Do You See Your Spouse as Grace from God?

As Valentine’s Day arrived this year I received a very sweet card from my farmer.  He is usually the funny card kind guy so the card he chose for me this year really touched me.

I am so thankful for him in my life.  Moving beyond divorce and the disappointment, shame and hurt was not an overnight journey for me but it was so worth it.  If you find yourself in a place that you never expected, divorced, take heart there is hope.

God can restore what was or provide you with something new.  Seek Him, repent of your sin/your part in the end of the marriage, embrace grace, forgiveness and healing.  You can find the life you always thought you would have.

This weekend my farmer and I attended a marriage conference together.  It was such a great reminder to fix my eyes on all the things I have to be thankful for in my marriage.  Looking for the good in my husband will help me to see more of it.

Mingling of Souls is an annual marriage conference by Matt & Lauren Chandler.  During the conference, Matt reminded us that as Christians we are not yet what we will one day be.  We are a work in progress.

Strange how we want our spouse to be a finished product but we see in ourselves we aren’t there yet.  We often compare our very best moments or features with our spouse’s worst.  Keeping our eyes focused on the truth of our journey can help us show more grace to our spouse and find more growth in ourselves.

Matt also said when he was young and questioning his relationship with Lauren, a mentor once told him you will fight with someone the rest of your life; do you want it to be Lauren or not?  It is funny to think of our spouse being the person we will fight with our whole life but it is true.

We are both a work in progress so there will be conflict.  Too often we see conflicts as something that reveals our spouse’s weakness.
Instead we must see our struggles and conflict as a gift of Grace from God. Matt Chandler #TakeHeart Click To TweetInstead we must see our struggles and conflict as a gift of Grace from God.

How can that be a gift?  Each struggle or conflict reveals what is going on inside of us.  God is revealing to us something about ourselves so we can grow.

When he is late, do I give him the benefit of the doubt or do I become impatient and selfish?  When he leaves his clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the hamper, am I playing a martyr or being prideful?

Examining my heart will help me grow and progress in sanctification.  Being angry and holding him to an unfair standard will just make us both miserable and break down our relationship.

The process of becoming more like our Lord is not an easy one but it is one which we are called to engage in.  Our spouse is just one of the many things the Lord uses to help us grow.


In what way, will seeing your spouse as a gift of Grace from God change your relationship?

 

 

Review by Rayna: Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos & Restore Your Sanity

Overwhelmed is one of the best books I have read.  I don’t feel that I am a person who sits in overwhelm very often but I learned a lot from Kathi and Cheri’s book.

The goal of the book is to help us learn to: expand our capacity for joy regardless of life circumstances, make intentional choices today that serve us tomorrow, trade the to do list that controls us for a calendar that creates space for our lives, decide whose feedback to forget and whose input to invite, and finally replace fear of the future with peace in the present. 

Kathi and Cheri break down the 5 reasons we reach a point of overwhelm.
  1.  Decision fatigue
  2.  Lack of understanding your true self   
  3.  Not being true to your true self 
  4.  Doing too much for too many with too little for too long. 
  5.  Unexpected emergencies. 
  6.  Disappointment and worry. 

Gaining understanding of the fact that my overwhelm is not the same as others around me helped me… Click To Tweet

Since, I am not prone to overwhelm as I had defined it the 6 kinds of overwhelm was very helpful.

The second part of the book went into realistic ideas to help overcome overwhelm.

I appreciated that they were all practical and logical suggestions.  I will share just a few highlights in this review.

Kathi does an amazing job explaining how routine helps us avoid overwhelm by preparing ourselves for what is to come.  She talks about being nice to our future selves.  I really like thinking of taking the time to do something now as being nice to me tomorrow.

We set ourselves up for overwhelming failure when we place unrealistic expectations on our future selves.  The best way to take care of our future self is by predeciding

The concept of predeciding is one that really made an impact on me and challenged my mindset.  Predeciding is done before you face an overwhelming situation.

Predeciding who you are as a person, what your core values are and how you will act save you time energy and agony.  Deciding in the moment to do the right thing is exhausting and completely overwhelming at times.  “Predeciding makes sure your future self is your very best self.”

Another impactful section was around living in crisis.  Cheri describes her life as going from crisis to crisis but she learned from Kathi that the overwhelm is not the only way to live even in crisis.

If a short-term crisis is dragging on for so long that it is starting to become your new normal then don’t wait for things to get back to normal, they might not.  Find a healthy new normal you can live with.  Stop living as if you are in a crisis.

One more area that stuck out to me was self care.  Making self care a nonnegotiable is a must.  Taking care of others seems to be expected but we were never taught to care for ourselves.

Many times, we can become overwhelmed because we are too busy caring for everyone else.  I know that this is when I most often find myself feeling overwhelmed.  I want to help and I don’t want to disappoint anyone SO self care is overlooked and overwhelm soon follows.

Finally, I really enjoyed Kathi’s perspective on her different Kathis in Chapter 13 but to be honest it is too hard to explain here, so you are just going to have to read it yourself.

I find I often tell you to run out and read the books I review and I always mean it, today I think if you ever feel overwhelmed this is a MUST READ for you.

 

I would love to hear what you learned, or your favorite part after reading overwhelmed.  Leave your comment below!

Review by Rayna: Looking for Lovely

Looking for Lovely:Collecting the Moments that Matter

Annie F.  Downs is another of those authors who shares the true nitty gritty of her life.

She lays it all out in this latest book.  Though a popular author she found herself in a place she calls her broken crazy.  Her honest sharing of the journey to finding herself in a place that she can love and embrace herself and her life through finding the lovely in the middle of the hard.  At the end of each chapter she challenged the reader to look for lovely in their everyday life as well.

I must admit that Annie’s style of storytelling is very compelling but I the overall story seemed disjointed to me.  I did love the way she tied it all together at the end of the book.  One of the most important statements she made was, “When I found lovely in me and in the world, it changed everything.” This book was her journey to this realization.

 

Annie classified herself as a quitter.  Realizing that everyone does not view quitting the same way she did caused her to seek people who were not quitters and learn from them.  She found nonquitters define it differently.  Nonquitters don’t quit when it gets hard, they just take a pause and then go back to it again. They keep trying until they get it.  She could not relate but she did desire to understand perseverance and develop it.

Endings was one of the areas of Annie’s life which was hard.  They made her want to quit.  Quit developing new relationships, quit the hard work of caring for others.  By learning to persevere she learned to live with both the hard and the good.  She shared that what helped her learn to finish is to see God in the people you meet and in the moments, you have to let them leave.  Believe God, He is who holds things together, including those friendships, those memories and your heart.

Grace was a lesson Annie had focused earlier in her life so adding perseverance to grace led her to an even greater understanding of both.  All grace can make you lazy but all perseverance can cause you to be judgmental.  Grace with perseverance gives you permission to not be perfect but to strive toward excellence. They can even be partners to bring growth.

In the end, Annie calls us all to be the type of woman who is “Locking eyes with the one who has choose me.  We have looked for lovely and found it.  We have resolved to be the kind of women who do not quit, who do not give up, but women who strengthen our minds and our hearts to let the work God is doing in us come to completion.”

I highly recommend this book to young adults.  Her communication style and life experiences will be one many millennials will definitely relate to.

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She Believes

she-believes-rrShe Believes challenges us to understand that what we believe affects every area of our lives.

She Believes is full of the most basic things of our faith and what God says about them. Debbie does a great job of breaking down the things of faith into everyday life. This faith thing is real and it impacts everything.

I appreciate Debbie’s transparency about life, relationships, marriage, failures, success, church and her walk with God. By being upfront and honest about life’s struggles her words bring a bigger impact on my heart.
The chapters are short and full of truth. I enjoyed reading a chapter each day to soak in all the wisdom in each chapter.
Some of my favorite chapters included:

Chapter 2: Your Reflection is beautiful. It is so hard to wrap our minds around how beautiful we are in the eyes of our God. The truth of this chapter resonated with me.

Chapter 6: Prayer a Difference Maker. This was a very encouraging chapter to me. Matthew 21:22. “Prayer, open honest, expectant conversation with God.” I love this definition of prayer.
Debbie’s reminder that God is waiting to have a personal and real relationship with us was very encouraging. I loved the way she broke down what prayer means and how to go about it.

Chapter 12: Big Girls Do Cry. Psalm 56:8 “There are some words only tears can speak.” Sometimes we just need to cry. I enjoyed her imaginary walk with God to review the warehouse full of our tears. He is such a personal God, I often don’t keep this in mind enough.

 

She Believes is a book that will help anyone both grow in their faith and firm it up without a doubt .

Take the time to read it and you will be encouraged and stronger!


 

Review by Rayna: Wait and See

I don’t know about you but I don’t love to wait.  In fact, I’m not sure I know anyone who loves to wait. So I guess this means this book must be just what everyone needs.  The subtitle sums it up, Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans.

Wendy Pope created a wonderful journey of exploring David’s pathway from anointed King to reigning King.  We often think of David without really thinking about how long the journey was that the Bible takes us through.

Like David we are often called to wait.  Why is it so difficult to do that? Wendy is vulnerable and shares times in her life when she had to wait.  The key is she didn’t always wait well so she walks us through how to Find Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans.

 

Wendy’s writings are full of lots of great reasons for why the wait is so hard but the best news is her suggestions on how to make the wait worth it.

I really like the way Wait and See is setup with Chapter 10 being designed like a journal with questions to help us evaluate our current call to wait and really begin to put the new mindset and practices into place in a current situation right now.

One of my favorite chapters is When Waiting Messes with Your Mind.  The battle of our mindset can make or break our attitude, no doubt.  This chapter is full of great stories and truth.

I love that Wendy reminds us to keep our minds in the word which will keep the lies in check.  Often when we are waiting we begin to be more susceptible to the lies of Satan.

Biblical truth always kills the lies.  Wendy goes on to remind us that Peace from prayer fills us and makes the desire to quit lose its power.  The more we pray the stronger we become and the more able we are to take down the quit.

Finally, in that chapter she goes on to remind us that Praises have great power in the wait as well.  “Praise has a marvelously, mysterious aspect to it that slays defeat.”  The study of the Psalms really brings this truth to life.

Waiting on God isn’t wasting time; it’s training time.  So thankful for the truth of this statement!

I know if you take the time to really look at times of waiting in your life through the information provided by Wendy you will do it better and gleam more blessings from it than you have before.

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