I believe that the Lord has been teaching me what it means to have a thankful heart. I would consider myself to be a person who sees a glass half full instead of half empty, but lately I have been struggling with this concept. The Lord has been so faithful to me in so many ways, but if something is not going "according to MY plan", I tend to forget all the blessings He has given to me and how far He has brought me. I have a wonderful family, supportive friends, a husband who loves me and roof over my head, but yet I struggle with having a thankful heart at times.
One thing that I have wrestled with for the last few years, is not living in the moment and not enjoying where I am at in life. I always look into the future and think of all the things I long for, instead of living in the moment and being thankful for the life I have. For instance, my husband and I moved away from home when we got married. Growing up, I always wanted to go away to college. I never thought I would still be living where I grew up, it is funny how God has a way of changing our hearts. I met my husband my senior year of high school, attended a local college, got married and moved away. Boy, was I homesick!!! I never thought I would be the type to long for home, I was wrong! During our four years away from home, we met some wonderful friends and made some awesome memories, but I wanted to move back home the moment we moved away. Instead of living in the moment, and being thankful for where I was at in life, I wasted so much time complaining and begging my husband for us to be able to move back home. When they say "women think with their emotions," they are right. I am thankful that God placed Michael to be the spiritual leader in our marriage, because I would have made some bad decisions based on my emotions. I regret not taking the opportunity to invest in more people's lives during our time away. I wish I could go back in time and make different decisions.
Well, as you have probably read in some of my previous posts, we are moved back home! I am very thankful to be back home, close to our family and friends. You would think that I would finally be satisfied and thankful! Although, I am very thankful to be back home, I still struggle with having an ungrateful heart. Ever since I was a little girl, all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mother. I love being a wife, but I have an emptiness inside of me that longs to be a mother. We have been trying for a while now to have a baby. It has been a little more difficult than I imagined it would be, but I know God is faithful and his timing is perfect. I tend to spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself about not yet being a mother, then taking joy in what God has given me.The other day, I was washing the dishes looking outside watching my husband and our black lab, Duke, work on our pond, well Duke was supervising :) God convicted me right then and there of my ungratefulness and how selfish I had been. Here I was, watching washing dishes in our new home that God provided us with, looking out at his beautiful creation and watching my boys play outside. I became overcome with joy! Needless to say, I repented of my ungratefulness. Although I am sure there will be days where I will struggle with being ungrateful, I am thankful that Jesus is my complete satisfaction. I have so much to be thankful for.
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." Colossians 2: 6-7
A Blossoming Life has been doing a series on building a better marriage. My friend, Jordan, over at Lily White- Designs , was asked to do a guest post as well as my friend, Carrie,Carrie This Home , Both of their posts caught my attention, so I had to share. To check out the whole series go to ablossominglife.com
Here is Jordan's post...
Building a Better Marriage: The Honest Truth
As Jared and I were sitting on our couch he looked over at me and said, “Can you believe we are actually married??” We both laughed, and then started talking about the whirlwind of events that God ordained to bring our paths together. Before I was with Jared, I had been very cautious with even titles in relationships. I didn’t want to be called anyone’s “girlfriend.” (Here you can insert your judgments on my commitment fears, they are probably true) Then, as I look back at my joy upon Jared’s proposal after only a brief 4 months of dating, I am in awe of God’s work in my heart and life.
If any of our decisions would have been even slightly different, chances are we would have never met. Let alone fallen in love. More over, gotten married.
Reflecting on these times doesn’t bring about praise for our decisions, and we don’t exalt the strength of our love, it brings about our praise of God for his hand in our life. I say all this to make the point that if you are married, God did it. No matter if it’s difficult right now, or sunshine and roses, God put you together. Marriage is the best way for us to preach the gospel to ourselves. In those difficult times, instead of questioning your marriage, let it be a time that you can reflect on your understanding of what God did for us in Christ. When you feel mistreated by your spouse, remind yourself of the way that our sin caused Christ to be mistreated, and his continual forgiveness of our shortcomings. When your patience is running thin, remind yourself of the patience Jesus has for us in our slow and stumbling process of sanctification. Of course, it is easier for us to simply point out flaws in our spouse. Instead, take time to evaluate the response that you feel. Do you really understand the gospel? If so, how does it change the way you feel, act, and speak?
One thing that Jared and I are both very passionate about in our marriage is honesty. Honesty even when it hurts, even when it is embarrassing, even when it makes us rethink everything. As Jared and I struggle with sin, we tell each other. Seriously, like everything. I know what it feels like to look someone in the face and spill your deepest secrets, and I know the warmth of being held as tears are shed. God made us one flesh. We want to take advantage of what God gave us and help each other fight sin in our lives. We have no secrets. We know each other’s weaknesses, we keep each other accountable, and we pray for each other to become more like Christ. I plead with you, don’t wrongly think that your spouse isn’t strong enough to hear you out. As we have already established, God put you together! There are an exponential amount of reasons for that. Don’t you think it’s in the realm of possibility that one of those reasons would be to help you become more like Jesus? I think so.
Also, Jared is my best friend. I treat him like it. I admit there are days that I fail at this. But, it is one of my goals to always treat him like my best friend. I don’t want to stop having fun together, laughing, playing, loving, sharing dreams, making out , being excited to tell Him about my day, sharing celebrations, and tears. He is the one God gave me. He is my life long love. He is the one I will spend all my days with. He is my lover and my best friend. I want all those things that I loved about him from the beginning to just keep piling up, as we get older. We have this little joke where we say, “Today I love you 1 billion, 5 hundred million, 72.” And each time we say it we add a bigger number. It’s really true. God keeps growing our love for each other, and He’s gonna keep doing it, because He put us together. He’s gonna keep showing us our sin, and reminding us of how he rescued us from it. To Him be the glory in everything, even in our love story.
And now for Carrie's post...
This post first appeared at A Blossoming Life as my first guest post! As a new blogger I was really honored to be asked to do a guest post. Amy is doing a great series on Building a Better Marriage so to see the whole series check it out at ablossominglife.com.
Today I’m sharing some marriage tips that my Hubby and I have learned over the years.
My StoryThe Hubby and I have been married for over 10 years and we met in college. Before getting married, we first made sure that our life goals and aspirations were on the same page. We both are following Jesus the best we know how and this is the biggest priority for the both of us. We both eventually wanted to have kids, but not right away. We both wanted to live in the area where we went to college. Beyond that we weren’t too sure what our life would look like. But we knew we wanted to spend it together.
So we got married and here we are ten years and two kids later!
No One Has The Perfect MarriageBefore I go on I think it’s important to recognize an important fact: no marriage is perfect. Don’t think that anyone has the perfect marriage because it simply doesn’t exist. Every marriage has strengths and weaknesses. Marriage is between two imperfect people so there will be PLENTY of problems that will come up. It’s how those problems are dealt with that makes the difference.
Little Tips for A Better MarriageServe one another. The most important tip I can give comes from Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Put your spouses needs ahead of your own. Put off selfishness and seek to serve your spouse. Your spouse should do the same for you. When two people come together serving each other’s needs amazing things happen.
Share interests. My hubby and I are very different so most of our interests are also different. I love to blog, my hubby loves to ride his bike. Hubby loves to watch Rocky movies. I’d rather watch a romantic comedy. We find ways to support each other’s interests, even if it’s not as “interesting” to the other. Blogging is not the Hubby’s favorite thing to do but he shares my interest by encouraging me with blog posts and helping me with grammatical corrections. The Hubby loves cycling and talking about bike parts. Those two interests are not my favorite things to do. I’ve learned a couple of things about bike components because it’s something the Hubby LOVES to talk about and then we can talk about it together.
Sometimes our interests are the same, like with photography. We both love to take pictures and mess around with new settings on our camera. It’s fun to share an interest that we both enjoy equally.
Invest time into each other. Play games, go for walks, workout together, go on regular dates. A couple of years ago we noticed in the evenings when we have time together we would just veg in front of the TV. We were acting more like roommates instead of spouses. We both had to put a priority on spending active time together, not just co-existing. In trying to change that, we discovered game called Monopoly Deal and we both LOVE to play it. After the kids go to bed we put on some music, play the game and chat with each other. It’s a great time to connect with each other.
Enjoy things together. One thing we love to do together is watch Top Gear (the UK version of course!) We both LOVE it. Yes I am a wife who loves to watch Top Gear. Why? I have a general interest in cars but it’s not as much as my hubby. I LOVE the show for the cinematography (cinematography is the way they capture scenes). The lenses and high-speed cameras they use to capture a car going over 200 mph without blurring amazes me. We often pause the show to comment on the amazing feats a car is accomplishing or an amazing shot that we wish we could replicate with our camera.
Don’t harbor bitterness or anger. This is one of my biggest struggles. When I get upset, I have a bad habit of keeping score of all the wrongs that person has done to me and I want to hold on to bitterness. Ephesians 4:26-27 says ”Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” When I choose to talk to my hubby about what’s bothering me focusing on forgiving and finding a solution to the problem, I’m much less likely to harbor bitterness. After all, hasn’t Jesus forgiven me of all the junk I’ve done?
Support their God-given purpose. Right now my God-given purpose is to stay home and raise our two kids and help other women close to me. My husband supports my purpose by providing for our family, giving me time to invest in other women, and giving me a break from mommy duties when I need it.
My hubby’s purpose now is to teach on multiple levels. He teaches high school science and also teaches Sunday school. He’s also built to encourage others. I help support him in his purpose by helping him grade papers at night and giving him time with friends that need support. We often have people over for dinner as a way to bless and encourage them. This is a great example of God using our gifts together and it’s really fulfilling for both of us.
I hope this post was helpful to you! What was the best marriage advice someone gave to you?