Who are you talking to?

“Who are you talking to?” Elijah asked.

That is just one of the crazy conversations I had with my kids while I was trying to record myself.

This weekend I worked really hard to make a video for a post at Ask God Today entitled “Anastacia Maness Speaks Out“. It goes along with this month’s series where you get to meet each of the members of the Ask God Today Ministries’ team.

If you are visiting my site from Ask God Today, welcome to my blog. I hope you find some encouragement while you are here.

As promised here are the Out Takes from that video. You can also view the out takes on my YouTube channel.

Be sure to watch this whole video to see my surprise guest.

Tell me in the comments when you find her. 

 If you haven’t already, please go over to Ask God Today and watch the actual video. In it I share a little about myself, my testimony, and my passion. 

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Drowning

swimmingpoolI can’t swim!

I sputtered trying to grab the edge of the pool but it was too slippery.  My head went under. I splashed and reached for the concrete that I should have been able to hold onto. I never thought that concrete could be so slippery when wet.

“Help!” I whimpered as the water covers my head one last time.

I was 8 or 9 years old when I jumped off the diving board into my dad’s outstretched arms. He set me safely on the side of the pool.

“Don’t get back into the water,” my dad warned. “Walk over to the shallow end with your mother.”

I looked and saw my mother waiting with my sister all the way on the other end of the pool.

It is much warmer in the water.

I disobeyed my father.

All these thoughts flash through my young mind as I sputter my final cry for help.

Cry for help? It sounds more like a whisper to my ears. Why can’t I project louder when I really need someone to hear me?

But someone did hear me. Strong hands lifted me up and set me back on the side of the pool. I was rescued. I was saved.

Grateful for the second chance at obedience, I walked to the other side of the pool.

This wasn’t my last time to mess up. However I learned to be quick to repent and ask for help when I need it.

This story parallels another time I was rescued. I was 7 years old when I first began to realize I made mistakes. I was not perfect.

I knew what sin was. I knew I should repent. Repent of what? That was my problem at 7. I didn’t know what I was repenting of.

How can you ask someone to help you if you don’t realize you need help?

I was 10 years old when I finally figured out that I couldn’t figuratively swim by myself. I was miserable from guilt of the sins only I knew about. I remembered every lie. I remembered every time I stole. I remembered every time I fought with my siblings.

These things weighed on me and I was miserable. I wanted to get out from under the pressure of guilt.

At church camp I cried out for help. Finally I admitted I couldn’t take care of this problem myself.  I gave my life to Christ and He immediately rescued me from the deadly waters surrounding me.

That burden of guilt has been lifted off me. I am forgiven.

I am free. No longer drowning in a sea of guilt and shame.

Many times people hear that word “free” and think it means, “Oh, I’m okay now I can just do whatever I want.”

No. It means I am free to do what God wants me to do. It was His grace that gave me this new life. I now want to obey the rules He gave me in the Bible.

Yes. I still mess up. I will always make mistakes.

My dad still loved me even after I disobeyed and could have drowned. In the same way God still loves me even when I mess up.

Just like my dad wanted me to obey after I was rescued, my Heavenly Father wants me to obey now that He has rescued me.

No more getting back in the water to drown. Now I am walking the good path that God has laid out for me to walk.

Do you remember a time that you disobeyed? Did you learn a lesson from the experience?  You can either share them in the comments below or reply by email. I would love to hear your stories.

The school year is almost over and the rest of the year will be pretty jam packed with activities. However I am making it my goal to get back on track with my writing and take you along on our journey. Thanks for not giving up on me. :)

~~ Anastacia ~~

 

 

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Husbands, Love Your Wife

In my last post I talked about Not Why but How I Love My Husband. There were lessons there that could apply either direction. My husband follows that same pattern in showing his love for me.

wedmelody

Our Wedding Day — November 28, 1996
My husband wrote a melody and sang it to me during our wedding.

Today I want to go deeper into how a husband should love his wife. Did you know that the Bible actually addresses husbands directly on this one? Yes. There is specific direction in the Bible for husbands to love their wives.

It is easy to be infatuated with someone when you first meet. However infatuation fades with time. 

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

 

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Ephesians 5:25-33 KJV)

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. 

 A husband that loves his wife should be willing to give his life for hers. Just like a parent that loves their child would rush into ongoing traffic risking their own lives to save the life of their child. A good husband will protect his wife. Just like Jesus loved us so much He willingly died to pay our debt.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Jesus Christ takes care of His church in order to present it to Himself.

A husband needs to be the spiritual leader in his home. A husband that sets out to raise his family to follow God can look back over his life and present his family before God.

I picture that day as I stand beside my husband in Heaven and we look over all of our children that were also taught to follow God. I imagine my husband saying, “Lord this is the great work you blessed me with. Here is my family. I present them to you.’

I know God would say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Alright, guys, here is a verse that shows it’s okay to be selfish. Yep, the more you love your wife the more you love yourself.

It does not mean to love your wife for selfish reasons. It means that if you love your wife the way you should love her, then she will be a blessing to you and will help you. In essence the better you treat her the better life will be for yourself.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

What do you do when you are hungry? You eat.

When you feel dirty? You bathe.

Tired? Rest.

That is cherishing your body. 

How do you cherish your wife?

Hold her when she is crying. Feed her when she is hungry. Do what you can to provide what she needs physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

We are a part of God’s body. Each member of his body has a purpose. The eyes see. The ears hear. The hands pick things up. They may be individual parts but every part is one with the body. They all work together. 

God made husbands and wives to have different abilities and to work together as a team.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Once you are married you no longer live with your parents. You are now on the same team as your wife. Together you honor your parents but do not side with them against your wife. 

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

It is amazing and hard to understand the similarities between a husband’s relationship to his wife and Jesus’ relationship with His church.

This is how a man loves his wife just like he loves himself. A love that will do what is best for her.

That does not mean to be like a parent making your kid eat her vegetables.  But do what is best for her as a partner. Encourage her. Be her biggest fan! 

and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Wives, don’t undermine your husband’s efforts. If you see he is trying to show you love, accept it and encourage him as he steps up to being the real man and husband God would have him to be for you.

He needs your encouragement not criticism.

Don’t criticize. Encourage.

Husband’s do you love your wife like this? Wives do you let your husband love you this way? Go ahead and tell me about it here.  

If you don’t have this kind of relationship there is no better time to get started than right now.

Get your marriage back how God would have it be.  You’ll be so glad you did.

Right here my husband and I were going to have our first podcast for you but… Podcasts are a lot harder to pull off than we thought!  So… after a million takes (slight exaggeration) we decided I should go ahead and post this and we’ll keep trying. One day we’ll stop trying so hard and probably have a perfect podcast. :)

So instead I want to share this blog post I recently found over at Time Warp Wife.  Check out When You Love Your Wife You Love Yourself for another point of view.  

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Dear Children: A Letter from a Mom

I am writing this letter to my children. Perhaps your children might benefit too.

kidsread

Dear Children,

As your parents, we want you to know that we really do understand.
Your father and I have been in your shoes before. We grew up in different homes and under different circumstances. Those differences in our raising helps us to better know what challenges you face today and in the future.

God expects you to honor and obey us even though we are not perfect. Learn from our mistakes. Be respectful even when… especially when you disagree with us.

Not all children have godly parents. They need good examples to watch how a family should be. You may one day be a mentor that a child will look up to. Set a good example of love and respect. You never know who is watching your life and wanting to be like you.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

– Ephesians 6:1-3 KJV

The Bible says to honor your parents. Give us the respect God intended you to give.

Listen to the wisdom from our years of experience. Listen as we share what God has given us to share.

Be obedient children. If you obey, life will go much better for you. You will be learning from us and will not have to make the same mistakes we have made.

You will one day soon be embarking on your own life and adventures. Soon it will be up to you to make your own decisions. You will not be able to blame your father and I for what choices you will make. It will ultimately be up to you what you do with the rest of your life.

It is hard on us as parents to see you feel bad. When you realize you are weak in an area, we have trouble pointing out what you need to work on. We want you to know right now, we love you and only want you to be the best you can be. You should strive for your highest potential.

It is okay to feel bad about the things you do wrong. We don’t always have to feel good about ourselves. We need to feel guilty at times. How else will we know we need help if we never allow ourselves to feel how terrible our mistakes are?

God can give us the ultimate help and greatest relief from our pain. If we never feel bad, we will never strive to be better. We all need to do better.

This does not mean to drag yourself in the dirt and be depressed. No. I’m saying to realize your weaknesses. Make the necessary improvements. If you do, you will be a stronger and wiser person.

There is a place for humility. It is very easy to be proud of ourselves and of our accomplishments. It is a difficult thing to remain humble. People appreciate a humble spirit.

Be willing to put others before yourself. Be slow to brag on your own accomplishments. Be quick to praise other’s accomplishments. That is what it means to be humble. It is okay to realize you are doing well. No matter how old you are I will always love you to call me to tell me everything that you have done. I am and always will be proud of you.

Treat people the way you would want to be treated, even if they do not treat you the same way in return.

God knows your heart. Pray to him. Tell Him your regrets and fears. He is always there to listen and help.

Always remember that God loves you. He will always be there for you even if your father and I can’t. God is always ready and waiting for you to call on Him. Just as I say that I’m just a phone call away. God is even closer. He is just a prayer away. You don’t have to get your phone out and dial a number for Him. All you have to do is speak and He is right there with you to listen and help.

I have so much more to teach you. I’m very thankful that God gave you to me. I am very proud of you. I love you!

Love,

Mommy

If you could write a letter to your children or grandchildren what would you write? If you have a blog consider writing a letter to your own children. If you do please share the link with us in the comments. I would love to read what you have to say.

This is Day 24 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Only 7 days to go in this series. If you want to see a basic outline of where this series is going check out my book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment“.

Tomorrow I will take a break to tell about our Jonathan’s Birthday.  Breaks like that won’t count in the series they will simply be added bonuses sprinkled in. :)

Thanks for following!

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Raising Children In a Messed Up World

As parents, there are a lot of things we may worry about concerning our children. They are a gift from God. They are a precious treasure that God has entrusted into our care.

childrenclass

A typical school day at our home. Our children working on their lessons.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

– Psalms 127:3-5 KJV

We love them, invest our time in them, teach them…

They start growing up and we begin to look around. We start looking at the world from a parent’s eyes. Who will our children marry one day? What kind of homes are our children’s future spouses growing up in right now?

It’s hard to think that my future daughter-in-laws and sons-in-laws are alive right now and I won’t know anything about them for quite a few more years.

Oh… but those years are passing quickly!

I cannot know what my children will face in their future but I can prepare them now as they start to step out into this world of brokenness.

These are the things my husband and I will teach our children now, while we wait.

  1. How to find the answers in the Bible to the different situations they may face.
  2. How to resist temptations that will be thrown at them.
  3. How to pick the right person to marry.
  4. How to be committed to their spouse no matter the storms that may come.
  5. How to set a good example for their families.
  6. How to teach their children.
  7. How to say they are sorry when they make mistakes even to someone younger than themselves.
  8. How to treat someone that thinks differently from them.
  9. How to speak words of praise for other people’s strengths.
  10. How to gently encourage someone to grow through their weakness.

My children have all different personalities. I have the quiet ones and the talkative ones. Some of my children are full of energy and extroverted while others are silent and introverted. I teach them how to get along with one another despite their obvious differences.

One day they will most likely marry someone much different from themselves. Their spouse will most likely have a different background. They will face their own challenges. I cannot predict what those challenges will be because they will be starting their own families.

It is our job as their parents to prepare them in the best way possible. I am praying for my future children-in-laws that God protects them through whatever situation and temptation they may face.

I also pray that God gives me and my husband the wisdom to teach our children these things. It may seem like a terrible thing to bring children up in a cruel world. Then again this world be even worse if God’s children didn’t raise up more jewels to bring beauty in this world of pain and suffering.

Your children are gifts from God for you to love and cherish. Teach them right.

Many times children will marry someone just like their mother or father. Are you modeling the kind of marriage you want your children to have? Do you treat your spouse with the kind of mutual respect you want for their marriages?

What are some lessons you want to teach your children before they grow up? Please tell us about them in the comments.

This is Day 23 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Only 8 more days to go. In my next post I will be addressing children and what they need to do.

This series is based upon my book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment” which you can download for free here.

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Wives: How to Get Your Husband’s Attention

On Day 20 of 31 Days Building Commitment I explained to husbands how to stop a nagging wife. Today, I want to address wives on how to get your husband’s attention. It’s alright for curious husbands to read along too. 

The common problem I’ve heard while talking with other wives is, “Well, our husbands say they don’t want us to nag, but how else are we suppose to get them to do anything?”

If your husbands read the last post, hopefully you’ve already started incorporating the Honey-Do list.

greenlighthouseverse

Art Credit: Scott Maness

Now then wives… there are other ways you can get your husband’s attention without nagging.

“Impossible!” you say. Well, that may depend on you.

  1. Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,
  2.  when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
  3.  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.
  4.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
  5.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands,” – 1 Peter 3:1-5 NIV

First let’s get one thing straight. This is not saying to let yourself go and quit dressing up for your husband.

This is saying that your actions are more important than how you dress.

If you care about who you are on the inside that will naturally roll over to how you present yourself on the outside. Believe me if you quit worrying about making your husband notice you physically and start working on your own weaknesses, he will notice.

He may not notice right off. Sometimes it takes a while for it to register what it is that is different.

What is your normal greeting when he comes home from work? Do you greet him cheerfully with a smile on your face and a song in your heart? Or do you say, “Hello” and start telling him about all the things you still need done around the house?

I mentioned in the previous post that husbands and wives need to create a joint “Honey-Do” list where you can write all the things you need there.

Whether or not your husband read that post you should talk to him nicely about making a list. You get bonus points if you can make it his idea. 😉

When he does do something for you, don’t correct how he is doing it. If he loads the dishwasher for you, don’t tell him all the things he did wrong. That is a sure fire way to get him to quit helping you.

Stay positive. Thank him for helping. If there are dishes that weren’t clean enough you can always rewash them later. Just don’t mention that to him.

Did he do laundry and turn some of the clothes pink? Don’t get upset with him. Think of something positive from it. He could use a new white work shirt anyway. And no one will notice the pink undergarments.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Our attitudes really do affect our husbands. If he works outside the home, does he dread coming home to complaining?  Or is he excited to get off work and rushes home to see you?

Surprise him occasionally with love notes in his drawer. Schedule in a date night. Put it on your “Honey-Do” list.

Dates don’t have to be expensive. Pick a location. You can go to a restaurant together or even just walk around the park. Turn off your phones and just talk.

Don’t do all the talking. Ask him questions. What was his favorite toy when he was a kid? What was his favorite board game? Remember his answers. You might want to get that board game for a future date night or family night.

Show that what he has to say is important to you.

That is what the verses above mean by being submissive to your husband. You care about him and what he wants.

That does not mean you are to be a doormat and let him walk all over you. It means that you are confident enough in yourself and who you are in Christ that you can give your husband the time and attention he needs.

By doing these things you can win over even an unbelieving husband without saying a word. He will notice that there is something different about you.

The most important thing is to put your confidence in God and what He wants for you.

God really does want you to be happy. He tells you how in His Book, the Bible. Read it. Study it.

Find a church where you can ask questions and learn. Become friends with other church members who will be a good, positive influence on you and your family.

Is your husband not willing to go to church? Don’t nag him to come with you. Ask him if he’d like to come. Make it an open invitation but then leave it alone. Don’t keep asking. If he starts to ask you questions about it then you can ask again. Don’t drive him farther away from you by constantly asking him.

If you are living your life with the joy of the Lord, your husband will notice.

Have you ever gotten your husband’s attention without nagging? Please share your experiences and any other tips you might have in the comments.

This is Day 21 of 31 Days Building Commitment. There are only 10 Days left in this series. I have an idea I will have so much more to write on this topic though.

Once I am done with this series I plan to start putting my next book together. It will be a much bigger and more in depth look at the same topic as my recent book, “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment“. You can download it for free here.

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Husbands: How to Stop a Nagging Wife

In today’s post, I’m specifically addressing husbands. I realize that there will be a lot of wives reading along and I have an idea some of you husbands may be reading this because your wife shared it with you (or stuck her laptop in your face) and said, “Look, Dear! You have to read this!”

If you are that husband, what I am about to tell you should help you stop one of the biggest complaints men have with their wives.

Nagging!

“She told me once. Why does she keep bringing it up over and over again? I told her I will get to it in a little bit.”

Ah the misery of a nagging wife… In fact this very thing was addressed in Proverbs.

naggingwife

Art Credit: Joshua Maness

“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. … Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.”

– Proverbs 21:9, 19 NIV

Woah… Don’t start packing your backpack yet. I’m not suggesting you go on an extended hiking trip in the desert. That really won’t be necessary.

The whole idea of those verses is that if living on the roof and in the desert are bad then having a nagging, quarrelsome wife is worse.

What if I were to tell you that there is something you can do to slow down the nagging, complaining, and quarreling? Would you do it?

Even if your wife has been nagging you for years. You can create a happier wife with very little effort.

Step 1: Do things for your wife before she asks. Start with those things that are easy for you to do. Don’t say anything. Consider it your secret mission.

Okay… I know. Your wife may have already read this before she handed it to you. However, you don’t have to tell her you are going to do this. Just start.

Look around at one thing you can do for her. Let me just suggest one as an example. Dishes. How about that? My husband started helping me with dishes. Now the attitude you take on while doing those dishes is important.

Do it without malice. Don’t be thinking, “Why didn’t she get this done already?” Trust me. Women can pick up on hints just as good as they can drop them.

She can sense when you are doing something because you are holding a grudge or honestly wanting to help out.  Offer to wash while she dries or vice versa. If you have a dishwasher go ahead and load it up.

What did she complain about how you did it? I’ll be addressing her on that issue later. For now, just shake your head and breathe a little prayer. But keep trying. Eventually your efforts will pay off.

Step 2: Set up an easy to maintain list. Whether it is a marker board, shared phone app, or a piece of paper. Have this list where you both can see it. Make it easy for her to write on this list. This will be your to-do list also known as a Honey-do list.

Now I’m serious here. Create a to-do list that your wife can write what she needs help on.

Does she have troubles taking out the trash? Instead of complaining at you all the time she can write this need on a to-do list.

Does she need help putting a lock on a door? She can write it on your to-do list instead of constantly asking you. Most of the time women feel they need to keep asking because they think you forgot.

Does your wife’s constant asking make you more stubborn against doing the job? This list will help. She won’t have to constantly ask you.

This will be your agreed upon method for her to ask. Have a method where she can label the things that are a higher priority for her.

Now the most important part. Make it a goal to work on that list. Even if you only get one thing done on that list in a day. She will see that you are meeting her need for help. If something on the list is something you don’t mind her hiring someone to help. Then write a note beside it, “Hire so-n-so to do that.”

An example in my experience of hiring outside help was with trash. My husband couldn’t always take the trash to the dump for me. Then loading up all my children and several smelly bags of trash in a mini van was a major undertaking.

I was at my wits end when my husband gave me the go ahead to hire someone to pick up our trash once a week. That has been the best investment for me and I still appreciate it to this day. All those days of struggling with garbage is gone with the arrival of the trash truck and all I have to do is get that bag of trash to the curb.

If there are some jobs on your wife’s Honey-Do list. that you don’t mind paying for then go ahead and suggest it. If your wife is concerned that there isn’t enough money to hire it done then find ways to save some money or sell something that you don’t need or want to take care of the cost.

Now I want you to try this Honey-Do list out. Check off any tasks you complete. You will have a much happier and less complaining wife.

Have you ever used a Honey-do list? What do you think wives? Would this make life easier for you? Would you stop nagging if you knew your husband was working on your list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Husbands I want to hear from you too. Let me know what you think.

This is Day 20 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Tomorrow, I will be addressing the wives about this same topic of nagging.

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Finding Commitment After Divorce

Last Friday a dear friend of mine, Jill Luna, shared with us her experience having gone through two failed marriages before finally trusting God and His plan for her life. In her post, she tells how God helped her find a husband that would love her and was committed to her even when she was afraid and looking for excuses for him to leave her. You can read the rest of her experience here.

Picture from my book "Don't Quit".

Picture from my book “Don’t Quit”.

Today I want to talk just a little more about divorce. Several years ago, my husband pastored a small church in Kingsville, Tx. For a short time that church offered a program called “Divorce Care” to help divorced men and women to cope through the pain of rejection.

During one of the sessions my husband asked me to talk with the ladies in a separate class while he talked with the men. During the class, we watched a video and then had a discussion time.

One of the ladies in the class asked me a question that has never left me. “How do I find the right person now? Where is Mr. Right?”

I gave her an answer but many years later I’ve thought even deeper on that question. Where can a person find love and commitment after the pain of divorce? How do some people have “perfect” marriages but others just can’t seem to find the right one?

Here is my answer: You have to work on yourself first.

It’s like my husband always says, “God isn’t going to give one of his jewels to swine.”

You must trust Him to find that “perfect” match for you. You must work on your own life and your own weaknesses before searching for another relationship.

A person that immediately jumps into another relationship without drawing closer to God and seeking His will first, will be met with even more heartache. How can they expect to find a happy marriage if they haven’t found God’s will for them first?

They are lonely. They are hurting. They are angry.

One pretty face and sympathetic ear and they find themselves infatuated with someone else that may be just as broken and hurting as they are.

Are they in the right mindset to marry again? But in most cases they do marry this “dream” person and think that everything will be alright.

However they wind up facing the same challenges that they had in their first failed marriage. They are still wounded and hurting and now the wound is being reopened by someone that they thought would comfort them.

Sometimes it is so easy to just quit. Give the excuse that they would be happier apart. Break up. Just to start the cycle again.

This is not how God intended marriage to be!

Marriage is suppose to be about mutual commitment. In the Divorce Care program that our church offered, we recommended that anyone who had gone through a divorce wait a couple of months for every year they were married before remarrying.

This is suppose to give a person time to heal and grow in God’s grace before seeking another relationship to fulfill them. God needs to be the one that fulfills you.

Don’t put all your trust on an imperfect human being. You will be disappointed. However you can always trust God to give you what is best for you. Trust Him!

You can find love and commitment after divorce.

Jill Luna’s story is a perfect example of that. After two failed marriages she drew closer to God. She became active in her church. Jill trusted in God to provide for her emotional needs. Then God provided a man that promised to never leave her no matter what. That is commitment.

Read Jill’s story in her own words here.

That is what I am talking about. If you trust God, he will provide for you.

Sure you can find a sympathetic ear in a bar somewhere but is that really the kind of person God wants for you? Trust God! He will bring the right man or woman into your life.

But prepare yourself to receive God’s best for you.

What do you think? Do you trust God to do what is best for you? Or have you tried to take finding a relationship into your own hands? As always feel free to share with me in the comments or reply to my email if you would like to talk with me privately. I’d love to hear from you.

This is Day 19 in the series 31 Days Building Commitment. If you haven’t already be sure to check out my new book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment” which is my basic outline for this series.

 

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True Love and Commitment in Marriage

Elisabeth asleep with her hands in my sleeves

Elisabeth asleep with her hands in my sleeves. The picture is a little blurry because it was dark in the room.

I am sure some of you may have missed my posts over the weekend. I decided that if I was going to write about love, marriage, and commitment that I needed to be living it. So this weekend I went ahead and put my writing aside to enjoy my family.

Yes, I could have blogged from my phone. But which is better being in karate class with my family or sitting on the sidelines typing a blog post with my thumbs?

I could have stayed in the car while my family went into the store to buy art supplies, but then I would have missed the chance to offer hospitality to friends we saw in the store.

Saturday night I could have blogged but then I would not have been playing my ukulele while my husband played his viola. And then there was the chess game we played together.

Sunday afternoon, I chose to not worry about writing. Instead, I enjoyed watching our children play with their friends after church. We hadn’t seen our friends in a long while and it was a blessing that they visited us.

We had a Bible Study at our church Sunday night. After we got our children to bed, I chose to sleep instead of write. A well rested mother makes for a much happier family.

This morning I read a book to my 3 youngest children while their siblings were working with some animals on a neighbor’s ranch.

This afternoon I agreed to let my son have a pet rooster. I originally planned to let him start with chickens and eventually have a rooster. However my mothering heart realized he was on a humanitarian mission to rescue a rooster that was destined to possibly be someone’s next meal. A pet rooster might be good for him.

I rocked my baby to sleep for a nap. I do not rock her to sleep at night but for a nap, I do. She is growing up so quickly and I know it won’t be long when she won’t let me rock her anymore. So I rock her with her hands stuck up my sleeves. I haven’t fully figured out why she likes to stick her hands up my sleeves when she is tired but she does. I guess she finds comfort that way.

My husband came home and I listened to how his day went before he left with our son to pick up the rooster. They came back with not only the rooster but a hen as well. I guess they didn’t want the rooster to be lonely all by itself.

And while my husband was gone with our son, he told me I should get this blog post written. So I started this post. I also answered what felt like a million questions.

I then rocked the baby to sleep for the second time. Who was so rudely awakened by a brother coming in asking more questions at the top of his voice.

I can’t stop life from happening around me. Sometimes I have to put what I want aside for my family. I can’t be angry with my children for wanting my attention when I would rather write. My husband needs my attention too. Life cannot be only about me and what I want. I need to also keep in mind others and what they want.

This past weekend I chose to live out building commitment instead of just writing about it. That is what this world needs after all, someone to stand up and set an example of what a committed marriage and family should look like.

Have you ever had to give up something you really wanted in order to show commitment to your family? Please share with me in the comments.

Right now our children are in bed and my husband is washing dishes so I can come in here and finish this post. That is what true love looks like. Doing what we wouldn’t want to do otherwise for the good of the one we love.

This is Day 18 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Tomorrow we will continue the series where we left off Friday with finding commitment after divorce.

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Finding Commitment Against the Odds (Guest Post)

This is a guest post by my childhood friend, Jill Luna. Who shares with us her story of finding commitment.

Neglect. Rejection. Abandonment. These are not three of the prettiest words known to mankind. Upon reading them, most of us may have a mental picture quickly flash before us from a moment in life where we experienced at least one.

The Luna Family

The Luna Family

Love. Acceptance. Commitment. Ahh, now those words, they bring us comfort. Unfortunately not everyone can conjure up joyful memories upon reading those.

For me, marriage was defined with the first set of words. My marriage would fall into neglect. My husband would reject me. I would experience the full force of abandonment.

But this is just how things are in society today. It’s an “out with the old and in with the new” kind of world. When the older version of something just isn’t working anymore simply upgrade to the newer model, right?

That’s not God’s design for marriage. Let me tell you what is: that second set of words. And for those of you out there like me, once you’ve been tossed to the wayside like yesterday’s leftovers the thought of someone ever fully embracing you with love, acceptance, and commitment is frightening.

How frightening?

Let’s put it this way: You’re about to roll doubles for the third time in traditional Monopoly*, and you’re hoping somehow your current landing on the Community Chest will bring you the good fortune of drawing that splendid, yellow Get Out of Jail Free card. Because you suffering once again in the prison of pain from a failed marriage is not what you’re all about. No, no. You’re smarter now. You’ll bail out of this gig first because you’re not going to be the one hurt and left behind this round.

You’ve just got to draw that little, yellow card, you think. Because to accept God’s design…well…is just insane!

But I did.

After two failed (and brief) marriages, I not only accepted God’s plan for marriage but prior to that, I accepted His son, Jesus Christ, and what He did on the cross for my sins. All of the brokenness. All of the fear. And all of the pain. It had to become His, because only He could dissolve it and completely wash it away.

Oh sure, for the first few years I gave my husband every excuse in the book why we should quit—reasons that may have been legitimate (I wasn’t kind to him that day) to great absurdities (I didn’t like my nose). Nothing worked. Why? During our courtship period (a time of counseling by our church’s Singles Pastor), my husband made it very clear to me that—and I quote, “You’re stuck with me.” His tenacity to love, accept, and commit to me were perplexing—and frightening.

Where is that Get Out of Jail Free card?!

My husband’s resolve stemmed from growing up and seeing firsthand what broken marriages can do to people, and he determined early in life that he would marry only once. Through the years, I’ve come to understand that God wants us to surrender all fears of neglect, rejection, and abandonment and to fully embrace His ways. Why?

As Christ began His journey to the cross, He could have easily bailed out, calling on legions of angels to remove Him from suffering for our sins (see Matthew 26:53). But He didn’t. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that, “For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame.” His example is ours to take on as we chose His design for marriage to love, accept, and commit–every day, every decision. And in this we find joy, and fear needs to no longer hold us back.

My husband and I will celebrate our 13th anniversary this weekend. I’ve quit looking for that little, yellow card.

*Rolling doubles three times in a row in traditional Monopoly causes the player to go directly to jail.

jilllunaprofilepicJill Luna has been saved by the grace of God through her Lord & Savior Jesus Christ for 17 years now. In that time, she has been involved in ministry for children, preteens, and youth as well as drama, sign language, and dance ministries. She is a homeschool mother of 3 sons with over a decade of experience in that wonderful journey. She likes dark chocolate and one day hopes to operate her sewing machine successfully.

This guest post by Jill Luna is Day 17 in the series of 31 Days Building Commitment.

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a painful situation? Do you have a story of finding grace and forgiveness even when it felt the odds were against you? Please share with us in the comments.

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