Tag Archives: marriage

Brewing

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A lot has changed since I posted last. One of the biggest is my husband officially became the senior Pastor of our church. As crazy as it sounds, I am now a pastor’s wife! I will continue to post to this blog as I always have, but I have also started another blog specifically to share things God shows me on this new journey. It will center around the time I spend with God while I have my coffee in the mornings as well as other tidbits along the way. Here is part of my latest post to “Coffee with a Pastor’s Wife”. Click on the link at the end to be transported to the post itself! If you would like, follow my new blog as well! Thanks!

Brewing

There is nothing like the excitement of waiting for your first cup of coffee to brew in the morning. You gather all your ingredients and pour the water in, add ground coffee and push the button. Afterwards, the relief (and I do mean genuine relief) when it is ready! That’s how I feel about this post today. Like for a long time these things have been in my head waiting for the concept and content to be melded together, ready to pour into a cup to be shared with friends!!! My first few sips have been savored with thankfulness, I hope yours will bring encouragement to you as well!

When I was a new bride I read a book about love languages. I learned about how I express and receive love and how my husband does too. Later, as our kids came along I learned about theirs. It has been so helpful!! Through the years John and I have also had the opportunity to do different kinds of personality tests and have learned a lot about how each other operates. Learning about each other (and ourselves)that way has been a tremendous asset to our marriage!

Just this year I learned something about this topic that had never occurred to me. Maybe you have already figured this out, but if not, I feel it is important to know and to share. It took me 15 years to realize it. It came about because of a miscommunication I had with my husband that he never even knew about…Brewing

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Filed under miscellaneous

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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This statement is meant to wrap into a neat little package the inevitable undesirable circumstances life brings and tie it up with a ribbon. To be identified, solved and put away. The ability to process information and file it away where it belongs is how we handle all things negative and positive: both to remember and to forget. What happens, though, when you are faced with information that just will not compute? Where do you file things that are so unimaginable that you will never forget and will never understand, or worse, are afraid to understand fearing it will leave a permanent stain?

How do you recover from pain that follows you the rest of you life? Dreams unrealized, expectations obliterated, illusions shattered by those who were supposed to shelter you, what do you do with these?

Sometimes it feels as if we must break them up into smaller pieces and file them in the places those pieces alone fit. However, doing that leaves fragments behind that don’t belong anywhere and are missing information that helped them remain tangible. Essentially leaving us right back where we started except now the information is scattered. The only hope we have of ever moving forward is for them to be kept together. A whole, a file containing all of the information. This means that when we remember, we remember it all. When we forget, we forget it all. It also means that we will never remember or forget for long.

When no amount of organizing or processing is effective we must add the file as a whole to “Miscellaneous”. We must allow our selves to explore the pain, to grieve, to savor the good refusing to believe that it wasn’t real. We must also allow ourselves to be broken so that we can begin to pick up the pieces. I am convinced, anything less will hold us back from healthy emotional connections and the continued genuine presentation of our selves. Bitterness and resolve are opposite sides of a coin. We must decide which side we are on. Pushing everything aside or breaking it apart will lead to bitterness and leave us with leftover pieces that will never be filed away. Wholeness comes with the strength gained from walking through the pain of being shattered and put back together better than we were before. A mirror once broken produces the best rainbows!

Baby H

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John 11:35 Jesus wept

Last summer, on my way home from target, I answered the phone.  It was our licensing counselor.  There was a baby girl, born five days before, that needed a place to go.  We said yes.  Three hours later I drove to the back of the office building to meet a case worker holding a tiny little baby wrapped in a hospital blanket wearing only a onesie that looked to be two sizes too big.  She handed her to me. Then Kaitlyn and I put her into a car seat. I signed papers and grabbed the hospital bag and a suitcase and we left.  Just like that our world changed forever again.

I don’t think that you ever get used to the feeling when a new child is handed over to you. The weight of the world is placed in your hands wrapped in a beautiful human gift.  You are excited and terrified.  Falling in love is easy. The case will have you feeling raw and like your insides are hanging outside your body with no protection.  You will fight hard for the child who can’t fight for themselves.  You love them as your own even knowing they aren’t. It’s how it goes. Every time it is the same, every time it is immensely different.

This time we had it on good authority that this baby wouldn’t be with us much longer than six weeks. She was supposed to go to her paternal grandmother and then very quickly back to the parents who loved her, wanted her, and were going to fight hard to be able to bring her home.Through the course of the next few months we soon realized that none of that would  happen.

Meanwhile she grew and developed and got fatter and fatter and cuter and cuter! We loved her and she loved us.  It was so much fun to dress her up and I carried her everywhere wrapped to my body. She was safe and warm and loved beyond measure on our side. On the other side of the case was feelings of abandonment and frustration with the way everything was being handled. We had very little say in any of it.  Being home and in our every day world was a sanctuary to bury ourselves in to rest after venturing over to the other side fighting hard for the protection and rights of this child we loved.

Three months in we began to believe that she would eventually be able to be ours forever.  Even though we knew things could change at any moment. They did.

We learned that her maternal grandparents had been searching for her, begging anyone that would listen to help them connect with her.  They would complete their home study and we would see what would happen.

We were encouraged to get to know them and to keep in contact with them during the process.  I was petrified.  As we began to get to know them, their love and care for her was glaringly evident.   We began falling in love with them too, just like we did with our Baby H.  We sent pictures and updates and facilitated visitations.  We formed quite a bond with them. Soon we were fighting for all of us not just the baby. Fighting for a chance to know she was safe. We knew she would be safe with them and loved and she would have everything she could possibly need.

She was seven months old the day I packed all the little things for her that she would be taking to her new forever home.  She looked up at me and smiled as I changed and dressed her.  For all she knew it was just another day.  I knew better. I fought tears all morning. I didn’t want to upset her. I was glad for the preparations that needed to be made. At least there was work to focus on.  Every snuggle and kiss meant more than ever before that morning.  My world was shattering, there would be no more sanctuary.  I dreaded coming home knowing she wouldn’t be there.

John asked to feed her before work that day. We just wanted to savor every precious moment we had left.  I’ll never forget him sitting there silent tears stealthily inching down his face as she reached up and grabbed his finger while he held her bottle for her.

Two hours later I handed her to her grandparents. After hugging all together and kissing her good bye I walked out of the DCF office empty handed. I sobbed all the way to the car and all the way home.  Memories flooding my mind from the past seven months. Pushing back the fear that she would feel abandoned by me and that she would need me and I wouldn’t be there for her. That I would never see her again.

“You signed up for this Rach….you have no right to hurt like this…suck it up and move on….you knew she wasn’t yours…this is your job…no one is going to feel sorry for you…you chose the foster parent life.”

Then I read John 11:35 Jesus wept. In that passage we learn about Jesus finally going to where Lazerous had lived and been sick. He came knowing Lazerous was dead.  He stood at the tomb and prepared to perform a miracle. Before he did so, he wept.  He wept for the pain of loosing a friend. He wept for the pain that his friends felt who had been left behind. He wept for the betrayal his inaction had caused Lazerous’ sisters to feel.  He wept.  HE WEPT? He knew that Lazerous’ death was temporary.  He knew it because he was God and he would be the one to raise him from the dead.  But in his love for his friends and in his humanness, he felt the pain that death caused and he didn’t want that for anyone, including himself.   When I read that I realized: we all make choices in life out of love for others and love for ourselves.  Just because I signed up to be a foster parent doesn’t take away the pain of saying goodbye. I didn’t weep because of the injustice of it all or out of surprise that my baby was taken from me.  I wept because I miss her. I wept because I would have given anything to be with her. I wept because of the pain I saw in her grandparents eyes as they watched their family be torn apart and the joy when she was brought home to them safely. I wept because she was mine and because she wasn’t. I wept for the pain in my husbands eyes when he held her that last time and for my children who would miss her too.  I wept. And it is ok because Jesus wept too.

Since then we have gotten updates and pictures from her grandparents. They let us know how she is. She is doing great!! Growing and so loved.  It is such a blessing!!

#beafosterparent #youcantdoit #icantdoit #Godcan

Real Men

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Ever wonder why movies and tv shows always depict the hero without a shirt?  Or why heroes change into a costume to signify their great alter ego? Well I figured it out!!

You might say it is sex appeal, or to show off their strength, but I say no.  It’s because they are imitating a real man.  I know, I know, now is the point where you say I am crazy and stop reading.  You can if you want but I am telling you, I  FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!

Like many, if not all, of our fantasies,this concept begins with a real life scenerio. Then moves on with a bit of unrealistic details.  Right? Ok well let me tell you a little story.

This morning I turned on our garbage disposal only to be greeted by an aweful medal on medal slightly muffled grinding sound.  Then I felt a gush of water at my feet.  Upon opening the cabinet under the sink, I discovered, to my horror, a half inch of water mixed with bits of slightly ground up food everywhere!

So, I texted John to alert him to my mega crisis and he said “I’ll be right there!” He left work to come home and deal with the offending appliance. He came in and began the work/clean up process and I stepped out to talk to Kaitlyn who was playing in the water hose outside.

When I came back in,  I handed him a bowl to catch some of the dirty water still pouring from the pipes. I noticed that he had taken his shirt off.  It made sense, he didn’t want to get his dress shirt dirty, I  just had not seen him remove it.  It struck me.  Not just because my husband without his shirt is exciting to me-it is- but because in those moments he was my knight in shining armor, my super hero, my sparkly vampire, and my warewolf all in one.  He is my husband. The man I love.  The man who can fix everything. The man who will drop everything to come home to rescue me from a mega crisis.  And suddenly it all makes sense.

These super hero stories really are rooted in real life with a little bit of fantasy. The “unrealistic details” are really just manifestations of the feelings we have for the men (and women) we love when they do things for us and are there for us whenever we need, and really when we want them.  And real men do things that require them to take their shirts off.  To deal with the unpleasantness of life.  They also have to change constumes like putting on their work clothes to go to work every day to provide for their families.  They are willing to do ordinary things and that makes them extraordinary.  That is what makes them real men.

A poem I wrote about depression: for my husband 

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 Please don’t let go of me today

I’m afraid if you do I will float away.   

You’re reaching out, when I can’t see

Holding me up to the one who can carry me.

I hear your words, soaking in the sound of your voice 

But I can’t speak, so you don’t know my choice

Don’t give up, keep holding on

If you don’t I can’t go on.

I know you take a lot of abuse

My desire is not for you to feel used.

My response, to you might feel fake

But please know I’m fighting for loves sake

I need your love, your prayer, your help

Because right now all I can see is myself

All this time you’ve been right here

Through all my doubt, through all my fear

My faith is growing, you gave me the seed. 

So I am taking a step, I’m taking your lead

I want to honor all we’ve been through

Step by step I will walk with you.

Be still…yeah right

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As a mom, more specifically a homeschooling mom, I am with my children twenty-four hours a day. I love my children and love being with them. However, every once in a while my brain begins screaming the need to be alone. When I am with my kids, every moment is subject to interruption. Their needs, desires, and safety are on my mind constantly even on the “off” times when they are not asking me for something. So, when the opportunity arises to have some “me” time I immediately jump at the chance for the house to be quiet and to do whatever I want, when I want.

The first thing I plan on is sleeping in, having my coffee in peace, complete control of the remote, and cleaning with the music blaring with no threat of having to pause or censor it. Then maybe a date night with my amazing husband. Inevitably, the emptiness in the house gets to me and I begin to unwind and relax. The next thing that happens really throws me for a loop. I begin to think about all the things that I am not doing that I should be doing, then all my shortcomings, the fear of rejection from my husband and my children for being unable to be all that I want to be as a wife and mother. The vicious cycle continues as I try desperately to pull myself together and act against my feelings of insecurity. I struggle to remember what is true and build on it.
This morning, as I began to drown in my “me” time I felt the Holy Spirit say to me: “Be still”. My reply, “Yeah right. God I am supposed to be all these Proverbs 31y things. You called me to be a good wife and mother, you commanded me to walk in truth. I can’t do that so I have failed you too! I mean, really, I am pretty sure my panic is valid.” Again he said “Be still”
Frantically I went to my bible program and searched the words “Be still”. I found Psalm 46. The entire thing is a song, describing the victory God gives his people over various trials and enemies and near the end this small verse: Psalm 46:10 be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted in the Nations. I will be exalted in the earth.

Wow. What just happened? I took my eyes off my God and put them on myself. “Me time” shouldn’t revolve around me. It should revolve around my relationship with God. No matter when I look at me I will see things that scare me. What could be happening that I don’t know about? What if my husband doesn’t love me anymore and is just pretending? (I know how many times I don’t have everything perfect, so to me anyone not wanting to be with me is reasonable). What if I am screwing up my kids life by homeschooling them, or just by not being the worlds best mother? But when I look at God, non of those things matter. I can be still because he is God. He can give me the motivation I need to do better. He can take care of me if any of my feared scenarios come to fruition. But most of all he will teach me to walk in truth because he is God. He will take me through whatever he has planned for me and will take care of it all! Looking at him doesn’t change who I am, but it sure changes the way I feel about who I am!
If you ever feel the need to escape for a bit of “me” time, remember this. Maybe it will help you avoid the deep waters that can overwhelm you when the quiet brings fear instead of fun.

School girl romance

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I have recently been reading books from the YA genera. There are some excellent titles out there and series that I have really enjoyed. One thing I like about that particular genera, is that many of the books have the same elements of more adult books with out all the explicit details that even adults should’t be reading. In other words, They are safer. Reading has always been a passion of mine, since my mother placed the first Nancy Drew book into my hands around the age of seven. I savor each adventure reveling in the ability to enter other worlds and hang out there. The departure from reality is exciting no matter my real-life circumstance. Sometimes, the differences in the worlds,my own and the book’s, astound me and I appreciate them. Other times, I find the characters’ experiences bring me back into my past and I am allowed to re-live feelings and events in a hind site is 20/20 way and I can be happy to have been there and come through able to look back with peace and happiness. My favorites from YA, are when I am taken back to highschool with a character and I realize that I still feel the same giddiness that the character expresses, and that my life, though very different, still shares the same elements, with the added benefits of wisdom and adult privileges. This happened to me today. My husband is finishing up a very difficult class in his quest for a master of divinity degree. He stays up very late working. That leaves me with a lot of time to read. This is nice actually because we have worked out a happy existence each sitting side by side working and reading and having a continuing conversation about life in short spurts throughout the evening. We are always together, always available to each other, yet able to engage in other worlds in between. Currently I am re-reading a series for the third time. My husband asked me, “Why don’t you just watch the movies?” My reply, “Because this way, I get to spend way more time in their world, and since I have read them twice already it will take me longer to read them. This way I get to spend days or weeks in the other world instead of just hours with the movies.” Yes I’m that much of a nerd, and guess what, I Am A HAPPY NERD. The main character of these books is in high school at first and falling for a boy. It takes me back to the days of having a crush and being excited to go to school just to see him there, even if he doesn’t know you exist. Those days when the torture of love is the best torture in the world. It’s the beautiful agony of finding out he likes you and knowing you have to spend hours apart. The anticipation is killing you, but it is also your best friend because it keeps you company while you are waiting. The fantasies of what it will be like to be with him again, what he looks like, the sound of his voice, how he smells…..yes those were the days. Then it hit me. This is my life!!!! As a stay at home mom, I go through this on a daily basis. I am in love! The feelings of the main character are relatable because I go through them every hour of every day. I get to be with HIM for a few short hours a day, then we are separated and I miss him. I live for the moment he walks in the door at night and I get to see him, hear is voice, drink in the smell of him, and just be together. We have our spats occasionally and they cause me the same consternation as her’s did. I have been married now for close to twelve years and I still feel the same way. I love him, I am excited for every possible moment with him. I love the sound of his voice, I love the way he smells, I love the way he looks, I love being with him and sharing my thoughts with him. I love sharing our burdens together,our life together. I love everything about him. We have adventures together like having babies, and taking trips and sharing everything. He keeps us from danger and lets me help. I can be a damsel in distress, or the heroin fighting by his side. It’s all included in this life that I love. This is why I love books, they remind me of my life and why I love it and why I will fight for my family. It’s not always easy, it doesn’t have to be, it’s all part of the adventure! I guess I’m just a silly little school girl, but I’m so glad he likes me likes me!