Saturday, January 29, 2011

love and marriage, love and marriage...

One of the things that we love about Shawn's job is the chance to do counseling with people.  This morning we did some marriage counseling with a couple that we are hoping to have a chance to get to know better, and I remembered something very important - we are all the same in many ways.
As I listened to the stresses that they were having, I realized how many times I have talked with others about these same issues, and even how many times we have struggled through them in our own marriage!  Not to say that they are not important, hurtful, real issues - but just to remind us that we all face these same things.  And they come down to the same basic issues - love, respect, and trust.
When we lived in Malawi we did a lot of marriage counseling with the pastors and their wives that we worked with.  It is a culture that does not value women much, so one would think that would add extra things to the mix.  And in some ways it did - we often had to work to get the wives to speak up, or to even get the husbands to include their wives.  But in this culture we have made ourselves so neutral in our roles and relationships that sometimes that confuses things just as much.  It is hard for a man to admit, "I want my wife to respect me," or for a woman to say, "I want to be pursued and chased after like I am desirable and loved" because we feel like those are old fashioned and not appropriate anymore.  Yet these are some of the basic ways God designed us.
And I, for one, LOVE being a woman and all the things that come with that.  Yes, I am strong enough to speak my mind, know what I believe, take care of my family, and multitask.  But I am also aware that I want Shawn to date me still, to chase after me, to make me feel like I am the only woman here!  And I like feeling pretty and desired.
I don't think I should feel like less of a "modern woman" because I want to feel safe in my marriage.
We all come into marriage with a past. But learning to talk through these things, give permission to feel and communicate, and then encourage each other to run back into the arms of our heavenly Father (where the only real fulfillment will come from) is such a key, basic thing.
I am honored that God has allowed my life to shape the way it has.  When Shawn and I reached a time of distance and had to go through some deep counseling at 10 years of marriage, I learned a lot about who I am.  When we have sat and talked about our pasts and how they shape the way we look at each other, there have been times of hurt - but even greater times of healing and intimacy through it all.  I wouldn't change my life - not the past or the future.  Not the good or the bad.  And having the opportunity to help other couples see the beauty in this ultimate human relationship is such a fun and humbling role.  I just pray that God would continue working in me and keep me running back to him.

Friday, January 28, 2011

How many seasons do we have?

...Because I seem to have forgotten them.  My mind is in dull winter mode.

Home schooling has it's own set of challenges in the winter in New York!  The excitement of a blanket (and I'm talking a thick down comforter, not a thin little sheet) of snow has worn off, ice-skating is not nearly as fun this year in the consistent below-freezing temps, and I am -quite frankly- sick of the bazillion mittens and scarves all over my house.  Yet to stay inside the house after being in the same house all day for school makes one a little loopy.  (That's my excuse anyway!)
We have done some field trips to the New York State Museum, which is free and big - but there's only just so many times we can enjoy a small, fake version of the Adirondacks when we have been in the real place with all it's glory!  We went to the Army/Navy store and tried on all the hats, pretended to Kayak, teased each other about eating the dried food packs, and felt a sense of pride in our troops - but that fun lasted about 45 minutes.  We have gone to the mall and checked out the pet store -especially since with four kids and two adults in our tiny little bungalow all winter there is no way I could give in to the idea of another thing with too much energy being trapped in with us! We watched movies, baked, done crafts, baked, played games, baked, eaten said baked goods, and baked some more.  (Just another reason to go to the gym!)
But I am running out of ideas!  So all you moms out there - home school and public school alike - ideas???
 Our prison!  (ok, so I am being a little dramatic!)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

blah, blah, blah

Just some random musings from my week...
We've been tired.  And sick.  And I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.  But I am happy and contented tonight as I sit at my computer typing out this nonsense. 
Often while we have been in Troy we have been lonely, but this week had been packed with fun times with friends, and I am grateful for that!
Tomorrow starts a new week with all the RPI students back so Compelled is going to be back to normal again, and I am so excited to get together with the band on Monday and rock out again!
And a friend gave me a lot of new books to read.
Life is good.
Now if it would just get warmer...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm Believing God

Have you read the book "Believing God" by Beth Moore?  I read it a few years ago, and came across it again recently, hidden among all the books in Shawn's office.  (We have no room at the house, so all the books go there!)  I have not started it again - mostly because after I brought it home, I lost it again!  But I have been thinking about the core of the book.  It is based on this statement:
"God is Who He says He is. God can do what He says He can do. I am who God says I am. I can do all things through Christ. His Word is alive and active in me.  I'm believing God."
That is more than a peppy little mantra, or encouraging saying to get me going on those off days!  It is true!  But do I live that way? 
God is who He says he is...really?  If I really believed that - that He is the Author of Creation, the Glory and the Lifter of my head, my Refuge, my Rock, the Light to my path, my adoptive Father who chose me, my Savior (among all the other extraordinary things) then why do I live as if he is not to be trusted?  Why do I doubt and fear and worry?  Why the anxiety as I wonder if he will "let me down" again?  He created me!  Not only that - he created absolutely everything around me!  He planned my life from before there was time, and he has the best in store for me.  Why do I always demand He prove this?
God can do what He says He can do...again, why is there so much mistrust in my life if I believe this? He can make water from wine, create the universe from nothing, raise dead people, and make lame men walk.  So, of course it stands to reason that he can't take care of me and my life, right?
I am who God says I am...We have been doing this study pretty consistently for the time we have been at Troy.  Who am I?  If I am really a daughter of the King - chosen and dearly loved by Him - why do I live as if I am an orphan, abandoned and forced to care for my self?
I can do all things through Christ..."through Christ" would be the key words here.  Sometimes I forget that part and think that I can actually do all things "through Heather."  Silly me.  Discipline is a wonderful thing, but eventually, no matter how hard I try, I fail without Him.  I'm just so stinking stubborn that it takes that continual failing to remind me of the last part of that statement!  And He is so loving that I can turn immediately and run back to his arms - because I am who He says I am - remember?
God's word is alive and active in!  I mean - WOW!   Sometimes I forget his word is alive and active at all - but especially in me, in my life!  The promises He makes, the gifts He proclaims, the love songs He offers - they are mine!  The weapons He has, the inheritance He gives - all mine!  The warnings and the rebuffs - mine too - all because He loves me.  The Holy Spirit inside of me is alive and working. 
I'm believing God...well, we've covered that.  Am I really?
"Lord, thank you that all it takes is a mustard seed of faith, because that seems to be all I can offer most of the time. I am believing you. I love you.  I surrender, and I am yours."

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 9th

Do you know why that date is important?  Pray for Sudan -and read the Masso's (missionaries to Sudan) blog below:

Another in the fire

Maybe you don't know what the process to move overseas is like, but there was a lot of what we thought of as jumping through hoops ...