seek first…

This may be a somewhat controversial and difficult post, but try to bear with me until the end.

C and I have been married for 887 days, 19 hours, and some odd minutes and seconds by the time I submit this post. That translates into almost two and a half years. So basically no time at all. We’re still figuring things out. We strive to put the Lord first and use his Word as guidance for our daily lives together…but it’s always tempting (and not always wrong) to look to other earthly examples for guidance.

In the year leading up to our marriage and the one immediately following it, though, I played the comparison game. You may know how it goes, but let me explain. As a young married couple, you join in activities with other young, married couples. When you first start hanging out with this new crowd, it’s kinda like dating–you fail to see imperfections. All you see is all these couples who have everything together. They’ve been on mission trips together and traveled the world. They are graduated and have bought a home. They are planning for their first child. Perfect. Comparison ensues. It’s tough being a newly-wed couple and not playing the comparison game. It’s human nature–but what it really does is elevate the lives and choices of others above God’s divine plan for your own relationship (idolatry).

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So needless to say, the comparison game never really got me anywhere in my marriage, and it certainly didn’t help me make friends all that much.

Now let’s jump to the other extreme–when couples around you are struggling. This is a new one for us, as we got married right before/around most of our friends. We have a few friends who’ve been married for years, but most are happy, honeymooning newlyweds like us (ha).
Sure, you know of people who have gone through difficulties in their marriage, but until you’re actually married, you never think that can happen to you. And it’s heartbreaking when it’s your friends–your family. All you want to do is whatever you can to help fix it…but then you realize that, hey, my relationship isn’t perfect. I really should be working on myself.
But isn’t this just a different kind of idolatry? Wanting to work on your marriage just so you don’t lose what you have?

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So what then, is our calling as a married couple? Believe me, if I had it all figured out, I probably wouldn’t be rambling away on this blog post. But here’s what I think…we are called to seek Christ above all else. When that’s happening in marriage, it shouldn’t matter if your with couples who seem to have everything together, seem to be struggling daily, or are a mix of both. If Christ is the focus, then marriage is less likely to be distracted by trying to achieve marital bliss or avoiding the pitfalls of relationships. It’s focused on service–to one another and to others in the name of Jesus.

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Oh, how I pray for this for my marriage. (And no, after 2.5 years, we don’t have this all figured out.) I pray for a heart that seeks God’s will and timeline for our marriage instead of the world’s plan. I pray for God’s wisdom to guide my husband’s leadership in our marriage. Even when my actions and words don’t show it, I pray that my heart will be softened to the Lord’s will and my words and actions will follow.

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I know we aren’t perfect–but that’s really not our goal is it? I hope that we can be an example of how two imperfect people can choose to forgive and extend grace time and again and continue to love one another as Christ loved the church. I hope we continue to grow. I hope people look at the evolution of our relationship and see God’s hand in teaching us how to love daily.

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As I wrap up this post, there are so many things that the enemy is trying to tell me to convince me not to post this….but I hope and pray that this post is something that at least one person needed to hear today. (Perhaps that one person is me!) Thanks for reading.

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Here’s the bulleted version of everything that’s been happening lately–just gotta get it out of my head.

  • Finishing 1st full year as a school psychologist–bet you can tell how busy I’ve been by the lack of posting.
  • Besides text messages, I’ve almost completely lost touch with friends, and that stinks! I know it’s been one of my goals to stay in touch better, so I’m hoping to reach out over the summer and visit some friends!
  • This year back home was extremely rough at first, though I’m not sure why. However, it seems like C and I are getting into a good routine lately with each other, family, and friends. We don’t have the whole balance thing figured out yet, but we are working and growing. That’s always the goal!
  • I’ve been working on my personal/mental health more diligently lately, more out of necessity than desire. Here are some things I do on a daily/weekly basis:
    • Reading nightly
    • Knitting (& actually completing projects!)IMG_2536
    • Bubble baths
    • Going to bed at a decent hour (trying to get into a better routine on the weekends)
    • Counseling
    • Physical therapy for my back/neck (tried dry needling last week & I’m not sure how I feel about that yet)
    • Got an Apple watch to help track my activity. Right now I’m trying to get a baseline for steps and hopefully that will lead to motivation for increased activity. It also reminds me to breathe and stand up often, which are two things my counselor and PT encourage.
  • We had a yard sale a couple of weeks ago and cleansed the house! There’s more to be done, but it was a good start to spring cleaning.
  • We changed a light fixture in the kitchen and added a new window treatment, and I love how it brightens the room.

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  • We’ve been doing Blue Apron meals, and I am a huge fan. I never thought I would enjoy cooking so much!

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  • I’ve been decorating the house more & I brought the Pyrex back out, which is a happy thing.
  • I also finally have my great grandmother’s old bedroom suite in our room. It’s totally different from the rest of the MCM house. Then again, the random vintage things are also different. I guess there’s just an odd, eclectic mix going on in this casa right now. C mostly just rolls with it as long as the TVs are big and the sound system is good. ha!

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I think that’s all I have for now, but hopefully I’ll be back soon. I know this isn’t super entertaining, but at least you got a few pics out of this post and a quick update.

spring cleaning

The other night I had a dream that CK and I were moving into a new house, and we decided to get rid of most of the things that we currently own. In my dream I was anxious at first. Then I felt…relieved. free. weightless.

I woke up the next morning and couldn’t shake that feeling of weightlessness. It’s a feeling I haven’t experienced in my waking life in quite some time. and it made me wonder–are all these things weighing me down?

So since the first day of spring was this week, and our home could really use the spring cleaning, I think I’m gonna combine this year’s cleaning with a de-cluttering.

Questions to ask myself:

  • Do I NEED this item?
  • Would someone else enjoy this item more than I do? (Donate!)
  • Have I even used/worn this item since we moved in?
  • Do I need 10 of these?
  • Does this item have a place?

Ready? Set? Go! Let’s live with less and live more!

but first pray

This morning the hubs offered to make my coffee, as he often does. This time, I let him. Many times I don’t. He can be a little heavy-handed with the creamer, but the truth of the matter is that I’m often a nutty control freak. I’m working on letting that go. (It’s probably going to be a lifelong process.)

Anywho…then on my way to work, husband-made coffee in hand, NPRers talking on the radio, I felt an urging to call coffee-making, sleepy-eyed hubs and pray with him on my way to work. How long did I fight this urge? One long stop sign and a red lights worth of driving time. Then I realized it was probably an urging of the Holy Spirit, and I definitely shouldn’t let my sinful flesh get in the way. 


So I called. And I prayed. I prayed for our day apart. For his car in the shop. For patience and wisdom at my job today. For my students and their families. For our marriage. And when I was done, my Amen was met with a resounding silence. Had he fallen back asleep? Was my prayer that bad? No, we’d simply been disconnected (by Satan). But really, doesn’t the enemy just try to tear down all that is holy and good? 

Needless to say, hubs called back and I did my best to repeat what I had prayed. We said I love yous and I went back to my NPR (a depressing segment on retirement savings and social security). And the rest of the day was perfect! Just kidding. But I did feel a peace surrounding my day, and many of the conversations I had with hubs were peace-filled. Where misunderstandings typically became mountains, today they felt like surmountable mole-hills. 

While I’m sure that not all days that start with coffee and prayer always turn out as positive as this one did, it certainly was encouraging to see fruit come from intentionality and obedience to the Holy Spirits promptings. 

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september goals

Y’all, I went to a crisis and bereavement training for 3 hours at work today, and let me tell you, that was depressing. Good information? Yes, but depressing nonetheless. Out of 3 hours of training, I’d say at least 2 of those were spent telling depressing, yet oddly informative anecdotes. How does one finish up the workday after that?  Perseverance? Anyway…

One thing they always tell you in these trainings is to practice good self care. How can you help others if you don’t help yourself, they ask. Well, let me tell you, I’m exhausted. Self care has been minimal at best since work started…how many weeks ago? 636015464188562535-699650045_b6de7bdf008b1da8767d69d0daee9717And so resume the monthly goals…

End of September Goals

  1. Travel-Free Saturdays
    Y’all know I love college football as much as anyone, but after two weeks on the road, it’s time to watch the pigskin fly from the comfort of my own couch. I need less travel and more rest.
  2. Nap Replacements
    Everybody knows about meal replacements, but do you know about nap replacements? I’ve been late-day napping a lot lately, so for myself I’m proposing nap replacements. Maybe take a walk around the block. Do some yoga. Play with Cooper. Anything to avoid the late afternoon nap and stay awake until bedtime.
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  3. Sunday Mornings
    Hello church, where have you been? Oh, same place, same time? Great, I’ll be there this week. (My bad.)
  4. 10-Minute Mindfulness
    Have you tried the Headspace app? Do it. 10 minutes of mindfulness daily. Let’s try it together and see how we grow!

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    source

 

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the perfect place to be

Sometimes no matter the path you take, you find yourself longing for the path that leads back home. Initially, I was nervous about moving home after being away for so long, but so far it’s good. Traveling familiar roads. Running into familiar people. Relaxing with family. I couldn’t be more thankful for those things.

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The hubs is working out regularly with his brother. I went back-to-school shopping with my cousin. I’ve done lunch with my parents. Hubs picked up his cousin from band camp. We’ll actually be in town for our nephew’s 2nd birthday party. I think I can speak for both of us when I say we are enjoying spending time with our families day-to-day.

I also drive to a very familiar place for work. I work in a school district that I’m familiar with. I know the locations of schools and demographics, and that’s comforting. In a job that can be busy and chaotic, it’s nice to have a solid footing in a familiar environment.

It’s been a long time since we’ve been home. It’s been a long time coming.

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Featured image available for sale here.
Confucius quote for purchase here.
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I collected some images that capture a handful of the many things I love about my husband. If you know him, you know that he loves strangers with abandon. He would give you the shirt off his back. He is persistent in though situations. He’s a hard worker because he works in jobs where he can love and serve others. And he is the master of collecting moments instead of things.

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With all the chaos swirling around in the world, the peaks and valleys in our family life, and the thoughts running wild in my head, the past couple of weeks have been hectic to say the least. Sometimes the triggers are clearly identifiable, and sometimes there’s just so much stuff going on that it’s hard not to get discouraged.

Yet, today I went into work, sat down at my computer, and wrote reports for almost five hours. Today, that was my sanctuary. Today I escaped from the world for a little while. Today I helped shape the educational futures of three kiddos.

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Sometimes my job is stressful, but today it was a refuge. It reminded me of all the things that God has used in my life to get me to this point. And when at least one thing in my life appears to be going exceptionally well, it gives me hope and is a reminder that God is working things out for my good.

 

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the direction of words

prayer-for-hope1In the chaos of everyday life and local and global injustice, prayer is oftentimes seen as the “least we can do.” In this great time of need for our country, world, and selves, let’s seek to see prayer as the answer. Let us stop trying to fix ourselves and lean on God’s divine power to give us hope and change our hearts.

Personally, I’ve used prayer too infrequently, but when I am truly diligent in prayer and communication with the Lord, life changes. Here’s the truth: the Lord answers all prayers, and there is comfort in that. Sometimes his answers look different than what we ask for, but we can be assured that the Lord hears and answers our prayer in line with His will (1 John 5:14).

Let us join together in prayer for our world, our nation, our family and friends. Let’s go to the Lord before we correct and rebuke on Facebook and via tweets. Let us check our own hearts and find where our hope comes from before we seek to change others. Then let us pray for others ask enthusiastically as we gossip about them. What power there is in prayer. It’s more than empty words–the words of prayer have the power to move the kingdom of heaven to action and defeat sin and death. Let us stop underestimating the power of words directed towards Heaven and redirect our worldly words upwards.

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