Wednesday, October 23, 2013

50/50 Is just Not Enough: Loving, Leading and Flourishing in our Relationships

Someone once told me that in marriage it's a 50/50 split because then you have 100%.  Maybe this makes sense in theory, but in practice it does not work.  Luckily, in our pre-marital counseling Adam and I received the best advice given.  We were told very truly and bluntly: "You can not each give 50/50 and expect for this to work out in the end.  You each have to come to the table everyday, every week, every year 100%."  I truly believe that with my whole heart now.  As of today, Adam and I have been married for 3 years.  Now for some of you older, wiser married people 3 years seems so small.  In this world of divorce I celebrate greatly each year that we make it through and continue in our commitment together for better or for worse.  In three years we have already been faced with such challenges.  One major challenge I choose not to share, but it was spiritual warfare and the battle rages on.  In these challenging times if Adam had shown up 50% and I was giving 100% what in the world would that have looked like?  Or what if each of us had only come to the table with 25% thinking the other would make up the difference?  What a mess that would have been!  I am learning so much in marriage.  Not just how to tolerate the day to day but how to love, lead and flourish.  Loving everyday is not easy. It's not all twitter-pated and staring into each others eyes.  It's babies crying and lack of sleep, it's weight gain, it's lost keys and business trips, it's burned suppers and sleepless nights filled with worry for our children, it's hospitalizations and stomach flu's, it's day in day out 100% or loose.  Did you know that going into your marriage?  Do you know that as are you prepare for your marriage?  What about now, now that you've been divorced how would you do things differently?  OR now that you hear this are you ready for marriage or are you going to stop and be thankful that you are still single?  God is so good to me in my marriage.  He has taught me more about his love for me through my marriage then in any other part of my life.  Ya'll marriage is hard because it's full of selflessness.  Selflessness does not always come easy, most of the time it never comes easy!  I think our sinful nature makes selflessness a HUGE battle for us. It's not of the norm to give and give and give of yourself not expecting or crying out for a return!  "I did all this laundry and you can't even take out the trash!" Or "I was up all night with the baby and your snored your face off for 10 hours!"  Instead marriage can be full of selflessness on both ends where it sounds more like "I did the laundry for us and prayed over each little person as I folded the clothes. Then I set the trash outside, can you please take it out" That's my goal right there!  100% to the table every day. Loving, leading and flourishing because it's Biblical, so let's dive in to that! 

Philippians 2:4          
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.                   

Luke 6:35                 

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.                   

1 Peter 3:8                   

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

One other thing I am striving for is not talking bad about my hubby. Isn't it so common that we will get together (especially us ladies) and complain about our spouses.  Nope, not me, not no more.  I am pouring over Ephesians through this:

Ephesians 4:29-32                
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you!!! WOW! We need to live by that in all of our interactions right?!  Mantra for the month for sure! 

What I want you take away from today is this; whether your single, engaged, married or divorced it's still a concept across the board of being selfless, loving, forgiving and kind.  These are the Christ like qualities we are expected (and equipped for) to up hold in our day in and day outs.  There is no perfection in this house by any means, I fly off the handle, I speak un kind and I have unkind thoughts.  But we are striving to treat each other with the love that Christ so willingly gives us when we put down our nets, shake off our old clothes and follow him.

Friends, love each other, be a light for the Lord and seek him in all that you do. You are Beautifully and Wonderfully Made in His image!

Much Love,

Friday, October 18, 2013

Great Expectations

The problem that arises frequently in  my life is the plan that I have in my mind for something and what happens when things don't go that way.  This causes drama in my life because it sets those around me up for failure. This week we had family pictures, which I love!  I love getting pictures taken of my family, it makes me so happy.  I began a few days before hand picking out our perfect outfits and making plans to get everyone there in their prefect outfits to take the perfect pictures.  I created the perfect storm, I set myself and everyone else up for failure in this plan.  I picked the babies up from daycare, Cole had just eaten meaning he would be hungry during picture taking.  I rolled with it though.  I had packed the clothes for the babies and we went to a local pizza place for an event for Cohen's school.  I had a plan though, we were good.  As Dylan ate he got pizza from head to toe.  It was ok, I had a plan.  We threw everyone into the car and headed to meet a friend at the Pumpkin Patch, for the most precious Fall pictures ever!  The perfect storm.  We arrived late, I quickly had to dress the babies in their perfect outfits.  Cole had pooped of course, it was ok I had a plan.  Babies in adorable outfits, we were ready.  We got not even 2 pictures in and Dylan began having a melt down. This melt down continued over the next hour.  All he wanted to do was play, play on the tractor, ride the train, slide down the slides. There was no happy faces for my perfect pictures, there was no perfection.  Only stark reality.  I had set myself and my sweet little family up for failure.  What was I thinking!  Pictures on a Wednesday night at the Pumpkin Patch, it was as if I was a brand new parent and didn't know any better.  I had these great expectations of my family that were too high.  As we left the patch, tail between legs, hoping that we would at least get one good picture out of our session fee; I wondered to myself "When will I stop doing this?" It is so often that we do this and honestly I feel like as women we do this more than men.  We do it in our relationships, pre-marriage. We do it in wedding planning. We do it in pregnancy and the first year of infancy.  And so on. We continue to set these great expectations of how we think something should be and will be, putting pieces in place that set ourselves and loved ones up for failure.  Our husband plans a nice night out but we can't see past the thought that he didn't gush over how pretty we looked and the thunder begins.  Our child is clinging to our leg while we cook everyday saying the same thing over and over, all we can focus on is this meal we have planned that's not working out.  Not seeing for weeks that he has been saying I love you everyday and we were missing it.  What are you missing out on in your great expectation of yourself and those around you?  There's a great story in the Bible that parallels this thought:

Luke 10:38-42

New International Version (NIV)

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

How often does this happen to us?  Running around, created the perfect everything and ended up missing out on the joy!  Ugh, so guilty of this.  The only great expectation we should have is the one that the Lord puts in us. 

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

He has plans, he has the knowledge and the expectations that within his righteousness he will allow us to do great things.  Friends, stop it. Stop with the great expectations.  Stop missing out on the joy afforded us in his perfect plan by focusing on the disappointment of our un-reasonable thought life.  Revel in his beauty. Hear the words I love you. Appreciate the night out when it's given.  Have fun playing instead of posing.  Expect greatness from the joy of the unplanned.

Sending you all my love this weekend as you venture into a new mindset of less expectations more JOY in the here and now.  If you do not know about God's great love and passion for his people please ask me more!  Because in his great plan, goodness and righteousness we are Beautifully and Wonderfully Made!

Much Love,

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