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Sweet, sweet memories

Psalm 77:11-12 – “I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”

As I sit here this morning, I’m remembering the excitement and nervousness and joy that this day brought me 22 years ago. It was the night of my wedding rehearsal. We had so much fun. We laughed. And we laughed. And then, we laughed some more. 

And then the next day, the big day, was full of love and celebrating and nervous jitters and yes, more laughter. I can see it all in my head. I can hear my Southern accent. I can see the big hair. I remember the look in my Daddy’s eyes as he walked up the stairs to bring me to my future husband. I remember the one candle that did not light at the altar. I remember people yelling at me to watch out for fire ants while I tied balloons along the sidewalk leading up to that old farmhouse where we had our reception. I remember the magnolia trees bloomed that morning. 

But more than all the memories of those two days 22 years ago, I remember how we got there – God. I remember that it was Him that brought my husband and I together. I remember that it was Him that grew the love that continues to grow in us. I remember praying to find my husband while I was still in high school. 

I have so many precious memories. But none of them would be possible without Jesus in my life. I KNOW that it was Him that brought my husband to me. I KNOW it was Him that showed me what it means to have a good marriage by giving me the parents He gave me. I KNOW it is Him that keeps us together to this day. 

So when I look back and remember, I don’t want to neglect His fingerprints all over my life. And I want to make sure that I give Hin the honor and glory He deserves for His work in my life. Thank you God, for all that You have done in my life. And thank you for all that You will do in my life because I KNOW You’re not done with me yet. 

What love is…

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Yesterday, I visited a couple who has been married 56 years. He is vibrant and swam a 1/2 mile that morning in the pool. She, on the other hand, is failing. Her health is less than good and her mind wavers. Yet, as she needed attending for whatever reason, he did so without complaining, without harshness and with loads of compassion. He encouraged her when she successfully completed a 30 second stand without grasping her walker. 

People today don’t always understand and appreciate that kind of love and devotion. When things get tough and they feel their needs aren’t being met, they leave. 

This couple encouraged me with stories of their time apart when he was away doing his job. I can see him leaving home to get on a plane in the 60s while his wife stayed home with the children. I can see her opening the door with a smile on her face when she sees him walking up the front sidewalk. I can see him watching her cook dinner while the children run in and out the door and they talk of what all has gone on through the week. And as time passes, I can see him sitting by her bed holding her hand while she struggles to understand why she just can’t remember. 

Love. Love is something that is challenged every day. It is a choice we make every day. I choose to get up in the morning and love my husband no matter if he is beside me or on a trip for his job. I choose to stand by him when he is sick and when he is happy. I choose to love him when he carries out the trash and when he makes me madder than a wet hen. 

Love isn’t about warm fuzzy feelings and thinking like you are the center of his world. Love is knowing that when you just can’t remember, he will be there. Love is knowing that when you can’t stand by yourself, he will be there to hold you up. Love is a choice. 

I truly believe that we can’t love our spouse without loving Jesus first. You see, He is love. He shows us how to love. 

So this weekend, love. Choose love. Always, choose love. Happy Friday. 

Looking at the other side

Genesis 22:1-3 – “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.”

So today, I want to look at who is not in these verses – Sarah. 

Sarah was a beautiful woman but she could be a handful at times, especially when it came to Isaac. She was a momma bear when it came to him. But she was beautiful and Abraham loved her dearly. 

Let me just set up for you something that has been going on in my head in regards to this portion of history – Abraham has told Sarah that he and Isaac have to go make a sacrifice to God. They are going to go to the place He tells them to go to complete the sacrifice. Now, to some that would be strange, but to Sarah, well, she has heard that before and it all turned out okay. So Isaac and Abraham take off for a journey. The shepherds are whispering around two days after they leave. Sarah notices this. She asks them what they are being so secretive about – they tell her Abraham and Isaac did not take a lamb for the sacrifice. 

Now, think for a minute about all the scenarios that are going through your head right now. How would you feel? Would you think that your husband has just ran off with your son? I mean, he did just get rid of Ishmael and his mother. But when he left, he left behind many items that if he had been leaving for good, he would have taken.  No, he only took the things they would need for a sacrifice. And Abraham is not easily swayed to run after pagan gods. So, what would he sacrifice? He was looking at Isaac in a strange way….no, he wouldn’t. He couldn’t. Would he?

It took three days for Abraham and Isaac to get where they were going. So it stands to reason that it would take that long to get back home. Six days – it was at least that long that Sarah waited without knowing if her son was still alive or not. Can you imagine what was going through her head? Can you imagine how she prayed and begged and pleaded to God? She had waited her whole, long life for that child. 

What I want to think about here is trust. Sarah trusted Abraham with her son. Abraham trusted that God would provide and fulfill His promise to him. Sarah learned that she had to trust God as well. 

There are so many times in our life that we have no clue what’s going on. Things are as clear as mud. These are the times that God uses to teach us to trust Him. Trusting means that you don’t need to know all the details or be privy to what all is going on – you just know that somehow, someway it will all happen and  work out. 

And that’s ok. You don’t need to know everything, you just need to trust the One that has everything under control. 

Overwhelmed 

Psalm 61:1-5 – “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.”

Have you ever had moments in your life where you are just completely overwhelmed? 

You may be overwhelmed by fear or sorrow or joy or gratefulness. Being overwhelmed can come in many forms. 

I have been overwhelmed several times this week. Monday, I was overwhelmed by God’s care and attention to my life. Tuesday, I was overwhelmed by uncertainty. Wednesday, I was overwhelmed by excitement. Thursday, I was overwhelmed by stuff – lots and lots of stuff to do. And today, I am overwhelmed by gratefulness. 

Today is my 21st wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that I have been married more than half my life! But it’s true! It is a decision that I would make over and over again. My husband is the BEST! He is loving, honest, true, trustworthy, the leader in our home – I could go on and on. 

I know that the longevity and beauty of our marriage is due entirely to OUR Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that without Him, we would never have survived. Jesus is the One who has kept us sane, kept us strong and kept us choosing to love each other each and every day. 

You know, as we were going through Monday, I knew that God would see us through the trial we were facing. But He did something extraordinary – our couples devotion for that night specifically dealt with what we were dealing with – to the detail! It knocked my socks off! All I could do was cry. It was amazing. 

Being overwhelmed can sometimes be a good thing. It brings you to the place of praise and communication. It doesn’t matter what state of overwhelmed you are at, you can’t help but cry out to Him when you are there. 

So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t sweat it – be prayerful in it. Be joyful. Be grateful. Be praising. Be crying out to Him. 

Revisiting “Love, true love”

I was looking through old posts today and came across this one. Hope you enjoy it!

Love, true love.

I was thinking about the movie “The Princess Bride.” I love that movie. It cracks me up! When you read “love, true love”, you have to imagine saying it with a large marshmallow in your mouth – you know, like the priest getting ready to marry off the girl. I would say a ping-pong ball but that makes me gag to think about it!

Anyway, do you know what “love, true love” really is? Is it google eyes over the man of your dreams? Is it red roses and nice dinners?

I would say no. True love is carting a box of cowgirl boots on a plane because she had to leave them behind. True love is turning dirty socks inside out to be washed. True love is cleaning up a sick mess. True love is accepting morning breath.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “ Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Love is a choice we make each and every day. Just as easily as you can choose to love, you can choose not to love – hence the reason we have such a high divorce rate.

Choose to love God. Choose to allow Him to show you the way and make your path straight. Choose to love your children and show them what love is. Choose to love your spouse unconditionally. Don’t hold past sins against him/her – love him/her through them.

Practice “love, true love.”

 

20 years

Matthew 19:5,6 – “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

May 20, 1995 dawned bright and beautiful. It was the day I had been waiting for my entire life. I was going to marry my best friend. I remember bits and pieces of that day very clearly and other parts just run together. I remember going to the salon and getting my hair done. It was huge. I remember getting my makeup done – it was a lot. I remember going to the old farmhouse where we had our reception and hammering stakes into the yard for the balloons up the walkway with my big hair and veil. I remember getting shooed away from that task because everyone was afraid I would get eaten up by fire ants. I remember sitting on the stairs leading up to the bridal room eating a turkey sandwich and an apple. I remember giggling all the way the through the ceremony because I was so nervous. 

I remember going to sleep that night and hearing my new husband say, “I’ll see you in the morning.” And I said, “I’ll see you any time I dang well please!” And he responded, “Just the way I like it, pretty baby.” And thus has been said every night for the past twenty years just before we fall asleep together. 

But I think my fondest memory of that day was actually the next morning when I awoke to my new husband smiling at me. 

These last twenty years have been filled with ups and downs, ins and outs, laughter and tears. But I wouldn’t trade any moment for any thing in the world. God gave him to me for a reason. He keeps me balanced. He keeps me sane. He helps to carry my load. He loves me unconditionally. He builds me up. I pray I never have to imagine life without him. 

But the most important thing is he is my best friend to this day. He is my brother in Christ. He leads our home spiritually and physically and emotionally. He loves our children fiercely. 

Our marriage has been an amazing gift from God. We are not perfect by any stretch of the means, but God has set a love in our hearts for one another that is unbelievable. You see, we trusted Him first. We chose to walk His path together. We have chosen to give Him the say so in our marriage, in our decisions and in our future. God brought us together and only God can take us apart. But that is our choice to make. And we have chosen it every single day – for the last twenty years. 

I didn’t really write this blog this morning for any one else but him. But I hope that you have enjoyed a glimpse into my life and my love. And to my husband, I love you more than I can tell you. You have given me the best of my life and I am excited to see what God has in store for us in the next 20+ years. 

Your house

Proverbs 14:1 – “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”

If your not a fan of personal responsibility, then you probably won’t like this verse. Solomon could not have said it better if he tried.

You see, in our society, we are looking to blame somebody for something. “It’s not my fault I’m fat. I don’t have the right food options at McDonald’s.” “I don’t make good grades because the teacher doesn’t teach me what I need to know.” “My marriage is falling apart because we have just grown apart.”

Life takes work. Living requires doing. Doing requires that you choose to take ownership of things to make them happen. And with that comes personal responsibility.

As women, we are known as the “keeper of the home.” I guarantee that if you were to ask my husband right now where the cheese grater, hole punch or thermometer are, he probably could point you in the right direction but could not immediately tell you where they are at. Ladies, it is our responsibility to keep up with our house physically.

But it is also our responsibility to keep up with our homes emotionally. The devil is out there looking to destroy us. He wants to make our lives miserable. He wants us to remember all the yuck that has happened lately and wear it around like a banner of honor of all the junk you have had to deal with. The “poor little me” t-shirt is ugly. Take it off and throw it away! You see, by choosing to wear that shirt, you are slowly tearing down your house. It’s like that box of cookies that disappear slowly. You don’t sit down and take it out in one swoop. You take one here and one there and another later until you realize you ate the whole box. And then you feel miserable because you ate the whole thing. Tearing down your house feels just as bad and worse. First, you start wondering why you feel like no one in your house is talking to you. Then you start planning things without discussing them with your mate. And the next thing you know, your house is in shambles around you. I have been blessed that I have not personally experienced this. However, I have seen it many times in the lives of people around me. I know that if I chose one day to get up and not work on my marriage that I could very easily find myself in this position. I know that my life and my marriage are susceptible. I know that without Jesus reminding me daily to love my husband and my family that I would find myself tearing down my own house.

And sister, I think that is where we fail. We want to blame someone else. We want to choose to be blameless in our walk – when we are not. We all fail. We all mess up. We all fall into the pit of despair at times. But Jesus is standing at the top with His hand out reached desiring to pull us up out of the yuck to walk back alongside Him.

Building your house is not one time deal. It is constantly in need of attention. It requires that you clean it. It requires that you decorate it and celebrate in it. It requires that you repair it occasionally. It requires that you be attentive to it. It requires that you live in it and learn it. Just like your physical house, the house of your marriage and your life require attention. Don’t neglect either one of them.