Thursday, October 31, 2013

Custom Design

I love my Wedding Ring.  Most people don’t take their wedding rings off unless they are going to do some grimy work or for safety reasons.  I take mine off to handle it.  To feel its curves, to see what it looks like upside down, and to play with it.

My husband custom designed it for me.  It was quite the surprise - and a lot bigger than I expected.  He knows I love fantasy and that whimsical delicate art, and he designed me a ring in that vein.  That’s why I love it.  Not just because it’s a design that I like, but because he knew what I would like.  My wedding ring is a symbol of my marriage to my husband, and because he designed it specifically for my tastes, it models to me the familiarity we have with one another.

He knows me (and, in our marriage, he knows me).  We know one another, and we enjoy that knowledge (even just the normal know).  My ring is a reminder of that knowledge, and that is one of the reason that I like to play with it.  In a way, I want to know it better.  That, of course, isn’t a way to know my husband better - but it is a nice reminder to continue that pursuit!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Contributive Intimacy


Sex is a beautiful gift of the Lord, and is one of the ways that we can express our love within our marriage.  My husband and I have been married for just over eight years, and our sex life is still heightening.  One of the reasons is that we seek one another’s pleasure, not just our own.  As time goes on, we discover new things, and communicate what is pleasurable and what isn’t.  We contribute to one another in our intimacy.

His pleasure makes it more pleasurable for me, and my pleasure makes it more pleasurable for him.  In a sense, it’s like laughing with a friend - you start laughing because the other person is laughing, and vice versa until you are both beset by a fit of the giggles.  (Not the best analogy, but you get the idea.)

It makes for a rather nice dynamic in our marriage, and I am thankful for contributive intimacy.  It is a classic example of the benefits of a Christ-like love:  setting the other before yourself.  It seems backwards, but it brings you more joy.  God certainly makes the wisdom of this world foolish.  (1 Corinthians 1:19-31)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tough Mudder


My husband isn’t in shape at the moment, but he has a few friends who are (like really are).  Those buddies asked him if he would be interested in joining them in a team for a Tough Mudder competition.  (If you don’t know what that is, it’s a 12-mile obstacle course through the mud, including a field of wires that will shock you with the force of a taser, and a 12-foot half pipe.)  I’m not particularly stoked at the idea of him getting shocked like that, but I do appreciate the work he would have to do to get in shape for it, and the camaraderie of his team.  

My husband is a little excited about it.  I’m excited that he’s excited, and glad for opportunity before him to be on a team with his buddies.  I’m a little sad that I can’t join him (for getting in shape, NOT the competition) due to my physical issues, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t root him (and his buddies) on.  It’s going to be a bit different for me, as I’m not used to being an encouragement in areas like that, but it will be good for me to work on.  

So I am thankful for Tough Mudder, not only that my husband wants to get in shape, but that his desire is a catalyst for me to become better at encouragement.  I pray that the Lord sustains his body throughout his exercise, and shows me new ways to get involved and be his encourager.  The only thing I’ve been able to think of is to ask how his workouts are going, but I think that part of encouragement is in the actions of the encourager.  I will seek for a physical way that I can support my husband, even if I can’t join him.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Thoughtful Suggestions


As I’ve been working on the cover for my first book this week (see more on the Devotional Journals page), I have appreciated my husband’s thoughts.  He isn’t really one for design, but he tells me what he thinks and gives me thoughtful suggestions.  It isn’t only with the cover art, though.  This is one reason that I am thankful to have him as my husband.

As we discussed the cover, he challenged me on my philosophy behind the book itself.  What did I want to do with it?  Was I looking at it like a business or a ministry?  I’m not planning on really marketing the book myself.  I’ll be relying on word-of-mouth, perhaps some cover letters to churches, maybe even a homework book for counselees.  Right now, no one is going to be looking at my book on the shelf, and thus, the cover doesn’t have to catch the eye.  As he said, I can always change it later.

That doesn’t give me license to write it off, but it does change what I may or may not want to convey on the cover, and how much emphasis I place on it.  I thank the Lord for my husband and his thoughtful suggestions.  God often uses him to remind me to look at the big picture and the reasons why I do what I do.

What thoughtful suggestion might your spouse (or good friend) have given you lately?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Offering


Lord,

Though I have thanked You before, I cannot thank You enough.  Thank You for my Marriage, and thank You for setting me on this journey of thankfulness.  It truly is a spiritual Milk, and I believe that through it, You have helped me to chew on some spiritual food.  Thank You for guiding me, growing me, and teaching me more about You.  The more I know You, the more praise I give You by virtue of Your faithfulness and Love.  The more I know You, the more I can reflect You in my life.

I thank You for Your strength, endurance, and discipline.  I pray that I continue to draw upon Your resources and don’t revert to drawing upon my own - with which I could never praise nor reflect You.  Help me to be humble and to direct others to Your glory instead of my own.  As I grow weaker in my own power, Your strength shines through brighter.

Lord, I love You.  Help me to always be motivated by and through Your love, since my own heart is full of sin.  Thank You for Your mercy, Grace, and forgiveness; You are my treasure.  May all that I do reflect that.  Thank You for the privilege to boldy come before Your throne - help me to pray without ceasing, to always live in Your presence.

Direct my paths and keep my heart pliable.  My life is my offering to You.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

Friday, October 25, 2013

Help in Spare Time


Thursday is one of my busy days at work, since it’s the end of our work-week, and the bulletin needs to be finished for Sunday morning.  This week, we were also trying to get out letters to almost every family in our congregation.  I had things planned out for the day so that I could get it all done in time... and then the printer maintenance man showed up and worked on the printer for about four hours.

He started early in the day, but part of my problem was that I was going to attend a counseling session with my husband in the afternoon, which was going to take a fair chunk out of my work time.  The more of my morning that I couldn’t spend attending to either of those two projects, the more crunched my time at the end of the day would be.  It turned out that the maintenance man left just as I was heading to the counseling session (2:00 p.m.).  So much for my plans.

I knew, though, that God had it in His hands.  If I had to work later, I would just have to stay later.  It occurred to me, though, that Thursday was a less busy day for my husband.  There was a slight chance that he might have time to help me after the session.

We had a good session, and went away with some things to think about.  It lasted a bit longer than usual (I felt the pressure of my deadline, but not the anxiety - thank the Lord!).  I asked my husband if he might have a little time to help me.  There were other things that he could do... but he decided to help me.

I felt very blessed.  As a wife, even if I know that he loves me, it’s always nice to see it in action.  I am thankful that my husband used his “spare time” to help me.  Getting home late isn’t that big a deal, but it’s definitely nice to get home earlier.  He even decided to stay the whole time and ride home with me.  More time with my sweetie - score!

May I be cognizant of times in which I can do the same for him!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Being My Husband


I love being married.  Sure, it has it’s hardships, but I love my husband, and I love how he helps me and that I can help him.  We aren’t perfect, but Christ is growing us.  I thank my sweetheart for being my husband.

We believe that it would be a sin - a maligning of God’s name - to divorce, but even so, I don’t take the fact that he stays with me for granted.  I am so thankful that he stays with me, works with me, ministers to me, and leads me.  I am also thankful for the Opportunity to Serve him, to stay with him, to work with him, and to minister to him.  It is my God-given priority - and I love that.

As Christ continues His good work in me (Philippians 1:6), my desires draw closer and closer to alignment with His good will.  The things that He has given me to do become more appealing, and the commands that He has given are a joy to perform.  One of those commands is to serve my husband - and in Christ, it is my joy and privilege to do so.

What is one of God’s commands that you take joy in doing?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tag-Team


Tuesdays find my husband and I tagging each other out the door.  He has school Tuesday mornings, and I take our son to see “Grammy” - my mom - before I go to work.  My husband then picks our son up after school and takes him to “Nani’s” - his mom’s house.  After work, I head to his mom’s house, and then he leaves for another session of school while I watch the little man.  It really is a bit like, “Tag - your turn!”

I know that many other families do this to a much greater extreme, and am thankful that it’s really only like that (right now) once or twice a week.  Yet, despite the harried feel of those days, I am thankful that we can be a tag-team, and that we do it well (or at least, well enough).  

I love the feel of being on a “team” with my husband - which, of course, we are, as a married couple.  It’s one of the ways that our unity is manifested.  How we portray that unity is important.  Do we seek to honor Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit?  Or do we seek our own goals by our own power?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Biblical Parenting Classes


My husband and I have been attending a Biblical counseling course.  He would like to become a certified ACBC (previously NANC) counselor, and I go for the Biblical answers.  This particular course is based on marriage and family.  We just finished the first set of five on marriage, and have moved onto the parenting classes.

My husband and I have taken to having our date night right after class.  While this makes for a late night, it has proven invaluable in our discussions.  We had our first class on parenting on Monday, and it gave us a bit to think about.  I have wondered lately about how to best bring up our son as he nears an age where we can do more than discipline him.  We haven’t really had a “plan” per se, and the class gave us some good material to consider, as well as a great place to start.  My husband and I were able to get on the same page about a couple of things that we might like to do.

I am thankful for Biblical parenting classes, that in attending one, we were able to discuss some ideas to get on the same page.  There is much more to discuss, but I am glad that we have begun.  It is an important calling and ministry to raise our children in the way of the Lord.  May He bless our child through our plans.

Let Me Sleep In


Saturday morning we awoke to the cat trying to scratch at his ear again through his “cone of shame.”  It wasn’t particularly early, but it was earlier than I had planned on getting up, and I was pretty exhausted from the day before.  Not long after, our son began making noises, clearly awake.  It was time to get up.

I stayed in bed through both, hoping to let my body soak in whatever dregs of rest it could.  “Just a little longer,” I thought.  When I had decided I would take just about ten seconds more before getting up, my husband got up.  Without a word, he put on some clothes and the cat followed him out of our bedroom door as he went to tend to our son.  

I felt so loved.  He was getting up to serve me, even though he had a ton of homework to do that day and needed to get started as soon as he could.  Instead, he decided to let me rest longer; he knew I was pretty tired.  That alone helped to refresh me, and pointed my heart towards thanks to God.

Clearly, God had known that I was tired - close to exhausted, really.  In His blessed provision, He gave my body the rest - and my heart the focus - that it needed in order to serve Him that day.  I am thankful that my husband let me sleep in, and that God provided rest for me through it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Reflection of God?


The more that I think about what it looks like to serve God, the more my thoughts are drawn to the idea of my testimony.  How does my life portray God?  In relation to my marriage, how does my marriage reflect God and His glory?

For sinful man, this question can often bring shame.  Thank God for His mercy and grace, that we don’t have to live in that shame.  Through the blood of His Son, I have been cleansed of my sins, and granted the power to repent.  While I do not always portray His glory, I walk my spiritual walk of Progressive Sanctification and look with joy to the day when we “...will be revealed with Him [Christ] in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)

The idea is sobering, though, isn’t it?  Am I reflecting God’s glory in this moment?  Is my marriage a reflection of His glory?  If God found marriage - as a symbol of Jesus’ relationship with the church, and again as a symbol of God the Father’s relationship with God the Son - to be so important that He only allowed for it’s dissolution by adultery (which is also symbolic of our own behavior toward Him), then should I not also hold it in such high esteem?  It drives home to me the importance of my testimony here on earth.   The importance of how I act in my marriage.

I want to hold Him in high esteem, and I want people to be able to see that - not because I specifically showed it to them, but because that esteem is so vivid in my life, that they cannot help but see.  I am a child of God Most High (El Elyon), and I want others to be able to see God Most High and His work - His glory - in my life.  I am thankful for this desire, and for the result of more intentional seeking (read pursuit) - of God’s truth, of God’s will, and of how to reflect those in my own life.  “May my lifesong sing to You.” (from Lifesong by Casting Crowns)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Welcome Home


What I like best about coming home is when my sweetheart welcomes me home with a kiss and a hug (and when my little man does, too!).  He’s usually on the couch doing homework or some such when I walk in the door, so it’s a little bit of a hassle for him, but it’s a wonderfully nice gesture when he does it.  It tells me that I’m important to him, that he loves me, and that he’s interested in how my day went, since it’s usually accompanied by a “How Was Your Day?”

I am thankful when he welcomes me home, for how I feel, and the message that it sends me.  I don’t get to welcome him home very often, because it’s usually that I’m getting home after everyone else.  I think, though, that I shall try to be more intentional about welcoming him home - especially if I’m playing a video game.  That’s when I’m most likely to just say something, but not actually get up.  What better way to tell him that he’s important to me than to stop something that I enjoy to welcome him home?  I pray for God’s strength for those time in which I don’t feel like it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Know My Desires


My husband and I have been talking a lot lately about goals.  Our immediate future is geared toward completing his A.A. degree by May of this coming year, but beyond that is a bit hazy.  As we talked, we had various frustrations about seeing eye-to-eye.  My husband felt stressed at what goals and plans I placed before him, and I felt likewise about his.

We kept at it, working to give one another grace, and tried to come to some sort of middle ground.  Then we realized - after much talk - that we weren’t actually communicating what we thought we were to one another.  He wasn’t telling me the whole of his thoughts (assuming my knowledge of some things), and I was trying to tell him what my desires were by giving him my goals (hint-hint, wink-wink, nudge-nudge).  As it happens... this is not an effective way to communicate.

It’s taking a bit of doing for me, but I’m learning how to tell him what my desires are behind the goals.  This has been a pretty huge breakthrough for us, as he is able to now take those concrete desires into consideration in his thoughts and plans, instead of what he guesses are my desires.  He is also working to clue me in on what those thoughts are.  This communication of my desires helps me even when he doesn’t clue me in to all of his plans, because I know that they are at least taken into consideration.

That’s the best part - he really does want to know my desires.  He wants to serve me... he just can’t read my mind.  The more we learn to communicate with one another, the more unified we can be in purpose, which - hopefully - is God’s purpose.  I am thankful that he wants to know my desires, and for the unity of spirit we have when we work to communicate our desires to each other.  May that unity portray God.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Flirting


I’m married to him, so I get to flirt with my husband.  I admit that it’s actually kind of nice when I see other marrieds flirting with their spouses.  In our society, it seems like there’s so much putting down of the opposite sex (on both sides) within the context of marriage, that it’s a bit refreshing to see a couple enjoying each other.  

Of course, there’s an appropriate amount of flirting in public, and an inappropriate amount.  I don’t make out with my husband in public, but a single lingering kiss is nice.  Perhaps a comment here and there, holding around the waist, or significant looks.  I remember when my parents used to kiss in front of me, and the expected, "Ewwww" was ready on my lips.  In truth, though, it never bothered me, and I always felt a little warm inside at the knowledge of their love.

I am thankful for flirting, and for its various uses.  I find sometimes that I use it to “stake my claim,” sometimes to pique his interest or perpetuate my own, and other times, I just want to tell him I love him.  It makes for an interesting dynamic and tool in our relationship, and I am thankful that God made it available to us.  I am also thankful for the ability to appropriately portray our love - and hopefully God’s love - through it.  May our worship to Him be evident in all that we do.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Anniversaries


My husband and I have been married for eight years as of today - and I am grateful to be married to him!  We were considering what to do for our anniversary when we realized that I had a day off from work for Columbus Day, and he didn’t have school on the 14th.  Our anniversary is the 15th.  Well, shucks, we had to celebrate a day early!

My mom-in-law usually takes care of our son on Mondays, and we asked if it would be alright if we left our son with her while we went to the coast.  She had some things to get done, but she blessed us with her babysitting services.  So, off to the coast we went for A Day Together to celebrate our anniversary.  It was so nice to get away and take some time to just be with my husband.

I am thankful for anniversaries, that they serve as an annual celebratory reminder of the gift that God has given my husband and I.  My spouse is one of God’s greatest gifts to me, and I love the opportunity to serve Christ in my ministry to my husband - as well as to be served by my husband’s ministry to me.  It is such a wonderful portrayal of God’s love, despite our imperfections.  I pray that we continue to grow in Christ, that our portrayal might act as a testimony of God’s grace and love.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Day Together


My work place takes federal holidays off, of which Columbus Day is one.  My husband also didn’t have school on Monday, so it worked out well.  Three day weekend - for two!  Our anniversary also happens to fall on Tuesday, so we determined to go do something a little special:  we went to the coast, cruised the shops, watched the ocean, and had lunch together.  We haven’t been able to do that alone since our son was born, nearly two years ago.  It was so nice to enjoy one another’s company on a relaxing outing.

I am thankful that we had a day together.  Our time is often split between many things, and it was heavenly to be able to focus on one another.  September was an incredibly busy month for us, and October hadn’t slowed enough yet for us to truly catch up.  This day together was almost like a mini-vacation in the midst of that.  I thank the Lord for His timing, orchestration, and love.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Daily Benefit

I have enjoyed not only taking a closer look at what my husband is doing for me each day, but at how God Himself is at work through those things.  Thankfulness is a sort of Spiritual Milk for followers of Christ; it can bring our focus to bear on Him each time we use it.  While I don't always look forward to carving time out of my day to actually write about it, taking the time to do so forces me to think about it even more.  I have to "study" how the Lord is working in my life, and why I am thankful for that work.  I am always encouraged afterward, and my Joy in the Lord increases.

I notice when I miss a day - whether the effect is belated or not.  I am intentional about catching up, and that helps, but having that intentional time with Him each day to focus on His blessings keeps my mind in the right perspective.  I have good reasons sometimes for missing a day, but I do think it has been important to also catch up.  The effect isn't quite the same, but it means that I still have to take time to search for God's work in each day.  I start thinking about it during the day instead of after, and that is an even greater blessing, as my perspective is to more actively and frequently seek God.  Seeking God is always a blessing.

If you have enjoyed reading my posts, I would encourage you to write just a little something of your own each day, as well.  It doesn't have to be much, or take long.  Your spiritual dividend will more than repay your time!

Warm Up the Bed

As Fall takes hold and the temperature cools, we are putting on sweaters and extra blankets.  We received an electric mattress as a gift several years ago, and each year, I have enjoyed it's use beginning in Fall.  Last night, as my husband went to bed, I stayed up to take a shower and attend to my blog.  Once finished with the shower, I settled into bed with my computer to discover that my husband had already turned on the heat to my mattress.  He had already warmed up the bed. 

As I sat against my Bolster with cold wet hair, I was glad to be in a toasty bed.  I am thankful for that electric mattress, but I am more thankful that my husband spares thought for what I enjoy, then does it for me.  As a person with poor circulation, the consideration of warmth is a blessing, indeed.  I thank the Lord for His spiritual fruit in my husband, and His subsequent blessings. May I be a similar blessing to my husband. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Look for My Beauty


Physical attraction is nice in a marriage, but in the grand scheme of things, it can only go so far.  I won’t always be as beautiful as at the peak of my life, and neither will my husband be as handsome.  We will, however, continue to grow in Christ according to His promise in Philippians 1:6.  That beauty will not diminish with time, but grow more and more radiant, by God’s good grace.

My husband recently read a couple articles directed toward men (you can view them here), that challenged him that he has control over what attracts him - over what he finds beautiful.  Since reading it, I have noticed a distinct difference in his attraction for me; he doesn’t just see my beauty, he looks for it.  (There are other points in the article, too, but I’ll just focus on this one tonight.)

I remember when we were courting (as opposed to dating - he had read I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris), he would often say, “Hey, Beautiful.”  This always brought a smile.  On occasion, I was awarded the one that made me positively grin in feeling loved:  “Hey Gorgeous.”  After we married, those slowly faded, though they were exchanged for things like “Sweetheart,” or “My Love.”  Those never meant quite the same thing to me, though - and I never told him that.

Since beginning to look for my beauty again, I have noticed the return of, “Hey, Beautiful.”  It caught me a little off guard at first, but it still curled my toes with pleasure.  It isn’t just that it’s “nice to be wanted,” as the saying goes.  It’s a bit like an affirmation.  No matter how far up the ladder of sanctification I have yet to go, he sees the beauty that God has already put there.  Not only does he see it, but he likes it - and wants it.  Now that’s sexy.

I am thankful that my husband looks for my beauty.  Not only does it show his work to uphold our marriage, but it encourages me in my walk with Christ.  It extends the grace that, though I’m not perfect, he - and He - still love me.  I love him - and Him - too!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kitty Aide


About a month ago, our cat came in with a bloody ear.  Upon further examination, I discovered parasites on his ear.  We took him to the vet who diagnosed it as a type of flea and found that he had torn a rather large gash at the base of his ear with his scratching.  The vet cleaned him up, stapled the wound, and gave him a cortisone shot to make it itch less.  We gave him some flea medication.

Everything went well, the wound was healing nicely, and the fleas disappeared.  We took off the “cone of shame” after a full week to let the wound heal - which it had, but for the staples.  We finally let him outside for a night of freedom without the cone.  The following morning, I found him at our doorstep with a bloody ear.  He had scratched it too much again, and apparently aggravated the staples.

I replaced the “cone of shame” and he spent the next few nights in with us again before we could get him to the vet to get the staples out.  They did so, and we left the cone on for close to another week, before I thought it was healed enough to take off and let him loose again.  I took it off in the morning, and we headed out for work.  What do you suppose we returned home to find that evening?  A kitty with a bloody ear.

Back on with the “cone of shame,” to be trapped indoors even longer.  It has been about another full week, and the night before last, the kitty came crying to us, somehow managing to bloody his ear despite the cone.  We cleaned it, but this morning, the kitty woke me early with an odd noise followed by unhappy mews.  I came out to find the wound freshly opened yet again.  We couldn’t take him to the vet today, and returned home tonight to find the wound opened further, so we will take him in the morning.  It has been quite the adventure.

The past few times we have found our poor bloody-eared kitty, my husband has helped me to comfort the kitty, as well as to clean and disinfect the wound.  What with all the times our kitty has had issues with his ear this past month, my husband’s help with the kitty’s care helped to ease my own stress with the issue.  It has generally been my task to take care of the cat, but my husband decided to be a servant-leader and become a “kitty aide” for me.

I am thankful that my husband was willing to help, and that his help relieved my stress.  The Lord provides for us in so many ways, and I see His hand at work through my husband.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

His Desire to Lead


My husband and I were trying to apply a Biblical view of submission in a situation that we had faced.  We were having difficulty seeing eye-to-eye with the correct way to apply it.  So what did my husband do?  He researched it, so that he could lead me in how to be submissive.

I know that submission is a touchy subject in our society, but I cannot, in good conscience, ignore something that the Bible commands.  The touchiness is not helped by society’s view of what submission is.  For instance, it is not being a doormat, as the analogy often goes.  For more on submission, you can see an earlier post of mine:  Weekly Impressions - Submission.

In any case, I was thankful for my husband’s desire to lead.  It is very refreshing to see him not just try to tell me to do something, but to try to actually lead me in it.  To research what it would look like to do what he tells me to do, and to help me see how it works.  To discuss it with me in a loving way until I understand what he means.  It makes an incredible difference in a wife’s life for her husband to lead like a shepherd rather than a dictator.  Both the husband and the wife will be more successful in their endeavors when the husband chooses to lead like a shepherd.  

A dictator’s command makes it much more difficult for the follower not only to have a good attitude in following, but to be able to follow in unity, as the follower can only guess at what the dictator’s goal is.  It is, however, still the follower’s responsibility to portray a Christ-like attitude should the leader dictate rather than shepherd.  Christ has given us the ability to overcome our sin, and we are responsible to do so through His power.  Not that it’s easy.

I am thankful for the Lord’s good work in our marriage.  Tonight, I am especially thankful for my husband’s desire to lead me in an understanding way.  We stand better united, and better able to portray and carry out God’s love and glory for it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Being a Helper


I love being a helper.  It’s what I do best.  As a wife who has been saved by the blood, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ, it is also what I am called to do - and part of what I was created for. (Genesis 2:18, 20-22)  It is my first and most important ministry, and I am thankful for the opportunity, and privileged to be, my husband’s helper.

Even when my husband isn’t being the easiest person to serve, I can still look to Christ, and know that my service is ultimately to Him.  “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”  Colossians 3:23-24.  That perspective of serving Christ (even of knowing that I will be rewarded for that service - which I can only "merit" by His power), makes it much easier to be my husband’s helper, even when he sins.  I can entrust myself to God, and God has placed me under my husband to serve him.

For this task that God has given me, I am thankful.  For His power to do it, I am also thankful.  For the fulfillment of my purpose, and the satisfaction of that feeling, I am thankful.  In God’s great power I stand.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Blessings


It has been encouraging to see the Lord’s work in our marriage.  He has brought different things together in each of our lives to hone a better understanding of the way He intended marriage to be.  As we sort out just how to live that out, we do encounter conflict, but conflict isn’t nearly as bad as the world makes it out to be.  Especially if each heart is rooted in the love of Christ, and that for one another.

I mentioned in an earlier post that God has been prompting me to make more of an effort in the care of our home.  God is teaching me how to be self-disciplined amid my fatigue and chronic pain, as well as how far to push and when to rest.  I was blessed to have a good night’s sleep last night, and He granted me a significant amount of energy today; I whipped out a great many chores that needed it.

My husband and I have had a few Spousal Conferences in which we have discussed differences of opinion and hashed out how to reconcile them.  To be on the same page as my husband makes a huge difference in our relationship, and helps us to act in unity.  Our image reflects a greater God when we work together, united in His will.  The more we hash out, the more we learn about each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and point of view.  It is a blessing to know my husband more.

The Lord has granted many other blessings to us in our marriage - and many that I know I haven’t even recognized.  It is a blessing in and of itself to know that He blesses us.  I thank the Lord for this walk with Him, and that He has given me someone else to share intimately in it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sex


Yep - I’m going there.  I am thankful for sex.  Not just because it feels good, but because it is an amazing expression of God’s glory.  All things can be done for the glory of God. Even sex can be - and should be - a form of worship to Him.  He designed it, and enjoying it according to His design makes for an incredible experience.

God uses a lot of symbolism.  In Genesis 1:27, He starts by making man in His own image.  So, we are a representation of God, as are the things that we do.  Male and female, He created them.  That’s two different body types to represent one God (who also happens to be multiple beings, while still one).  So from the very first marriage, God represented Himself within their relationship - their union (including sex).

1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”  If my body is a temple of God, then every act of my body is an act I perform in God’s temple.  Sex not least of these, as sex is literally inside my body.  

Someone pointed out to me, and I thought it was interesting to note, that the Bible only says that it’s okay to be drunk once:  “...be exhilarated [literally intoxicated] always with her love.” (Proverbs 5:19c)  It refers to the love of his wife.  So in sex, I am enjoying God, my husband, and I can allow myself to be drunk with my husband’s love.  That’s quite a high.

Further marriage symbolism in the Bible can be found in Ephesians 5:23.  “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”  1 Corinthians 11:3 also says, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”

This is further symbolism that my marriage is a reflection of the relationship of God with Himself.  They are one God, and in our marriage, my husband and I are one flesh - often (not exclusively) represented by sex.  (On a side note, Jesus always submitted to the will of the Father, and each time I submit to my husband, it is a reflection of that very relationship.  For more on submission, see Weekly Impressions - Submission.)  Every time I enjoy sex as He designed it, I am reflecting God’s relationship with Himself.  Kind of a trip, isn’t it?

(This also brings home the seriousness of defiling that relationship - that union.  If I lust after a man other than my husband, bring a new person into my exclusive relationship with God and my husband.  It would be like bringing someone other than my husband into the temple of God, and having sex.  I defile God and His temple.  Pretty serious stuff.)

It is thus, that I am incredibly thankful for sex.  Within God’s design, it is a form of worship that can bring a mountain top experience.  I am so thankful that God created it out of His great love for us, and to glorify Himself.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How Was Your Day?


I am thankful for the question, “How was your day?”  When my husband and I don’t have much time to spend together, this is the question that helps us keep connected.  It expresses interest in the other’s life and interests.  

We are intentional about finding some happening in our day to share:  “I’ve been awfully tired today,” or, “I felt pretty productive and got x, y, and z done,” or, “A co-worker shared something funny,” or even, “It was a pretty normal day.  I did this, this, and this.  I kinda wanted to get out and do more.” (or “It was kinda nice.”)  The more specific we can be about events and our thoughts and feelings about those events, the more we can share with one another, and the more connected we are.

This question is a practical application of that verse I mentioned earlier this week:  Philippians 2:4 - “...do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”  I am thankful to have a practical application of God’s Word, and for the joy that it brings my husband and I in our marriage through Christ.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Massages

Upon waking this morning, my husband reached over and began to massage my shoulders.    (Ah, my companion, I see that spark of jealousy!)  My neck and shoulders are always tight - part of the reason I need traction, too - and a massage provides a measure of relief.  It’s also an incredibly helpful tool for easing me into the day in the morning!  (Yeah... not a morning person.)

I felt truly blessed this morning as he worked on my shoulders and neck - and threw in a few other places briefly, lest I forget to relax the rest of my body.  It may seem a little backwards that helping me relax aids me to get up, but massage also increases my blood flow (another little issue of mine), and blood flow is certainly helpful to jumpstart movement.

I’m not quite sure if my husband is actually putting more effort into doing things for me, or if I’m simply noticing those efforts more in this thankful journey within my marriage.  In either case, I am certainly thankful for his efforts, and for the way God is moving in our marriage through this journey.  And I am thankful for massages!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pull My Neck


One of my physical needs is traction, and I am thankful that my husband will pull my neck to grant it.  As he pulls on my head, my neck will undergo a series of pops, and each one releases built-up pressure from the pull of gravity and my muscles.  I can also feel a little tingling of feeling in my numb arms.  It doesn’t last long, but I truly appreciate the relief it brings, and that it sets the compression process back a bit.

This past “neck-pulling session” (read traction) seemed to stretch a little further, and thus release a little more pressure, than it has in the past.  It felt heavenly.  If you have ever experienced a constant pain or a constant pressure, and you felt it dissipate - even just a little, or even for just a little while - you know how wonderful that feels, and how thankful you are for those moments.  

I thank the Lord that He offers me those moments of respite through the ministry of my husband caring for me as he pulls my neck.