Let’s start a revolution…restoring marriage

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Repeat after me...let’s start a revolution and love each other abundantly and wholly and with a true heart.

I, (insert your name), vow to love the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul. I will love the person who the Lord has created specifically for me, above all others.

I will be grateful for the way my spouse serves God, my family, and me.

I will be blessed when the moments we share together are few, I will make the most of them.

I vow to give my beloved abundant respect and unconditional, agape love.

I will hold my love’s heart precious and close to my own, as it is fragile and dear. We will share our life and put one another before all others under God.

I pray the Lord will remind me to encourage and serve and edify my gift.

When the road seems long and weary we will pray together that we are able to ford it hand in hand.

We will call on the Lord  in times of want and plenty…be those times physical, emotional or spiritual.

I will trust the guidance of the Lord.  My beloved and I will share in the bounty of our life.

I will commit to slowing down and pausing long enough to see the person I fell in love with.

I will praise the Lord daily, moment by moment, for the blessing of this amazing gift who I share my life with.

I will do this with God as my compass.

I commit to this today and always.

I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

 

I wrote this with an awareness that there are wounds and hurts in marriage that may seem to last forever; or grow deeper each day.

But, I have to believe that God created us to love the one we are with deeply and wholly and with great commitment.

I thank God each day for my husband, he is kind and gentle and loves well.

I am not blind to the notion that many are suffering in loveless, silent marriages. God is good and He is the perfect redeemer.

He brought you together .

Don’t try in vain to change your spouse. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

Commit to praying for your beloved, your marriage, yourself. Look to the Lord to make the big changes, and purpose to be patient. The storm will pass and the sun will shine. Ask for forgiveness and redemption and restoration. God is the lover of relationships and family.He created the union of marriage.

Let Him do the hard work. Wear His yoke and let Him guide you back to the heart of your beloved.

God bless you and God bless your marriage.

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What’s your number?

God is working on me in big ways. He is changing my attitude and my outlook. He is giving me confidence in places I never imagined strength. He is awesome and I am His.  He has given me a deep desire to see myself in His light. He is showing me who I really am…beautiful in His eyes. He is redefining woman for me and showing me who I really long to be.

I venture to guess that the definition of woman has very little to do with size or shape.

The definition of woman as defined by Webster…

1
a :  an adult female person

b :  a woman belonging to a particular category (as by birth, residence, membership, or occupation) —usually used in combination <councilwoman>

2
: womankind
3
:  distinctively feminine nature
 Notice that no where does it say woman is defined by a number…any number. So why do we give so much credit to the numbers on tags and scales? Why do put any of our worth in the  tiny little numbera that have nothing to do with our intelligence, how we love, how we serve, how we nurture or how the Lord sees us?
Over the past few months I have stopped giving credit to numbers. I have not stepped on a scale, wrapped myself in a measuring tape. I have even gone as far as to cut the tags out of my clothes. Once they are mine they are mine and why do I need a number determining the tone of my day? Talk about liberating. It has made a difference.
And in my pursuit to changed perspective, it has become clear to me that my actions and comments have greater impact on those around me than I realize. I have little ears that listen and hang on every word I speak. I must be respectful of myself so as to cultivate healthy self-talk in my children…most especially the girl child.
I am a mother to a daughter who is bright and kind and beautiful. She loves with a wide-open, giant heart. She bestows honesty and faithfulness. She is sweet and generous. She is mine, and that means she looks like me. We share a common shape and it’s beautiful. She is a mini-me and I want her to feel beautiful…always.  I am purposing to give my daughter a healthy perspective of her beautiful self! I am so happy to be her mom and to guide her on a path of self-confidence and assurance.
I have stopped looking again and again in the mirror with sideways glances and furrowed brow. My daughter  sees this. Instead I have begun to delight in my own unique woman. The woman God saw before time began and thought enough of to place on this earth…in front of my husband. I want to see myself the way my husband sees me.
It’s hard, I know. It is going to take time and courage and perseverance.  We need to encourage one another. We need to see ourselves as beautiful, the way the Lord sees us.
Sister… take a moment to count on one hand the absolutely unique and delightful gifts that make you the beautiful woman you are!
I’ll go first…
1. Long, wavy mahogany hair
2. Strong legs
3. Deep blue eyes
4. A kind heart
5. A wicked sense of humor!

She is beautiful…

I love the image in the mirror.

Well, let me be perfectly honest, I am learning to like…or perhaps tolerate the image in the mirror. I know it is wonderfully and fearfully made by the Lord and all things created by the Lord are good. He says this, promises this in His word.

Then why?! Why has it taken me, what seems like a lifetime, to really appreciate this body that I have worn for almost 40 years. It’s trifling and perplexing and honestly, really quite sad. The Lord looks at me and sees me as lovely and delightful and a piece of His artistry. And I have spent hours upon hours finding every reason to dislike it. I have scrutinized my every flaw, my curves, the color of my hair, shape of my nose, circumference of my arms, tone of my legs….you name it, I have found reason fit to loathe it. I have defended lesser causes than my fearfully made self.

I have reviled this woman and the body and all its parts she wears….

The body that has carried two precious lives.

Breasts that have nursed and nourished.

Arms that hold child and husband and friend.

Hands that fold in prayer.

Legs that run and stand and bend to the task of daily living.

Eyes that see sunsets and sunrises, finger paintings and sweet morning smiles.

I have spoken unkindly, treated badly, and disrespected this body. I have purged and binged and starved. I have done this all so that I can fit my round peg in a square, world-created hole.

The ideal God-created me has never found peace with the world-modeled ideal woman I have longed to be.  And God is so much bigger than the world. He has so much more love for me than the world will ever have and yet I have tried in vain to be what the world wants instead of what God needs.

And now, I am embracing who I am, and mainly what I look like? Yes. I am. I am purposing in my heart to truly appreciate the flesh I live in…and it feels good. It feels liberating, but most of all, it feels right.

Am I perfect in this new found love? No. Far from it. I am still me, after all. I am wholly, 100% the same person I was yesterday and the day before. But, I do have a new perspective. And while this perspective may not entirely clear the knowledge that my hips may be a bit wider than I’d prefer, or my height not exactly what I desire, it is a perspective that ushers in the reality that I am in the package God prepared just for me. A beautifully, wrapped masterpiece called ‘me’.

I am the woman God created in His image. He created me to be wife and mom and friend. He created me to serve and to love and to give Him glory every day. He sees me (and you) as beautiful.

So, I speak to my sisters. Be confident in You. Be gracious to the image in the mirror. For she is strong. She may seem to be worn and flawed and broken. But she’s not. She is amazing. She is a fighter. A warrior. A unique and beautiful individual who is created for great and mighty purpose. She is YOU.

I challenge you, Beloved, embrace that beautiful woman in the mirror. See her, see YOU as the Lord sees her, a lovely, deeply loved, wholly beautiful woman of God.

So, whether you are young or old…you are woman. You face the struggles we all face. The trials of not being good enough, or thin enough or tall enough or kind enough or smart enough or rich enough or…the list goes on and on. And, we can spend time staring at the image in the mirror making her feel worse than the world does OR we can look at the image and smile with our crooked gapped tooth smile, at the woman who smiles back!  We must CHOSE to embrace this lovely, uniquely fashioned woman, because she is extraordinary!

 

Tuesday’s Devotional from Kempsville Presbyterian Church

“Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.” Exodus 14:19-20

The greatness of the Lord is undeniable. His love is so immense and unfathomable.  He is so amazing in His love that while they sin and struggle to believe He is the One True God, He loves Egypt. “I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” Exodus 14:18 In His direction to Moses and the Israelites, He is still considering the salvation of Egypt. He does that; He is always working for the good of His creation. He loves those created in His image so much that He pursues them even when they are protesting His sovereignty and strength.

He amazes me. His pursuit of the lost and the broken leads me to believe that He is adamant in His pursuit of me. He longs for me to walk in His shadow. He longs for me to put my trust and faith in Him alone; relying not on my own understanding, but on His perfect wisdom.

I am so aware of His existence, and yet, I make a practice of whining and wincing when things get difficult or when my plan is usurped by His. He pursues me. He rebukes my attitude and shows me His mighty blueprint, the map of destiny He so carefully and purposefully designed so many breaths ago. I must trust Him in all things, even when I feel I am being pursued by sin. He is never gone. While I am being tantalized by the delights of this world, He believes that I will recognize His presence. He speaks tenderly to my conscience. He pursues me to do His will. He tells me, “If you do what is right, will you not be blessed.”

Yes, Lord, I want to do what is right! I want to be in Your grace. I crave Your blessing…however you choose to bless me. I desire Your will. I want to be passionate for what Your heart desires. Your whisper encourages me to live in Your will…even when every fiber of my being wants to run arms wide open into the world…back to Egypt.  I long for Your cloud and angels and protection from the world; from myself. I long to be the Israelite whose eyes widen to Your pursuit, and your purpose. I am Yours, have your will with me.

Father,

I petition You. I ask for Your mercy; the mercy You laid upon Israel. Even in all their backtalk and grumbling Your mercy is more dazzling than the sun.

I ask You to be the pillar of cloud that separates me from my “Egypt.” Send Your angels to stand sentry and guard against that which could harm me or bring me false security or delight. I know that all blessing from Your gracious hand is delight enough. Guard me and keep me from the sin and transgressions that chase me. I long to see You in all Your magnificence and glory. Your strength is impenetrable by sin.

Your cloud darkens the sin that pulls me from Your grip; it casts light abundant and brilliant directing my path back to Your heart.

I ask You Lord, make me steadfast in Your promise of hope, hope of security and peace; bring me into Your love-soaked land. My heart rejoices in Your goodness. I seek Your living water… water that gives life to dry bones…water that washes and cleanses. I am Yours.

In Christ’s name, Amen.

You know you do…

We all have a bane. Something or someone that tweeks our very last nerve.  My bane is the whining of little homeschoolers…urgh! Don’t get me wrong, I am not afflicted by the students themselves, it is the whining that causes pain to my ears… listening to the moans and groans of primary school rants.

The ‘I don’t waaaaant to-s.” and “Do I haaaaave to-s?” Ack…it makes my hair stand on end.

My tendency is to silence it with an equally ( I am sure) annoying yell or bark.  A harsh word that will set the perpetrator straight. A word that will turn their wincing and whining into songs of joy for more math facts and longer paragraphs to write…but so far it hasn’t happened. My barking encourages more whining and less working and we are all left in a heap of non-productivity. And, I am reminded that God never barks back at me when I whine…ever. He always encourages me to use my inside voice, the one that doesn’t make dog’s ears bleed. He encourages me to go back and use walking feet instead of stomping through my frustrations.

So, when the whining starts, I will not turn a deaf ear or shout in a harsh tone, I will seek the voice of God. I will seek His grace and I will speak in His tone. I imagine this will take some practice…like daily, hourly, moment by moment until I take my last breath, practice. I need His grace.

He gifted me these two sweet charges to care for and teach and lead on God’s path. He did this without a parenting manual…sort of, I always have the Bible. That beautiful book that I reference daily for guidance on all aspects of my life…except for (wait for it…) parenting. I don’t know why I don’t dive deep into its torn, coffee stained pages to seek the guidance I need most…the guidance to be a mom after the Lord’s heart.

As I pour my heart out; I sit next to a sweet (apple of my eye) nine-year-old who is head to the table with frustration about his (self-perceived) inability to write in cursive. His cursive, might I add, rivals Martha Stewart’s…it’s lovely. I digress… And it is taking every fiber of my being not to whisper …”DO IT!” in his ear. As he face plants in angst over cursive; the Lord is softening my heart, because I am sure my mother’s kitchen table was dented from my very own nine-year-old frustrations. God is good.

I need the grace of the Lord, in great measure.  I need Him to fill my empty, graceless bucket with His grace. His grace that overflows and seeps out and runs over into each one of us who asks.

Oh, did I mention today is our first day back after a looooong month off. A month saturated in celebration and Nintendo and backyard football and Rainbow looms? It is. It’s our first day back.

Hey….for those of you who don’t homeschool…may the Lord’s grace be with you as you complete that first day back’s homework!

Breathe in Him…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble  in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

May this sunlit morning meet you with a peace that surpasses understanding.

May you feel the warmth of our Savior resting deep into your heart.

May the joy that only Jesus promises, fill the cracks of your heavy burdens.

May you delight in this day; made for you to renew, refresh and breathe in the Lord.

Give all of your hard and broken moments to the Lord.

Load His shoulders with that which weighs you down. Rest in His promise to carry all that makes you weary.

He is strength immeasurable…longing to hold your trials and temptations…longing to give you rest…longing for you to wear His yoke of ease and peace.

Be bold in sharing your heart with Him for He is bold in His love for you.

God bless you, beloved.

 

 

Easily Distracted…

I long to be distracted by the Lord.

I long to be as distracted by His mercy and grace as I am by a new pair of shoes or a riveting story on Bravo.

I long to be distracted.

I find myself as attentive as a gnat. And I wonder why my children are so distract-able?  They are learning from the Grand Champ!

I recently read that we will put deep thought into something other than ourselves for a mere EIGHT SECONDS.

EIGHT SECONDS!

Eight seconds is the measure of a bull-rider’s prowess. Have you ever watched a bull-rider? Eight seconds feels almost eternal.

So, I tried to consider something (Jesus) for longer than eight seconds as I tucked myself into bed last night.  I was profoundly and acutely aware of my inability to stay on task. My thoughts strayed like a ferrell cat. I kept reminding myself to seek Him…stay on on Him…STOP wandering.

But that’s what I do…I wander. Even with my best, shiniest, intentions…I wander. I lose sight of His ability and guidance and venture off into my own uncharted terrain. I have to change this about myself…or rather, I must cling to Him to change my heart.

I am learning in my quest for ‘Less of Me and Greater Him’…I am reconciled. In order that I may be less distracted and more aware of His presence, I have to accept that I am reconciled. If I dwell in my inability, my sins, my transgressions, my lack of focus, inattentiveness et cetera…et cetera, I lose focus of His great gift of reconciliation. I am left helpless. Left hopeless.

Wandering from the Lord is akin to a modern day road trip without a fancy GPS. You know, the ardent GPS lady demanding a ‘u-turn’. But, God isn’t that loud, “speak over the radio” type. He is much subtler and softer. He doesn’t shout at us to ‘turn left’ at the next chance. No, He waits for me to become less distracted by the path I chose and more attuned to the path He has…the one He laid out long before He laid the foundation of the Earth.

But…He is merciful and mighty despite my ambling. In accepting His gift of reconciliation, I am able to hear Him. I am able to tune out the world and set the station to His sweet whisper…the whisper that says simply, “I love you and I am hear to direct you.”

I will walk distracted through the day today…but maybe less distracted today than yesterday and more distracted than tomorrow. I will, however, lean in closer to the heart of the One who is longing for my attention.

Dear Loving God…
Distract me…turn my face and my eyes and my ears and my heart to YOU. In Jesus, Amen.

Be Still…

Empty Chair, Scottish National Portrait Gallery

(Photo credit: Graeme Pow)

Being still has NEVER, and by NEVER, I mean NEVER been something I have mastered. I am kinetic and antsy and mobile…constantly.

Stillness has all but eluded me.

I want to be still. I long for stillness. I crave it.  And yet, I refuse it at every turn.

My constant motion is an act of disobedience. Truly.

The Psalmist shares “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

This is not mere suggestion; but rather truth and command. Be still.

In my whirling and doing, I find myself deaf to the voice of my sweet Savior. I am busy, too busy, rushing and running to give pause to His direction. I miss precious guidance. And then I wonder…

I wonder why I am emotional and frustrated and unnerved and lacking peace-that PEACE that surpasses understanding. In all my busy His sweet peace eludes me. I shake my weary head. My eyes downcast in shame. But, I am reconciled each moment through Christ. He takes my disobedience and sinks it deep into an ocean of ‘never again’. He gives me a new moment to try again. Actually, He gives me new moments upon new moments to try again.

Ahhh…I can rest. I can reset my frenzied self. I can be still.

My heart longs to be still. My heart longs to pull up a big cozy chair right new to the Throne of God and listen deeply and fully to His soft, loving voice. The voice that tells me truth and love and light.

The voice that gives me life.

Beloved, I charge you to take a moment…just one, to be still. Stop what you are doing. Sit in front of a sun-streaked window for a fraction of time and be still. Breathe. Take a breath of pause and empty your mind of the doing and the busy and the rushing. Sit and bask in His presence. Listen with your heart for the soft voice of peace.

Thank you, Lord, for commanding us to be still…and not just while we sleep, but in our waking hours. Fill us with Your stillness. In Christ Jesus, Amen.

His greatness always made greater in my weakness…always.

The Heart

The Heart (Photo credit: petalouda62)

I do not make resolutions. I listen closely to the soft whisper of the Holy Spirit and make effort to meditate on His goodness in greater detail than I have before.

I have been praying and petitioning and pleading for a Word…a kiss of new direction. In the eleventh hour of 2013 the Lord spoke deep into my spirit….

“More of Me…less (much less) of you.” Yes…more of Him and less of me. This is where I have pitched my tent and plan to dwell.

“He must be greater. I must be less.” John 3:30

Yes, I must be less. I have spent so many moments over the past year stumbling over myself, blurring my sight to His greatness. I have been restless and reckless.

Today, this first fresh day of a new year, I breathe in the greatness of my Lord. I breathe in fresh beginning and new creation. I breathe in mercy and grace and forgiveness.

I breathe in Him. I exhale me.

His love is crisp in my lungs. His goodness pulses through my dry veins. His peace grips tight my anxious heart. His mercy envelopes me.

I look to Him to direct my journey into less…less of me. I cling to Him to guide my heart in to greatness…more of Him.

My Sweet Precious God….
I praise You for Your grace and mercy and love. Thank you for speaking into my heart. Thank you for loving me fully without boundaries. Thank you for delighting in me such that you breathe life into me…In Jesus’ name, Amen.