Love Does not Keep a Marriage Together

Love does not keep a marriage together.  I know that is what we all want to believe. We want to believe in the happy every after and the fairytale endings. But fairytales don’t tell the rest of the story.  Marriage is hard.

What right do I have to talk about marriage? I am not a marriage counselor. I am married, but I have not been married long, only six years. That is not a long time in the large scheme of life. We work hard to make our marriage stronger every day, but as in all marriages, some days we have more conflict than other days. Some days we try harder than other days. We love each other, though there are many days where we really don’t appreciate each others’ actions. There are times we are rude to each other and say things that we do not mean. I don’t say all this to berate marriage or bash my husband (it is a two way street), but I only want to be real with you, and this is the honest truth. I love my husband with all my heart, but that is not the reason I stay married to him.

I challenge anybody who says their marriage has been easy the entire time they have been married. They are lying. They are either lying to themselves or they are lying to you.

Don’t get me wrong, marriage has many good merits. I don’t mean to discourage anybody thinking about getting married. I do mean for you to think, to think long and hard why you want to get married and why you want to marry the person you want to marry. I want you to talk to each other and know that your opinions will probably change and that you will not always agree and you will probably forget to talk about the things you should talk about before you get married and during marriage.

This is not a lesson in how to make your marriage work or a check list of what to do before you get married. This is just the truth.

Lately, this subject has been on my heart. This season of young children has not been an easy one for my husband and I. We find ourselves, at times, disagreeing more than agreeing and we often find ourselves blaming each other instead of encouraging each other. Maybe this subject has been on my heart because I know of several newly married and young married people getting a divorce or talking about divorce. I know of some marriages that I thought were strong that are faltering and are on the brink of breaking up. I know of many women scorned and hardened and bitter about their previous marriage(s), and probably justly so.  It makes me sad; my heart breaks for them.

That brings me back to the point.

Love will not keep your marriage together.

It takes much much more than love. Marriage takes commitment, sacrifice, perseverance, and hard work. Lots of it!  You have to choose to work through your conflict and make your marriage work! Don’t compare your marriage to others and don’t pretend to be something you are not.  In this world of social media, all we see are glimpses of the good and the happy in people’s lives. Rarely do you see the whole picture.  A picture is not always worth a thousand words. Have you ever taken a picture and right before you snapped the picture,you were all fighting or the toddler was screaming or the teenager was sulking? Or have you ever been in a feud with your husband, then walked into church and put on the happy church mask?  People rarely take pictures of their kid in a tantrum or their husband with the other woman. They don’t usually take pictures of their house with laundry piles everywhere. I’m not saying we should post these things, and I’m especially not saying to get on social media or with your friends and bash your husbands or wives and hash out your spouse’s latest failings.  That is neither healthy, nor productive. I’ve heard of these said groups, and while I don’t try to be fake on my social media accounts, I do try to be real and positive. The world or your mother or your sister do not need to hear about your latest argument or the latest thing your spouse did to wrong you. I’m not saying to never discuss these situations with a trusted friend or mentor. However, I do believe that those moments should mostly be between you, your spouse, God and a licensed therapist, if necessary.

Yes, marriage is hard. It takes sacrifice and a whole lot of sweat!  You may wonder, why am I saying all this?  Haven’t I talked about how sweet and helpful my husband has been?  Yes, and he is, much of the time. But many times, he is not. Many times he fails me and yes, many times, more than I can count, I fail him. But you know what? We choose to stay together. We choose to work on our conflict and work on our marriage.  We both acknowledge that we are not perfect (most of the time). As stated before, I do not want to berate marriage or my husband, I just want people to know the truth, the real genuine truth.

Your husband is probably not going to pick up his shoes; your wife may never put your clothes away and they may constantly be wrinkled. Your husband may withdraw when he gets home from work or spend more time then you like in front of electronics. Your wife may insult your parenting skills.  Your husband will probably forget to pick up the milk. Your wife will probably bust your budget.

But marriage is from God, and only good comes from God.

“Have you not heard that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19: 4-6

Marriage is good. Marriage allows for unconditional love by choice. Marriage opens your heart and mind to other perspectives and other ways of doing things. Marriage is someone who is there for you when a loved one dies or when you are laid off or your dreams are crushed or your children go astray. Marriage is someone who supports you and stands up for you. Marriage is waking up to the same person everyday with morning breath and morning gas, and disheveled hair and no make up. Marriage is the man or woman cleaning up vomit on the carpet at two am. It is all these things and more.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Do you ever wonder why there are so many comparisons to marriage in the Bible?  God knows we need someone to slap us in the face sometimes (not literally). He knows we need unconditional love and great mercy. Oh the mercy we need, daily.  Perhaps God meant to show a glimpse of his unbounding merciful love and sacrifice for us. That he will love us no matter how much we argue with him, no matter that we fail daily. He sacrificed his Son. There is no greater love than that.  To lay down your life.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-39

You know what else, Satan does not want your marriage to succeed.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spirituals forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6: 11-12

For if your marriage succeeds, then it is a testament to the one true living God. A testament that there is a God and he is powerful and merciful and just. God will see you through all that the devil throws at you!  When you feel your marriage is failing, please don’t give up;  keep praying and trying. For it is more than love that will see you through.

Prayer:

Oh, God,

Hear our prayers. Know we are sinners daily and we need your mercy daily. Teach us to love unconditionally like you and to practice great mercy daily. Be with our marriages and keep Satan out of them.  Amen

What are some ways that God has sustained your marriage?

 

Thank you for reading! Please share with those who might be struggling!

For the Love of Chocolate

DSC_0197I LOVE chocolate! Just about any kind, with nuts, without, with peanut butter, caramel, whatever. If it has chocolate in it or around it, I will eat it and be bribed by it. One of my favorite kinds of chocolate is Dove chocolate, every flavor. I even love the little sayings that come in the wrapper. Now, I’m sure the Dove manufacturers did not intend to provoke profound thinking on their wrappers. And often, I just read them in passing. Some are cute, some are downright stupid (sorry Dove), and some are sweet. But one recently did have me pondering deep thoughts (maybe it’s the breastfeeding hormones).  “Do all things with love.”

Do ALL things with LOVE. Really?? Do ALL things with LOVE? Am I supposed to potty train with love, change diapers with love, eat, feed my children, fold laundry with love? While these things seem trivial, are they? What if we did everything from the lens of “Do ALL things with LOVE“.

Would that make the mundane things a little more enjoyable, or just increase the pressure of being a parent? After all, as all moms and dads know, toddlers and infants are exhausting (as I’m sure any age can be).  Between taking my two year old to the potty for the millionth time, cleaning the floor and sheets from pee and poo (I am happy to report that we are now almost completely potty trained!, just trying to get that #2!). Between  begging her to go # 2 on the potty and bribing her with a new toy and ice cream (which has not worked), and just short of forcing her on the toilet (which I realize does not work either!).  Between nursing every few hours to soothing a fussy baby at all hours, the last thing I  think about sometimes is love. I think about sleep and rest and peace! I think about being able to sit down with my lunch and not have little hands grabbing at my plate demanding at that instant to eat, even though they may have just eaten or just said they were done! I think about drinking HOT tea or coffee. I want to read a book in its entirety and in one sitting. I want to finish writing this post without interruption. I want to be able to eat my chocolate without having to hide it or share it with my child.

Maybe that is the point. Parenting is not glorious work. But neither was Jesus’ work . Did he want to constantly be traveling and speaking and healing? How many times did he get interrupted while praying or having a meal with his friends. How many times did he get woken up by cries and whines? How many times did he just want to spend time with his Father without having to break up an argument or soothe somebody? He did those things out of love and with love. Do ALL things with love.

“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16: 14

What if, instead of lamenting our days away we said the following instead:

How amazing is it that my two year old is learning to go to the bathroom all by herself? How awesome is it that I can see my baby boy growing right before my eyes?. How extraordinary are all those dirty and wet diapers, for they are a sign that he is healthy?

While not the most glorious acts, these are all opportunities to show love. Show our love in discipline and teaching and learning. And even though this season of my life with young children seems to be dragging by at times, I know this too shall pass. Will I look back and say I did all things with love and that my children knew they were loved? At the end of the day, ask yourself:  Did I have a heart filled with love or was my heart weary and weighed down with the tasks and to do lists of the day?

I want to make sure my children know that they are loved. I don’t want them to remember a clean house, every meal being at 6:30, or an organized playroom. While there is certainly nothing wrong with, and I do aim for those things, my point is this:

I want my children to remember the laughter we shared, coloring and building blocks together. I want them to remember me baking with them and taking them to the park. I want them to have love filled memories.  I want them to remember that I loved them, just as they were. And, perhaps, I will share my chocolate. 🙂 (Sometimes…)

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to share!

Be sure to follow me for weekly encouragement from the realities of my ordinary life!

If That Isn’t Love

I wanted to share the following excerpt from one of my favorite daily devotional books. This is from “Grace for the Moment”, by Max Lucado.  (http://maxlucado.com/)

“You Were in His Prayers”

“The final prayer of Jesus was about you. His final pain was for you. His final passion was for you. Before he went to the cross, Jesus went to the garden. And when he spoke with his Father, you were in his prayers…

And God couldn’t turn his back on you. He couldn’t because he saw you, and one look at you was all it took to convince him. Right there in the middle of a world which isn’t fair. He saw you cast into a river of life you didn’t request. He saw you betrayed by those you love. He saw you with a body which gets sick and a heart which grows weak…

On the eve of the cross, Jesus made his decision. He would rather go to hell for you than go to heaven without you. 

If that isn’t love then I don’t know what is!  I hope you enjoy your weekend loving your family and friends! Thanks for reading!

I will leave you with a link to one of my favorite gospel songs:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jltKwX6ifzQ

I Challenge You to Serve: Weekly inspriation on service

This week is all about service. The past week started out with me having jury duty. I, of course, was not looking forward to it (except for it did fall on a day I had to work, so I wasn’t too sad about missing work). Once I arrived at the courthouse, they talked logistics and judiciary process for about an hour. Then they started calling out names for the jury panels. They called eight panels, and about 30 people did not get called. I was one of those 30, so they excused us.  By that point I was actually starting to look forward to it. It would be something different, a break in the ordinary, and a good experience. In  essence, it was serving our country. I thought of all the soldiers serving our country now and in the past, and I thought serving on jury duty could be the least I could do. Hence, I decided for this week’s theme to focus on articles and inspiration about service.  I thought of all the times that I focus on myself and my family, and how little I focus on others. This, of course, is in direct contrast to what God teaches us. Of course, I don’t intentionally not serve others, I am just very busy and wrapped up in a life filled with toddlerhood, work, marriage, and pregnancy. I also thought about how much I want my child to lead a life of Christian service and humility. I can only teach that through my actions. Now, before children, I used to volunteer at random places quite frequently: at a volunteer clinic, a literary clinic, habitat for humanity, church activities.  I have since fallen off the rocker, if you will.  The following is some inspiration to start a life of service, for me and hopefully for you. All that to say: I do believe you have to take time for yourself, and by that I just mean, some kind of activity, even if for ten minutes to help you relax and rejuvenate, so that you may serve others with a humble heart.

1. I recently read an article titled “Four Totally Unselfish Things You Should Do Today”. Unfortunately, I forgot to save the link, so I do not have the link for you to read through the whole article. (I promise I will do better next time! I am learning!) My favorite quote from the article stated, “And that’s a shame, because every job-and every person—deserves to be treated with respect. Every job is important. Every employee is important.”

This especially rings true for me in my line of expertise. I work in an environment where you have people making six figures to those barely making ends meet, living  paycheck to paycheck, and all income levels in between. Somehow, we all have to work together. From doctor and manager, to nurse, to cleaning attendant, and to the maintenance crew. If one person fails at their job, then it could cause immense harm. Somebody else, if not multiple people will have to work ten times as hard. We have triple checks and double checks and triple checks on all of the previous checks. The ultimate goal is to ensure optimal safety and quality care to those in the most vulnerable position of having surgery. These people cannot speak for themselves; we are their voice. If one part of the system fails, then potentially someone’s mother, child, husband, sister, or loved one may be harmed.  Every person has to serve and work in some capacity to make the system work.  I wish we could all realize that and recognize the efforts of all parties involved and serve those people. Let every person know that they are important.

2. I am currently in the process of completing the “Make Over Your Morning” course, from moneysavingmom.com.  On Day four of the course, it asks the following question: Ask you spouse what he considers the top two to three tasks are to consider a day successful. Ironically, it stated that you might be surprised by the answer he provides. So I asked my husband, and I was surprised. I, of course, was thinking he would say something on the lines of housekeeping tasks. His top three: Spend time with God, Spend time with Family, and to go along with our theme, do something nice for somebody else every day. What an awesome thought, to do one thing nice for somebody everyday, one thing.  It doesn’t have to take up most of your day or be planned or it can be planned. Perhaps you can make cookies for your neighbor, mow their side of the yard. Perhaps you can let someone in front of you at the grocery store line? Perhaps you can pay for someone’s coffee or meal just out of the blue? Even something as simple as a compliment or letting someone know they are important. It could be for your family, co-worker, neighbor, church member, or complete stranger.  I challenge you this week to take five minutes every day to do something kind for somebody.  I would love to hear any other ideas you have. My kindness for today day: baking cookies that my husband would like. (It was his idea, after all.)

1 Corinthinians 12: 4-6 “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in diferent ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.”

3. What better example of service is there then to look to the Bible.  One of my favorite stories of service is the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

“A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him “Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.” Luke 10: 30-35 

Jesus tells us to go and do the same (verse 37). Don’t be the person who leaves the person for dead or looks the other way.  Be the person who picks up the trash, buys a homeless man a meal, helps the elderly carry their load. I am challenging myself as well. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and forget to look around.  Look around, and be the one who practices compassion. Follow along with me as we complete our challenge together.

I will leave you with words to a favorite hymnal. Check out the following version on you tube. Beautiful! ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rznoe3zKxM)

“Make me a servant, humble and meek

Lord let me lift up , those who are weak.

May the prayer of my heart always be

Make me a servant, Make me a servant,

Make me a servant, today”

An Apology

IMG_1302Lately, God has been pressing on my heart the need to mend my critical and judgmental heart.  A good friend of mine boldly pointed out that my husband and I were very snappy with each other. I honestly did not believe her. In fact, I was a little angry.  I couldn’t become too angry because I knew, in my heart, that she was only trying to help me and only wanted the best for me.

I fumed over it silently much of the day, careful not to show my true hurt feelings. How dare she stick her nose where it did not belong! That’s just how my husband and I are, we mean no ill intent, it’s just how we interact.  Later that night I asked my husband if I had been snappy with him.  Thinking of course that he would relieve my fears and say that I had been a peach. As you probably guessed, he didn’t. He said that he had felt I had been irritable towards him. I wanted to deny it, blame, or just ignore. I apologized. He said I did not need to apologize; he understood, and just assumed it was part of my pregnancy. (I have been told I lose all filters during pregnancy.)  I can’t believe he was making excuses for me. I thought to myself, what have I done to make him think he had to make excuses for me. I would like to blame pregnancy hormones, but no amount of body changes or hormones should make you treat your family and friends in an ill manner.

The following verse keeps haunting me:  “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye’, when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” Matthew 7:1-5

How blind I have become! Why can I not just accept people for who they are? God made you. Who am I to critique you?  So with that, I apologize. I apologize to my husband for being condescending and arrogant. I apologize to the countless women in stores, who I have given a derisive look or upturned nose. I apologize to my co-workers for critiquing your work instead of seeing how you see things or (gasp) helping. I apologize to my family for not listening, but expecting them to drop everything to listen to me. I apologize to my friends for betraying your trust by my “venting” and gossiping in the vain statement of “just trying to help”. I apologize to my church, for thinking there is no room for service, when I fail to look past my own selfish life to reach out.  I apologize for seeing something that needs to be done, and walking to the other side. I apologize to my daughter for losing my patience but expecting you to never lose yours. I apologize to the world for being the very definition of hypocrite.

“Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!” Luke 12:3

Consider the following story from Luke 11:37-41:

“As Jesus was speaking, one of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table. His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by Jewish custom. Then the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy-full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over. “

You see, even though you may not have heard the thoughts in my head; they were always there, even if just beneath the surface. For like the Pharisees, the outside of my cup was clean, but I desperately needed to let God clean the inside.

Hear my prayer (taken from Psalm 51: 10-12):

Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me
Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me

Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord
Take not Thy holy spirit from me
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his good work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. “

The True Definition of Hospitality

Above picture was taken in Peru, 2012. We received great hospitality from numerous families while there!
Above picture was taken in Peru, 2012. We received great hospitality from numerous families while there!

Hospitality has always been a big thing for me. Growing up, my mom always seemed to be embarrassed to have people over, especially last-minute. We lived in a small house with very little storage, thus equaling our house being cluttered. I can now relate, but I have always enjoyed having people over and still do to this day. I struggle with the same thing my mom did. My house is in the ballpark of 1200 to 1400 square feet, with not much storage, and not even a formal dining room or laundry room (thus my living area becomes my laundry room).

I remember as a child never noticing other people’s mess.  While I don’t have people over near as much as would like, I try to look at my house with fresh eyes and think what will really be noticed ( And the rest goes in our bedroom. 🙂 ) . The things I remember about going over to people’s homes was the fun I had and the love and warmth I felt.  To me that is more important than sparkling floors and an empty sink (though those are nice). I find that if I wait until I have time to clean my house to have guests (consider that I have a toddler and a constantly shedding furry dog running around making messes behind everything that I clean), then I would never have company.

All that being said, what is the definition of hospitality?

Dictionary.com states it this way:

1. The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.

2. The quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way

Synonyms: warmth, cordiality, geniality, friendliness

What does the Bible say about hospitality?

Matthew 25:37-39,40

“‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ ”

Romans 12:13

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality”

Hebrews 13:2

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!”

What about Biblical stories of hospitality?

Matthew 9:9 -13: Matthew the tax collector, who when Jesus called him, hosted a dinner party for Jesus along with some disreputable guests.

Luke 7; The story of the sinful woman washing Jesus feet while his current hosts looked at the woman condescendingly, verse 44 “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.

And consider the following stories: The story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38 -42);  Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10); and the story of Lot in Sodom (Genesis 19: 1-3)

Not in any of the above definitions or examples does God once talk about cleaning your house or making sure everything is in perfect order. In fact, he cautions  Martha against worrying about that very thing and instructs her Mary is right where she needs to be, at His feet.  Now I don’t know about you, but I am definitely more of a Martha. I have to fight to keep my focus where it needs to be.  My mind is too busy making sure everything is perfect. (It never will be. )  Is not that Jesus’s whole point? Our hearts should be with Him, and we should stop what we are doing in order to practice true hospitality, even to strangers! Jesus knew the rest didn’t matter. He knew as long as your heart was right, the rest would fall into place. Forget the dishes, forget refilling glasses, or making everything smell good, forget  making sure everyone is entertained at every second; Just be.

Recently, I had the extraordinary fortune of receiving a rare kind of hospitality:

A few months ago, my husband and I decided to take our two-year old and  cheer my brother-in-law on at a marathon in which he was competing (He did awesome by the way). Now , I don’t know if you have ever done this, but this was a first for my husband and I. We got up early Saturday, tossed our toddler quite literally into her stroller, and walked very quickly to the start line.  Fortunately, the hotel we were staying at was within walking distance of the start and finish line. We made it on time! Whew! We felt like we had run a marathon! We were there for five minutes, and then there was the lag time between start and finish.  Our daughter was getting over a double ear infection; I was developing a sinus infection and as I am pregnant could not take anything that would be effective. My poor husband was having to deal with the both of us. Think cranky baby, plus cranky pregnant wife equals stressed out hubby! And it was February in the mountains and freezing!  There we are, walking around town freezing our booties off, no place to stay (we had to check our of our hotel already). Our toddler was having an epic tantrum about which only God knows.  My husband and I were arguing (and probably yelling) at each other on the streets about what to do about said tantrum. Not an ideal situation.  My emotional pregnant self starts crying. By this time, we are all basically acting like toddlers. We finally decide to take a friend of a friend’s invitation to come stay at her house. We find the house and are instantly taken in and made to feel at home. They even have a spare pack and play for our  justifiably cranky toddler to take a nap. Talk about answered prayers (and we weren’t even praying though that would have probably made a huge difference in our drama)! We were able to leave our child at the house while we saw our friends cross the finish line. The fact that we left our child with a woman we had met for five minutes, attests to the peace and generous warmth we received there (our utter frustration and exhaustion may have  played a small part as well). I have never felt so at home with complete strangers then I did at that moment. I only hope and pray that one day I can repay the favor to somebody. If only we had opened our hearts and their door sooner. God knew what we needed at that moment, and I truly believe he put that family in our lives for just that fleeting moment. We may never see those families ever again. From the depths of my soul we will ever be thankful.

Even the smallest moments may make a difference,  if only for a moment.  If you ever think you are not good enough to be a hostess, remember God does not call us to be perfect. He only calls us to open our doors and clean off a seat. Offer what God has put in your heart.

If you have ever had a time where you have received hospitality, please share! I would love to hear your story!

The Gift of Purple Flowers

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Our yard is a mess. We are not home project people. I kill pretty much every plant that I breathe on or look at, but I love flowers and beautiful landscaping. I hope to one day find the time to focus on gardening and landscaping. Right now, between a toddler, a dog, and a baby to be, working 20 to 30 hours a week, and just everyday life; it is not a priority. In addition to my thumb being black, our yard is basically rocks, leaves, and trees. Fortunately, for us, we live on a steep hill, so unless you are stalking us, you really don’t notice our disastrous landscaping.

On the opposite spectrum is our neighbor’s yard. It is pristine. They have a vegetable garden, beautiful flowers and hedges, and  a perfectly manicured lawn. (I might be a little jealous as they may be a little embarrassed to live next to us.)

Last summer, my mother-in-law lost the fight to pancreatic cancer. Needless to say, it has been a hard year for our family: a year filled with grief and sadness, and bittersweet memories. We are trying to pick up the pieces of this puzzle called Life.

Now, you are probably wondering, what in the world does the above have to do with landscaping and flowers? Well, you see, our yard is normally crab grass and rocks. This year it is filled with beautiful purple flowers. Purple flowers may not mean that much to you, but for our family, it is a gift, a relief from the sadness and broken heartedness. You see, purple was my mother-in-law’s favorite color. And to top it off, purple is the color which symbolizes pancreatic cancer.  Every time I see those flowers, every time my daughter plays in the “field” of flowers, I see love, joy and peace. I see my daughter playing with her lost “Mimi”. I see a hole mended in my husband’s broken heart. I don’t just see flowers, I see love, I feel an angel’s presence sent there just for us. I hear God whispering to us that we will be okay, that He is with us. He is waiting with arms wide open to envelop us with his goodness and unconditional love.

Purple flowers are a gift.

If you are grieving, in whatever form that may be, I pray that you will open your eyes and  your heart to receive a gift from our heavenly father. He longs to comfort us.

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.