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)

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!

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, 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.