Shouldering the Weight of God-Sized Dreams

Day 11, Five Minute Prompt: SKY

We had been carried by cable car 8,000 feet above the city we’ve spent a year and a half falling in love with.   Removed from the startling sounds of city life, we stood in awe of the beauty of our home abroad.

I chased my children around, avoiding falls down the side of a mountain because I’m a good mom like that. I watched my husband from afar as he gazed across the Valley. I sensed what he was up to. He was praying, strategizing how to reach this country with the gospel.

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Up in the clouds, he was dreaming bigger-than-blue-sky dreams. The God who made the peak we stood on made his heart just big enough to hold them. But the thing about God-sized dreams is they can get rather heavy.

I peer across the Valley, and I see smog and earthquake damage, countless people carrying tremendous burdens. I am overwhelmed at the task ahead and shake my head at these far-fetched plans. It can’t be done.

I remember that Jesus asked His followers to evangelize the whole world. They stood looking into heaven, waiting for Christ’s return when two angels rebuked them to get to work on this impossible task (Acts 1:10-11).

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I can stand here, holding my husband’s hand, admiring his God-sized dream and waiting for the Lord to come relieve the weight of its burden. Or I can keep the pace of feet chasing the impossible, shouldering the weight of the burden as we inch closer to completion.

Living the Golden Rule is simple on this one because, being one with my husband, this dream occupies my heart, too. On my end, there is so much fear and insecurity that threatens the success of these dreams. My heart is so frail, and I think it might burst from the burden of this work. I surrender it to the only One who proved on the Cross his ability to carry it. There’s a peace that this is the best way to help.

I rally my kids and sneak a second next to my man whose brow remains furrowed. I squeeze him around the waist and thank God for the super-size dream we share. We take in the magnitude of it all until my toddler gets that look in his eye. He’s about to stray from the protected path and plummet down this mountain. Better stop staring and get back to my job.

*No children were harmed in the making of this dream.

Do you and your husband have God-sized dreams?
What is your role in seeing them through?

Talk to me in the comment section!

linking up: Coffee for Your Heart , Tell His Story

A “Thank You” That Means Something

Day 11, Five Minute Prompt: THANKS

The Didi at the coffee shop giggles and mocks me when I thank her for my caramel latte. The taxi driver shrugs his shoulders when I hop out of his taxi with a cheerful Dhanyavaad and the handful of bills he required. Even my neighbors visibly signal their dislike for my habit of voicing gratitude. After all, aren’t neighbors supposed to look after each other?

Saying “thank you” for every little tiny thing is largely an aspect of American culture. Many times A few times, I have laughed at myself for thanking the officer who so generously gave me a speeding ticket.

In my excessive expressing of gratitude, however, the phrase has lost its meaning. I thank my husband for passing the milk, but so rarely do I say “Thank you for paying the electricity bill” (which is no small feat here) or “Thank you for helping our daughter learn to read.”

Even less do I say, “Thank you for making time for our family, or “Thank you for your faithfulness to me.” Every day, meaningless thanks roll off my tongue but the taste of these words is new and strange.

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I think of the times I have felt overworked and under appreciated after a 12 hour shift with life-sucking toddlers. Arms around my waist and a “thank you” whispered in my ear turn me from stiff and sour to putty in his hands. I leave the work undone to melt into my husband’s side and wind down the day with too many words exchanged on a juice-splattered sofa.

Living the Golden Rule, I express gratitude for the sacrifices he makes. He is constantly balancing the pressures of work/ministry/family. I see his shoulders relax. As a man who relentlessly strives to excel in all areas, he needs reassurance that he’s the only one that thinks he’s dropping the ball.

Sure, he has responsibilities, and he is man enough to do them without a pat on the back. We are family, and appreciation goes without saying. But why should it?

Has “Thank You” lost its meaning in your marriage?
In what special way can you express gratitude to your spouse today?

Talk to me in the comment section!

Post-It-Note Your Feelings, Please

Day 9, Five Minute Prompt: POST-IT

Chance.

At the beginning of our fund-raising phase of our missions endeavors, we met with a group of missionaries to talk marriage in the throes of ministry. We were asked to jot down questions and submit them to the leadership to be addressed during our sessions.

Though it was meant to be private who asked each question, the shade of my cheeks was giving it away.

“How can I help my husband through difficult times if he never shares anything with me?”

Concern.

We had little to show for the hours he spent on the phone and the thousands of miles we logged on our minivan visiting each potential supporter. In attempt to protect me, he had not disclosed his fears about the road we continued trucking along despite the overwhelming obstacles we maneuvered along the way.

I admired his care for me, but I felt alone in the work we were doing together. I wished he would just wear a post-it note on his head revealing his feelings.

Challenged.

We were encouraged to share more openly which is what I hoped he he would hear (I was rather in the habit of pouring out my heart). But I was challenged to love him in the silence, ministering to him in the ways I know bless him.

I was urged to trust him and follow him even when it seems I’m clutching his hand in the dark. At the same time, however, I would remain on my knees before the Lord asking Him to guide my man and make known to me how to help him on his mission.

If I expect him to submit to the Lord as he leads our family, living the Golden Rule, I must also submit to the Lord’s work in my family. I must trust that, ultimately, He is the one who leads the way and that He will direct us as we strive to do His will around the world.

Changed.

I learned to minister to my husband even when I’m left out of his world. Our marriage blossomed even in these difficult times, and, eventually, so did our financial support. I thank God for how this has changed our life and ministry on the foreign field.

Even still, the post-it would be helpful.

Do you feel left in the dark in your marriage?
How can you minister to your husband today?

Talk to me in the comment section!

 

 

Humility: My First Move in the Fight for my Marriage

Day 8, Five Minute Prompt: MOVE

I accidentally mixed up prompts 15 & 8, but in the spirit of giving myself grace and not scrapping a perfectly good post, I’m just swapping them. Anyway, I keep thinking maybe someone needs this like I do…

We are both stubborn. When the words begin to raise the temperature in the room, neither side is quick to concede to cooling it. He is better at sticking to his guns than I am. I usually forget what I wanted in the first place, but I still want to win, so I keep talking in circles.

I have met people who claim they have never had a fight with their spouse which leads me to believe one of two things:

1) They never talk

2) They have a different definition of the word “fight” than I do.

When a disagreement arises, so does an opportunity to show a tremendous level of respect for my husband. I can keep digging a deeper hole of hurt to bury him in, or I can choose humility before we go too far down our lists of grievances and end up knee-deep in regret.

I forget that we are on the same team. We fight for wholeness and happiness in our marriage, of course, but we also fight for the testimony of the work of Jesus in our lives.

Humility is so rarely my first move. Remembering the Christ that moved towards me in complete disregard of Himself, I am convinced it needs to be. I do quite enjoy being right, but I enjoy being right with my husband and portraying a right picture of the One we represent much more.

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it
(1 Peter 3:8-11).
Do you need to make humility your first move?

Let’s get a conversation about the Golden Rule in our marriages going!

 

The Test He’s Sure to Fail: Does He Really Love Me?

Day 7, Five Minute Prompt: TEST

He loves me…

He loves me not…

He loves me…

Pig-tails hang over slumped shoulders as a girl in a smocked dress rehearses the game she learned so young. She picks silky petals off spring blooms. One special boy in mind, fate is left to an odd or even number..

I’ve grown past this game, but I’m afraid I still bounce back and forth between “He loves me” and “He loves me not.” It’s not that I didn’t believe my vows or trust my husband’s word to be true. It’s just that tangible affections are affirming.

However, when I test my husband’s love on the teetering scale of my emotions, I set him up for certain failure.

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The acts of love must be lovelier. The gestures more and more grand. Not only does he have to measure up to my own lofty expectations, but he also has to compete with every husband represented by women live-tweeting their love.

Pondering the Golden Rule, I sense how unfair such a test is. I wouldn’t want him to measure my love based on today’s mood, especially since I have a cold and my kids hate sleep. I could not even handle thinking that my husband’s head would hit his pillow with any doubt left that he is deeply loved.

I tell myself what I already know: He loves me. He chose me. And I open my eyes to all the ways he shows me. What causes this doubt that I am loved and accepted? It starts between me and the God who made me and it seeps into the seams of my marriage.

God’s love for me has been tested and found to be 100% true. While my husband will never earn perfect marks, I can give him a break because I don’t need proof that I am loved. I find that in the pages of my Bible and in countless evidences of grace in my life. Everything beyond that is the sweetest bonus.

Are you constantly searching for affirmation that you are loved?
Rest in the 100% surety that you are loved today!

Fresh Market FridayFive Minute Friday is where I’m linking up today!