Welcome to Mellie's mind...

Where thoughts can be funny, can race at all hours of the day and night and can sometimes not make any sense!

Enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Love Dare- Day 28

He laid down His life for us.  We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. – 1 John 3:16 HCSB

Life can be hard.  But what we usually mean is that our life can be hard.  We’re the first to feel it when we’re the ones being mistreated or inconvenienced.  We’re quick to sulk when we’re the ones who feel deprived or unappreciated.  When life is difficult for us, we notice.

But too often the only way we notice that life is hard for our mate is when they start complaining about it.  Then instead of genuinely caring or rushing in to help, we might think they just have a bad attitude.  The pain and pressure they’re under don’t register with us the way it does when it’s our pain and pressure.  When we want to complain, we expect everyone to understand and feel sorry for us.

This doesn’t happen when love is at work.  Love doesn’t have to be jarred awake by your mate’s obvious signs of distress.  Before worries and troubles have begun to bury them, love has already gone into action mode.  It sees the weight beginning to pile up and it steps in to help.  That’s because love wants you to be sensitive to your spouse.

Love makes sacrifices.  It keeps you so tuned in to what your spouse needs that you often respond without being asked.  And when you don’t notice ahead of time and must be told what’s happening, love responds to the heart of the problem.

Even when your mate’s stress comes out in words of personal accusation, love shows compassion rather than becoming defensive.  Love inspires you to say “no” to what you want, in order to say “yes” to what your spouse needs.

That’s what Jesus did.  “He laid down His life for us” to show us that “we should also lay down our lives” for others.  He taught us that the evidence of love is found in seeing a need in others, then doing all we can to satisfy it.  “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me” (Matthew 23:35-36).

These are the types of needs you should be looking for in your wife or husband.  Instead of sitting around upset that they’re not treating you the way you think they should, let love pick you up out of your self-pity and turn your attention to their needs.

Is he “hungry” – needing you sexually, even when you don’t feel like it?

Is she “thirsty” – craving the time and attention you seem to be able to give everyone else?

Does he feel like a “stranger” – insecure in his work, needing home to be a refuge and sanctuary?

Is she “naked” – frightened or ashamed, desperate for the warm covering of your loving affirmation?

Is he feeling “sick” – physically tired and needing you to help guard him from interruptions?

Does she feel in “prison” – fearful and depressed, needing some safety and intervention?

Love is willing to make sacrifices to see that the needs of your spouse are given your very best effort and focus.  When your mate is overwhelmed and under the gun, love calls you to set aside what seems so essential in your own life to help, even if it’s merely the gift of a listening ear.

Often all they really need is just to talk this situation out.  They need to see in your two attentive eyes that you truly care about what this is costing them, and you’re serious about helping them seek answers.  They need you to pray with them about what to do, and then keep following up to see how it’s going.

The words “How can I help you?” need to stay fresh on your lips.

The solutions may be simple and easy for you to do, or they may be complex and expensive, requiring time, energy and great effort.  Either way, you should do whatever you can to meet the real needs of the one who is a part of who you are.  After all, when you help them, you are also helping yourself. That’s the beautiful part of sacrificing for your spouse.  Jesus did it for us.  And He extends the grace to do it for others.

When the New Testament believers began to walk in love, their lives together were marked by sharing and sacrifice.  Their heartbeat was to worship the Lord and to serve His people.  “All those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have “need” (Acts 2:44-45).  As Paul said to one of these churches in a later decade, “I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls” (2 Corinthians 12:15).  Lives that have been raised from death by Jesus sacrifice should be ready and willing to make daily sacrifices to meet the needs of others.

Today’s Dare

What is one of the greatest needs in your spouse’s life right now?  Is there a need you could lift from their shoulders today by a daring act of sacrifice on your part?  Whether the need is big or small, purpose to do what you can to meet the need.

"The solutions may be simple and easy for you to do, or they may be complex and expensive, requiring time, energy and great effort.  Either way, you should do whatever you can to meet the real needs of the one who is a part of who you are.  After all, when you help them, you are also helping yourself."

When I was growing up and was in and out of different relationships my happiness always seemed to be based on what my significant other was doing for me ME happy.  Was he paying attention to me enough?  Did he make me feel safe?  Was he affection enough in public towards me?  Everything seemed to be about what the other person could bring to our relationship to hold me there.  I made it very clear if that person failed then I would not be sticking around and  would find someone who would so I did not have to sacrifice myself.

Of course looking back at that behavior I realize now how selfish I really was and how absurd and immature it was for me to think that way.  (My hubby thinks I am a handful now, it is a GOOD thing he did not know me then.)  It's really embarrassing to look back on.

When I got married I told myself I was going to make it work, no matter what.  This WAS going to be my last relationship and I was not going to put my kids through another divorce.  I was going to be married till death do us part.  Even though we said our vows in front of a judge I said them in front of God.

It took me some years of growing to really understand how to love my hubby.  I really had to let go of all my wants and expectations and just give in to unconditional love.  I had to keep telling myself that me giving in on this argument, or getting past this hurt would get me one step closer to the life I have always wanted to live and have the love I always dreamed of having.  I just prayed to have the strength to get through one more day and one more event that was threatening to tear us apart.

I began to love differently.  I began to do things above and beyond for my hubby in hopes to not only please him but to demonstrate the kind of love I wanted.  It really is true when you can give up yourself and do for others you will feel better.  To me, this is God's way of teaching us how to love as HE loves us.

My hubby is a complicated man.  There are days I think I am on target with giving him attention and showing him the love he wants but can find out that I was no where near the target.  Then there are days where I can see my love fill him and he makes changes in himself to please me and to be a better man.  We are all struggling in the ins and outs of life.  Trying to find our place, the meaning for us being here and trying to maintain some happiness along the way.  I truly believe if we allow ourselves to let go to love and sacrifice the way Jesus did for us then our struggles will be over.

I am no where near perfect and I am far beyond an expert at loving my hubby but I am still here, I am still working towards it and I still love this man with all my heart. 

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral therapy (CST), or cranial-sacral therapy, is a form of bodywork or alternative therapy focused primarily on the concept of "primary respiration" and regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid by using therapeutic touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. Craniosacral therapy was developed by Dr. John Upledger in the 1970s, and is loosely based on osteopathy in the cranial field (OCF), which was developed in the 1930s by William Garner Sutherland.[1][2] In the United States, OCF, or cranial osteopathy, as it is more commonly known, can only be practiced by fully licensed physicians (DOs, MDs and, in some states licensed naturopathic physicians, NDs, or licensed massage therapists)- Wikipedia

A typical Craniosacral therapy session, as described by my massage therapist Andrea Thompspn, LMT http://www.ajafamilyhealth.com/,  takes place in a quiet, private setting.  You remain fully clothed as you relax on a comfortable, padded table.
Your therapist begins by gently touching various parts of your body to monitor the rhythm of  the fluid that is flowing around your central nervous system.  By carefully listening with the hands to locate areas of weak fluid flow or tissue motion, your practitioner can trace those areas of weakness through the body to the original source of dysfunction.  Delicate manual techniques are then used to release those problem areas and improve the form and function of your central nervous system.  What you experience from your own session is highly individual.  The sessions are generally deeply relaxing, creating feelings of warmth or gentle pulsing in the areas the therapist is working on.  Craniosacral therapy improves the body's ability to take better care of you.  It helps relive a full spectrum of pain, illness and dysfunction.

I have had this feeling for sometime now that I have a black mass in my body that hangs around the left side.  It is something that I am pretty mindful about and get little reminders every other day or so that it's there.  I have always felt a connection with my body and soul and feel like when something is not right my body or soul will give me warning signs.  Some call this being in touch with yourself, some people call this a spiritual guide, some refer to it as intuition others refer it as the Holy Spirit.  Regardless of what it is called I know that something speaks to me.  

Earlier this year my hubby and I had gone to a medium up in Seattle.  At the end of each sessions she will do a "check in" with your body before the reading is over.  Several times she has talked about me caring for my body and soul and that if I didn't take more care of myself she sees me having issues in the future with my head.  She described it as possible to severe migraines and damage to my brain.   But this last time she described something new.  She told me she saw a mass forming on the left side of my body.  She told me that I needed to spend time working through some issues I was having thus preventing the mass from growing.  She seemed very concerned with this area and told me that she really wanted me to focus on it and working through some emotional issues I was having.

Last week I took a step in the direction she suggested and had my first real Craniosacral therapy done.  I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first and really didn't understand how the whole process was going to work for me.

Andrea move around to different parts of my body just placing her hands on me and not saying anything.  The first half hour was in silence.  I thought about work, I thought about my hubby and our kids.  I thought about everything EXCEPT what was happening in that session.

Finally Andrea sat next to me and quietly started asking me about my body. As she laid her hands on my chest she began asking me to describe what my body was feeling like.  What were the images in my head at that moment.  She suggested I ask my body what it was trying to tell me and ask it what it needed from me.

I won't take you through the whole process of events however I do want to share that close to the end the heavy feeling I had in my chest started to feel lighter.  I felt as if I was able to face some emotional feelings I was hiding and blocking from thinking about by owning them and facing them head on.  One thing Andrea did tell me at the end was that after knowing me for nine years she has come to learn that I am good at compartmentalizing

Compartmentalization (psychology)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person's having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.
Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self states
my feelings.  I have became a master at putting certain feelings and emotions away in little boxes so that I can continue moving forward in my life but yet never really owning the feeling or giving myself permission to accept that my feelings are validated.  She stated that I am so use to making sure everyone is happy, everything gets done, everyone gets their needs met and I overachieve in areas of my life that I do not allow the time to process pain or discomfort. 

This was a pretty ah-ha moment for me.  Having someone who knows me so well be able to see this about myself and share it with me in a non criticizing way really helped me. 

Do I know what this "feeling of dread and heaviness" in my chest is?  No.  Am I concerned about what it may be?  Yes.  But after this session I really did feel as if though a little bit of weight was lifted and I was able to take a deeper breath.

I am going to continue to explore Craniosacral Therapy and continue to explore the feelings that I have locked away inside me.

Stay tuned........

If you want to learn more about this therapy or you need a great massage therapist check out Andrea's website and make an appointment. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Love encourages- Day 27

Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You. – Psalm 25:20

Marriage has a way of altering our vision. We go in expecting our mate to fulfill our hopes and to make us happy. But this is an impossible order for our spouse to fill. Unrealistic expectations breed disappointment. The higher your expectations, the more likely your spouse will fail you and cause you frustration.

If a wife expects her husband to always be on time, clean up after himself, and understand all her needs, she will likely live most her married life in constant disappointment. But if she gets realistic and understands that he’s human, forgetful, and sometimes thoughtless, then she will be more delighted when he is responsible, loving, and kind.

Divorce is nearly inevitable when people refuse to allow their spouses to be human. So there needs to be a transition in your thinking. You must choose to live by encouragement rather than by expectations. The way your spouse has been for the last ten years is likely what he or she will be in the future apart from your loving encouragement and an intervention from God. Love puts the focus on personal responsibility and improving yourself rather than on demanding more from others.

Jesus painted a picture of this when He talked about the person who saw the “speck” in his brother’s eye but didn’t notice the “log” in his own.

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:4-5).

Does your spouse feel like they’re living with a speck inspector? Are they routinely on edge, fearful of not living up to your expectations? Would they say they spend most days sensing more of your disapproval than your acceptance?

Perhaps you’d respond by saying that the problem is not with you but with them. If they really do come up short in a lot of areas, why is that your fault? As far as you’re concerned, it takes both of you doing everything you can to make marriage work. If your mate doesn’t want you to be so critical, they need to realize that the issues you bring up are legitimate. You’re not saying you’re perfect, by any mean, but it does seem like you should be able to say what you think. Right?

The problem with this kind of attitude is that few people are able to respond to criticism with total objectivity. When it seems clear that someone is unhappy with you – whether by direct confrontation or the silent treatment – it’s hard not to take their displeasure personally. Especially in marriage.

After all, unlike any other friendship, your relationship with your spouse began with both of you bending over backwards to please the other. When your mate was your boyfriend or girlfriend, they were completely charmed by your personality. You could almost do no wrong. Your life together was so much easier. And though you didn’t expect it to stay that way forever, you certainly didn’t see them being so sinful and getting so angry with you. You never expected that this man or woman who promised to love you could get to where they didn’t even seem to like you.

So when this stark contrast becomes living reality, your natural reaction is to resist it. During the early days of marriage, you may have been more inclined to listen and make subtle changes. But as the years go by, your spouse’s disapproval only tends to entrench you. Rather than making you want to correct things, it makes you want to dig in even deeper.

Love is too smart for that. Instead of putting your mate in a position to rebel, love teaches you to give them room to be themselves. Even if you’re the goal-oriented type who places high demands on yourself, love calls you not to project your hard-driving ways onto your mate’s performance. You must realize that marriage is a relationship to be enjoyed and savored along the way. It’s a unique friendship designed by God Himself where two people live together in flawed imperfection but deal with it by encouraging each other, not discouraging them.

The Bible says, “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble” (Isaiah 35:3). “Encourage one another and build up one another … Encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, 14).

Don’t you want married life to be a place where you can enjoy free expression of who you are, growing within a safe environment that encourages you even when you fail? Your spouse does too – and love gives them that privilege. If your wife or husband has told you on more than one occasion that you make them feel beat down and defeated, you need to take these words to heart. Make a commitment to daily let go of unrealistic expectations and become your spouse’s greatest encourager. And the person they’re created by God to be will begin to emerge with new confidence and love for you.

Today’s Dare

Eliminate the poison of unrealistic expectations in your home. Think of one area where your spouse has told you you’re expecting too much, and tell them you’re sorry for being so hard on them about it. Promise them you’ll seek to understand, and assure them of your unconditional love.

If there is one thing I am sure my husband is clear of, it is my unconditional love for him.  My actions over the past few years of our marriage have demonstrated that beyond measures I even knew I was capable of.  But that is in no way a free ticket for me to not continue to come up with new ways to show him.  

The unspoken expectations in our marriage I think are both understood by each other and most of the time played out.  Neither of us have this fantasy that our marriage should be one way or the other.  At times we have allowed our own selfishness get in the way thus giving ourselves permission to accuse one another for something that has gone wrong but is virtually the mistake of the one person doing the accusing.

I am my husband's biggest cheerleader, I am also one of the people closest to him that could bring him down the most.  That is a lot of responsibility to have as a wife.  Most days my mind is constantly going in the background of my day thinking about ways to improve my marriage and show my hubby what he means to me.  I have had times in the past where my expectations were that he would be doing the same, and when those expectations were not met I found heartache and felt unloved.

We each love differently.  No two people love the same way.  This doesn't mean they don't love it just means like everything else we all do things in our own way.  My hubby is not the most romantic person in the world.  He doesn't cook me breakfast in bed, he doesn't bring me flowers to work with my favorite coffee drink, he doesn't light candles all over the bedroom.  Does this make me think he does not love me, no it just reminds me that he loves in his own way and he shows romance in his own way and that is perfectly fine with me.

I have learned over the years that one way to have a successful marriage is to allow my hubby to be himself.  This does not mean that I condone his behavior that damages our marriage, I never will.  But this means that I am not trying to mold him into a shape that I think will fit into the marriage puzzle I have in my head.  If I allow him to be himself and find his own path then perhaps one day he will be his best he can be with Me. 
   Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wife's prayer

Dear God,

Thank you for my beautiful marriage. We have are ups and downs, we have our good times and hard times, but we continue to grow from our experience together. Our love is deepening and our marriage is strengthening. I am incredibly grateful for the man you have gifted to me. I pray that I can be his helper and that I would humbly serve him. Fill my heart with compassion for his needs and wants. Please give me understanding so that I may know him better. I also pray that we take more time to celebrate. Each new day you give to us is a gift and I want us to embrace it with joy. I pray that we laugh more, play more, and appreciate every season we endure together. Help us celebrate our marriage in Jesus name AMEN!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Love Dare-Day Twenty-Five

  What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 2:10

This one is tough – perhaps the toughest dare in the book. But if there is to be any hope for your marriage, this is a challenge that must absolutely be taken seriously. Counselors and ministers who deal with broken couples on a regular basis will tell you that this is the most complex problem of all, a rupture that is often the last to be repaired. It cannot just be considered and contemplated but must be deliberately put into practice. Forgiveness has to happen, or a successful marriage won’t.

Jesus painted a vivid image of forgiveness in His parable of the ungrateful servant. A man who owed a sizable sum of money was surprised when his master heard his appeals for mercy and totally canceled his debt. But upon being released from this enormous load, the servant did a most unexpected thing; he went to another man who owed him a much smaller amount and demanded immediate payment. When the master heard of it, things changed dramatically in his arrangement with the slave. “His lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him” (Matthew 18:34). A day that had begun with joy and relief ended in grief and hopelessness.

Torture. Prison. When you think of unforgiveness, this is what should come to your mind, for Jesus said, “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of does not forgive his brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

Imagine you find yourself in a prison-like setting. As you look around, you see a number of cells visible from where you’re standing. You see people from your past incarcerated there – people who wounded you as a child. You see people you once called friends but who wronged you at some point in life. You might see one or both of your parents there, perhaps a brother or sister or some other family member. Even your spouse is locked in nearby, trapped with all the others in this jail of your own making.

This prison, you see, is a room in your own heart. This dark, drafty, depressing chamber exists inside you every day. But not far away, Jesus is standing there, extending to you a key that will release every inmate.

No. You don’t want any part of it. These people have hurt you too badly. They knew what they were doing and yet they did it anyway – even your spouse, the one you should have been able to count on most of all. So you resist and turn away. You’re unwilling to stay here any longer – seeing Jesus, seeing the key in His hand, knowing what He’s asking you to do. It’s just too much.

But in trying to escape, you make a startling discovery. There is no way out. You’re trapped inside with all other captives. Your unforgiveness, anger, and bitterness have made a prisoner of you as well. Like the servant in Jesus’ story, who was forgiven an impossible debt, you have chosen not to forgive and have been handed over to the jailers and torturers. Your freedom is now dependent on your forgiveness.

Coming to this conclusion usually takes us a while. We see all kinds of dangers and risks involved in forgiving others. For instance, what they did was really wrong, whether they admit it or not. They may not even be sorry about it. They may feel perfectly justified in their actions, even going so far as to blame you for it. But forgiveness doesn’t absolve anyone of blame. It doesn’t clear their record with God. It just clears you of having to worry about how to punish them. When you forgive another person, you’re not turning them loose. You’re just turning them over to God, who can be counted on to deal with them His way. You’re saving yourself the trouble of scripting any more arguments or trying to prevail in this situation. It’s not about winning and losing anymore. It’s about freedom. It’s about letting go.

That’s why you often hear people who have genuinely forgiven say, “It felt like a weight being lifted off my shoulders.” Yes, that’s exactly what it is. It’s like a breath of fresh air rushing into your heart. The stale dankness of the prison house is flooded with light and coolness. For the first time in a long time, you feel at peace. You feel free.

But how do you do it? You release your anger and the responsibility for judging this person to the Lord. “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

How do you know you’ve done it? You know it when the thought of their name or the sight of their face – rather than causing your blood to boil – causes you to feel sorry for them instead, to pity them, to genuinely hope they get this turned around.

There’s so much more that could be said and so many emotional issues you may need to fight through to get there. But great marriages are not created by people who never hurt each other, only by people who choose to keep “no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Today’s Dare

Whatever you haven’t forgiven in your mate, forgive it today. Let it go. Just as we ask Jesus to “forgive us our debts” each day, we must ask Him to help us “forgive our debtors” each day as well. Unforgiveness has been keeping you and your spouse in prison too long. Say from your heart, “I choose to forgive."


I have done this chapter in the past and it continues to be one that is on my mind at all times...... forgiveness.  This ranks in the top ten, right next to Pride, as being one of the most difficult emotions for me to overcome. 

I like to think of myself as a simple person.  It doesn't take much for me to be happy, feel safe, feel loved, feel valued and share myself with people.  I often put out more than I get back and I am fine with that.   I try and treat people as I would want to be treated.  Does this mean I am perfect, that I have never hurt anyone in my life or done wrong to others..... sadly, no.  I am human, but I try and do the best I can and I try and be the best I can be.  I have made many mistakes along the way but I really feel like I learn and am able to move on.

If anyone knows me they know that my hubby and I have had struggles in the past, even a separation that neither of us thought we could recover from.  With that separation has been issues of trust, forgiveness and trying to build a new relationship between the two of us.  It has been a long road and a very rocky one at times.  There have been days that I was sure I was never going to survive and there have been issues I thought I would never be able to forgive. 

One day in particular, not so long ago, I was sitting on my bed listening to my hubby talk about things that were very painful to the both of us.  He was opening up to me and telling me things that frankly I wanted to know, but really did not want to hear.  As I listened to him and took in what was being said I recall my first thought was about him.  All I could think about was the pain I could hear in my hubby's voice and the sorrow he was expressing.  His words came clear, direct and with a shaken voice and it made me hurt for him.  Here I was in a moment of purity with my spouse and where others would be upset and focused on their pain all I could think about was his and the demons he had been fighting.

This situation, to me, proves that God is in my heart.  And that it is not my job to focus on the past and the pain we have caused each other in our marriage but to focus on the healing and how I can give this pain for myself and for my hubby to God and ask Him to take it away.  Forgiveness came to me easily that day and I know it is because I allowed God to take care of me.

Things have shifted since that day and I feel a bond with my hubby that honestly in the first time in our marriage I have really truly felt.  I still have fear, and I still have days where I feel insecure and worry about things changing again.  But I can see the change in my hubby and I can see his understanding and love for me more now than ever.

"But great marriages are not created by people who never hurt each other, only by people who choose to keep “no record of wrongs”   

I choose to keep no record on wrongs in my marriage.  I take each day as a new day to improve my marriage, myself and my bond with my hubby and I choose to love him better than I have ever loved him in the past.  Great marriages are created by two people who choose to love and let go, and this is what I choose to do... but rather than letting go I choose to give it to God.

I have carried pain in my heart for many years, I choose to not carry that pain anymore and choose to love.


Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Glorious Difficutly- Day three

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) live together in unity!" - Psalm 133:1

Marriage is glorious.  And yes, sometimes marriage is difficult. Okay. A lot of the time it is difficult.  For everyone.  This doesn't necessarily mean we are blowing it.  Partly, it simply means we are human beings.  When John and I got married, we looked forward to years of intimacy and laughter and the joy of being husband and wife.  Our expectations of ease and marital bliss were quickly.... not met.  We were stunned.  Most couples are.  But, for heaven's sake, bringing together a man and a woman- two creatures who think, act, and feel so differently-- and asking them to get along for the rest of their lives under the same roof is like taking Cinderella and Huck Finn, tossing them in a submarine, and locking the hatch.  What should we think will happen?

Actually, before you lock the hatch, toss in the constant experience of all our fears, our wounded hearts, our self-centeredness, our self-doubts, and our resolute commitments to self-protection.  Good Lord, help us.  Anyone looking for undeniable proof of the existence of God need look no further.  The fact that any marriage makes it is a miracle of the first order.  Bona fide proof that there are forces in the universe working on behalf of mankind.

Think of all those fairy tales about a boy and a girl who find themselves thrown together in a dangerous land, working together while each carries a tragic flaw that pricks the other.  Those fairy tales have it right.  The husband is that boy.  The wife is that girl.  And your life is the adventure through that dangerous land.

But gloriously, we all are on the road to becoming the man or the woman we are meant to be.  To cooperate with God and yield to his desires for our lives is what speeds the process.  None of us is perfect.  In fact, many of our unique quirks are not so endearing!  Though we share much in common with our spouses, we are so different from each other as well.  Wonderfully, gloriously different.

Dear God,
I surrender my life to you again today.  I want to be the person that you have created me to be.  Please show me the areas in life  that I need to repent of and be healed of.  I want to change for the good.  I choose to cooperate with you.  Lord, I pray to see my life and my marriage the way you do.  I don't want to just eke by in our marriage.  I want all the life and joy and victory and oneness that's possible!  In your name, Jesus, I pray.  Amen

Amen!  I am really enjoying this book and it's daily devotion.  It not only allows me time to get closer to God it allows me time to get my mind right with my marriage. 

I am not one for Fairy Tales, I never was as a child either.  I can enjoy a good love story but I am not one to get lost in the fantasy of love and living "happily ever after."  With that being said I can see a shift in my marriage that is becoming more clear everyday.

Everyone knows how much I adore my hubby.  Everyone knows what I would do for him and for us to keep moving forward into a stronger relationship.  In times past I have proven that he has my undying love.  For the first time in a long time I truly feel that we are doing just that... moving forward into a stronger relationship.

The author of this book is correct, marriages working are proof there are forces in the universe working on behalf of us helping us continue on our path and not only staying married but BEING married to one another.  My hubby recently made a statement to me.  He said, "Sometimes I wonder if because we are doing so well something is out there trying to keep us from having a successful marriage."  This was like a light going on in my head because I have felt the same way many times over the years.  I feel like not only is there a force helping us be stronger with one another but there is a force trying to prevent it too.

I am determined to show my hubby an unconditional love that honors and respects him and our marriage.  I am determined to show forgiveness, peace and grace.  I am determined to walk my walk with God and build my relationship with Him and share that relationship with my hubby.  All things are possible when you allow God to guide you.  I am determined to find our "happily ever after" that fulfills us both.

"I can do everything through Christ, who give me strength."  -Philippians 4:13

The Love Dare- Day Twenty four

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.  – 1 John 2:17

Adam and Eve were supplied with everything they needed in the Garden of Eden.  They had fellowship with God and intimacy with one another.  But after Eve was deceived by the serpent, she saw the forbidden fruit and set her heart on it.  Before long, Adam joined in her wishes, and against God’s command both of them ate.

That’s the progression.  From eyes to heart to action.  And then follows shame and regret.

We, too, have been supplied with everything we need for a full, productive, enriching life.  “We have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either” (1 Timothy 6:7).  But the Bible goes on to say that, having basics of food and clothing, we should be “content.”  And Jesus promised these two things would always be provided to God’s children (Matthew 6:25-33).

God’s blessings, however, go so far beyond these fundamental needs, we could rightly say that we want for nothing.  Yet like Adam and Eve, we still want more.  So we set our eyes and hearts on seeking worldly pleasure.  We try to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways.  For many it’s seeking sexual fulfillment in another person or in pornographic images designed to feel like a real person.  We look, stare, and fantasize.  We try to be discreet but barely turn our eyes away.  And once our eyes are capture by curiosity, our hearts become entangled. Then we act on our lust.

We can also lust after possessions or power or prideful ambition.  We see what others have and we want it.  Our hearts are deceived into saying, “I could be happy if I only had this.”  Then we make the decision to go after it.

“But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).

Lust is in opposition to love.  It means to set your heart and passions on something forbidden.  And for a believer it’s the first step out of fellowship with the Lord and with others.  That’s because every object of your lust – whether it’s a young coworker or a film actress, or coveting after a half-million dollar house or a sports car – represents the beginnings of a lie.  This person or thing that seems to promise sheer satisfaction is more like a bottomless pit of unmet longings.

Lust always breeds more lust.  “What is the source of the wars and the fights among you?  Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you?  (James 4:1 HCSB).  Lust will make you dissatisfied with your husband or wife.  It breeds anger, numbs hearts, and destroys marriages.  Rather than fullness, it leads to emptiness.

It’s time to expose lust for what it really is – a misguided thirst for satisfaction that only God can fulfill.  Lust is like a warning light on the dashboard of your heart, alerting you to the fact that you are not allowing God’s love to fill you.  When your eyes and heart are on Him, your actions will lead you to lasting joy, not to endless cycles of regret and condemnation.

“His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Are you tired of being lied to by lust?  Are you fed up with believing that forbidden pleasures are able to keep you happy and content?  Then begin setting your eyes on the Word of God.  Let His promises of peace and freedom work their way into your heart.  Daily receive the unconditional love He has already proven to your through the cross. Focus on being grateful for everything God has already given you rather than choosing discontentment.

You’ll find yourself so full on what He provides, you won’t be hungry anymore for the junk food of lust.

And while you’re at it, set your eyes and heart on your spouse again.  “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth … Be exhilarated always with her love.  For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress and embrace the bosom of a foreigner?  For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He watches all his paths” (Proverbs 5:18-21).

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).  Lust is the best this world has to offer, but love offers you the best life in the world.

Today’s Dare

End it now.  Identify every object of lust in your life and remove it.  Single out every lie you’ve swallowed in pursuing forbidden pleasure and reject it.  Lust cannot be allowed to live in a back bedroom.  It must be killed and destroyed – today – and replaced with the sure promises of God and a heart filled with His perfect love.

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil.  (1 Peter 2:16)


"It’s time to expose lust for what it really is – a misguided thirst for satisfaction that only God can fulfill. "

This part of the passage really stands out to me because for as long as I can recall I have been looking for a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction.  When I was younger I thought "if only I had a bigger family or a closer family this would fulfill me."  When I got older I thought "if I get married then perhaps this would fulfill me."  But in reality the one true thing that can fulfill me is finding my own way with my God.

So many times I have talked about giving it to God and handing over my issues to Him, yet I never can seem to get to that point of actually doing it.  I know that my fulfillment in my life will come from a close relationship with my hubby and being the best mom I can be to my kids.  But what really will fulfill me is the relationship I yearn for with God.  He is the one I have to invite fully into my heart and He is the one I have to turn things over to when they are too much for me.  He is the one I need to get on bended knee for and He is the one that will help guide me to a better eternity. 

Things do not satisfy me, I am not the type of person who needs to have the newest model of anything.  I do enjoy nice things and I work hard for them but what I really seek is that lasting fulfillment that I get becoming closer to God.  Finding my way to God will also help me be a stronger, more stable person who can then have a strong and stable marriage.  These two go hand in hand and I know my day is coming.  I have fought long and hard for both and it is time to step back and enjoy both relationships.

"All things are possible through Christ."


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Recovering Desire - Day Two

"What do you want?"  - John 1:38

Somewhere along the way, we all lose heart in marriage.  We all do.  It happens to the best of us.  the Dan Fogelberg song "Along the Road" speaks of a relationship that has "joy at the start," and suggest that along the journey, the heart "gets lost in the learning."

We might find a way to manage our disappointment.  We might do our best to fight off resignation, but it works its way in.  We let go of what we wanted, what we dreamed of, what we were created for.  We begin to settle.  Oftentimes we even forget what it was we wanted in the first place!

Because marriage is hard, sometimes painfully heard, your first great battle is to not lose heart. That begins rediscovering desire- the desire for the love that is written in your hear.  Let desire return.  Let it remind you of all that you wanted, all that you were created for.  And then consider this-- what if God could bring you your heart's desire?  What if the two of you could find you way to something beautiful?

That would be worth fighting for.

Don't start with, How can this happen? The how will come in time.  You have to begin with desire.  Start with what is written in your hear.  What was it that you once dreamed of as a young man or woman?  What was it that you wanted when you fell in love?

Father, thank you for my marriage.  Thank you for my spouse.  Lord, you know where we are with each other right now.  You know the desires we each had coming into our marriage even if they were unclear to us.  And only you knew the dreams you have for our marriage.  Once again, I give my marriage to you.  I surrender myself, my spouse, and our life to you, and I ask for your will to be done in us and through us.  Holy Spirit, blow gently onto the embers of our heart's desires where we may have forgotten or abandoned wheat you placed there.  Rekindle the flame.  Remind us.  And help us keep our eyes on your as the source of all that is good and lovely and worth living for.  Let hope rise.  In Jesus' name, amen. 

What was it that you once dreamed of as a young man or woman?  What was it that you wanted when you fell in love?

Over ten years ago I met my husband.  He was handsome, charming and very funny.  I can recall in just about every encounter with him I was left feeling happy, warm and fulfilled.  I found myself looking forward to seeing him again, choosing what I was going to wear specifically if I was going to see him and almost counting the moments until I heard his voice speak, regardless if it was directly to me or not.  I was smitten with him.

The day he took me as his wife was one of the happiest days of my life and I dreamed of growing old with him and living the life I knew I was always meant to live.  One filled with honor, trust, love, desire, respect and a friendship like no other.

Over ten years later, I still feel this way about him.  I still find myself counting the hours until I get to see him again, I still choose my clothing to what I think he would like to see me in, I am still smitten with him.  After all these years, trials and tribulations none of this has changed for me and I still dream of a relationship  filled with honor, trust, love, desire, respect and a friendship like no other.

But I wonder if I do a good enough job to show him these things?  I wonder if he knows that while I am working I am wondering what he is doing.  Is he at his desk, is he out closet eating at some fast food place, is he smiling, laughing is he thinking of me?  My hubby is always in the forefront of my mind and I am always trying to make his day just a little brighter in some small way.  But I still wonder if I do a good enough job to show him these feelings.

This is a great chapter for me today so I can be reminded that with everything that goes on between him and I, I want him to know I am still smitten with him and my desire has never left for him.


The Love Dare-Day Twenty Three

[Love] always protects. – 1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV

Marriage is made up of many things, including joys, sorrows, successes, and failures.  But when you think about what you want marriage to be like, the furthest thing from your mind is a battleground.  However, there are some battles you should be more than willing to fight.  These are battles that pertain to protecting your spouse.

Unfortunately your marriage has enemies out there.  They come in different forms and use different strategies, but nonetheless they will conspire to destroy your relationship unless you know how to ward them off.

Some are clever and seem attractive, only to undermine your love and appreciation for one another.  Others try to lure your heart away from your spouse by feeding you unhealthy fantasies and unrealistic comparisons.  It’s a battle you must wage to protect your marriage – when love puts on armor and picks up a sword to defend its own.  Your mate and your marriage need your constant protection from things like:

Harmful influences.  Are you allowing certain habits to poison your home?  The Internet and television can be productive and enjoyable additions to your life, but they can also bring in destructive content and drain away precious hours from your family.  The same thing goes for work schedules that keep you separated from each other for unhealthy amounts of time.

You can’t protect your home when you’re rarely there, nor when you’re relationally disconnected.  You have to fight to keep balance right.

Unhealthy relationships.  Not everyone has the material to be a good friend.  Not every man you hunt and fish with speaks wisely when it comes to matters of marriage.  Not every woman in your lunch group has a good perspective on commitment and priorities.  In fact, anyone who undermines your marriage does not deserve to be given the title of “friend.”  And certainly you must be on guard at all times from allowing opposite-sex relationships at work, the gym, or even church to draw you emotionally away from the one to whom you’ve already given your heart.

Shame.  Everyone deals with some level of inferiority and weakness.  And because marriage has a way of exposing it all to you and your mate, you need to protect your wife or husband’s vulnerability by never speaking negatively about them in public.  Their secrets are your secrets (unless, of course, these involve destructive behaviors that are putting you, your children, or themselves in grave danger).  Generally speaking, love hides the fault of others.  It covers their shame.

Parasites. Watch out for parasites.  A parasite is anything that latches onto you or your partner and sucks the life out of your marriage.  They’re usually in the form of addictions, like gambling, drugs, or pornography.  They promise pleasure but grow like a disease and consume more and more of your thoughts, time, and money.  They steal away your loyalty and heart from those you love.  Marriages rarely survive if parasites are present.  If you love your spouse, you must destroy any addiction that has your heart.  If you don’t, it will destroy you.

The Bible speaks plainly about this protective role, often using the analogy of a shepherd.  God warned, “My flock has become prey … food for all the beasts of the field.”  How so?  “For lack of a shepherd.”  Not because these men were too weak to perform their duties but because they didn’t pay attention.  Instead of watching to make sure that the sheep weren’t being picked off by predators, “the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock” (Ezekial 34:8).  They took extra good care of their own needs and appetites but gave little thought to the safety of those under their supervision.

Wives – you have a role as protector in your marriage. You must guard your heart from being led away through novels, magazines, and other forms of entertainment that blur your perception of reality and put unfair expectations on your husband.  Instead you must do your part in helping him feel strong, while also avoiding talk-show thinking that can lure your attention away from your family.  “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1).

Men – you are the head of your home.  You are the one responsible before God for guarding the gate and standing your ground against anything that would threaten your wife or marriage.  This is no small assignment.  It requires a heart of courage and a head for preemptive action.  Jesus said, “If the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (Matthew 24:43).  This role is yours.  Take it seriously.

Today’s Dare

Remove anything that is hindering your relationship, any addiction or influence that’s stealing your affections and turning your heart away from your spouse.

You will be restored if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent.  (Job 22:23).


"Unfortunately your marriage has enemies out there.  They come in different forms and use different strategies, but nonetheless they will conspire to destroy your relationship unless you know how to ward them off.

Some are clever and seem attractive, only to undermine your love and appreciation for one another.  Others try to lure your heart away from your spouse by feeding you unhealthy fantasies and unrealistic comparisons.  It’s a battle you must wage to protect your marriage – when love puts on armor and picks up a sword to defend its own."

This passage could not be more true and really should be viewed as a daily reminder to everyone out there who is in a marriage or a committed relationship.

The enemies of my marriage come in all shapes and forms.  Of course there are the obvious enemies, the ones who try and steal our hearts and our imaginations by telling us they could make us happier than our current situation.  The ones who flirt to continually keep themselves in the forefront of our minds and those who will try and drive negative thoughts in our minds about our spouses.  These obvious enemies are all around us each day and take an army of angels to keep them at bay.

However, it's the enemy that comes wrapped in clothing of a friend who is the especially dangerous one.  Like this chapter mentions friends who claim to be your friend yet turn on you by revealing your secrets, concerns and weaknesses to benefit their agenda are your enemy.  It's the friend who will fill your mind with suspicion and doubt and eat away at your sanity little by little but always proclaim they are just looking out for you that you don't see coming.   These are the enemies that are most harmful to me and honestly, have done the most damage in my own life.

I have since learned that not everyone out there who claims to be my friend is really all that supportive of my marriage.  This does not mean that they wish ill harm on me or for me to divorce my hubby and I honestly think the harm they try and inflict is not intentional.  I just really believe that these individuals lack love in their own life and regardless if they want to admit it or not they do not know how to be happy in a marriage and they do not understand the forgiveness that love can provide.

That being said after years of roller coaster rides with these people I have finally learned that I can not have them in my life and contributing to my marriage in any way.  I have had to remove these harmful relationships from my life and had to create new boundaries for them.  A few of them I have let go entirely and a few others I have just changed the dynamics of our friendship.   I no longer talk about my marriage in anyway to them and I no longer seek a sounding board with anyone.  Marriage is hard enough with all the day in and day out temptations, challenges and emotions to have a third party in the mix trying to give their perspective on your life when they do not live your life.  This was a painful mistake I had to learn the hard way.

I heard something last night that was a great reminder to me.  "GITG"  Give it to God.  This is where I should be turning for strength, support and wisdom.  I need to mentally put my issues, my pain, my fears and my questions into a box and give it to God.  It is God who will see me through this, it is God who will give me the direction I need to be in and it will be God who makes my marriage stronger, not anyone else.

I will guard my heart from being lead away from my hubby and I will protect my perceptions of reality by getting on my knees and giving it to God.  This is how I will vow to grow stronger as a person, a wife, and a mother.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Romance Meets Reality-Day 1

"We have love because he first loved us."  - 1 John 4

We probably ought to just start here:  marriage is fabulously hard.  Maybe that's an odd way to begin, but it is true, and everybody who's been married knows this, though years into marriage it still catches us off guard, all of us.  And newly married couples, when they discover how hard it is, seem genuinely surprised.  Shocked and disheartened by the fact.  Are we doing something wrong?  Did I marry the right person? The wonders that lure us into marriage- romance, love, passion, sex, longing, companionship- sometimes seem so far from the actual reality of married life that we wind up fearing we've made a colossal mistake, caught the wrong bus, missed our flight.  And so the hardness of marriage can also come as something of an embarrassmentOr maybe it's just us.  Don't you feel embarrassed to admit how hard your marriage is?

Yep.  That is everyone.  We might as well come out and admit it.  The sooner we get the shame off our backs, the sooner we'll find our way through.  Of course marriage is hard.  In fact, if you look back at the first marriage, that fairy-tale start in Genesis, you see that Adam and Eve had a pretty rough go at it.  And they didn't even have parents to screw them up as children or friends giving them ridiculous advice.  The fall of man seems to come during the honeymoon or shortly thereafter. (And how many honeymoon stories seem to reenact that little drama?)  They hit rough water as soon as the set sail.  This is the story of the first marriage, and it's a bit sobering.

But it also gives us some encouragement.  It's normal for marriage to be hard.  Even the best of marriages.

And God is in that.

In order to have the life we want, the life we were meant for, and the marriage we long for, we need God.  That's a very good thing!  Because without him, nothing is as it should be.  With him, all things are possible.  Yes, marriage can be extremely hard.  But that is not a reason to despair.  Nor is the final truth.  There are seasons in marriage--in every relationship.  Marriage is meant to be wonderful, and most of the time it is.  Though it's sometimes so hard to think of the difficulty as a doorway.  A doorway to all the MORE Jesus has for us in himself.  There is hope!
Dear God, as I begin this study I offer up this time for your purpose.  Please help me draw closer to your hear and deepen my marriage in every good way.  Sometimes it is hard.  Even painful.  I invite you into that as well.  Have your way with me, with my spouse, and with our marriage.  We need you.  I am looking to you.  I Jesus' mighty name, amen.

Today I begin the Love & War Devotional for Couples as a way to bring God into my marriage more and to make my marriage stronger.  

Growing up I always dreamed of getting married.  I viewed marriage as an opportunity to share my love with someone who would share the same love back.  I always felt like I would be a great wife.  There was just something inside me that told me if I took care of my husband and my family life would finally work out for me and the struggles of my childhood would be nothing but a faint memory.  But at a young age I witnessed marriages failing with my mother's friends. I knew couples who were committing adultery in their marriages, and early on I understood the games that could be played and the hurt one could cause each other if you didn't honor your marriage.  It never made sense to me why these "grown ups" were sabotaging the greatness of marriage and the love of their lives. I had no real example of a good marriage or even how to be a good wife, but I was determined I could be one.

Yet, with that being said I was NOT a good wife in my first marriage.  I married so young, 17 years old,  I was so immature as a person I did everything wrong.  I manipulated, I lied, I broke my vows and I hurt many people along the way including myself.  I took the marriage as if it were something that was suppose to make me complete, it was suppose to fulfill my lifr, and resolve my childhood fears and it should have made me whole.  Yet it did quite the opposite, it changed me into someone I did not like seeing in the mirror.  Marriage was way harder than I ever imagined and I did not have the maturity or the tools to prepare me on making it work, especially with so many forces stacked against us.

When I finally called it quits the only thing left was a path of destruction and pain for both my husband and I.  We managed to destroy even the friendship we had with one another over being selfish and taking each other for granted.  We had nothing left in us and it changed us both forever.

Going into my marriage I am in now, I had many reservations.  Could I do it better this time, could I be the person I was mean to be and could I finally find happiness with someone who I would share my life with and who would share theirs with me too?  When I took my vows of marriage with my hubby I told myself ONE thing..... "For better or for worse, this will be my last marriage... I will make this work and I will give it everything I have till there is no more to give."   I told myself if I went into it with the understanding that I would give it all I have and all I will ever have then he and I could make it through anything that came our way.  I could show my hubby unconditional love and help him be a better person and he could show me the same and help me as well.  We were in this together and even if it came down to just me fighting I was going to make this work.  I loved this man from the very first time I was with him and  knew in my heart I was meant to be with him.

Over the years my hubby and I have done our share to hurt one another.  We have had many sleepless nights, painful arguments and moments of shame and embarrassments caused by one another.   But through it all I always felt like this is still where I was meant to be and I had to fight till I could fight no more.  I had to stay in my marriage and not let the pain take the place of my love for him.  I had to believe even in the darkest hours of our marriage our love could and would shine through.  Even if I was fighting alone for this I had to continue to fight.  I would just tell myself the pain I was going through now would be rewarded later if I just kept my faith with God and kept fighting for US.

 Marriage is hard.  Marriage can hurt and the things we do to each other can be very embarrassing.  But I still have faith that if I keep God in my marriage, I keep my faith with him that my hubby and I can endure anything that comes our way.  I feel sitting here today, we have done just that and for the first time in a long time I really feel like all the pain we have caused one another in the past is finally going to pay off.   For the first time in a long time I feel as if this is OUR time, the time for our marriage to be strong, sturdy and united as one in all ways.  But with that brings fear because when things go good for people Evil will try and destroy it and the better your strength is with one another the harder Evil will try and destroy it.

So as I prepare for a fight till the finish and begin this devotional book to strengthen my bond with my hubby and with my God I go back to the start of my marriage. In my mind I will renew my vows that I spoke to my hubby and remind myself this is OUR marriage, this is MY hubby and this is where I belong and will fight for it for the rest of my life.

My vows from our wedding day:

Today I proclaim with two simple words "I do" a lifetime of love that will never fade.

Today I give to you my heart and soul,
Something I have never really given before.

Today I say I do, to my one true love
Who I will stand by through and through


For the first time in my life I finally know what I am doing is right.
You have taught me kindness, patience and have opened my heart up to love
I am so thankful for you everyday.  I admire you more and more in every way

The love that you show me and the boys will never go unappreciated.
I pledge to you today that I will never take you for granted; I will always consider your feelings and needs and will be true to you in every way.

You are the one I have been searching my whole life for. 
I promise to love you, fulfill your needs and even honor and obey.

You have my heart and my soul from now until the end of time. 
I look forward to a lifetime of joy and laughter with you.

I love you.