Treasured Moments

One of my favorite things about being married is having my husband around to talk. Often we listen to controversial talk radio then chat – sometimes debate – about what we heard.

At bedtime, we lay in bed reading our books (or doing my crossword) and de-stress. We chat about what happened in our day and anything that happens to be on our minds. We share secrets. Secrets that only the two of us will know. Secrets that aren’t necessarily deep, but ours all the same. They are special because they belong to the two of us.

A special moment

A special moment

I treasure those moments because they bring us closer. They create intimacy. Moments like these are face-time with my best friend. It’s easy to love. It’s easy to respect him. In those moments it’s easy to show Jesus because I’m completely invested. My attention, my energy, my time is being spent wholly on him. And he on me. If someone starts talking, the other stops reading. We make eye contact. We respond in a way that let’s the other person know we did not only hear, but were listening.

It’s a sweet time. One that I’m certain will continue to evolve as the years continue. I don’t want to miss these moments. I want to keep them. Remember them. Treasure them.

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A Song for Saturday

My heart has hurt. My mind has shut down. My soul needs Jesus. But sometimes, all I can do is nothing. Sometimes, all I can do is cry. Those moments – minutes, hours, days – are painful. They are reminders of the brokenness of our world. I know that’s it’s not just me. I can’t find the words or the strength. I don’t know what to pray. But I know that only God can heal me. He has not left me. His daughters are precious to Him. He set His affections on me and has not forgotten me. I am the one who needs to remember. I need Him. I NEED HIM!

The chorus of this song says, “How many times have you heard me cry out, God please take this? How many times have you given me strength to just keep breathing? Oh I need you! God, I need you now!” I need Him. I’m not the only one. Crying out to my Father in Heaven in those moments. You know the ones.

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:1-2

A Necessary Friendship

I wanted a mentor. Then I needed a mentor. Then I found out that finding a mentor was less than simple.

My mentor journey was not easy or short. I did not put my name on a list and get someone that inherently understood me. On the contrary, I put my name on a list and got someone who was kind. She loved the Lord and she wanted to be like him. She played tennis (which I played in high school) and she was full of wisdom. I was excited to be matched with her through a mentoring program in my church. Then her mother got sick. She moved away. We only met once.

So, I tried again. I signed up again. I got a woman who reminded me so much of my grandmother that I could cry just thinking about it. She cooked me dinners on Monday nights and it was delicious. My boyfriend at the time – now he’s my husband – would drop me off and pick me up at her house. She didn’t have time to pursue me and when I got a little uncomfortable with the depth (because I am not transparent, although I am learning to be) I stopped reaching out. I would see her randomly at the woman’s class at church, but that was about it.

Then I became a team leader for Young Life. I sat at a table and was told explicitly that I needed a mentor. It was not a suggestion. It was not a negotiation for my position. It was a command. My situation: not excited, discouraged.

Talking to a friend, we considered a blog that I was somewhat obsessed with – I read it daily and commented often. The woman who wrote the blog went to my church. She oozed Jesus and understood me – even though she didn’t know me – in ways that I couldn’t explain. With my friend proofreading and listening as I typed, I sent her a Facebook message asking her to be my mentor and explaining why her specifically. I felt ridiculous. I was putting myself “out there” and was prepared for rejection in the most sincere way. Then she messaged me back with a yes. Oh. My. Jesus. This was happening.

Lara and I at my bridal shower

Lara and I at my bridal shower

I went to her house for dinner with her family. Then I got engaged to be married. I sat down across from her at what is now the coffee house we regularly meet and she asked, “so, what is your biggest fear about getting married?” She didn’t work up to it. No sugar coating. No pretending. And in we jumped. In we leaped into a friendship that I was not expecting. A friendship that I needed. A friendship with a woman who is unashamed and unafraid to preach the gospel and tell me like it is.

I’ve made reference to her a few times on my blog and I’ll probably do it again. Her insights affect my life. I can be as raw as I want and she understands and accepts me. She doesn’t lie to me just to make me feel good. She insists – insists – on Truth.

Find someone. Find a mentor. Find someone a little older, a little further along in her faith walk, who you can be as real was you want and need to be with, and ask her. Ask her to lead you. Ask her to walk beside you. Ask her to be on this faith journey with you. The worst that she can say is no, but that probably won’t happen.

We need other women. Women who are in the same place as us. Women who we can minister to. And women who can minister to us. Walk in community. Live in community.

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:3-5

Stop It, Wives!

I haven’t been married long – just about four months. I’m not a professional and I don’t know everything. I get irritated sometimes and don’t understand everything my husband does or says.

However…

Talking down to him is not okay. Wives, stop emasculating your husbands! Stop disrespecting him! Especially in public! Show some respect. Choose to submit and allow him to lead you. He loves you! He married you! Here’s your chance to show him that you trust him! Don’t treat him like he’s stupid. Don’t let American society (which has a strong tendency to extreme feminism and beating down men) determine how you treat your husband. Let God do His work!

Maybe it isn’t my place to say. Maybe I’m really just preaching to myself because my mind sometimes goes where it shouldn’t. Sometimes I beat him down in my own my mind and I can’t get control of my thoughts. Sometimes I hate myself for not having grace for him in every moment. Every moment. 

I hold him to a higher standard. It’s because I love him. It’s because I want more for him. It’s because I’m following him and I want him to go where I want to go. But it’s  not up to me. It’s up to him. It’s up to God.

My job is to trust. My job is to submit. My job is to encourage and lift him up. I can’t lift him up while I’m beating him down – not even in my mind. Take every thought captive. Choose my words. Remember my role and live it out. Respect my husband and pray for him. Trust him. Trust God.

I’m Glad We Have A Small Bed

Most people get married and upgrade their bed (if they weren’t already on Shaq status). Some of us opted not to do that. I could get into all the economical reasons for not doing so, but I won’t. I will say that we got to bless someone with a “new” full-sized bed when we got rid of his old one. I don’t know who, but I hope they are enjoying it.

Shaq’s Bed

Some people think it’s crazy! They ask, “how do the two of you sleep comfortably in that tiny bed?” I tell them that it’s because we like each other enough that we don’t mind small spaces together.

The truth is, people sleep in less, live with less, and love each other just as much! It’s not easy to stay angry at the most important person in the world when you’re forced to touch him. It’s fairly difficult to avoid each other when such a small space separates us. Sure, it’s small for the average American couple, but that’s okay. I love our little bed, because it’s ours. Because we are together. Married. To Forever.

“…do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Ephesians 4:26b

Beyonce…I’m Disappointed

The cool thing to do today is to blog about the Super Bowl, so allow me to jump on that bandwagon.

My favorite part was not the commercials, the intense ending (which I missed because I opted to catch up on Scandal during the second half), or the halftime show. It was the commentary via facebook and twitter. Jon Acuff may have had the funniest of everyone that I saw, but he is a professional. Funny flows from him like the green slime on Nickelodeon. But the friends that I actually know had some interesting things to say.

I saw everything from “godaddy.com, making it uncomfortable to watch television with your parents” to general outrage about play calling. Then Beyonce came on. My news feed blew up! Most of my facebook friends love her! Which was reiterated when I was called a “hater” for making a status that said, “Beyonce…I’m disappointed. Wear clothes.” Sure, the comment was all in good fun and no feelings were hurt, but I’m not sure how much we should be standing up for that performance.

Let’s think about all the people who look up to Beyonce. Women, teenagers, and little girls of all ages look up to her. They want to be like her. They think that she is the best thing that has happened to music and entertainment since Frank Sinatra (if they even know who that is). They don’t only look up to her, they worship her. If she says it, if she does it, then it must be okay. It must be good. Because she’s Beyonce.

Beyonce Knowles

I’m not sorry to say that isn’t true. She is a person. A flawed one. I’d like to say just like the rest of us, but it might be worse. Why? Because she is an icon. Because people look up to her. Because when she calls herself a Christian then goes on national televisions half naked in skin-tight leather, rubbing herself sensually to entice the audience knowing that families are watching the show it sends the wrong message. Because she spent more time trying to be sexy than she did actually singing. Because she can’t let her talent speak for itself and show off her singing and dancing skills and simply put on a great show with lots of pyrotechnics and an all girl band. Because her microphone was so much louder than Kelly and Michelle’s that we couldn’t even hear them. Because all that she could have been doing during that show was overpowered by her near-nudity and raunchy moves.

“With great power comes great responsibility” (Uncle Ben – Spiderman). Beyonce should consider this. Last night was only fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes did not change the world, but it could have. Instead, it was more of the same junk that is fed to us every day. I’m sad to say it again, but I’m disappointed.

They should have hired Taylor Swift.

A Song for Saturday

I love Christian rap! It is a love that I have been teased for many times. It is a love that few close friends share with me. However, we shall prevail! I love the rhythms! I love the lyrics! I love that I can dance along with it and it is often chock-full of deep theological content. Sometimes it’s just fun! This video is funny, full of Truth, and calls out people to be real when others are following them. I pray that when young people need a “celebrity” to look up to, that these guys would be at the top of their list. Enjoy!