Monday, November 23, 2015

Failing At Life

Have you heard people use the phrase "I'm failing at life."? I know I've been guilty of saying that at least a few times. This morning that phrase popped in my head, as I went down to do laundry and realized that I had left a load in the washer for probably about 4 days now, and I was out of laundry detergent. Only this time, I had to question what that really means.

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. There end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."

Philippians 3:14-21

This is the Scripture I've been studying for about the past two weeks for a Bible study. I had read it over again this morning, before I went to start laundry. 

What I realized this morning is that when we say "I'm failing at life", what we really mean is "I can't keep up with all the to-dos. The tasks, events, expectations, that I have set on myself, that others have put on me, are overwhelming and I just can't keep up. " We think because we can't seem to juggle the busyness of life without dropping a ball here or there, we are failing at life. 

But is that even what life is all about?

Yes, there are things we just have to do, like laundry, but according to the Scripture above, my life is not about how well I keep up with the laundry, and if my to-do list becomes my standard for life, I've lost sight of the real goal - to follow Christ.

In all honesty, if my life is going to be judged on how well I kept up with my to-do list, or juggled busyness, I'm ok with failing.

What I don't want to happen is that I fail at life for real. God has a real purpose for my life. A purpose that extends far beyond the piles of laundry (and in my house, those extend pretty far!)

Am I failing at setting my eyes, heart, and mind on Christ? 
Am I failing at pursuing Him as my goal?
Am I failing at holding true to my salvation I've been given through His blood?
Am I failing at walking according to Jesus's example, am I walking as an enemy of the cross of Christ?
Am I failing by setting my mind on earthly things? 
Am I failing at remembering where my true home is, and honoring it?

Yes! I fail at these things every day, but praise God for his grace! Praise God that having true life is not based on my ability to keep up! Praise God that He alone is the One who transforms our hearts and minds and will one day transform our bodies as well! Praise God He is able to subject ALL things to himself, even me!

I fail at real life, when I've taken my eyes off of Christ, off of the real goal, off of His purpose and plan, off of His will. But I can't do it on my own. I have to rely on Christ in me to set my eyes on Him, to drive my heart towards Him. 

That's real life. And I don't have to be failing at it, because Christ already has freed me from sin, which means He has freed me from myself, my own desires, my blinded perspective on "life", and my inability to meet His standards. The Holy Spirit is a complete game changer, allowing me to live a life of purpose, not in my own strength or ability, but in the Almighty strength of God. The One who has the power to subject ALL things to Himself, lives in me. How can life possibly be about a to-do list any more?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

Recently, I have been having some crazy dreams. A couple of these dreams have very much alarmed me. I will not go into the details here, other than to say, they are dreams of me doing things I never thought I would do.

Sure, they are just dreams. It doesn't mean I will ever physically do these things. However, as I woke this morning I was reminded of this verse:

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has 
already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:28

I know this is about men lusting after women and that is a common issue men have, but right here, right now, let's speak the truth

Women also have sexual desires, and these desires can affect them in similar sinful ways. 

There I said it. I'm throwing it out there like a bomb. But I just need to be real. 

Now, let me also make clear, that I have not been having desires for men other than my husband. However, the dreams I have had and remembering this verse have made something very clear to me

I am capable of any sin. 

Who do I think I am, that I have in my own mind that I am above any type of sin? The verse at the top makes it clear, my heart is deceitful and desperately sick. Who can understand it? God can. The very one who has created my heart is the only one who can cleanse my heart

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

I am not able to keep myself from sin, no matter how hard I try. No matter how much I say I don't want it in my life. I NEED Christ. I NEED the Holy Spirit to continue His work in me. (Phil 1:6) I NEED to cry out to Him:

Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
In company with men who work iniquity,
and let me not eat of their delicacies!
...But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge, leave me not defenseless!
Psalm 141:4, 8

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Action of Respect

What does it it look like to respect your husband?

I'm not asking what it means, I think most of us have a pretty good understanding of the definition of respect. But what does that look like?

Women will often say they respect their husbands, but do we really? Do we show them that respect by our actions? Because really that's how they will know.

As women we tend to complain a lot about our husbands (side note: this is not respect), but what stands out to me the most, is that often what women complain about is the differences between them and their husband. One of them likes something one way, the other doesn't. "Why can't they just see how my way is better?!" - seems to be the underlying statement that is being made. But what if instead we chose respect?

Let's say you hate to wash the dishes, so it's the job that you put off until the end of the day, and if you don't get to it, oh well. BUT your husband hates coming  home to see dirty dishes filling the sink and lining the counter. This daily scenario causes many spats and bickering. "Why can't he just understand that I don't like to do the dishes and it's time consuming so I don't have time to do it during the day anyway?" That's what we say. He should be the one to get over it, because let's face it, you're never going to care as much about the dishes as he does right?

True. You will never care about the dishes as much as he does. But why does that matter? Why do you have to care about the dishes to do them the way he wants you to?

Why not choose respect? If he cares that much about the dishes, do them first. To not do them, simply because you do not care as much is selfish.

The Bible tells us to submit to our husbands (Eph. 5:22, 24; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 3:11). Submission is an act of love. An act of respect.

I respect my husband for the hardworking man that he is and want him to come home to a peaceful environment  where he feels relaxed. I respect that his needs are different than my own. I respect him as the man God gave me to love and support.

I will show him that respect by doing the dishes before he gets home, even when I don't feel like it.

I can show my husband respect when I take care of his needs first. When I realize that I don't have to care about the same things as he does, but I do have to care for him.

Monday, August 3, 2015

One Body, One Breath.

The other night was one of those rare nights where my husband actually went to bed before me. Usually we go to bed together, but every once in a while I go to bed first. It's not often that he goes to bed first.

He was already asleep when I went to bed. As I laid down next to him, getting ready to fall asleep, I noticed that the closer I got to sleeping the more our breathing began to align together.

As sappy as this sounds, I must admit, I LOVE when that happens. It reminds me of the night we spent in the hospital just over two years ago, knowing we were going to lose our son. A dear friend stayed at the hospital with us that night and one of the only things I remember her saying to me was that at one point during the night both Josh and I were sleeping and she realized that we breathe together when we sleep.

This might not mean much to many people, but it is a reminder to me of how God has unified us. I often tell people, that my husband and I would never be together if it weren't for God, and that is definitely true. Truer still, is the fact that we wouldn't still be together if not for God, but that's a story for another day.

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Genesis 2:24

You might think this post is about marriage, but it's not. Breathing together in our sleep is a picture of unity. Unity that only God can bring. 

This got me thinking about the church. Why? Because God uses the example of marriage to describe the church - we are his bride that should be preparing to meet our bride groom when he returns for us. (Rev. 19:7)

Romans 12 talks about the church working as one person. We all make up one body. 

But I fear we often lose sight of what it means to be one body. Of what it looks like to not only work together, serve together, but do we "breathe" together?

Do we together draw in the life-giving source, the very breath of life? 

Do we together breathe out that life into others, as one body?

Are we breathing in unison with Christ?

Are we leaving this world behind to be united in Christ? 

So many things, both big and small can rise up and cause division in the church (or in our marriage). We must be on guard and remember that God wants us to breathe as one. As one body of believers. As one being in Him. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When Submission Saves a Marriage

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church
submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands."
Ephesians 5:22-24

Over the past few years, God has really been putting a desire in my heart to submit to my husband. For the most part, it has seemed like more of a desire to have an opportunity to submit, because my husband has struggled to lead. I don't say that to tear him down, but it is the reality of our situation. I never really could understand why submission was something I felt like I needed to work on so much. I mean even when I was trying to get my husband to take lead, he didn't always, so how could I submit? That's the question I frequently asked myself and God. I prayed for his leadership more than anything else, because somehow I knew I needed to practice submission.

I knew I needed it, because I know I can be controlling. I know that I naturally tend to dominate, which is why we have marriage role issues.

I never knew this would be why.

Because here we are at a crisis point. From where I stand, all I can see is the broken pieces of my heart raining down all around me. We talk and some things get clearer, while others become more confusing and all I understand is that trust has been broken. While I fight to know why, to make some sense out of all of this, I just can't understand. Why is this happening? Why has God allowed this? Will trust ever be restored? Can it? These questions roll through my mind over and over until the tears break loose. Then I pull myself together and it starts all over again.

We're at a point where changes need to happen in order for us to move forward. Decisions need to be made. Submit in everything. During a discussion about one of these decisions, I found myself saying to my husband, "I don't trust you, but I will submit to you." The look he gave me was one of surprise, as if he couldn't understand why I would do that. In all honesty, I was surprised as well that those words even came off my lips, but even more that I knew I was willing to submit. I wasn't fighting the need to submit at all. I knew he needed to make this decision and I needed to be willing to accept whatever decision he made, especially if I wanted things to move forward.

Later I realized that even during this crisis in our marriage, I had willingly submitted to my husband's need for sex. Not begrudgingly. Not with a bad attitude. Not numbing myself. Not selfishly. But with a loving attitude.

I don't say this to puff myself up. In fact I'm only writing all this because I'm sure somewhere down the road I'm going to need to remind myself that this is why God had been working on my heart of submission.

All this time I didn't understand, except that I knew it's what God wants. I knew neither of us were really living out the appropriate roles in our marriage. I knew what the Bible said. What I didn't know is how this would save our marriage.

We're not out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot. But I know that as long as I'm willing to submit, to my husband, but more importantly, to God, we have a chance at restoration.

The tears are coming yet again, but this time it's because I am so thankful that our Father in heaven knows what we need and He never fails to provide. He knew I needed to be ready, so He prepared my heart.

For those of you who may struggle with submission, all I can say is, I never knew it would bring such joy. I never realized it would bring such peace. But obeying God always does, and that is what we need to remember most. Obeying God is where we find joy and peace.

*I would appreciate if you would respect our privacy regarding the details of our marital issues.