The Marriage Triangle

I just finished watching the movie, “Marriage Retreat” for the millionth time.  I really enjoy this movie because it hits topics that I feel are common in different marriages.  It all comes down to your relationship with God and if you have God as the center of your marriage or not.  I picked two quotes that I like most from this movie and have shared them below.

Quote Marriage Retreat:  “I want to be closer to Him, because if we’re closer to Him, we’re closer to each other”

Quote Marriage Retreat:  For you and me to get closer, we need to get closer to Him. (See triangle below)

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The triangle illustrates how a husband and wife who are focused on the Lord will naturally grow closer together. For more, read To Uphold Our Marriage in Prayer.  I love this marriage triangle.  I have never truly understood this triangle until recently, and it’s true.  I’ve heard people say, “you can’t love someone else until you truly love yourself.”  I think in order for you to love yourself you have to love God and understand the love God has for you.  You can’t expect your spouse to love you 100% if you, yourself, don’t even love yourself 100%.  This is just my opinion, of course.

I have found two articles online that relate to this topic and decided to share them with you as well.  The first is Walking With God in Your Marriage and the second is Is God the Center of Your Marriage?

Now, I understand you may not agree with me or the articles above and that’s okay.  We all have the right to have our own opinions.  I just know that for me and my marriage with Jason, I want to work on loving myself more and growing closer with God and understanding his love for me.  Every relationship has room for growth, whether it’s a relationship with your spouse, parent, child(ren), siblings, friends, or even with God.

What are your thoughts? Have you seen the Marriage Retreat movie?  What are your thoughts on the marriage triangle?

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The World or God’s Will

The few weeks or so I’ve been feeling this “tug” on my heart.  Not sure how else to describe this feeling.  I almost feel like it is God trying to talk to me; asking me to get closer to him and grow more in my faith.  I want to have this insanely strong connection to God and spend more time reading the Bible and praying.  I went through all my Christian books that have been sitting on a shelf, just waiting to be read.  I found a bunch of Bible Studies online that I can follow.  I signed up for Pureflix.  And as usual, my Christian music plays in the background.  I am sick of the world around me… the language that is used, the hateful thoughts that are shared, the sexual exposure, all the violence whether on TV or in the real world, etc. There are so many temptations out there.  Also, so many are so focused on material things.  Why must we have so many things in our lives?  Who needs the latest electronic gadgets or a TV in every room of your home?  Who needs so many clothing items that you don’t even wear half of them?  I refuse to be of this world.  I want to remove the worldly things from my life.  I want a new, clean heart and mind.  This is something I’ve been praying for lately.  I am far from perfect, but I am striving to grow closer to God and to live my life for him. 

1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[d] is not in them.  For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Something someone had asked me when I was younger was, “If you’re watching TV, would you be comfortable having Jesus sitting there next to you watching, too?  What about when you’re hanging out with your friends, would Jesus approve of the language that is being used or the topic of conversation?”  I am embarrassed to say, no I would not have felt comfortable having Jesus sitting there listening to my conversations or watching the TV shows or movies that I had been watching.  This is something I’m looking to change in my life.  I’m sure I may lose friends or relatives along the way, but that’s something I’ll have to be okay with.  I’m not here to impress anyone;  I’m here to live for Christ and his approval is the only approval that I need.

I used to use the excuse that I’m simply too busy to read the Bible or to do Bible Studies.  In yet, I had enough time to be on Facebook or other social media.  I had time to watch Hulu or Netflix or some random movie.  No more excuses.

Growing spiritually is very important to me.  I also want to add taking care of my physical health.  I have neglected taking care of my body over the years.  There have been a few months at a time where I do great with exercising and eating right, but then I get frustrated because I don’t see results.  I know my PCOS plays a part in this, and I know I should be happy that I’m doing the best for my body, but it’s disappointing when you work so hard and see little to no results.  Enough of the excuses.  Not only will I work on my spiritual health, I plan to focus on my physical health, too. I will take care of the temple God has blessed me with.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

So, if you’re the praying type, I ask you to pray for me and that this new journey that I’m on is successful and a forever journey.  If you’re like me, struggling in the same way that I have been, let me know and I will pray for you, too!

Faith Rebuilt

When I was younger, I believed in God, but never had a close connection.  I didn’t talk about my faith or share it with others.  In a way, I was partially embarrased of going to church or talking about God.  I didn’t feel comfortable praying in front of others, especially when out in public.  I can honestly say that a lot has changed over the years, and you will fully see that with this post.

I don’t know about you, but I am not the greatest at reading my Bible every day like I should.  I usually get into a good routine of reading my Bible and doing devotions or reading a Christian self-help type book, but eventually life gets busy and I lose sight on how to manage my time and what’s important in life .  This is not something I’m very proud of, but I’m here to be honest with you all.  I am very far from perfect, but I do strive to do my best in life (with the help of God, of course).

Have you ever noticed, that when times get tough and obstacles get in my way, you turn to God in prayer and start reading his word with hope to find answers to your problems?  Sadly, I do this often.  Why is it that when bad situations arise, we turn to God but when life is going well, we don’t dive into his Word?  We have this decorative sign hung up on a wall in our living room that says “Happy Moments, Praise God.  Difficult Moments, Seek God.  Quiet Moments, Worship God.  Painful Moments, Trust God.  Every Moment, Thank God.”  (pictured below) I love this sign because it is a daily reminder how in every moment, God should be our focus.  Jason and I have praised God during our happy moments, prayed to God during our difficult moments, and we thank God daily for everything he has done for us and continues to do for us. Trust… now that’s another story, sometimes.

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Now, I can’t speak for Jason, but for me, I will admit that trusting God is oftentimes a hard thing to do.  Life has always been a challenge, whether it had to do with my schooling, my health (mentally or physically), family life, friends, near death experiences, etc.  It almost seems like every time life would be going well for me, there is always something that takes place to tear me back down.  There have been many days/nights that I have cried to God to fix whatever is taking place in my life or asking why he allowed these things to happen to me/us.  Life just wasn’t being fair to us.  I went through the whole “why me?” or “why us?”.  Does the story of Job come to mind?  If you’re not familiar with this story, I encourage you to read this book in the Bible.  Anywho, back to what I was saying.  After eight months of being sick with a vestibular disorder after the miscarriage of our twins, I was praising God for making me close to whole again.  That was short-lived, as we learned of Jason’s diagnosis of his Leukemia the very same month I was able to walk again.  More tears were shed, and more prayers were said.  We did everything we had to do to help each other get through the next new battle in our lives.  Sometime last year, I threw in the rag; I officially gave up.  I decided I couldn’t be strong enough anymore.  I was defeated and I needed help.  I cried and gave everything to God.  I decided I needed him more than anything.  Infertility was of the past.  My vestibular disorder was of the past.  The miscarriage was in the past.  Jason’s cancer was in the past.  Everything was in the past and out of our control.  This does not mean we will not speak of these things or that we will forget.  No, this means we will learn from these situations and we can use them to share God’s word.  I strongly believe God was trying to use us as his examples.  No matter what was thrown at us, we still held onto our faith and believed God had a purpose.  There is a reason for everything.  Yes, we have stumbled and lost our sight along the way, but with our faith, we found our way back to God, again.

The many years of infertility we went through was one of the hardest things we’ve had to go through as husband and wife.  All the doctor appointments, tests, medications, schedules, etc. It was exhausting and it definitely tested our marriage.  Instead of becoming a team and praying together, we kind of drifted apart.  There were many days, months, or even years, filled frustration and wondering who was at “fault” for us not conceiving a baby.  Many hurtful words were said on both sides, followed my quick apologies and tears.  If you haven’t been through infertility, you will never fully understand the struggle.  You may want to roll your eyes and may think to yourself, “just get over it already”.  But, honestly, it’s not that simple.  Those years of infertility were a huge part of our lives.  It’s a chapter in our book that we can’t erase.  After we had officially “given up” with trying to conceive, we relaxed more and actually enjoyed each other’s company again.  We didn’t have the stress and pressure on us anymore.

Do Jason and I have a “perfect” marriage?  Absolutely not.  I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect marriage.  I can say that we are the best of friends.  We enjoy spending time together, whether it’s building LEGO sets, putting together a puzzle, playing board/card games, or going out playing minigolf or bowling, etc. All of our struggles have brought us closer together.  After the miscarriage took place, and I got sick, then Jason got sick, we knew a few things for sure.  We were each other’s rock and foundation.  We knew we could depend on each other no matter what.  We re-learned how to communicate and to be the strength when the other one was needing it most.  Most importantly, we are learning to pray together and follow our faith in every aspect of our lives.  We’re coming up on our 15 year anniversary of when we met and starting dating.  A lot has taken place in these 15 years, but I am most excited for what is yet to come (with our adoption and all).

There are two songs that come to mind, that played a huge role in my life during all these hard times.  One is “Praise You in This Storm”, by Casting Crowns, and the other is “Through All of It”, by Colton Dixon.  If you haven’t heard these two songs before, I definitely recommend them.  ( YouTube videos are posted at the end of this post)  If you have heard them before, I suggest you re-listen to them; close your eyes and listen to the lyrics.  If you’re ever going through a hard time, the lyrics to these two songs may be very helpful. I still cry every time I listen to these songs.  The words, to me, are just so powerful and remind me to be thankful to God and always praise him.

If you are feeling alone or lost and need someone to talk to, we are always available.  We can pray with you/for you, or offer a listening ear. 🙂

 

National Foster Care Month

In case you didn’t already know, May is National Foster Care Month.  Have you ever looked at the statistics of foster children?  It’s very heartbreaking. This is an image from 2012 that I got from https://www.fosterclub.com/article/statistics-foster-care.

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Here is another image from 2014 that I found at http://trinitykids.org/TheirStory/FosterCare/tabid/101/Default.aspx.

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These statistics are eye-opening and very sad.  Our hope is to adopt older children and quite possibly a sibling group.  We are not adopting in order for us to be “praised” about how selfless we are or giving or whatever.  We are not doing this to look good.  We are passionate about helping children in need.  And of course we want a family.  We do believe we have a lot of love to give to these children and we hope that us showing these children that they are loved and wanted will help change their future.  We can only imagine what they have gone through and what they continue to go through.  We want to help in every way we can.

I currently have my eye on a specific sibling group, but all will depend on our how fast we can fill out a ton of paper work and how our home study goes.  We’ve been reaching out to a couple of agencies gathering information.  I have a list of things that need to be done for the home study and to help speed up the paperwork process.  I have sent the bio of the sibling group I have my eye on to a couple of people, and they have all said how these children would fit in perfectly with us. It seriously couldn’t be a better match for us.  Now, it’s in God’s hands.  He knows our what hearts desire.

If you’re the praying type, please pray for us and our journey that we’re on. It’s honestly a bit scary not knowing what will come of all of this.  We have a couple concerns, which we will share a little later on, but for now we are just holding onto faith that everything will work itself out.

Lists and More Lists

I am the type of person who enjoys making lists.  I have always been an organized person.  I always had my movies in alphabetical order, books in alphabetical order, etc.  Everything had its place and purpose.  I create lists about basically everything.  I have a sense of satisfaction when I can cross things off my lists.  I feel accomplished.  Jason, on the other hand, is not an organized person, which is completely okay.  He can handle things being out-of-order and not perfect.  I guess, in a way, we kind of balance each other out.

One of my sisters loves to tease me because of all my lists.  She says I need to loosen up and just enjoy life.  She is similar to Jason in the manner of they are both more laid back individuals.  They kind of go with the flow and let life happen.  I tend to get worked up if I don’t reach my goals or complete all the items on my list.  I don’t like to feel like I failed by not completing tasks.  Jason and my sister would be perfectly content with having items not checked off their lists.  They would simply get to those tasks another day, and if not, then oh well.  Last year my sister and I started a goal to read books.  She had a goal of reading one book a month, and I decided to read 100 books in a year.  First thing I did?  Created a list of books I wanted to read.  Then as I completed books, I created a list of books completed.  Then a list of books I wanted to read.  The lists kept growing, and they continue to grow.  My sister joked and said I was taking the fun out of reading by having my lists.  I liked the challenge of having the lists and crossing things off my list.  Then as the year 2016 was ending, it was an amazing feeling knowing I could cross off my 100th book and even exceed my goal by reaching 106 books in one year.

During this adoption journey, you can bet your bottom dollar that I have lists.  I have lists of items that need to be taken care of for the fundraiser event we are planning.  I have lists of vendors we have.  List of people and organizations that have donated items.  Lists of items that need to be gathered for our application and home study process.  Lists of things I still want done around the house.  Lists, lists, and more lists.

As I’m sure you can imagine, I like my life organized and planned out.  I like to be in control of things.  So you can even further imagine what it was like when my life wasn’t going according to plan.  I created lists of things I wanted accomplished before we started a family.  I checked items off one by one.  When the time came where we were “ready” to start a family, it was very frustrating that nature wasn’t letting things happen.  Now I can sit back and laugh (a little).  While I was creating these lists and planning my life, God was probably laughing away.  God has our life planned out for us.  No matter how hard we try, we can’t change what his plans are for us.  We just have to trust and have faith.

I have always wanted a big family, and have actually thought about the idea of adopting many times, well before I even met Jason. After Jason and I met, I told him many times that I want a house full of kids.  I tell this story all the time, but I will share it again in case you never heard it before.  We went through our marriage counseling, and the Pastor asked us how many kids we both wanted.  Right away my response was “At least six!”  Jason quietly replied, “I don’t know.  Maybe two.”  I countered his response with, “The lowest I can go with is four”. This story cracks me up.  No matter how hard I try to plan things out, things just didn’t work the way I wanted.  But, this does not mean the doors have been shut for us.  We can hopefully still have the family we wanted.  Whether it’s one child, two children or the full six that I always wanted.  I’m so excited to meet our future children and bond with them in a way I can’t even imagine.  Yes, I have a list of personality traits or hobbies that I do look for when reading all the children’s profiles, but it does not mean I would say no to a child that doesn’t “match” with my list.  I am beyond curious to see what child(ren) God places in our lives.

So, are you more like Jason and my sister, or more like me?  Anyone else obsessed with lists?