Tuesday, December 31, 2013

His Input

My husband’s input comes in a variety of ways.  Sometimes it’s a new idea he thought of, sometimes a critique or praise.  

Last night I had a bit of a run-in with my candle.  It’s a pillar candle with three wicks, and it has previously melted a hole in its side to leak out - profusely.  After various attempts to prevent this, it happened again last night... while my husband slept and I was out of the room.  I had, shall we say, a bit of a mess to clean up.  It had leaked out of the plate on which I had set it, onto my night stand, into my crocheted headbands, off the nightstand, and onto (thank the Lord) a catalog lying on the carpet.  Some did, however, also seep off of the catalog and onto the carpet.  (There was A LOT of wax.)  Not to mention the splatter back up onto the nightstand.  A bit of a mess indeed.

At any rate, tonight I proclaimed to my husband that I had determined to never again use candles that weren’t contained in some form (at least, not for this particular purpose - a night light until I go to sleep).  This meant that I had a lot of wax from candles that were not contained, and he suggested the possibility that I could make my own candles with it.

The idea had crossed my mind, but I hadn’t been certain of its validity.  (I have a vivid imagination.)  My husband doesn’t suggest something of that nature unless he thinks it has a real chance of success.  I respect and value my husband’s opinion and input, and I had to smile in thanks to God for the validation of my unspoken idea.

I am thankful for my husband’s input, and that God blessed me with a man whose input I value.  Of course, that was part of my list of requirements for a husband, but I also see the Lord giving him wisdom as time advances.  I pray that God gives me wisdom, that my own input is as valuable.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Taking Responsibility

My husband is very mindful of our son.  When the little man is being unruly, needs to be fed, put down for a nap, etc. my husband is usually on it.  It’s even rare that he asks me to do it instead, unless he has something else pressing to do.  I had always figured that would be my job as the mother, but I must say that I’m thankful that my husband has taken prime responsibility for our family.

It isn’t that it’s an inconvenience for me to care for my son.  When my husband does it instead, however, there are any number of things that I can get done during that time.  Us moms always have something going at any given time, and I also have several hobbies that appreciate the time.

My prayer is, though I take “advantage” of his ready responsibility, that I don’t ever take the attitude that it’s my “right” to have that time.  It is my responsibility to take over if he asks me to, and I want to be ready for that.  Occasionally, he does, and I am thankful for that, too.  The more he asks, the more I can serve him that way.  Otherwise, I can include his own goals in the tasks that I can accomplish during the time he gives me by taking care of my son.

Is there something that you might be able to do for a spouse or close friend during your moments of snatched time?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Weekly Impressions - My Prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank You for Your grace and mercy, and that You have called me as Your child.  Thank You for Your institution of marriage, and for the blessing that it is.  Help me to glorify You in mine.  Help me to keep my mind focused on You, and on serving You foremost, with an eye toward those that You would have me serve.

Thank You for the wisdom You have given me in the Bible, and I pray for the discernment to understand it.  Show me Your path in my life, and help me to remember that Your power and grace supersede my decisions.  There is more than one way to do a thing, as You have clearly shown me, and, while my decisions should be weighed according to Your Word, I don’t have to agonize over which way is “best.”  Thank You that, sometimes, You leave the choice to us in such a way that neither is necessarily better than the other - just different.  You will see Yourself glorified.

Thank You for my husband, and give him a good night’s rest tonight.  Thank You for what our son is learning, and I pray that You would give us wisdom in raising him.  I pray, too, that he would come to know You as his Savior, and to walk in an amazing relationship with You.  

Thank You that we have a home to call our own.  I pray You bless it, and the improvements that we work to complete.  Thank You for our cars, that they have been running well, and I pray your continued blessing on them, as well.

Lord, I hunger to know You more.  Thank You for that hunger, and I pray that You always engender its return when it fades.  The knowledge of You is too much to fathom; help me focus on the part of You that I need to in each moment.  Help me not to forget Your ways, and give me the courage to live them.

Protect Your children, and let us know what it truly means to be under Your protection.  Let us understand Your definition as we remember to serve You, and as You see us safely home.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Pantry Project

We have had the idea for a pantry since we purchased our home, and God has blessed us with the resources to begin to build one during our Christmas mini-vacation!  My husband has picked up the hobby of carpentry - trying it on for size, really - and one of the consequent benefits will be an incredibly functional addition to my home.  (I’m not stoked at all...)  I thank the Lord for our pantry project.

The Lord is so good in His timing, orchestration of circumstances and resources, and provision of knowledge.  My husband’s two grandfathers were in town and he had just finished his design plans to run by them.  (He hadn’t planned to finish them in time, the Lord did that.)  As they glanced them over, they immediately came up with a faster and easier way to do it.  (Bless them!)  Shortly thereafter, Christmas was upon us, and we received some generous gifts - some specifically toward our project!  God’s love and provision astound me at times - and I thank Him for the people that He uses to bestow it upon us!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Week Off

It is the habit of my church that the staff receive the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Christmas is a busy time, and it is a great break from all the busyness of events from September through December.  I am very thankful for this time off.

Since my husband has almost a month off from school between fall and spring semesters, we both have the time off.  More time together!  *dance*  I praise the Lord that He planned this time together for us, and smile to see what He will do with it.  In fact, my husband already has designs on that time to build us a pantry.  *more dancing*

I pray that we seek the Lord first in all that we do, but specifically with this time He has allowed.  May we use it best for His glory.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Process

Each new day can bring new challenges to a relationship - especially one like marriage.  As we try to nail down this whole leadership/submission thing, there are bumps on the road.  My husband was feeling a bid inadequate today between some of the challenges we faced (primarily with our son) and our lack of goals for the day (it’s Christmas Eve - we took it as a day of rest).

I am thankful that he has stepped up to the leadership role.  So what if he (and I) doesn’t have it down yet?  Life is a process, and we are learning.  I’m just thankful that he’s willing and working at it.  Things may not always run smoothly, but, honestly, if he did have it down pat, he’d be showing me up quite a bit.  Dealing with that pride would be far less gentle, I think.

I am thankful to be “figuring it out” with my husband.  I am thankful that God has given him a desire to handle things according to His will, and that He is teaching us how to do that.  I am thankful for this process of learning about God.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

School's Out!

Even though my husband is able to take classes during the day, some of his classes were only available at night.  This meant that I didn’t have him some nights - a fact that I catered to, but did not enjoy.  Now the semester is over, and his next semester won’t have any night classes!  This wife is dancing for joy.

I am thankful that school is out, so that I can enjoy more time with my sweetie.  I am thankful that he was able to attend school - and for the scholarships and assistance that we have received - but I am also thankful that we are past the main hump.  Honestly, I may have to curb some of my excitement in order to last through the next semester.  I am definitely looking forward to what God will do with his degree.

Monday, December 23, 2013


One of the things that attracted me to my husband was his sense of humor.  He’s often a rather serious and reserved type of person, which can make his humor come seemingly out of the blue.  It’s quite fun, really.

Today was a nice day of just spending some time with a few of my side of the family.  I don’t often get to see much of his humor during the work week, but it makes itself pleasantly known when we get to just hang out with people.  To be honest, I feel a small measure of wifely pride when it surfaces.  I often take that opportunity to use his humor to reenforce my love for him.

I thank the Lord for my husband’s humor, both for opportunity to love him in my thoughts, and for the enjoyment that the humor itself brings.  His humor is just one of the ways that my Savior ministers to me.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Fulfillment

Our toddler just discovered how to climb out of his crib.  This makes for a bit of fun.  What am I thankful for in this?  That my husband took the lead!  I was there to back him up, but when it came time to put the little man down for his nap, my husband dealt with making sure he stayed there.  He repeated the discipline for the more difficult evening bedtime.  I am so glad that I didn’t have to be the main person on that.

I really appreciate the husband/wife relationship, specifically in the leadership sense.  God created me with a natural bent to support, and when I can do so, I have the luxury of knowing that my purpose is fulfilled.  Perhaps not when my focus is awry, but that’s all the more reason to continue to lift my eyes up to God and His Word.  Accomplishing my own tasks is satisfying, but being used by God for His purposes is truly fulfilling.

The beauty of it is that God is sovereign and always using me for a purpose.  It is far better for me when I choose to be used by Him, but He will see His will done.  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

All things.  I find such peace in those words.  I pray that I am mindful of God’s will in my life, and that I choose His will over mine.  His peace is beyond fulfillment.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Make Decisions

My husband has been making more of an effort to lead our family, which leads to a great many decisions for him to make.  I may not always like his decisions, and he doesn’t always confer with me before he makes them, but honestly, I’m still glad that he makes them.  It makes my job as a wife much easier, because I know what he wants and where he stands, and thus, can more easily determine how to support him.  It takes out a bit of the guesswork.

I can’t remind myself enough:  being a wife is my main ministry.  When I consider it from that perspective, it’s like I can “just relax and do my job.”  I don’t need to be so concerned with own personal desires, etc, because it is my service to God to be concerned with my husband’s goals.  Knowing that I am serving the perfect and omniscient Creator in something that He has set for me to do brings a peace in and of itself.

In a much smaller way, when my husband makes a decision, it brings a peace for me to know how I can serve him, too.  I am thankful that he makes decisions.  I pray that the Lord keeps drawing my stray focus back to my main ministry, and the peace that serving Him brings.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

His Life

Toward the beginning of our marriage, I was often plagued by the thought of losing my husband.  It gripped me with fear.  It took awhile before I was finally willing to place his life fully within the arms of my Savior.  Knowing that God, in His sovereignty, was in total control of whether or not my husband lived, and that whatever happened fell under that sovereignty with the aim of my good and His glory went a long way.

I realized that even if my husband died, it would be because the Lord had determined it best for me.  That wasn’t easy to take, but the Lord brought me around to the full joy that being able to rest in His control brings.

While I certainly don’t want my husband to die, I know that I’ll be fine if he does; God will see to that.  I know, too, that it is God’s gift that he is still with me.  Each and every day, my husband is here because God wills him to be.  (So am I, for that matter - and every other person, animal, and thing on this planet.)  Bearing that mortality and reliance in mind, it makes me abundantly thankful to my Savior for His gift of my husband’s life.

I praise Him for His vastness, power, and sovereignty.  May I hold fast to that focus.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I was struggling a bit tonight, and it was nice to have my husband to lean on.  He noticed, too, and asked about it (which is also nice).  When I told him that I was struggling with feeling anxious about choosing something to be thankful for, he pointed out that the point of the exercise wasn’t to choose something different; it was to be thankful.  While I have made it my goal to have 1,000 different thankful things, it robs me of my joy to get so caught up in it that it defeats the purpose of the exercise.

I have been using my blog to help me get into the mood of being thankful.  When I begin, I may not always be there, but by the time I finish, I almost always am.  It’s a helpful turnaround.  

I have found, however, that it is also important to not wait until I write my entry to be thankful.  I should be thankful at all times.  Each new thing I write about is ammunition to remember for later in order to help me be thankful at all times.  I don’t have to wait until I write my blog, or have my quiet time, or am driving in my car thinking to myself... I should always be striving to have a mindset of thankfulness.

I am thankful for my husband’s advice, that God used him to remind me of the purpose behind this exercise.  I thank the Lord for His reminders, and that He gave me a husband who is also mindful of His will.  Has the Lord used your spouse or a good friend to remind you of His will lately?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Keeping in Contact

I am thankful that I can keep in contact with my husband throughout the day.  I don’t always, but it’s wonderful to have available.  I had a few questions to text him today and sent emails about a couple of things so that I wouldn’t forget to ask him.  It can also make things run more smoothly when I get home; we’re both on the same page about what we’ll do that night.

God provided us with the technology to keep in touch, and for that, I am very thankful.  It just makes it easier to be a unit.  May we remember to keep our eyes on Him in all that we do.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Choosing to Love

When God created marriage, He created it as a life-long (which, at that time, was eternity-long) relationship.  That takes commitment.  That takes work.  That takes choosing to love your spouse.  Odd as it may sound, I love that.

That choice can be difficult at times.  When my husband sins, for example.  Yet even that is a way to pass on the love that Christ has given me.  What a privilege!  I digress, though.

I love choosing to love my spouse.  It isn’t just a momentary thing.  It’s more like dwelling.  I Love That He’s Mine, I love to think about him, I love to think of how much I love him, how nice he feels, how good he can be to me, and of God’s ministry to me through him.  Enough of this type of dwelling, and I can really infatuate myself with my husband.  (In a good way.)  The very thought of him can bring that emotion of love washing over me, along with a contented grin.  I love choosing to love my husband.

It is, to a much lesser degree, similar to how we are to choose to love God.  There is certainly more to loving God than just thinking about Him - but that’s the place to start.  I’ve done it enough that when I’m going about my day, and my thoughts turn toward God, I feel that wash of emotion:  of love; of being loved; of peace in the knowledge that He’s in control; even of loving being loved.  

That single turning of thought toward God is suddenly filled by all the knowledge of my earlier dwelling - or meditation - and in that instant, I can refocus.  It’s similar to the feeling of a moment of clarity.  It doesn’t have to only last a moment, though.  I can choose to continue in that focus.

Now we have our ups and downs in our spiritual walk.  I am not promising an immediate shift in focus and wash of good feeling every time.  Our spiritual walk is a battle.  That choosing to love Him - that dwelling or meditation upon Him - is, however, an awesome weapon to have in your arsenal.  I am thankful for the act of choosing to love.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Priorities

You may have noticed that I’ve taken a week-long hiatus from my blog.  We’ve been busy!  My book finally “hit the presses” on December 13th, and is available for purchase now!  (Just a little excited... and thank you so much for your support!)  I’ve also gotten my own site up and running:  JenariSkye.com.  Besides these endeavors, I’ve been working to finish Christmas gifts, perform my prescribed physical therapy exercises, and - most importantly - to prioritize my quiet time with God.

It is interesting to me that my quiet time has needed to be separate from - or at least an addition to - writing my blog entries.  In the past, when using a devotional, it was no problem to incorporate it into my quiet times.  However, in writing my own daily devotionals, I find that I need to be purposeful to be washed with the water of the Word (the Bible), to allude to a passage in Ephesians 5:26.  Without it, my focus can easily stray in my own thoughts and ideas.  Thus I have found it tantamount to prioritize a quiet time of reading my Bible, and of praying - without distraction - in God’s presence.

It has been a refreshing time, and a discipline that I will continue.  Finding time for it isn’t always easy, which is why I have begun to question that way of thinking.  Rather than “finding time” for my quiet time, it should be my top priority.  I should be “finding time” for my blog, not for my quiet time.  If one thing is to remain steadfast, it should be my quiet time.  This is not to say that I won’t ever miss a quiet time, or even that God won’t orchestrate something that may displace it on occasion.  It is to say that, so far as I’m concerned, it is to be a main priority.

That having been said, it is also important that I don’t lose sight of why that’s a priority.  It is a priority because I need to spend time with my Savior, and to continue to wash myself of this world that isn’t my home.  To refocus.  To serve Christ and keep Him first.  

There may be times when my husband needs me during the time that I have set aside for my quiet time.  Ideally, he will prioritize my quiet time with God as much as you do, but sometimes my husband and I may be in the middle of a conversation that really should be finished.  We have to decide whether it would be a better service of God for us to pause and me to have my quiet time, or to continue - and perhaps I’ll just read a little Scripture after our conversation before going to bed.

It’s all too easy for me to let my priorities become an end in and of themselves.  I must remember that ultimately, all things are for His glory.

Friday, December 6, 2013


My husband and I have been pretty exhausted over the past few days.  It showed in both of us as we woke up last morning and both made it evident to the other that we were tired and did not want to do anything.  We then discovered that the pipes had frozen the night before, and didn’t have any real way of checking that they hadn’t burst before we had to go to work and school.  As the day wore on, I really struggled with my exhaustion, not only in the short-term, but the long-term.

As my husband goes to school, I have been the main source of income.  It has been a year-and-a-half and he only has a month to finish this semester, and then has just one more semester to get his A.A.  I, however, am feeling the pressure of being a working mom with a blog, a book, a dirty home that’s about a half hour from anywhere or anyone, quiet times to prioritize, and knitting projects for Christmas gifts (since we can’t afford to purchase gifts otherwise).  This is certainly not to say that my husband isn’t doing anything - he has been working on our home in his spare time and takes care of our son between school and homework (no easy feat, with a busy two-year-old).  I’m just feeling the pressure, which does nothing for my weariness.

My husband texted me at work today to let me know that he was home putting insulation on the pipes.  He also said that he was considering staying home to get some chores done, and would I like to pick up our son from “Nani’s” after work and go straight home to have hamburgers for dinner and spend a bit of time together.  This did so much to minister to my heart that was focusing on myself instead of my amazing sovereign God.  

My husband was weary, too, and here he had gone home, done some of my chores, cleaned up a bit, and made me dinner - not to mention the opportunity to spend time with him!  The sheer compassion in my husband’s turn-around from that morning shot straight to my heart, and I felt so blessed!  My husband couldn’t have done this without the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit also worked in me to remind me of Himself.  I thank the Lord for the compassion He stirred in my husband, and for the reminder of who He is, and of how I can look to Him and live in His joy amidst my trials.

Has your own focus strayed lately?

Priority Check

My husband and I got to spend a little time together last night - not much, but some.  I’d like to think that I treasure that time even when we’ve already had time to spend together, but I must admit that I absolutely cherish that time together when it has been awhile.  During this cherished time, we were checking up on each other to see how things were going in day-to-day life, and I admitted that I was struggling.

His immediate question was about my quiet times.  How were they going?  Well... they weren’t really, since they had kind of fallen by the wayside.  The Holy Spirit uses my blogging time to bring my thoughts around toward Christ, but they are no substitute for a quiet time.  To this, he responded with the question as to why I didn’t have my quiet time before I did my blog.  That, I thought, was an excellent question.

The time I spend on my blog is important, certainly, but its importance doesn’t rival that of a quiet time.  To spend some undistracted time with God, instead of just taking some time to turn my focus toward Him (which, eventually, should be a constant practice), is very important.  Just as I was spending time with my husband, I needed to spend some time with my Savior.

I am thankful to have a husband who will help me with a priority check.  Love shows through discipline and reproof, and God certainly reproved me through my husband.  I thank the Lord for His love and reproof, and pray for the humility to prioritize Him instead of what I want.  In fact, I pray that I would want Him more.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I have begun physical therapy, and my therapist assigned a series of exercises.  These exercises don’t take very long and are incredibly easy, but I find it difficult to set aside time for them.  A strategy I use to assure that I do them, is to put the aid that I use in the middle of my living room.  Each night when I arrive home, I immediately lie down on the rolled up towel in the middle of my living room and begin one of the prescribed sets of exercises.

We often arrive home just before bedtime.  This means we are both eager to be done with anything else and just crawl into bed.  My husband always carries our sleeping son from the car to his bed, then climbs into his own, while I start my exercises.  Now that the weather has turned cold, our cat comes in to eat a bit at night, and needs to be fed before we turn in.

Ordinarily, I would add this to my own list to do before bed.  However, my quiet time and blog are also on that list.  So, to help me finish everything that needs to be done before my consciousness fades, my husband will feed the cat for me.  It’s a small gesture that may not take much, but the collaboration means a lot to me.  It means he cares, and it means that he is willing to help in my care.

I am thankful that my husband is willing to work collaboratively with me not only to accomplish tasks, but also to minister to me.  It has been difficult for me to have this same attitude toward him lately, but I am thankful that my Savior continues to remind me.  I pray that I might be able to make the focus switch from myself to my husband (and to Christ) in order to serve my husband and bring God glory.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

His Unexpected Call

We had plans for tonight to go to a surprise dinner for my sister’s birthday.  Toward the end of my work day, my husband called me to confirm some plans.  It wasn’t a special call, but I was exhausted most of today and hadn’t been expecting his call.  Simply to hear his voice in my exhaustion was a wonderful uplift to the end of my workday.

While it was a brief call - and I had certainly wanted to prolong it - I let him hang up to continue his day.  It was enough to relish all the good feelings and memories that his voice evoked.  My husband is mine, and he loves me, and I love him.  I just love that.  So even a little call from him to check up on details of our plans made for a smile and encouragement.

You never know what God might use to encourage someone - including your spouse.  The effect is usually more powerful when intentionally employed.  I haven’t done a whole lot in that realm of late... I’ll have to devote some thought to it and plan to do a little something for my husband.  When was the last time you intentionally encouraged your spouse?

Monday, December 2, 2013

His Support

This last Sunday saw me singing with a choir in a performance of select songs of Messiah by George Frideric Handel.  I was still sick, we couldn’t afford for my husband to go, he had to watch our little man while I was gone, and not only did I not know my part as well as I would have liked, but neither did my entire section.  My husband can be so very supportive.

I’ve mentioned before that it surprises me when he is content to stay home and let me Go Have Fun.  I’m glad that I don’t take his support for granted, and it evokes a mild grateful surprise in me every time I encounter it.  In this case, his support wasn’t only expressed by his attitude of “Go have fun,” but in his encouragement (amidst my complaint, even) that I could only do my best and that God was in control.  He watched our son while I took some extra time to go over various parts (in other songs we would perform, as well).  My section didn’t do superbly, but we were able to do well enough not to ruin anything - always a good thing - and to hold up our part.

I am thankful that my husband supports me and shows me his love through pointing me back to God.  Sometimes, I find it a bit hard because I’m already being prideful and there he is pointing it out to me.  Yet, at those times, I can realize that the very fact that it pricks my pride means that I really do need to be humble.  As much as I may not want to be humble in that moment, it is best to be faced with the truth.  Today, however, it felt more like a gentle reminder than a prodding prick.  

Is there a way in which your spouse shows his or her support?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Perspective Shift

One of my greatest enemies - in my marriage and otherwise - is my selfishness.  It most often surfaces in my frustration; I have had to ask my husband for forgiveness a few times this past week.  I realize, too, that this is a result of letting my focus stray from God to settle on myself.

For instance, dinner was prepared a bit late a couple nights ago, and it was getting past the little man’s bedtime.  He was getting a bit fussy, too - definitely ready to go to bed.  In my mind, I knew that dinner would be ready soon, and that little man should probably be down by that time.  We could wait until after dinner (little man had already eaten his own dinner), otherwise someone would have to give him his milk during dinner.  My mom-in-law set dinner on the table, and sure enough, my husband says, “Time to put him down!”

I did not want to put him down and not only eat a cold dinner afterward, but also miss everyone’s company.  My husband said he wasn’t hungry, though, and offered to put him down.  At least that only meant missing my husband’s company, though I wasn’t stoked about that, either.  However, little man decided that he was still hungry, and asked for some food.  So we all sat down to dinner (which was nice, really).  Little man soon decided he was done, though, and picked up whining where he had left off earlier.  My husband, in the meantime, had begun eating a piece of pizza, which left little man whining in his seat.

I didn’t know what to do - if my husband now wanted me to put him down, or if I should let little man out of the chair to run around while we finished eating, or if my husband was going to handle it any second.  I waited for some sort of queue from my husband, but finally my frustration began to show.  

Now this may not sound very bad on my part, and may even sound justified.  However, when I looked at it in view of God’s perspective rather than how the world looks at it, I realized that my focus was not on God, or even on others - it was on myself.  Why was I frustrated?  Because things weren’t being dealt with as I thought they should be.  As if that even mattered in light of following God’s will.  Wanting to run things my own way was not a portrayal of God.

It was a good thing to try to submit to my husband in waiting for a queue, but I could have let him in on where I was, too.  I could have asked.  I also could have suggested to my husband ahead of time that we might want to plan ahead and put the little man down before dinner, instead of grumbling to myself that I had to submit to his poor planning.  I had a wrong view of submission, too.

I am thankful that the Lord pointed out my incorrect perspective to me.  It is much better to be able to see the problem and attempt to deal with it better in the future, than to continue living in my grumbling selfishness.  I thank the Lord that He loves me enough to point out my mistakes.  Has He pointed out a perspective shift to you recently?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Our Families

Both of our families live in the area, so Thanksgiving is a bit of a shuffle between houses from one dinner to the next, but it’s worth it.  Unfortunately, I was sick this year, and so we were unable to make it to both.  We didn’t want to get the one family sick, but the other had given it to me, and the cold had already run its course through their bodies.  While we missed the one family, at least we did get to attend one Thanksgiving dinner with family.

One thing that I truly appreciate about both of our families (aside from getting to spend time with them!) is that they all support us in our marriage.  We are all here for one another, and can lean on one another during times of struggle.  Our families have both been through those hard times with us, and I am truly thankful for their love and support, without which things would have been even more difficult.

Are you struggling in your marriage right now?  If so, have you reached out to the support that God has given you in your family or close friends?  Even if they don’t know how to answer (should you have a question), their support can be a welcome relief.  If the problem is ongoing, perhaps it is time to prayerfully consider biblical counseling, if you haven’t already.  The Lord always provides the tools that we need to carry out His will and commands; we just need to be willing to use them, and to take the time and discipline required to then carry out His will.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Willing to Listen

I’ve been sick this past week, and haven’t been the most patient - the most selfless - wife.  I knew that I was struggling, and I was trying to deal with it.  Of course, it’s not the easiest thing when you want to be selfish, and must discipline yourself not to be.  It can take me awhile to get myself steered in the correct direction.  When I finally had, I told my husband that we needed to talk.

One of the things that I had planned to do was to ask forgiveness, but I also wanted to let my husband know about something that had been bothering me.  With him going to school, I have the main income burden, and it has started to wear a little harder on me lately.  We only have one semester left once we finish this one (a month away!), so it makes sense to continue, but I needed to let him know that I might need some extra encouragement and grace.

When I have something to tell him, I always appreciate that he is willing to listen.  No matter how hard it may be to hear, he wants to hear my thoughts and feelings and to take them into consideration.  That consideration may be a correction of my selfishness, etc., but he strives to do it out of his love for me, and as his role as my shepherd - my leader.  

We don’t always get it right, and we don’t always communicate clearly to one another, but when our hearts are in the right place, it goes a very long way, and not only fosters our unity, but creates a safety net out of that unity.  Our marriage is a safe place to talk.  God designed marriage as a life-long commitment for a reason, and I praise Him and thank Him for that wisdom.

Are you willing to listen?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

His Loving Hand

Last night as I went to sleep, my husband placed a hand on my side.  He knew I was sick and not feeling well, and he just wanted me to know he loved me.  He does this often, and not just when I’m feeling poorly.  Sometimes he’ll give me a brief and light massage with his hand, and sometimes he’ll just rest its warm comfort on my skin.

He goes to sleep before I do most of the time, since I stay up a bit later to do my blog in bed.  Yet that hand will still often reach out its loving touch just to tell me he loves me.  It brings a smile to my face and even helps me relax a bit, if my thoughts are particularly pensive.  I tease him that, if he goes to sleep before me, he’s leaving me all alone, and I think that hand is partly a small reassurance that he’s there.  He sometimes lets it rest on me until he’s fallen asleep, at which point I may or may not remove it.

I am thankful for my husband’s loving hand, that it’s one of the ways in which he tells me that he loves me.  I thank the Lord that my husband didn’t choose to simply tell me he loved me once, and assume that took care of it, but that he instead understands that reaffirmation is incredibly helpful.  

We “reaffirm” our love to one another often, and it can manifest in different ways:  verbally, by touch, an act of service... it’s really as broad as your imagination, so long as you have explained it to your spouse.  There are also certain things that will speak more to your spouse (or to you) that may differ.  For example, his love is most real to me when he is touching me - even if he’s simply resting his hand on my side.  My love for him is most real to him when I show him my respect in submission.

When was the last time you told your spouse that you loved him or her?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

His Tech Skills

Today was a stay home sick day.  It was also the last day of class for the Marriage and Family course of the Cornerstone Biblical Counseling Training Center.  This counseling training center is run through our church, of which I happen to be the secretary.  The last day of class means the first day of registration for the next course (which will be “Level 3:  Advanced Issues”), evaluation forms, certificates of completion, a cake (to be picked up from Costco), and the usual Keynote slides, teacher notes, and student handouts.  It would have been a very busy day at work.

Fortunately for me, I have willing coworkers, and a crazy tech guru for a husband.  So, despite staying home sick, I was able to remotely share my work computer’s screen, as well as access the files on the server at our church.  This meant that I was still able to create the slides for the presentation, as well as the student handout off of the teacher notes that the teacher sent me.  This also meant that I could print them all on the printer at work (sweet!).  (I also could have done the evaluations, registration forms, and certificates of completion given these tools, but my coworkers blessedly dealt with those for me so that I could get a little rest.)

Without my husband’s tech skills, I never would have been able to do all of that from home, and may even have needed to go into work today, at least for a little while.  This is but one example of why I am thankful for his tech skills, as he has given me a great many tools on my computer, iPhone, and AppleTV, not to mention even having those things.  Then there’s the projector, our awesome speakers, my midi controller keyboard (complete with hammered keys!), and our home network.  You can tell it’s one of his hobbies.  (Expensive, yes, but who isn’t willing to save and spend money on a hobby - especially one with such perks!)

All this to say that my husband’s tech skills have a significant (and positive) impact on my life.  I am thankful that God gave him the skill and passion for it, and I enjoy supporting him in it.  What are some of your spouse’s skills that you might be thankful for?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sit and Talk

When we were courting, my husband and I talked a lot.  I would say that at least 80% of our time was spent sitting and talking to one another.  We had a lot to talk about, sharing beliefs, thoughts, ideas, goals, etc.  Soon after we were married, we both noticed a decrease in the amount of time we spent sitting and talking.  

It wasn’t that we didn’t want to, or that there was some mysterious switch that inverted when we married, it was that we ran out of things to talk about (or so we thought).  We already knew and shared our spiritual beliefs, we spent enough time together to know what was going on in each other’s lives - there didn’t seem to be much to talk about anymore.

I have missed it.  It isn’t just that I’m talking with my husband, it’s that I’m sharing with him and getting to know him better.  Certainly, I know a lot about him, but I will never be able to know everything.  Besides, things change, whether goals, or favorites, or plans, etc.  There are also periods of the day that I’m not with him.  I don’t have to know every detail, but I want to know how his day went, if anything stood out to him, and what he feels like doing and why.  I also want to share these of myself with him.

Today, my husband picked out a chunk of time for us to spend together, just the two of us.  What did we do?  We sat and talked!  (Though it may not have ended there...)  Husbands, just to let you know, to sit and talk with your wife is the next best thing to sex for her.  Talking enables you to know one another better.

I am thankful for the time that my husband carved out to sit and talk with me.  The more I know my husband, the easier it is for me to submit to him in unity - simply because I know his desires and goals.  If he can tell me the why of things during those times, it’s very helpful; I can begin to respond even before he asks (though I’ll still check in with him), which increases our efficacy.

It is amazing how God made wives and husbands to complement one another.  I pray that our focus remains on him, so that our “effectiveness” is put to His good use.  When was the last time you sat and talked with your spouse?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Better than Life

Psalm 63:3
"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You."


I know I have been selfish this past week - and especially in the last couple days.  Even as I recognized it, I had trouble pulling my focus back to You.  I thank You for Your patience.  Thank You that, no matter what we do, You still love us, having adopted us as Your children.  Thank You that I am learning to be more like You, despite my failings.  Thank You for Your Divine Power that grants us everything that we need for life and godliness.  (2 Peter 1:3)

Thank You for the ability to live in Your Joy.  Thank You that we don’t have to focus on ourselves, and for being who You are.  Thank You that You also give us others here on whom to pour Your love.  Help me especially to remember to pour out Your love to my husband.

Your lovingkindness is better than life.  I am overwhelmingly privileged to live in Your love.

Thank You, Lord,


Friday, November 22, 2013

Time Relaxing Together

Tonight was a lovely evening of time spent together with my husband.  We arrived home much earlier than usual, and made use of the time to relax and attend to our hobbies while still spending time with each other.  

First, we watched the most recent of an anime show that we enjoy.  Then, we listened to our current audiobook.  We let it play most of the night as we did other things.

I decided to take a break from working on my book’s formatting (almost done! I think...), and knitted awhile, enjoying the relaxation.  I did also get the laundry done.  My husband worked a bit on sharpening the plane he plans to use (which is pretty neat, since it was my great grandfather’s) when we paint our interior doors.  Our kitty came in and out during the evening, and we had put our son to bed upon arriving home.

It was wonderful to spend some time relaxing with my husband.  He even gave me a massage, too.  I do rather love spending time with my sweetheart, and we don’t often get to relax together.  I usually think that I should always be doing something productive, which seems to translate as always being busy.  Yet, I think, it is good to relax while being productive, too.  If you can find something like that - and even to be able to do it in company with your husband who is doing the same - then I think you will find a measure of God’s blessing in feeling content and fulfilled.

That’s not to say that you do, in fact, always have to be productive.  That is something slightly below a conviction for me that I wrestle with, but enjoy when I can satiate the feeling.  Though if you really wanted to split hairs, rest itself is, in fact productive, when used wisely.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Trips to the Store

We have been intending to go to the store for a little while now, as there are a few sundry groceries that we need to buy.  Actually getting there has been the trick.  My husband meant to go yesterday, while I was out having fun, but forgot.  So I found a little time tonight after the little man went to sleep.

Thanks to grandparents, I was able to leave, and even had the luxury to take my time.  I prefer to take my time at the store for the simple reason that I often forget things.  Even with lists, as I peruse through the store, I often find things that I forgot to add.  I find it fulfilling to be able to take a trip to the store when my husband can’t - especially if I can take my time and be sure that I bought everything that we needed.

I am thankful for trips to the store, that in them, the Lord provides a way for me to serve my husband (and family).  I’m not much of a homemaker, but I am finding the desire to learn more and more of late.  (I think that, in part, I have this thankful exercise to thank for that; I see more and more of what my husband does for me, and want to do things for him in return.)  As the Lord brings to light new ways in which I can serve my husband, I find myself thankful for them.  (Not that a trip to the store was new, but the Lord has begun to show me new ways.)  When my heart is in the right place, it is a blessing to serve.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Go Have Fun

My husband has class on Tuesday night, which is also the night of our Community Group.  Instead of having a continual season for community groups, our church has sessions and breaks.  We just finished one such session, and many of the groups meet a few times in between.  Ours decided to have a game night.

As it happened, my husband had an exam that night, which meant that he would be finished with school a bit early and could come.  However, he came down sick the day before, and was unable to come.  Whenever he has to stay home while I’m out, I always feel a little pull not to leave him.  He, however, is more than willing to let me go have fun.  Even if it means taking care of the little man by himself.

His willingness is freeing.  I can go have fun with friends knowing that he really doesn’t mind that I’m not with him.  In fact, he’s glad that I’m out having fun.  It’s times like those that my Savior’s heart shines through my husband.  I love my husband - and am quite thankful that he will tell me to “Go have fun!”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Midnight Watch

Our two-year-old son has recently been waking up in the middle of the night.  I’m not quite sure what the cause is, but I do think that he hasn’t been eating enough, and may be waking up hungry.  In any case, my husband has decided to take over "the midnight watch.”

This is a real blessing for me, as my sleep has been pretty hit-and-miss as to whether or not I wake up refreshed.  It isn’t that I’m up at night thinking - I’ve actually gone to sleep rather well lately.  It’s that my actual sleep may be restful one night, and then not for the next three.  As to the reason, I can only guess that my physical issues play a factor.

I am thankful that my husband takes the midnight watch for me.  I hear our son’s cries first, but he has me wake him up so that he can deal with it while I rest.  Once again, I am blessed by my Savior’s ministry to me through my husband.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Finances are one of those things that it’s easy to get stressed over - especially if you aren’t on the same page as your spouse.  We were blessed to attend Financial Peace University.  We budgeted before going - and weren’t so bad off - but the tools and concepts we learned there (like spending every dollar ahead of time and how to be on the same page with one another) have helped us to really make our money count.  It’s why they call their university “Financial Peace.”

Our budget has been a bit tight for awhile now, with my husband going to school.  Looking back, though, I realize that I haven’t been stressed over it.  Sure, we haven’t been able to do some things we want to, and have been leery about spending a fortune on my physical issues (which can be a black hole), but we haven’t been stressed about it.  

Budgeting isn’t the only reason for our lack of stress, but it is definitely instrumental.  We have sought to follow God in each major step we’ve taken (school, work, buying a house, etc.), and know that God will care for our needs no matter our circumstances.  He is sovereign over those circumstances, and nothing is outside His jurisdiction.  Knowing this, we plan our finances with one another on a month-to-month basis, and have held onto our emergency fund.  We haven’t been in debt (except for our home) for about four years now, and that, too, is a blessing.

I am thankful for budgeting, that God, in His wisdom, created a way for a husband and wife to not only express their unity in their finances, but also to be good stewards of the resources that He has given us.  I look forward to what God will use our budgeting to accomplish.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Every Thought Captive

My focus is so important.  Whatever is the object of my focus is also what I am putting on the throne of my heart.  It can be difficult to keep that focus on God - to give Him all of my worship (which is mostly due to my shifting focus), - and to live my life in the light of a focus on Him.  “...Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11c)

God has allowed my chronic pain to worsen, and it can be hard not to focus on the pain.  It is so constant, and no doctor seems to have an explanation, nor a treatment.  Yet, as I continue to remind myself, my hope is not in doctors, or lack of pain, or treatments, or man.  My hope is in the Lord.

I am to “...take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ[.]”  (2 Corinthians 10:5b)  Christ is no less my Savior, and no less sovereign over my circumstances.  When I can bring my focus around to Him, and remember that He has put this trial in the lives of my family for our good, and for the good of His children, then I can be thankful.  I can rejoice and sing praises to the One who is worthy of more than I can give.  Praise the Lord for His good will!

Friday, November 15, 2013

His Understanding

As things degenerate with my chronic condition, I cannot express how much I appreciate my husband’s understanding.  I haven’t been able to do as much, whether it’s the chores, taking care of our two-year-old, or even (this past week) to not go to work for a day.  There has been no accusation that I’m shirking my responsibilities or being lazy, and he has picked up some of the slack that I have dropped.  

I do think this is due (at least in small part) to our communication.  I have tried to be intentional about letting him know how I’m feeling, and he has been asking what I would like to get done.  Between the two, we are able to give and take to do what needs to be done.  Having that understanding with him relieves a huge weight of responsibility that I know I would put on myself otherwise.  In a way, it’s as though he supports my conclusion that I shouldn’t (or perhaps can’t) do as much.  The Lord has given me a true blessing in having that understanding with my husband.

I pray that the Lord would continue to guide us in our understanding of and with one another.  I thank the Lord for my husband's ministry to me of understanding.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Trusting to God's Care

I stayed home from work today.  Not due to sickness, just a combination of exhaustion and pain from my pinched nerve and fibromyalgia.  Last night when I went to bed, I knew that I would be a mess in the morning if I didn’t get a really good night’s sleep.  It’s no coincidence that the Lord chooses those times to assure that I’m relying on Him.

I pulled the covers over me last night in order to enter the land of sleep, knowing that I needed to place my hope in the Lord rather than in getting rest that night.  It was a good thing, because I woke up several times during the night, whether for the cat or my two-year-old son.  (His stall tactics - “Hug!” “Kiss!” - are still cute, even in the midst of exhaustion.)  It was a fight to keep my hope in the Lord and not to want rest more than to serve Him, but He sustained me through the night.

The verse that helps me in these situations is 1 Peter 2:23b “...while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously[.]”  This verse comes after a command to submit to every authority that God has put above you.  It’s a reminder to me that God is in control of every authority in my life, and that I should entrust myself to Him.  I see my circumstances as God’s authority, too, and can still entrust myself to Him in the midst of those.

When the alarm went off in the morning, I just couldn’t bring myself to get up.  Both of us were tired, and we hit the snooze button for half an hour.  My husband rose and did some exercises, fed the cat, and started getting our son up before I even roused myself out of bed.  

I’ve been struggling with the balance between being lazy and needing rest of late, so I kept pushing myself.  I wasn’t worth much, even after breakfast, and my arms have felt more and more useless of late.  I still have full use of them, I think it just takes a little more effort to use them than it might if my nerve weren’t pinched.  In the end, I decided it would be better to rest for a couple of hours and then see if I’d be any good to work.  

The Lord knew that I needed rest, and while He didn’t provide it at the time that made the most sense to me, He provided it in His own timing.  I am thankful to be able to entrust myself to God’s care, because He knows what’s best far better than I do.

I am also thankful that He used my husband today to care for me.  He gave me little back rubs, encouraged me, and offered to make me lunch.  Yes, I am thankful to entrust myself to God's care.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Love that You're Mine

My husband and I use this phrase a lot with each other - because it’s true.  I love holding him and feeling him, because he’s mine.  He is God’s gift to me, and mine to enjoy.  It’s a part of what marriage is.

He told me just this morning that he loved that I was his.  That phrase fills me with contentment and joy.  I know that just as God gave him to me, God also gave me to my husband, and it is a joy to glorify God through that relationship.  Through thick and thin, no matter the circumstance or trial, we are still one another’s.

We may not always feel our love for one another, but our feelings are not our guides.  God guides us through the truth of His Word and power of the Holy Spirit.  That is how we can love when we don’t feel like it.  Even when we sin, God is still faithful to use the outcome for our good.  There is always more to learn through His reproof.

I thank the Lord that my husband is mine - and that I am my husband’s.  May we seek Christ first in our marriage, and thereby glorify Him.  May we willingly and humbly accept His reproof and His teaching, that we might serve Him better.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


My husband and I went out for our date night tonight and got to reminiscing about the past eleven years that we’ve been together (married for eight).  It was enjoyable to go back through different stages of our relationship and to sort through how we might have done things differently, but still see God’s hand throughout.

We met in youth group, but didn’t take much notice of one another until high school.  It was my senior year that I told him that I wasn’t interested in a relationship beyond friendship; I planned to be an old crone (no really... I did!).  One month later, he came to me and told me that he wanted to court me with the intent of marriage... and by that time, as I tell the story, he had “wormed his way in.”  I agreed - and not begrudgingly.

Almost a year later, and after I had graduated and turned 18, he proposed.  He had just been laid off from his job about a month or so earlier, but had saved up enough for the ring, plus a bit more.  We planned on waiting a year-and-a-half to get married.  Some issues came up during the premarital counseling, and we postponed the wedding an additional five months, but we married and have done our best.

It has been an interesting journey through different jobs, financial situations, sin issues, family tensions, and truth-seeking, but God has been faithful.  God’s work has produced more maturity and significant spiritual growth in both of us, and we are both thankful for that.  

I am thankful for reminiscing, that we can learn from past mistakes, but mostly that God shows Himself faithful.  It is a great reminder of the One whom I serve.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Emotions: Not a Dictatorship

I am so glad that God did not create my emotions to rule me.  True, it can be hard not to sin in the face of emotions, but they do not dictate my actions.  Christ has that role in my life, not my emotions.  I am so thankful that He - the unchanging I AM - is the Rock upon which I can place all of my trust, and to carry out His will, rather than letting my shifting emotions rule me (and thus, be my god).

I haven’t been as successful of late at ruling my emotions - especially anger - but Christ is using that to not only reveal more of my sin issues to me, but to help me to grow to be more like Him through it.  Practice, practice.  Today was a fair example.

It was a big day at our church of counting all of the pledges and gifts that we have thus far received toward our building campaign.  I thought I had told my husband that I would be counting after second service (which would leave him with our little man), but either had forgotten, or wasn’t very clear.  I finished counting and came out to help him with the little man to discover that he was rather frustrated with me.  I felt a range of emotions at this, beginning with anger, traveling to disappointment, and ending in a sense of frustrated loss.  I thought I did everything I could to help.  Why wasn’t it enough?

As I considered my thoughts, I realized that my anger wasn’t righteous, and that it was a result of a wrong focus.  I was focusing on myself and my husband, and God wasn’t at the head of it.  That anger, disappointment, and sense of loss didn’t have to rule my day.  I could let it, but that would also be denying God the throne of my heart - denying Him the worship that He is due.  I would rather bring Him glory, and let the grace that He gave me extend from my own heart to my husband.  It was really only due to a miscommunication, anyway, and I had played my own part in it.

The rest of my day wasn’t dampened by emotions of anger, frustration, or disappointment.  I was content.  When God is truly my focus, and on the throne of my heart, other priorities (even selfish ones) pale in comparison.  There is Joy, contentment, and peace in His throne room.  Emotions, to be sure, but even these emotions aren’t my dictators.  Christ is.

What or who ruled your heart today?