A Messy Review and Give Away

matureloveMature love. Do I have that? I mean, I love my husband. Absolutely I do. And after what is soon to be six years just around the corner, I love him more today than the day I married him. Goodness sakes, I know that probably seems like a very short time to some.

I’m happy to say I have witnessed many marriages that have outlived the 50-year mark, including my grandparents from both sides of my family. So, some may even think it would be foolish to think I could have really, truly mature love at this point. And I get that. I know we will grow so much more over the years. But, I want to do all that I can to be the wife that God created for my husband. And sometimes, I definitely miss the mark.

In arguments I may pout, make snappy comebacks, do things I know will convey that I’m not happy or I think he is wrong. How many times do I listen intently, pray, and trust God to change my husband’s heart or, even more, trust Him to change MY heart? Do I think often enough about how I can be lifting him up?

I think as a culture we’ve bought in to the lies that if we’ve not done anything really wrong, then we’re okay and we can just skimp on by. My last blog post introduced a book by Darlene Schacht, a woman who has been transparent enough with “painful honesty” to share her sin, and remind me that there is so much more to daily honoring my husband in ways that the world may see as little but God sees as obedient and sacrificial.

Part of me wishes I could list quote after quote until I’d probably have shared most of the book (though keep reading to find out how I might just do that for you). I’ll try and stick to just a few and maybe you’ll get a glimpse of how really, really good and relevant this book is.

When marriage functions as God intended it, both a husband and a wife bring glory to God. My mission is to remind women of this truth so that we might live out our purpose, which is to love our husbands, raise our children with intent, and manage our homes well. In doing so, we strengthen the bond of marriage and glorify God.

Love is deliberate, it’s intentional, it’s purposeful, and in the end it’s worth every minute that you give of yourself to another.

Marriage is a thousand little things. It’s giving up your right to be right in the heat of an argument. It’s forgiving another when he lets you down. It’s loving someone enough to step down so he can shine.

Is this book perfect? Maybe not. But a perfect book would just bring us to shame. I think instead the author is asking us to come to our knees and seek the One who sees the best in us, in our spouse, and in a marriage He wants to be a picture to the world of Christ’s love for the Church.

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Now, you’re wondering how I’m going to share this whole book with you, aren’t you? Did you see the words “Give Away” in the title of this post? I love that I have been able to share this book with you as part of a launch team. And am I sharing it just because I’m on the launch team? No. I think this book can be a game changer for so many. In fact, before I had signed up for the launch, I had already pre-ordered my copy of the book. It is my privilege though to be allowed to give away a copy of this book- a definite exciting perk. So here’s how it will work: leave a comment before Tues night (9/232) at midnight MST and I will at random choose the winner and make an announcement in the comment section on Monday of who it is. You can tell me why you want the book, ask me any curious question you have or just say hi.

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Cucumbers and a Messy Beautiful Love

I have been so grateful for friends this summer who have graciously shared an abundance of their harvest with me. I don’t have room for my own garden and only have just a couple of potted tomato plants. But, I love to use vegetables for all sorts of substitutions in my cooking. We don’t use pasta anymore. Instead, we have veghetti and my girls, both too young to remember the days of Easy Mac, have veggie “Mac and cheese” and may wonder some day at a friend’s house why their friends macaroni and cheese is so different.

A big portion of these gifted vegetables has been, you guessed it, cucumbers. The girls and I love them and my husband hates them. So, I have been finding all kinds of creative ways to use them (I’ll share more in a later post). Now what in the world does this all have to do with a Messy Beautiful Love? I promise I’ll try and get there a little quicker (if you’ve been following me at all, you’ve discovered I have a quirky mind). One day as I was washing and cutting my cucumbers it struck me how getting the bitterness out of a cucumber can be a picture of how God uses our marriages. I learned a little trick long ago. If you cut off the ends of the cucumber and rub them against the cut side, the bitterness draws out and then you wash it off. The parallel- as the days, months, and years have gone by, there have definitely been times where my husband’s and my personalities and differences have definitely “rubbed” against one another. I can choose to remain hurt or angry, or I can choose to let God draw the bitterness out of my heart and see my husband through His eyes.

Enter a “Messy Beautiful Love” the book I am currently reading by Darlene Schacht. My parallel may only make sense to me, but this book is full of truths about our marriages, and how God can work in them, that are fully applicable. Whether you feel like your marriage is wonderful, or worthless, there is something here for you. Because, let’s face it, we’re human. “None of us can say that we have it all together when it comes to loving each other. As much as we might desire to love well, we all struggle against the flesh” (p. 56).

Financial problems, sickness, aging parents, a chronically unhappy spouse . . . trials will inevitably come that threaten your marriage. No matter how long you’ve been married or how strong your relationship is, sooner or later you are going to have a mess to clean up.

Messy Beautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God’s way, exchanging your ideas for His, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage has to offer.

http://messybeautifullove.com/

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http://http://timewarpwife.com/?p=4331

A New Kind of Challenge

I first thought about sharing a few things on Facebook this morning but it seemed too much for that format. I have so much to share and to put in to what I call a new kind of challenge. Let me start with what brought me to write this post this morning.

I have started in the month of September “the 30 day praise challenge” by Becky Harling (is this the challenge I’m issuing to everyone? no, but it would definitely be worth your time and I would absolutely recommend the book). And isn’t it just like God to bring things together. Before starting my quiet time, which included a “day of praise” from this book, I had earlier checked Facebook and saw a post asking for prayer for a family going through the pain of not knowing what would happen to their little girl who was showing almost no responsiveness after a surgery (http://heavenisourhome.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/hard-news/). In this post my friend spoke of how “Social media can be lethal, but the power of a praying army is more powerful than the enemy.” Without using the word challenge, she was asking us to stop and pray for this family before moving on to whatever the next post in the home feed was. I’m adding to this a little.

Enter today’s day of praise speaking about how we can trust God’s kindness even when life seems unfair (and boy sometimes doesn’t if feel really unfair). And this brings me to my challenge. I’m sure many of you have seen more videos than you can count lately in social media (mostly the ice bucket challenge comes to mind). And, please don’t get me wrong, I think the intentions were very good, or sometimes even just fun, and I myself participated. But, I want to see the same kind of excitement about what God is doing in our lives because He is God and He is good and believers supporting each other as a praying army as my friend mentioned.

So, if you’re tired of the word “challenge”, than just take this as a “I think this is worth 10 or 15 minutes out of your day” recommendation from me. I’m not even calling out anyone specific. And maybe no one else will read this, but if you do I pray it speaks to you as it did to me.

So here it is: Take the time to read the following “invitation” from Day 4 of “the 30 day praise challenge” and then listen to the songs I’ve linked –Praise You in the Storm by Casting Crowns, Forever Reign by Hillsong Live, and I Lift My Hands by Chris Tomlin (last two were included in the book as suggested listening). Then think about what God is saying to you today and and let Him speak kindness to you. And pray for those who are hurting and struggling.

“Injustice is a part of the fallen world. When life feels unfair, you are tempted to question My kindness. Satan, the Enemy of your soul, fills your mind with doubts. Child, My sense of justice is different from yours. Dare to praise Me for being good, even when I allow circumstances to occur in your life and in the lives of those you love that feel unfair. My every intention toward you is good. I continually offer you kindness as an expression of My nature. Celebrate My loving-kindness by thanking Me for the gifts I shower on you every day. I reign with perfect justice. There will come a day when I will bring good out of every evil. When you worship Me, My Spirit nurtures your faith. Test Me in this; praise Me for My justice and goodness, then watch and see how your trust in Me grows. I have your best interests at heart. Come, praise Me and feel renewed hope rising in your soul. (Ps. 118:1; Ps. 33:5; Ps. 34:8; Ps. 107:1).”

 

One last thought, it might seem like a quirky metaphor, but God gave me a picture that made sense to me. Sometimes our lives seem like bits and tattered pieces of scraps. But when God is finished sewing them together (and sometimes we don’t see the finished for a long time) it’s like a beautiful quilt that we can wrap around our arms.