All this week I’ve been sharing my posts from the recent Facebook Love Your Spouse Challenge. My prayer is I encourage you with a realistic look at marriage. That you can choose oneness and isolation and beat the odds. I believe in you!
LOVE YOUR SPOUSE CHALLENGE, Day 5
This picture is from a cruise we took to Mexico to celebrate our 15th anniversary. From infertility to nearly losing a child to death of a parent and lots of transition, we had overcome so much that should have divided us. Anything we learned came from the FamilyLife Marriage Conference, something we attended as an engaged couple. The biggest principle we still work to apply is to choose oneness. Any relationship has two choices—isolation or oneness. Marriage has to operate in oneness. This was a celebration trip for sure.
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Each birthday I bite my lip and lead the surrender charge by sharing the most vulnerable parts of my life. I reflect on what the new age looks like on me.
Well, hello, 46. What stings is for most of 2016, I was looking forward to turning 45. It hit me in March I already was that age, I was zooming to 46. That didn’t feel as fun. That’s closer to 50.
This is another transition season and whether I’m also in a place God has me battling for my destiny or if a mid life crisis is real, boy, has it been a struggle. To look at me, perhaps it’s not as visible. But battling negative mindsets and fighting off temptations that I know will set me back has been a tiresome time.
If you read here often you know earlier this year I felt God’s strong nudge to make a change with my writing and take things as an indie author and speaker. I’ve re branded what I do to include everything under Surrender Issues and Chocolate. Whatever I write will encourage audiences to find freedom through surrender. My fiction includes chocolate mentions, as do my weekly email and monthly newsletter. I’m close to unveiling the covers to my Surrendering Time series—ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present (re release,) ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past, and ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future. I’m so excited to share these characters and their surrender stories with everyone. The next step will be marketing hard on the aspect that I’m available to encourage audiences through speaking. So my to-do list is daunting.
My husband also took on a new position where he no longer develops computer programming but teaches. He’s a natural teacher and loves it, but it also means he’s able to work from home. At first he was going to go in a few days a week. It’s changed so much that he is usually here every day. The adjustment has been seemless for him. Me? I have struggled. A textbook introvert, I crave space and quiet. I need it like air. And although hue has an office and is tucked away most of the day, I’ve had to adjust to his presence. I’d love to say 46 looks mature on me, but in transparency, I’ve had to fight selfishness to want “my” house back sometimes on an hourly basis.
Our son graduates in May and what a ride it has been. In December he was accepted to Kent State and he will be commuting as he studies education. He is on a quest for his own relationship with Christ, not just tagging along with what we believe. He pressed in prayer for a job and at the 11th hour when it looked like nothing was turning up, he received an offer that gives him steady hours. We still watch Vines and Jimmy Fallon but I was surprised at the grief I’m feeling. We are kindred spirits. He “gets” me and I cherish our chats. I realize from here on in, they won’t be as often.
On the other hand, I am enjoying more girl time with our daughter. She is a daddy’s girl and that bond was so strong it was actually an issue. These days she is balancing her time more, seeking me out when she has questions. But because I manage medicines and behavior, I still get the eye rolls. Her health has had changes and surprises, taking me back to basic faith where I lean hard on Jesus and trust He has our backs.
This year brings about our 20th wedding anniversary and my step-son’s wedding. He was ten when we married, so this is so surreal to me. Wasn’t I just 26??
My body and mind say no. My back aches. My hair turns white two weeks after I color it. I forget names and what I was doing. I used to know cultural things to stay on top of what the kids might be into, but watching some teen award show, I had no idea who the acts are. My picture is from Snapchat, a social media app that teens dominate but the marketing I study says it is a great way to connect with readers. So here I am, trying to understand and be relevant. When every whisper at night says relevant is the last thing I am or do.
My 46 feels like two steps from a freefall, but I’m start enough to cling to the rock of Jesus and not the sand of the world.
Hey, 46. Let’s do this.
If you’re on social media, find me @JulieArduini. I’d love to connect
It’s been a long time. November was all about your thankful posts. They were so plentiful they kept coming in December, along with book reviews. I haven’t had to pen an original thought here in awhile!
So, it doesn’t surprise me I need to start the new year with a bang.
I mean, it’s not every day you see me write “freaking,” right?
It’s not a pretty word. Probably not a word you’d say in front of your pastor.
But I used it recently when
talking venting to Jesus.
I don’t wear masks anymore, and when I’m mad and hurting, I go there. I get it all out and then I confess and then ask, now what?
And that was my December.
The visual I have is when my parents went on a snowmobile ride and we decided to throw snowballs. I didn’t think I’d ever hit a target, we just thought it would be funny to try. So I threw a snowball at my mom, who was enjoying a snowmobile ride. And out of nowhere came that icy blast of round hardness.
That was my December.
Thing is, my snowball was something I specifically prayed about. As in, “Dear Lord, don’t allow this thing in our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” Wrapped it up in an “Amen” bow.
And it still hit.
I couldn’t let that hit go. Because if that happened, what about everything else? That marriage I’ve been praying for. The breakthrough. The healings. Provision I’ve been believing for. I was so mad I wondered why am I even praying anymore? What good does it do?
And then there was the transition. The first Christmas without my mother-in-law. My husband’s dad was without his beloved for Christmas for the first time in 53 years. His dad is 86. It makes sense my husband would spend the bulk of his time there.
So, we drove separate cars. Although we saw him, it felt disjointed. And that’s after a season of heavy work and then time needed for the Christmas concert. Then a business trip. Then a cold.
I’m pretty independent and low maintenance. But it hit me. We’re apart more than we’re together.
And this is so freaking hard.
I promised that anytime I share a confession I would either be through it, or on my way there. So if you’re feeling the same, you can be encouraged. You’re not alone, and you will get through.
I am being authentic. I’ve laid it all out with God and now I’m following His lead. He gave me a song, and that’s giving me comfort. The verse for 2013 is the same for this year.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
I’m going to share my specific confessions to those He leads me to. I know the circumstances won’t change, but at least I’ll be able to move forward in His strength.
How about you? Ever feel this way?
Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting
and His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:4b-5 NASB
All my life, Thanksgiving has been one of the most joyous occasions I can remember. When I was young, we would spend it at Grandma’s house with all my aunts and uncles and cousins. Grandma would have spent days baking and making turkey, dressing, and all the fixings. Mom, my aunts, and grown cousins would contribute to the feast, and there would be so many cakes, pies, Jello desserts, and banana puddings it would take all the counters in Grandma’s kitchen just to hold them. Generally all the tables were filled with food, so we would all take our plates around, fill them with goodies, and then take them outside to eat. If it was too cold out, we’d sit cross-legged on the floors with our plates on our laps.
As an adult, I tried to carry on my grandmother’s tradition. My youngest daughter was born on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so most of her life, her birthday fell near, if not on, Thanksgiving. This gave us even more reason to celebrate, and usually our Thanksgiving dinner was topped off by a birthday cake, since this was the day I could count on her brother and sister and their families being there to celebrate with us.
Thanksgiving is a time I still want my family around me the most, but it doesn’t always happen that way anymore. My youngest daughter is deceased. My son lives too far away, and most of the time my oldest daughter has to travel to take her step-children to visit their biological mother for the holiday. So there is a bittersweet sadness to the joy that once permeated the day for me. But the reason I celebrate it is still there.
I learned it as a very small child. Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so. He’s the reason I celebrate, and He’s the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. I love Him so, and I thank Him for all He had done for me and for my family, bringing us through both the good times and the sorrows. My prayer today is that when we get to that great Thanksgiving feast in heaven on the day we become the bride of the Lamb, my family will all be there; aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brother, in-laws and outlaws, children, and grandchildren, and even the great-greats if the Lord tarries that long. And I pray, Lord, help me to do whatever I can to make that happen. I am Yours. I bless Your Name. For You are good. Your lovingkindness and faithfulness has brought us through even in this generation. Thank You for loving me, for saving me, and for sharing this day with me; a day to give thanks.
Teresa Pollard is from Richmond, Virginia, and was saved at a young age. She has a Masters degree in English and Creative Writing from Hollins College, and has served as a Sunday School teacher and children’s worker for most of the last forty years. Married for forty years, she was devastated by divorce and the death of her youngest daughter, but God has blessed her with a new home and another grandson, and she now resides in Dacula, Georgia. Her website is TeresaPollardWrites.com
Teresa’s books published by HopeSprings Books:
Did you know spiritual seasons mirror the natural ones?
The next natural season is fall. A time of transition. A breaking off and eventual dying of things to bring about something better.
But before that better comes a path filled with darkness and the unknown.
What happens next?
What if I fail?
How am I going to do this?
Those are some of the questions I ask in a spiritual autumn.
When I try to find the answers on my own, it’s one giant, abysmal failure. Every time.
But when I yield to the Holy Spirit, my teacher, friend, encourager and comfort through my friendship with Christ, He gives me pieces to the puzzle. I learn the route. I receive answers. He’s abundant with provision and resources.
And even in the darkness of transition, I don’t feel so alone.
If you’re facing a change, grab hold of the hand gently calling out to you. It won’t be a yell, but a loving whisper. An invitation, not a command.
May your September be blessed!
Picture: Late August moon in Youngstown, Ohio by Julie Arduini