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.

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)

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