Friday, April 24, 2015

My Better Half...

Recently I was pondering my life… probably because in March I turned a year older.  Getting older tends to make you a little more introspective I guess. Well, in my pondering I realized something cool.  This year marks OVER half of my entire life spent with my husband!!! 

It’s hard to believe.  It seems like just yesterday we were in college dating.  God totally set me up and blessed me with an amazing man of God.  I don’t know how I could have made it the last 20 + years with out him.

As I scan over the past half of my life, I see a lot of good that has happened.  My husband and I graduated from Bible College together.  We tackled full-time ministry as a team ministering to teens, young adults, and a mixture of congregations.  We have added two amazing boys to our family.  We have lived in a variety of locations where we have met some pretty amazing people. 

God has used us in ways we never dreamed possible to do things we never could have imagined.  We have been blessed to be instruments in God’s hands to reach hearts and lives for Him.  Those impacted by our ministry still overwhelm us to this day.  Our hearts and lives have been changed!  My husband and I have laughed together, dreamed together, and cried together.  He is truly my best friend, my soul mate, and the keeper of my heart…my better half!

This half of my life has been amazing for the most part, but not entirely a bed of roses.  We have also faced a miscarriage, financial hardship, I was diagnosed with a debilitating illness, there were challenging moments, unforeseen circumstances, and the like. 

Despite these trying times I have found two things to be true.  
1.  My God has been and will continue to be faithful to me in good times and bad.  2.  My husband has been and continues to be a constant source of strength and encouragement for me all along this journey.  I am blessed on both accounts.

We are a team!  We figure when we join together and add God to the mix… 
all things are possible!   Why not?

As I compare the two equal parts of my life I must confess this second half by far has been the better half!  I’m not saying the first part of my life was horrible or anything, but my faith wasn’t fully developed.  God wasn’t at the core of who I was which made life a lot harder for me.  I struggled with my self-esteem, my life was full of fear, I cared a lot what others thought of me (which was a huge distraction), and I was consumed with pleasing others. 

My faith was second hand… I spent a lot of time watching & listening to what others said about God.  Getting to know God personally for me was a process.  There were moments where God showed up and surprised me with His presence and moments I walked away.  It didn’t really stick for me until my junior year of high school when I was 17. 

God rocked the world of this shy, introvert in such a powerful way that it changed the course of my future.  I began to own my faith!  This new found faith led me to pursue a life tailored by God.   I wanted God’s best for me… no matter what! There was a radical element hidden deep within me even then believing God to do impossible things.

It was only a couple years later that I met my husband.  He was and is to this day a fireball for God.  He intimidated me when I first met him with his passion for God and boldness.  I had never met anyone like him before.  I was drawn to him, yet I hesitated in a sense.

He was loud in every way.  Can you imagine what I was like at that time?  Even though God had rocked me to the core, I was still shy and a little unsure about things.  I was treading forward slowly with my new found faith.  Everything was new to me and sometimes a little scary.

Well, by God’s design guess who He put me with?  …the loud, crazy, bold, and passionate man of God.  J  It’s a cool story I will have to tell you all some time later.  I SO love my life with him.  God has been so good to me in blessing me with this man.  Marrying him was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

My husband is a man of character and integrity.  He loves deeply and lives out His faith.  It’s a first hand kinda faith.   The reality of God active in his life has transformed him!  God’s fruit runs deep within him. 

He covers my insecurities, cheers me on, and loves me fiercely.  Hands down he is the best daddy ever to our two boys.  This second half of my life has been the better half, for sure!

I have discovered in my reflecting back upon my life that I have learned a few things… or at least I hope I have so far in my old age.  God has been molding me and shaping me all along the way.  In fact, my husband has taught me quite a few noteworthy things as well.  These are too good to keep to myself so I thought I would share.  Enjoy!

 Here are some things I have learned from my husband
(There are way too many to name, but here are a few)

~Look for the positive in things and people FIRST
(My husband accidentally married a mostly negative gal… oops.)

~Take time to savor the moments
(Or as my husband chooses to say it, “don’t take this moment for granted”)

~Make memories
(Don’t be too busy to spend quality time with your family.  Memories last a lifetime!)

~Laughter is great medicine
(My husband has kept me laughing through good times and bad.  He keeps my heart smiling.)

~Let boys be BOYS
(My tendency is to protect & shelter, but I guess its ok for my boys to get dirty & play hard… sometimes.)

~Dance your troubles away
(Sometimes my husband randomly invites me to slow dance with him.  Locations have been around the house, parking lots, fast food restaurants, many times in places where you don’t see dancing, he is crazy like that.!)

  It’s medicine to the soul like laughter especially when I am dancing. J

~Imperfection is okay to be displayed
(A messy house shows a life well-lived. It’s not our goal, but occasionally it can be our reality. 
It’s where we live... sometimes people need to see that we are real people too.)

~We all fail at some point in our lives.  Failing doesn’t make you a failure!
 (We can actually fail forward with God’s help and grow from it.)

Be the BIGGER person when conflict arises in a relationship
(Own your part of the problem.  Saying a genuine “I’m Sorry” can go a long way to restore a broken relationship… follow it up by “Will you please forgive me? and watch the healing begin. 
Being healthy is the goal and much more important than being right.)

~Lying breaks trust and trust is hard to earn. 
(Choose honesty every time.)

~Remain a person of integrity even when your character is attacked
and the crowd doesn’t believe you.  
(God knows the truth! In God’s time the truth will be revealed.)

~Believe God to do impossible things
(Even when your faith is wavering and all hope is gone!)

~Become a person of Integrity
(Reflect God well!  Be who you say you are all of the time.)

~Become a person of Excellence
(Let everything you do be done to the best of your ability.  Always leave things better than you received them.  It’s the best way to reflect God to the world and bring honor to His name)

~Quality of life trumps quantity of money hands down any day
(At the end of our days the amount of money we earned won’t matter to us as much as
the life we lived making memories with family and friends or the lack there of.)

~Our priorities dictate our peace
(Healthy priorities lead to a peaceful life.  By God’s design our priorities should be in this order:
God first… our own personal walk with Him should be strong, Our Spouse second…if there is one… stay connected and keep growing your relationship, Our children should be third… if we have them... raise them up in the ways of God leading by example, and then everything else…  Job, sports, friends, etc…
When God isn’t at the heart of who we are, everything else gets out of place
and suffers leaving His peace no where to be found.)

Here are some personal things I have learned with God’s help over the years…

~Our faith-life can’t grow unless it is tested by God

 ~If we call ourselves Christians, there should be evidence to show this
(There should be God-fruit growing in our lives.)

 ~You never really appreciate the gift of life until it is threatened to be taken away from you
~We should do two things often…
(Say “I love you” verbally to those we love and wrap them in hugs and kisses) 
Daily doses of these tend to leave lasting impressions on the hearts of those who receive them.

 ~When all hope seems gone and you feel alone… God is there

 ~When messy faith meets a might God lives are radically changed

 ~When hard times come…unexpected circumstances, hardship and heartache, loss and defeat…run TO God not AWAY from Him. 
(Running AWAY from God forfeits His peace, presence, and provision.)

 ~Accountability is good.  We need each other!
(There is safety in numbers.  Accountability protects us from evil and pushes us toward good. 
Find at least two accountability partners to help you keep on track and grow closer to God.)

 ~God doesn’t want my leftovers, He wants my everything!

 ~God’s peace follows as I obey His leading.

 ~God’s timing is perfect
(Even when He doesn’t follow my projected time table.)

 ~God made me on purpose and has a plan for my life.

 ~God’s will isn’t difficult. 
(If I do what I know He wants me to do today, He will lead me naturally to where I need to be tomorrow.)

 ~Faith begins as we step out of the boat of our comfort zone and trust God with the details.

 ~Prayer is simply talking to God like you would a close friend. 
(Fancy words don’t change that.)
~The Bible is food for our spirits. 
(With out it our spirit dies.)

~Bitterness grows where un-forgiveness lives. 
(The person affected most by this destructive poisonous venom is the carrier harboring it.)

~Life is short.  Make it count!
(We have all been given an expiration date.  Live with purpose!) 

~A step beyond just living is giving 
(Live to leave a legacy for the next generation.)

It’s been a crazy ride… this life of mine, but I’m in it for the long haul.  I’ve still got a lot of life ahead of me and I want to make it count!   What about you?  What are you doing with the life God has given you?  Choosing God has been the best decision I have ever made.  I truly believe the best is yet to come!

Living to leave a legacy,