I Love You but You Are Driving Me Crazy

 

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According to Weddingwire June is the third most popular month for weddings in the past two years.  I just attended the wedding of one of my nephews in a beautiful mid-west, quaint farm setting.  During one of the dances, the DJ asked couples to keep dancing if they had been married for a specific number of years.  He kept going until one couple remained on the dance floor.  It just so happened to be my parents, the grandparents of the groom, left alone, swaying to the music. My parents have been married fifty-eight years!  The DJ asked my nephew and his new bride to accompany my parents in the center of the dance floor.  He then proceeded to ask my parents what advice they had for the newly married couple to get them to fifty -eight years of wedded bliss.  My mom answered first, “Just hang in there!” My dad, the quiet guy he is agreed.

This past winter, I participated in a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study where we studied Karen Ehman’s book, “Keep Showing Up, How to Stay Crazy in Love When Your Love Drives You Crazy”.  Chapter One starts out, “Why is this so hard? I can’t do this anymore! I cried out to God as I sat crossed-legged on the bedroom floor of our very first apartment, my eyes stingy with hot, salty tears”

Now, those of you reading this who know me well, and those of you who don’t are going to find out super quick, I won’t be giving you advice on marital bliss.  You see, I have sat feeling exactly like Karen Ehman not once, or twice, but well I am not proud to say three times.  She is exactly right.  Marriage isn’t easy.  You have to, as my mom said to my nephew, “just hang in there”, and as Karen says, “Keep Showing Up”.

We find the  “Mr. or Mrs. right”, fall in love, and have expectations of the “perfect” life together.  Our “happily ever after”.  Then just like that, you are living with who? Who is this person who doesn’t pick up after themselves, makes snide comments, doesn’t appreciate your cooking, forgets your birthday, and argues with you.  What? A disagreement?  We never had a single tiff while we were dating! You thought getting married and living with the person of your dreams was going to be, well… dreamy, not a nightmare on some days.

Now, don’t get me wrong, what can be better than traveling, laughing, sharing in a hobby or a mutually loved cause with the one you love.  But we do, and I speak from my own experience here, have to manage our expectations of what it really means to say “I do” in front of God and our friends and families.  It means it isn’t going to be easy everyday and we are going to need Jesus to help us to “Keep Showing Up.” (And the wise words of Karen Ehman!)

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My first two marriages, I didn’t keep showing up.  I quit showing up on my first marriage due to abuse and for my safety I needed to leave. My second marriage ended sadly because of addiction and because I had turned away, forgetting about God’s love, grace, and forgiveness.

Don’t get me wrong here, I didn’t go into my other marriages wanting or thinking they were going to end in divorce, not at all.  I grew up in a household with exemplary examples of wedded couples who kept showing up for each other through thick and thin.  Both sets of my grandparents had been married well over fifty years and as I mentioned, my parents have been married fifty-eight years.  I know for a fact, it hasn’t been and wasn’t always wedded bliss for any of them, but they kept showing up for each other.  Through The Great Depression, various wars (at home and abroad), sickness, loss of jobs, loss of children, life.  Hard, messy, tough, life.  The married couples in my life kept showing up, kept loving, kept honoring, kept serving, and kept praying for one another. Those are the examples I had and had intended to follow.

Today, I truly believe that God broke many chains and I am free from so many lies of the evil one. He brought this amazing, some days sandpaperish man (When you read Karen’s book Chapter 2 tells you all about the “Sandpaper Spouse”!)  into my life for me to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of my life! Today I don’t believe and react to the lies I was once listening to. As John 8:44 reminds us, “He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Friend, we don’t have to listen to the lies Satan tells us about our marriages and our spouses. The simple truth is, some days it is hard to see this I get it, but our spouses are not the enemy.  Satan loves to spin webs of lies, its his job and it is our job not to get tangled and stuck in them. (I promised I wouldn’t give marriage advice, I learned all this from the book, emoji happy face!)

If you are crazy in love with your spouse, which I pray you are and if you are not I will pray for things to change in your relationship, then “Keep Showing Up” is a must have tool to add to your marriage tool kit.  A few others I have in mine now and use constantly are my bible (several versions) and another wonderful book by Sharon Jaynes “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe”.  Sharon shares how to use scripture to pray for your husband literally from head to toe!

I am a super sap when it comes to weddings.  I will be the first to admit I quickly get caught up in all the sparkle, romance, pomp and circumstance, and cake of course! And I don’t think any of that is a bad thing as long as we as family and friends of the bride and groom continue to stand by their sides through all the ups and downs life is going to throw their way,  We don’t need to be a bunch of Debbie Downers when called upon as Christians to share  marital advice with young couples. We need to be honest with them and lead them to Jesus when life starts to turn the wedded bliss in a wedded blister!

I’d love to hear from you.  What do you do to Keep Showing Up in your marriage.  When you comment in the blog today you will be signed up to win a copy of Karen’s book “Keep Showing Up” and Sharon Jaynes’ book “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe”.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

In the Meantime,

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

 

Irritable…Discontent…Restless… Help Is Not Hidden

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Friend, It is so easy in our ever so busy lives today to get irritable, discontent, and restless, so much that we can start to spin out of control. Maybe not just start to spin but whirl like crazy.

God’s Word is living and breathing! It fills my soul and brings me peace and calm when I start to twirl and whirl in this world.  Meditating and praying Isaiah 46:4 can take me from the crazy of a Tilt-a-Whirl to a front porch swing in a matter of minutes.

Heavenly Father,

I know that you have created me and you are with me until my hair is gray, and grayer than it already is!  I have witnessed you carry me through other turmoils and I know you will carry me through today, hour by hour; minute by minute.  Father, thank you for your life sustaining Word, love, grace, and forgiveness.  I have faith that in your time, Father, you will rescue me from the whirling and twirling I am feeling right now.  In the meantime, I will keep my eyes laser focused on you.  My ears and heart open to hear your word.  And I will rise up and go on with the God assignments you have already planned for me today, living and breathing your word and truth.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

I Found Peace In My Soul Praying For My Son’s

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Time really does fly by when you are having fun, well and even when you are walking in the valleys.  It was just yesterday I was eating a Jumbo Jack from Jack In The Box and two tacos in labor, ready to deliver this amazing baby boy I had waited what seemed like forever to arrive.  That was twenty-one years ago.

Now that baby boy is grown and out on his own, working and making plans to move across country,  So many days I stop to think, “This isn’t the plan I had for you sweet child twenty-one years ago.” I had plans for you to grow up and go off to college, find a beautiful girl, of course she had pledged Pi Beta Phi like your mom, and you would live happily ever after.  Christmas’ would be spent at my home, decorating the tree, listening to the sound track of “The Nut Cracker”, while smells of mulled cider and cinnamon filled the air.

But alas, God has a different plan and path.  Many days I want to question God or yell and scream, “why is your plan for my son not matching up with mine?”  In my heart of hearts, I know why, God’s Will isn’t my will.  I am sure when I took off to Texas at age 23 my mom and dad might have been feeling like I am today, “This isn’t the plan, God, we had for our middle daughter.”

They had a strong faith in our heavenly father then and I have a strong faith in Him now, which is why I know, even as hard and frustrating as it can be at times, I hold on to God’s truth and believe He knows what is best for my baby, better than I do.

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I also know that his dad and I raised him with Jesus in his heart and the seeds are planted there even though today he is making choices that are so far from what Jesus teaches us.  But the more I nag, the more I am just a clanging gong in his still growing and developing, trying to figure out who he is brain. Then that brain just tunes me out. As Proverbs 25:24 reminds us, “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome mom.” (okay, so I changed wife to mom here, but you get the point).

If you have ever watched the television show, The Goldbergs, you will totally understand where I am coming from here.  The mom, Beverly Goldberg played by actress Wendi McLendon-Covey, is a totally helicopter, smothering, over – the – top sparkling, loving, doting mom.  She would go to the ends of the earth for her children.  However,Erica, Barry, and Adam, her children usually see her as meddling, bothersome, and smothering.  When I start in on him and how I disagree with the “adult choices he feels he is making for his life” he wants nothing to do with me, feels I am over bearing and smothering, and turns away, as the Goldberg children do on television.

So what’s a mom of a young adult son to do?  A mom who has a big faith in her savior, Jesus?  Well, she prays.  Don’t get me wrong, I have learned this lesson the hard way, trying my way first, worrying.  Trust me, fretting gets you no where.  Now prayer, specific prayer, gets you every where!

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When I started specifically praying to release my child over to God’s care, praying for God to secure his protection, praying that he would have a sound mind, and praying he would  break down ungodly strongholds, things started to change.  Not so much with him, but within me.

The nights of lying awake in bed worrying about what he ate for the day and did he have everything he needed drifted away.  Tears of sadness for parenting mistakes and guilt washed away.  Relief, forgiveness, and grace flooded my soul.

Praying God’s word over my child has brought me peace.  Are there times I still worry and disagree with my son’s choices, you bet.  But I quickly look up, let go, and live joy.  As 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 reminds us, “Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.  

Some days are hard, the days I feel I am in the valley I can lift my eyes and know my God sees me there.  I can pray continually His words and he hears my cries.  On the days I am on the top of the mountain, I thank God for putting me there.  No matter where  I land, I  give Jesus the praise and glory for all things, thanking him for the blessings in my life, especially one beautiful child, well now handsome 21 year old son.

Here are a few of the scriptures I have been praying over my son.

I have used a fabulous little book by Stormie Omartian, “The Power of a Praying Parent”.  A friend of mine at the gym where I work out gave it to me a few years ago and it has been the little gift that keeps on giving.

The first being the scripture I opened this blog entry with, Isaiah 43:2-3a:  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God,the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

I pray, Heavenly father I know you will be with my my son when the waters pass through and I know you will keep him safe as he passes  through deep waters of big decisions.  Father as he walks through difficult situations keep the flames of trouble from setting ablaze, for you are the Lord God, the Holy One.

Prayer format based on Stormie Omartian’s book “The Power of a Praying Parent”

To Release My Child Into God’s Hands:

Psalm 103:17-18:  “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”  

Heavenly Father, Today in Jesus’ name I give (name of child) to You.  I know in my heart that only You know what is best for him (her), and what his (her) needs are.  I hand him (her)  over to You to care for and protect.  I come to you Lord, to devote time each day  to pray for all areas of my child’s life, and I ask that You guide those prayers in the direction of your Will.  I thank you and praise you God for helping me to raise my amazing child.  Amen.

1 John 4:16: : “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them”

Dear God, I pray today that (name of child) feel loved and accepted by people in his (her) life that will guide him (her) to good not evil.  I pray, Father, that you will fill my child with your Holy Spirit and love, and I pray he (she) will totally understand how complete and unconditional Your love is.  I pray that You, Father, remove any lies the enemy has placed in my child to believe otherwise.  Lord I pray that you will manifest Your love to my child today in a super real way that he (she) feels and knows Your presence.  I pray for that love to be returned to You by my child.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Today I can say, “It is well with my soul.”  Thank you Jesus.

Here is a link to purchase that great little book by Stormie Omartian.

Power of a Praying Parent

The Good Samaritans in the Storm

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The forecast predicted storms for “your drive home”.  Yes, my drive home, one day  not too long ago, after work.  My drive usually takes about 12 minutes give or take a few depending on traffic when I choose the freeway route.  This day, though, I needed to run into the grocery on my way home.  Storms approaching, do I run into the Wal-Mart near work hop on the freeway and be home. Or do I take the scenic route and run into the Kroger near my home.  For whatever reason, I felt like the second option was better, even with storms on the horizon and the back roads take about 5 minutes longer.

Let me cut to the chase here and get to the point of all this.  I made it to the store, grabbed what I needed in record time.  Jumped in my car and as I turned the key to start the engine, it made a grinding sound, you know the one that says, “Hey owner of this vehicle something is way wrong and I am not going to start right now.”

And then, drop,drop, then the heavens opened up and the rain came down.  Not just a sprinkle mind you, a deluge!  I tried again to turn the key, nothing. Just… a tap on my window? What?

Yes a lady dressed in scrubs asked, “Do you need a jump?”  “My husband and I are right here and as soon as the car next to us leaves we can move to that space and give you a jump.”  I thanked her and said I have AAA and I can call my husband we live less than a mile away.  She insisted on waiting, and jumped back in her car.

Meanwhile, the rain not stopping any time soon, I called my husband, he was happy to come get me.  I jumped out ran to the ladies window, thanked her again and let her know my husband could come and get me.  This amazing couple insisted on waiting to help me get my car started.  Just then the car next to me pulled out, the lady (I keep calling her this because I think we exchanged names at some point under my umbrella, but it was raining so hard and we were soaking wet and laughing so hard, that if she told me her name, I didn’t catch it.  Lesson for me, remember the names!) jumped out and we were both standing in that parking spot holding until her husband pulled around.

A few minutes later the cars were connected by the jumper cables and my little beetle was running!  I offered to pay the couple or buy them dinner, they declined and her husband told me if that was his wife he wouldn’t want her to be alone in a storm with her car not running.  I thanked them again, we all jumped into our cars sopping wet and went our separate ways.

This couple demonstrated Philippians 2:3-4 that day.  They put other’s interests, needs above their own.  It would have been so easy for them to see my car not starting and say, “Oh that is too bad for her”, and go on their merry way, making it home before the storms.  But they didn’t.  They stayed to lend a helping hand.

Julien B. Weil

God calls us to humble ourselves and put others before ourselves. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us I am not always so good at this, and to be quite honest, I don’t know if I would have rendered help to a stranded motorist in a pour down.  However, since that day, being the recipient of another’s good deed, it makes me more aware each day that I need to humble myself daily and look to others’ interests before mine.

We all have busy schedules and our own agendas, but if we all started following this simple command, can you imagine what stories might open the nightly news or the would be the headlines in our news papers?  Stories of hope, not crime and corruption.  Stories of love not hate.

Matthew 25 35 36

Join me on a journey to be humble daily and to seek out the interests of others before my own,  A journey to live more like Jesus.  One of humility, love, kindness, and giving.

Have you been the recipient of an act of kindness where someone stepped out of themselves to help you out?  Or were you the one that stepped out of your comfort zone and helped another?  I’d love for you to share your story in the comments.

Wishing you dear friend a very blessed Easter!  He is risen!

 

Thank You God for The Lion and The Lamb

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Well this March is not disappointing when it comes to the old saying, “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb”.  It is freezing in the ‘Ville.  Cold winds blowing, temperatures plummeting, and snow flurries in the air.  As much as I want sunny and 75 all year-long I can’t complain,  I am blessed with clothes and shelter to keep me warm and safe and healthy food to nourish me.  As I sit here wishing for what I don’t have, the old saying of March got me thinking about Jesus as the Lion and the Lamb.

When I think about Jesus birth, I don’t see him, like March, coming in like a lion as roaring and loud, I am sure like any newborn he was crying, but he came as our King. Lions are  symbols for kings and Jesus is most definitely the Messiah whom God sent to save us from all our sins, to watch over us, guide us, direct our thoughts and actions, and to show us how to live a life of  love and truth while we are on this Earth.   Lysa Terkeurst puts it this way, “A life between two gardens”.

I love the song by Big Daddy Weave, “The Lion and The Lamb”.  The lyrics go, “The lion of Judah, roaring with power, fighting our battles”.  The lion of Judah, this was the name given to Judah by his father Jacob found in the Book of Genesis, in the begin of the Bible.  The tribe of Judah would be the tribe that would continue to produce leaders. Genesis 49:8-10 . King David, another king, was a descendant of Judah, and who was a descendant of King David?  Wait for it… Wait for it…

Jesus!

Now before we move on to Jesus being the lamb, this is what I think is so incredible, if  like me you  are not a Bible scholar, back in Genesis 49:10 to be exact, it tells us:

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Jacob had given Judah a distinction above his brothers.  His tribe would continue to produce leaders until the coming of the Messiah.  And Jesus lineage can be traced back to the Lion of Judah. Matthew Chapter 1.   Sorry, squirrel in traffic, I get so easily distracted when the Bible all comes together, I hope you do too. And this story just keeps on giving, because if you keep reading I’m going to show you again how this story just keeps on knitting itself together.

Let’s go back to Big Daddy Weave for a hot second, the lyrics continue, “Our God is the lamb, the lamb that was slain for the sins of the world, his blood breaks the chains.”

Yes, when Jesus so selflessly gave His human Will over to God’s Will  that he would die to save us, selfish non deserving humans, of our sins, He was the sacrificial lamb the Old Testament speaks of.  No longer did people have to go and bring a lamb or other animal to the High Priest to sacrifice for their sins.  Jesus death, the gentle lamb, tore the veil.

Take a look with me if you will  at Revelation 5:5-14.

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Who was the one worthy to open the scroll?

Yes sweet friend, the Lion of Judah, the Lamb that was slain.  Jesus.  It takes my breath away every time I read this passage.  It all comes together.

He is always there watching over us, protecting us as a lion, powerful, strong, helping us in the good times and bad. Because dear friend, we have and will continue to face difficult times.  It’s during these times we must cling to our faith in Jesus and grow stronger in our relationship with Him.  As Corrie ten Boom once said, ” No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still; with Jesus even in our darkest moments, the best remains and the very best is yet to be.”

AND

As the lamb, he is gentle, humble, and selfless.  He left His perfect home in Heaven to come to Earth to show us how to live.  Because of His ultimate sacrifice, You and I dear friend can go straight to God with all our mess, hurt, and shame.We can  humble ourselves and ask for grace and forgiveness.   Sounds a little scary, yes, but that is exactly what our heavenly Father is there for and He is waiting for us to lay it all at His feet.  To lay it all at the cross.

My word for this year is “Grow”, I even bought a little bracelet with the word engraved on it to remind me daily that God wants me to “Grow” in my faith in Him and in His likeness.  How can someone like me be a lion, fierce, strong yet a gentle lamb all at the same time?

I am always thinking about something, many times how I could have handled a situation differently, more like Jesus would have handle it. Sometimes I do this too much that I start talking out loud to myself.  One day my husband, Paul, said,  ” You have more conversations with yourself than anyone I know”.  It wasn’t until then that I realized that I was thinking loud enough for others to hear!

Well that got me thinking even more. If he could hear me, then absolutely, my Savior in heaven can hear every word I think and say.  Just like I can take all my mess and thanksgiving to God in prayer, I can also go to Him and ask for guidance and direction, wisdom and discernment.

When I pray and ask God for guidance and direction, He will lead me to the exact place I need to be in His Word for each and every situation I am in.  If I need to be gentle and humble like a lamb I can read:

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“to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:2

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  James 3:17

And sometimes God leads me to people who are following in His likeness to be examples for me in this world. Max Lucado is one of those people God introduced me to his books years ago.  This is a great quote when I need a good example and reminder:

“choose gentleness… Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself. ” Max Lucado.

God has also led me to an amazing husband and wife team, two people, I have found by reading their books and one day would love to meet, (Bob gives his cell phone # in the back of his book, I don’t think I could ever call and say “Hi Bob this is Jane Ann, but after reading his book, it is exactly what he would do.) just live loving people like Jesus wanted us to love as He did. The couple is Bob and Maria Goff.  In their books they share their personal adventures of God’s calling to love even some the people most would consider evil and why would anyone love them kind of people.  Because those types of people need love too.

During times when I need to be more lion-like, protecting myself from Satan’s temptations or times when I need to be bold to stand up for myself. But most of all because on that morning when breathe returned to Jesus body  and like a roaring lion who proclaimed the grave has no hold on me, I have living hope to get through any trouble or difficult situation   I can turn to His word and find:

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The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command.” Joel 2:11 a

The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Precious friend, join me this year growing in faith and loving like Jesus.

Maria Goff “Love Lives Here”

Bob Goff Website

Max Lucado Website

 

Five Bible Verses To Love Like Jesus

on the contrary_ “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. in doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[b

It’s the last Wednesday in February friend and that means this is the last post on my series on love.  Today let’s dive into what love is, it trusts, protects, hopes, perseveres,  and as 1 Corinthians 13 8 a reminds us, “Love never fails”.

I have been listening on Audible to Bob Goff’s book, “Everybody Always, Becoming Love in a World Full of Setback and Difficult People”.  I love how he tells the stories of all the amazing people he has met and their adventures.  I mention his book one because I think everyone should read it,and because it is a beautiful example of when we follow Jesus’ example of Love, it really never fails.  I gave you a link to his book below (don’t worry, as always, I get nothing for promoting the book, I have never met Bob Goff, I would love too, though, he is  super interesting , hilarious ,and has so much wisdom and knowledge on how we should live to follow Jesus.)

To end our series on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 I am leaving you with five Bible verses that remind us that Love with a capital L, God, can always be trusted, He will always protect us, we can always hope and persevere in Him and He will never fail us.

Precious friend, this is the Love of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, the love of Christ.  When the people and circumstances of this world hurt and disappoint us, when we feel unloved or we have wronged another, the amazing and never-ending love of Christ is always there for us.  As Lysa Terkeurst says, “We steer where we stare”.  Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, friend and love as he has taught us to love.

 

 

Psalm 13 5

 

deuteronnomy 31 6

Isaiah 40 31

Romans 15 5

Romans 5 8

Everybody Always By Bob Goff

 

Join me the third Wednesday in March for The Lion and The Lamb!  And be on the look out for a new segment “Living The Joy”

Until then

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

 

Why It Is Difficult To Let Go And Love

on the contrary_ “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. in doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[b

Today friend we are going to tackle four more characteristics of what Love is not and I have some more Bible verses we can pray to help us get rid of these nasty attributes when they pop up in our daily lives.  Click on the video to see my discussion with Author and Proverbs 31 Speaker, Amy Carroll.

Let me just tell you Satan had a little fun with us last night and we had a little technical difficulties, but as ALWAYS God conquers and the conversation happened!

Living Joy Today Facebook page

Well wasn’t Amy amazing! She mentioned the Four Steps Towards a Tender Heart and a Strong Voice.  Here is the link to Amy’s Blog for the steps to Listen, Feel, Do, Speak and so many other terrific resources.

Amy Carroll

Don’t forget to comment on the blog or Facebook page to be entered to win the copy of Amy’s book, “Breaking Up with Perfect”.

 

I’ll see you again mid March!  Until then

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy