soul to its very tendrils.  Something about knowing that somebody thought of me for a long enough period of time to form those thoughts into words and send them to me.  It's proof that somebody thought about me and wanted me to know it.

And, though the obsession might be a bit extreme (already admitted), I don't think I'm alone in this.

So I wonder why I'm not more intentional with my written words.  Why is it that I don't take more time to encourage others the way that I love to be encouraged?  Like the great aunt whose husband has been ill for months and must be as exhausted as she is faithful.  Or the friend who opens her home every Thursday morning after getting her three kids to school so a group of us can pray for each other and our families.  Why don't I just send even a short note to thank them?  To let them know I think of them and pray?

I've been reading this blog called (in) for a while now.  It's purpose is encouraging women.  That's where I learned that today is the National Day of Encouragement.  Didn't even know there was such a thing.  And that's why I accepted the challenge to encourage someone with a card from one of Dayspring's new line of Hope and Encouragement cards.  They gave me the cards (I know!) and I agreed to use them and write about it.  What a great challenge.

So here I am.  Challenged.  Willing.  Encouraged to encourage.  Encouraging you to do the same.

Happy National Day of Encouragement. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Deliverance Ponderings

I'm studying today.  Psalm 40.  It's thick and heavy on my heart lately.  The kind of thick and heavy that can only be processed with the One Who inspired both the Psalm as well as the thick and heavy.

As I study, my heart weighs the truth of my down-and-dirty against His Word.   The only real and true Standard for living.  Himself revealed so that I can live.  Really live.

So I go upstairs and gather my notes from long ago.  I carry the box that contains all the seminary wisdom from previous years, and I revisit the grounding of this dream.  Why is it that I want to write?  To teach? 

Then He nudges my heart and refines His calling.  And in so doing, He refines the questions.  WHAT is it that HE wants me to write?  To teach?

And He firmly replies . . . seek Me, child.  Make Me your trust.  I have made you Mine for a purpose.  To make Me famous.  Trust Me, child.  Trust Me.  So that "many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD."

And I get lost in the study.  Excited by the details of the Living Word.  No longer worried about where He might take me.  Or what He might do with the work I do.  No longer concerned with the details of tomorrow.  I focus on what is Real.

And I wait.

Because He's teaching me a new song.  He's the Composer. 

I am to learn it.  And sing it well.  Oh how I want to sing it beautifully.  For Him.  Then, He takes care of the rest.  "Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD."  My job = sing the song He gives me.

Because His is the only song that matters.  And the only song I really want to sing.

My heart protests a bit, but Lord, I am poor and needy.  Think of me, Lord.  "You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay."  I cannot do this.  Don't ever stop delivering me.  For before me everyday is a battle : to sing Your song or not.  Oh Lord, I need Your victory.  

And so I sing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beauty in the Rare and the Mundane

I looked out the front door to catch a glimpse of my daughters playing outside -- the one thing I made them do on their day off.  That's when I saw it.  It was blue.  And very, very large.  A rare creature indeed.  Stopping my girls in their bicycle-laden tracks, it fluttered to a marigold.  The one I planted last spring that is now a bush.  Wanting to capture the rare and beautiful moment, I ran for my camera and clicked . . .

That's when it hit me.  The truth of my prejudice. 

I realized in that moment how enamored I am by the extraordinary.  How jealous I have become for the rare moment, relying on it alone to spark my gratitude meter and lead me into praise for my Creator.  I have let myself grow weary of ordinary living.  Instead of finding the beauty in the everyday and searching out the gifts in the commonplace that is my life, I've gotten lost in the pursuit of the exceptional.  Waiting for that remarkable moment to inspire awe for my Glorious King.  All the while I have grown accustomed to accepting the mundane in the everyday rather than finding the beauty in it.  I have come dangerously close to losing the ability to find any sort of significance in the daily grind.

But that is not what life is.  Not real life, anyway.  The abundant kind that Jesus came to give.  Because living doesn't just occur in those rare moments when I'm faced with the rare beauty of a big blue butterfly. No. Living happens when I choose to see the common of the everyday for the extraordinary gift that it is. It's recognizing the exquisite inside of the ordinary.

The thing is, I think if I choose to find the beauty in the regular moments of my life, that will only make the rare moments even more extraordinarily beautiful and awe-inspiring.

So I after I did my best to capture the rare big blue butterfly adorning my big orange marigolds, I looked over at the pajama-ed, bike-riding gifts that are my children.  And I thanked God for them.  Then later, I cuddled with them while watching the movie that we recorded last week while they were in school.

And when we put them to bed after a late-evening snack, I praised my Creator for the awe-inspiring moments that He ordained for me today.  Right there in the mundane of living my life.  And then I thanked Him for the big blue butterfly and the truth He chose to reveal to me because of it.

I'm linking up with Emily today.  Because that is what Tuesdays are all about over there.
tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Vigilance

It's a day off here at our house.  Labor Day.  Sadly, I've never really been entirely sure what that exactly means. I do know, however, what it means for me.  It means my hubby doesn't have to go to work, my kids are home from school, and we get to have a family day at home!  In honor of that, and of my vigilant commitment to my husband and my marriage, I am spending today with my family.

I'm going to enjoy of them.  Vigilantly.

Create your own banner at!How about you?  How are you choosing to be vigilantly committed in your marriage today?

Why not link up and let us know?  Don't forget to add the little button so your readers can come back here and get more encouragement for their own marriages.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

As It Turns Out

As it turns out, I didn’t screw up God’s plan 20 years ago in high school when I made so many poor choices. (Because, as it turns out, His plan always prevails.)

As it turns out, my husband was right. Again.

As it turns out, playing Smash Brothers with my kids is actually really fun.

As it turns out, I can still be a pretty good mom even when my kids are in school all day.

As it turns out, it’s not all about me.

As it turns out, I am allergic to bee stings.

And, as it turns out, I am brave enough to give myself a shot of adrenaline if needed.

As it turns out 38 is really not that old.

As it turns out, a tweet is alot different than a facebook status update.

As it turns out, it’s your turn.

Go ahead, play along. It’s fun . . .
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