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?