Sunday, November 16, 2008

Standing for Your Marriage

Today's Topic: Standing for Your Marriage

Today's Host: Chelsey at Joyfully Living

Chelsey has a great post today. If you get a chance, stop by and read it for yourself. She asks us the following:

What does commitment in marriage mean?

What kind of wife are we called
to be to our husbands?

What are ways that we can Biblically stand for
our marriage?

When I first got married, commitment meant, "for better or for worse." As in, you don't give up or walk out, no matter how hard it gets. And although that definition stays true, for me after almost 7 years, it has acquired new depth.

Commitment to something means to bind yourself to a course of action, or pledge to do something in the future. But in marriage, is commitment really just sticking with it, as in not leaving? Or does it require more? Can you still "give up" without actually getting divorced?

What if standing or fighting for our marriage was not even about something as difficult as infidelity or an unsaved husband? What if the issue was just something as mundane as not feeling cherished, or important? Or not agreeing on an important decision? Or something as simple as not feeling heard? These issues can create a crevice over time that seems irreparable.

When I think of those committed to a cause, I think of people doing everything they can to "make it happen." That's the kind of commitment I want to have in my marriage. Not just the "I'm in it for the long haul" commitment, but the "I will do everything I can to make the most of this relationship" commitment.

The kind of wife I feel God calling me to be is one who honors her husband by submitting to his leadership, supporting him in his role as leader, not undermining him when I think I know more. A wife who makes her husband feel respected by being slow to speak and listening twice as much, who asks for his advice instead of rushing into things on her own. A wife who allows her husband to hear from God and exercise his right to decide what is best for our family.

Mostly, I feel God challenging me to be a wife who honors her husband whether or not he responds the way I think he should. I want to extend love, even if I'm not getting as much attention as I want. I want to listen to hear what he has to say, even if I have to repeat myself often. That's real God-honoring commitment.

Maybe you don't have the same struggles in your marriage that I do. But I find these things really hard to remember sometimes. And even when I do remember, sometimes it's hard to find the resolve in myself to do the right thing. So that's why I have to go to the Word (like I had to today) and remind myself of what God wants to see in me. And let the Holy Spirit fill me with godly resolve to become the kind of wife God designed me to be.

There are a few ways I can align myself with God's word to take a stand for my marriage. The one that God is working on in my heart recently is to humble myself. Phillipians 2 tells us how to embrace humility like Christ. I've never understood this passage better than in the light of my marriage relationship:

"Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

When I humble myself, bowing down before God in an act of sacrifice and worship, it gets me out of the way so God can do a lasting work in my marriage.

Right now I am practicing these things in my marriage through the Love Dare book. I hope this can help me identify ways to make humility and service a godly habit in our relationship.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This week's At the Well topic is a little bit different. One of the advantages that women of long ago had in meeting at the well, was the friendships and community that was developed. So today, Chelsea is hosting "Getting to Know You."

She wants us to share a glimpse into our lives. Old friends, no need to read any further - I'm sure you've heard it all before.

I'm a first born. I have a younger sister, followed by 2 younger brothers (the youngest is 9 yrs younger).

As a little girl, I remember lots of family and lots of church. I am blessed with a rich, godly heritage!

I've always loved studying, school and academics. Typical over-achiever (also reads pleaser).

I love to read. Missionary stories are my favorites.

In jr. high I was passionate about being either a lawyer or a missionary. I pursued the latter.

I've always been an "old soul." I was old beyond my years and often preferred to hang out with teachers instead of students.

I got my bachelor's degree in Cross-Cultural Communications, with my heart set on foreign missions. I interned at an inner-city church in Detroit, MI.

I briefly substituted as an elementary music teacher for a semester, to pay off the bulk of my student loans.

I am musically inclined. God often speaks to my heart through music. I love to play the piano but we don't have one right now.

I journeyed from the midwest to work in an inner-city mission in Los Angeles, the Dream Center (can anyone say culture shock?). I itinerated and raised support, going as a full-time volunteer and missionary.

During that time, I got a taste of all kinds of ministry: administrative, outreach, discipleship, worship leader, children's ministry, piano teacher, speaking in churches, feeding the homeless, bringing in prostitutes off the streets. Uh-mazing!

I was very focused and did not date unless I knew the man was pursuing missions (so, pretty much I did not date).

Then I met my husband at the Dream Center. He was working in construction. :) He owns a construction company that has supported and built for missionaries all over the world. Not the way I saw it happening, but what God had in mind all along.

During our courtship, I pursued a teaching credential while I taught Kindergarten. It was a low income area and the kids were very needy. I thrived there.

We got married and honeymooned on the island of Barbados -- had a beautiful destination wedding with the ocean as our backdrop.

Immediately, I got a beautiful brown miniature dachshund named Ginger, to compliment Troy's distinguished German Shepherd. They were best of friends. Ginger was a hunter and would stealthily sneak up on birds, and kill them. She also had a bad habit of licking people's mouths. She was adopted out to my brother, who did not have children at the time.

I would say I'm a crafty person, dabbling a little in painting, crochet and numerous Do-it-yourself projects.

I stopped teaching when I learned I had a pituitary brain tumor and was told we could not get pregnant because the tumor would grow and become life threatening.

6 months later, I was healed. The doctors assured me this was impossible, but the MRI's showed differently. Praise God.

Eventually, we were told I needed chemotherapy before I got pregnant - but surprise! I already was. More complications and we were told we would lose the baby. The doctor even scheduled a D&C, which we refused. After 5 months of bedrest, Olivia Faith was born without complications.

My entire family moved across the country to the town where my husband and I live. My sister and her family, my brother and his new wife, my parents and my youngest brother when he finished college. We are currently all living in the same city and that's amazing!

I love to drink tea, especially out of a china cup. Fancy tea house? I'm there!

I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis, requiring surgery. I have an extremely low tolerance to pain. Or as I like to say, I'm just very sensitive. I was so scared, I wrote out a will.

I began to volunteer in a Christian crisis pregnancy center. They needed a childbirth instructor, so I became Lamaze certified in order to teach classes for free at their center.

My husband and I know we will be in our town long term (even though it is quite transient). So he built a beautiful home created for ministry and outreach. He is an incredibly talented man, but doesn't realize it. He is also a bit of a modern day adventurer.

I am a girly, girl. I enjoy getting dressed up, doing my hair, makeup and nails. My husband appreciates it too, so we are a good fit. I am determined this year to master the "Smoky Eye." I can also get dirty: spend our vacation in the sand dunes, play a few sports, I love being outside.

After surgery, and being told we were infertile, we became pregnant again. When Olivia was 2 and 1/2, after 3 months of bedrest, we had Madeline Joy.

Madeline had extreme issues from the day she was born. We later found the root to be severe allergies (mostly to environmental chemicals, fragrances, preservatives, etc). When she was born, no one could hold her without a special barrier between them and her skin or she would break out immediately. Often her lungs would shut down in a reaction to some unknown substance and we would end up in the ER.

We met a natural Christian doctor when she was 4 months old and we were at our wits end, who diagnosed and successfully helped us cope with her allergies. She was GOD-sent! Madeline has made great improvements over the past year and a half. Her allergies are predictable and manageable, with extreme caution and effort.

We are ALL much healthier and much more aware of what is in our home, our food, our environment. Out of necessity, we've Gone Green, so to speak. Although, I have struggled to limit my Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes. If I was a superhero, this would be my weakness.

We planted our first garden this year, mostly so we had our own supply of fresh foods without pesticides so Madeline could eat them. We live in the desert and were SHOCKED by the way it took off. We had more food than we knew what to do with. I can't wait to start next year's garden, and have been getting advice from my Grandparents on how to can food to save it for the next winter.

My sister and I accidentally started a baby boutique, Sweet Poppi Baby Boutique. We both had little ones and didn't want to pay boutique prices for boutique baby items (picture incredibly soft, luxurious baby blankets). So I took a sewing class and we started sewing them ourselves. Requests from friends overwhelmed us, and we started a website to sell our things.

We've been able to bless various ministries by donating to auctions and raffles and moms in need. We purposely keep our prices low; 1) because we do not want to be greedy and 2) as a way to bless other moms who want pretty things but can't always afford them.

I love photography and pictures....someday I will pursue this a little further. For now, I leave the amazing picture taking up to my sister.

This year has been a year of simplifying and pruning. I struggled with endometriosis again, and had to pull out of ministry. I needed another surgery (no will this time). Afterwards, the doctor gave us a 0.5% chance of getting pregnant. 4 weeks later we were pregnant - another miracle! At 12 weeks, I miscarried and God welcomed our son into heaven.

Being a journal-er at heart, I started my blog around this time. I wanted record of what God was going to do (because I believed He would bring good) through this horrific circumstance.

Our struggle with infertility has caused us to depend on God in such a deep, emotional way. He's given us three miracle pregnancies. We continue to trust Him completely.

My love for the Bible was renewed this summer and my relationship with God has been transformed. As has our marriage. God has been doing an incredible work in our family.

God has allowed me to get involved in a new ministry at our church that reaches out to young, mostly unwed, teenage mothers. Most of how I help can be done from home. I am thrilled to see what God is going to do and grateful for an opportunity that does not take away from my time with my family.

I have some incredible friendships, a few in town but most have moved out of state. I travel across the country, with the girls, a few times a year to see my dearest friends.

Obviously I've struggle with my health, but I also struggle to keep my words to a few, to feel confident to set up boundaries and say No, to be patient with my girls when I'm lacking sleep. All areas God is working on in me.

I realize I left out much of the negative. I have had my share of heartache, mistakes, drama, abuse and hard times -- God has brought me through each and every time. And continues to be faithful to His promise to redeem it all.

That's quite a few glimpses. I think you get the idea.