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I wanted to talk to you about something special and important today. Valentine’s Day is HERE!!! When I think of Valentine’s Day

I think of the heart

Doesn’t the heart of every woman want to feel cherished, valued, and deeply loved? Don’t you want to know, without a doubt, that your husband thinks you are beautiful?

For many woman, Valentine’s Day is a day of dashing hopes, disappointed hearts and broken expectations.  Here in Boonsville, we are always calving when Valentine’s Day comes. This means we can’t leave the ranch and we’ve been up several times in the night, for weeks already. We’re exhausted.  There is no energy for romance.

For many years it was a long fall from my expectations on Valentine’s Day, to reality.

I began to pray

I prayed that God would reveal  romance to me. I prayed that He would show me the heart of my husband.

My mind went back to the day I was hurriedly cooking supper, which was late. The kids were hungry, the house was in disarray.  In walked my husband after a refreshing walk, with one single flower in hand. It was a Lady’s Slipper, a delicate orchid like flower that grows on the forest floor…named for its appearance.  This delicate flower looks like the slipper of a tiny forest princess.  Exasperated and harried, I put it in water and set it on the counter.

A whispering breeze…You are beautiful

 

Now I thought back to the time I was busy with schooling the children. Desperately concentrating on the mathematical mayhem before me, frustration building…

“Want to go for a walk?” he asks. “The sun is shining.” He smiles at me.

A loving hug, a warm whisper…You are my sun.
You are worthy of my time. I adore you.

 

I remembered the day I was picking up socks and gathering laundry when he gave me the smile; and shut the bedroom door.  Thinking to myself (but thankfully not speaking it), “ARE you kidding? Have you seen the pile of laundry out there?!”

A sweet embrace…I am enraptured by your love, entranced by your beauty.

 

Sometimes we miss the romance in the busy-ness of our day as Wife and Mom. Supper can wait. Math won’t go away. Laundry will still be there.
The world won’t fall.

Take the time to embrace those moments.
Appreciate the romance in them.
Pray to hear the heart of your love.

My husband is sweet and thoughtful and thinks of all kinds of little details everyday to make me feel loved.  Don’t allow expectations to steal your joy on February 14th. It is not about the day.

It’s about the heart

I know that in my husband’s eyes, I am beautiful, valuable, and worthy of his time and affections…that he is enraptured with my love.

Solomon 1:14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blooms

In the vineyards of En Gedi

I know that my husband’s heart walks with mine

So, From My Heart To Yours – everyday, may the heart of romance wrap around you, and your marriage, like the gardens of En Gedi.

You might also like today’s post on Valentine’s Day over at Evangel Chapel’s site…go check it out!~

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Ruminating over rumors; one of two camps:

  1. Aren’t married people supposed to be boring and bored to death in marriage?
  2. How could you keep a marriage alive without romance, and constant adventure?

I have been asked both of these questions recently. Usually there is a lot more behind the question and it deserves more than a quick and thoughtless answer!  I’ve learned not to answer with haste but to take some time to pray about it before jumping into these types of conversations.

The whole thing has me thinking about what people really believe about marriage and upon what foundation their beliefs originate.  Media would have us believe that we can’t survive without “romantic love” as portrayed in romance novels, TV programs, movies and the likes. I feel confident assuring you that these things have nothing to do with marriage (or real life in any way).  Do you know that romanticism, as such, was unknown to the ancients.  The idea of passion, excitement and fulfillment in marriage didn’t enter the scene or become popular until the end of the eleventh century and certainly not to the scale we see today.  The expectation that we can survive on romance or romantic feelings alone, has wrecked many a marriage!

But does that mean that romance doesn’t exist in marriage?  What does “in love” really mean?  I wonder if we sometimes confuse romantic love and mature love? There is quite a difference.

Romantic love has no elasticity to it. It can never be stretched; it simply shatters. Mature love, the kind demanded of a good marriage, must stretch. – Gary Thomas

Any mature, spiritually sensitive marriage must be built on the foundation of mature love rather than romantic love.  Love is more than a feeling – it’s a choice.  Marriage could be one of the most powerful and toughest ministries you will ever enter into.  But when you find mature love, you want to laugh together, you want time for romance, you want to serve one another and sacrifice for one another and you realize that the marriage bed is holy and beautiful. In the book Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas poses the question “What if God designed marriage to make us Holy more than Happy?”  Marriage causes us to confront our selfishness and to draw closer to God.

I believe that much of the dissatisfaction we experience in marriage has much to do with the fact that we expect too much from it.

As believers we have a deep ache in our souls for intimacy with the Father. All too often we try to fill that ache with worldly things, worldly views and we try to force our husbands (or wives) to be our everything and fill this when the truth is, only God can do that job!

When our relationship with the Lord is right, our marriages will be right because we understand God’s design for marriage and His heart for us.

Living within the CONFINES of romantic love

is NOT His heart for us.  When we seek to put God first in our marriages, we grow in mature love that is fun, exciting, full of romance at times and at other times challenging, sometimes heartbreaking…

Mountains and valleys.

Elasticity.

Growth in the pursuit of HOLINESS.

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I wanted to talk to you about something special and important today. When I think of Valentine’s Day

I think of the heart

Doesn’t the heart of every woman want to feel cherished, valued, and deeply loved? Don’t you want to know, without a doubt, that your husband thinks you are beautiful?

For many woman, Valentine’s Day is a day of dashing hopes, disappointed hearts and broken expectations.  Here in Boonsville, we are always calving when Valentine’s Day comes. This means we can’t leave the ranch and we’ve been up several times in the night, for weeks already. We’re exhausted.  There is no energy for romance.

For many years it was a long fall from my expectations on Valentine’s Day, to reality.

I began to pray

I prayed that God would reveal  romance to me. I prayed that He would show me the heart of my husband.

My mind went back to the day I was hurriedly cooking supper, which was late. The kids were hungry, the house was in disarray.  In walked my husband after a refreshing walk, with one single flower in hand. It was a Lady’s Slipper, a delicate orchid like flower that grows on the forest floor…named for its appearance.  This delicate flower looks like the slipper of a tiny forest princess.  Exasperated and harried, I put it in water and set it on the counter.

A whispering breeze…You are beautiful

 

Now I thought back to the time I was busy with schooling the children. Desperately concentrating on the mathematical mayhem before me, frustration building…

“Want to go for a walk?” he asks. “The sun is shining.”

He smiles at me.

A loving hug, a warm whisper…You are my sun. You are worthy of my time. I adore you.

 

I remembered the day I was picking up socks and gathering laundry when he gave me the smile; and shut the bedroom door.  Thinking to myself (but thankfully not speaking it), “ARE you kidding? Have you seen the pile of laundry out there?!”

A sweet embrace…I am enraptured by your love, entranced by your beauty.

 

Sometimes we miss the romance in the busy-ness of our day as Wife and Mom. Supper can wait. Math won’t go away. Laundry will still be there. The world won’t fall.

Take the time to embrace those moments. Appreciate the romance in them. Pray to hear the heart of your love.

My husband is sweet and thoughtful and thinks of all kinds of little details everyday to make me feel loved.  Don’t allow expectations to steal your joy on February 14th. It is not about the day.

It’s about the heart

I know that in my husband’s eyes, I am beautiful, valuable, and worthy of his time and affections…that he is enraptured with my love.

Solomon 1:14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blooms

In the vineyards of En Gedi

I know that my husband’s heart walks with mine

So, From My Heart To Yours – everyday, may the heart of romance wrap around you, and your marriage, like the gardens of En Gedi.

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Do men change men?

Mr. Handsome and I were having coffee this morning; it’s something we purpose to do.  When we had our first baby we decided that we needed to guard our love so we committed to being “husband and wife” for at least ONE COFFEE before we went into the baby’s room to get him.  This became even more important as life got busy and we had more children. Even now, they don’t come out of their rooms until “Mom and Dad have been husband and wife for one coffee!” : )
This morning I  ask him…Do men change men?

I’ve discovered something, women change women!

THAT is the reason we have to be thoughtful and careful about whom we choose to share ourselves with!  Women really do change one another.  If the friends you spend time with are negative and constantly complaining about their husbands, guess how you’ll be feeling about yours?!  Don’t get me wrong, that does not mean we only spend times with people who are always up and cheerful. Goodness knows that isn’t really possible.  But if you are struggling in your marriage, the best thing to do is find someone who isn’t and spend as much time with them as you can, as a couple if possible.  If you are having a hard time with your teen, find someone who’s been through it, who has wisdom to offer and seek it!

I have this beautiful friend who was recently here visiting with her family…we had such a lovely time together. We cooked together, laughed together, and truly shared our hearts. We’re meant to impact one another; and believe me friends, we do!  I love how this friend is willing to embark on this grand journey she’s taking and how she loves her husband, and adores her kids.  I love that she encourages me, prays for me, walks with me.  I love that when she comes, I am filled with excitement and when she leaves I feel refreshed and truly thankful for her friendship (and family).

“Sure, I think men change men.” Mr. Handsome replies, “It’s not as obvious as it is with women because the dynamics are different but it can happen, all the same.”

I want to challenge you a little, dear readers.  We all have times when we need others to pour into us and walk along side us.  It’s important to allow others to do that. But we need to be purposeful about pouring into others also.  No matter where  you are in life, there is something you can give.
A gift doesn’t have to be something you buy.

Spend yourselves wisely dear friends!
Everything you give and take has an impact on someone!

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of being with a friend and hearing her heart…some of her story.  As she shared, my heart broke for what she and her family have been through. The truth is, I feel so angry at the way the enemy ensnares us. He is like a roaring lion, roaming and prowling to find someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8)! 

He hates families. 

One of my mentors told me once that the enemy begins when we’re small children – to try with everything he’s got to separate us from our own hearts and then from the heart of God.  He does this by making us believe that we’re worthless, that we’re ugly, that we’re designed to fail – we’ll never be good enough, unlovable.  He feeds us lies as children which are reinforced as we grow…if he can make us hate ourselves, lose trust in our own hearts, in others and especially in God – then he knows he’s destroyed the bud before it blossoms, the cocoon before the butterfly.  When it’s just you and God, no one is watching and all your guards and masks are off – have you allowed the enemy to separate you from your heart?  Have you believed the lies he has fed you since childhood – that you have to be good, perfect maybe even, that you’re not worthy of love, that you’re too far gone, scarred beyond repair – that you’ve sinned so much that you’ll never fit in the Father’s hands again?

When I was at kids camp a few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to speak into the heart of a lovely young girl.  As we talked and I shared how precious she was in the eyes of the Father, she was looking down at her hands, her eyes filled with shame and I said, “What do you see in your palm?”  She said nothing. “Do you know that Isaiah 49:15-16 says that your name is etched on the palm of God’s hand?  How many times a day do you think you look at your hands?” I ask.  Her face brightened up, “Hundreds of times.”  I said, “Well then you know that every single time God looks at His palms, hundreds of times a day, He sees your name and His heart leaps with Joy!” 

Nothing is so big that you’ll never fit in the Father’s hands again…

When we allow our thoughts to go to that place of ugliness, and we listen to the lies of the one who seeks to devour, our hearts are separated from the heart of God. How He weeps for us and longs for us to submit our everything to Him.  He IS love. He IS peace.

As I listened to my friend share, yes I was angry with righteous anger, but also my heart was blessed by the ways that God has transformed their lives, their marriage.  He fights for us; Exodus 14:14 and Deuteronomy 3:22!
His heart is for us, never against us.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

To my friend, Miss H – May you wear the Crown of Promise and go before Him with boldness.

Beloved you are…

 

 

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When I was small, I didn’t know other families were different from mine.  My parents were perfect (giggle), my life was wonderful.  As I grew into a teenager, I began to realize we were aliens…no one else was like us.  I had such an appreciation for my family as I saw what others seemed to be going through.  When I got married I wanted to do things the way MY family did them…because of course, that was the only way 😉  I remember our first Christmas as husband & wife – it was my first time away my family on Christmas Day.  As we drove out here to Boonsville Christmas morning, I was literally so homesick for my family that I threw up the entire 2 hours out here from town.  It’s not that I didn’t want to be with Mr. Handsome’s family – it’s just that I couldn’t see another way of doing things and I missed my family.  Of course, the two families don’t have the same traditions and they don’t do things the same way.

It was time for Mr. Handsome & I to make our own traditions, to find our own way.

But it was so hard for me to let go and follow my husband – to find our own way.  I still wanted to cling to the comfort of the way I grew up.  I still believed my family was perfect, my parents were perfect, the way they did things was the only way…

Then we had kids.  If we had a hard time blending two ways of life before – add a hurricane and start all over! 

Suddenly I started to think about my perfect family and my perfect parents and I started remembering all of the ways I’d felt hurt over my life…I was devastated to realize that my family wasn’t perfect.  I don’t know if it was the hormones or all the time I had on my hands with a new baby at home (not working for the first time in my life) or what, but it hit me

…my perfect life was sort of a made up lie

Oh how the enemy loves to feed us lies that can destroy us, especially children, so that he can use them against us later.  I’m being totally honest here – as young parents don’t we all think about the things that hurt us as children and determine NEVER to allow that for our kids?!  I’ll readily admit that the pendulum probably swung, at this point, far to the other side. (thank you for your patience with me at this time Mom and Dad…)

I guess the funny thing about life is…
that I am really beginning to realize that no one is perfect. At some point in our lives – even in a wonderful family like mine – we all get missed sometimes.  We all endure hurts from siblings, from our parents who are trying to do the best they can while they deal with their own lives too, from friends, from neighbors even…there is pain there.

What do we do with it?!

I met the most amazing woman while at my course.  She had a great family, a good life. I asked her what she did with the pain of being missed in some ways and her answer:
I don’t think about it. 
The trouble is, it doesn’t go away just because we refuse to think about it.  It is these things, these unmet needs and undealt-with hurts that separate us from God – from the fullness of what God has for us.  If there was something that separated you from your children, wouldn’t you do all you could to communicate the depth of your love for them so that you could work through it?

The funny thing about life is – that we start out thinking life is one way – maybe even perfect…then we get out there & we realize the expanse of that Big Ol’ World. We realize life isn’t just one way.  There are lots of paths we could take, choices we could make.  We start to see our parents as people, not just parents.  We begin to see the ways that others struggle and their responses to life (to people) because of those struggles…and if we’re willing – this is when we can make the choice to move out of being self-centered and into being other-centered. Now don’t hear me wrong – I’m not speaking of self-centered in the way the world uses that term. By self-centered I mean only opening your eyes far enough to see your own little circle – how things affect you (and maybe even your immediate family); how they make you feel and react.  By other-centered I do not mean to think of others before yourselves – I do not believe this is a godly principal. What I mean is the willingness to look and truly see what others are walking through, having compassion and the willingness to offer grace.

The funny thing about life is, it’s not perfect.

It’s a mystery.

Embrace the mystery of life, knowing that everything does NOT lay on your shoulders.
You are not master of your own universe and you don’t have to manage your life.

Just be there. Live it. Love it. Learn the art of Thankfulness and Contentment.

 

And most importantly –

share it! 

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When Anger Blooms…

It’s the heart of winter here in Northern Canada and as I walk out, all bundled up, to check the cows (it’s calving season here), I am dreaming of all things green.  I close my eyes and I can feel my hands, deep in the cool dirt, the warmth of the sun on my back – as I play in my gardens.  

Years ago, I found this beautiful little pink flower in the nursery and I brought it home and lovingly planted it in my favorite flowerbed in the front. 

Over the years, I’ve tended to it, nutured it but I began to realize something about this pretty little Pink…it was spreading.  Last year my beautiful bed was nearly over run with it.  I decided I would have to dig up the little beauty and do away with it…I dug. And dug. And dug. Do you know what I found? 

I found roots.

Tiny little hair-like roots with fingers spreading in all directions.  These roots were often hard to spot, they were so tiny.

Isn’t anger a little like that?  It starts off so small, maybe a tiny incident that we choose to overlook or even hide – and soon enough it has roots.  And those roots are hard to spot and even harder to weed out. They spread over your entire garden…but worse dear friends, soon enough this pesky little flower becomes a weed and it spreads into the gardens of the ones we love the most!  It’s fingers reach into the garden of our husband and roots begin to grow in our marriages.  It reaches to the gardens of our beloved babes and begins to bloom in their gardens. Maybe they don’t notice it at first, it seems harmless enough…pretty even.  Maybe it helps them get things out at first.  But soon, anger blooms and over runs their gardens too.  As a Mama, nothing hurts worse than seeing something you struggle with in your own garden, cropping up in the gardens of the ones most precious.

I don’t think I’ve really given anger the thought it deserves, or realized the power it has to crush.
It’s not that anger is a sin…it’s what we do with it that makes it sinful.  When we allow it grow and gain a foothold and an entire root system, oh friends, this is when it gets so hard to contain ~ harder yet to weed out.

What is in your garden? 

“Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit which is not only bad in itself but can also poison the lives of many others.”   
(Hebrews 12:15, J.B. Philips New Testament)

**You might also like this post on Emotions (anger) in our children, or this on anger in our marriages, or The Garden of Your Marriage.

 

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