Category Archives: Growth In a Marriage

You Should Have Married a Farmer!

“I want a few goats, at least 2 acres….. and chickens!”  I said to Jake a few  weeks ago while we were daydreaming about the house we may or may not build in a few years Lord willing.  He responded, “I’m not gonna mow two acres, and we can’t live that kind of lifestyle, we are too busy to keep up with those things.”  I replied, “You won’t have to mow!  That’s what the goats are for!”  Jake answered back, “Well, if you wanted all of those things you should have married a farmer!”  Without skipping a beat I replied, “Jake, when I met you, you were wanting to go to school to be an AG teacher…I thought I was marrying a farmer!”  This statement made us both laugh as we looked back on the plans we had made several years ago and how they have changed so much.

Our plans.  Ha!  God had something else in mind for these two crazy kids fresh out of High School.  Now, ten years later, I am so thankful Jake is not an AG teacher.  I am thankful for the phone call I received six months into his nine month deployment in Egypt…our first year of marriage.   He said, “I have been doing a lot of thinking, studying and praying….I want to go to school to be a preacher.  Over here, people are begging for a Bible and wanting to know about God so bad.  I have been taking that for granted, and I want to do this.”  I was shocked… really.  We were not what you would call solid Christians at that time.  I began going back to Church when he left for his duty, and was feeling my relationship with God deepen while I was separated from my husband, and it seemed, Jake was doing the same while away from me. Looking back, I feel as if God was teaching us “You shall have no other gods before me.” during the separation.   We were putting our lives together in front of His will, and we needed him back in our lives separately, so we could serve him together.  He asked me to pray for him over the phone so he could hear my prayer on his behalf. I don’t remember the words I said that night, but I remember the feeling of total and complete surrender.  

I whole-heartedly believe that our marriage was sealed when we chose to dedicate our lives to God’s work together.  The new relationship we created with Christ while we were separated strengthened our marriage and our commitment.  Sitting here tonight, I am reflecting on all of the crazy things we have been through since being married.  Our love story has been incredible.  We have experienced amazing highs together and sorrowful lows.  We fought hard with each other, and for each other the second year of our marriage when he returned from his deployment.  We experienced Ramen Noodle suppers regularly because of how broke we were because of school and day care.  We experienced the births of three beautiful children, and suffered the loss of one of our children due to a miscarriage.  We leaned on each other through deaths of loved ones and through jobs that were not meant to be.  I woke up to Jake in fervent prayer by my side in the ICU when I had suffered an aneurism that had almost taken my life.  I remember the pride we both felt as Jake walked across the stage to receive his degree in Bible that took so long to recieve.  We have amazing kids, and enjoy each and every milestone in their lives.  We have met amazing people of the Lord’s Church, and were even able to add a few to the number. We worked along side some of the most inspirational people we have ever known, and experienced growth in the process. I remember an overwhelming sense of peace in God’s presence when I waited six hours for Jake’s heart surgery to be completed.  None of these things would have impacted my life in the way it has if I were a farmers wife.

Of all the things I cherish about my marriage to a preacher, I think my favorite thing about him is accountability.  He loves me enough to tell me when I am wrong and helps me fix the problem.  He rebukes me when I get too caught up in other things and forget my responsibility to him and to our children.  He calls me out when I am in a bad mood, and reminds me of my purpose. If not for his accountability, I would not be the person I am today.  I am not perfect, and at times (more than I want to admit), I am terrible, but Jake keeps me in line with my purpose.  He helps me hear my calling.  He keeps me on the right path. He is my personal cheering section.  He wants from me what God wants from me, and that is dedication to God’s will, and I ask the same thing of him.

It would be so much easier to let each other slip through the cracks, but we try to sharpen one another, and build one another up in the faith.  That is the sweet spot.  Building one another up.  Not in financial terms, looks, or worldly success.  But in faith.  I hope that we will have many more years to go together serving in love, following God’s plan.  God’s plan got us to this spot right now.  God’s plan lead us to the throne.  God’s plan lead us to service and a deeper commitment to each other.  I am glad we listened, and that I am not a farmers wife.  I could not imagine not doing what we have done together for the past ten years.  Jake is not the man I married ten years ago.  He is far more than that skinny cowboy I said “I do” to.  He is a zealous servant of Christ, an amazing and supportive husband, and a wonderful father.  He commits himself to Christ daily and urges me and the kids to do the same. I am thankful for my husband and for the man he set out to be when he made that phone call so many years ago. I still think we should get a few goats though….if not goats, at least some sheep…..preachers need sheep….

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Here Comes the Bride

It is wedding season so to speak, and I have been a busy photographer.  I always enjoy shooting a wedding, although it can get crazy at times. I love photographing the moments in between poses that really capture the true sense of the day.  I love to see the father-of-the-bride grab his weeping wife’s hand as the vows are recited between their daughter and future son-in-law.  I love the prayer on behalf of the couple asking for blessings and guidance, and I enjoy the mischief the flower girl and ring-barer get into while patiently waiting for the wedding ceremony to end.  Among all of these things though, my very favorite part is when the father gives his daughter away.  I believe this is the most important part.  It symbolizes a new path, a new life, and a fresh start.  It whispers a sense of leaving the old self behind, and dedicating it to another, dedicating it so strongly that the previous relationship should be left behind, and be but a memory of where you once were.

This moment in time reminds me of when we, as Christians, dedicate ourselves to the Lord through baptism, and become joined with him as his bride adorned in white.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27 NKJV)

When a father gives his daughter’s hand into the one who will be her husband, this change takes place.  She, the bride leaves her former life, and dedicates it to her husband.  Just as we, leave our former life, and dedicate it to the Lord.  The husband is to love his wife, and through his care and protection, keep her pure and unblemished from the world that surrounds their marriage.  In the same way, Christ accepts our hand, and loves us as well.  He places us under his wing, under his sacrifice, and presents us holy unto the Lord God.

The moment the bride is given away also reminds me of the passage stated later on in Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 31,

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

For some, this is a difficult thing.  The bride and/or the groom may be so attached to their parents, that this imperative separation never takes place.  Unfortunately, if the bonds between child and parent are still running deeper than the bonds in the child’s marriage, the marriage is in dire risk of failure.  God commands that we, as a married couple, are to cut the delicate ties between our parents and us and create an even stronger bond with our mates.  In the same way, when we become a bride of Christ, we are to “put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Ephesians 4:22)  Our souls before Christ were blemished and impure, and that former lifestyle has no room in our new bond with our Savior.  Just as the bride and groom decide to leave their parents as they join together, we too, must do the same when it comes to our new walk with Christ.

Weddings are such and awesome parallel to our union with Christ.  Paul calls this union between us and Christ the “great mystery”, and beautifully paints this picture of a bride and a groom joining together in Ephesians 5.  Witnessing this union several times a year constantly reminds me of the vow I made to Christ, as well as the vow I made to my husband.  We should all take the time to reflect on when we became a bride of Christ, and meditate on the promise of a new life that we made with him.  Are we still presenting ourselves holy and without blemish?  Are we cleaving to our Lord and keeping our former lusts out of the union?  Are we still submitting to his will and his protection?  I encourage each of us today to dwell on these things as we continue on in our very special relationship with our Lord and Savior.

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Go Ahead! Flirt a Little…

“Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes that have come up from the washing, all of which bear twins, and not one among them has lost its young.”  Song of Solomon 4:2

Ok, so this is the wall post that graced my Facebook page the other day.  Most people looked at it and thought it was crazy,  but when I read it, I blushed, and felt beautiful.  My husband decided to “artistically” tell me that he though my smile was beautiful using a verse from Songs of Solomon.  I was intrigued by his romantic gesture, and returned a grand gesture myself using a verse from the Songs as well.

When he got home that day, I was on top of the world, feeling like a “woman” and basking in the compliments sent my way.  He grabbed me and gave me a hello kiss which caused our girls to go running off screaming “Ewwwwww!”  While walking down the hall, I overheard Rylee tell Kadence, “Aww, they are in Looove.”  It made me smile  and think to myself I am glad they can see it.

As parents, we get caught up in the chaos surrounding our marriage.  We have jobs to do and things to fix, kids to be fed, and pants to iron.  So many of us feel as if we are but ships passing in the night, and rarely take the time to show affection during these times.  I am pretty guilty of this.  I just forget to give my husband a quick kiss when he comes home, or give him that “wink” across the dining room table.

I remember feeling so secure as a child when I caught my dad stealing a quick kiss from my mom, and I want my children to feel this same security.  Our children need to see the love that we as spouses feel about the other.  This gives our children a loving environment, and gives them a sense of comfort and belonging.  When my husband tells the kids that their Momma is beautiful, their reaction to his compliment is almost the same reaction as mine.  A feeling of flattery and belonging.

So go ahead, flirt a little in front of the kids, steal a kiss, give a compliment, give a hug, pick a flower, cuddle on the couch.  Show your children how a married couple are to behave with one another appropriately, and give your spouse, and your kids the comfort and belonging that comes from these signs of love and affection.

‎”Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death….Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the flood drown it.”  Song of Solomon 8:7

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Do Not Grow Weary

As a mom, I perform many day to day tasks that seem unending and mundane.  I always have laundry to fold, dishes to be washed, floors to clean, mouths to feed, and places to go.  Most of the time, when the cleaning and upkeep tasks are being done, I find myself grumbling most of the time wishing we had a maid so I could get on to more “important” things.  As I sit here now, I have a full sink of dishes and a kitchen floor that desperately needs to be swept, and a few hours later, I will have to sweep it again.  My role as a wife and mother have many many benefits, but some of the duties I must perform seem to have none.

2 Thessalonians chapter 3 verses 6-15 speak about the dangers of idleness, and how we are to toil and labor for everything that we are able to call ours.  I believe that in this passage, Paul is encouraging us to find the purpose and value in the day to day tasks that we all perform and by doing so, set an example to others around us.  As  Christians, If we slack on the work that needs to be done whether it be in the home, or in the workplace, we are in danger of setting a bad example to our family and co- workers.  We are all called to a higher purpose in everything that we do, and our Christian character can always be evident if we put forth every effort to show our dedication and willingness to serve. As a mom, if I allow someone else to perform the duties that are my responsibility in the home, I am missing out on an opportunity to serve my family and be blessed for that service.  I am also missing out on the opportunity to show my children that when I tend to the needs of others, in the form of cooking, and cleaning, and mending, I am tending to the needs of my Lord.  Likewise, if those of you in the workplace do not give 100 percent to your jobs, you are missing out on an opportunity of service, and setting a bad example to others around you.

I believe that Paul understood the tasks that we perform can seem to overload us all at times.  In verse 13 it states, “As for you brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” In the passage before this, Paul says, “…we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”   As you set out to perform the tasks that you must do today to make your living, or serve your family, remember that we are doing what the Lord commands us to do, and in doing so we are providing for our families and setting an example to those who see us work diligently, and quietly.  I can honestly say that I am not jumping out of my seat right now to fold the massive pile of laundry on the floor, but I can say that I will do it in service to my family and in service to the Lord.  When I put tasks such as these in that kind of perspective, it makes the tasks just a bit more bearable, and helps me to be a little less weary.

 

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Bridle that Tongue!

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a comment that left you with a cold, aching, hatred in your heart?  Have you ever muttered words that left another feeling the same way?  I am shamefully guilty of this, and I have felt the sting of the repercussions on both ends of the hurtful words.  The way we speak to one another can get out of hand at times due to lack of concern for the other, pride, hatred, hurt feelings, selfish gain, and many more factors.  The mouth is such an important part of our lives, but it can turn ugly quick when tempers become aroused.  Psalms 34:13-14 states “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.  Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”  The bible also tells us that “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from trouble.” (Proverbs 21:23)

Guarding our tongues from speaking evil of others is such a daunting task at times it seems.  As humans, when we become hurt, it is in our nature to justify our pain, and out of that pain flows words uttered about another that are so hard to erase.  As Christians, it is our obligation to seek peace and pursue it.  The book of James gives us some insight on our words in chapter three.  It explains how little things make a big difference.  He gives us two examples of small tools used to maneuver larger items, and compares them with our tongues controlling our whole bodies.  The horse is given a small bit that is places in its mouth, in order to turn its body in the way the rider wishes to go.  A large ship contains a small rudder to steer it wherever the pilot may want to go.  In the same way, our tongues are very small members, and can steer us in many different directions.  When used wisely, out tongues direct us closer to others and to our Father and Creator.  When used foolishly, our tongues spark a wildfire destroying fellow Christians, and as stated in verse 6, an unruly tongue sets us on a course to destruction.

As we read further in the text, we see how we use our tongues to glorify and bless our Father, and in the same breath, may curse others.  The writer warns us that we should not make this so in verse 10.  He explains how a fresh spring cannot also create stagnate water from the same opening and a fig tree can only bear figs.  In this same manner, we must show consistency with our words.  If we are to wise on this earth, we must show good conduct and bear words that flow wisdom through meekness. (vs13)

I believe the main driving force behind the fire we cast out of our speech sometimes comes from our own selfishness, we seek our own will against the will of others, and if that will is threatened, we tend to lash back with hurtful comments.  The author of the book of James challenges us to purse an active faith which will produce changes in one’s conduct and character.  We must challenge ourselves daily to continue to live lives of purity and self-control while seeking peace with others. We must attain Godly wisdom to control things such as the tongue from ruling our lives.  When your tongue speaks of lies or deceit with another, correct it immediately, we  know that the hurtful things  said in the heat of the moment tend to take years to heal.  Search the scriptures daily so that you may have His word in your hearts every moment,  and in this way, it will be much easier for us to speak well of another out of our love and respect for the Father and His word.  Pray to the Lord that He may help you bridle your tongue in your times of distress and seek peace with others.   I understand that this is such a hard trait to obtain, but I believe it can be done.  I continually struggle with my words and my tone with those who are closest to me at times, and I believe that at the end of the day, if I try my hardest to correct the wrong, pray for forgiveness, and let those whom I hurt know of the love I have for them in my heart, then I will live to fight another day with the battle of the tongue, and my brothers and sisters in Christ will encourage me on as I fight the battle.  I believe this is true for all of us as well.  “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:16-18  May we all seek righteousness and peace with all, and continue on with the task of controlling our tongues out of love for the Father and love for another.

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Peace and Order

As most married couples, our marriage started out as two people coming together with totally different backgrounds.  I was from a free flowing home, messy, but comforting.  My childhood home was clean, but we usually had pillows thrown off the couch and toys lying around.  My husband came from a tidy home, everything had its place, and the order of the home was a comfort.  You didn’t dare mess up the floor rug, and he had to dust his room every Saturday before he could play.  This caused some interesting conflicts that are still spilling over into our marriage today.

I leave dried toothpaste in the sink, and my shoes are in a big pile in the closet; I hang my bras on the bathroom doorknob.  I stuff the garbage sack so full of junk, that it is almost impossible to get it out of the garbage can.  My husband, on the other hand, has his whole life organized and in sync with his IPhone and Mac Book.  His bathroom counter has all of his medicines, hair products, and shaving tools all in their proper order.  His shoes are neatly placed on a shoe rack, and his office library is organized and grouped by various topics.  In this aspect of our lives, we are like night and day and we have been spending the past eight years of our marriage trying to find a balance between our differences to make a comfortable home for our children, and ourselves.  I found peace in a home that looked like it had been lived in; he found peace in a home that seemed spotless.

It is so funny to look back on the things we did to ourselves to try to make the other happy.  I would wear myself out trying to keep our home the way his mother kept hers, and he would try so hard to not let the toys strewn all over the place and dirty dishes in the sink get to him.  Neither one of us could relax in the environment we created.  Our different upbringings were causing us to experience arguments, issues, and stress that should have never occurred.  To him, I was a mess, to me, he was too uptight. Somehow, through communication, prayer, and understanding, we tore down the walls that defined peace and order in the home through our different childhood upbringings, and we found peace and order in each other.

Throughout the course of our union, we have rubbed off on each other.  He leaves his shoes and empty cups lying around the house, which makes me smile because it leaves me reminders of him in our home.  Our closets and drawers are organized, well, except for my shoes, and I keep our home in order, which allows him to relax after coming home from work.   My husband still cringes when I leave toothpaste in the sink, and I still roll my eyes at the way he insists on having his lotion facing sideways.  But, through all of this, we made a home together.  Our home is defined by our love, our commitment to each other and to the Lord, and by the individual traits we have put into it to make it work.  We have created our own environment in which our marriage and family can thrive.  Our children are being raised in a Godly home where we all influence each other through love to create a warm, inviting home full of laughter, love, peace, and order.

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