HEAVY

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I love Christmas.  Everything about it.  Hustle, bustle, excitement, lights, sharing, food, gifts, the Reason, the music, the colors, everything.  I love the length of time it takes to make the preparations.  I love that we trouble ourselves with it.  The arrival of the Christ-child sends me into the same frenzy as nesting before the birth of one of my own children. I think I am just compelled to do something to prepare for the celebration!

But there is no Christmas without Easter, and no Easter without Good Friday.

Today is the day we commemorate the day that He was was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him….  He bore the enormity of our sin, that we might live.  If he had only bore my sin, I feel that the cross would have been too much for a blameless, sinless Lamb to bear.  But he bore all sin.  He died for it, suffered for it, endured it for all of us, across the span of time.

How heavy the load must have been.

Let not his death be in vain.  He died so that we might live for righteousness. 

Our response to the greatest act of pure love of all time must be a lifetime of devotion.  Not a one-time decision.  A life.  A paradigm shift.  A ‘not my will, but Yours’ attitude.  Losing  your life to find it in Him.  It’s the only response that is appropriate.

Today I have been afforded a day off from the daily grind.  I don’t have to rush.  I don’t have tons of appointments or a tight schedule.  I am given this day, this Good Friday.  There is no dinner.  No egg hunt.  Nothing.  Just time.

Time to reflect on Him.  Time to repent.  Time to prepare for Sunday.  Lord let me decrease, so that you increase.  So that when I enter His courts, it will be with thanksgiving in my heart and praise on my lips.  

Lord, let the words of the old hymn ring true:

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conqu’rors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Lord, thank you for Christmas.  Lord, thank you for the cross, by Your wounds we are healed. And thank you for the promise of the coming Sunday.

Let my life be a reflection of my gratitude.  

(1 Peter 2:24, Matthew 16:25, Luke 22:42, Psalm 100, Romans 8:39, John 3:30, Isaiah 53:5)

 

 

HELD

Yesterday I held my baby.  He’s getting big, almost 4.  He fell asleep on the way home from picking up his brother from school, and usually when he does that I just lay him down on my bed so he can get a little nap out.  But I couldn’t bring myself to put him down yesterday.  I just marched over to my mother’s house, let the bigger boys watch TV and sat and  held my baby for an entire hour and felt him, and watched him, and breathed with him.  Our breath was so in sync I had to stop breathing for a moment just to make sure he still was!  As I had done a million times before…

I just felt like I needed to treasure that moment.

They are so fleeting.

When my babies were small I was a mess.  I never put them down.  I held them as much as I could.  I had been told it was a good idea to let them sleep in another room.  I knew myself well enough to know that wouldn’t happen right away.  (I didn’t even let my puppy sleep in another room…) So I put a little old-timey wooden bassinet at the foot of our bed.  I laid Nolan in it that first night and laid down and stared in the darkness with my eyes as wide as saucers, thinking how barbaric and ridiculous it felt.  So I decided to situate the carseat right beside the bed, put him in it, and just rested my hand on his belly.  Making sure he was still breathing….

When he made a noise, I just finally scooped him up, went out on the couch, and positioned him in the crook of my elbow and was able to get some rest.  I stayed there for six weeks.  When I went to the doctor for my postpartum check-up I told him I was experiencing neck pain.  He felt my neck and told me I had 2 vertebrae out of place…from staring at him so much while I held him.  He had to realign my neck (only in my small town is the OB also a chiropractor).

When Josiah came along, I just went ahead and started on the couch.  I knew it was best for us.  But I felt like I didn’t get to hold him as much because I had 2 babies then.  My mom informed me that I never put him down.  I guess I didn’t.  I held my children.  I still hold them.  It’s mostly in the early morning, puffy-eyed moments when they forget that they are big and they nestle right in between my coffee and my Bible, into my side, and allow themselves to be held.

It’s in those moments I’m so overwhelmed with God’s love for me.  He loves me more than I love them.  He even loves them more than I do!  I cannot fathom that.  I really, really love them.  Like with a wild kind of love.  With a take-your-breath away kind of love.  With a love that holds them tight.

Have you ever been held by God?

I know I have.  I was deeply ministered to one time by a clown ministry, of all things.  It was really unbelievable.  I don’t have a feeling about clowns one way or the other.  I don’t fear them (I think it’s a weird phobia) or dislike them, but I don’t have much of an affinity towards them either.  They just are.  But this particular ministry, on this particular night, acted out the Gospel message, and then came  to each person in the room and hugged us.  That clown looked me directly in the eye and pointed up to the heavens, then to himself, then to me.  As if to say, ‘from God, to me, to you.’  Then he hugged me.  As much as I can figure his arms were transfigured into the very arms of Jesus.  As sure as I sit here today, I believe that hug came directly from my Savior.  That was nearly 10 years ago, and I can feel it like it was yesterday.  It was so comforting.

Sometimes in moments of desperation, I think back to that treasured gift.  I am reminded of being held by my Savior.  I wonder if he gazes at us.  I wonder if He is pleased when our breaths are so in sync with His that we really appear as belonging to Him when we are out and about in the world, trying to at least be a dim reflection of Him who holds us tight..

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

Find comfort in your Savior today as he holds you tight.  Be held, sweet child of God.

BROTHERS

Growing up should take longer than it does.  I needed more than 18 years to appreciate what I have in my brothers.

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I didn’t see it as a young girl on a Saturday morning who didn’t want to watch Thundercats or WWF, but was voted out every time.  Or as an adolescent who just got tired of all the toothpaste always being on the outside of the tube, so thick and dried up that the lid wouldn’t close.  Or as a teenager, going through the grunge phase, who couldn’t find her favorite flannel shirt, because her brother was wearing it!!!

But I saw it today, when my heart ached because I miss them so much.

When my boys fight, I find myself saying things like ‘Don’t you know how lucky you are to have each other???’  ‘So few people get TWO brothers!  And ALL of you get TWO!’  ‘You better love each other!’  One day you might live far apart and you might miss each other!!! (I don’t actually say that last part, because I fully expect my children to always live right beside me…. – daughters-in-law, take note.)

Boy did we used to fight.  There were three of us and two would always gang up on one.  Jonathan and I used to run by the bathroom and throw things in the tub while Jeremy took a bath.  Jeremy and I tormented Jonathan simply out of duty as younger siblings.  Jeremy and Jonathan did all sorts of terrible things to me, like take apart their motorized cars and put the little spinning thing in my long thick hair….creating such a tangle it had to be cut out.  Or decapitating my Barbies.  Or making faces at me during dinner which made me laugh so hard I had to be excused from the table, and forego supper!  (I still sometimes laugh at inappropriate times.  I blame them.) Or making fun of me for listening to Mariah Carey’s “Always be my baby” for the 276th time. (I kinda get it now, by the way.)

But the fighting must be all part of it.  There must be something in the wrestling, the fighting, the arguing that makes the bond stronger.  Maybe because the bond has already endured such turmoil, it is mega-ultra-super strong.

That bond sure came in handy in my young adult years.  Like when Jonathan had to help me get out of a situation I shouldn’t have been in in the first place.  Or when Jeremy called to comfort me when my dog died, the sheer compassion in his voice bringing me to tears.  Or when Jonathan spoke at my wedding.  Or when Jeremy anointed our home.  Or when they baptized me.

They baptized me.  Do you know what that meant to me??  There was a time in our teenage years when I didn’t know if they would make it.  As in live…  We had all strayed so far.  And 2 years ago, they led me out in the ocean and prayed over me and commissioned me to service in the Lord.

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Mega, ultra, super, strong bond.

It’s that bond that makes me rejoice in their joys.  Like when my nephew was born and I held him and thought I was going to fall to pieces because I instantaneously loved him so much.  But it was more than “I really love this baby”.  It was like, he was a piece of me, like he was my heart, just a little further away.

It’s that bond that makes their heartaches mine.  Like when a relationship failed, and it pierced me to the core.  And when I was told the ultrasound showed no more sign of life, I felt as though I couldn’t breathe.

Their pain is my pain, their joy my joy.

They’re the only ones I can make fun of my parents with.  They’re the only ones who really understand why I turned out the way I did.  They encourage me.  They strengthen me.  They challenge me.  They bless me by the way they live their lives every single day.

Some days I just wish they weren’t so far away.  Looking forward to eternity with you.

Love you, brothers.

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CARE

I’ve had the unfortunate privilege of watching my mom and aunt care for my granddaddy for the past few years.  He has dementia and it is progressively getting worse.

Last week, I was sitting with him and he was more confused than usual.  If there is a usual. They had instructed me to keep him in his chair, as he had recently taken a fall and was in pain from a compression fracture.  Suddenly, he informed me that he was going go to his room to lie down and take a nap.

‘A nap?  Granddaddy, you don’t normally take naps.’  (Because if you get up and down too much you could fall, because if you sleep now you won’t sleep later, because mom told me to make sure you stay comfortably in your chair!)

‘Well, I appreciate your concern,’ he giggled, ‘but I’m not foolish about these things.  If I want to lie down, I can lie down.’  Shaking his head in disbelief at my suggestion of what to do, or not to do.

The paradox of respecting my elders and obeying my mom perplexed me, so I did not respond.  How could I respond?  He’s the wisest man I know, and now he thinks I think him foolish!

He made his way to his room. I followed closely.  He looked annoyed.  He sat on the edge of his bed.  I sat beside him.  There we sat, me and the wisest man I know, on the edge of his bed, both feeling helpless.  In fact, I was feeling a lot of things.  I was feeling anxious about his safety, grateful for the time with him, angry that we couldn’t just talk, frustrated that I couldn’t make him understand….

So I tried to trigger a memory.

‘Granddaddy, do you know what you used to do?’

‘What?’

‘Every time we stayed all night here when we were little, you got up very early in the morning and made us sausage biscuits for all six grandbuddies.  Sometimes we would put Karo syrup on them too.’

‘Is that right?  Hmm’  he smiled.

‘You know what else? You used to sing to me.’

Now, it’s family legend that I was the worst baby in the history of the world.  I cried for the first year of my life.  My mom, dad, and aunts still remind me of it every time we have a family function.  ‘It was a shrill cry, too, remember Janice, how shrill and unsettling it was?’ they’ll say.  ‘Oh, I remember’ my mom always emphatically responds.

Apparently there were 3 things that shut me up calmed me down:

1) being held,

2) a drive in the car, and

3) my Granddaddy singing louder than my cry.

‘What did I sing?’ he said, seeming genuinely interested.

‘You don’t remember?’ I replied, acting surprised.  ‘Tra-lah-lah, tweedle lee dee-dee, it gives me a thrill’ I started. ‘to wake up in the morning on the mockingbird’

‘hill’  he finished, laughing.

So there I was trying to comfort the one who first comforted me, the irony washing over me like a wave, feeling humbled by the opportunity to participate in the care of this amazing man of God.  Just as he had cared for me as an infant, consoling my desperate cry.

Offering care for others is perhaps one of the greatest, most intimate gifts we can give while in relationship with one another.  The touch, the concern, the approach, the responsibility, the delicacy of the entire situation is a fragile, brutal gift.  As a mother, I have treasure that gift.  As a granddaughter who is grieving what used to be, it is harder to accept.   It hurts and heals all at the same time.

Receiving care from others is a different animal all together.  The humility we must endure to receive is something I have grown to greatly admire, yet not fully comprehend. As a healthy young woman, I have only felt glimpses of the humility it must take to receive physical care from others.  And yet, in those glimpses, the enormity of it was almost too overwhelming.  I had a hard time with it.  It seemed so unnecessary.  So Foolish.

Maybe this sentiment is the reason Peter recoiled at the thought of Jesus washing his feet.  The removal of pride that brings about humility is a painful process.  Offering ourselves completely to Christ for the cleansing only He can provide is a painful, wonderful, necessary thing.  Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me…

Extend your foot, allow it to be cleansed with Living Water.

And if He decides to use someone to care for you, let them.  That someone may need to learn a lesson from your gift.  You might need to learn a lesson in giving it.

TRADITION

Tonight is the Monster Truck Jam in Raleigh. Michael is taking the boys. There are 2 events Michael takes the boys to every year. The Monster Truck Jam and the Fly-in at the local airport. Michael our boys love things with engines. The first time Michael took Nolan to the Monster Jam he came home and told me it was best night of his life. Michael told me that. (Our wedding and the birth of all of our children had all happened by then….) I don’t go because it’s their thing, and it’s loud. And this year they’re going with their cousin (and we’re all staying all night at their house together).

Nolan woke up at 5 a.m. because he is too excited to sleep. He didn’t go to bed until 9 last night because he was too hungry to sleep. (Should be a great day at 1st grade.)

After Nolan woke up, he woke up Josiah and reminded him that TODAY’S THE DAY! When I found Nolan and Josiah this morning, they were hiding under blankets on the couch grinning as big as their mouths would grin.

We don’t have time to go to the Monster Jam. I’m still swamped with work. Michael has 47 things on his to-due list. I haven’t done laundry all week. I literally do not remember the last day I washed my hair. I just know that for 2 days I have been using dry shampoo. Best. Invention. Ever (except for my programmable coffee maker that grinds and brews). We need to stay home, put the kids to bed at 7, and study.

But the kids are counting on it. This is Nolan’s 4th Monster Jam. Josiah’s 3rd, and Zachary’s 2nd. The Monster Jam comes the same time every year. It’s tradition, and in our home:

Tradition trumps to-do lists.

I have learned that making and keeping traditions is important for building strong families. Traditions foster cohesiveness and build trust. They don’t have to cost a lot of money (unlike cotton candy at Monster Jam = $10/serving!!!). Here are 5 traditions, besides the Monster Jam, our kids can count on:

1. We pray with each child before bed.

2. We eat dinner together around the table (as many nights as possible).

3. We eat food on vacation that we don’t eat any other time of the year.

4. On Christmas morning, we rearrange the furniture to make a big play area in the living room (for some reason, that’s a big deal to them).

5. For their birthdays, I make (pitiful looking) cakes that match the theme of their parties.

We’ve tried things that didn’t stick. Sometimes the silliest things are the ones they remember (and look forward to) the most. And making these little things happen are some of the moments I enjoy most!

What childhood traditions do you remember best? What traditions do your kids count on?

CONFESSION

Here are 7 things you should know about me before following my blog.  My goal in life is to point people to Jesus, but I get it wrong a lot.

  1. I eat brownie mix almost every single day.
  2. When things break, I throw a tantrum that puts my kids’ tantrums to shame.
  3. I worry unnecessarily.
  4. I watch The Bachelor.  (while doing #1)
  5. I don’t enjoy pretend play with my kids, but I do it anyway.
  6. The 3 mornings I had to fast from coffee for my pregnancy glucose tests were the 3 worst mornings of my husband’s life.
  7. If I hear someone pulling in my lane, I shove clean unfolded laundry mixed with dirty laundry in the dryer to make it look like I keep a clean house.

There are many, many more things that I am not proud of, but they are between me and Jesus.  And we’re working on them.  I finished watching the Bachelor last night with a good friend of mine.  I’m not sure why that show has sucked me in.  In theory I hate everything about it.  Its lack of reality, its disregard for the feelings of those poor souls who give everything to a person who is giving something to everyone, its presumptuous attitude that ‘real love’ can be achieved in front of an audience and without real life thrown in the mix.  I was with the friend whose house I sneak over to after all of our kids are in bed and have coffee and good talks.   Her husband usually walks through the room and rolls his eyes at our girly banter, and he was especially annoyed last night as we giggled like school girls over Sean Lowe’s proposal to his new fiancé Catherine.  (It WAS NOT better than my husband’s proposal to me, for the record.  Love you, Babe.)

But it was precious.  He promised her the world, and she believed every word.  I hope their marriage works, and they can now begin to build a love that lasts.  It won’t be easy.  All the statistics are against them.  I hope they can overcome them.  I don’t know why I hope that, but it probably has something to do with my hope for marriage overall.  I hope marriages will last, but not just for longevity’s sake.  I hope marriage lasts for the fullness it can offer when it is done right.  There are low, low times in marriage.  But there are exhilarating moments that are really really wonderful.  Like last night, when I came home (way too late for a school night) to a clean kitchen (not how I left it), the smell of coffee still faintly in the air from where he had preset the machine to make a fresh pot at 4:30 this morning.  The children were sound asleep.  It was a sweet moment when I slipped into a prewarmed bed and, in his sleep, my husband whispered, ‘love you, babe.’

Sean and Catherine, you are about to embark on a great adventure.  You will discover the reality of ‘love’ now that the reality show is over.  You will discover the humanness of each other as you experience life together.  Sean, her body will droop after kids; Catherine, he may grunt and go bald (but hopefully never burp, a true gentleman would never burp in front of a lady).  You chose her at the finale of the show, but you will have to wake up every day and choose her again, and again, and again, and again.  She will have to decide to choose you too.  For it to work you have to choose each other, every single day, forever.

You better grow some rose bushes Sean, you’ll need to offer her one every day for the rest of your life.

(I’m probably never watching that show again.)

FULL

Every single time I go out in public (when I say public, you know I mean the grocery store) with all of my children, someone says “you’ve got your hands full.”  Sometimes it’s followed by “are all of those yours?” or “WOW.  how far apart are they?”  or “all boys??” Sometimes it’s followed by stares or that look that says “what were you thinking?”  

I’ve not come up with a clever response to this comment.  I wish I could say, “yes, they are full…mind lending me one of yours????”  I don’t though.  I just “yes they are.”

My hands are full.

A few posts ago, I told you I was busy.  I had a musical coming up and was helping with my church sports league.  Well, we had the musical today, and the sports league ended on Friday.  I start teaching 3 new classes this week, the boys started soccer/wrestling, Michael’s still speaking Greek, and Easter is literally around the corner.

I have been in that 100 mph zone, and will be for at least 2 more weeks.

I’m not sure why I thought doing a musical during this busy time of the year was a good idea. But I am glad I did it.  The kids did an amazing job, despite the fact that at the end of the musical, I called all of the children down to the front to take a final bow, and, of course, when I called Nolan’s name, he did not exit the stage properly. Rather, he saw the moment as an opportunity to practice his long jump skills.  He literally leaped across the makeshift creek bank and cleared 4 steps in the middle of the stage to make his exit.  (I’m sure in that moment people were thinking, “man, she’s got her hands full.”)

But I’m still glad we did the musical.  Nolan did a fantastic job on his solo.  He also helped all afternoon on the food, and last week on the set, and practiced until his little voice gave out yesterday and this morning.  So did Josiah.  He tends to be shy, and he spoke his lines loudly and with confidence.  So did all of the other kids.  They enjoyed it and sang their little hearts out.

There were a few little behind the scene things that the audience didn’t get to see, which blessed me so much.  The final song talks about serving God and says “I’m willing to be used dear Lord, whatever the price may be”.  Every time we practiced this song, one of the little girls teared up.  Her heart was so tender towards Christ, that she was overcome with emotion and could not sing.  4 years old.  Tender heart, priceless gift and reminder to us all.  And the little boy who was supposed to pray a scripted prayer but at practice said, “would it be okay if I just prayed from my heart?”  It’s those moments which make the chaos, busyness, and hustle worth it all.

Next time someone tells me I have my hands full, I think I’ll respond,

“You mean, fulfilled.”

MESSES

Today was messy. *WARNING* I live with 4 boys, and this post is gross.

It all started with most horrific nightmare last night.  I dreamt that my morning coffee tasted really weak.  I woke up in a cold sweat.  Shaky from the horror.  Just a dream Christi Anna, just a dream….Josiah was standing next to me and finished waking me up.

Mom…

Yes honey.

I had a bad dream.

Oh me too baby, what was yours?

I dreamed you got eaten by a tiger. (pitiful sad face, trying not to cry)  What did you dream?

oh….nothing……I didn’t get eaten by a tiger, see…I’m right here.  (I did feel attacked though, still sweating from my own nightmare).

Thank goodness Michael had made the coffee like normal.  Today would not have been good without coffee.  I was almost finished with my coffee when Josiah says….

Mom, my stomach hur(BLUH)

Luckily I had a bucket nearby to catch most of it, because the toilet was being occupied.  Plus, none of my kids has ever made it to the toilet to vomit. Ever.  They are literally ALWAYS surprised, and do not see it coming. There is 1 room in my house with carpet….guess where we were…

[Enter Nolan].

Mom, my tooth is bleeding from where you guys yanked it out last night.

Ok, honey, please don’t use the word ‘yank’ to your teachers.  Let’s get you cleaned up.

After the morning rush, things got just quiet enough for me to start a project that I had procrastinated on and needed to finish today.

[Enter Zachary]

Mom, I spilled my juice all over me.  It’s everywhere, see?  Do you see mommy?

Yes, honey, I see it.  We’ll get it.

Now, because I have procrastinated, I really needed today to be low drama.  Did. Not. Happen.  Today, the messes came fast and furious.  When this virus showed up, I had finally gotten down to 1 load of unfolded laundry and only 1 hamper that was overflowing.  So laundry was under control. Not anymore.

The climax of it all occurred on the way home from picking up Nolan from school.  I had carried Josiah to the van with a blanket, poor thing. He had no business riding in a car, sick, with my mediocre driving skills, and he was in the back.  Zachary fell asleep on the way, and we had almost made it home, almost…1 mile to go…when…

Mom, Josiah just puked all over me!  Can you pull over? I’ll just walk the rest of the way home.

Ok, we’ll get it.  Almost home…

Lots of messes.  On days like today, I like to search for the bright spots.  Here are a 5:

1. Upon dismembering the carseat to clean it, I found an iPod that has been lost since before Christmas.  Score.

2. When I leaned over to kiss Josiah’s forehead he said, “aren’t you afraid the germs will get you? If you are, you could punch yourself in the face and try to kill them before they get you.”  In a round about way, I think he was trying to protect me.  That blessed me.

3. Despite the mess, I was able to finish my project.

4. Other than this temporary virus, my kids are in good health.

And finally,

5. My coffee tasted really, really good this morning.

SUBMISSION

The “S” word for Christian women…

Michael and I dated 7 years before getting married.  Statistics say that is waaaay too long.  For the most part, I agree.  There are 3 reasons we waited:

  1. We started dating when we were babies.
  2. He wasn’t ready to commit.
  3. I wasn’t ready to submit.

He was ready to commit before I was ready to submit.  He proposed.  We planned the wedding.  I started freaking out.

I was independent!  I had a college degree!  I bought a house on my own!  Submit???  SUBMIT????

I was really struggling.  I would get all the way through Ephesians chapter 5, and every time I got to verse 22, I would stop.  I knew I needed to understand what it meant to submit before I walked down that aisle.  I did a lot of soul searching in those months before our wedding.  And I sought wise counsel.

“I’m just caught up on that one word, Mom.  I just don’t think I can submit to anyone but God.”

And then she responded, ever so gently, “Honey, it’s easy to submit to someone who would lay down his life for you.”  (pause) “Would Michael lay down his life for you?”

Crap.

I knew the answer.  It was clear, crystal clear.  Of course he would; of course he had!  If ever I have had an epiphany, that was it.

  • He had sold his truck to buy me an engagement ring.
  • He planned to rent his house to come live in mine.
  • He drove to his dad’s house, hopped on his dad’s lawnmower, then drove to my house every other week to mow my lawn so I didn’t have to. (I may have exaggerated the whole “I’m independent” thing.)
  • He literally lowered himself, by getting down on one knee, and pledged his faithful love to me forever.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. The best way to sweep her off her feet is by offering to wash them first.

He was already doing his part.

I had to do mine.  Once my attitude and understanding were shifted, I saw the word submit in a whole new light.  It’s easy to submit to someone who sacrifices so freely for you.  As Christ did the church.

Now, let me be clear.  It’s easy to submit to my husband because he lives out the Biblical model of a husband so well. He has never, never abused this concept in any way, shape, or form.  He does not lourde over me.  He does not coerce me.  He does not think himself more highly than he ought.  Christ’s ultimate sacrifice wasn’t contingent upon our response, our submission to Him.  He showed His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, he died for us.

Ladies, if you are in a relationship and considering (a Biblical) marriage, ask yourself this:

“Would _______________ lay down his life for me?”

Answer honestly.  Think of examples.  Don’t enter into marriage with someone who would not sacrifice for you, lay down his life for you, love you the way you were created to be loved.  If you can answer yes, then don’t enter into marriage unless you are ready to submit to him out of reverence for Christ.  It’s easy to submit to someone who loves you, cherishes you, would lay down his life for you.

No greater love has any man than this, that he would lay his life down for his friends.

On January 16, 2004 I said ‘yes’ to a man on one knee because I loved him and couldn’t wait to plan a wedding.  7 months later I walked down that aisle fully prepared to enter into marriage.  Three kids, a career change, a move out of state, deaths, grad school, family changes, health problems, and a seminary degree later – there have been occasions where I have had to submit to my husband (although not many…I’m rarely wrong…stay tuned for a blogpost on pride).  I don’t feel less, inferior, or beneath Michael because of it.  Because I know:  1) Michael first submits to God.  2) Michael continues to sacrifice for me.  The concept that I thought would be so hard to adopt in my marriage has been one of the greatest blessons in my marriage.

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