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)

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

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

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