Wednesday, March 2, 2016

breaking the vows

Read this aloud with me:
I love myself.

I love making time for myself, spoiling myself, catering to myself, putting myself first.

I love making myself feel good and look good. I love keeping myself comfortable and safe and happy.

I love myself, and because I love myself marriage is hard and divorce is appealing.

Marriage is hard because it's not about me.
Divorce is appealing because it's all about me.

And when I'm vulnerable, if I'm not mindful, I would trade my spouse for myself.

I am capable of ultimate self-deception1.
A friend once said that divorce is generally caused by selfishness. She put it kindly. If you ask me, divorce is almost always selfishness at its finest2.
Divorce is almost always selfishness at its finest. [tweet]

A selfishness that says marriage is about me.

A selfishness that says I care about myself more than you.

A selfishness that says I want what's best for me.

A selfishness that says I'm not happy with you.

A selfishness that says I don't care about the promise I made with these rings.

A selfishness that says I would rather be comfortable than made more like Jesus.

Selfishness at its finest.

Marriage is hard. I've had two natural births, and marriage is still the hardest thing I've ever done. Marriage is two becoming one--which means yes, you are losing yourself. You are fading away. You are becoming less--so that two might become one.
You are becoming less--so that two might become one. [tweet]

We get caught up in the romantic appeal of two-becoming-one yet refuse to let two become one. Refuse to put me behind. Refuse to put us first. Refuse to replace me with us.

Two becoming one is painful. It takes work, commitment, and sacrifice. Two becoming one takes a lifetime, and half of the married people in America won't give it the time it takes3.

Over the course of years, pain, miscommunication, silent treatments, arguments, and belittling pile up and we forget that we once exchanged the sweetest vows with the man of our dreams, with no doubt we would love him forever.

In our darkest moments, the thief sneaks into our hearts and after stealing our joy, sets out to steal our marriages. And half of us let him.

Your marriage is more than just a relationship.
It's more than just a promise.
Marriage isn't about making your spouse happy.
It isn't about keeping you happy, either.
Marriage is about making God known.

   steadfast endurance,
   ridiculous patience,
   long suffering,
   unparalleled grace,
   humbling mercy and
   crazy love.
Marriage is about making God known. [tweet]

...to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself to you.

in this together,

1 Glenn Myers, Ph.D., Professor of Church History and Theological Studies, Crown College
2 The only condition, in my opinion, under which divorce should be an option is one in which emotional or physical abuse is present. When life itself is in jeopardy, then I believe we are permitted to consider divorce as an option.
3 32 Shocking Divorce Statistics, McKinley Irvin Family Law

Monday, February 8, 2016

none but Jesus isn't a romantic notion

I remember feeling my heart dropping.
I remember thinking it wasn't enough.
And I remember blaming God.

I thought you wanted us here, God.
I thought you were the God of more-than-enough, God.
I thought you were going to provide, God.

Because I've been praying since before we got here that you'd give us more than enough. Because I believed you were going to pour your blessings unto us until we overflowed. Because I put you on a pedestal, and now I'm standing here with nothing.


Nothing but you. And seeing as I'm here, broke as ever after I asked for more than enough, I can't say I want nothing but you. We have kids to clothe and feed, bills to pay, and a car to fuel. We need money, not Jesus.


So I'd rather have something--oh, and you.

There was a secret God taught me in those moments of despair: God won't fight for us until we let Him fight for us.

In those moments when it looks like God has failed us, we've really failed ourselves--and only just realized it. We look to God and blame Him for failing us when really He's been tagging along on our foolish escapades.

In those moments when it looks like God has failed us, we have the choice to believe He has--or the choice to believe we haven't yet let Him fight on our behalf.

How many times have you asked God to provide in abundance? And how many times have you shaken your head in disappointment because He hasn't?

We have food on our shelves,
Clothing in our closets,
Money in our bank accounts--

Is this not abundance?

You tell me.

"I took my troubles to the LORD; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer" Psalm 120:1 NLT.


Friday, January 29, 2016

the case of the rotting mom

I've been haunted by this creeping feeling lately that I'm rotting away in this world. I'm sitting here in my house watching everyone live vibrant, lovely, progressive lives--and I'm. just. rotting. away.

You know what I mean?

If you do, there's at least two of us in this boat.

There's always this fear lurking in the background of our lives: the fear that struggling financially isn't good enough. The fear that having no degree isn't good enough. The fear that we won't ever measure up, so please don't stare too long lest you find out who I really am.

The fear that being just who we are, right where we are isn't good enough.

And my goodness, does that fear drives us to think and do some crazy things.

The past few weeks I've been itching to start a new project. Maybe draft a book? Outline a website? Come up with a business idea? (The Type-A in me is getting bored.)

My main line of thought has been, "What can come out of my years as a stay-at-home mom?" Part of me doesn't want to be "just a stay-at-home mom." Part of me feels like I'm going to "waste" my years as a stay-at-home mom.

Not my kids' years; my years. Like when the babies are off to school, bright-eyed and chipper as can be, I'll emerge from some dark and dank den with disheveled hair, blinking a million times over to try to adjust to the sunlight I've missed for so long. Smart TVs will be the stuff of legend and Apple will be nothing more than a fruit again.

I'm being overly dramatic, but seriously, friends, this is how bad it gets sometimes. I feel like I'm rotting away, and that is the picture that comes to mind.

Who will I be if I don't accomplish any feats, brave unknown territories, and make a name for myself?

Who will I be if I'm just an ordinary person, living an ordinary life?

Because let's be honest, that's what this fear is about: living and dying and not being remembered in history books, mentioned in songs, or re-created as a toy.

Living and dying and being a no-one.
Living and dying and being forgotten.

In a world where we're taught that who we are is what we do, it's hard to believe otherwise. It's hard to take the truth at its word.

You are more than accomplishments.
You are more than failures.
You are more than dids, dos, and will dos.

You don't have to be extra-ordinary.
You don't have to have a gazillion followers.
You don't even have to be known.

You just gotta do what you gotta do.

That one thing that you can't stop thinking about.
That one thing that gets your heart pumping.
That one thing you want to do but don't to do because of the raised eyebrows, skeptical looks, and peer pressure.

That thing.
Do it.

Do it faithfully. Do it well. Do it shamelessly. Do it with everything you've got.

"Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things, and give me life in your ways" Psalm 119:37 ESV.

brave together,