The past days have been very taxing on all of us in this house. I know you have had those days too. Let me tell you what I am doing in the midst of things, now that I’ve had a moment to breathe. Normally, I don’t talk about things, especially very difficult things as they are happening. Maybe only one or two people (maybe) will know what is really going on, and if so, they only know a part of it. I am very mindful of what I say to people based on what I know about them. Is this a person who closely follows the Lord? Is this a gossiper? Will they speak truth – God’s Word – to me even if I don’t want to hear it? Will they tell me if I’m trippin’? I need that in my life- I don’t need cheerleaders although it may make me feel better for a quick moment it will be short lived because my perspective hasn’t changed and my circumstances didn’t magically go away. I know that might seem “judgmental” of me to pick and choose who I tell things too but I’ve realized a little something about that as well just this morning. Keep reading below and I’ll share it with you…

Here’s TWO things to know and do amidst your trials and tribulations: Keep clinging to God and Involve the church. Allow me to explain-

  • Keep clinging to God. What does that look like?

    • I am staying in my word.

      Currently, I am reading through “The Bible Project” a year long Bible reading plan with my children and a few friends via YouVersion. I’ve kept that up thus far (and it’s mid-July yea!!) because of the accountability provided in YouVersion‘s new group plan format. (Not to mention doing it WITH my children has helped me to NOT be hypocritical in my behaviors.) I have gotten behind before, but I’ve worked hard to catch back up.  So I’m doing that but also I’ve looked around and found some other applicable plans that I am now starting to do myself as well. I don’t want to ONLY do something when someone else is doing it with me, although at times, it is very motivating and enlightening.

    • I am spending more time alone.

      Rather than going to social media or anything/anyone else, I am alone. Just sitting there watching the birds or practicing the guitar in the backyard. I’ve also sat on my front porch for the first time since moving here over 2 1/2 years ago. I drank my water and enjoyed the breeze. I also chose to read a few things from the “31 Days of Praise” book by Ruth Myers that I saw on the shelf (I “may” have a few – a lot- of books that I have yet to read.) I flipped through the table of contents and read the last part, Part IV, Acts of Praise. (See photo.) It was perfect. When I read through the prayer, it seemed to outline every area that I was struggling in. (Funny how God uses all sorts of things to speak to us if we are listening.) What killed me was this sentence (pg. 156)- “I give You … my marriage or my hopes for marriage…” Wow. My hopes for marriage. Who says that??? That hit the nail (one of them) on the head right there. Thank you God. When I sit myself down with nothing to do, no agenda on my plate, I can slow down enough to see God’s creation and think.

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      Page 156-157 of “31 days of praise” by Ruth Myers
    • Maintain a posture of readiness and willingness to hear and respond.

      I WANT God to speak. Show me what to do!! Show me where to go!! Help me!! When you are struggling and you feel like you’ve done all that you know to do, keep doing it. Remember nothing is instant. Time is different with God. His ways are not our ways. I choose to not jump ship because I don’t get what I want when I want it. That’s immature. I KNOW God sees me. I KNOW God hears me. Things are happening all the time with God; I just don’t see it yet. Lord help me to see. Lord show me what you are doing. Lord send me Your word. Your truth. I need you. Please God. In fact, right now as I’m reading through Psalms, I see many different examples of how different people continued to go to and plead with the Lord to act or to change them or to help them (or even to strike down their enemies). I guess I’m doing that right now.  Look at me, God! I’m growing! (hahahahaa) He loves me and He loves you too. Any good Father would love to see His children trying to obey him.

  • Involve the church.

    I mean “church” in a universal sense. The people whom God has placed all around you that are also following Him. THOSE people make up the church. Tell them what is going on. I mean what is really going on.

    • What does that look like? 

      At first, I was asking for prayer in a generic way. I said “Please pray for our family today.” It had a little something something in it but it wasn’t the whole truth. I admit I was protecting myself; I wasn’t being vulnerable- at all. I needed to go deeper. If they are like me and there is a relationship there or the situation is known, it sticks in my mind. I’d like to say I opened up on my own, well I did to maybe two people (those that I knew really would pray for me) and gave them a bit more specifics (some actually asked for specifics first). It was when I began doing my “Multiply” homework for an upcoming meeting later in the day that God, once again doing what He does in His own right timing, was speaking to me through the text on page 54-55 (see photo but actually this resource is available for free. Read here under “Bearing One Another’s Burdens.”) The last sentences for this portion written by Francis Chan hit me hard, “Your problems are not just your problems—ultimately, they belong to the church body that God has placed you in. You are called to encourage, challenge, and help the other Christians in your life, and they are called to do the same for you. If you wait until all of your own issues are gone before helping others, it will never happen. This is a trap that millions have fallen into, not realizing that our own sanctification happens as we minister to others.” Bam. You need to open up woman. Share your real burdens and let others pray for you. They will. They would be happy to pray for you because you trusted them with that sensitive information. Let them do it for you- it is how we all grow. Me swallowing my pride and admitting I’m drowning here and you committing to do as you are asked to do- pray, encourage, exhort. We need one another. So…………….. I did. My next request stated the specific areas I needed prayer in. I am grateful I did that because my day did get better. 

      Inked20180711_144733 (2)_LI
      Go to http://www.multiplymovement.com to listen to the free audio, download the entire book, or just skip to the sections (and questions). All content is free and there ready for you to use right now!
    • Manage your expectations. 

      After a while of thinking and journaling through my convictingMultiply” homework, I realized I was likely expecting too much from both my spouse and our foster child. They can only do what they can do, in their own ways. The purpose of marriage (one of them) is that the other would reveal in us areas that need “attention” and they help to make us better, as painful as that can be. Our foster child is with us for a purpose as well; we are helping to show him alternate, safe ways that people can interact with one another. We are modeling healthy relationships- he doesn’t come to us NOT needing help and guidance. That is what we are to give to him. Expect trials, that is why we are here! I realized that yes, it is easier to deal with these issues if they didn’t ever exist but here they are. It is on me to handle this better as I am the adult and I follow Christ. His ways are contrary to what you naturally feel inclined to do and the only way to do them is to have Him help you. He’s put us in community for a reason. I get it God. I really do, this time. Mmmmhmmm we’ll see. Our actions will tell!

    • Stop being stubborn.

      One of the later responses I received after sending out a more specific prayer request was Ephesians 4:26 and a gentle encouraging to take that “first step in humility to bring reconciliation.” I simply said “okay” to that one. She was right, I knew it, but it wasn’t really what I wanted to do but I knew it needed to be done. God was working here too because the timing made it where there was actually time and an opportunity to have an honest discussion with one another away from everyone.

    • Divorce.

      What??? Yes, I found out that my better half did some discussing and researching on his own too lately. He informed me that it wasn’t beneficial for him to get divorced in Virginia. He said that he found out that I would get 50% of his retirement check and half his investments (splitting our other assets and property in half as well). I would probably get at least 50 but more than likely 65% of his current check for alimony & child support because we’ve been married over 10 years and he’s been active duty for 10 of those years. “So… I would get all of that?? Wow. Sounds like you need to treat me RIGHT!” We laughed (nervously). “Unless you’re stringing me along until we move or something. Sounds like I have a decision to make and quick.” Mmmhhmmm he says. “So how much money did you make in my investments anyway?” HAHA.  Yes, a little humor does go a long way folks. Try it sometime!  We realized that our problems aren’t really as unique as we think as we reflect on  what other couples have shared/ what we have seen. “It’s just a part of being married. There is no grass is greener here,” says my spouse. That made me smile.  

  • Do tell if any of this resonates with you! I’d love to know.

    • Hebrews 10:23-25

    • Seriously, thank you for each of you who lifts up our family in prayer. Please also lift up other marriages and those who open up their homes to foster children. We thank you so much.
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