A Gentle And Quiet Spirit

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When I was first married, an older man in our church used to tell me all the time to make sure I was praying for my husband, and that praying for him was the most important thing I could do for our marriage. I always assured him that I was praying for my husband, and I was. About a year into our marriage, we moved to a new state. Unfortunately, I promptly forgot about praying for my husband. Actually, my faith kind of fell apart around that time, as so many waves of trial washed over me; the trials were too much for my fairly new faith. I was raised in a very female dominant and verging on anti-male environment, so my faith is all I have ever had to guide me in my marriage. Therefore, my marriage took a hard hit as my faith crumbled.

This past Sunday evening, I was at a Bible study and was listening to the women interacting with each other. My mind floated off the subject, and I remembered the man who had exhorted me to pray for my husband. My prayer life has been very nearly nonexistent for 3.5 years. I thought to myself that I am finally at a point in my faith where I am ready to seek God with my whole heart again. I have reached the bottom of my pride and struggles and am ready to accept where He has me. So, I re-entered the world of prayer by praying for my husband. It felt natural to me to be conversing with God again as I prayed for my husband’s emotional strength, peace regarding finances, and natural leadership in our home. I also prayed for my children and for my friends.

There has been an incredible peace surrounding my house over the past 2.5 days, perhaps a peace that passes all understanding. My husband and I are resolving conflicts; my son is calm and readily responds to correction; I am cooking; my husband and I are communicating on our goals for homeschool and dinner ideas; and we are having time together after the kids are in bed. We are also managing my PTSD and triggers more effectively, and I am finding myself feel a gentle and quiet spirit within me. What a change from the pattern we had established for so long of me going to bed hurt or in a spiral of PTSD symptoms!!!

I have prayed these verses off and on regarding my marriage, but I wanted to re-write them here as a re-commitment to pray them for my marriage. This is where I desire to grow as a wife. This is also what I am praying for my children’s marriages to stand upon.

Do not let your adornment be merely outward- arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel- rather let it bet the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. -1 Peter 3:3-4

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. -Proverbs 31:26

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. -Colossians 3:12-15

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. -Proverbs 15:1

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Hard Lessons On Forgiveness

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My four year old is a natural musician. He turns on his music and runs to the keyboard to play out the song, then turns around and hits repeat on the CD player so he can do it again… until he’s memorized the song. I have yet to teach him where the “repeat” button is because I tire of these songs after the tenth time and I’m certainly not going to enable him! Right now, the song he has on manual repeat is, “If your brother sins against you, seven times a day, seven times a day, forgive him, forgive him, the Bible tells me so, and everyone should know, forgive him, forgive him, seven times a day.” He’s dancing the hallway, singing at the top of his lungs with his arms spread wide. I made a mental note to use the words of the song to teach him a lesson next time someone sins against him, and then realized that I am not a funnel. These lessons I teach my son are meant for me too. Sometimes I get more out of his children’s Bible than I think he does. And honestly, the lessons my son teaches me right back are meant for me too.

Several months ago, he had a bad day and after several corrections it was finally bedtime. He snuggled into me and started praying, “God, forgive me of my sins. Please help me to do a better job tomorrow because your mercies are new every morning.” What? I’ve never taught him to directly ask the Lord for forgiveness. I have prayed forgiveness out loud when I’ve sinned against him. We have a corporate confession of sins at church… but at that point, neither my husband nor I had directly told him he needed to ask God for forgiveness.

How amazing that my son has taken it upon himself to pray for forgiveness! How amazing that he is dancing, arms open wide, to a song about forgiveness! If God has taken my son’s heart into the palm of His hand and has begun to foster a pure and holy faith, then maybe God is doing the same for me. Maybe God is using my circumstances, just as God has used my son’s circumstances, to bring about repentance and faith.

I often think of As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another in respect to my marriage. One day recently when I was falling apart, my exasperated husband yelled, “God gave you me to help you grow! He could have given you someone to coddle you and hold you when you are self-pitying, but he gave you me instead! So get up and do something instead of sitting there like you’re worthless, because you’re not!” He has also shoved the verse, But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses, in my face more than once (usually at least once a week, actually).

So today, I will follow my husband’s lead and I will forgive 70×7. I will open my arms wide and receive the very joy my son has… And yes… he is still dancing to that forgiveness song. And singing at the top of his lungs. With his arms spread wide.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. -1 Peter 1:6-7

Photo credit: http://www.creationswap.com/media/8764

my Mrs. to my husband’s Mr.

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Today, I have been reflecting on my husband and how we have grown together since we’ve been married. In two months, it will be five years!! Someone gave us a Bible with couples devotionals for our wedding, and I remember reading it with him for the first couple of weeks (it only lasted until my morning sickness kicked in- I got pregnant like the week after our honeymoon). One of the devotionals was about perseverance during conflict. The author was writing about how it appears that some couples have a very easy time in their marriage, but that her marriage was a constant uphill filled with conflict and really hard work. My husband pointed at it and said with conviction, “This is us! It will always be us! Look, we’re not alone!” He was right, it is us, but we have come so far in five years.

We own a business together and every Saturday we work together to do our job. We laugh and organize and stress together… we even dance and sing together! I used to spiral on the weekends, but now I look forward to Saturdays because I get to spend the mornings with him. My husband is a hard worker. He has three jobs, and did have four for the duration of my pregnancy last year. He also knows that my job is important to me so he plans his work hours around mine. This means he is at home with the kids while I am at work. My husband is a wonderful father… it might be one of his best assets. Usually while I am getting my daughter squared away, he is occupying my son or getting him ready for bed. He has also taken it upon himself to train my son to run a 1K so he makes the running team next year when he is 5. Right now, he can run .5K without any trouble, but on the walk back he wants to be carried. It’s fun to watch my husband teach my son about sports, and my husband puts effort into determining which sports he is going to focus on with my son. He has determined that my son has best opportunity to obtain a scholarship in cross country and golf. My son even has a really nice set of golf clubs and has a nice swing already!

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. My husband has set up my day tomorrow so that after church, I am picking up my mother-in-law and taking her to see Mom’s Night Out. Spending time with her is a treat, and I love her so much! I’m looking forward to it. Plus, we both love the rolls at Texas Roadhouse so there’s a good chance we’ll end up there for dinner.

My husband and I have our battles (many times it is daily), but I see how far we have come from where we were when we were first married. I see how we have grown as a couple over the past year especially, and this is our best year so far. I love to hold his hand; I love how our feet often touch during the night because cuddling triggers me; and I love when we have family snuggles and playtime on the bed. I love how when I am isolating myself, he often comes and holds me (and much to my dismay, makes me laugh when I want to cry or pout).

Today, I am especially thankful to be the Mrs. to my husband’s Mr.

Gifts

When my daughter was first born, when I put her in her crib alone in her room, I would pray for God to keep her safe. Then I would proceed to check on her every few minutes until she woke up for a feeding. I have done this for months, continued to pray for her safety. I pray for my son’s safety too. Last week, something very sobering hit me… my children might not be safe their whole lives. Something could happen to them tonight, tomorrow, or anytime before they are grown. I must have discernment and use wisdom in being their mother, but I cannot protect them from everything. There is a 1 in 3 chance my daughter will be sexually abused before she is 18, and there is a 1 in 7 (maybe even higher at this point) chance my son will be sexually abused before he is 18. Those statistics are very frightening. In a way, this realization brought me a sense of peace. After I prayed for God to protect my children as I tucked them each into bed (for God does answer prayers), I also thanked God for the time I spent with them today. They are true gifts from God. This day (however difficult it was for me) was a gift from God. It is a gift to breastfeed my daughter and watch her discover the taste of new food. It is a gift to watch her blow raspberries when she is excited, and it brings me great joy to watch her as she is army crawling and scooting on her hiney to get where she wants to go. It is a gift to teach my son how to read, and a joy to listen to him read most letter combinations- he is not even 4! It is a gift to hear someone call my son “polite” and to hear his giggles as his daddy tickles him. It is a gift to watch a video on the computer with my husband today, and it is a gift to watch my grandma bond with each of my children. Through my trials of dissociation and flashbacks (which were quite strong today if you read my last post), I must also recognize the gifts God has given me today.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes from the Father of Lights – James 1:17

Photo credit: http://blog.pgi.com/2013/12/on-the-seventh-day-of-telework-my-coworkers-gave-to-me-gifts-and-a-sense-of-camaraderie/

Family Love

I’ve been posting all serious things recently, so thought I’d take a moment to share my blessings.

This morning, my 6 month old woke up earlier than I desired (especially after nursing almost every hour through the night). When I realized she wasn’t going to go back to sleep, I decided to nurse her lying down like we did when I was healing. She wasn’t hungry, but enjoyed it as much as I did. She nursed for 45 minutes, popping off every minute to smile, with that gummy grin reaching her eyes.

Breastfeeding grounds me. She is close and looking in my eyes; I am meeting more of her needs than one; her tiny body curled into my chest. It grounds her too. Sometimes in the middle of the day, she just needs to connect for a few seconds before she can return to playing.

My son is quite the opposite of calming. He’ll be 4 next Saturday. He is tired of being cooped up and is going bonkers inside. I turned on his music full blast the other day and taught him how to jump on the bed. Then I told him to take the empty boxes to the kitchen so I could break them down. 45 minutes later, he was calm. I’m going to have to save those diaper boxes for him more often!

My marriage seems to have always been an uphill challenge, but we are better than we have ever been. Last night, we drove 45 minutes together to pick up my grandma from the airport. Instead of listening to a March Madness game on the radio (he actually wanted to be home watching but didn’t want me out in city traffic alone on a March Madness Friday), we turned it off and enjoyed each other’s company.

I feel that by the time our kids’ needs are met and my PTSD needs are met (unfortunately this takes a lot out of my family), there is little time for our needs as a couple… Or for him, really. I am blessed by his patience as I battle my symptoms, and am thankful he is at my side.

My life is beautiful.