Tuesday, June 26, 2012

39 And Counting...

Really?!  Am I actually turning 39 today?!  I seriously cannot believe it.  Where have the years gone?  So, as you've guessed it's my birthday today, June 26th, and I would rather it not be. 

Again, it has been a long time since I have written a post.  Sorry about that, but life has been pretty puzzling lately.  The last year of my life has been full of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, the biggest blessings and the biggest disappointments.  But every step of the way has been FULL of the Lord's undeserved kindness to me.  And I am so thankful to the Lord that He enabled to me see that in the midst of such disappointments. 

Before we continue, let's recap the last year of my life. 
Nico and I began intentionally dating on June 14, 2011.  We were then engaged on August 17, 2011and married on November 18, 2011.  The first month on marriage was quick and blissful.  Then from about January to now, we've averaged about 3 intense fights per month.  (I  say this not to put my marriage on "blast," but I say it in the spirit of honesty.)  On April 23rd I found out I was pregnant.  And then on June 8th I suffered a miscarriage.  The day after the miscarriage, we went on our belated honeymoon.  Nico and I have struggled in how to deal with this grief and with each other. 

Dating and engagement = blissful.  And what is hard to admitt: marriage = moments of bliss, moments of everyday normalcy, and moments of hurtful fighting.  So, marriage = blissful & disappointing.  I have admitted several times that marriage is hard, but even in the midst of admitting that on here and occasionally to others, I have in other situations with other people have pretended as if my marriage is without these hardships.  I have pretended that everything is always fine, that I'm always fine.  Thanks to the wisdom of a kind friend (PW) lately I have learned so much about my struggles in relationship with the Lord and with my spouse.  First, I look to Nico to fulfill promises that only the Lord has made to me, promises that only the Lord can keep.  Nico's love was never intended to be enough for me.  No man's love for any woman was ever designed to be enough.  In fact, it is designed to deliberately not be enough.  I have gained a marriage, and it is to be counted as loss so that I may understand the value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Phil. 3.8).  I have been married for 7 months now, and for most of it, if not all of, those 7 months, I have taken my frustrations and disappointments straight to Nico instead of 1st and foremost going to the Lord.  As you can probably guess, when I take these frustrations and disappointments to Nico, as it would with any man, it does not end well, thus leading to intense fighting.  Now this leads me to the 2nd thing I've learned about myself lately.  I take my joys and triumphs to the Lord quite easily because it is good to thank him.  But is it good to express your frustrations to him?  Is it good for me to express my frustrations with the good gifts the Lord has given me to him?  The answer should always be a resounding yes.  But this is me.  I have these frustrations with life, with marriage, with the Lord.  I am frustrated with the good gift the Lord has given me, which then leads me to have frustrating thoughts towards the Lord.  This is where the devil uses his knowledge of me.  I am tempted to be frustrated with the Lord.  But what do I do instead of acknowledge these "tempting" thoughts of frustration to Lord?  What do I do instead of talking to him about them?  I suppress them because I don't want them to be sin.  So I fight them off silently all by myself.  Then these thoughts start to reoccur when something else frustrating in my life happens, and again I suppress them, pretend like I did not just experience them.  But here's the glitch in my denial system.  These initial temptations to be frustrated with the Lord turn into actual frustration with the Lord, which is clearly sin, because I have tried to fight temptation on my own.  And what man has ever been able to fight temptation alone?!  Only Christ.  A perfect example of what happens to me is explained in James 1.14 & 15.  "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived given birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."  So as the process follows, I am tempted by my own desire to be frustrated with the Lord.  Instead of going to the Lord with this temptation, I let it fester or "be conceived," which then "gives birth to sin" in my heart.  And without Christ this very sin would lead to my death.  Job confessed, "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  Who is this that hides counsel with out knowledge?...I will question you, and you make it known to me...now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself and repent."  (Job 42.2-6)  I think Job and I would have been BFFs, lol.  When I was single, this struggle centered on the issue of singleness and my struggle with it.  And after trying to fight sin on my own for quite some years, it eventually erupted into all out open bitterness towards the Lord.  Thankfully the Lord was able use that bitterness to drive me to end of me and straight to him. 

Now that I've learned these 2 critical things about how I relate to my husband and my God, what am I to do?  I am to confess.  I am to repent.  Ironically, I do not confess my initial tempting thoughts for fear that I am sinning against a good God.  But because I do not do so, these tempting thoughts become real sin in my heart.  Why am I trying to hide from a loving and forgiving God?!  When these thoughts occur to me, that is when I need to immediately run to my Lord, that is when I acknowledge them for what they are.  That is how I fight sin, I run to Christ at the first glimpse of temptation.  It was only when Job ran to the Lord and acknowledged the truth that he began to genuinely repent and then heal. 

So, now at the ripe old age of 39, how long will it take me to apply the truths the Lord has recently shown me?  I must admit that I am hard-headed and that it takes me some time to apply a lesson I have learned.  This past year has been consumed with amazing blessings and tremendous change.  What does the next year of my life entail?  I guess we'll just have to meet here again next year to recap this coming year and all that it will hold for me. 

Special Note:  I know that my posts are consumed with thoughts about myself (or at least it seems so to me), but please know my intention is to point us to Christ.  I certainly do not want to be guilty of naval gazing.   I feel like the Lord has given me struggles and hardships to learn from and share with others, so that maybe you may be encouraged in the work of a good God in this stubborn sister's life.  The end goal is that we love, appreciate, and reflect more of Christ.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fifty Shades of Sin

I came across this blog post a couple months ago.  But lately I've seen and heard more and more women reading or talking about reading Fifty Shades of Grey.  Sisters, please take time to read this blog posting before reading this best seller.

BTW, new blog post coming soon on recent events in my life.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Follow up to "To Wear or Not to Wear? That is the Question.

I stumbled across this blog today, and thought it fit nicely with my last post. http://womenlivingwell.org/2012/06/i-was-confronted-for-being-immodest/

Here is a portion of the blog post that I found most helpful.

1.  Confrontation is NOT easy to receive but she was right AND she had done it in the right way. 
I appreciated that she called me (confrontation is not easy) and talked to me about it rather than going to other deacon wives and gossiping about me or worse going to the pastor.  (If you have a problem with another woman never go to the pastor first about it – go to the person – it’s Biblical – see these instructions in Matthew 18:15-20).  The only thing I would have changed about her confrontation would have been in the coming months.  When I saw her I felt shame…we would pass in the hall and she never asked me how I was or how my baby was – I would have liked for her to befriend me but that friendship never budded and eventually her family would leave our church. 
2. My heart is reflected in the way I dress. 
Though my heart did not have bad intentions that is not how I was perceived.  I was perceived as immature and as not loving my brothers in Christ purely.  Since my clothing was misrepresenting my heart, I needed to change the way I dress.
3. Young moms need to test their clothes differently than the typical woman. 
When I buy clothes I look in the mirror and check – is it too short? too tight?  or too low cut?  I test all of this standing up in the dressing room in front of a mirror.  BUT young moms can end up in strange positions when caring for our children.  We have to bend down to pull our kids out of carriers – which means skirts go up even shorter or necklines can hang down open.  Babies and toddlers pull on shirts – which means there’s potential for a shirt to be pulled down or off the shoulder…in front of the dads who are dropping their kids off in the nursery.  I have worked in the nursery every other Sunday for nearly 5 years – so I do the shirt and skirt check regularly.  If a dress is loose on top, I just put a tank under it – if it’s a little short for bending down I wear leggings.  I encourage you to test your clothes before wearing them! :)
4. Be on guard against the lies and deception that the world feeds us through magazines and media
In Genesis 3:1-7 we see Satan tempted Eve to take the fruit. He did not put the fruit in her hand and he certainly did not put the fruit into her mouth. All Satan did was tell Eve lies and she became a believer of those lies. Then Eve saw the fruit with her eyes, took it with her hands and then ate it. Then she became Adam’s tempter.
So often we as women – first see the fashion trends and in our desire to be attractive begin to buy into the lies that immodesty is attractive. So just as Eve, we see the clothes and desire to have them. Once we have bought into Satan’s lies it won’t be long before the clothes are hanging in our closet and we are tempting men to have impure thoughts by our sinful choices.
So what do we do?
Summer is here – this is when the most skin shows.  I encourage you to really pray and ponder the clothes that are hanging in your closet.  If the Lord is convicting you about something you should not wear – do not wear it – be bold and toss it in the trash can!  God will be glorified!

Please, sisters, think about what you're wearing BEFORE you walk out of the house or better yet before you buy it.