Want a Better Marriage? Be a Better Spouse.


I know that I have neglected my blog lately, but we are in the process of leaving the mission field and moving back to the States. Hopefully, I can get back to updating the blog soon.

For now, I’ll share an article that I wrote for www.startmarriageright.com.

If you don’t feel that your relationship is as great as you would like it to be, then here are a few suggestions that may help. However, this is not a list for “fixing” your spouse or tips on how to make your husband/wife a better mate. No, this list is all about “you”, because the first step to a better marriage relationship is to first be a better spouse. Read more at http://www.startmarriageright.com/2013/02/want-a-better-marriage-be-a-better-spouse/#.

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Waiting


Today I was listening to a song, “While I’m Waiting”, by John Waller. It’s a favorite of my husbands and right now it has a lot of meaning for us as we prepare to leave the mission field. We continue to wait on the Lord for what He has planned for us next. Visit our website and read today’s blog post, “Waiting“.

I also ran across another song by John Waller today that I really like, called “As for Me and My House”. I don’t need to say much about the message of this song…. just listen to it and watch the video.. the message is clear.

As Christians we say that we have made the choice to serve the Lord, but so many times we allow other things to get in the way. Things in life become idols because we allow these things to consume us, we allow them to take our focus off Christ, we allow these things to steal our precious time… time that we should be spending honoring God and loving our families. Anything can become an idol, so it’s important that we truly do choose this day whom we will serve… “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15

His Little Girl


I love the song; You’re My Little Girl by the band, Go Fish. Jason, one of the band members wrote this song for his wife. While they were still dating, she told him about her parent’s divorce and how much that had hurt her. Jason wanted her to know that no matter what she was going through or how others may hurt her, God is always there and He loves and protects her because she is His child — His little girl.

The first time I heard this song, I didn’t know the history behind it but it ministered to me for the same reason that he wrote the song. My parents divorced when I was sixteen. The pain and confusion over that event affected me for many years. Life changed dramatically at the moment that they announced their plans to divorce. My world seemed to turn upside down and for many years it just seemed to spiral out of control and way off course. I don’t blame my parent’s divorce for my world being out of control for so many years. The divorce was not my choice and it did change the course of  life… at least as I had thought it would be, but it was my own bad choices after that point that caused me pain.

I love the message of this song because it reminds me that I am a child of God. I’m His little girl, so no matter what this life hits me with, I can run to Him because that’s what little girls do when they are hurt, or scared, or confused, or sad. Daddy is always there to pick them up and wipe away their tears and daddy can protect his little girl from anything.

Throughout my life, I tried to use relationships to fill a void. In the end, these relationships caused more pain because of emotional and even some physical abuse. During these difficult years in my life, I didn’t fully understand that I had a heavenly Father waiting with open arms to comfort and protect His little girl. By the time I did run to Him, I was a frightened, emotionally damaged little girl who had lost what little self-worth I ever had. It has taken me years to learn that God sees me as His child, His little girl… the apple of His eye.

“For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye—”  Zachariah 2:8

Do you understand the message of this scripture? God is saying, “anyone who dares to touch my little girl is hurting my most precious possession”. Even an earthly dad would not allow someone to hurt their little girl, so how great is it to know that we are a child of God.

Have you been hurt by someone else? Perhaps someone you love has abandoned you in some way. Perhaps you felt the fear and pain of abuse. Maybe your spouse has betrayed you in some way. Maybe you are like me and your lack of self-worth prevents you from understanding that God sees you as the beautiful child that you truly are. If your self-worth depends on the approval of others such as your parents, your friends, or your spouse… you will only find disappointment. Only God can heal the hurt that someone else has caused and only He can love you the way that you need to be loved. He will protect you and never abandon you… because You’re His Little Girl.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2

Have you Kissed a lot of Frogs but Still no Prince?


frog.princeI don’t know how many frogs the fairy tale princess kissed before she found her prince, but I have to admit that I kissed a lot of frogs before finding my prince.

We want to believe in the fairytale.

Most of us want to believe that our “prince” is out there somewhere among all the frogs that we encounter. We want to believe that “soul-mates” do exist because we don’t want to choose the wrong mate and end up as part of the 50% of married couples who eventually divorce.  READ MORE

Above is an except from an article I wrote for startmarriageright.com.

Are you still looking for your prince or princess? You might enjoy this article and reading about what God says about choosing a mate.

TIME


watchIs it that TIME of year again? Is is TIME already to put 2012 to rest and welcome in a New Year? The final hours and minutes of 2012 are quickly passing, so soon this year will run out of TIME.

For me, 2012 was a milestone in TIME. I turned 50 years old this year. Turning 50 didn’t really feel much different than turning 40, but one thing that I have noticed as the years have passed is that TIME seems to pass much quicker. As a child, TIME moved slowly. The TIME from one Christmas to the next or from one birthday to the next seemed like a lifeTIME.  Actually, any TIME that a child waits in anticipation of anything can make a few hours feel like days. However, as we get older, TIME passes much too fast.

We speak so casually about TIME and often forget what value it holds. Think about all the idioms we use for TIME:

TIME flies

TIME is short

TIME hangs heavy

TIME passes

TIME runs out

We waste TIME

We have spare TIME

We spend TIME

We save TIME

We have good TIMES

We have hard TIMES

We lose TIME

We find TIME

We make TIME

We kill TIME

We live on borrowed TIME

There are 1000’s of idioms for the word, TIME. We describe TIME in so many different ways, as if it truly is something that we can control. The truth is: TIME is limited. TIME is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, rich or poor; TIME doesn’t stand still for anyone. The only control we have over TIME is how we use it and who we share it with.

When we are young, we think that TIME is endless and that there will always be enough TIME later. When “later” arrives, we realize that TIME is short and TIME doesn’t allow us to go back. As much as we like to believe that we can make up for lost TIME, it really isn’t possible. Once TIME has passed, it’s lost forever. We may still have TIME left and we can use that more wisely but we never get back the TIME we’ve lost.

The photo I chose for this post is a photo of my momma’s watch. My momma went home to be with the Lord in 2008 and after she passed, I asked my siblings if I could have her watch. That was the only thing of hers that I wanted. She didn’t wear a lot of jewelry but she always wore a very simple, inexpensive watch. She took it off only to bath and to sleep. I wanted the watch for two reasons. One: Because it was something that she had with her all the TIME. Two: Because it represented TIME.

That watch represented the TIME that I wanted desperately to have with her. I wanted more TIME. I wanted to go back in TIME before she was diagnosed with cancer and spend more TIME with her. I wanted God to give her more TIME on earth; more TIME to spend with her children; more TIME to enjoy her grandchildren; more TIME to meet all her great-grandchildren.

No matter how much I wanted more TIME, there was no more TIME to spend with my momma. She was only given a certain amount of TIME on this earth, which meant that I was only given a certain amount of TIME to spend with her and that TIME had been spent. The problem was, I didn’t feel that I had spent that TIME wisely and now it was gone. The watch is a reminder to me that I should value the TIME that God has given me. TIME is a limited resource that should be used wisely. TIME is valuable but it becomes priceless only because it is shared with others. My momma’s watch is a reminder for me to spend my TIME on the important things in life and to share TIME with the important people in my life. Most importantly, the watch helps me to remember to give God His TIME. It is God that has granted us an allotted amount of TIME on this earth, so we need to spend TIME with Him.

As 2012 comes to a close and all our TIME for this year has been spent, I hope that you can look back and feel that you did spend your TIME in wise ways with the people you love. If you feel that you wasted this precious gift of TIME, I pray that you will resolve to treasure God’s gift of TIME during the New Year and years to come. Don’t allow the things of this world to steal the treasure of TIME from you.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”  Ephesians 5:15-17

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.”  Psalm 39: 4-5

Live, Laugh, Love: Guest blog by Robin Townsend


TonyRobin Townsend is my Facebook friend and this blog is a post she wrote today in memory of her husband, Tony. She lost him to cancer in December of 2009.  I have followed Robin’s journey since they learned of Tony’s diagnosis. I asked Robin to allow me to share her post in my blog because I believe that God intends for us to share our journeys with others. Perhaps by doing so, we can make the journey for someone else a little easier.

Thank you Robin for sharing this.

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different….”
Three years ago today, our lives dramatically changed.
On December 30, 2009, Tony was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon and Liver cancer. I vividly remember sitting there listening to the doctor. I felt like I needed to pinch myself, for surely I was dreaming and this wasn’t happening to us. The room started spinning and the tears started flowing and I felt my heart shift as he explained our odds — our future. I tried to be strong, but I was in complete despair and even though I loved my Savior more than anything I questioned my faith at that moment. It was an honest feeling during a heart wrenching moment. He was our provider, and we didn’t know if He could fix this. I could barely go through all the motions without tears. They had to call my best friend to be with me because I was so taken aback.  She was my strength at a time when I felt that I had nothing else. I couldn’t hold back my emotions and I cried on her shoulder like a baby.  My heart was breaking for my husband, who I loved overwhelmingly. My tears were real and they were honest. They didn’t make me weak. They proved my strength — they show that my God truly cares about the pains of our heart.
Later as I sat there and listened to the nurse explain the process of what was to come, I will never forget the prayer that came to me at that time, I prayed quietly for a miracle. It is forever etched in my mind.

“I will sustain you, I will rescue you”

The big “C” word had rocked our lives not once but twice now but this time it was different. Tony wouldn’t be able to have surgery to remove the cancer like I did. When I finally got to see him in recovery, I tried to hold back the tears but I couldn’t. I remember him taking my hand and telling me, “we are going to beat this” God brought us to it, He will bring us through it. Have faith Robin, that God is doing His will in our lives. We’re not going to tell God how big this storm is, we’re going to show this storm how BIG our God is.” That was the beginning of a journey that we had no idea would end just a short ten weeks later.
As I look back on the short time we had together, I find myself thinking there are many things I wish we had done different. Quality of life would have been much better than trying to add “days” to his life. The chemo and radiation weakened his already distressed body. Oh, for the time we could have spent enjoying those days and accepting God’s plan for Tony’s life had we known.

We were meant to travel the journey we went on and while it was rough and even harder to say goodbye, the whole journey was a blessing. Tony showed enduring strength and perseverance through our storm. It seemed every ray of hope brought a cloud of despair but he NEVER stopped fighting. He never lost his faith and no matter how much pain he was in, he always had a huge smile on his face. When friends and family came to visit to cheer him up, they walked away with the bigger blessing.

The past 3 years have been hard. Today is painful. It’s not been just “one day at a time”;  it’s been “one breath at a time”,  and trust me I feel the pain every time I inhale. Even though Tony is in a much better place than we are, we still miss him and while it’s selfish of us, we wish he were still with us.

He was my hero.

I am ever so thankful for the 28 years I had with Tony. The trials and tribulations were easier to bear not only because we serve an AWESOME God but because I had an amazing husband who in spite of his trial had an attitude of gratitude and a big heart and who taught me those last few moments of his life to never give up no matter how hard it might get.

Have you ever heard the analogy of a string of pearls? If  you look back on the circumstances of your life and string them all up like a string of pearls — when you go through a new trial, you can go back and touch every pearl and say “This trial was preparing me for now.”

“All that befalls us on our road to heaven is meant to fit us for the journey’s end”

I love that quote by Charles Spurgeon. It speaks volumes to the Christian life, and how we as believers don’t have to worry about our circumstances. That doesn’t mean that we won’t, it just means that we don’t HAVE to. All we have to do is trust.

Trust that He is doing what He promised he would do. Trust that He is working everything out for our ETERNAL good. Trust Him Unconditionally… Undeniably… Unknowingly.
Trust, so that when the big things happen in our lives, (sure there will be fear and anxiety) we will not have to question who we can run to. We will not have to question who holds our future and our hearts. We can run straight into the arms of our Savior.

It’s all in how you look at your circumstances. I choose to look at them with awe and admiration of how my God is truly sovereign. He is truly working everything out for my good. And no matter what happens to me in this life, this truly ends well for me — truly. Our life is truly the plan of our Master.

The Plan of the Master Weaver

Our lives are but fine weavings
That God and we prepare,
Each life becomes a fabric planned
And fashioned in His care.

We may not always see just how
The weavings intertwine
But we must trust the Master’s hand
And follow His design.

For He can view the pattern
Upon the upper side,
While we must look from underneath
And trust in Him to guide…

Sometimes a strand of sorrow
Is added to His plan
And though it’s difficult for us
We still must understand

That it’s He who fills the shuttle,
It’s He who knows what’s best
So we must weave in patience
And leave to Him the rest…

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why –

The dark threads are as needed
In the Weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

I’m blessed that my Weaver poured His grace out on us, for now we take these dark threads and we patiently wait for His skillful hand to lay out the pattern He has planned for us. We glorify Him for everything in our lives for He knows what’s best. He’s already given us the most precious Guardian Angel we could ever have asked for.

Life is not a race — but indeed a journey.

Be honest. Work hard. Be choosy.

Say “thank you”, “I love you”, and “great job” to someone each day.

Go to church, take time for prayer. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh.

Let your handshake mean more than pen and paper.

Love your life and what you’ve been given, it is not accidental — search for your purpose and do it as best you can.
Dreaming does matter. It allows you to become that which you aspire to be.

Laugh often. Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy them. Some of the best things really are free.
Do not worry, less wrinkles are more becoming.

Forgive; it frees the soul.

Take time for yourself – plan for longevity.

Recognize the special people you’ve been blessed to know.

Live for today, enjoy the moment.

I challenge you today to reach out to the ones you love, tell them how you feel, hug them and LIVE every day as if it were your last. Live a life of no regrets or “what if’s”, but “oh well’s”…. take the time to enjoy the little things in life and be thankful for everything you have…every single day. We are not promised tomorrow, so live each day as if it were your last. If you don’t wake up tomorrow and it turns out that today is your last day on earth; Would you be proud of what you’ve done in this life?

Think about it.

Always remember to LIVE, LAUGH AND LOVE!

Robin Townsend

What He Needs From You


 

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 “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  Ephesians 5:33

Everyone wants the respect of others, especially from the people who matter most to us. God created men to take a leadership role in marriage. Leaders need and deserve respect, so men naturally need to feel that they have the respect of their wives.

It’s not always easy to know how to communicate respect or to even realize when our actions are not communicating it.  I listed a few ways to show your husband that you love and respect him.

  1. Pray for him and make a habit of praying with him.
  2. Men want you to need them, so find ways to show that you need him.
  3. Thank him when he does things around the house.
  4. If you must confront him, choose your words carefully, remember to “speak the truth in love” and let the small stuff go.
  5. Focus on all the things he does well and try to minimize the negative.
  6. If you feel offended, extend God’s grace to him and have an attitude of forgiveness.
  7. Don’t disagree with him or correct him in front of others.
  8. Be his biggest fan, cheer his successes and always tell him you are proud of him.
  9. Defend him if anyone speaks in negative ways about him.
  10. Take an interest in things that he is interested in.
  11. Men sometimes just need time alone so allow him this time.
  12. He wants to do well and desires to make you proud so respect his efforts, instead of  measuring  his performance.
  13. Don’t set him up to fail by asking him to do projects beyond his capabilities.
  14. Initiate sex sometimes rather than waiting for him to do so.
  15. Discover his preferred Love Language.

Once you understand which love language he uses to communicate, it will be easier to find more specific ways to show him respect.

If His Love Language is:

Words of Affirmation

  • Compliment him
  • Express your appreciation for all he does and who he is
  • Brag about him to others. Do this when he is present and when he is not.

Quality Time

  • Make dates with him
  • Do things with him (watch his favorite TV programs, participate in a hobby)
  • Make time to be intimate

Acts of Service

  • Do little things for him (bring his morning coffee, give him a massage or a foot rub)
  • Buy him gifts for no reason or make his favorite dinner
  • Be his help-mate; assist him with a project

Physical Touch

  • Hold his hand
  • Take time to snuggle
  • Kiss him often

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Colossians 3:12

You can discover your Love Language here.