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Saturday, December 5, 2009

The secret

It's been nearly a week since I've had time to sit down and blog. The words in my head are taking over. It's quite noisy in my brain tonight. There are several pieces waiting to be written, but I don't know when I will get caught up. Right now I am blogging from my phone in my dark bedroom listening to the snores of my husband.

Life in the second year of church planting is so busy that it makes the first year look like an easy part time job. I have not invested nearly enough quality time in my family over the last several months as I would like. So tonight I had tons to do, but chose instead to walk away for a few hours to take my oldest daughter, Grace out for the evening.

On our way to the movies, Grace began to talk about her friends who have divorced parents. She talked about their brokenness and hurt over the fighting and manipulation that often happens. She was concerned about a child having to split up holidays. Finally she looked at me and said, "What's the secret to staying married forever and crazy in love like you and dad?"

It was neat to share with her my secret to staying married. Here it is: stay married. That's the secret. Don't give up. Keep looking for ways to communicate love to your spouse. My husband hears "I love you" very differently from me. He needs absolute respect from me. Absolutely always treating his opinions as important, speaking to him in a tone of voice that is respectful, and telling him often how amazing he is. His other love language is service - he feels loved when I wash the dishes, or mop my kitchen. And the other way he feels loved? Well, he is a guy...

On the other hand, he tries as hard as he can to communicate love to me in a way that I understand. I like quality time. I love when we go on dates, or even just sit together in the floor by the fireplace and have a cup of coffee. I also like thoughtfulness - a cup of coffee at work, my favorite snack in the cabinet, a full tank of gas.

So I tried to explain to Grace that the secret to my good marriage is a lot of hard work by both of us. There are other factors: common values, shared faith, good chemistry. However, I would say that being determined to show my husband love in a way that he understands, whether he earns it or not, and him doing the same for me, is the secret to it all.

We had a great night. I know that tomorrow will be rough when I have to catch up on the things I dropped tonight, but I wouldn't trade tonight for a million bucks. Just our conversations about relationships were priceless, in addition to having fun together.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


One of the things that Shawn mentioned today in his sermon was how often Jesus "looked" or "saw" in scripture. His eyes were always open, and His life was always available. This afternoon, I reluctantly slid into my running shoes and cracked open the door to greet a cold, wet run. I was not excited about this at all. Boy, was I wrong. I had not run long when I heard God remind me to look. Normally as I run, God speaks and I listen, or I vent and God listens, but today as I ran I just looked.

When I looked, I saw the amazing beauty of creation. I mean, really saw it. I felt like a blind woman who has suddenly been given back her sight. I looked at the trees in my neighborhood. Every tree is unique. There are trees with red leaves, trees with brown leaves, trees with no leaves, and trees with green leaves. There are thin, tall trees, short, fat trees, old, gnarled trees, leaning trees, baby trees, ornamental, well-groomed trees, and dying trees. I watched stormy black clouds roll into the sky and noticed the variety in the clouds. I felt the cold drops of rain stinging my lips and realized that each drop of rain only has the opportunity to fall one time.

I watched darkness envelop my community and Christmas lights come on, one house at a time. As I listened to some Norah Jones and Kenny G at the end of my run, I was awed by the beauty of the Christmas lights against God's masterpiece of creation. As beautiful as the lights were, they did not match the beauty of what God had created.

I am so grateful that at this season in my life I have finally discovered running. There are not words to describe the sensual feeling of wind whipping my hair, rain trickling down my skin, and music playing in my ears. I return from every run relaxed and ready to tackle life again. Running reminds me that I am more than a career, a mom, a maid, or a wife. I am a woman - a piece of God's valuable and beautiful creation. For all of my flaws and mistakes and craziness, God loves me more than I can ever grasp or understand. As a raindrop splashed against my lips tonight, I was reminded that like a raindrop only falls once, my life can only be lived once. I want God to use it for His honor and glory. Make it count.

Monday Morning Update 11.30.09

We had a great weekend at The Crossroads. Attendance was down, as is typical on a holiday weekend. Lots of people were traveling home today or trying to catch up around the house after being gone all week. But it was also good to see some other people that have been out for awhile.

Shawn preached a great message about being thankful for all things. He told a story about when our kids were just toddlers, and I created a big paper turkey. We wrote down things on feathers that we were thankful for and attached them to the turkey. Grace was two at the time, and she was incredibly thankful for kool-aid. That story brought back lots of memories for me. I remember trying very hard to create "magic moments" with my babies. We were poorer than dirt. We were on welfare while Shawn was finishing up his master's degree. We figured out that it would cost me about a hundred dollars a month to work, so I stayed home with our three children. I would not trade those years for anything. I learned to find creative ways to create magic for my kids, whether it was taking a ziplock bag to the park to collect nature items to investigate, or painting the bathtub with shaving cream, or playing "pooh sticks" on a little bridge on the seminary campus.

I am thankful this season most of all for my family. When I listen to the crazy chaos in my kitchen of my four children fighting for air time at the table, or my little girl asks me to sing her "The Angel Song," or my son makes a new joke, I am reminded that I am rich beyond measure. As I listened to my husband speak, I was reminded all over again about the crazy chain of events that had to occur for us to even meet. God had a great plan for my life, and I can't wait to see where the rest of my life will go. So far, it has been beautiful and rich beyond my wildest dreams. Sometimes I can't believe that I get to live a life that's even better than "Happy Ever After."

After church, we were able to enjoy Thanksgiving lunch with our church family. I was moved beyond words as I looked around the room and saw so many people that are a part of my life that I did not even know 18 months ago. I was amazed as I watched the people in the room, and realized God's hand in bringing us all together. I cannot imagine life getting better than it is at this moment, but God is not finished yet. And being a part of God's great masterpiece of life is incredible.