It Doesn’t Always Feel Natural to Nurture [Day 10: listen]

“Mom. Mom. Mom. Mooooom!” This is the soundtrack of my life it seems. I remember when I was young hearing my mom say she wished she could change her name. I never understood that joke until it leaped out of my own mouth. “Just-a-minute” and “go play” seem to always be on my lips. The world pulls my heart away from motherhood and makes me feel like I’m not measuring up to what it means to be a modern woman in a million different ways.

The big dreams of motherhood can certainly feel far away. I often think way down the road to graduations and wedding days, but there are thousands of days between then and now. And right now, there’s an almost 6-year-old who desperately needs to know why you can see the moon this morning.

What I fail to realize when she seems to do nothing but chatter is that she’s listening, too. And she’s watching. She’s learning from me. She’s finding her way in this world, and she needs my help to navigate it all. Though most of it seems of no importance to me, it appears they are life and death to her.

I think we moms tend to forget that this is what we wanted — to be needed and to nurture. Perhaps we just didn’t expect to be on call for these jobs all. the. time. We forget, too, that we were created to do this. Perhaps we can’t see past our inadequacies to sense this may be true.

My daughter doesn’t know I don’t feel completely prepared — she just knows she needs me. She has a million questions, and I’m her most trusted resource. My daughter needs me to help her find her way to graduation and her wedding day. Baby girl is in a hurry, too! Just the other day, she was crying in a taxi asking me why God won’t tell her who she’s going to marry right now. Someone tell this girl she’s only 5!

Yes, this is what I wanted. It’s wrapped up in tears and drama, and maybe I wasn’t expecting that. Even when I wish I wasn’t, I am needed. I am called out of my self to nurture. Though I was created to do this, it doesn’t always feel natural to nurture. It’s in these moments I see my own desperate need for God’s grace in my life. Yes, I was created to do this — but not without help.

I wonder if Timothy’s mom had these days where she wanted to change her name. Did the future preacher ever get under her skin or inspire after-bed-time sobs on her pillow? We don’t get a glimpse into those days because all the Bible tells us is that Timothy was a great, godly man and it was much thanks to his mama and grand-mama and their unfeigned faith.

If it is my prayer to raise world-changers, I have to be present in their worlds today. I listen and lead and, above all, I pray. I give them over to the God who has the power to change them as I do the work on the ground of molding little hearts. To do that, I have to have real faith like Timothy’s mama. I have to believe God is who He says He is and that He will show up in their lives and mine as we figure this whole thing out together. When I realize the significance of this title I’ve taken, I don’t want to change my name anymore.

 

How do you feel about your title today?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

It Helps to have a Plan [Day 9: plan]

This past week, focusing on celebrating small in my marriage has been really convicting for me. It seems I have A LOT of work to do to re-train myself to purposefully praise, embody true love, treasure all parts of our story, cherish my spouse, and safeguard my marriage. If I’m honest, it all seems a little overwhelming to me which is a shame because the whole point of celebrating small in my marriage is defying discouragement and finding joy in each leg of our journey together.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be able to combat overwhelm if I have a plan. So here is my plan to celebrate small.

P: Praise God for the sanctifying work He does in marriage.
L: Love each other through failures and disappointments.
A: Ask God to reveal His hand at work in my marriage.
N: Nurture harmony by dreaming big and celebrating small as one.

When our big dreams become nothing but a blur in the distance, we go back to the blueprint. We trust the Lord will work out the details as we follow Him. The beauty of following this plan is that it benefits us today by allowing us to increase in boldness and strength for the journey and — whether we realize it or not — it gets us closer to those big dreams of ours.

 

What does your plan look like?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

To Have and To Hold [Day 7: hold]

My husband and I had a hard time getting used to sleeping in the same bed. The first night we slept as husband and wife, I woke up on the opposite side than the one I fell asleep on without memory of how I got there. We would recount stories of what the other spoke out loud while they were in a REM cycle each morning. Of course, it didn’t take too long to get used to, and we were certain that it was worth it. I had that star-struck-love thing where I really did wake up grateful that he was there and so supremely blessed to be his wife after all this time of waiting.

We said the traditional vows which included the words “to have and to hold from this day forward.” It was a pledge in the true sense of the word to respect our vows and cherish each other. The have is the keeping, the showing up every day in our marriage. The hold is something else entirely. It is not careless as it knows the value of what is in its clutch. And it is careful not too cling too tightly lest the great prize be broken.

I can have the have without having the hold — this is how starry-eyed lovers become considerate roommates. When I celebrate small, I praise God for the precious gift of a partner to navigate life with. I see God’s loving kindness in a man who truly tries to understand me and comforts me on the days where the enemy delivers some serious blows. I don’t ask from him what I can only receive from the One who knows me best. I trust him, assuming the best of him and supporting the dreams and desires of his heart.

The hold doesn’t look around at all the other things it could have instead of what is in its possession because it can’t break its gaze with the precious gem in its grip. It admires, seeing all of the fabulous features and none of the flaws. When I celebrate small, I don’t ponder what I could have or what I may be able to get. Envy doesn’t come easy when I gratefully gaze at what I’ve got.

When I see my husband for the gift he is from a good Father, I wake up grateful again. He’s not just a person who steals the sheets and sets his alarm more early than I’d like. He’s a man who has chosen to live his life with me in it, who trusts me to care for his children, and allows me to share in his big dreams coming true. It is an honor. I will cherish it –and him — forever.

How can you cherish your spouse today?

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Small Beginnings and Broken Parts [Day 6: story]

Five Minute Friday: STORY

00:00

Our story started small. He would save me three minutes of walking by driving me from the high-school to the elementary school where I would get my ride home. We talked and laughed and tried not to be awkward, but there was always something special between us which grew slowly but steadily. Struggles and temptations threatened the friendship forged through a time of great personal change and growth. Though it all seemed small and even a little silly — I was 15! — it’s actually a testimony of God’s grace in our lives.

In our 8 years of marriage, we’ve had three babies — one who left us much too soon — traveled all over the US and moved across the world together. We’ve had struggles and temptations of different sorts, but God has been faithful. A dear friend reminded me, recently that no one is immune to sin and struggle. Each day of peace and each victory in our marriage comes by God’s grace alone. I praise God that he has re-written a painful story for this particular friend by mending her broken marriage. It is such a powerful reminder to me that God writes our story. When we celebrate small, we praise God for his steady hand in our marriage when trials and temptations rock the boat. We accept our fault when our story takes a turn in the wrong direction, but we beg for and bask in His saving power that doesn’t stop at sinful souls.

05:00 (free- write over but can’t stop now!)

When I can’t even grasp at what He must be up to, I trust that the author of salvation is doing what He does best — acting redemptively on my behalf, saving me from myself as I try to follow and honor Him in my marriage. I reflect on the small beginnings, and I have cause to celebrate — he brought two silly, confused teens through the turmoils of high-school and a long-distance relationship, matured them together in Christ, and set them out in service to Him. Truly, a beautiful story that is just beginning.

I don’t know the story of your marriage. You may be wading through a dull chapter or one you just wish would end already. But I do know that God is at work, and there is good to be read between the lines if only in the character of Christ alone. I pray that He will give you strength to continue walking in the story He has for you, and I ask that He will give you the happily ever after you’ve always dreamed of. It is with a grateful heart I share my story and that of my friend with you now — proof that small beginnings and broken parts can be used for our good and God’s glory. May we praise Him for the whole story.

 

How do you see God’s hand in your small beginnings and broken parts?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

True Love Trusts [Day 5: trust]

I love those little videos with the lovely elderly couples that have spent decades laughing with each other and loving each other. They always seem to have witty words of wisdom that melt your heart and kick your pants at the same time. Truly, they are #relationshipgoals. I want to be those people down the road — who wouldn’t? They get begged for their secrets to a happy marriage and their answers vary. One of my favorites is: “Always let her eat the last piece of cake!” That is advice I can get behind!

But the Bible offers even sweeter instruction.

Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

True love celebrates small
True love trusts that God is working in the heart of the one she loves.
True love praises the good she sees in him.
True love rejoices when he is walking with God and gets on her knees before the throne when he isn’t.
True love bears the bad days without blabbing her dissatisfaction to her besties.
True love believes the best about her partner.
True love holds high hopes when others have lost confidence.
True love endures when the dreams feel like nothing but a fairytale and the day at hand is rather dull.
True love looks hard in the face and says, “There is good here.”
True love celebrates small.

I want to love my husband well — to be true love in all these ways to him. When I hold myself to this Biblical standard, I am ashamed at all the ways I fall short, but celebrating small sounds like something I can do. I can trust God is working in my marriage and in the heart of my husband. I can trust that as he follows the Lord, he won’t lead our family in a way we shouldn’t go — and if he does,  I trust the Lord will redirect us. It’s a little scary putting your life into someone else’s hands — but true love trusts. True love trusts her spouse — but even more, true love trusts the God who gave him to her.

This life we lead is not promised to be a piece of cake, but I can add as much sweetness as I’m willing to contribute. My name may never be synonymous with true love, but it’s certainly something to strive for. Striving to celebrate doesn’t sound half bad. I think I’ll celebrate with that last piece of cake he better have saved for me or I might re-think this whole thing. Told you I had I long way to go!

How can you be true love to your spouse?

Talk to me in the comment section below!