Tuesday, January 24, 2012

He Deserves More than My Silence

I am getting what I asked for.

I am reading these books that are helping me improve msyelf...and I'm seeing how much of a mess I really am!

Ulgh. I'm recognizing patterns in my life...black spots in my character. It's is quite humbling to say that. I don't know why I feel like I have to appear perfect. I know I'm not perfect. I know others know I'm not perfect.

Yet I still feel this ridiculous, unrealistic pressure that I put on myself to appear perfect.

And as I read these books on my kindle (which is helping me read more books way more quickly than I ever would have before), I am seeing the cracks in myself...in my pride...in my character...in who I really am.

One of the things is my communication style...especially when it comes to Lee and I disagreeing on something.

I shut down. I don't want to talk about it. I'd rather not let the conversation go any further. Eventually I'll get over it. Eventually it will go away. I don't want to express how I feel.

I have no idea where this pattern has come from, but it has been a present part of our marriage for the past 8 1/2 years. Lee's tired of it...because he always wants to talk about whatever it is that is upsetting me. I am thankful that he cares about me and our marriage that much.

He refuses to let me shut down. He asks me over and over and over to communicate with him. Eventually I give in. It doesn't take as long as it used to. And if I try to hold it in, I blow up.

I've come to realize that this is a defense mechanism for me. And it's also a form of manipulation. I don't talk usually because I'm upset for not getting my way or things haven't gone like I think that they should.

I'm not going to lie, there is a huge chunk of me that wants to delete this whole page. To not show you this entry into my life. To keep my pride in tact.

But who am I fooling? Myself? God?

I want to change. I want to be different. It is selfish of me to stay the same. Christ has not called me to be a manipulator. And it would be my pride that kept me there if I let it.

So, I admit I am working on my interpersonal communication skills - specifically with my husband. He begs for me to be honest, and even when I feel like my honest opinion is ridiculous or selfish so I don't want to admit it, he deserves to hear it instead of nothing. He deserves more than my silence.

The book I'm reading that is challenging me in this is Now You're Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriageby Dr. Gary Chapman who wrote the book The Five Love Languages.

I want my marriage to be even better than it is. I will not settle for anything less than the best. So in order to do that, I have to change myself and not just wait for my communication skills to get better.

I am so thankful that Lee thinks I'm worth it. That he's patient and encouraging, and he is working right along side of me to make sure that we communicate - not becoming the same person, but improving the 2 individuals who are joined together in this life.

Knowledge is powerful, but it is useless if it is not put into practice. I can learn all this information, but if I don't use it to allow the Holy Spirit to change me, then it's a waste.

I'm ready for the challenge. And I know Lee is too. And I will look back at this time in my life knowing that I am not the same as I used to be.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not Just When...

God is good all of the time...

Not just when things go my way or the way I think they should go...

Not just when there's enough money in our checking account for the whole month instead of half of it...

Not just when my family and I are happy and healthy...

He is good all of the time...

When there are bills coming in and money is tight...

When circumstances seem way more difficult and confusing...

When things and people are broken to the extent that it seems beyond repair...

God is good. And He is teaching me more and more about His goodness.

He is challenging me to trust Him more. To really, truly believe He is going to take care of me and my family. To not let my emotions get the best of me...which, for me, this means to not allow my circumstances stress me out and determine if I have joy or not. *This is an area I'm working on.
I am learning that I my not be able to control my emotions, but I can control how I react to them.

And my emotions do not determine if God is good or not.

He is always good. Always.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two Different Worlds

It's days like today where I could easily feel left out.

Lee and I have chosen to do ministry together. We are a team.

But we are also a family.

I gained some encouragement from a friend of mine who is also in ministry along side her husband...and they have 5 kids under the age of 8...

I asked her how she dealt with the "being left out" feelings.

She told me that it was hard. She really had to view their family as a team, and her husband was the one who will often be the representative for their team right now while her little ones are still little and she was at home with them. 

She can't be at every function of the church, although she wants to. And she knows that in a short time, she will be able to be there alongside of him...working together in the same place at the same time...

But for now, they have 2 different worlds to take care of.

So, while Lee is at Cafe Chi Alpha, sharing his heart with the student leaders that we love...I'm at home sharing my heart with the children that we love.

And I'm happy and grateful that my heart is at peace with this decision.

Yes, it is a choice. I choose to stay home. I choose to keep our kids. It is a choice that Lee and I have made together. We have chosen to make a lot of sacrifices, but we know that each and every sacrifice is worth it.

I was almost in tears the other day as I realized that, if we really wanted, we could enroll Bella in pre-k next fall...5 days a week...a full day of school every day...just months from now. I'm not ready for that. It seems like it hasn't been that long ago that we were bringing her home from the hospital, scared out of our minds!

And before I know it, both of my babies will be in school. And just like the other moms who have grown children, I will be longing for these days again.

I want to enjoy this time. There's no use in being bitter or angry over being "left out" of getting to hang out with the coolest students on the planet...because even though those guys and girls are very special to me, Lee & I have 2 different worlds to take care of, and mine is at home.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Stuck Inside of a Box

Sometimes I don't believe in myself.

Sometimes I let guilt overwhelm me.

Sometimes I am paralyzed by fear.

Most of the time, I am my own worst enemy.

I stop myself from doing things more than anyone else could ever try to stop me.

I can be determined when I want to be, but sometimes I allow my thoughts of myself to get in the way.

So, how do I change that stinking thinking?

I have to remind myself of Scripture verses from the Bible:

Romans 12:2,  "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

I John 4:4, "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."

2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound-mind." 

I John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love."

There are many more that I quote to myself, or if I can't completely remember them, but I have an idea of most of the words, I can type it into the search bar of this website, www.youversion.com 

But that's what I have to do when I'm thinking negatively

Because negative thoughts cause me to have a negative attitude...

And a negative attitude keeps me from doing anything positive or life-changing...

And I don't want to do that. I don't want to be stuck inside of a box because I think I am. 

So, in order for me to think outside the box, I literally have to make an effort to change my thinking. 

It won't happen on it's own.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Goals for the New Year

Sure, you can make goals any time of the year...

But the new year brings a fresh sense of desire for accomplishment.

Things I didn't do last year that I wanted to do...

Things I did last year that I don't want to do...

The new year is a perfect time for change.

Everyone is in the mode for it...so there is a greater sense of motivation - if you are open to it.

Here are a few things I want to accomplish (and by the way, having them here gives me a greater chance of seeing them at a later time and remembering that I want to do these!):

1) I want to cook at home more.

My goal is 4 times a week...Sunday through Wednesday...
Thursdays are crazy for us since Lee doesn't get home until late that night, and Fridays we eat international food...and Saturdays are open to eating at home or eating a special meal out...or grilling burgers...

And I want to cook a variety of things - not just the same thing. So, my friend Megan and I are going to make calendars with our meals planned out for our families...this is going to be a fun project for me...I just need to stick to it!

2) I want to have a yard sale.

I have a TON of stuff that we are not using anymore. It's way more than something to drop off at the donation center...it's a lot of stuff...mostly baby stuff. So, we're going to price it to get rid of it, and hopefully have a lot of fun doing this together. We already have a jump start on getting things out of the house...it will just be a matter of organizing it all and making the yard sale happen. But I will do this soon.

3) I want to read 1 book per month.

With my new Kindle, this shouldn't be hard. I'm loving reading again. But, as life continues to move on, I want to continue this rekindled (pun intended) love for reading. I want to develop myself as a better person. Readers = Leaders

4) I want to organize my home.

This kinda goes along with the yard sale. I am ready to declutter everything...have a place for everything...and get rid of what is not used. I know that this will not happen overnight, and honestly, this one will not be as easy as reading one book a month. This one is going to stretch me. I'm going to continue looking for creative, inexpensive ways to organize things in our home. I want the clutter out...and I want to form habits to keep it out!

5) I want to spend 10 minutes of day worshiping God...consistently

As I type this, it seems like it's not enough. But for me...it would be glorious! I don't have much time to myself during the day...so I will have to do this before or after my kids wake up or go to sleep. I will have to be intentional about this as a mom and a wife...I know as my kids get a little older, I will be able to continue to do this while they are awake, but to have an uninterrupted worship time, I need to do this while they sleep. I want them to see me reading my Bible, journaling, and worshiping. That is important to me. But...I can't hardly read 2 verses in my Bible right now without having to get up to take something out of Brennan's mouth or keep the 2 of them from hitting each other over a toy (when there are thousands of toys at our house for them to play with!!).
I believe this one goal will change the atmosphere of my home (as well as my attitude) more so than any other goal that I have.

So, here they are...a few of my goals...

They are realistic for me, and I know that these are areas where I need to improve. And honestly, I don't want to set myself up for failure with unrealistic goals that are so lofty I don't have a chance to accomplish them. This is where I'm at in my life today.
Hopefully 12 months from now I will have formed these into wonderful habits in my life and I'll be ready to take on a few more in 2013!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gaining Knowledge & Wisdom...

Lee got me a kindle for Christmas. I've always loved to read...it wouldn't be anything for me (before I had kids) to stay up all night to finish a book.

I could easily get involved in the Christian fiction books that I read. At some points, I would cry, and Lee would walk in and just shake his head. I couldn't help it! There is power in words!

Then Lee & I did the Chi Alpha internship, and I was required to read a lot....I mean, a whole lot. Several books/sections of books/per month. It was a lot. I had a list of books that I would read after the internship.

And after the internship I had Bella. And to be honest, I haven't had a desire to read in my free time since then. There were so many other things that needed to be done in the time that I would be spending with a book. Even with Brennan, it is hard to read. I don't like the constant interruptions of having to get up to make sure he doesn't keep the things he is not supposed to have.

But, I'm starting to read more. And I'm enjoying it. And it's not the Christian fiction that I used to consume.

I'm reading books that are helping me grow...

I don't mind fiction books. It's great for the escape and the entertainment. And I know that it also helps increase my vocabulary, which is always a plus for Scrabble games and Words with Friends.

But, I am thoroughly enjoying the spiritual challenges that I'm taking in.

[One of my favorites right now is I Want to Live These Days with You... which is a daily devotional from collections of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I'm loving it!! It's a short excerpt that is great to read in the morning and be able to chew on it the rest of the day.]

When I was pregnant with Bella, I remember asking God to let her have a love for books and reading. God has honored that prayer. Bella loves to read books, to have books read to her, and her books are precious to her. She doesn't write on them or color them...and her favorite ones have obvious worn signs...

And I know that her love for reading will continue to grow as she sees her daddy and I are reading. And I want Brennan to develop that same passion too.

The Bible talks a lot about knowledge and wisdom. I heard it explained as knowledge is what you gain from learning, and wisdom is when you use the knowledge you have gained.

So, if I am going to be wise, I need to gain knowledge and use it!! And I believe that my new Kindle is going to be a great tool in helping me do that!!