Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Love Preserved.

My husband and I have been married for 13 years. 13 years! What amazing grace from the Lord! What a blessing! What a gift!

The world says opposites attract...indeed my husband Darren and I attract each other..and indeed we are opposites.

Groom: "Honey, come try the salsa I just made. I think it's my best batch yet!"
Bride: "Um...I think I'll pass. You know I don't like salsa, but it sure smells fresh!"

Bride: "Yyyyuuummm! The black olives on this pizza are delicious!"
Groom: "Kris, keep those things away from me. Black olives taste like dirt...literally."

Groom: "The boys have been asking to go swimming in the river, hon. I'm thinking we can take 'um on Saturday?"
Bride: "Ah, I don't think so. Our children are irreplacable, and wild rivers aren't to be trusted. But Bi-Mart's having a sale on blow-up, plastic baby pools...can we take the kids swimming in that?"

Last Saturday, my girlfriend Kellie and I had a garage sale. As she was thanking a customer for a purchase, she noticed on my tally sheet that I had made $6 on 2 'bibs'. She was pretty wowed by the fact that I owned such elaborate baby bibs that I was able to sell them at $3 a piece. I knew I wasn't selling any baby bibs, because, well, frankly, by your fourth child, you don't use bibs any more. That's when my husband chimed in and very proudly announced that he had sold our 2 snow-skiing overalls for a whopping $3 a piece. You know...the really big, bulky, warm, expensive outfits you put on to have fun in the snow with? I had to laugh! That customer sure got a deal...they were in really good condition! Point being, I chuckled and said to Kellie, "What would I do without my husband? Just getting to witness how his mind thinks really adds spice to my life." He made a huge profit selling the 'bibs' at $3 each? I love it!

13 years ago during our wedding ceremony, the pastor read a scripture that I believe was spoken as a vision of faith over us as we were becoming one-flesh and beginning a beautiful, life-long covenant with our Father.

He read Psalm 121:7-8
"The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore."

The Lord has preserved us. He has preserved us! He has preserved our time together, He has preserved our likings for one another, He has preserved our patience and forgiving towards each other, He has preserved our laughter together, He has preserved our listening and sharing together, He has preserved our intimacy and our child-like romance, He has preserved our vision for a family. He has taken our disagreements and arguments, our disappointments and short-comings, He has taken the 'wastelands' of our marriage, restored them to fertile ground in Him, and is preserving that wonderful newness for us! Jesus has and will continue forevermore to preserve our marriage. What peace.

He has preserved it for 13 years, and standing on His promise, we rest in the faithfulness of our Lord that He will continue to preserve it throughout our life-long marriage covenant.

So, as far as the world's saying goes, yes, in our case opposites attracted. Some of the 'opposites' have been easy to live with, some have been an adventure to live with, some have been fun to live with. Some have been the 'spice' in each others life, as we discover and see clearer the awesome uniqueness of one another. Some have been a lesson in patience and forgiveness, grace and acceptance. And that's OK! It's better than OK, it's God's perfect will and love for us, His children. He desires to preserve everything in us that is of Him, and change everything in us that is of this world. He's preserving our love for Him and for each other.
And we love that we never have to question what He's doing. He's in the business of restoring and preserving families. He certainly continues to preserve ours!

13 years after saying 'I do'...my husband still wakes me up in the morning by praying over me, kissing me goodbye as he leaves oh-so-early for work, and bends down as I lay in bed, just to hold my face in his hands and whisper, "Did you get more beautiful as you slept?"

That's the perfect love of Jesus! And He's preserving it.

For this entire flock of His.

Thank You, Lord...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hidden Opportunities.

My kids crack me up...

We have 4, and the last 2 have had this very distinct trait.

Beginning with the older of the last 2, when he was the baby of the family, we noticed he had this tendency to be very particular about doing things "right". And by "right", I mean forever doing things the way he was taught or shown the very first time.

Of course, we weren't aware of this until we were in over our heads.

Doing simple things that shouldn't require much thought or things you just do without realizing you're doing, became things we had to pay super close attention to. Because the way it was done in front of the baby (this trait first showed itself at about 1 year of age) was the way we would have to do it for a long time.

Case in Point: Reading him a bedtime story.

His first memory of us reading him a bedtime story must have been a time when I did it, and I happened to be all snuggled up next to him, and I happened to use a variety of different voices, and I happened to sing half the sentences, and so on. In other words, I happened to do stuff you just do on a whim without planning or thinking about.

Little did I know, from that memory on, he would always require me to do the exact routine the exact same way. The same book, the same snuggly position, the same voices, the same tune, etc. And if it wasn't that way, it was "wrong".

"No, that's wrong! Daaaad! You can't read me that book! Mom reads that book!"

So I would come in on that particular night and take over for Dad. But if I didn't or couldn't, and Dad continued with the nighttime tucking in, then boy was there a story to tell afterwards when I went in to give him his final kiss goodnight.

"Moooooom? Dad did it all wrong. He didn't even put his arm around me like he's suppossed to, and he didn't use the right voices, and he didn't even know the right part to sing...."

And you know when your small kids do something that you KNOW is going to cause trouble if they continue to do it, but it's the first time they're doing it, so it's actually CUTE? Well, this character habit was cute to me at first because I loved seeing my little boy take notice of things. Or be so immaculate about a situation. I mean, this trait came in reeeeeeal handy when he watched us clean a room or put something away because it meant he would continue to do THAT forever more (or at least for the next several years). But situations like the bedtime story got a little challenging sooner than later.

At first I would sympathize with him, "Oooohhhh, I'm sorry. Here, Mommy'll come in and do it right...."

But over time, it became real clear that I was planting seeds of allowing him to believe "Dad was wrong", when in fact he wasn't at all. So it's become an opportunity for me not to just correct my son that stories can be read all sorts of ways, but that "the way Dad decides he's going to read a story is Dad's decision and we're going to follow it."

I love declaring that! Because not only do I have the opportunity to declare it over "little" things, but over BIG things. And I especially love it when I can declare it and top it off by saying, "...Daddy listens to Jesus and we listen to Daddy. So if Daddy made this decision, then he talked to Jesus about it first."


OK, well, all this to say...we now have a new baby of the family, and I just noticed for the first time yesterday that we'll potentially be put to the same test with him, as I'm getting ready in front of the bathroom mirror and watching him reeeeeaaaaach for a small bathtub toy that was placed on the lid of the toilet by someone without thinking.

He reached it, pulled it down, played with it, and then when he was done, my heart broke as I watched him practically risk his life by reeeeeeaaaaaching again to put it back on the toilet lid. Because that's were it goes since that's were he found it for the first time....just like his older brother.

I bent over to save my son's life and grab the toy to put it were it really goes, in a bin in the bathroom closet.

This DID NOT sit well with my baby, and quite frankly, confused him I think. Because he proceeded to attempt to literally pull his hair out. He got really mad, fetching the toy out of the bin and trying to place it back on the toilet. And when I tried explaining to him that it doesn't go there and that it's OK if that's where he found it and it goes back somewhere else, he physically dropped everything. The toy and himself. He dropped to the ground, screaming his small, little scream, face turning red, legs kicking, arms above his head with fists full of hair, pulling and clawing. I immediatly reconized these symptoms and knew right away I would be given the same daily opportunity to gently correct this child God trusted to put in our care, build up my husband, submit to his role in this family and glorify the Lord all at once.

Thank You, Lord, for pointing out Your opportunities to me in my everyday life to follow after you and build up this family!

But that mini-tantrum from the baby was SO. STINKING. CUTE. ...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ummm...why not?

So, I'm talking to my girlfriend this morning about possibly starting a blog, and she made a comment that pretty much confirmed what I had already been thinking.

I comment on her blog almost every time she posts, and during my last comment, I started thinking, "I sorta feel like I'm writing out my own post here. This is probably too long and detailed to be considered a 'comment'!" Hhhmmm, should I just start a blog?

So, as I was saying, during our talk this morning while on the subject of blogs, she said out of nowhere, "Well, ya know, a lot of your comments are like the beginnings of posts themselves...".

Fast forward: here I am. I took the plunge. Why not, right? I'll post when the Lord gives me time, and I won't when the Lord has me elsewhere (which will probably be the majority).

So much crazy stuff goes on under this roof! Maybe this way I can jot down a situation or two, share our days, some thoughts, some pictures, glorify Jesus...who knows. All I know is: this is an experiment.

Wonder how it'll turn out?