Remember Who Is Writing Your Love Story

Image Courtesy of ClipartPanda.com

Image Courtesy of ClipartPanda.com

When I was young, my favorite fairy-tale was Cinderella. Why? It is such a silly story. She meets some guy at a dance and they fall in love forever…not likely.

I think I equated falling in love and getting married to prince charming and happily ever after. Anyone who lives in the real world knows, this just is NOT the way life works.

The truth is that no matter how great your marriage is, it is not perfect. We are human and none of us are purely awesome all the time. Happily ever after is just a good ending to a fake story. That doesn’t mean that our love stories will not be great, but there will be at least a few bumps in the road. There will be some mistakes. Every now and then there may be some hurts that we have to work through. There is a saying floating around on the internet that goes like this…

“Don’t compare your love story to those you watch in movies. They are written by script writers, yours is written by God.” – Author Unknown 

In today’s world it is normal to be exposed to all the love stories in books, television and movies. But even the ones that are based on a true story are doctored to make them more appealing to the readers or viewers. Watching a movie or reading a book that has a love story in it is not the problem though. The problem comes when we allow those stories to cloud our view of our spouse.

If you find yourself reading or watching these stories and then comparing it to your own story…please stop. I have heard of so many women getting an attitude of wishing their husband was more like a character in a book or on screen. According to dictionary.com, here are the definitions of discontent:

not content, dissatisfied, lack of content and a restless desire or craving for something one does not have...

Do these stories that are crafted by writers leave you with a restless desire or craving for something you do not have?

Let me put it another way. What is one of the biggest reasons women do not want their husbands looking at other women and their physical bodies?

We do not want them looking because we know that we do not measure up. We do not look like those airbrushed girls in magazines. We do not have personal trainers and plastic surgeons. Our full time job is not looking beautiful in front of a camera. We do not want our husbands daydreaming about what those other women look like and wishing we were just like them.

So how is that different than those fake love stories that can plant seeds of discontentment in our hearts towards our spouse? Imagine this…you bring home some book that all the girls at work are raving about. You have been talking about it for weeks. Your husband knows you are dying to read it. Maybe he even buys it for you.

You take a relaxing weekend and dive in. Hubby knows you love to read and you have been waiting forever for this book. So he keeps the kids distracted, takes them to the park, visits family, whatever. Sunday afternoon you read the final ‘and they lived happily ever after line’…you look up from your book and start to come out of your dreamy, reading coma.

                                                           And there stands your husband, who is far from                                                    perfect and is a real human being.

Is he any less perfect than anyone else’s husband? Probably not. He is most likely a normal guy and he gave you all weekend to read a book you have been waiting for. So how does your mind react to this? If you have enough control of your mind to keep the fake love story under the ‘not real’ tab in your brain, then fine. But what if you can’t?

God created women with swooning hearts. It is one of the things that makes us women. It is the reason that when we find out the true story of the love that Jesus has for us, we just melt. We were designed to desire to be loved like that.  That is the ultimate love story and marriage is to be modeled after Christ’s love of the church.  But…

What about the other stories? What if you find yourself wishing hubby was a little more romantic? What if you start to look at him as if there is something lacking and the more fake love stories you read or watch, the more he lacks? Now what do you do? Silly untrue stories about fictional characters have altered the way you look at your spouse. This could change the way you both react to each other. This could possibly lead you down a path that could be heartbreaking.

I know that all of this sounds so extreme, but I have seen it happen. Marriage is hard work. Why make it even harder?

Do I read books or watch movies that have a story in it?  I used to, but rarely do anymore. I am not talking about the little love story that is just a tiny part of the rest of the story. I am talking about the full on, this is what the whole movie/book is about love story.

My husband made a comment when we were first married about a book that all the women at his job were just raving about. He heard them compare their relationships and he could hear the discontented attitudes getting stronger. Before he mentioned this, I had never paid attention. Now I do and I really think he was right…those love stories can cloud our view of our own story.

I think in the love department, it is much more helpful to keep our eyes on Jesus and to make Him the center of our relationship. Maybe you are able to immerse yourself in a love story for the weekend and come out the other side without it having any effect on your view of your own love story. For myself, I really just do not want to risk it. Marriage is not always easy and I want to give mine every opportunity to thrive.

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Are You Feeling Invisible?

Years ago when my children were young, I came across something that resonated with me as a mom. At that point in my life I had some extremely difficult and discouraging relationships that involved people who seemed to enjoy making me feel tiny. I felt unwanted and unneeded. I believed I would never be good enough and that my life and efforts were worth nothing.

Awful isn’t it?

The reality is that there are so many women who live there. In a place of despair and worthlessness. They truly believe that they mean nothing to anyone and that if they disappeared from the face of the earth tomorrow, not one person would notice.

I have goose bumps just describing it. Those years are so far gone in my life, but I will never forget what they felt like. I lived there. Everyday I felt this way.

If you are there and you know what I am talking about, I am so sorry. My heart aches for you. I just want to take a moment to let you know that you are so wanted and so visible by a God who knows you better than anyone. He created you! He knew exactly what He was doing when you were made. No matter what anyone here on earth tells you, there is a loving God who is waiting for you to find your self-worth in Him. You are valued at a high price. You are precious. Seek Him and His comforting arms. He is the only one who can give you peace. I promise.

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If you struggle with this feeling of being invisible, I have something for you! As I said earlier, I found this during a very dark time in my life. It helped me to understand that I was not invisible! Someone saw me. He noticed me. He loved me. I pray that this encourages you as much as it encouraged me.

The Invisible Woman by Nicole Johnson

I Needed This

Have you ever had something you had been thinking about and it was just taking over your mind with worry?

Over the last couple of weeks I have been stressing about what we will do as far as childcare and my full time work status when we have another baby in a couple of years. My mind has been so bogged down with worry that it feels like it is crowding out my joy. I was home with my four children until the youngest was over a year old. I have never taken an infant to daycare while I go to work for 40 hours a week.

I think about this at times and  tell myself…I can’t do it. I start to panic as a million questions race through my mind. I get worked up into a frustrated tangled mess. Most days I pray about it and realize that it is still far off and I need to “Let Go and Let God”, as the saying goes.

Today has been one of those days….and I have been trying all day to shake the uncertainty and settle down. But it has not worked. It has been biting at the back of my mind all day.

Until I saw this…

Now, it may not make sense to you, but this video is just what I needed to see. Her testimony. I have been praying about and researching ideas for businesses for awhile.  I have some ideas that I believe God is wanting me to pursue. Things are not written in stone, but the story of her faith and stepping out to do what God called her to do is just what I needed right now. I am not 100% sure of the exact path that God has for me, but I know He has a plan. I just need to trust Him.

 

Overcoming Fear In Baby Steps

Tonight I was taking care of my sons hamster, “Big Bob”. He had been in his ball, running around the house. It was time to put him back into his little home. So I opened the cage and the ball so he could climb from one to the other…

but he refused to go back into his cage.

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image courtesy of pethamstercare.com

So here I am with this stubborn hamster and my son was not home to put him back. So what do I do?

Now comes one of my fears. I am terrified of mice. For some reason the hamster does not bother me as much, but I still have a fear of picking him up with my bare hands. I am afraid of getting bit. When my son came to us a couple of months ago and asked for a hamster for his birthday, I thought “NO WAY!”  Once I thought about it, I figured it would be a good lesson in responsibility and maybe even help with my fear of mice (Yes, I know, mice and hamsters are not the same creature). Close enough.

So we buy the hamster and now I have a furry little creature living in my home full time. Over the last couple months I have slowly gotten attached to the little guy.  I take care of him when my son is not home.  At first I just put food into his bowl and water in the little drippy bottle. Then I started to try to put him into his ball. I did this with work gloves on so I would not get bit. I would just kinda shoo him into the ball and I got him out by bribing him with a treat (while wearing the gloves).

Eventually I started pet him, with the gloves still on. Then one day I touched his back with no gloves on. He jumped and I screamed, poor Bob.  I kept trying. I was determined not to be afraid of handling him. Now, for the first time, I have been able to pick him up without gloves and not flip out. This is a big deal. The kids were even excited.

Do you have any fears that you need to overcome?  I would suggest baby steps, time and maybe even some prayer.

For God Hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7  

Violin Nails

I remember in high school, realizing  that my life was gaining more momentum. Days were going by faster. The school year was over quicker every year. The summers passed in the blink of an eye. Graduation came and went.  I settled into the routine of being an adult and all that came with it. Life was normal and uneventful …yet still moving fast.

Then October of 2002 came. I became a mother. My oldest daughter was born. Life did not slow down but seemed to accelerate.  Fast forward to 2015 and my oldest …

She stopped me in my tracks.

She was twelve and getting close to being a teenager. I discovered my fear of her growing up. I am not sure exactly when this happened. I remember several times, her catching me staring at her. I would be walking through the house to go do something and I would see her out of the corner of my eye. I’d look at her and stand still, unable to stop staring at her.  Her expressions. The way she looks when she is totally lost in a book and can’t wait to turn the page. How she dances to music like she doesn’t care if anyone is watching. If there is no music, she will sing and not care who hears her.

I started to grasp the concept of her growing up to be a young lady.

At first I was so fearful. I thought back to my teenage years and all the mistakes I had made. I desperately wanted to protect her from making the same mistakes. Memories of my failures and wrong turns during my teen years started to rear their ugly head. I even had some nightmares about her making awful decisions and getting hurt. I could hardly even look at her without crying.  It was awful.

Why?

Control

I realized that she was growing older and more mature. With that comes more responsibility and making her own choices…and mistakes. This terrified me. I wanted her to always be in the safety of our home so we could protect her. My heart ached at the thought of her hurting in any way. I was not trusting God to watch over her at all. I wanted to be the one to protect her.

I became so emotional about it over the course of a few weeks that one day my husband said we needed to talk.  He sat down with me and told me that he understood my fears. He worries about the kids too. He also explained that she needed me to not be so afraid. She needed me to celebrate her milestones with her instead of bawling my eyes out every time something new came up. She was beginning to worry about sharing things that were happening in her life because she didn’t want to see me cry. She did not want to hurt me…

Wait! WHAT?

NO! I wanted her to share everything with me. I didn’t want to miss anything.

My husband let me cry it out and helped me to admit that I needed to let go of my fears. We would be there for the good times and any bad that may come along. God is the one in control. Not us. He prayed for me and encouraged me to just enjoy all of the milestones.

A few weeks later she learned how to knee board for the first time. I still remember the expression on her face. Once she got up onto her knees and had steadied herself, she looked unsure for just a second. Then she realized she was up and knee boarding.  I will cherish the joy that spread over her face forever.

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And I was there to see it. What a gift. I screamed and yelled from the boat with excitement. I gave her a thumbs up and yelled “She did it!” I turned and signaled to my husband who was on the jet ski with our son, ready to help her out of the water when she let go of the rope. He smiled and returned the thumbs up.

That moment was so precious. Knee boarding is something my siblings and I did when we were kids. We had a blast. It meant so much to me that she was getting to experience something that I loved so much at her age.

I still worry. I am a mom. It is part of my job. But I am not overcome by fear to the point that it stops me from enjoying her. I am so glad that my husband stepped in and helped me overcome this fear. I am so blessed that he took the time to pray with me about this.

Fast forward a little further to 2016. She is in private violin lessons now. She was chosen to perform in the Honors Orchestra for her district. She played in a beautiful theater in front of a large crowd of people. I enjoyed every minute of her performance. She was at the front of the stage, so for the first time I could actually see her playing.

I did cry. Not because she was growing up, but because in that moment I was so moved by her and the music. I was mesmerized watching her fingers and bow move. It was lovely. She looked like a young woman. And I was present. I was fully there, enjoying her and taking it all in. Not worrying or fretting.

I was there and I loved it.

I am so thankful.

The other night she asked for help with cutting her nails. She has cut them too far back before and likes for me to do it. At thirteen years old there are not many things she needs me to do for her. So I actually look forward to moments like these.

She brought me the clippers and as I was clipping her nails she explained what the funny little indents were on some of them. She said “Mom, it is from playing my violin so much.”

I thought about the concert and watching her play. About taking her to lessons and hearing her practice at home. It warmed my heart to see those indents on her nails. They were a sign of hours of hard work and discipline every week. I am so proud of her. She is becoming such a beautiful young woman, inside and out.

Do you struggle with fear when it comes to your kids?

I get it. I really do. But I know now that they do grow up. And they do make their own choices. Some will be the right ones and some will be the wrong ones. We cannot have control over all of their decisions forever.

What we do have control over is being intentional with our parenting. Loving them deeply. Making memories. Teaching them to love Jesus. Showing them right and wrong. But most importantly, helping them learn to discern the voice of God and learning to listen to Him. So He can point them down His best path for them…and they will go where He wants them to.

If you are struggling with fear over your children, spend time in prayer. Ask God to help you realize you are not in complete control and that is ok, because He knows every hair on their head. He loves them more than we are capable of. Take a deep breath and rest in that.