family

Empty Nest…

I always wondered what an empty nest would feel like. Now that my husband and I are in the midst of this new experience, I have had many emotions ranging from happiness on one end of the spectrum to sadness on the other end.

I knew this day was coming and we have obviously known for sometime. But it really didn’t hit me until I came around the corner near our house and I fully understood that no more kids would be waiting our return. I got teary eyed as we came around the bend. I knew I wouldn’t be greeted with a smile from any of our children.

As we make this new transition, some things have been great-like less dishes in the sink and our grocery bill has gone down considerably. Our daughter, Storm, who lives next door to us and does grace us with her presence every now and then has been able to eat dinner with us on occasion and it’s been wonderful having the three of us share a more intimate time together. So, are we true empty nesters if one of our kids lives next door? Probably not in the true sense of the meaning, but we are still going through a transitional phase.

The wonderful part is that my husband and I have always been best friends and we aren’t having to get to know each other again, which is what happens to so many couples. We are just continuing to live life, talk, reminisce, make new memories together, and become closer because we truly have one another to lean on.

The end of the school year is upon us and being a teacher, I am looking forward to summer. Please don’t get me wrong, I enjoy teaching very much and love all my students. However, it has been a crazy few months for us and part of me just wants to rest and love on the people that God has currently in my life.

I find myself thinking, did we prepare our kids for the real world? Are they ready to take flight? We tried to protect and nurture our children, while not having them live in a bubble. They experienced hear-ache and the sinful nature of man. They had some tough times. On many occasions I had to ask forgiveness because of my bad, freshly attitude. So again, I ask, “Are they ready?” Maybe. Maybe Not. What I do know is that God is bigger than our mistakes. I can rest in His assurance that His Word doesn’t return void. (Isaiah 55:11) Will they struggle? I guarantee it. Will God see them through? Absolutely!

So, here’s to my BFF husband, relaxation, ministry, and ever growing friendship and prayers for my adult children!

Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. (ESV)

homesteading

Got Salve?

I had the joy of doing something that I enjoy very much! I was able to make some Healing Honey Balm.

We all have passions in life and mine has become making salves, lotions, lip balm, and soap. Before we moved to Mexico, I had a small business selling my creations. However, after we moved it was difficult to get the supplies and my time has been taken up with teaching and planning for school. Now that summer is fast approaching, I hope to set more time aside and continue this hobby.

I love reading scripture that talk about different oils and herbs. Gleaning the knowledge that the Bible has, I have learned much about olive oil, frankincense, myrrh, milk, and many other natural things with healing properties.

My salve consists of unrefined beeswax, olive oil infused with lavender and calendula, almond oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E oil. We use it to moisturize, stop itching from mosquito bites, rashes, and some people use it on psoriasis with great results.

Thank you Lord for giving us an abundance of things in your creation to help our body, mind, and soul.

“After she (Esther) had been purified twelve months, according to the law of the women (for so the days of their anointing were done, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odors, and with the perfumes of the women).

marriage

The Two Shall Become One

Our daughter is married!!! Thank you to all who helped to make this day happen, we couldn’t have done it without you!

God seems to bring us full circle to places that we have lived before. This time, he took us back to Julian, CA where we truly learned the message of grace in the Bible.

It was so great to be there among old friends and memories. Setting up for the wedding, I had many emotions that surfaced. I looked across and saw the pool where our son was baptized. I saw the place where my husband taught his first sermon about the dead lifeless moon reflecting the sun and as a result, shines for all to see. Lastly, I remembered our daughter, Sarah asking Jesus into her heart when she was only three years old, by Lake Cuyamaca.

It was a wonderful wedding and it was such a joy to see friends and family participate. Most exciting was to watch Cole and Sarah be united as one and take the first steps of their new life together.

A few days before the wedding, I read a verse that I found fitting. It is Psalm 45:13,14:

13The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown.

14In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids.

15What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace! (NLT)

How awesome that Jesus is waiting for us, like a groom waits for his bride!

marriage

Refreshing Springs Through the Valley of Weeping

With our daughter’s wedding upon us and friends and family are beginning to arrive, our house is quickly being filled with chatter, laughter, and a little chaos.

Although I am extremely blessed and excited for this marriage to happen, I can remember a time when going to weddings was extremely painful for me. I was going through my separation and divorce and even the thought of going to a wedding made my stomach turn.

I tried to be happy for the couple, who were so in love that nothing could hold them back. But, I wasn’t feeling it. I struggled. A lot. I remember being at a small bridal shower and crashing to the floor because I had a grand-mal seizure. I was rushed to the hospital, where my friends stayed with me for hours to make sure everything was okay. Well, I wasn’t okay-mentally or physically. I just ruined a fun party and I felt horrible for the bride-to-be as her special day ended up in the ER as a result of me.

Now, many of my friends have experienced the loss of their spouse. I feel for them. Even though I haven’t been through the pain of becoming a widow, I do remember feeling alone and seeing joyful couples all around me and wondering if I would ever be happy again. Through all of the pain, I had to hold on to biblical truths. I love Psalm 84:2 “I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD.”

This is not our home! This sin-filled, selfish world is not our resting place. Oh, how I so look forward to the day when I get to see my Savior face to face. No more sorrow. No more suffering. Peace and love will fill me every moment.

It’s through the difficult times that we get our focus off of us and turn to the one who brings joy unspeakable and we experience Christ in a way that we couldn’t fathom.

In a few days I will stand with my daughter and watch her marry the man of her dreams. This is a time of rejoicing! I am no longer sad at weddings. I am joyful that God created a union between a man and a woman that would cause us to no longer be alone and to walk out the trials and joys of life together. I am especially thankful that God gave me my current husband, who is my soul-mate. We would not be having this wedding without God, who healed my epilepsy, gave me new life in the way of three children, and has given me streams of living water through the trials.

“What joy comes for those whose strength comes from the LORD…when they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.” Psalm 84:5,6

family, marriage

Little Things…

We are a little over a week away from our daughter’s wedding! Everything is happening so fast and As you know, I have been thinking quite a bit about love and marriage.

We have all been battling a nasty cough and this week it was my husband’s turn. He has been trying to get rest and taking all his medications that help with this head cold.

One day after I was finished teaching school, I went in to see how he was feeling. I gently took his hand and held it. He looked up at me and said, “Your touch brings healing to me.” I was stunned at how just a simple gesture can mean the difference between depression and desperation to hope and healing to someone.

We know we need touch. It’s one of the five love languages and it’s an important one. For me, touch was always on the bottom of the list. My husband on the other hand, loves touch and it was number one for him. Even though touch wasn’t my first love language, I have grown over the years to understand that it is very much needed and it has moved up on my list to number three.

Jesus touched the unclean. He went out of his way to heal the sick; to touch the untouchable, to make himself unclean, so that another could experience life and living water.

Living in Mexico we see plenty of unclean people. Some are just dirty, some have lice or other diseases. I hate to admit it, but several times when I offer a hug to one of these “unclean” people, I think to myself, am I going to contract something? But, then I say a prayer of forgiveness and ask God to do a work in my heart. Because in reality, do I want to sacrifice convenience for disobedience to the Father?

What if physical touch to the person in front of you meant life or death? What if putting a hand on a shoulder or shaking a hand and really meaning it, provides the hope they need to make it through one more day?

The neat thing is, in marriage, touch produces life; life to the marriage feeding the soul, and life in the form of a newborn baby.

“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man…immediately the man was cleansed of his leprosy.” Matthew 8:3

marriage

The Love of Marriage

This past weekend we had a bridal shower for my daughter. Let’s just say it was absolutely amazing! I feel like I can say that because I wasn’t the one who coordinated the whole thing. Actually, I had a very small part in it as the groom’s family wanted to bless Sarah and took care of everything. I did get to share a devotional and this is what I shared:

Marriage is an intensely personal thing. We know our spouse like no one else knows them: habits, moods, wishes, regrets, sins, giftedness…we get the inside look. The trick is to take that knowledge, the beautiful, the difficult, the work in progress, and to really LOVE our spouse. To SERVE each other. Not just the wife serving her husband, but the husband serving his wife, also; To know the truth and be faithful because of and in spite of it all. It is a privilege and a responsibility to know someone so well, and to commit to being faithful to them “until death do us part.”

There is a famous passage in literature that is a scene between a convict and a Catholic priest. It is from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Jean Val Jean is a man who stole bread to feed his starving family, and he was caught, convicted and became a hardened criminal through his years in chains. He was convicted because of a crime committed out of love, but the hardship and the hatred that surrounded him changed him into a frightening man.

When he is finally released from prison, he cannot find a place to sleep; his reputation as a criminal is made clear by the papers he is required to show at any inn in which he attempts to stay. Finally, a priest allows him to stay in his home, he shows gracious hospitality without fear. He allows him to sleep near the cupboard where the silver is being stored for the night, and he shows no need to protect himself or his property. Jean Val Jean steals the silver, and escapes into the night, only to be caught and returned to the priest’s home. When he is brought back, the priest declares that the silver Val Jean has stolen was a gift, and that the only problem the priest has is that his guest had not taken the candlesticks, also. They are so valuable, and they could be of such use to him in his new life. The stunned police leave, and the priest is left alone with Jean Val Jean. This is what he says to him:
“Jean Val Jean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.”

Although we can’t BUY another’s soul, the priest was a beautiful example of love; he knows the criminal and his crimes, but he calls out to the man with love and it changes the man’s life. We all need to be reminded of our true identity, our identity in Christ as new creatures, reminded of the fact that God calls us Beloved and that we are clothed in righteousness. It is so easy in the pressures and mess of life to forget who we really are. As a married couple, we have the privilege of seeing one another day in and day out, we really know each other’s habits and behaviors, when those things reflect Christ-likeness and when they don’t. But even when they don’t we know who God says they are. We can remind them of their real identity. LOVE them as the priest loved a hardened criminal, without fear or self-protection.
1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on love, says in verse 7: LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. May you give to one another a love that knows and bears and endures through it all.

This gift to you is this candle. Candlelight is an amazing thing. It creates romance, it hides the laundry pile that we didn’t quite finish, it softens wrinkles and bad hair days, it creates a soft glow that is beautiful. May the candlelight set the stage for romance, may it create soft light that radiates beauty. Let this candle remind you, above all else, of Christ’s light, but also Jean Val Jean’s story. May you believe and hope for each other, calling out in each other your true identity as a Son and Daughter of the King. May that bring you great hope and an anticipation that He is doing a great work in each of you, in your marriage, and in your future together.

Adapted by Christine Landis
original by Diane Miller

Please feel free to like and share this post.

family, marriage

Letting Go…

It’s been an emotional last few days for me. Wedding plans are being made, we have DIY projects all over the living room, and the dress has arrived!

I am excited for my daughter in this new adventure she is embarking on, but it has been stirring all kinds of emotions. I find myself reflecting on milestones in Sarah’s life…first tooth, first steps, first heartbreak.

Learning to let go and let her grow up. I am trying to give advice when she asks and not take over when I see something that can be done better.

We have had many laughs along the way and a few tears. Imagine my surprise when she asked me to be her Matron of Honor! The flood gates opened and the waterfall of tears began. What an honor (thus the name) to be there right by her side on one of the most important days of her life.

I sometimes find myself thinking about Mary, the mother of Jesus. How did she do it? Letting go…watching Jesus do what He did, to be persecuted and beaten? I’m sure she cried out to God for comfort, pouring out her heart to the creator, the one who could stop the atrocities from happening to her son.

Now, I am not comparing our daughter’s wedding to crucifixion, even though marriage does require self-sacrifice and self-denial. I am just reflecting on moms in the Bible who have had to “let go” of their children. I think of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, and the Mother of Moses. Hannah also comes to mind, who kept her promise and gave her son to the House of Lord where he learned under Eli. All are amazing women, who saw the bigger picture and didn’t stifle their children.

I am so looking forward to that day when I see our daughter walk down the aisle, to hand her off to the man we have prayed for all these years.

I pray that as she leaves our nest she will learn to fly together with her spouse in unity and strength!

Eph 5:31  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Eph 5:32  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Eph 5:33  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

christianity, family, Uncategorized

Abalone Shells and Sand Dollars

When I was a little girl I used to think what if all the glistening sand on the beach was my money? I would be one wealthy little girl! Oh, what I would do with all that cash!

Today my husband and I went on a walk at our local beach, here in Mexico. It was a beautiful warm afternoon. I smiled as I looked down at my sandy toes and saw the gold colored sand twinkling on the path before us. I suddenly remembered my thoughts as a little girl and thinking about the sand being money.I laughed as my thoughts on money have changed quite drastically as an adult.

As we continued on down the beach, we noticed some small sand dollars. They were so unique and each one a little different. We walked farther and came across an abalone shell which was even more glorious as it’s rainbow of color shone in the sun.

After looking at these treasures I, again, thought of things that I used to think as important or precious (house, car, a good hair day, cool jeans, etc.) and what I see as treasures to me now. Quite a different list.

Today my treasure was spending time with my husband, holding his hand on the beach, talking about life. Seeing the sand dollars and the abalone shell and being reminded that God put those along our path for my pleasure. It gave me joy to see such small things that were God created, not man created.

What is your treasure today? What are you thankful for?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

homeschooling, marriage, Uncategorized

A Marriage Proposal

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

What a week it has been! Our youngest daughter took her final exit exam for high school, graduated, and got a marriage proposal!

We have prayed for our kids’ futures since the day they were born. We prayed for God’s will to be done in their lives and if marriage was part of that will that they would find the perfect spouse that God had created specifically for them.

I believe Sarah has found the man God intended for her. It is exciting to watch and see how God worked it all out.

Sarah was 16 when we moved to Mexico. Needless to say, she wasn’t very happy with us. She was leaving her friends, grandparents, extended family, and everything familiar to move to a foreign land that may or may not have running water.

She was bitter and had been plotting how she could get back to the states before turning 18. She thought maybe she could go live with my parents and come down to visit us every so often.

After three weeks of being angry, she talks about how she realized that she had two choices; She could stay with us and be resentful the whole time, or she could have an attitude change and look at all the beauty that is in Mexico and learn all she could about living in a foreign country. Thank goodness she chose to do the latter and have a heart change.

Upon doing that, she met the man that would one day be her husband. He is a missionary here, in Mexico and works at the local orphanage. The neat thing is, early on God told my husband that this young man was going to marry our daughter.

We have gotten to know Cole over the last year in a deep way and have come to love him as part of our family. He is a neat young man that loves God, works hard, and has a great sense of humor.

His marriage proposal was one of the most amazing things I have witnessed in a long time. It was full of humility and excitement mixed with peace and love.

My husband and I are all for (Christ-centered) marriage. I have said it before, a healthy marriage shines Christ more than anything else on this planet. When done right, it is a picture of the selfless love that Jesus showed us and I don’t think it’s just coincidence that Jesus’s first miracle was at a wedding.

We are the bride of Christ! When I look at these two young souls in front of me and how much they want to be together and the love they have for each other, I am reminded that Jesus looks at me the same way! He can’t wait to be with us, His bride! We are invited to partake of the marriage supper of the lamb! (Revelation 19:6-9)

How exciting is that?!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

family, homeschooling

My Homeschool Journey

Wow!! I am looking through all my books, videos, papers, tests, and thinking, so this is how it feels…I have no more curriculum to buy. No more science DVD’s to watch, no more papers to grade. My homeschool journey has come to an end. Our youngest daughter has officially graduated!

When I started this windy road of homeschooling 17 years ago, I never dreamed it would have taken me the places it has. I had to learn patience and perseverance. I had to learn time management, realizing more often than not, that my timing and God’s timing are two different things. I had to learn to be still and quiet even when I wanted to scream. I had to lean on my husband for sound advice and to trust that it was all going to work out. I learned that stopping and smelling the roses is much better than rushing a child who isn’t ready.

God made each one of us in a unique way. It’s what makes our world so fantastic. But, because of that we don’t all learn the same way and you can’t fit people in a box. I have three kids and they all learned differently.

By homeschooling, I learned intimately how each child thought. I learned not to compare my child to anyone else, no matter what. I learned what their likes and dislikes were. I learned what their love language was and how to make them feel special. Most importantly I learned that building relationships is far greater than anything a textbook or essay could ever teach.

Was it hard? Absolutely! Did I want to quit? Yes, many times. Did I love it? You bet I did! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Now, I pass the torch to those who dare go down this crazy, beautiful road. It is one of the most difficult things you will ever do, but in the end it is so very worth it.

Congratulations Sarah! You did it!!

Psalm 32:8 ~ I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

marriage

Day 30 Prayer: Marriage

We are on our 30th day of praying for our spouse and children. What a journey this has been! What you may not know is that the Lord put this on my heart about six months ago. I didn’t want to obey. My first thought was, that means I have to write every day. I enjoy writing, but with my busy schedule, it can be difficult to find the time to write. My second thought was, could I actually write about marriage for 30 days? Well, I have found plenty to write about and God provided not only the words, but the time.

We have covered a lot of ground this month. We’ve looked at communication, our speech, faithfulness, love, and so much more. My prayer is that we would continue to pray for our families. One of the ministries, here, in Mexico has a motto that says, “Fight for Families.” I love that. We are fighting. We are fighting against the rulers of this dark world (Ephesians 6:12). Your spouse is not your enemy. I want to urge you to fight for your marriage because there is nothing that shines the love of Christ brighter in this world than a healthy marriage.

Early on in our marriage, I realized that people don’t wake up after 20 years of marriage and decide to get divorced. It happens over time. Every day you are either drawing closer to your spouse, or drawing farther away. For instance, if you have an argument and you don’t resolve it. The next day you wake up harboring bitterness and that anger or resentment keeps growing until you come back together and can forgive. If you just keep going day after day without resolving the issue, you soon realize you have grown so far apart you don’t even recognize the other person.

You have to keep building that relationship. You have to come together, daily and talk, commune, spend time listening to one another, joking, laughing, and crying; sharing thoughts and emotions.

God created marriage. It’s a good thing. It’s a place where life begins. Is it difficult? Yes. Does it expose our weakness? Yes. But by understanding our weaknesses, we then can go to our Heavenly Father and ask Him to change us into the beautiful vessel He wants to make us into.

I used to believe that I was just a pile of broken glass laying on the floor, waiting to be swept up and tossed into the trash. The Lord showed me one day, that instead of a pile of dirty broken pieces, I was a beautiful glass mosaic candle holder, waiting to shine His light through.

That can be you, too, regardless of the past you have. No matter what your marriage was like yesterday. Today is a new day, my friend! Take hold of it! Tell Satan to back off and rejoice because we know the One who conquered death! When your spouse walks through that door, love on him! Tell him how much you appreciate what he does. Find something to affirm him. You will be blessed when you do.

Day 30 Prayer: Marriage

Lord, thank you so much for creating the unity of husband and wife. Help me to see the beauty of it even when it’s difficult. Please take away my selfish pride, jealousy, and anything else that prevents me from seeing my spouse the way you do. Give me the grace to be able to love regardless of what I get in return. I want to love with a selfless love. Help me to be patient and kind, always forgiving, and never rude. Remind me that when my husband wraps his arms around me, it’s as if you are saying “I love you.” Thank you for creating marriage and giving me someone to love.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A chord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

 

marriage

Day 29 Prayer: Covenant of Love

We have been on a journey of praying for our marriages and families. Today we are going to look at love.

1 Corinthians 13 is called the love chapter for good reason; it shows what love is. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

When we look at these verses, we can immediately see how we fall short. But, if I were to replace the word love with God because God is love, (1 John 4:8) we see that God is able to do all these things. For instance, God is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, etc. Best of all, He never fails.

The exciting thing is that the more we abide in Christ, the more we become Christlike, thus making us capable of loving our spouse and others the way it is described here!

The word covenant means contract, bond, or promise. Many covenants have been in the Bible. God made a covenant with Noah and Abraham. There was the covenant of the law, but now we are under the new covenant that forgives our sins and we can go directly to God through Christ, which enables us to one day be His bride! (Hebrews 7:12, Hebrews 9:14-15) God made this promise long ago in the garden with Adam and Eve. He was going to fix the mistake they made. He loves us and wants us to be with Him forever. He was going to send His one and only Son to die a brutal death, for us. It was painful for God, but He knew it would be worth it in the end.

If you are finding it difficult to love your spouse or anyone who has wronged you, go to God and ask for Him to give you the ability to love them. It’s starts with being humble and crying out. Its recognizing where your heart is. Do you have a heart of stone? He can replace it with a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

I have seen marriages turned around because one person was willing to start praying for the desire to even want to love their spouse. Love doesn’t give up. It keeps hoping, it keeps praying, regardless of how long it takes.

Day 29 Prayer: Covenant of Love

Thank God that He provided a way for us to be with Him forever.

Pray for the ability and the desire to love your spouse and kids the way it is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

If you haven’t done so already, memorize 1 Corinthians 13, so when evil thoughts arise, or you find yourself responding rudely to your spouse or kids, you will be reminded of these scriptures and react appropriately.

marriage

Day 28 Prayer: Thankfulness

When you are newly married and in love it seems hard to understand how you could possibly fall out of love, or even think of the word divorce.

Yet, as time moves on and the excitement dies down, we find ourselves in a mundane life. So, how do we prevent mediocrity to settle in?

I believe thankfulness is one of the keys to a healthy marriage. We need to show appreciation to our spouse for the daily things they do. We can so easily take for granted the little things that are done each day.

Appreciation and gratitude were lessons I had to learn living off-grid. My husband worked hard each day trying to make my life easier for our family on the mountain. He made sure I had a warm house by chopping firewood. He would check our water holding tank to see if I had enough water in the house. (Our water came from a natural spring on the property and we had to haul it into the house.) I didn’t always express my thankfulness. Looking back, I wish I had more often.

Thankfulness changes our attitude. One of the things I try to do with women when they complain about their husbands is ask them if they can think of one good attribute in their spouse. That’s where it starts – thinking of one good thing. When you are angry or hurt it’s easy to come up with an assortment of frustrating things in your spouse. It begins to snowball and an avalanche of negative thoughts ensue.

When you change your thinking and have a heart of gratitude you can stop bitterness in its tracks.

Look at the life of David in the Bible. He was thankful. The Psalms are filled with praise and thanksgiving. In reality, he had a hard life. But, he knew who his provider was. He understood where his strength came from. He cried out to the Lord, pouring his heart out in anguish, always recognizing the Lord was God and David was not. He was respectful.

We have to choose to be thankful. Ten lepers cried out to Jesus asking him to show mercy. He responds and heals them. How many came back to say thanks? One. Only one. Jesus changed their life and only one came back?! Shame on us. Shame on me for not being grateful in every day miracles.

The sun rising and setting. Waking up to a confident man in my bed every morning who loves me. Having three beautiful kids that are growing into godly children of Christ. Having wonderful friends who encourage me when life is hard. This is my list of things I am thankful for today.

What are you thankful for?

Day 29 Prayer: Thankfulness

Write out a prayer of thankfulness. Thank God for what He has done and is doing in your life. Include things you love about your spouse and kids. If you can’t think of anything ask the Lord to show you something.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

marriage

Day 27 Prayer: Understanding

Let’s face it, relationships can be really difficult. A marriage between a husband and wife, two completely different people, designed to become one. How is unity possible when we were made completely different?

That’s where patience and understanding need to happen. Mark and I feel like our roles are different than most couples. He is the talker, wanting to work things out in the moment. I am more the processor and need time to think things over before I speak, or before resolving anything.

So, how do we go about solving problems? It has taken time, but we have found that being able to communicate and trying to understand the other person’s way of thinking has helped tremendously in our marriage. Being able to listen to one another patiently and lovingly is the key to understanding.

I look at Jesus when He was with the woman at the well. He started a simple conversation. He didn’t immediately accuse her. He asked questions, she answered. The more they talked, the deeper the conversation went until He finally brought up her husband. Knowing her tainted past, He now confronts her. She confesses and she recognizes Jesus to be a prophet. He then offers hope and reveals that He is the Messiah she has been waiting for.

Jesus is our example. What a hard thing, to point out someone’s sin. Yet, Jesus does it. Calmly, offering hope to this woman. I believe that’s how it should be with our spouse. Talking, conversing, continually getting to know one another, no matter how long you’ve been married.

The Samaritan woman was obviously ready for the life changing conversation. That’s where we need to trust the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in our relationship with our spouse. If we are wanting change to happen, we must pray for a ready heart. We need to not give up on our prayers. The woman at the well had five husbands and was with a man who was not her husband. How many years had she been living the way she was? But, it wasn’t time yet. Until, one day, she does her daily chore and she comes face to face with her Savior!

We don’t always understand what God is doing. Sometimes, it feels like He is doing nothing. Believe me, God is always doing something. So, if you are waiting for something to change in your spouse, keep praying, because when you honestly pray for your spouse, you begin to change.

The woman’s story doesn’t end there! It gets even better. She goes back to her town, tells everyone what has happened and they seek Him out and experience Jesus. The Bible says, “Many believed in Him because of the woman‘s testimony.” John 4:39

Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. When you do, you will be able to understand things in a whole new light.

Day 27 Prayer: Understanding

Thank God that He gives us His Word as a guide book in relationships. Thank Him for the ability to come together as one in a marriage.

Pray that you and your spouse would be able to communicate clearly and to begin to understand each other on a deeper level.

Pray for understanding with your kids; That you would be able to be calm when confrontation needs to happen.

Pray that God will give you insight into each of the people in your family and be able to speak individually to each one on a personal level.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

homeschooling, marriage

Day 26 Prayer: Our Time

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Where do you spend your time? In the early years of homeschooling our kids, you could find me doing research. I researched all things having to do with schooling my kids.

I spent literally hours everyday looking at curriculum. When I wasn’t planning, I was looking at catalogs trying to find the perfect curriculum for my kids (which, by the way, doesn’t exist). I researched dyslexia and dysgraphia. I gained knowledge in these areas, which was a good thing. However, because I spent so much time researching and homeschooling, sometimes I missed out on enjoying the little things with my kids.

One day I was overwhelmed with it all and decided to put the books away. I went to my bedroom and started praying. The Lord showed me my research and planning was getting in the way of my relationships; I wasn’t spending time with God, my spouse, or my kids like I should have been. My priorities were in the wrong order.

So, I decided to change what I did with my time. I made a rule that I wasn’t to do any research until I had read my Bible, and spent at least an hour of uninterrupted time with my husband and kids. After a week of doing this, I found that I didn’t need or desire to do the research. My focus changed.

Time is precious. As I grow older, I realize how fast time flies. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. It seems like yesterday, I had three little ones running around the house and I was emotionally and mentally spent. I couldn’t wait for the day when my kids could make their own breakfast. Now, I am just happy when I get the privilege of eating breakfast with them.

We have had several deaths lately. Death tends to make you think about priorities. Oftentimes death produces regrets because we realize how precious life is and we start the “If-only’s.” “If only I had shown my appreciation, if only I told them I loved them more, if only…”

The good news is, we can prevent those “if-only’s” in an instant. Take some time and think about where your time is spent. What are your distractions? How can you rearrange your day so that family is a priority?

Day 26 Prayer: Our Time

Thank God for every moment you get to spend with your family.

Pray for opportunities to spend more time with one another. Don’t only go on dates with your spouse, take your kids somewhere special. My husband would take our daughters out on father/daughter dates and I would often take my son out, also. By doing this, we built relationship with each other. It tells them they matter.

If you are finding yourself too busy to enjoy your spouse and kids, pray for wisdom to know what priorities need to change.

“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

marriage

Day 25 Prayer: Deliverance

How many of us want to be free? For me, it took moving off-grid, living 45 minutes from the nearest town, and learning to depend on God for everything.

I enjoyed our simple life on the mountain, but some things were really difficult. I was being squeezed. I was having to face my past. I had to revisit hurts and sins I wanted buried.

It seemed my husband and I were on a six month cycle in our relationship. Things would be great for about six months, then we would have an argument and expose deep issues. We would try to resolve them, never able to until we realized there were things that needed to be addressed and changed.

How did change happen? We started reading the Bible together. Slowly, over time, healing took place. Deliverance from things done in both of our pasts occurred. We prayed together regularly and prayed that strongholds that were passed down through our families would be broken. Finally, the most amazing thing happened…God broke those chains!

Was it difficult? I would say, yes and no. The most difficult part was not going back to what was familiar. The lies the enemy throws at us are much easier to believe than the truth. The truth being, I am a new creation in Christ. The old is gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I finally realized I was in a cage that I had put myself in and the door was wide open! I didn’t have to be in the cage. The only reason I liked the cage was because it was what was familiar and easy for me. I thought it protected me. It didn’t. It only made matters worse.

I have experienced freedom first hand and I am telling you, it is worth fighting for!

Day 25 Prayer: Deliverance

Thank God that deliverance is possible. Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted, to give sight to the blind, and to set free those who are in bondage. (Luke 4:18)

Pray for deliverance in your family. If there is reoccurring sin, pray for it to be broken. That the chains would come loose and you would no longer be a prisoner to it. I have seen God break bondage of alcoholism, drug addiction, gluttony, sexual immorality, lying, and so much more.

Rejoice that God sent His Son so we could be washed white as snow.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

marriage

Day 24 Prayer: Wisdom

I believe we all have a person in our life who offers wisdom. For me, I have had several people whom I respect and listen to.

As I have gotten older, I realize just how much wisdom is lacking, so when I find someone who is a person of godly knowledge, I want to glean everything I can from them.

When I was newly married and a young mom, I wondered how other moms accomplished so much. I looked for an older, experienced lady to ask questions to and get encouragement from. Oftentimes I would find myself at my parents house or on the phone asking my mom for advice.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

The fear of the Lord is a holy, reverent fear. It’s knowing that He is in control and if I truly love and trust Him, I won’t need to worry.

I know when I have not listened to wisdom, I have found myself in situations that I could have avoided. I guess you could say, I listened to worldly wisdom, not godly wisdom.

I have known many people who have knowledge and can talk all day long about what they know. They may know some interesting facts and have parts of books memorized, and can quote all kinds of philosophers, but in the end it’s empty knowledge.

Day 24 Prayer: Wisdom

If you have people in your life that you can go to for godly advice and wisdom, thank God for them.

Pray that you would be a wise woman and build your house, not a foolish one that tears it down with your own hands. (Proverbs 14:1)

Pray for godly wisdom for your spouse and kids; that when decisions need to be made, he wouldn’t be overwhelmed, but that he would seek God’s guidance and trust that he will guide your steps. Proverbs 3:13 says,”Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding.”

If you or your spouse don’t have a godly mentor, pray for one to come into your life. Or, have him bring to mind someone already in your life that you could go to.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

marriage

Day 23 Prayer: Courage

I have a friend who jokes that if a burglar came into their house, she would have to be the one scoping out the place with a baseball bat in one hand and her husband in tow, in the other. I laugh at this because in her case, it’s most likely true.

It seems like some people are definitely more courageous than others. The cowardly lion comes to mind in The Wizard of Oz, as an example of someone lacking courage. I have found myself feeling like the lion many times, especially when it comes to uncertainty or agony.

My husband, on the other hand, is a great man of courage. I watched as he kept our family safe from bears, snow hazards, car problems, etc. He isn’t afraid to help the helpless, or stand up for what’s right. He has been a great example to our children.

Whether your spouse or kids are full of bravery, or lean more on the side of cowardice, let’s pray that whatever situation they face, they would bring it to God and that He would fill them with peace and the courage to fight the slinging arrows.

Day 23 Prayer: Courage

Thank God that He never leaves us or forsakes us.

If you are going through a trial, pray for the courage and the strength to see the trial to its end.

Pray for your spouse and kids to be able to stand up when necessary, and fight for what’s right.

Pray for confidence and assurance that can only come from the Lord.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

marriage

Day 22 Prayer: Faithfulness

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8

The dictionary definition of faithfulness is loyal, constant, steadfast. God is definitely faithful, unchanging. I wish we could say the same about ourselves. Unfortunately, being flawed humans, it’s not possible without Christ.

So many of us have experienced unfaithfulness. How do you get over rejection? How do you forgive without somewhere, in the back of your mind, you still think about what happened?

I have known couples who have had many struggles, whether it be an online affair, physical affair, or an emotional affair, they finally make it through those difficult times by choosing to love and forgive.

It doesn’t happen overnight, but if both parties are willing, restoration can happen. God is the healer of broken hearts.

How many times have I broken God’s heart by cheating on Him? Every time I give in to temptation or desire something that I know isn’t good for me, I am cheating on Him.

The good news is, God is unchanging, loyal, constant, and steadfast. He is faithful. We can count on Him to forgive and take us back into His loving arms. He leaves the 99 to go after the one lost lamb.

Day 22 Prayer: Faithfulness

Thank God that restoration is possible; not only with our spouse, but with kids also.

Pray for loyalty and faithfulness within your family.

If infidelity has occurred, pray for the strength to forgive once and for all.

Lastly and most importantly, pray that you would be faithful to God; that your needs and wants wouldn’t become the focal point of your life. If you are faithful to Christ, everything else will fall into place.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

marriage, Uncategorized

Day 21 Prayer: Sound Mind

Thoughts can run away from us. Sometimes I find myself laying in bed mulling over the day. Soon, I am not just thinking about the day, but I am thinking about comments that were said; how I should have answered differently. Or, maybe I was silent and wished I had spoken up and possibly defended myself. I go down the rabbit trail of how I will respond next time.

In reality, it’s not a good thing to start that line of thinking. I have found it leads to anxiety, worry, and in some cases depression.

The Bible says we need to take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) the key word is to obey. If I am thinking thoughts of how I would retort back to someone, that tells me my heart is not in the right place. Maybe being silent was actually the godly response. Jesus didn’t always defend himself.

Our minds can be a whirlwind of deception and imagination. Thank goodness we can have the mind of Christ. As we grow and learn to discern better what is true, we are able to put away ungodly thoughts.

When my husband faces depression, I am able to recognize the signs and start praying for him immediately. He will often ask me, “Have you been praying for me?” He knows I am, because the depression tends to not linger as long as it once did.

With the stress this world offers, we need to diligently be praying for our spouse’s thoughts. It’s easy to go down unwanted rabbit trails and with our hyper sexual society, thoughts can go wrong in a flash.

Day 21 Prayer: Sound Mind

Pray for a wise and discerning mind.

Pray that your family would take to heart Philippians 4:8, which says, “Whatsoever things are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”

Pray that you would be able to take every unpleasant thought captive.

Thank God for the mind that he has given to you and your spouse and pray that you will have unity and likemindedness in all things.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

family, marriage

Day 20 Prayer: To be a Good Father

I love my dad. My father is one of the most humble, gentle people you will ever meet. Is he perfect? No. However, his Godly example is bearing fruit not only in my life, but in the life of my kids.

My earliest memories are of him reading his Bible every morning while eating his breakfast. (My mom did this, too, but we are talking about fathers.)

My dad is a hard worker, a man of integrity, and has great knowledge and wisdom. He also has a funny side. He is a man of few words, but when he speaks, we always wonder if he will say something wise or funny.

Maybe you didn’t have a good father. Maybe your dad wasn’t even around. It saddens my heart when I hear stories of fathers who didn’t stand up to the plate, and were absent or were abusive either verbally or physically.

The wonderful thing is, we can pray for our husbands to be a good father to our children. Regardless of their upbringing, God can do awesome things in the heart of a man who is willing and ready.

Day 20 Prayer: To be a Good Father

Thank God for the children he has given to you and your spouse.

Pray that your husband will be a Godly example to your kids.

Pray that he will not provoke your children to anger. (Ephesians 6:4) If this has happened in the past, pray that he would be able to use his words wisely and discipline without anger.

Pray that he would be able to communicate and be interested in your children. If he struggles with the desire to be an interactive father, start there. Pray for a change of heart.

“The righteous who walks in his integrity-blessed are his children after him.” Proverbs 20:7

marriage, Missions

Day 19 Prayer: Coming Out of Comfort Zones

When we were in the Philippines, we asked one of the Pastors what his vision was for the ministry. His reply has stuck with me.

He said, “I want to get this church established and raise up a leader, so I can go to other parts of the Philippines and start more churches to spread the gospel.”

I thought, wow! I like his vision. But, what a difficult one. He was willing to start fresh. To give up what he had worked so hard for, to continue reaching people. For him, it wasn’t about how many people came to his church. He just wanted to reach more people. This seemed like such a different concept than what I have seen in American churches.

I struggle with my comfort zone. Some maybe thinking, you?! I know we lived off-grid where we had to haul water everyday and didn’t have conventional electricity and Now we are living in Mexico. But, These things are just giving up some modern comforts.

To volunteer at a rehab home or walking through the red light district inviting drug addicts to church, that’s way out of my comfort zone. However, I have been blessed every time I do it.

It’s baby steps. Like the Pastor in the Philippines, I’m sure when he started his first church, he was anxious and wondering how it was all going to work. Seeing God work out all the details and watching people get excited for Christ, I bet it spurred him on to go a little further and continue God’s work.

Day 19 Prayer: Coming Out of Our Comfort Zone

Thank God that He stretches us beyond what we think we are capable of.

Pray for you and your spouse to step out in faith and do something that is uncharacteristic. For your husband, it may be as simple as leading your family in a Bible study, which can be difficult for a lot of men and way out of their comfort zone.

Pray that your kids will be willing to go beyond what they normally do. Maybe it’s talking to a friend about Christ.

Pray for an opportunity to talk as a family about what God’s vision is for your family as a whole.

“But be doers of the Word, not hearers only.” James 1:22

marriage

Day 18 Prayer: Teachable

A little secret about me…my love language is words of affirmation. It’s not that I seek out good things said about me, but when they come, it fills my soul. This being the case, the opposite is true. If someone corrects me or tells me I did something wrong, it hurts. I hate to admit the first part of that sentence. Correction. Thank goodness as I have gotten older and wiser, it doesn’t hurt as bad to be corrected. I don’t know if I can say I love correction like it says in Proverbs I should do. But, I am farther along than I was as a child.

“Whoever loves instruction and discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof and correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1 AMP

After going through my divorce many years ago, I was broken. I had come to the end of myself. The façade of a perfect life was gone. I knew I needed to change some things and thank goodness I had mentors in my life to help with the process. The changes were needed and I was wanting to be teachable.

“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge…” Proverbs 1:7 

I used to joke that I felt like God had me on a very short leash; that I couldn’t get away with anything, even if I tried. As I looked around at friends and the things they did that were wrong, I couldn’t figure out how they were getting away with it. One day as I was discussing this with my husband, he said, “You know, I don’t think God has you on a short leash. I believe you are willing to listen when He first gets your attention.” That was such a revelation to me.

Because I had fear of the Lord, that enabled me to stop the sin before it grew to full maturity, causing death. (James 1:15) When God corrects, He doesn’t just leave us there. He helps guide and direct us, and lead us away from the sin.

Now,  I am happy to say I put away the childish things I used to do and now am teachable and correctible.  My desire to be a good wife and mom overrode how I felt when I am corrected. I know correction is needed. I know in order to grow in the Lord, it is necessary. Think about how our lives would have been different if Adam corrected Eve.

Day 18 Prayer: Teachable

Reflect and think about your life. Are you teachable?

If correction is needed in your life, seek God so that He can show you areas that need to be changed. Are you willing to listen?

If you need to correct someone, pray beforehand. Pray that God would give you the proper love to show that person. Pray for them to receive what you have to say. If you are needing to correct your spouse or child, pray that you would not come across as condemning, but honestly wanting to help them draw closer to the Lord. I tried not to correct my husband in front of anyone else. I would wait until we were alone and after much prayer, bring my thoughts to him.

“A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” Proverbs 1:5