This is it! All week I’ve been sharing my posts from the Facebook Love Your Spouse Challenge. I hope you’ve been encouraged and wanting to apply oneness to your marriage. It’s worth it. Not easy. Worth it.
LOVE YOUR SPOUSE CHALLENGE, DAY 7
Here we are. In a couple weeks we celebrate our 20th. There were people who questioned the age difference or the fact I was entering in a ready-made family. We went through infertility, miscarriage, parent deaths, job changes, near death of child and then the day-to-day.
We are not a perfect couple. In all honesty, this has been a tough year. We both changed our work situations. We had a child marry and a child graduate. We lost a beloved parent. Just one is what specialists suggest a couple go through in a year. Not all of them. We are both all or nothing personalities and we are both introverts. Affection is not natural for me, and he can be technical. We have different perspectives as parents, especially with medical issues. These truths are challenges.
But, God. We get each other’s jokes and laugh. The jokes we have are precious and goofy. We don’t get away a lot, so our hot tub dates are how we catch up on what’s going on, talk finances, schedule, etc…
We might get annoyed by failure to close cupboards or slurping, but if someone comes against one of us, we have each other’s back. If there’s a good action movie at the cheap theater, we’re all over it.
If you’re contemplating marriage or aren’t quite at year 20, realize those day 1 challenge pictures won’t look the same on day 7. You won’t be the same, either. I pray you are better, stronger, and more committed to oneness than you are right now. It is truly worth it.
Goodreads Giveaway…don’t miss out!
What do you do when hard or painful circumstances turn your world upside down, resulting in a life you never expected? Andrew and Rachel Wilson grappled with this question after both of their children were diagnosed with regressive autism. Refreshingly honest, this book explores the highs and lows of raising children with specials needs, reflecting on the broader question of how to cope with suffering of all kinds. Sharing personal stories from their lives and encouragement rooted in the truth of God’s Word, Andrew and Rachel highlight lessons they’ve learned related to fighting for joy and thriving in the midst of trials—ultimately pointing readers to Christ, the One who promises to make all things new.
The book starts out with transparency as Rachel shares their vacation experience. With each mishap and missed injury or worse, Rachel reminds herself to breathe. With that honesty, I’m captivated and I join her and her husband as they share their story. They have two children with special needs. They use their own stories, great visuals (I love explaining their situation is like receiving an orange for dessert when everyone else gets chocolate,) Scripture and thoughts that provoke the reader beyond the last page.
They are upfront that although their story is about their children, the book is for anyone looking for hope, and I believe that. It was easy to partner with their story and find the hope to cling to. When they admitted this is the book they needed, I agree with them. When our daughter was first diagnosed with special needs, I saw a lot of academic type books, but none that addressed the million thoughts I had racing in every direction at all times. Although I’m a few years past that time, I still found the book refreshing. I felt less alone.
I absolutely recommend THE LIFE WE NEVER EXPECTED. In fact, I have one to give away (please remember if you comment, leave an email where I can reach you.) Please tell me why you should have this book. I’ll pick a winner July 5th.
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
To purchase THE LIFE WE NEVER EXPECTED, click here.
Growing up I never put my Barbie dolls into the plot line that they were going to meet someone ten years older and get married. No, Ken was their age. They went to the same school, lived in the same area. I assumed that was how my life would be.
Fast forward and I graduated college and finally surrendered my singleness. When Tom came into my life I was kind of mad. I was content. If it was going to be me and Jesus I was fine. Imagine my shock when he comes into my life as a divorced man with two kids. And oh right, ten years older.
The age difference didn’t bother me too much because I’ve always been an old soul. I did wonder how it would change through the years. I’ll admit, I see a gap sometimes. It would be tempting to be frustrated by the differences but I try to approach marriage like Rocky.
Yeah, Rocky Balboa.
Here’s what I mean:
- Parenting. As a Boomer, he grew up with the mantra that you can’t swim for 30 minutes after eating. As A Gen X’er, I lived a little more flexible on that rule. If we’ve had a full dinner and dessert of course no one is going in and swimming laps as soon as the fork is put down. But if I’ve had a hard candy, I’m going in. Okay, I’m embellishing it a little but he is a hard liner on this rule.
- Music. I grew up with Michael Jackson, NKOTB, Madonna, everything 80’s. My Pandora covers it all. He loves when CCR plays and I’m not a huge fan. He also loves 40’s music and Southern Gospel. A lot. I’m a fan but I have to take that in small doses.
- Communication. My parents were boomers who believed there is no such thing as fighting or problems, so don’t speak of these things, ever. My husband has the same background. I hated that as a kid because I saw problems all over the place and I wanted to talk about them. I really believe this is in part why I write, I process the things I wanted to chat about as a kid. I am way, way more open than he is and I even hold back.
- TV. Bonanza vs Little House. Tom and my Dad were Bonanza fans. I grew up idolizing Laura Ingall’s life because she had Pa via the 1970’s series. Now that I’m older I think what I was looking at was Michael Landon as an actor. I thought for sure my husband would long to get out the popcorn Ma and Pa style and watch re runs in bed. Ha. He makes fun of Little House. Had I known this, it quite possibly could have been a deal breaker. I realized it’s a Bonanza vs Little House issue, or, Boomer vs Gen X’er. And I still grieve as I watch the re runs all by my Gen X self.
These are pretty minor when you think about it, or, I need to remember they are. Early on I feared the age difference would result in more years alone if he passed away before me. The reality is his health is better than mine and I’ve given him instructions on what to do when I’m gone. I feared we’d be incompatible and he feared I’d be a camp counselor instead of a step-mom. But through the years and age difference we laugh about the same silly things we did back then, we find common TV and music to enjoy, and we’ve found a decent balance when it comes to parenting.
But I’m still mad about Little House.
Okay, so don’t take the title literally.
I’m thinking of the nighttime ritual I have spoken with the kids as a contest for over ten years. It started with our son, almost 17, and then our daughter, nearly 12.
“Sweet dreams, don’t let the bedbugs bite, goodbye!”
That’s our thing. We would pray after tucking in, I would shut off the lights, and somehow it became a contest to see who could say this the fastest and first. Somewhere in the contest instead of goodnight someone, probably me, got confused and said goodbye. And there we were.
Night after night, week after week, month after month we said it. When he was on the threshold of teen years I could tell the game was winding down. And I was okay because his little sister was finally able to verbally join in. And the baton was hers.
Last week she was part of a ceremony where she was crowned for completing a three year program in girl’s ministry. She wore her hair in a bun, a fancy dress, got her crown and sash. She turned her head and it hit me.
I was looking at a young lady.
And whether it was that night or soon after I heard her, exhausted, but still, just say, “Goodnight.”
No sweet dreams. No bedbugs. No goodbye. No contest.
And a part of me felt empty.
Since then she’s kept up with it but I know soon it won’t be the child I’m putting to bed, but our routine.
I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to the bedbugs that is our fun game.
Hey, did you know Write Integrity Press has a new magazine? It’s called Imaginate and it is for readers and writers. The first issue is out and the theme is travel. There is poetry, flash fiction, photography, writing tips and more. Check it out and spread the word!
From the authors of international best-selling marriage book The Love Dare comes The Love Dare for Parents, a 40-day journey of “dares” challenging one or both parents to understand, practice, and communicate Christ-like love to their children.
Easy to read and work into a busy schedule, The Love Dare for Parents is designed to “turn the hearts of parents to their children and turn the hearts of children to their parents” (Malachi 4:6) so that moms and dads can more fully enjoy and delight in their children while maximizing the positive impact they have on their lives long term.
Each day brings a promising key verse from Scripture, a biblical principle about love that applies to parenting, a specific challenge the parent does for the sake of their child, and space to journal thoughts and reflect on what happened that day.
The Love Dare for Parents even includes access to a FREE online parenting assessment, helpfully keyed to select material in the book.
Parents, take the dare!
For anyone that read the original Love Dare, The Love Dare for Parents is the same template. Each dare is a short read full of Biblical wisdom, a place to journal, and of course, a challenge written specifically around parenting. Although I haven’t finished the dares, I plan to. These look like great ways to draw closer to your children and to God. My kids are upper elementary and high school age, so I don’t think I’ll have any trouble. I believe the dares are adaptable for ages different than this.
In an age where kids are plugged in and parents are tuned out, The Love Dare for Parents is an essential tool to bring everyone together, and keep them that way. I definitely recommend.
To purchase The Love Dare for Parents, click here.
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Is there anything new to blog about when it comes to Miley Cyrus?
But I’m going to try.
I wanted to wait a few days so I could let my thoughts marinate and perhaps by the time I put them down, they’d make sense. I also figured by giving it some time, I’d have some good posts from others to pass on.
And I do.
But first, let me share the biggest revelations that came to me regarding Miley’s adult performance during the VMA’s. I didn’t watch it live, and I didn’t watch the entire clip. Didn’t need to.
She’s the visual I have regarding the book I often use when I mentor, Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge, about what happens when girls don’t get their core question answered.
The core question little girls ask is this: Do you think I’m lovely?
They start asking this question before they even know it’s a desire to be fulfilled by their Heavenly Father through Christ.
My favorite example of this question in motion is our daughter at her pre school graduation. She has a twirly skirt on and she’s giving that skirt all she’s got to see the twirl in action. My Facebook page has this if you look for it. Girls twirl their skirts because they want to be noticed. They want someone to let them know they are lovely. Captivating. Worth something.
Dads are the best humans to answer this question in a healthy way, but the gap can only truly be closed by the One who created them. When dads are absent or answer that question through put downs, absence, physical or a worse kind of abuse, the girls will get that question answered.
In all kinds of wrong ways.
And that’s one of the revelations I had regarding Miley. She’s exhibit A of what it looks like when that core questioned isn’t answered. Her definition of lovely is now warped and it is a hamster wheel she’ll keep perpetuating to get that question answered. And only Christ can get her off that wheel. It won’t surprise me if she ups the ante because so much attention came from her VMA display. But it will be a winless quest. Sure, she’ll get media time, blog posts devoted to her, and more money, but in the scheme of life and truly living victoriously, there’s nothing victorious here.
Now for the second revelation.
I wanted to be snarky when I first saw the pictures come through my Facebook feed. When her picture was placed against Jim Carrey when he was on In Living Color, I wanted to hit share and laugh until I snorted.
But I couldn’t.
Because as soon as I felt the temptation, a still voice rose to the surface.
She’s my prodigal.
Whether her claims to Christian faith were genuine when she first moved to California to pursue a career, I don’t know. Over the years I’ve read people who felt the Cyrus family walked it out when they lived in Tennesee. When Billy Ray had the interview after his first public separation with his wife, he talked about how Miley saw the evil in Hollywood and was determined to be His light. He later retracted it, but he felt the Disney machine and her handlers took over. He was a friend instead of a parent. And that light went out.
Even if that’s all a fabrication, she’s still a beloved daughter to her Heavenly Father. He loves her with a depth I can’t even capture with words. He desperately yearns for her to pursue a personal relationship with Him. But He’s not a bully. He’s made it a choice for all of us to take. Even Miley. For her to choose Him is a no-brainer on His part. Even after what we saw at the VMA’s. Even if all the drugs and other choices are all true. He’d accept her without hesitation.
Just like He accepted me.
Compassion, tinged with grief, filled the snark I wanted to share. Although there were a lot of visuals to burn on the brain, the one I can’t shake is her parents facing the throne. Miley explaining how she used the gifts she was created with to further His Kingdom. If that were to happen anytime soon, I can’t imagine the despair.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
For all the Christian families fed up with Miley just being Miley, why not pray for her and her family? That if they knew Christ personally at one point, that they would return and be consistently mentored by families solid in Him. If the whole Jesus card was just a trite thing to say for a young starlet, that it would come back and become a fulfilled prophecy.
I often think about the most wayward celebrities and what the world would look like if that person was on fire for Christ. Sold out, all in, using their gifts and talents to show people who He is and how to know Him. Not in an obnoxious way a lot of new believers are without mentoring, but just confident who they are and their worth in HIm.
That would be captivating.
Other Miley related posts I enjoyed:
A Lesson for Dads (this received so much traffic that as of writing it has been shut down. Hopefully by the time you read it, it will be back up.)