I’m not really into resolutions. I know, it sounds like I’m trying really hard not to “follow the crowd” or whatever. But that’s not it. I’m not against them, I’m just not really into them. Most people (myself included) are not resolute or disciplined enough to keep them! Every year I go to the grocery store at the beginning of January and attempt to buy frozen spinach (because I love it) and all the new year’s resolution people have taken it all!
I am not bitter.
I am just pointing out that by mid-February the frozen veggie stock is exactly the same. This year, I decided (it wasn’t really a resolution, just a decision) that I wanted to be healthier. So, that’s what I did. I began to exercise and eat clean and my headaches became less frequent, I had more energy, and felt overall better!
Then our Young Life Area Director spoke with us about discipline. That spoke volumes to me and it encouraged me to not only follow through with my new healthy lifestyle, but also to be more consistent in my relationship with Christ. I heard someone say that discipline is freeing. Know what? It is. I felt more free and alive and full than I have just doing whatever whenever and not having any discipline in these areas.
So, that brings me to 2013. Having learned discipline (and relearned and relearned) what can I do now that I couldn’t or wouldn’t do before? How has this affected my future? Well, it as led me this new year to make some goals for myself. Not resolutions necessarily, because most of them have specific endpoints.
I have decided to make three goals (some being longer than others). I have a plan to reach those goals and a date by which to reach them. My husband is making goals and we have goals as a couple. I encourage you to consider doing the same. I think that our success rate will be much higher.
This year was different. The carolers caroled. The lights were bright. The food was yummy. All these things remained the same. We exchanged gifts (kudos to the hubby for getting me Dance Central 3) before going anywhere. We drove over an hour to his parent’s house and stayed four days. But this year it was different.
This year we were married.
This year I was not his girlfriend. I was his wife. I was the daughter-in-law. I was the sister-in-law. I was not a beloved girlfriend with people asking, “do you think you’ll get married?” Nope! All that was done! I was the wife! And it was wonderful!
I sang karaoke (because that’s how we get down on Christmas). We wobbled. Shuffled. Slid. And it was all great because I am the wife. I am the misses. I got a gift addressed to “Darius’ wife.” Know what I got from her last year? Nothing! I didn’t take it personally and I was genuinely surprised and thankful this year, but it made all the difference, because I was the wife.
And next year? I’ll be the wife. And there’s no going back from that.
I read this thing once (or twice, or a hundred times) about how I need to respect my husband. The first few weeks of our first year married class we learned about this book called Love and Respect. It talks about how men need to be respected and women need to be loved. Good, practical, helpful stuff in that class. Not the first time, but one of the most significant times I heard it was on our wedding day.
That seems simple enough. He loves me. I respect him. I love him, so why would I not want to respect him? Aww…bliss.
One word. One sentence. One phrase that wasn’t meant as a dig – but feels like one – makes me want to throw respect out the door!
He made a comment about how I don’t refill the water purifier. Well, there may be some truth in that. I don’t always refill it unless it’s completely empty. I’m not as passionate about the whole water purifier system as he is. It wasn’t said maliciously or as some kind of way to put me down. But it bugged me.
For a moment, I wanted to respond – poorly. I wanted to yell and tell him that he doesn’t do stuff too! “What about that time you didn’t put the toothpaste back into the basket?! You left it on the sink and I had to put it away!!” Not only would it have been petty, but it would have been disrespectful and caused unnecessary tension in our relationship.
So, I chose to keep my mouth shut. It became an opportunity to show respect to my husband and therefore give honor to God. It became a moment that shows glory to Him instead of making my life all about me and how I feel (always with those unreliable emotions).
I have plenty of moments when this is not what happens. Don’t get me wrong here. I have plenty to learn about being a wife and being a follower of Christ. Every day I learn something new. But it’s these moments. The small ones. The ones that are easy to overlook when they go smoothly, but can cause huge issues if handled incorrectly, that can build up our relationships and give honor to our Father in Heaven.
I can hardly believe what happened yesterday.
My heart hurts. I cry out to God knowing that He is the only One who can heal. He is our only hope and help in the midst of tragedy.
No politics. No excuses. Just the pain and consequences of sin. Just the obviousness of our need for Him.
Pray with me today for the families and friends and teachers and students that were affected by violence in CT and China yesterday.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
I should stop talking. Maybe not forever, because sometimes I have something insightful to say. Even wise. Sometimes.
It’s not as often as I let my mouth run off and talk about whatever. It’s not always bad. I’m not a big bad-mouther anymore. Cursing isn’t my thing and I hate yelling. At a football game? Sure. At your friend? Spouse? Sibling? Parent? No! Definitely not. (I’ve yelled. I’m sure I’ll yell again, but I hate it).
Not my purpose. I ramble. I love sidebars and little inserts into a thought that are unexpected but give a little insight into my mind. There are times when I just wait for my turn to speak. Was I listening? No. I was waiting for my turn to talk. That’s a bad habit. It’s bad and it needs to be released!
How can I love well if I don’t listen well? How can I be shoulder-to-shoulder with my husband if I never shut up? He comes face-to-face with me. He listens and responds. I talk through our activities most of the time. It’s not always a bad thing, but it isn’t always good. Why do I feel the need to fill the quiet? Isn’t God’s voice quiet? And still? How can I hear it if I never stop talking?
One last thought. A friend of mine said that before anything comes out of your mouth it should go through three gates:
1. Is it true?
2. Is it kind?
3. Is it necessary?
That third gate is where I fail most of the time. Take the time to consider that this week. Consider not talking. Consider listening to others. Listening to God. Only saying what is true and kind and necessary and see how people respond. Then, if you remember or care to, let me know how it goes.
Today we cleaned. WE. My husband and I. Together. Both. At the same time. For one hour.
I asked – multiple times, but no one is counting – if he would like to clean with me. It started off as a “would you like to” and quickly turned into a “please help me for one hour!” I even offered to set an alarm and then we could stop when the alarm went off! I was more than thrilled when he agreed and we went to work – him in the living room and me in the kitchen.
I finished the kitchen and began the laundry and made the bed. He came into the bedroom just as I was finishing and said to me, “there’s your hour.” Then proceeded to sit on the sofa. I smiled, not at all disappointed in getting “only an hour” because that’s what I requested. That’s what I got. And that was how he took time out of his Saturday morning (when he could have been playing with his new Xbox) to show me some love.
When he said, “there’s your hour,” it made me think. In the American church (probably in the church all over, but I’ve not been elsewhere and know little of them) we encourage one another to have quiet time with the Lord each morning. To set aside an hour to study our Bible, pray, and find rest in Him. This practice is biblical. It mimics Jesus’ action of getting alone with His Father in prayer.
I believe it’s a great discipline (I have quite a bit to say on discipline, but we’ll save that for another time). But how often do we have this hour and then say with our actions, even if not with our words, “there’s your hour” to the Lord? Then we proceed to continue on with our lives as if He isn’t with us. As if we didn’t just have that hour. As if He didn’t ask for our lives and not just for an hour.
This isn’t the first time this thought has come up recently. I trust it won’t be the last. Every day I’m learning to give my husband at least what he asks and to give God more than an hour.
I’ve been listening to this song over and over today. It’s not a Christmas song (I’m sorry). The first time I heard it was at the Annie Moses Band concert at Westover. I didn’t have money for the concert so I was sitting outside of it listening. A man came out and asked me if I didn’t like this kind of music and I told him that I didn’t have money for the ticket. He told me to just go in.
I was captivated. My ears were pleased and my eyes were excited and I could not stop the joy that came in response to this family. It was awe-inspiring. Stringed instruments and voices filled the room. As they played this song, Blush, I was brought to tears. It reminded me me of my old life. Of how God had changed my heart on the subject of sex and purity. Of how I wish that certain things were different, but only God could heal them.
Today I listened. I did not cry. I just took it in. The beauty of the music and the words that are so true. I hope you enjoy!
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” Psalm 100:1