Can you trust me?

“You don’t trust me.”

Exhausted, I sit clasping the bread and the cup surrounded by people but feeling empty and alone.

“God, you’re right. I don’t. Help me trust you.”

This has been a long week.

After a few days fighting with a flu bug, my youngest Madi was hospitalized for dehydration.  It was only supposed to be 24 hours.  Compiled with a shortened work week, I was already on sick day number two of a three-day week.

But my kids will always come first.

Yet, as Thanksgiving morning dawned, two days later, her condition worsened.  She just couldn’t get over the hump. Each day I prayed for healing and each day the prayer seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Madi Hosp

It’s in these moments I realize I don’t really hold control.

And it really bugs me.

Suddenly, it’s not about me anymore.

This was the place in my heart God was speaking to.

You see, he had to remove me from the throne of my life so he could take his rightful place.

In a year of big growth, change and opportunity, God had to remind me he was still in charge.  I could whine and mope about how uncomfortable I was, but in reality, it was a thankless attitude. And now, it’s time to rebuild.

So, it’s been a couple of months since you have heard from me.  Here’s a quick update.

Madi released from the hospital the Friday after Thanksgiving. Eight straight days of vomit. If you know me well, you know this is my personal hell. I hate puke. Hate it.

Her condition amounted to nothing more than constipation. What cannot go down, goes up.

True story.

Seriously.  I’m not kidding. My kid was full of poop.

But we knew that already.

Four days later, the washer broke and by December 10th, my kids were certain we weren’t going to have a Christmas tree.

I mean, I didn’t have anywhere to put it.  We had laundry everywhere. I guess we could have strung some lights around the piles of laundry.

(insert sigh)

It was the very moment I stopped fighting for things to go my way and surrendered to the mess that God met me.

He infused me with peace.

He showed me where to start.

He provided resource.

He sent people.

He provided opportunity for service.

What started as a very complicated season turned into the simplest, most wonderful Christmas we’ve had in quite some time.

I’m continuing to learn contentment in wins both small and large.

I’m looking forward to sharing more about that with you as the month goes on.

So, if you’ve made it this far- Thank you.  I know it’s a little rusty but I promise to keep polishing as we go. Today, it was just important to start getting thoughts down on paper once more.

It’s my win for the day 🙂

 

 

 

Finding grace in the gaps

For 358 days of the year, I am a mostly responsible adult.  Then, day 359 sweeps in to hinder my momentum.

I wake up feeling a pit of anxiety in my tummy.  “Stay in bed”, it says.  “Nothing good is coming of this day.”

I get up anyway.

The kids, however.  Not so much.  They are still in summer break mode.  But band camp starts today. My teenager is in Mexico.  The youngest is spending her day with Grandma.  I have to leave town by eight.

But they sleep anyway.

And so goes the pace of my week.  I pull into work, send a poorly timed text to hubby which results in my son being late to his first day of band camp.  (They finally got up). My new regional made an appearance at work.  (Thank God I did my hair today). Yet I was unprepared for the visit.  Our ability to communicate is  hindered by the nerves of new relationship.  Instead of appearing competent and capable, I did my best impersonation of Ellie Mae from the cornfields.

Tuesday was spent in fast paced preparation for my half day Wednesday.  You know, school registration.

This mommy of the year registered her 2nd grader back into 1st. Might be why they couldn’t find her paperwork from last year. Please don’t judge. This is my reality.

Thursday closes the week with a big finish.  My well kept sales program is completely wiped clean from all past, present and future activities.

What am I doing today?  Only cyberspace knows.

So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world.

Ecc. 2:20

Have you had this kind of week before?

Day 359 reminds me I need grace to fill my gaps.  I can’t control my world on my own.  It’s almost as if God allows everything to fall apart as a reminder that I need him to be the glue to hold everything together.

Daily, I need to ask for an eagerness for him instead of ________(money, recognition, pride, ego).  Depart from the mediocre and seek life through his word.  Seek assurance in his promise made to those who fear him.

My worth is not measured by the worst of my days.  Restoration only occurs when I return to my rescuer.  Jesus fills my gaps with grace and assures my footing for the rocky road ahead. He is my source of wisdom and strength when everything else seems to fail.

Lord, perfect your power in my weakness.

Position my eyes upon your face.

Point my heart to your truth.

Permit your promises to manifest in my life.

Redeem even the most rotten of my days.

Amen.

 

If I must take a side, I choose Jesus.

I’m watching the coverage unfold with my 12 year old son.  His face bears the same disappointment I am feeling in my heart.

It seems like the battle has officially been lost.  One that I have never really understood in the first place.  We rally on the streets and preach from the pulpits.

With every word and action, the division in this issue has left a gap impossible to bridge. More than anything, I want my son to stand for whom he believes.  However, I want him to do so from a place of dignity and love as opposed to disrespect and judgment.

Because I know behind sin stands a story of brokenness.

And in brokenness, hope can take root and grow.

After posting John 3:16 to my facebook wall, I avoid social media.  The battle still looms.  The words from both sides are strong.  Above all else, I will take a stand.

But to what cost? Who is left to pay the price?

For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that whoever should believe in him would not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

In this time of confusion, I still choose Jesus of Nazareth.  Why?

Because I am a sinner.  No one is without sin.  Not one, the bible says. The only person I can change is me.  No matter what I say on facebook.  No matter what I post on this blog, I can only change me.

I believe God is still in the business of healing.  Who paid the price?  His son, Jesus, who was sent to die for my sin before I ever had chance to walk this earth.  No prerequisites.  Merely a choice to believe that I can’t pay the price for sin on my own.

I can’t hold a nonbeliever to the same standards I follow.  Nor can I influence their choices without relationship. Love covers a multitude of sin.

When I lovingly confront one who I build relationship with, they see my heart in place of my hypocrisy.

I know that judgement from the church can bring more pain than promise.

No matter how big the divide, Jesus is bigger.  He came to fill the divide.  He came to bridge the gaps.  Even when it feels like I’m losing the battle, Christ has promised victory in the war.

“I urge ,then, first of all that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in godliness and holiness.

1 Timothy 2: 1-2

Service requires an attitude of ownership

I was honored.

Serve Weekend is a huge collaborative outreach effort in our community every year.  Five churches and hundreds of local volunteers tackle projects throughout our town as a means to reach the lost with the grace filled message of Christ.

David & I were asked to lead a picnic at a local high rise.  We said, “You bet”, thinking this would be no big deal.  I can coordinate our volunteer groups, he can grill and we both know our way around the grocery store.  Bring it on.

Then we were given the budget.

Eep.

Let’s just say no shoestrings were harmed in the creation of the budget.  Just the aglets.  Now, instead of calling volunteers with information on when and where to show up, I was also going to have to ask for them to help provide a portion of the meal for over 100 people.

Is it hot in here?

Our life group immediately jumped on board in helping us to create a menu and activity plan as well as being the first to sign up to bring food items.

Aren’t you thankful for those people?

They always remind me that kingdom service isn’t meant to be a solitary effort.

I woke up the next morning still feeling a bit anxious about the whole thing. Deep down, I know God will provide us with exactly what we need but I am the type of girl that likes organization and order.  Not faith with the potential of fallout.

Before starting calls to the rest of the volunteer team, I went to Gods word and found an incredible group of ladies in Luke 8: 1-3.  Their story goes like this:

Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons;  Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.
 In one short minute, these ladies taught me more about the biblical concept of service than a month of sermons.
Their service was driven by what Jesus had done for them, not what they could do for him.  They brought their testimony on tour with Jesus and his disciples.  Living, breathing examples of the power of God at work in their lives.  Driven by demons in their past only to be released to walk in freedom with their savior.  Can you hear their testimony?  Can you see the crowds captivated by their stories?
These women contributed their own resources to help support Jesus and his disciples.  They were invested.  They had skin in the game. Investment equals ownership.  This was no longer just a following this guy called Jesus thing.  They held a piece of ownership in God’s kingdom. They gave what they had to further the cause of Christ to those who desperately needed his message hope.
And now, I’m not so anxious about these calls I need to make.  I’m excited to partner with God in an event that can reach many with his name.  As I talk with each person who has signed up, they each have a story about why they chose this project.
My mother lived there for years.
I live there now and just want to reach people for Jesus.
How can I help? Is there anything more that you need?
Service, with a little skin in the game, brings a sense of ownership to God’s kingdom plan.  It changes the way we think.  It changes the way we talk.  It generates excitement.  This is no longer a picnic sponsored by my church.  This picnic is now a collaboration between Christ’s church and his people saying, “Yes God.  Use me and all I have to further your name in my community.”
Can you pray for us in the week to come?  Serve will happen this Saturday, June 27th.  It’s God’s chance to shine through his people.  We pray for his provision and lots of opportunity to share his message of hope and grace to those who may need to hear it and claim it for their own lives.

I gave you my old ugly heart. You returned it restored and new.

“Lord, it’s a mess.  You can’t possibly want it.”

I am standing in a crowded auditorium.  A prevailing churches conference.  A room full of ministry leaders.  Movers and shakers for the kingdom.

Do you ever just feel like you don’t quite belong?

Chris Tomlin is leading worship.  I mean, how cool is that?

The last two days, we have been poured into by names like Bill Hybels and David Ortberg.  I’m singing and connecting with God in an experience that is a bit out of my ordinary world.  I am compelled to lift my hands in worship.  And then, it happens.

I can feel the tangible touch of God on my hands.  He is silently telling me, “Return to me.”

You see, God knows that my outsides look pretty good, but my insides are another story all together.  I haven’t let him in yet.  I have been volunteering in kids ministry and learning things about his word that I have never heard while washing down tables and leading kids to their assigned classrooms.  But I haven’t let his word resonate yet.  I know he means it for them.  I just can’t believe it for me.

I want kingdom opportunities and when I see another succeeding, I don’t see that they are succeeding for God.  I just see that they are farther ahead in the race and I am bitten by a little green bug of jealousy. I long to be the center of attention.  There is an emptiness inside of me that demands it.  I just want my chance to prove that I, too, am worthwhile.

But in this moment, God is not asking me to prove anything.

He is just asking me to return to him.

So I did.

In those following weeks, I recommitted my life to God.  In my mind, I had always been a believer.  I was baptized as a baby.  I knew he was there.  But, I made the choice to be water baptized as an adult, not because I believe it will take me into the gates of heaven, but instead, to show outwardly what was happening to me inwardly. God was washing away the old and ugly to reveal something new & beautiful.

I immersed myself in his word daily.

I learned to pray in alignment with God’s will.  Not about my wish and want list, but about his purpose and balance for who he created me to be.

I connected to others through small group bible study.

One day, I was sitting in church observing a woman I greatly admired.  Her ministry was in the spotlight.  A strange, unfamiliar feeling came over me.  It was joy!  I was genuinely happy for the success she was bringing to the kingdom as a result of her work and effort.

I’ll admit that I was surprised by this new emotion.

I basked in it for a moment.  It was like trying on a pair of jeans that fit just right.  No way I was leaving it behind.  This is what a clean heart feels like.

To be totally honest with you, I’m still under construction.  This transformation of my heart will never be perfect this side of heaven.  I will always need to be wary of traps like comparison and inadequacy. But now I know how to fight back. I know how to keep my feet from slipping into bondage and brokenness.

Immerse myself, daily, in God’s word.

Pray often.

Stay connected to other believers for encouragement and motivation.

Do the work he has given me.  Own my share of the kingdom plan.

Through it all, lean into him and trust that he is hard at work in my heart and my life.

Know that each day is filled with new mercy.  I am, after all, human.

 

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a right spirit within me.”

 

Misplaced Monday’s: Accountability

“What on earth is that?”

I am gazing at a sticky, snot like stain on my front door window.  It’s about 2 inches wide and 3 inches tall.  A dead fly is stuck in the corner with a collage of legs and wings from his nearest and dearest friends.

“Wow.  You just noticed that.  It’s been there forever.” Says the teen.

“Jeez, Mom. I can’t believe you just saw that.” Says the tween.

“It’s been there for years,” says the man. “It ‘s just a sticker that melted to the window.”

“So,” I reiterate, “We have had a snot blob and fly guts stuck to the window for years.  You all have seen it and not one of you has bothered to take a scraper and clean it up.”

“Look how long it took you to notice,” my smug man says with a smile on his face.

Is anyone else’s blood pressure a little high?

I proceed to explain the importance of taking care of messes as soon as you see them.  Just because no one else seems to notice does not make a difference. You saw it.  You handle it.

However, no one is listening.  The fact that I ranted this very  speech just two hours before might be a reason to take into account.  Is it really too much to expect your family to clean up the mess the Diva wonder dog left.  4/5 of my family walked through the war-torn mess of half eaten Q-tips and wash rags yet not one took the initiative to clean it up off of the bathroom floor.

Come on!

Yet, in the world outside of our homes we tend to turn a blind eye as well.

How many times have you seen a brother or sister walking into a dangerous, broken or messy situation and chosen to turn your head.

How many times have you looked the other way when you see a friend engaged in behavior that can harm their most precious relationships, but you didn’t say a word because it was none of your business.

How many times?

Iron sharpens IronAnd is it really our place?

This issue of accountability has resided close to my heart as I think of the many times I chose to turn a blind eye.  Our command is to get involved.  Especially when the one engaged in sin is a member of the family of believers.

Accountability is something we all need from time to time.  Who better to help us than our family of believers who love us enough to say the words we need to hear to turn away from sin, repent and pull back on track with God.  Yet, in this business of confrontation, we have some firm rules we need to follow to keep our walk in the clear.

We must confront with a spirit of gentleness.  Leave the tar and feathers at home. This is about approaching what is tender and opening the possibility of God’s grace to enter, heal and restore.

This starts as a between me and you conversation.  Not me and you after I put you on the prayer list at life group.   If this conversation doesn’t work, you are then allowed to recruit help.  Again, confidentiality is so important.  If you find yourself in this situation, confide in someone who will help and keep the transgression quiet while going back to your brother and sister.  If they still turn you away, you  go the church.

Can I be honest with you for a second?  This scares the stuffing out of me.  Go to the church? EEP.

Let’s get back to the role of the church.  To be the hands and feet of a loving Christ.  My thought is that going to the church means seeking the presence of your pastor, or elders who can approach the sin with appropriate counsel & correction while holding the sinner with love, dignity and respect.

It all comes down to this.  We have specific instructions to hold our brothers and sisters accountable.  We live a higher standard in Christ.  We can’t live dual lives. We’re different. We’re marked by grace. We can’t turn a blind eye because no one else has noticed and you don’t want to get your hands dirty.

I think of something I heard a long time ago.  It has always stuck with me.  A pastor’s wife was giving her testimony in church and she said, “You wouldn’t let someone run into the path of an oncoming car without trying to stop them.”

Who needs your interception today?

Just think of the lives that could be changed if we made the intentional choice not to turn a blind eye any longer.

Fighting my way to the finish line, even when it’s hard.

“People really do this for fun?”, I think to myself as I contentrate on air intake.

Breathe, 2, 3, 4

Exhale, 2, 3, 4

It’s day three of couch to 5k.  The worst day yet.  My body and my lungs are not aligning. I think it’s the piece of gum I decided to chew.  I long to sprint like a gazelle, but today, I’m resembling Jumbo the elephant.

Thump, Thump, Thump.

Is it time to walk yet?

And while we’re here, let’s talk about sports bra’s.  Are these things manufactured on the darkside by minions of the devil?

I remind myself that this is not forever, just today.  I remind myself that I have 35 years of poor habits to correct. Achieving this goal will be a process.  I envision crossing the finish line at the 5k I have signed up for in July.  I envision leading my youngest daughter’s girls on the run group next year.  I envision the size 10 waist  I will have when I reach my final weight loss goal. I envision participating alongside of my husband in the physically challenging courses he likes to run.

I envision ditching the steroid prescription I have been given to manage my asthma.

But i’m aggravated. How did I let myself get to this point?

I’m embarrassed about how hard this is to figure out when experienced runners make it look so easy. If I can barely make it through a minute, how on earth am I going to make it through 30 minutes in just a few short weeks?  Plus, I am sore in places that I don’t even want to talk about.  When will I see progress?

It’s the hard that makes me want to quit.

It’s the impossible that encourages me to stop before I start.

It’s discomfort that leads me to hide in my comfort zone.

 I must decide now that I can run after the things I want from life, or I can let them get away. Only I can decide.

A plan must be formed the moment I decide to chase a goal. My plan is my course of action to reach the goal.  My plan is my road map.  It keeps me on track. My plan reflects benchmarks as well as progress toward the finish line.

I must then set my eyes on the goal as opposed to the things I am leaving behind. When I start a new goal, I write down the reason why.  My reason why is the driving force to get me moving when I would rather sleep a little longer or park my happy hiney on the couch (sans sports bra) with a good read. My reason why redirects my attention from what I am missing to what I will be gaining.

Then I will be ready to push myself past my current limits.  In this case, I enlisted my husband as a running partner. Part for expertiece and part for accountability.  He molds my perceived weakness into perspective.  He runs along side me with patience.  He coaches when necessary.  The gum was his idea.  Hmm???

It has taken me a long time to realize that a life worth living is not driven by comfort.  It is driven by the pursuit of growth.  Every single step I take in pursuit of my goal adds a building block of character that honors the purpose God has created me for.

I firmly believe that you fight for the things that mean most to you.  My health is worth fighting for.  Time spent with my husband and kids is worth fighting for.  My dreams are worth fighting for.  I have decided running is worth my effort even when it’s a fight to reach the finish line.

 

 

 

The Jesus you see in me is the direct reflection of the Jesus I saw in you.

The Jesus you see in me is a direct reflection of the Jesus you allowed me to see in you.  The Jesus you introduced me to, even when I was not aware.  You couldn’t help it.  He is as much of you as the air you breathe.  His power and influence drive your decisions.  Your wisdom.  The love the flows from your heart for his people, both lost and found.  I was just blessed to have crossed your path.

It must have been a mistake that you came into my restaurant that day.  I was 18 and newly married.  An assistant manager at KFC.  I was going places.  I likely knew everything there was to know about life.  You didn’t let that stop you.  Day after day, you and your wife came in about 2pm.  It was the quietest time of the day.  You would have the buffet and give me a hard time, or try and sell me your joke of the day. You would ask about my life.  Day after day, you really got to know me.  You invested in me.  I’m not sure when I realized when you were the pastor of a little country church, but I remember the day you came in to tell me you were headed to Russia for a week.  You went every two years for missions. When you came back you brought me a wall hanging native to Kostroma.  You shared stories.  You invited me to your Sunday evening service so I could see pictures and hear about your trip.  I remember making it a point to take off early so I could make it.  You meant as much to me as I meant to you.  I just didn’t see it at the time. I remember the day you told me I had to take responsibility for my own salvation.  It was my choice.  That stuck with me.  You later moved on to another community.  I couldn’t begin to know where to find you now, but I want you to know that I found him.  I accepted Christ to be my Lord and Savior.  I never miss church if I don’t have too.  My kids know him too.  Because I meant something too you.  You never pressured me about missing church.  Instead, you brought Jesus to me each and every day and introduced me to him over chicken, coleslaw and conversation.  The Jesus you see in me is a direct result of the message of salvation that you allowed him to carry through you.  I just wanted to say Thank you.

You were the patriarch.  You sat proudly at the head of the pew, dressed in your Sunday suit jacket and skirt.  Vintage broach and an cocky grin.  You were gentle spoken with a back bone of steel.  Most families attend church on Christmas and Easter.  Not us. When we attended, it was for Mothers day or your birthday.  Afterward, we would go out to the country club for lunch and a few good laughs.  I respected you so deeply.  You were the first one I told, after David, that we were going to have a baby.  You were so proud of her.  The first Sunday we attended church with her, you carried her around to every Sunday school class in the building.  The Jesus you see in me is a direct result of the love I saw flow through you.  Unconditional and deep.  You taught me that to love deeply is not weakness, but strength.  You taught me to strive for gentleness and wisdom in my home.  Your example makes me want to live God’s best everyday.

She was a physics professor at EIU. She saw potential in me during a women’s bible study that she led.  I was intimidated as heck.  She cruised up in her Chrysler convertible and bounced in with a basket of handouts and goodies.  I loved her oversized jewelry and bright style.  I never understood why she chose me to take under her wing.  She spoke life into me.  She encouraged me in my discovery of God’s word.  She told me to tuck his word away in my heart. She taught me how to apply God’s word to my life. She taught me to teach others.  She encouraged me to further myself and chase after my dreams.  She kept regular appointments with me.  Lunches.  Sunday afternoon picnics with my family.  She sent my husband care packages while he was over seas.  She sent me surprise letters of encouragement and DQ money while my kids and I were waiting at home for his return.  The Jesus I saw in a beautiful bible teacher showed me that my life has worth and meaning.   A purpose in his kingdom.  The Jesus you see in me lives, truly lives because of the Jesus I saw in her.  No more stinkin’ thinkin’.  Just baby steps of obedience in whatever direction he calls me to go.

The Jesus you see in me would never be without the influence of those who have followed him before.  Those who have stories to tell, love to give and applications to teach.  Those who invested their time, their prayers and their obedience to follow God in order to reach a girl who had big dreams, minimal resources and no confidence.

The Jesus you see in me is an investment of God’s willing people mixed with Gods word. His Holy Spirit and His perfect time.  He still has a long way to go in my life.  But I hope  the Jesus you see in me will be as profound and intentional as the Jesus I saw in them.

 

 

Memorial Day. A day to remember.

He’s leaving today.

I crack my eyes to let in the predawn light.   My stomach feels nauseous.  I should have gotten up earlier.  We won’t have much time left to spend as a family before he takes off.  Now, where is he going again?  How long will he be gone?

It really doesn’t matter.  The hard part is always saying goodbye as I transition my family into waiting well for his return home.  I hate saying goodbye.  It really should get easier as time goes on.  But it doesn’t.  Now, I find myself going through the stages of grief even when he is just going away for a weekend with his buds.  I don’t tell him though.  I don’t want him to feel guilty.  I don’t want him to carry the weight of a needy wife in the midst of all the other responsibility he faces.

I stretch my arms as the breeze from the window hits my face.  I look over to the alarm.  Shoot, my son has dojo in 45 minutes.  Wait.  Dojo?

“Ugh.  I just had a dream that you had to leave for guard today.” I say as I roll over to cuddle into him.

“I do.  Just don’t trip over the bags when you get outta bed.” He replies.

I poke him in the ribs.  Hard. He has it coming.  He has been out for nearly a year but the emotions are still very real.

It’s Memorial Day.

I take a moment to count my blessings that I have my husband to joke with today because this is not the story for so many.

Somewhere, a woman rolled over this morning to reach for her husband and he wasn’t there.  Or, he was, but emotionally, he is still fighting a battle in a land she will never know, nor never visit.  A place in the life of her soldier will that will remain detached from her reality.  He fights a darkness that she cannot begin to understand.  She is hopeless to intercede.  But she loves him anyway.

Through outbursts of unexplained anger.  Night terrors.  Paranoid and cynical behavior.  She knows he’s healing. She wonders if there are any other steps she should take.  She prays for a glimpse of the man her soldier was before war.

She wonders when he is going to stop taking chances with his life to drive the adrenaline he has become addicted too.

She wonders when she will be enough to fill the void his life is missing.

Days like today are hard. They drudge up memories long buried .  They revive emotions that are impossible to understand for those who have not gone and seen realities of war because we chose to stay at home.  But, we’re here now.

What can we do with all of this?

Pray.  For those whose soldier aren’t returning home.  For peace, protection and provision in their road ahead.  Pray for the soldier who is still trying to find his way, even in the safety of home.  For resolution. For peace.  For an encounter with the love, grace and mercy of a mighty God.

Be a willing listener, but don’t push for answers. Be available to listen without judgement.  I don’t know what you’ve seen and  I don’t know what you’ve done but I’m here and I care for you.  Nothing you can say will change that.

Keep it confidential.  It’s not your story to share.

Love unconditionally.  There is a price for freedom.  The number one goal of our soldiers is to bring everyone home alive.  Sometimes that happens at the expense of a soldiers moral code. Sometimes, lives are lost.  Regardless, the price is high.  Too high for some, even when they return home.  The number of soldiers taking their own lives after returning home is at an epidemic high. And unnecessary. It’s something we can no longer ignore.

Today, let’s not forget.  Let’s check in.  Let us shower those who have lost their soldier with love and support.  Let’s remind soldiers who are still fighting the battle that they are not alone.

 

If you know a military family in need of support, check out military one source .

 PTSD is taking our soldiers at an alarming rate. 1 military service member and 22 veterans per day.   Please consider joining my friend’s battle for awareness at  Valhalla can wait. You’re likes and shares will send the message to our troops that they are not alone.

 

 

For better or worse. No but’s about it.

“If mommy’s & daddy’s decide to split up, where do the kids live?”

I look up from my book to find my 7- year- old Madi waiting for my response to a heart breaking question.

“Well, part of the time they live with their mommy and part of their time with their daddy.  But you don’t have to worry about that.  Daddy and I will never divorce.  We will always work things out.”

It satisfied her for the moment, but I’m ashamed to say I had a nagging hint of doubt in my gut as she walked away.  What if I just told my child a lie?

This world is a scary place.  The last thing I want my kids to worry about is whether or not my husband and I are in it for the long haul.  When I said my vows, I meant them.  So did he.  Not just for now.  We meant forever.

But :

Sometimes, we go in our own direction and misplace our priorities.

Sometimes, I just get mad and there is no room for forgiveness. Only justice.

Sometimes, I don’t like my husband very much.

Sometimes, my husband doesn’t like me very much.

Sometimes, I forget that marriage isn’t all about me.  It’s about us.

The biggest injustice we serve to our kids is the idea that love and marriage is easy.  The belief that if you’re in love, everything will fall into place. If it doesn’t come easy, it just isn’t meant to be.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We allude ourselves to believe otherwise.

The reality is this.  Sometimes marriages don’t make it.  Even those marriages that are cleaved to God.  Kids find their time and loyalty being split between their mom and dad.  And kids in traditional homes?  They have doubts.  This is a scary thing.

But I’m not going to allow  reality to determine my end result.

Marriage is under attack.  As mom & dad, it is our job to affirm each other and our kids.  It is our job to let them know that we are not going to give up.  That we are going to weather the crazy that life sends our way. It means that sometimes, things are really, really good and sometimes, we are holding on to God with the very tips of our fingernails.  That’s what families do.  That’s what healthy marriages do. Our kids need to see us weather the storms.

My but’s cannot get in the way of confidently choosing the vow I made to my husband.  Those but’s create cracks of doubt in our family foundation.  Little stress fractures that threaten overall infrastructure. My but’s create insecurity and doubt.

The thing about a confident choice is that it determines the course of our life direction.  If I am not confident in my choice, I can be swayed.  But, when I know the direction I am going, it will take a lot to keep me from reaching my desired destination. My confident choice will determine how I spend my time.  My confident choice will determine the value I place on the people in my life. My confident choice will keep me from wasting time on people & things that don’t matter.

My spouse and my kids need my confident choice about marriage. My husband is my partner for life.  No but’s about it.