As We Grow As a Couple

Do you feel stuck where you are in your relationship with your spouse? Does it feel like you are still in the same place maybe financially like you were when you got married? I have to say that lately that has been the case for me. I look at our budget and think “man things looked better when we were first married and poor”. But were they?

When we pulled into church yesterday, I saw a cute couple cuddling in the guy’s car. They weren’t being inappropriate or anything. The girl was just leaning on the guy’s shoulder and he had his arm around her. It was actually really cute and reminded me of how my husband and I were when we were dating and first married.

The car the couple was in was older than me but they were happy. It got me thinking because when my husband and I got married, church mice were richer. We both worked but we were still in school and making minimum wage. (Depending on when and where you are reading this, that would be $9-$10/hour at the time.) We lived in the lower area of town and literally lived on love and kisses. Just like that couple was right now unless they are still living at home and then they don’t quite know what the real world is like.

Sometimes I still feel like that woman who is in the old car with nothing but my husband’s and mine’s dreams to keep the wheels turning, but am I still there? No. I am a home owner, we have a car with a 1 in front number of its age, we have a child, and he is now making more than double what he was when I met him. So why do I feel stuck?

Because honestly life sucks. We got dealt a really rough hand last year and we still haven’t recovered. We are still paying off debt that has happened and we will probably until next summer, but does that mean we are stuck? I hope not. Is it easy? No. We were setup how we were supposed to be financially until last year and now it has been blown to you know where. Will we get back there? Yes. I have hope we will.

How do I know that? Because we are not the same kids sitting in that old car living off love. We have experience now to where we can actually be the ones to give advice and encouragement. We have been through many things already and we still have many more in the future. It was just a nice reminder for me to see where we used to be so that I can see what I have now and be thankful for it.

Is it exactly what I want? No. Am I living in the area I really want to be in or have two cars like everyone else? No, but now that I have finally gone back to school I have a reason to power through it. I have a goal that I want to meet and it will keep me motivated along side remembering where we have come from.

Do you have some wisdom that you need to share about life and sticking with it? If so, feel free to comment below. I would love to hear from you.

Why Christians Won’t to Go to Church

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   How many of you grew up thinking that the only way to get people to get to church was by fancy programs and flashy lights? These churches were deemed shallow and not a “good solid church”. Then you have the little church on the corner where the only way their numbers grow is if someone has a baby, but the preaching is sound. Which church is better? Honestly neither of them.

   What? I know. I just popped everyone’s bubbles in each court. This is the crazy part – I have played on each team so I know how each one thinks and plays. I have been to small churches were you maybe hit fifty people on Christmas and Easter and there was a reason for that. They were not friendly, nor loving Christians. Now not all of them but the ones who ran the church (yes pretty much one family would run these churches) were like that. I haven’t been around these people lately so I hope that they have changed and that their churches are growing by leaps and bounds, but, when I was there, they were not. They were neither hot nor cold. They were luke warm and everyone knows what God thinks about luke warm churches.

   Then on the flip side, I have been in big churches where they have the lights and shows and programs coming out of their ears. But here is the crazy part! They also were unfriendly and not loving Christians. Huh? Wait. I thought there was only one group who were the problem. “They” are the bad Christians, not my church. But that isn’t true either.

   So is there middle ground? Can you have a church with solid preaching that doesn’t tickle ears but also has a growing membership? The answer is yes and you don’t need anything flashy to do it.

   My church building regularly has 5000 people come through its doors each week. I have a HUGE church family and I have not even come close to meeting them all in my seven years of attending, but that isn’t the point. I have some really great relationships with others in my church but it’s not the end of the world for those who I don’t know. They are still in my prayers and are covered in my love when I hear about things the church is doing with missions or baptism. They have a cool family member in their corner and they don’t totally realize it. I think that is actually kind of cool and I am sure I am in someone else’s prayers who hasn’t met me yet either. That is what being a church family is all about.

   You might be thinking ‘well of course she is bias since she attends the church’. Really? This church is church number 6 for me in my short 25 years of life and I just found it 7 years ago. Before this church, the longest I had been at a church was 6 years. So I have seen many types of churches in my short life time. And my church is the most balanced church I have ever seen.

  Yes, I said balanced because everything requires balance and that is especially true for churches. I have been to churches who only preach about God’s wrath but never His grace and I have been to churches who only preach grace and never wrath. You need both or you will never see the full picture of God, and my church gets that.

   Now, we have some programs, but there were some that had to be set aside for awhile since we did just a big move to a new building, but we have the basics of ministry like Sunday school and out reaches. I would say that for a “big” church though we don’t have as much as people would think we should right now. There are things in the works, but the move required things to be set aside but not the preaching of God’s word.

   Our Pastor is such a strong and wise man of God that I feel privileged to sit under every week and not obligated. I can’t wait to go to church because I feel like I won’t be leaving with whispers behind my back. My daughter has a safe Sunday school program to go to where I know they have sound teaching so I can enjoy church and then they have VBS in the summer. The ministries out number the flashy programs and they are all about community and bringing people back to church who have left or never returned after being hurt.

   So with all that said, let’s recap. My church on Sunday offers Sunday school, worship, teaching and the option for prayer. Sounds like a good basic little church right? But remember that my church’s attendance regularly runs around 5000. So here is my question. Not that my church is perfect, trust me it has had its ups and downs but God has seen us through to only be better, but my point is that why do people think that there is only two ways a church can go?

   If you want to have your church grow, it has to be inviting, but not cheesy. You have to have good applicable music (not necessarily a rock band but something more than Count Your Many Blessing each week) to help people really engage with their Savior. And you have to have good solid preaching that is true but with love. My Pastor is the only pastor I have ever sat under where he has laid the hammer down on somethings going on in the church that he isn’t happy with or isn’t biblical and I still walk away feeling like he and God love me.

   I want more churches to have that same experience. I want more people to know that feeling of going to church because they crave to be near their Jesus and are bummed when they miss it. I don’t think it is good for people to go to ANY church where they feel oppressed when they are there and punished when they are not. It’s not how God wants  for His church.

   So if you have been hurt by a church and don’t know if you ever want to go back, take heart. There are good churches out there who are not like the one you came from. There are churches out there who do show the love of Christ without making you feel like a worse Christian when you leave. Don’t believe me? Check out this link. I have not been paid or anything for this post. I just want everyone to know and love Jesus how I have learned I can these past seven years.

Blessings!

Being a Martha and Married to a Mary

Ok, I will assure you all that the title is just a figure of speech. If you are truly a Mary married to a Martha I guess then it works but this blog post is about me and my husband. See, we are very similar but there is one area that we are very different in. If there is one thing out of place, I will work until everything is all done and my husband can, by some miracle, pretend that he doesn’t see the mess that is in front of him. He is able to turn that part of his brain off after the dishes are done and our daughter is put to bed. Me? I am picking up every last thing I see and putting it away and getting mad that I am the only one working still.

Then it hit me one night, while I was up still doing laundry, that there is a story in the Bible that matches this very scenario. In Luke 10:38-42 there is the story of two women who Jesus came to visit.  Martha was busy hosting Jesus that she started to yell and get angry because her sister, Mary, was just sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to him talk.

I get that feeling because my husband was in the living room watching TV or wasting time on Youtube while I was doing things that actually mattered. How dare he just expect me to do everything myself? But then I heard the voice of God speak to my heart and say “Gracelyn, there are multiple ways to serve both me and your husband but you can’t burn out”. I was like, huh?

I had been working my butt off all day just the keep the house running somewhat in harmony. What right did my husband have to just clock out? Sure my husband had been at work all day and then helped when he got home with our daughter. He hadn’t gotten everything done he wanted to get done but he knew he would get a chance to do them the next day. At that moment he wanted to just sit down and hang out with me.

So I dropped the laundry off in our room and went to couch to sit with him. He wondered if I was wanting him to help with the laundry but I told that I wanted to spend some time with him. This made him happy and we ended up having a nice evening together. I became a Mary and spent my time serving my husband in the way that he needed and resting myself after a long day of being a home maker and mom. And my husband let me know that he would help me with the laundry the next morning and he did. It was his way of showing that he can be a Martha too.

Why bring this up? Because I think of all the fights my husband and I have had in the past when we were first married about him clocking out too soon. I have yelled and screamed at him at how unfair it was that he was getting to relax and I never got to. It is actually quite embarrassing and childish now that I think about it. But, if I had just taken the moment then to listen to my husband and listen to God, it would have saved me so much heartache.

Just because your spouse does something different than you doesn’t mean that they are wrong. I’ll give one more example of this. My husband and I were putting out daughter to bed and I had washed her sheets that day so they needed to be put back on her bed. My husband took the lead and started making it while she and cleaned up. When I came in her room, I wasn’t sure what to think since he had put the character’s feet on her sheets and blanket at the pillow end.

I was a little stunned and told him that he had done it wrong. Big mistake. He explained that now she could look at (it was Ariel at the time) when she sleeps and that just because I didn’t like it didn’t mean that he had made the bed wrong.

Talk about an ouch. I wanted to show him how to do it right but I was too tired to bother. The next day was the day that God talked to my heart and I changed it to bring unity to our home. I couldn’t have made a stink just like all the other times but this time there was an actual change in the atmosphere. I changed and it changed it for the better.

So next time you want to point out just how wrong your spouse is on something, take a moment to think. Would it be better to actually join them and not correct them than to make your point known? Sometimes that is the right answer just like how Jesus told Martha that Mary was actually doing the more important thing.

A Strong Couple Jokes Together

Ok, so I know that April Fools is like ancient history this year but I finally got my chance to pull one on my husband. See, my husband is deathly afraid of bees and I have always wanted to get a bee hive. Can anyone see the issue with that? Yeah, I will never get a bee hive unless we have like a million acres and the bees are in the next county. Anyway, I saw it and I just had to go for it.

Costco was selling these starter bee hive kits and that’s where I got the idea. I called up my husband truly excited about this project even though I could hardly hold a straight face. Here is how the conversation went.

Me: “Hey Babe, I am so excited about your Father’s Day gift that I just had to tell you.”

Hubby: “Cool, what?”

Me: “Costco had these awesome bee hive kits for under $300 and I just had to get you one!”

Hubby: “Wh.. Wh.. Um. What?”

Me: “Isn’t that great?”

Hubby: “Uh, no. Please tell me you are joking.”

Me: “No, I really bought you a bee hive. All we have to do is buy the bees. We will have our own honey, and help the environment too!”

Hubby: Silence. “Um…” (He was trying to be supportive)

Me: “Gotcha! Happy belated April Fools day!”

He didn’t even have to say anything. I could feel the relief going through him on the phone.

You see, I have the most supportive hubby in the world and he will make almost anything work for me because he loves me. the one thing that I don’t think he will ever get past is his fear of bees. So, like I said, I  will have to probably always buy my honey but I did get a good giggle out of being about to finally pull a joke on my hubby.

What are some jokes you have pulled over on your husband or wife? I would love to hear them so leave a comment below with your funny joke, and I look forward to reading them.

With PCOS I Feel Like a Broken Car

Sometimes I just don’t know what to say. I think I know where I am going in life and then a curve ball comes my way. Then I go in a different direction and then another curve ball comes my way. I know that is just life, but it can be rather frustrating.

I try to listen to God’s will, but so many times I have no idea what that is. I think I do but then I don’t. You know what I mean? I think I am content where I am then something happens and I am back to square one. It then takes weeks for me to get back to where I was content because I have to grieve all over again.

I am reminded on a daily basis that I want another baby an can’t. I thought that I pregnant again even though my husband was supposed to get a vasectomy in the following two weeks. Since I thought I was pregnant we cancelled it, and now I am regretting that since we have to wait two more months for him to get it.

Where the frustration came in was that I was so happy with our decision and that we were moving forward. Now I feel like I have gone three steps back. Back to where I was when I lost my last baby. I was so angry with God then and I am back to being just as frustrated with Him now. I am trying to be content even in the fresh pain of that wound being reopened, but it’s hard. It is so hard to say God is good when I feel like He is being cruel for leading me on.

So we are back to square one with the whole baby thing and my husband has rescheduled his vasectomy, and I have to remember what hope is. It’s still good to hope even after your heart has been hurt again. That’s what Jesus would want.

He isn’t trying to be cruel because He isn’t that way. We live in a broken world with broken bodies. My body for some reason doesn’t do what it’s supposed to and I will never understand why. I am like a car with an engine, gas, and fresh battery, but it still won’t start. I have tried and tried but it still won’t change.

What I am going to do then? figure out a new way to get around. Maybe in this case my husband’s vasectomy is like changing the gas out for solar and now I will be able to move since I no longer have that one area in my life holding me back. It’s a good thing some times to change things up to be content. I can’t have a baby so we are getting a dog. We don’t want to go through this pain anymore so we are having my husband get a vasectomy. I want to have something to fulfill my life more than just being a mom and wife so I am going back to school. There is so many options for couples who have some that ultimate cross road of whether or not to keep trying.

But I know that I am not a broken car. I am really not broken at all. I am not a fan of it since I have always this – I am different. I am created differently than others because I don’t have the same path as everyone. It might feel like I am broken when I see other women sporting their baby bumps but  I have to try to keep at the forefront of my mind that I am made for something different, I have a wonderful husband, and a miracle baby who is playing with her dolls right now. My life is good and my life is full.

Husbands, Your Wives Aren’t Crazy

Husbands, have you had your wife just blow up at you for what you appeared to be no reason? Well, let me tell you a little story to show that it might have not been for no reason.

I had a really bad day with my daughter one day, and I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home. When he did, I asked him to do something a certain way and he didn’t do it at all. I was so mad at him that I just lost it and he had no idea of why I was so mad.

Let’s rewind my day. My daughter had been difficult all day with showing me nothing but disrespect left and right. I wanted my husband to come home to help me out so much because then I would have someone who would do what I asked even if was something as simple as please don’t scream at the top of your lungs for no reason. But that wasn’t what happened. Instead, my husband disrespected me as well and I couldn’t take it anymore. The crazy part was that he didn’t mean to disrespect in the least. He just didn’t see the need for what I had asked of him at the time. He was just going to do it the next day, but that wasn’t my point. I had wanted it done now because I had asked him and he was the adult and should have respected me by doing it.

Any way, does my story sound familiar? Every couple has had a fight like this but this is most common for wives and husbands with kids. Besides money, most fights concern the kids and their well being, but what about the parent’s wellbeing? Parenting is the hardest thing anyone has to do. They might be cute as babies, sometimes, but as toddlers they are the biggest headache. Most moms won’t want to admit it but, if asked point blank, they probably would admit that they didn’t want to be moms anymore. So our day is hard enough without our husbands making it worse.

B there is good news to you husbands! Your wife is not crazy and there is a reason she is flying of the handle all the time. It’s more likely that she has been dealing with little monsters all day and then you come home and don’t help by then really disrespecting her in the process. How to fix it? It’s simple really. If your wife asks you to do something, do it just as she said even if it doesn’t make 100% sense to you. It’s not the fact that you did it that will make her feel loved and respected it’s more of like you value her because she is raising your kids and they don’t do that. They make her feel dumb and out of control no matter how hard she tries to keep on a good face.

She needs you to be in her corner and not on the opposing side. Show her that you do listen and do care by helping out when not asked or picking up the house to the way she likes it when she is finally able to go pee without kids following her around. You have a lot more power in your home than you realize. They say that the woman has the responsibility to set the tone for the home and this is very true, but she needs a sounding board. She sends out out a signal and if there isn’t anything to bounce off of she will just keep going until she does. You need to be that sounding board that she can count on and know that above all else you have her back.

Because us women aren’t crazy, we are tired and expected not to show it. We are expected to be the perfect examples for our children but we don’t even want to follow our own rules. We need our man to be there and do things to help us out.

So do you want to cut down on the fights you have with your wife? What did you do right before the last argument that set her off? Was is not doing something she asked? Or are the kids driving her so bonkers that she is tired of always having to come to you and yell at you that she needs help when you should have gotten up long ago?

Men have the power to keep their wife happy. The question is, are you willing to do what it takes? I’m not saying being a doormat because women hate that too. Here is a list to give you an idea of what I mean by you have the power to cause an argument or avoid one.

  • In the morning, afternoon, or evening, the kids are running a muck and your wife is trying to make breakfast or whatever while you are still lying in bed or sitting on the couch. Get up before she has to come storming in at the end of her rope and order you to help.
  • Don’t act like one of the kids when she is trying to do something.
  • Help by either picking up after the kids or keeping the house in the direction that she likes it. She picks up after the kids ALL day long and she doesn’t need you being as bad as them.
  • Cook dinner so she can go take a bath or shower without having to worry that the kids are going to burn the house down while she is gone.
  • If she asks you do something, do it. She would do it herself if she could because frankly that would be easier but she is trusting you to take care of it so that she doesn’t have to. Don’t trample the gift by ignoring her or doing it in a completely different way.
  • When she is frazzled, take the kids out of the house. Most women need some time to themselves, and it doesn’t matter if they work or not. They need time to just sit and not have any demands on them. You might have just worked all day but here is a BIG way to keep from having arguments, and that is take the kids so your wife doesn’t get blown out.

Have you thought of some that aren’t here? Do them and see the difference in your home. Your wife needs love and your respect just as much as you need it from her. So be a good sounding board and be there for her so that she can be a good wife to you and good mother to your children.

 

 

How to Not Give Up on Life

So this past week has been a crazy one in the fact that the bug of the year has gone through my whole household. You know, the yucky one with the coughing, high fever, chills, and nose that won’t stop running for you to reach over and get a new tissue? Yeah that one. Even my toddle has it. Poor baby girl 😦 But I think that it has hit me the hardest next to my daughter.

My husband was lucky and only got the dry cough and runny nose part but I got the 103ish degree fever, blizzard feeling chills, and body wrenching cough. It was a rough couple of days since I had to wait to see my nutritionist. I got really excited the morning my fever had broke, but that only lasted for twelve hours and I was back to being wrapped in three blankets because I was so “cold” but my husband could have cooked dinner on my forehead by that next evening.

I just laid on my couch unable to open my eyes because they burned so bad and hot acid tears seeped through. It may not sound like a big deal to you, but, if you have been following my blog for any length of time, this is not my first recent encounter with having to fight for my life, my livelihood, and my family.

2016 I have deemed the year of The Fight. I’ll recap really quickly for anyone who is new.

  • March – My husband almost died from a “mysterious virus”
  • April – I got a upper respiratory cold and two weeks later was admitted in the hospital with 89% oxygen levels because of pneumonia. I was then sent home with oxygen since my lungs were so damaged they couldn’t function right on their own. After being home for two days, I wasn’t getting better, I was getting worse again and we finally figured it out. We had to flee the rental due to black toxic mold.
  • May – July – Proceeded to fight for was right but it was useless. Both the management company and our landlord decided not to the right thing and take care of us. Rather they made it worse by breaking law after law to cover up the fact that there was mold in the home. (We might be young, but we have been screwed enough that we know renter’s rights pretty well and they breeched the lease at least three times with non notified entry.) It got to the point that we had to hire an attorney to represent us, but there was little she could do since there are no solid mold laws in California except ward off our landlord suing us. After doing some intense research, the only thing that could be done with our items was to discard them, but no one was willing to step foot in the home knowing of the black mold so we just left most of it and only took what we thought we could save. (Side note: It was futile. Nothing we own now is from the old home. EVERYTHING had to be throw away that wasn’t glass, hard porcelain, or metal.) So in total we lost everything we had ever owned and had to replace everything which has led us to be in credit card debit for the first time in our marriage.
  • July – We were blessed to be able to buy a home that we are still praying is a safe place for us to heal from the toxic mold poisoning, but we literally moved in with the clothes in our bags and a few things that people had given to us. Thankfully though my husband works with a lot of awesome people and they fulfilled the majority of what we needed. We would still probably be watching TV on the floor if it wasn’t for them.
  • August – December – Now was the really fight debt and it seems like we will never win. Satan doesn’t like God’s kids to be happy and one of the obstacles we had to face immediately were things with the house we bought. The previous owners did nothing to maintain it and we are not going to do what all of our landlords did with short cutting repairs. So With the home repairs, the attorney, another thing that had come up, and the credit card, we have been fighting to stay afloat without going crazy.

Now many of you are thinking “Well that is just life”, and you are correct. Life throws things at you and that is just how it goes, but to have a Job year is only something that someone who has had one can fully understand. You get to the point where hope seems to be something of fairytales and you are constantly keeping a look out for what could go wrong next. You keep going until you reach a breaking point, and, for me, it was this bug.

All I could think about was that I didn’t want to keep fighting anymore. I just wanted to be with Jesus and have it all be over. My husband could see it in my body language and forbade me from having the thoughts he knew were going through my head because he had had the same ones start last year. He told me how much I am needed and that the fight isn’t all in vain. He kept reminding me of how Emma needed her mommy. I knew he was right, but there was a part of me that was so tired.

It was like those movies you see where the character has the choice to either drown or decide to fight back the surface because they aren’t done living yet? It was kind of like that. I literally couldn’t move but I just kept uttering the word “Jesus”. I knew I couldn’t fight anymore. I needed Jesus to fight for me. I then was stilled and fell asleep.

I was awoken by my bladder a few hours later and my fever was gone, the chills were gone, I wasn’t coughing and was able to think straight. It was literally like God had taken over my body and healed me to be able to have the strength to fight again, and I did. I was able to go see my nutritionist that next day and she got me on some things that have really turned it around for me.

So The whole point of this blog post was just to encourage you that when are truly weak Jesus is strong. He is right there to help you and all He wants to hear is to have you call out to Him. I was trying to do it on my own and I lost. I have to remember to let Jesus take my burden. I can’t change the past but I can help the future my trusting in Him that He works everything out for my good, even with this awful bug.