My Courageous Journey

 

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I’ve been bumbling around for years on this blog, trying to find what they call my “niche” in writing. I’ve come to the conclusion I may just never find it…I may just have to “write,” and see what comes out. It’s a bold and daring endeavor – bleeding my heart all over a page and putting it out for all to see. It’s just another Courageous Journey I need to take.

 

I’ve taken many trips over the years, and each one of them is full of inconveniences, difficulties, and sometimes heartaches. There is not a time I jump into the van without some amount of fear of the future. After all, the roadways seem littered with wrecks anytime I venture out of my normal circle of routine.

 

Each trip requires a bit of reckless abandon – that inner faith in the Lord, knowing that this is His Will for me, and that these miles ahead will be full of His service, and hopefully ultimately His glory. And every time I get in the van for another thousand-mile-journey, my thoughts are the same: I have no idea what this trip will be like, or where I’ll end up, but, Lord, I’m holding Your Hand through this.

 

But no journey in my life has been so courageous as that of being a wife and mother.

 

I entered marriage with the silliness of a 19-year-old, the seriousness of an elderly woman, and the fear of a patient heading for surgery. I had no idea what the future would hold – I only knew that the One who held my future could be trusted.

 

I entered motherhood a bit wiser, but still scared as a baby bunny hiding from a hungry hound. Of course, I had no clue what trials and hardships awaited me through this journey…how could I, at only 21? But I strongly felt that the One who knew all things would guide me as I sought His Will and Word in training my little ones, and I knew He wouldn’t let me down.

 

I now enter into what they call the “mature years” of my life, eyes wide at the prospect of a body which refuses to cooperate and a mind that no longer thinks as clearly as it once did. I tremble at the possibility of future limitations and ailments, all of which come with the passing of time. And I know…beyond a shadow of a doubt…that He who has everlasting strength and lives forever can come under me with His Everlasting Arms of strength and escort me into His Presence with the feathery echo of celestial wings.

 

All along the path of this Courageous Journey, I find myself nestled deep into the arms of the Wonderful God who can do all things. I have learned, all the way from the very beginning, that He is Able!

 

May the Courageous Journey of my life bring even just a pinch of glory to my Wonderful Saviour, who is All in All to me.

 

What sort of things have you learned on your Courageous Journey??

 

Hope for a Better Marriage

Commitment, work

Hope for a Better Marriage

 

Two years ago, we purchased a repo home which had been abandoned about five years before that. The original home’s owner was very meticulous, and the yard and landscaping had been very well maintained. Flower beds were carefully planted and tended, beautiful dogwood trees spaced evenly around the yard, with some myrtle trees sculpted like mushrooms. There was even a little kidney-shaped pond by the bottom step of the back patio. We’re told that at one time, it was one of the most beautiful yards in the entire area.

But the meticulous owner finally passed away, and his home fell to a yard butcher. The little pond became muck, beautiful dogwood trees were cut down, whole flower beds ripped out, and even the sprinkler heads were uncerimoniously mowed down.

Then something happened, and the house was abandoned. A water leak, a ruined floor, walls turned to mush and then removed, and a partial clean-up left it in deperate condition. And that was just the inside. The yard suffered as well.

In order to keep the whole neighborhood from going downhill, Mr. Bill the neighbor faithfully mowed the front yard. When we bought the house, the flower beds were totally overrun, the bushes were a tangle, and there were gaping holes where stumps of dogwoods quietly rotted away. We had a big job to do.

A year later, after many sweat-hours, 5 stitches, and a few tears, I sat on our back patio enjoying the fresh evening summer breeze. The cardinal who lived in one of the newly-shorn bushes by the patio was chirping goodnight as the shadows lengthened in the small grove of trees beyond the neatly mowed yard. I watched as the bat came out of the forest and began his erratic flapping in the darkening sky, and sighed with contentment listening to the spring peepers and their chorus in the sweet little pond.

It had been a big commitment, and a lot of work, but it was worth it.

I thought about my life. Buying a home wasn’t the only big thing I’ve ever done. Isn’t marriage an even larger one?

Having a Happy Marriage requires commitment. Your relationship doesn’t end the moment you say “I Do.” In fact, it’s just beginning.

Having a Happy Marriage requires work. Now we need to remember, work is a good thing! Some people say that work is part of the curse in Genesis, but Remember that Adam was created to “dress and to keep” the garden. It was his job, his responsability. And woman was created to be a help meet (or fit – a helper who is perfectly fitted for the job) to the man. So work is not bad. Work is your life’s calling, so let’s work on our marriages.

Having a Happy Marriage requires growing closer to God. Have you ever heard of a love triangle? Well, here’s a different sort of one: Imagine a triangle with God at the top, and the husband and wife on each side of the bottom. As the husband and wife get closer to God, they naturally get closer to each other. I heard that illustration many years ago, even before I was married. My husband and I have just had our thirty-first anniversary, and I found it to be absolutely true!

A better marriage = HOPE, and hope is a beautiful thing.

A happy marriage is like a dogwood blooming in the spring, a neatly manicured lawn, or a beautiful little shimmering pool. It may take commitment and work, but it’s well worth the effort.

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

The Truth About Building Relationships

Building relationships is like opening Dad’s workroom. Messy? Oh, yeah. But as a kid, all I could see were possibilities!

building relationships

building relationships

When I was a kid, there was a room in the basement which always drew my attention. One day I was wandering around without anything to do (I could NEVER imagine that now!) and I happened to open the door to my Dad’s workroom.

Opening the door just a crack revealed a glorious mess, and the brown smell of wood shavings mixed with the musty smell of damp cinderblock walls. I glanced around the room and my eyes beheld many wondrous things: tools of all shapes and sizes – hammers, saws, chisels, files, and many electric tools as well, stacks of planks, 2x4s, and smaller blocks of wood, and on the ceiling were baby food jars holding various screws, nails, and bolts of every type. The two worktables were strewn with various projects in different stages of done-ness – a fan that had been taken apart because the switch didn’t work, a vacuum cleaner that needed its belt replaced, and several broken toys waited for my Dad’s attention.

I slowly entered the room and flicked on the light, making the whole mess appear even more awesome. Soon, I was pulling a plank out of the woodstack, and I cleared myself a spot on the worktable and began to make my very own creation.

Building relationships is a little like opening up Dad’s old workroom. Everything looks scattered, broken, and messy – complete with sawdust and wood shavings! But, oh, the potential that is there in that workroom! As a young person, I could easily envision the many wonderful things I could build. Birdhouses, go-carts, tables, and shelves were among my ideas, and some of them even made it to fruition. But none would have been built at all without me opening up the door, seeing the awesome room, and getting to work.

Building Relationships takes time. I never built a go-cart overnight, although I tried really hard. Well, I take it back – I DID build a go-cart in just a few hours once, but it only got about 100 feet down the road before it collapsed. (Lesson #453: what goes together quickly comes apart even quicklier!) But building relationships takes time. Whether you want to reach out to a co-worker, or have a better marriage, or build a bridge to your children, it takes time. A truly good go-cart never gets built in a day, and neither will a good marriage or relationship.

Building Relationships take work. Of course, when I was building go-carts, my work was so mixed with play that it was hard to tell the difference. Perhaps that’s the key. Perhaps there should be so much play mixed in with our relationship building, that it hardly seems like work at all. We attack the project with so much gusto and enjoy the process that it is thoroughly enjoyable.

Building Relationships is a process. It takes time to build a go-cart that will take you flying down the hill to the envy of your friends, and it takes work to do it. But the whole process can be enjoyable, not just the end result. Which brings me to my next point:
Relationship building is actually the goal. If we take the time and work on our relationships, playing and enjoying the relationships as we build them, we will find that the process is the goal. We may never reach the goal – having the coolest go-cart in the neighborhood, because your friends down the street may be building one at the same time. And in my case, my friends always had better raw materials to work with, because our large family never allowed for really nice stuff. But in reality, it didn’t matter if I had the best go-cart or not – I had a lot of fun (and learned a lot) in the process. Enjoy the process of building relationships, because the process really is the goal.

Building Relationships is a continuing process. Once I had my beloved go-cart “finished,” there were always little tweaks that needed done – oiling the wheels, re-tying the ropes when they come off (remember those ropes you would tie onto a 2×4 that would steer? Lesson #454: Always make sure your knots are tied TIGHT before you ride down the steep hill!) and perhaps even painting the name “Cruiser” on the side! That just means that the fun just keeps on going! In relationship building, there are always little things we can do to improve, both ourselves and out relationships. The fun just goes on and on.

I had seen the potential, when I opened the door to Dad’s workroom. I had hammered, sawed, and bled in that workroom for my creation. After days and days of work, I finally closed the door to Dad’s workroom, lugging my newest g-cart up the basement steps carefully. I was thrilled. Oh yeah, I was smiling. And when I rode down the hill on my very own go-cart, the wind never felt so good.

Question: Can you think of something you build when you were young? How did you feel after you built it?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

What Kind of Tater are You? (devotional for women)

Today’s post is a light-hearted devotional for women for a favorite spring pasttime, gardening. As we plant our gardens, let’s be thinking about the Tater family. I wonder…what kind of Tater are you? What kind am I? Something to think about.

sprin devotional for women

sprin devotional for women

One of the things I’ve missed for those 17 years of being on the road was having a garden. I had a garden while we lived in PA in the early years of our marriage, but once we went on the road in 1993 I was confined to a tiny houseplant…or was it a busplant? Anyway, I was thrilled this year to be able to break some new ground and put in some strawberry and broccoli plants.

Now, in the past, I’ve grownthings like carrots, beans, peas, and even potatoes. I thought it was amazing that a potato is actually also a potato seed! You can take a potato and put it in the ground, and it will sprout up and turn into a potato plant, and from that potato, you can get 6 or more potatoes! When I lived in Texas and it was time to harvest the pototoes, though, I discovered that potatoes were perfect places for fire ants to build their ant mounds! Boy was I surprised when I pulled on my first potato plant and found, not just potatoes, but fire ants!

I’m not sure what you call a potato seed, but let’s talk for a minute about different kinds of potatoes in the home.

1. Dic-tater – She’s the one who tries to run everything her own way, and refuses to let her husband lead.
Now, the Bible says we are to “guide the house” (see 1 Timothy 5:14.) That word “guide” literally means to run the household, or to manage family affairs. In other words, once her husband has set a direction for the home, it’s her job to make sure that direction is followed on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, however, it’s easy for Mrs. Dic-tater to think she’s in charge of everyone, hubby included, and if things are not done her way, she gets fuming mad!

Let’s not ever forget the Bible mandate, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)

2. Ro-tater – She’s never consistent with anything. One day she’s happy, and then for no reason, another day she’s down in the dumps. Now, being a woman (read that word “hormone junkie”) and being hypoglycemic (read that as “extremely sugar sensative!) I know that physical things have a lot to do with how we feel. But there comes a time when we need to come to grips with our feelings and not let how we feel dictate our day, orour families.

Mrs. Ro-tater is never consistent with her children. She disciplines in irritation one day, and the next laughs at the very same offense! Little Johnny has no idea what’s right and what’s wrong, and becomes very insecure. Children need to have limits, and Mrs. Ro-tater doesn’t seem to realize this. She’s too busy riding her waves of hormones and sugar to pay much attention to training her children.

I’m so thankful that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” (see Hebrews 13:8) and, “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6a) The Lord deals with us in consistency, and we would be more Christ-like, and less like Mrs. Ro-tater, when we are consistent as well!

3. Sweet-tater – She’s through and through a sweetie. She’s different than the rest; she’s formed from a totally different mold. She’s not a dic-tator, or a ro-tater, or an agi-tater or a speck-tater, but she is kind, loving, peaceful, gentle, good, full of faith, meekness, and self-control. In fact, she is different because she is filled with the sweet Spirit of God! (Galatians 5:22-23)

She’s thinks more of others than of herself (see Philippians 2:3,) and strives to teach her children consistently. While she rides the same hormone waves everybody else does, she doesn’t let it alter her behavior, and if the waves get really rough, she does what she can to let folks know that she needs a little time to take care of those waves, rather than just blowing up.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to try to plant sweet taters this year, too, beside my strawberry patch and broccoli. And while I plant them, I’m going to ask The Lord to help me be full of the Holy Spirit, so I can be more Christlike like Mrs. Sweet-tater!

Question: How many other members of the Tater family can you think of? Can you think of any more things you could add to this devotional for women?

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

Let’s Think a Thought or Two – Communication

I’ve been thinking and praying for a long time about sharing some thoughts in a format of short videos, and I finally got the gumption to do it!! This is my very first attempt, so video quality is pretty horrible, and I stumble over a few words, but the message is important enough to share with you all.

 

What are your thoughts? Do you have any suggestions about the video? I’ll be toying around with video quality next time, for sure!

If you like it, share it!

13 Reasons Why You – Yes, You! – Should Make Reading the Bible a Top Goal in 2014

Join me for a helpful series called The Organized Me! During the month of January, I’m going to write various posts on goals, mistakes I’ve made in finding “the sweet spot” of organization, and how I schedule my day and my home. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not arrived in this area – I’m still a work in progress. But I think I’ve learned a few things over the past 30 years of marriage, raising 7 kids in all sorts of situations, and I’ll be sharing them with you! If you missed our last post, you can find it here!

13Reasons

No one guarded The Tunnel. After all, it was just a pipe used to bring water into the city, so it couldn’t have been very important.

 

While the inhabitants of the city watched and worried about the Israelite army that was positioned outside, they had no way of knowing that The Tunnel was about to become their downfall. It was such a bother to have to watch it, and it took too much time from more important things – like guarding the gates.

 

But in the night, stealthy Israelite figures emerged from The Tunnel – first one, then two, and finally the invading army began pouring through The Tunnel. The Tunnel that no one guarded and no one cared for. The Tunnel that became the enemy’s highway was The Tunnel that became the Jebus’s doom.

 

Is reading the Bible not very important to you? Well, maybe it’s kind of important, like menu planning, or scheduling baths. But not if something more important happens to come along (which Satan makes sure is pretty regularly!)

 

Many people fail to realize how they shortchange themselves and their families by neglecting their Bible. To read the Scriptures, searching for understanding and meaning (not just to flip pages) is to wisely invest in your own future.

 

Here are just a very few reasons why you – yes, you – should read your Bible regularly this year:

 

  1. It will make you a better parent
  2. It will make you a better Christian
  3. It will make you a better spouse
  4. You will learn to know God better
  5. You will learn to know how God is working in your life better
  6. You will learn why God is doing certain things in your life
  7. Your mental capacity will improve
  8. Your relationships will improve
  9. You’ll have more peace in your life
  10. You will learn what awaits you in eternity
  11. You will learn who awaits you in eternity
  12. You will mature emotionally

And lastly…

13. You will be prepared for eternity!

Don’t let Your Tunnel be unguarded! Some dark night, the enemy may just try to come in with some temptation or desire. Be prepared with the Word of God!

What are some other benefits of reading the Word of God? 

How do you fit Bible Reading into your busy schedule?

10 Most Popular Posts in 2013

I just recently put the “popular posts” plugin on my WordPress blog, so these are the 10 most popular posts that came up that folks looked at over the past few months. Still, I think it reflects what was a blessing to folks this year.

It seems that people had marriage on their mind this year, as several of my most popular posts were on that subject. But, I guess it could also be that it was on MY mind, too!

A Lasting Marriage

1) The most popular post, 3 Ways to Play With Your Husband, was written for My series on A Lasting Marriage. They were all very popular, but 3 Ways to Play was the most clicked on and read. If you missed any of those posts, you can find them here.

2) Also part of A Lasting Marriage Series (hence it has the same blog button!) and a very popular one was the post, 8 Ways to be Your Husband’s Best Friend. It has a heap of practical ideas to help us draw us closer to our mates.

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3) Tips for Stress- Free Mornings was part of the Holiday-Time Stress-Free Living Series. Being a homeschooling mom of seven has driven me to desperation and back, and on the way I’ve learned a few things that helped me keep my sanity. Well, I guess that’s disputed, too…anyway, you may find the tips useful!

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4) During my Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil series, I wrote a popular post titled Why I Choose Joy, I wrote about the many things I’ve learned through the hardships of my husband’s Lyme Disease which he’s had for about 20+ years now. Our attitude to our trials absolutely affects our children. If you missed any of the Lionproof series, you can find them here.

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5) Another post in my Stress-Free Living series that was very popular is the post The Very BEST Stress Buster! Amidst all the hustle and bustle and stress of the holiday – or, if you’re a homeschooling mom, ANY day – there is one thing that can bring help and strength. It’s not me-time, it’s God-time!

Prevent Temper Tantrums

How to Prevent Temper Tantrums

6) One of the posts which was popular is one that I feel is extremely important in this day of high frustration is Preventing Temper Tantrums Believe it or not, they CAN be prevented. And once prevented, you avoid a whole PILE of stress in the home.

7) Another post from A Lasting Marriage series was popular: 3 Things That Make Your Hubby LOVE to Come Home! I wrote about the three areas our men think about when they walk in the door, and how we as wives can make them LOVE coming home!

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8) I wrote Too Big to Be Thankful? in my Stress-Free Living series. It’s easy to become proud or even just tired of being thankful. Greatness begins with gratefulness; when we cease to be grateful, we cease to be great.

9) I felt 4 Things That Will Send You to the Divorce Court – and how to prevent them! was extremely important, in this day of throw-away marriages. It was also one of the series, A Lasting Marriage.

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10) But God Had Other Plans… was part of the series titled My Love Story. This one seemed to be the most popular of all of them.

There you have it, folks! These are the 10 most popular posts of 2013, all wrapped up neatly and tied with a bow!

Question: What were your favorite things to read about on the blogosphere, either here or anywhere? What are some of your favorite blogs?

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!
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Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and NOW it’s available here!! Check out the sidebar on the right! Lydia did a great job in putting that on, didn’t she??

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

 

Married Beyond Recognition

This is the final installment on the series of My Love Story! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, because I know it’s been a blast to write. If you’ve not read the last 3 posts, you can find them here.

 

The other day, my husband and I had some time to ourselves, and we were doing something older folks love to do: reminiscing. I said, “Do you remember the time we were at the river, and one of us, was it you or me? One of us was walking with Dad when we were reeeeal little, and we tripped and fell in the water? Remember that?” A gentle ripple of laughter followed. Then it struck me.

“Ummm….was that your childhood, or mine? I’m starting to get them confused!”

That’s the way it is when you’ve been Married Beyond Recognition! My memories become his, and his become mine, and somehow it all blends together!

Want to have many happy memories together? Be Married Beyond Recognition! In my 30 years of marriage, we’ve learned a few things. We’re not perfect, by any stretch, but here are some thoughts we’ve picked up along the way:

1. Commit to learning about marriage – What you focus on improves. If you focus on keeping the house clean, your home will be neater and cleaner. If you focus on making good meals, your cooking will improve. If you focus on exercise, you will be more consistent in your program. The same is true for marriage. Michael Hyatt has an excellent article on his blog on 4 Commitments for Building a Successful Long Term Marriage. He suggests reading good books on marriage, attending marriage seminars, and getting marriage counseling. In my mind, it’s important to do whatever it takes to grow a good marriage.

2. Find ways to spend time together. This is a challenge for me, because my husband and I have such different schedules. Lately, however, I’ve discovered that if we don’t spend much time together, what little time we do spend together is often spent fussing over stupid things! Dr. Harley, in his Summary of Basic Concepts, suggests a minimum of 15 hours a week of uninterrupted quality time together. I think that would be ideal, although I’ve never been able to accomplish it, with a houseful of kiddos. So what do I do? I take spare minutes and seek out my hubby, and be with him when I can. Or I take my work and go sit by his desk and do my work while he does his.

3. Never give up on the physical side of marriage. One of the golden cords holding marriage together is sex. (With your spouse.) Maybe you were abused when you were young, or maybe you were promiscuous before you were married. Whatever the cause, your first thought of sex is one of repulsion. It may be a difficult thing for you, and you may be tempted to think that you’re broken, or unable to enjoy the sexual part of your marriage. Whatever may be going on, never give up on sex. Keep learning, keep reading good books like Good Girls Guide to Great Sex, or a blog like Hot, Holy and Humorous. If you need to, go to marital counseling. But never give up. Life is very long – too long to not enjoy something God created us to enjoy!

4. Have fun together! Have regular date nights, or do fun things together. Recently we went whitewater rafting for our 30th anniversary celebration, and we had so. much. fun! It is a memory that will last the rest of my life. There are plenty of blogs and articles that give advice on date nights, For Your Marriage, Mom Generations and The Better Mom to name a few.

5. Keep – or make – Christ the center of your marriage. Any marriage centered on Christ is like a strong woven rope, which is “not quickly broken.” The Banner suggests that a Christ-like relationship with your spouse, where each person is attached to the other, is one that has all the ingredients of a looooong relationship. In my experience, living for God together is more wonderful than anything I could have imagined.

Someday, you can look back and enjoy reminiscing on the many fond memories you have. You may even wonder whose memory was whose. In fact, you may find yourself Married Beyond Recognition!

Question: What have you noticed about couples that have been married a long time? What do you think we can learn from them?

Special Announcements:

    • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

My Love Story Part 3 – What I Wish I Had Known

In my last two posts, I wrote about My Love Story – how The Lord brought us together, how The Lord brought us together AGAIN after we both became born again, and how he proposed. If you missed any of those, you can get them here.

 

 

Our first Christmas was fast approaching, and I was getting nervous – we didn’t have a tree yet, and it was already December! I remember talking to Kevin about it several times, and not getting the results I wanted. His work schedule and mine never seemed to gel, so days and weeks went by, and no attempt was made to get a tree. Soon I was REALLY getting nervous – it was only one week before Christmas, and there was still no tree! I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and go Christmas tree shopping by myself! It was not at all romantic, but I simply didn’t know what else to do.

The tree I picked looked great – I thought! 😉 What I didn’t realize was that it was completely bare on one side, and of course it became the laughingstock of every Christmas since!

I didn’t realize as a young wife that HIS family tradition was to get the tree up and decorate it on Christmas Eve, while mine was to put it up the day after Thanksgiving. His family left their tree up all through January, while my dad faithfully chopped ours up and burned it in the New Year’s Day fire. Just this simple difference caused quite a stir in our young marriage.

Our marriage started out well, but as we all know, the flesh is ever present, and it wars against the Spirit.  We were definitely untaught in a lot of areas, and it really showed in our lives. There are many things I know now that I wish I knew then, that would have smoothed over many wrinkles.

1. Our roles – who would do what and when. In my home, my Dad took care of the trash regularly. In our new home, however, the trash (which I assumed my husband would take care of) would spill all over the floor. Needless to say, it was a source of irritation that could have been prevented if we  had thought to talk about it ahead of time.

2. Our leadership – who was in charge. Now, Biblically this was a no-brainer. According to God’s Word, the man is the head of the head of the home, and has the final say on decisions. In its purest form, it’s a Benevolent Monarchy, with the man looking out for the welfare of his people and listening to their opinions, but making the final decision himself. In our case, it was more complicated by my background, being raised in a feminist home. I definitely had a lot to learn.

3. Our traditions – how we celebrate holidays, etc. This is illustrated by The Christmas tree Mess I talked about earlier. Of course, this is multiplied by each and every holiday throughout the year! It takes time for a young family to develop their own traditions, and we now encourage our older married children to create their own traditions…but they’re always welcome to include us in any of them!

4. Our sex life – how much and when. In our case, there was a huge disparity between how much one person wanted and how much another wanted. And having little children always complicated matters, especially for mom who feels torn in a hundred directions. But over the years I came to realize that he needed it more than I thought – and so did I!

If I had my marriage to start over again, I would realize:

1. God can speak to him much better than I can

2. It is better for him to make the wrong decision (because he will learn from it) than that I take over the leadership and make the right decision.

3. We have a lifetime to make traditions together, so if one holiday doesn’t happen just the way I wish it did, it’s ok.

I’m sure this Christmas will be no different than any other – we’ll get the tree sometime, and as we put it up, he’ll tease me about the “half tree” I bought so many years ago. And as usual, I’ll throw a few plastic ornaments at him and chase him out the front door. It’s tradition!
Question: If you’ve been married any length of time, what have you learned? Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew back then?

Special Announcements:

    • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

But God Had Other Plans…

Allow this “old woman” to digress for a few weeks to write a little of my love story – our story. If you missed last week’s post, you can find it here.

 

When my man proposed to me, I was shocked, to say the least. So many thoughts, so many feelings, and so many puzzle pieces suddenly coming together swirled around in my mind. To understand my odd mix of feelings, let me take you back to fall of 1982, at West Chester University.

If you had read the previous post, you’d know that I met my man while I was still quite young – in high school, in fact. We both had gotten saved and God thoroughly changed our relationship. We had one summer in which to study the Bible together before he went to college to study. Over the next few months, our plans settled into the thought that he would attend West Chester University for 2 years, and then I would join him there after I graduate from high school.

Ah, yes, we had it all planned out! He would graduate from college and get a good job while I would go for 2 more years, and then I would graduate. Why, I even thought through how much house we might be able to afford on his Geologists salary!

But God had other plans.

One of the things we loved to do together was minister together. The summer of 1982, we worked at Vacation Bible School for our church. I never would have thought this would happen, but God called my man to full-time Christian service that week at Vacation Bible School! Suddenly, things changed drastically!

“A call to preach is a call to prepare,” so my man enrolled in a local Bible college, while I went on to WCU without him! This meant another year of a long-distance relationship – 3 years total! You can be sure I was not the happiest woman in the world to walk onto a college campus.

But, be that as it may, I tried to adjust to my studies, taking on a double major and learning a lot. But by the time January rolled around, I began to wonder about this idea of having a career. For some reason (perhaps it was Titus 2) I was not comfortable with having a career while my man was in the ministry. I just didn’t feel that the two would mix very well. After all, wasn’t I supposed to be a help meet for him? How could I do that while having a career?

I was raised in a very career-oriented family. My father was a business man, and my mother was an educational psychologist – and a very good one, at that. So it was assumed that I would do the same thing – have a successful career in whatever field I chose. For me, that was the health field, so my majors were in Public Health and Health Education.

Along about March, I began to really struggle with this idea of whether or not to marry this man I’d been going with for so very long. I knew that it was either give up my dreams of a career and marry him, or break up with him and choose the career. It was a huge decision, and I simply couldn’t make it on my own.

I didn’t try to fast – I just didn’t eat. I simply wasn’t hungry. I became unsociable, refusing to go out with friends or even go home much. I took walks by myself and went to the dining hall and stared at my food by myself. My friends began to wonder what was wrong with me, but even I couldn’t quite verbalize the problem.

Someone, however, did know what was going on – missionaries to college campuses Andy and Karen Rice. Either they had been praying and God told them, or they were just very observant. They knew Kevin, and understood our relationship. They also knew what it was to be called of God and follow God.

Oddly, Kevin was completely clueless as to the turmoil I was experiencing, probably because I couldn’t verbalize my feelings well. Thinking everything was wonderful and knowing my birthday was coming up, he and his brother went engagement ring shopping, finally deciding on a beautiful yellow and white gold ring studded with small diamonds, with another larger diamond in the clasp. He was overjoyed as he made his purchase, took the box home, and planned his proposal. Soon he knew exactly what he would do.

At WCU on a Thurday night in late April, Andy and Karen knocked on the door to my dorm room, where I was – as usual – by myself trying desperately to study. They found me fairly quiet, so they got to their point quickly, telling me that they understood what I was going through. I couldn’t believe it! Here were some folks that actually understood, and cared enough to come to talk to me about it. Andy said, “I can’t tell you what to do, Lisa, but I can share some Scriptures with you.”

I have no idea what Scriptures he shared, but he spoke of the blessedness of following God and simply doing His Will. I wasn’t completely convinced, and told them as much, but they smiled understandingly and shared more Scriptures. Then they prayed with me and left. I sat in my room trying to digest it all. Was God trying to tell me something?

Was I willing to listen? What if it meant the death of all I held dear? Could I go home and face my parents and tell them I’ve left college? How could I disappoint them?

That night I took a long walk, and had a long talk with God. And the next day, I realized that following God was exactly what I wanted with my life. That Friday evening, for the first time in months, the food I ate didn’t get stuck like a nervous lump in my throat.

Two hours away that Friday, Kevin carefully wrapped the ring box in an old towel and put it in a shirt box, wrapped it in birthday wrapping paper, and packed his small suitcase to leave the following morning for WCU.

Saturday dawned beautiful and sunny – the kind of spring day that makes you glad to be alive. I had a little bit of recreation planned for that day: a friend and I were going to rent some bicycles and ride around town. I was in my room waiting for my friend getting more impatient by the minute, when finally I heard her familiar knock.

“Come in!” I yelled. No response.

“COME IN!!!” I yelled again. Still nothing. Finally, I went to the door and yanked it open to see my man there – and boy, was I surprised! I thought he was two hours away, preparing for his final exams in Bible college!! And, however did he get up to the eighth floor of the all-girls dorm? He must have had an accomplice…

So I picked my jaw up off the floor and invited him in. “I’ve got something for you,” he told me, holding out a package.

“Oh, thank you!” I replied as I took it in my hands. I didn’t want to appear more excited about the gift than his presence, so I didn’t open it until he urged me to.

I sat down and opened up the box and found the old towel. “Hmmm…ummm, how nice,” I muttered. By this time, he was acting quite odd, shifting nervously and rubbing his hands together. When I lifted out the towel, the ring box dropped out onto my lap.

My eyes must have popped out of my head as I looked from the ring box to him and back to the box again. He couldn’t be proposing…could he??

But he dropped on one knee and sang, “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” and then asked the famous words, “Will you marry me?”

He couldn’t possibly have known about my decision the day before. All of the sudden, what God had been trying to do suddenly came sharply into focus.

But now was not a time for many words, or lengthy explanations. I looked deeply into my man’s eyes and responded simply, “Yes!”

It was the beginning of a wonderful life.

Question: did you ever wrestle with a decision to be made? How did it get resolved?

Special Announcements:

    • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and soon I will have it available here on TheCourageousJourney.com and Lionproof.com ! I AM SO EXCITED!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum