marriage

Breaking Down to Stay Alive

I remember hearing Dr. James Dobson say many years ago that Satan’s number one attack on our nation is the breakdown of the family.

Maybe I didn’t believe it then. Maybe I was “in love,” without kids, and thinking the “breakdown of the family” was a far-fetched idea for my perfect ideals.

But a mere 15 years into being a wife, and I believe Dr. Dobson was right.

It’s hard to stay committed in marriage. It’s hard because I’m a sinner. And Jeremy’s a sinner. And Heaven help us, we have birthed little sinners.

And I’d really like things to be calm around here. I’d like to weigh what I did on our wedding day. I’d like to feel loved like I was 18. And blissfully oblivious like I just birthed our first kid.

But so is life. And so is Satan. And his rampage goes on and on.

And we keep fighting.

Not because we want to win, but because we can’t lose. Lives are at stake. Futures hang in the balance.

And the cross tells me grace is the only way to win. Love is worth dying for.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Didn’t we just celebrate Easter?

He is making all things new but only after we’re willing to die. He stretched out His arms so I can open mine. And He embraces me so I can embrace.

Yes…We stay alive in marriage and family and friendship…by breaking down.

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An Epic Anniversary…

Today is post-14 year wedding anniversary. It was epic.

Last night Jeremy had a meeting (plus we celebrated last week). The kids and I stayed here…

We ate Kraft mac and cheese, cleaned the house, played with water balloons, and all things happy anniversary!

Despite the 125 degrees outside and my 150 degree attitude (not kidding), we took a pre-bedtime bike ride.

We stopped to talk to a neighbor. She takes care of her paralyzed husband every day, all day. Never leaves. Can’t. And she tells me he’s getting worse.

I could cry.

Then I blurt it out. Tell her it’s our 14th anniversary. Ask for wisdom. How does she do what she does day in and day out? How does marriage work after 42 years?

And she asks me these 2 questions: 1-Do you love him? Yes, I answer. 2-Aren’t your kids little? Yes, again.

Then it’s simple. This is a season. It will pass. Marriage takes hard work. It takes prayer.

That was it. Timely.

In “The Meaning of Marriage,” Tim Keller writes, “This means we must say to ourselves something like this: ‘Well, when Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn’t think, ‘I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me.’ No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us-denying him, abandoning him, betraying him-and in the greatest act of love in history, he stayed. He loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely. That is why I am going to love my spouse’.”

Then that. Wow. Happy anniversary!=)

And walk in love,as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)

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We found a waterfall on last week’s anniversary trip!

A Selfish Marriage

He was out of town last week for 3 nights.  We survived.  I was thrilled when he returned home.  But something made me feel  guilty.

I honestly enjoyed being in control.

It was nice not having to worry about another adult.  I liked running the show without additional input.

Am I being too honest?

We miss him when he’s away.  Everyone is happier when he’s here.  We thrive as a family.

But the sinful me still likes to call the shots.  I like it my way or no way.  And his leaving reminded me how desperately I need a Savior.

I need someone to look to Who has really laid it all down.  Someone Who’s said, “Not my will, but yours, be done.”

Marriage is for His glory.  It teaches me how to love like Him.  It teaches me how to sacrifice.

When the seasons are long, and marriage is hard, we can look to the cross.  To Him.  And we can lay it all down…all over again.  And love because we have been loved.

“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done’.” (Luke 22:41,42)

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One Day They May Marry…

Stephen walks down the aisle. Cowboy boots. Suspenders. A pink bow tie. The ring bearer in a beautiful wedding in a lit up country barn.

And I long. Long for a night like this for him one day. Long for him to grow into a man who loves God. A man who loves a bride and lives life serving God with her.

I don’t wish these little days away. Later the mother/son dance nearly unraveled me. We’ve got years to grow and love and pray.

Every Wednesday we pray for our kids’ spouses. We pray for their purity. We pray for their hearts and minds. And on a night like tonight I ache for it for them. And I kneel by their beds and beg God to protect them. To lead them. The boys to a wife. Esther to a husband.

And I pray for us. That Jeremy and I would model for them what it could be like. That our marriage will be something worth imitating. That our sacrificial love will point them to the sacrificial love of the cross.

I beg for grace. For them. For us. And I fall asleep…believing He wants more for them than my feeble words could ever ask.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20)

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A Wife…The Beginning and the End

He was up til 10:30 fighting sleep. She woke up at 10:30 coughing and needing cuddling til midnight. Although tired, I crawled into bed for a few short hours feeling blessed by 2 sweet babies. Jeremy put his arm around me and said, “You’re a good Mom.” He’s kind to me like that.

Then another one of those late night questions came to mind as my eyes closed, “But am I a good wife?”

Years ago I used purple marker to write out a quote I read in a book. Then I taped it to the wall. It’s made 2 moves with us and looks crinkly on the sides. The words read, “The wise woman remembers she will begin and end as a wife.”

We’ve added 4 kids since then and that thought still challenges me. I will “begin and end as a wife.”

One day these little people will move. Jeremy and I will be left alone. Will the years of parenting have wedged themselves between us forming a void we struggle to cross? Or will these tiring days and nights have brought us closer and more in love?

I ask these questions because I honestly wonder. There are good days and bad. There are seasons where we seem as in love as we did in 1999. There are others where we are too tired to even talk. Marriage is hard. We often miss that message in the bliss.

But it’s worth it. To take time. To listen. To sacrifice. I can look at Jeremy and see more than my husband. I can see him as Christ’s special treasure. The one He willingly died for. The one He loves. I can look at myself in the mirror (still rocking maternity clothes) and say the same thing.

We can offer each other imperfect love because we are loved perfectly. One season at a time.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
(1 Corinthians 13:7)

Here’s a new song that gets me every time…Broken Together. Enjoy!=)

photo (13) He’s crazy about her!