Things My Husband Taught Me

  • You are more than you think you are.
  • You should not beat yourself up when you don’t think you have done well enough. Get up and go on. You give grace to others, now accept grace for yourself.
  • When you don’t think you can go on, you probably need to sleep. Just go to bed and see how much better everything will be in the morning.
  • Your value is not determined by how many things you scratch off your to-do list.
  • Your beauty is not calculated by someone else’s pre-measured ideal.
  • You are a word warrior. You need to write.
  • You need to try things that are out of your comfort zone, even things that terrify you sometimes.
  • You should have some really nice things, like insulated outer-wear so that you don’t get too cold when you are doing scary things like glissading down mountain sides.
  • You are not the one who will keep your children in the evil day. Lay that burden down and trust God.
  • You don’t have to cook gourmet meals to impress. Just be happy when you serve the food.
  • You are juggling too many things. Let’s try an alternate route with school.
  • You are getting better at this thing called life.

I know that I am really, really blessed. I told you how I used to be afraid of the high swing. The desire to be safe would have sabotaged so many sources of joy in my life if Gabe hadn’t encouraged me to try them. I probably wouldn’t have the courage to blog without his support. πŸ˜€

Here’s to my good man! I am truly grateful for all the things I have learned in these years of sharing the graces of life.

What We Didn’t Know

Yesterday was our 12th anniversary. See, here we are, after about 8 hours of just the two of us. It’s still there – that magic my friend, the preacher’s daughter, called “the glue when Dad puts their hands together in marriage”.

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Twelve years ago we could not have imagined awakening on our anniversary to conspiratorial whispers and clinks of crockery in the kitchen as our children made a surprise breakfast. We pretended to sleep while someone slipped loudly into our room with a lighted candle which he set directly under the lampshade, which I hastily rescued. The little sister got sent in at least three times to check if we are awake yet, seeing as the eggs were getting cold. The waiters brought in plates with pancakes and eggs, excellently cooked. My pancake was a teddy bear, Gabe’s was a penguin with its feet chewed off. Then came the crowning touch of a breakfast tray with steaming mugs of tea, a bowl of sugar and a pitcher of syrup, along with a funny little music box tinkling out a merry tune.

The children had gone to the neighbor’s yard sale the day before and picked out some anniversary presents. One was the holder for the lighted candle. Twelve years ago I wouldn’t have thought that I would ever cherish a rather unusual porcelain bird/flower candle holder painted in various astonishing, pearly colors. Another gift was a small pot with a lid that clasps, “for special things”. (Why do I think of Pooh?) I love it! And the music box… which someone made it their business to wind and rewind the entire time we ate our breakfast, because everyone knows there should be romantic music on an anniversary. On our honeymoon, we would have laughed at the idea of having an audience of five watching us eat our breakfast in bed, but we didn’t have the heart to send them away, seeing as they were so exceedingly pleased with themselves. It was actually quite romantic, when you consider that out of our love sprang these dear little people sprinkled all around us.

Twelve years ago we would not have been thinking in terms of going on a date in a rather large Suburban with very high miles, seeing as the tiny red Mazda was working just great for us. In fact, I believe we made merciless jokes about those family vehicles. Now we are poster children for those jokes. Guess what, we don’t even care! Neither would we have known how rejuvenating it is to a marriage to just spend time with each other, even if you are grocery shopping or ambling through the mall, hand-in-hand, checking out the clearance racks.

Sometimes we look back and laugh at those kids that got married, with all their ideas and plans. We hadn’t a clue that there were career switches for Gabe, from deck builder to teacher to nurse. We hoped for children, but we didn’t know. Sometimes through the years we would look at each other and say, “What do we think we are doing? We don’t even know what we are doing!” When the questions get too big, we have learned to just leave them to Providence and say, “At any rate, I’m with you.”

Just Do Something, But How?

“We should be humble in looking to the future, because we don’t control it; God does. And we should be hopeful in looking to the future, because God controls it, not us.” (pg. 47 of Just Do Something)

So… how do you make your decisions? I think honesty compels us to say it is usually how we feel that helps us decide things. This is not wrong, necessarily. (What would women be without their marvelous intuition? πŸ™‚ ) The problem comes in when we say, “God told me…” because we feel one way or another. It isn’t really fair to blame God, now is it?

When Gabe got terribly sick during nursing school, we wondered if this was God closing a door, or whether Gabe’s resolve and determination were being tested. There are endless second guessing conundrums like this for people who make all their decisions by their feelings.

If there is one overarching theme in the book Just Do Something, it is that God wants to show us His will in His Word.

Let’s take a look at the Proverbs, specifically chapter 2.

1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words,

and hide my commandments with thee;

2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom,

and apply thine heart to understanding;

3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge,

and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

4 If thou seekest her as silver,

and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord,

and find the knowledge of God…

9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment,

and equity; yea, every good path.

Proverbs is full of cautionary statements about those who just do life all wrong and the contrast with those who live in wisdom. I quote DeYoung, “In Proverbs, a fool is not an oaf or a moron. He is a person who doesn’t live life God’s way. Wisdom is knowing God and doing as He commands. Foolishness, on the other hand, is turning from God and listening only to yourself… God doesn’t expect us to grope in the dark for some hidden will of direction. He expects us to trust Him and be wise.” (pg. 89)

If we could open the Bible and find information about what we should work, or who we should marry, or which house we should buy, things would seem so much easier. God doesn’t find it necessary to give us such specific information. Β His will is that we love His Word, become infused with it, and be transformed into the image of His Son.

When their are choices to make that could affect our lives drastically, DeYoung says we need to walk the way of wisdom.

  1. Read the Scriptures.
  2. Listen to wise counsel.
  3. Pray for illumination.
  4. Make a decision. (in faith)

Do you see how this approach could be more restful than worrying that you might end up living in Tallahassee when God really wanted you to be in Boston? What if you broke this down to praying about whether you should pick up a sandwich at McDonald’s or Wendy’s. (Probably neither one of those is wise. πŸ˜‰ ) Of course, you don’t obsess to that extent. What God really cares about is that you are His representative wherever you go, and either place you go for your sandwich is going to have people who need to see that He is a beautiful Savior.

Is it really so much different whether you live in one geographical region or another? And what about jobs? Marriage? I laughed out loud when I read DeYoung’s recommendation for finding the will of God in marriage. He is speaking to men who are afraid that they are stepping outside of God’s will unless they have it nailed down who is the right one before they ever ask the girl out. I will tell you, I would have hated this when I was twenty, but now it amuses me with the ring of truth.

“Men, if you want to be married, find a godly girl, treat her right, talk to her parents, pop the question, tie the knot, and start making babies.” The thing is, from my lofty perch of nearly twelve years of happy marriage, I can tell you that any way you tie the knot, living with the love of your life is going to involve some hard work. There are no short cuts to great relationships, so you might as well spare yourself the angst of finding the One Soul in the Universe that completes you. Relax and trust that the God who starts a good work is able to finish it!

I will close this with one concluding quote:

“God gives His children the will to walk in His ways– not by revealing a series of next steps cloaked in shadows, but by giving us a heart to delight in His law.”

“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecc. 12:13

My Ten Cents on Love

It’s that day where half the world posts photos of their bouquets of roses on Facebook, and the other half of the world posts quasi-sarcastic links ridiculing Cupid and his victims. Well, here we go again, because I am just sure you want to hear my deeply realistic take on the subject.

You see, the roses and the chocolates are beautiful and heart warming, but Valentine’s Day is pretty sad when one has not loved well all year up to then. And loving another person well is not always as effortless as it would seem in the early days of infatuation. In fact, I am pretty sure it isn’t supposed to be easy! Real love, by definition, is to put the interests of the other person before my own, and that, my friends, just plain stinks sometimes. Sure, the perfume of the roses sweetens the deal considerably, but it still comes down to little choices that crop up every day.

If you really, really love someone, you may find yourself

  • frying “dippy” eggs through a haze of morning sickness, even though the very thought of eating them makes you want to hurl. Because, guess what! He likes his eggs dippy!
  • remembering to close that closet door that, hanging open, so bugs the other person.
  • being the parent that volunteers to change the sheets and wash the child who wet the bed.
  • never, ever throwing your wet towels into the hamper again, but hanging them up to dry because she can’t bear the musty smell.
  • moving the furniture around for the third time, since it still isn’t quite right. Even though you could care less, personally.
  • knowing just exactly how another person likes their tea/coffee fixed. This knowledge is both romance-ammunition and an ongoing obligation. πŸ˜‰
  • listening politely while your significant other rants about the inefficiency of this or that brand of erasers, for goodness’ sakes!
  • buying rabbits and building hutches and feeding cats and other critters because another person thinks the children need pets to learn responsibility. And then you have to bury the cats that get killed on the road and catch the rabbits when they escape.
  • eating Chinese when you really crave Mexican.
  • cleaning up the attic, because she really cannot have that baby until the attic is organized. Seriously.
  • bringing ice packs and Exedrin to a migraine sufferer, and rubbing their shoulders while they moan ungratefully about how this unbearable headache is keeping them from sleeping.
  • trying not to show how totally gross that story about the chainsaw wound is.
  • disagreeing on such fundamental things as paint colors, or where the cherry tree should be planted. And then you find that capitulating graciously is a skill not so much built-in as learned.

Well, there is a little sampling. Some of them have been Gabe and some have been me, but every single one of them is real. Here is the thing, after eleven years of marriage, we both agree that we have a good thing going. Sure, it isn’t always as easy as we wish, and we do a lot of forgiving, but it is a good thing!

Tonight, because of the generosity of some young folks in our church, we have babysitter service, and we are going out! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Long live love!