Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Is A Place

Hello sweet readers! Hope that all is well and that you are all enjoying this incredibly special week!

I wanted to just stop in and leave a little update and wish everyone a beautiful Thanksgiving....

Mr. P and G is home and we are doing something a little different this year. Last year I spent at least 8 hours cooking and probably at least that long cleaning up afterwards and it took our children about 10 minutes to enjoy every bite.

Mama wasn't up for that this year.

Can anyone else relate?

So we are going on a little road trip and taking a break from our normal routine and will be spending a few days reading lots of fairytales and bible stories to our children, sipping hot cocoa with fluffy marshmallows and going for lots of walks and enjoying these precious ones more than ever.  I'm also hoping to take at least a thousand pictures of their precious faces. I've been busy capturing them more than usual. Documenting their childhood in letters and photographs. Two of my favorite things to do.....

In addition after the year we have had I've found myself this November filled with gratitude on a new level.

And it doesn't have anything to do with turkey and cornbread dressing.

It doesn't have anything to do with Black Friday . And really nothing at all to do with rushing the next holiday and attempting to get the tree up and decorated.

For me this year, Thanksgiving is a place.

It's a spiritual posture that I can walk in every, single day. Or not.

I don't need a big meal this year, where folks eat too much and then pass out for the rest of the day to prove how thankful I am.

I want to be as thankful on a regular Monday as I am on actual Thanksgiving.

I love the Holidays. I mean I absolutely adore them.  But this year it's so different for me.

I've arrived at my destination and it's called Thanksgiving.

Where gratitude and attitude are the state and capital.

It's a place. And I'm resting in it this year. Knowing that the Father doesn't need me to host, cook or create a  huge meal. Knowing that He is interested in the condition of my heart and what's going on inside it more than how pretty the table is set or how good the pumpkin pie is.

It isn't a day for me this year. It's a place and I never want to leave.

No matter what happens in life. This is where I am taking up my permanent residence.

I want to rest in this place whether God provides simple daily "manna" or whether it's a year flowing with milk and honey. I have to. I've had to walk through many valleys so that I can teach my children about what Thanksgiving really means out of a true and deep heart knowledge.

Not just head knowledge.

And I've always been thankful. But this year, it's an entirely different level.

It's a place inside that even though everything is not okay. It's okay. And even though things are really difficult and really hard. It's okay. And even though God has allowed certain circumstances and situations that are pressing and crushing...it's okay. I will praise Him and thank Him and trust Him in the midst of it all.

Because my heart has a new address this year......

2010 Thanksgiving Circle

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Good Thing

Photo Credit : Martha Stewart

This year has been a special year for us in the way of monumental milestones for several reasons. My oldest daughter turned twenty this year. Twenty beautiful years. One incredible milestone for her and one monumental moment for me.

In May I celebrated my twentieth Mother's Day. Twenty years of parenting.

And then in May another milestone. We celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary.
Ten years of marriage. It was a huge milestone for us.

I don't think either one of us could believe we had made it that long!

We have loved one another and we have survived tremendous adversity and overcome hurdles that almost seemed unfair. All without any mentoring or role models or any help from natural or spiritual parents.

And it has been incredibly difficult and immensly rewarding all at the same time.
I wish I knew then what I know now.....

I wish Martha would have told me. While my eyes were glazed over the glossy pictures of her beautiful wedding issues that marriage in and of itself has absolutely nothing to do with the cake, the dress and the ring.

And by the way, it's not for the faint of heart.

I wish she would have had offered articles on how to stand when every rug has been pulled out from underneath you. Or how to survive the corporate cutbacks, the paycuts, the miscarriages, allienation from "family" and worst of all how to stand when you have to walk through the unthinkable things in life like .......
cancer for example.

I'm married to an amazing, incredible, beautiful cancer survivor.
Praise His precious name.

But I've had to learn how to be a wife and not just any wife but his wife. I had to learn over time how to love again and how to trust again and how on earth to tear down the gigantic walls called my defenses that had taken up residence around my heart over the years.

I had to learn almost immediately that the wasted time I had spent pouring over those magazines, in my attempt to create my own little dream wedding, had absolutely nothing to do with our life as a future married couple.

After the cake, the dress, the ceremony, the pictures, the time and the careful attention to detail.
I arrived in our marriage with my precious ten year old baby girl and twenty eight years worth of baggage.

I wouldn't recommend that.

And basically with all of that tucked inside my newly monogrammed "Mrs. bag" I stepped into what I can now refer to as a complete war zone and without any armor on.

Rude awakening 101.
Thank the good Lord for His mercy and grace.....

God created marriage and He tells us in His word that a man who finds a wife finds "a good thing!"
 God coined that phrase long before Martha.
~Proverbs 18:22~

And the enemy hates marriage. He despises unity and family and attempts to kill, steal and destroy almost the second we say "I do"

I had no idea what it was like to be loved unconditionally or to be happily married.
I did not have Godly parents who modeled a healthy and happy marriage for me. My husband didn't either.
Neither one of us had a clue. We just knew we loved one another and we loved Macey Girl and we wanted a great, big family!

Almost immediately after our wedding the attacks started. One after another. I could barely get my breath and something else would happen. I constantly felt like the bottom was dropping out...literally.
We were married. We moved to a new place. Then a couple of months later another new place. My husband started a new job and we lost our first pregnancy- the first of three.  I was completely overwhelmed not knowing a soul and putting my daughter in a new school where she did not know anyone as well.

And my husband did what most men do. He went into provider - career- success driven mode.
He immersed himself in his job.

He left the house on the 5:09 a.m. train and he got home by 8:00 p.m. on a good night.

I can remember feeling abandoned and overlooked and ignored to some degree and very much like I was still a single mother.

Those days were incredibly difficult for us. 

We had to learn how to have a realtionship with the Father most of all and we had to seek Him to learn how to minister to one another. To meet each others needs. To outserve the other. To speak the truth in love. To prefer one another ...

To speak the others love language.

I am so thankful that we were both willing to do so.
That we were willing to do the work and to keep trying.

There have been many times where I have expected him to leave...especially during the years where I walked through the pain of my past and some deep inner healing.

But the Father knew.
He knew that it would take an oak of righteousness who could not be moved to "become one" with me.

And during these ten years of marriage, there have been seasons where my Husband spoke my love language, he pursued me still, he met my needs, filled my love tank and made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

And there have been seasons when he hasn't.

It all seemed to go right out the window during our "winter seasons" just like it has for so many others.

We are not marriage experts, professionals or any such thing. But are seekers of His truth and desire to do things God's way and not the way the world says to do things.

That has never changed.

So when the Lord prompted me to write this post back in May right around our ten year anniversary I just pushed it away. (That sweet prompting of the Holy Spirit whom I love so much.)
Clearly He had the wrong girl. We don't give parenting advice or marital advice- just lots of encouragement and what has worked or not worked for us. We have walked through seasons of both. 

But He wouldn't let up.

He kept prompting me to write about the one scripture and the one thing that has significantly helped our marriage when my husband has applied it and ultimately helped me to grow as a wife and better meet his needs ~ to have an earthly demonstration of the Father's love.
To see, feel and expereince the scriptures come to life. There isn't anything like it.

That scripture is "Husbands dwell with your wives according to knowledge" ~ 1 Peter 3:7

It means to study her. Become a student of your wife.


There isn't a woman on the planet who will not respond to a man studying her.

We love it.

Pay attention to her. Notice her. Prefer her. Surprise her. Minister to her.

To "dwell with her according to knowledge" you have to study her in order to gain the knowledge...

Many times I have listened to a broken heart describe how she feels invisible in her own marriage. How she feels lonely . How she feels used or forgotten or overlooked. Many times. And I have been there too.

He stopped studying. Life got in the way.

God created women with a deep desire to be studied. To be known. To desire intimacy. To be discovered.

If men knew the power that they hand within applying this one scripture.

It is life changing.

Years ago when I would share on occasion something incredibly sweet my husband did for me with another girlfriend, the very first thing they would ask was this.

"How did he know?" Did you tell him to do that? Did you tell him you wanted that?

No way.

The man is an amazing student.

He has dreamed up, created and executed some unbelievably thoughtful special gifts and moments.

And it has ministered to this hopeless romantic like no tomorrow.....

The world says:

"Give your husband a list of what you want."
"He's not a mind reader"
"How is he supposed to know if you don't tell him?"
"He will never think of something like that on his own!"

God's way says:

Study her.
    Pay attention to her. 
  Notice her.
Listen to her.
Notice the details.
Prefer her.
Love her .
Spend time with her.

I do not ever give my husband a list.

God's way trumps the worlds way every, single time.
You have never seen intimacy in your marriage like what will come when you begin to study your wife.


As the Lord said long before Martha....."It's a good thing."

So for those of you who are waiting and hoping and longing and for those of you who have decided that "he is never going to change," I want to offer you a little encouragement today. And a little hope that if you can trust the Father for a new season for your marriage and if you can pray for your husband ~ even though your needs may not be met. If you can go a little deeper with the Father...the One who is the author of your marriage....

He can and he will change. He can and he will begin to minister to your needs. He can and he will begin to study you and begin to know you on a deeper level. He can and He will bring the romance back into your marriage. He can and he will rise up and become the spiritual head of your household. He can and he will begin to see the damage that has been done. He can and he will begin to repair and restore by the grace and the goodness and the prompting of the Father.

It is not over.

God is mighty to save..... 

I want to encourage you today to begin to trust God for your marriage and begin to pray for your husband and your marriage like never before sweet friends.

And watch what He is about to do.....

*Disclaimer* This blog post was written out of obedience and a heart of humility that has walked through ten years and every season of marriage. The good, the difficult and the beautiful........

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Day The Cups Change

I once had a friend whom I would call every year on one specific day to say one specific thing.

"The cups changed today."

She knew what that meant. Don't you just love a girlfriend who knows you so well that you don't have to explain every little thing? Who just gets it? I love that about a friend and a razor sharp quick wit as well. Two of my favorite things in a girlfriend.

We would laugh and listen to one another and then she would say something along the lines of "Now don't do this to yourself again this year! "

The "cup changing" that I am referring to is the day every year that Starbucks changes their cups from white to red. It's one of the many changes that mark the start of  the season. And it happened this week.

On Tuesday in fact.

It puts a pep in my step and a panic in my heart all at the same time. The store displays change. The music changes. The weather cools. Wardrobes change. Everything. It's coming. And nothing is going to stop it.


And I love Christmas. I love this time of year. I love the softness in hearts and the gift of forgiveness people will offer this time of year. I love the fragrance. The sights. The sounds. I love picking out and wrapping gifts. I love Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my children. My husband and I just sit and watch with our coffee and experience every, single thing through their eyes.

 It is pure wonderment.

Most of all I love to celebrate Him.

And in all of the celebrating of Him and all of the merriment and all of the sentimental pieces of the season. There is a place in my heart that longs for what I've never had outside of that with my own children. There is a place in my heart that longs so deeply for Christmas with family. And not just any family but family who loves like Him and who loves us like He loves us.  Family who loves unconditionally. Who gives. Loves. Forgives. Sows. Pours. Prays. And loves to decorate, cook, bake and trim the tree too if you must know.

I want a Holy Spirit filled Martha Stewart Christmas.

Every. Single. Year.

And every year when those cups change I am reminded that it is coming and again, for the umpteenth year, it's not going to happen. I can trust Him for it, and have in big ways in years past. Some years there has been a glimmer of hope and some big trying on our parts that just end in complete and total disaster.

And I vow to never, ever try again.

But then the cups change.

And my heart quickens. And my thoughts race. And I "what if" myself to death.

What if they will love us this year?

What if they want a relationship with their children and grandchildren?

What if they have allowed God to do heart surgery?

Maybe things are different. Maybe they will be different.

And I sip from my new red cup a holiday latte while four very small and very precious children hang on my coat tail and one adorable twenty year old chats to me over the cell phone and one very sweet, bouncing baby stirs inside my womb that ......

He has already given it to me.

And He has given me the opportunity to give it to them. 

I can wish away the season every time I see a Mother and Daughter shopping together. Every time I see them having a Christmas lunch together. I can allow my heart "to go there" and magnify the fact that my children do not have grandparents every time a grandmother approaches me and asks all about my children- and Heaven knows, I am like a magnet to grandmothers. I love them.

I can allow that lump to stay in my throat every time I hear about friends' parents coming to stay with their children so that they can "get away" and have a little vacation as husband and wife for the hundreth time when my husband and I can't imagine getting away or having a break for even 3 or 4 hours- much less a trip of any sort. I'm pretty sure it's been 6 or 7 years .....I've lost count.

I can allow bitterness and resentment to overtake me when I see rows of family members and grandparents filling the seats at the opening night of The Nutcracker this year and my sweet Bella Grace tip toes onto the stage for the first time ever to be cheered on by her parents alone.

I can ask God to "guard my heart" again this year when I listen to friends go on and on about the incredible gifts and generosity poured out at Christmas by their parents.

I can allow my heart to go there.

I can allow the enemy to magnify my circumstances......

Or I can focus on the fact that we can be that kind of amazing parental love and support to our own children, now and in the years to come. These precious ones who fill our hearts with so much love and joy.

So this year, I have decided that I am not going to long for what has never been and I'm not going to mourn that we will spend another Thanksgiving and Christmas alone with our children.

That is big for me. I want the fairytale extended family.

I am chosing to just be thankful that we have each other and we have the five (almost six) babies and I am going to turn the music up a little louder,  put more lights on the tree than ever before,  cut the ribbon a little longer, bake even more cookies, forgive on another level, love more deeply, read more stories, wrap gifts even more beautifully, take even more pictures, send even more holiday cards and rock my precious babies even longer while I praise the One who has given me the desire of my heart that goes beyond what happens inside my heart every year when the cups change at Starbucks.