Thursday, July 29, 2010

Refining our definition

Four years ago today I got to marry someone amazing!

Around this time I start thinking back over the past years and what has changed. I think that this is the great thing about celebrating events from the past: it causes you to think back and reflect, which can be a hard thing to do regularly.
Last night we joked that 4 years didn't feel like long and at the same time it has felt like 80 years! We have learned so much, we have grown immensely in who we are, in our views on family, love, ourselves, priorities and God. We are not who we were 6 months ago, 2 years ago or 5 years ago when we met. We have learned to change and grow together, to work through the hard times and love our differences.
At our wedding one of the pastors quoted John Piper saying, "Marriage exists to magnify the truth and worth and beauty and greatness of God." So many of us define marriage as something to make us happy, or the next level in life, or they think they deserve it because they love a person. When we believe that marriage is all about us we are sadly mistaken. This has been very challenging to me lately. Marriage is amazing and it does make me happy, my husband makes me happy but that is not his purpose in our marriage. It is also not mine. We will fail every time if we believe that happiness is the end result.
Sometimes the hard moments are the best part because through those you learn more about yourself, each other, how to communicate and how to love. If happiness was the priority you would avoid the difficult conversations and you would never grow.
I am so thankful for the growth over these 4 years of marriage. For understanding love and sacrifice better, for knowing myself and my husband more, for the freedom to grow individually and together and workout the identity of our marriage.

I hope that as you continue in your marriage or look ahead to a future one that you make an effort to define what it should be and you continue to refine that definition regularly!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grace to not be...

"Give me reject as delusion a great name here or hereafter..."

I read this in a book of prayer, The Valley of Vision and it got me thinking about what I want to give me a great name. Something I been realizing lately in this time of transition is my deep desire to be the perfect wife. I mistakenly view my worth in whether my house is perfectly clean, or I cooked a great dinner, not being stressed out and emotional, or having all the laundry done...and the list goes on! The other huge error in this is thinking my husband loves me for having all these things done perfectly.

I asked him the other night to help me figure out my cleaning schedule because in a new house with more time I was wanting to balance things well and I wasn't sure how to do it yet. His response was that this was the time to figure out how to balance things, not to think of the perfect schedule to accomplish it all. He said I needed to start doing and evaluate the process for a little while. Well, I didn't like this at all because this meant not doing everything perfectly the first time and continuing the perfection in the weeks to follow.

But he was RIGHT!!! No one except myself if expecting me to be
the cleaning fairy who magically gets everything done perfectly well and in perfect time! I didn't want a schedule for this new life so that I could maintain our house well, balance time with friends and be a help to my husband. I wanted a schedule so I had criteria to hold my day up to and measure my perfection and failures.

So, in this time of transition when I am processing through how life should look I am also very aware that my worth is in Jesus and not my performance. My husband loves me because God gives him grace to do so everyday not because he comes home to the Clorox Castle. I am not cleaning my house to gain the perfect housewife award but to be a good steward of what God has given us, I am not cooking dinner to be the best chef but to feed my family and I am not doing laundry so my husband loves me but to be a help to him so he doesn't have to do it when he gets home. I am resting in God's grace to not be a picture of perfection!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

contentment in decorating

In April we moved into a new house built in 1930. We had seen this house for 3 months before it went on the market and loved it before we walked through it. We had a particular area we wanted to be in and this house was smack in the middle of it! This is the house we want to live in for 50 years, to raise our family in, to grow in, to open up for friends and family but it is a house that needs more work than I let myself see before I moved in. So when we moved from our small 7 year old home leaving our bright shiny new appliances and bathrooms behind I thought I was up for the adventure.

I quickly realized that I took comfort in my clean, new kitchen, that showering in a pink tile bathroom built in 1930 didn't feel as relaxing as my clean white bathroom built in 2003. My thoughts were taken over with how quickly we could renovate this house, how quickly it could be painted, decorated, carpeted...I wanted it to feel new, quaint, like a Pottery Barn magazine full of charm and very welcoming for whomever might drop by.

I was a little surprised at myself to find that I was defining these wants as needs. That the enjoyment of this gift of such a wonderful house God gave us was not being enjoyed due to the work it needed. It is livable, it has running water, a roof that doesn't leak and more space then we need right now. But, I couldn't get past the white walls, the small kitchen counters, the bathrooms that were so old they felt dirty, the rusty pipes, and the lack of decor.

This weekend we finally got curtains in 3 rooms! Reading 1 Timothy I was challenged by chapter 6:7-8,17 "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content...set [your] hopes...on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy." We have been looking at curtains and curtain rods since before we moved into the house. We tend to look at things and talk about things for months before we ever take action. This forces me to process the great importance and need I put on things that are aesthetic. Beauty is something I believe we need in life, if it wasn't why would God create the beauty of smiles, flowers, and sparkling lakes? But in our homes we need to define their beauty and their hospitality by our families in them. We need to see that these homes are gifts and our contentment cannot be found in the pictures that hang on the walls, the paint colors, curtains and furniture that decorate them. Those are for enjoyment but a lack of those aesthetics doesn't change the wonder of the gift!

Just Say “No”

             I have been there…that place where you say ‘yes’ to everything because you are trying to just survive. You are trying t...