Archive for Marriage

Finding the Joy

God’s been working on me lately.  Beginning with my daughter saying to me, “Mom, I know. You’re always overwhelmed,”  I’ve had a lot of thoughts going through my head.

One of them goes back to a personal mission statement I saw a few months ago that really resonated with me.  I even put it in a box at the top of the daily agenda I print for myself.

To bring glory to God

To bless and encourage others

To find peace and joy through Him in all things

 I also started to read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, which talks about a similar theme – finding God’s gifts to us in the everyday.

What’s about to come next is a bit embarrassing.  I can’t quite believe I’m going to share this picture with you, but it was such a perfect illustration of what God’s been pointing me toward that I must.

This is a picture of my kitchen table when I got home late last night:

Let me say that I LOVE my husband.  He is a wonderful man, gifted in many things.  Clearing off the kitchen table is not always one of them.  Devouring every page of the newspaper is.

So on a day where I was rushing around and didn’t quite get my chores done during the day and where he was low on sleep and was still asleep in our child’s bed when I got home after 10:30, this was the scene of my kitchen table.

I’ll be honest – typically the sight of dirty dishes, things that belong in the dishwasher, and basically utter chaos on my table would get me a bit frustrated.  Maybe a bit bitter.

And yet in the middle of this table, there stood 2 vases of lilacs.  My kitchen smelled heavenly.  The flowers were beautifully arranged in the vases my children had painted for Mother’s Day – his idea.  I breathed in the smell.  I wondered at each small stalk of flowers beautifully created by a loving God who created them just so we could enjoy them.  I imagined the broad smiles on my children’s faces as they picked them for me, and the shrieks and giggles as the dog no doubt checked out what they were doing.

Joy.  In the midst of the mess.  Choosing to see it – to focus on this small gift.

   

(Sorry for the photo quality – it was late, dark, and I used my phone.)

And by taking those few moments to embrace that joy, I didn’t even mind cleaning up the table.  I smiled the whole way through, and trust me – it’s not something I usually smile about!

The reality is that He longs to bring us such moments of joy over and over every day.  But we have to choose to look for them and to savor them in the midst of whatever mess or busyness or funk we find ourselves in.

I’m grateful that He provided this tangible picture of the lesson.

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A Crazy Cycle

Does this exercise cycle sound familiar to you?

1.  Think for a long time about how you need to exercise more.

2.  Finally, something gets you going.  First day is hard, but you’re feeling good that you started.

3. Sheer perseverance keeps you going, and it starts to feel good and you want to do it.

4. It starts to feel great, and you think “Why did it take me so long to start doing this?”

5. Some minor interruption happens (company visits, illness, vacation, etc.)

6.  Exercise habit is stopped in its tracks.

7. Back to #1.

Sound familiar at all?  I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me, and it is frustrating!  It doesn’t seem to matter how long the #4 stage happens – if I’ve done it consistently for a week, a month, or even a year.  I can so easily get off track.

This weekend, my husband and I had the chance to experience FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember.  It was a wonderful chance to get away together and really focus on our marriage – the good parts and the “needs improvement” parts.

One of the major “ah-ha” moments – and it wasn’t exactly news – is that again, we’ve drifted away from carving out time to be “us.”  Way too much of our time is spent on the kids, outside pursuits (work, volunteering, etc) and we just take one another for granted.  And I realized that we’ve been through the “exercise cycle” when it comes to taking time for one another.  We know we need to do it – it feels GREAT when we get in the habit – and somehow life intervenes and we stop.

Then yesterday I spoke with a friend about needing the discipline of a structured Bible study to really spend the time with God that I want to.  And wouldn’t you know – that SAME crazy cycle came up in our conversation?

Where do you see that crazy cycle in your life?  Exercise, eating right, relationships, organizational habits, etc.  And if you’ve been successful in eliminating the cycle and making some permanent lifestyle changes, I’d love to hear how!

(And if you’re wondering – no, I haven’t broken the running habit.  I’m in the middle of Week 6 of C25K!  Although I will confess that I skipped out on The Shred today due to my cold…)

Finally, I can’t say enough about Weekend to Remember.  We went with 3 other couples, and all 8 of us are in solid agreement that it has set us on a new trajectory for our marriages.  It’s that good.  If you need the chance to reconnect with your spouse, go RIGHT NOW and find when the next conference will be near you.  It is so worth the investment.  (And if you decide to do it – before you register, contact me for a group code that will give you a big discount!)

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