Thursday, January 24, 2013

Be My Valentine Challenge...Week One

Last night, something very interesting happened. I got the following text from my husband (who was in the room next to where I was):

I love you Baby. You are like an angel. Thank you for all you do. Love, Adam
If you read my introductory post for this Be My Valentine challenge, you might catch the significance. I mentioned a quote that I thought was going to be super important in our lives. At the very end it said that  "Only then does he recognize in her God’s angel of mercy. (JR Miller)” My husband has always been very loving and through most of our married life, I received a note every day. They only stopped once we swapped roles and it was him driving off to work in the mornings. He sure knows how to express himself, but seriously..."You are like an angel." ?!?

So let me let you in on a little of what has happened since starting this challenge.
First off...this weeks instruction is to "Take the Initiative! Look for ways to praise your husband verbally."
I have been praising my husband on Facebook, but I have also spent a lot of time encouraging him face to face. I think praise like "you did really good on ___" is great...but I think that I am learning something new about praise through all of these transitions.

I think when I say things like "I have full confidence that you are going to do a wonderful job at your store because you love people and have integrity," that it signifies praise in his past work while letting him know I am secure in our future. I can't have full confidence if he isn't doing good already, right? The thing about speaking words about your husband is that it becomes something to fall back on in trying times. When he makes a mistake, I can remember that he is a good-willed man...he isn't trying to do something that might hurt me.

So I think praising my man should center around the content of his character. That is what is most important. Circumstances are just that...circumstantial. He might be in a place where his character is rewarded. He might be in a place that his character causes him trouble (it's not like the world always likes dealing with men of integrity). If I can continue to focus on his character, it will change my perspectives and give so many more opportunities for real praise.

I'm trying to put action with my praises as well. The things I praise my husband for, I am thankful for. Since I am so thankful, I want to show him more. So I do a lot more to make his life easier and make him feel special. Getting up this week to fix his breakfast since the store hasn't opened yet was a minor sacrifice with a major significance for my husband. He has had the energy to get through the day, and he gets some extra time with his wife. We have shared wonderful conversations, and for some reason it feels a lot more like when we were dating in the mornings than at night after the boys go to bed.

So that simple statement "You are like an angel" meant a whole lot to me. It felt like God's stamp on our envelope. He could have said anything...but I was looking to be my husband's "angel of mercy" during this time. Glad to know that I am my husband's angel.

...and looking forward to many more opportunities to encourage and praise my sweet man.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Be My Valentine Challenge's time for another WomenLivingWell challenge. I am very excited! This particular challenge is coming at a VERY good time in my life. Next week, my husband is finally supposed to be able to step foot in HIS store. We have been in the process of getting to this point since last April. We have sacrificed and been patient and trusted in the Lord's will in regard to what store he would get, and now it is becoming official. He should have a few days before the store opens to prepare. My man will officially be running a Waffle House. His success will determine our livelihood. What pressure!

I'm not always the best at communicating my love for my husband...sometimes I'm not even that great at feeling it. :( That is a shame, too, because I'm convinced that I'm very blessed to have him by my side. My husband is one of the four best things that have ever happened to me (Christ and my two sons are the others). He is so loving toward me. He always tries to do the right thing. He knows how to express his love for me. I have it made...but I fall short so many times in reciprocating that feeling.

That's why I am super excited for the "Be My Valentine" challenge.

Courtney shared a quote that I plan to post where I can see it...

JR Miller writes “So it is in the dark hours of a man’s life, when burdens press, when sorrows weigh like mountains upon his soul, when adversities have left him crushed and broken, or when he is in the midst of fierce struggles which try the strength of every fibre of his manhood, that all the radiance and glory of a true wife’s strengthful love shine out before his eyes. Only then does he recognize in her God’s angel of mercy.”
I have a feeling that my husband is about to enter into one of the most intense times in his life. Being a manager trainee (and even relief managing) is nothing like opening a brand new store on his own. This is something that we were told at the very beginning of our journey would never new managers get new stores. It will be a lot to handle.

The truth is...HE NEEDS ME. 

He needs me to show him love and grace and be a pillar of strength for him. He needs me to have faith in him. He needs me to be a reminder that the Lord brought us this store...not a reminder of uncertainty. He needs his wife in ways he probably never has before. So I'm happy that this focused challenge is available to me. I'll be blogging along my journey.

This upcoming week's challenge is as follows:

Week 1 January 21st - Look for ways to praise your husband verbally. Praise him in front of the kids, friends, family, co-workers, on facebook, tweet it – get praise out anyway you can! Try to mention something noteworthy he has done – in his role as provider, father, husband, lover, or friend. If the thought of trying to come up with one terrifies you, then pray right now that God will give you new eyes to see your husband as God does. Then open your mouth and say something kind and uplifting to your husband today and tomorrow and the next day until Valentine’s Day arrives!
I hope you join me as I focus on lifting my husband up!
I took a few seconds to send my husband a text saying that I just wanted him to know that I believe in him. It was something small, but who knows the impact it had other than the "Thanks, Baby" I got back?

Eph 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Our Sponsored Child Update

We received our update on Jean (the 8 year old boy we sponsor in the Congo through World Vision) today. This was a HUGE moment in our journey of sponsorship. We consider Jean as part of our family. We do not hear from him often. We send him letters and cards and pictures, but we value this report because we get to see him and learn about his life.
The picture above was in our report. It is the first picture since we started sponsoring him with a smile on his face. There is a huge difference in his countenance in this picture. Isn't he just so handsome??
The report told us the things he liked, and most of those things were the same as last year. But this time, rather than saying his dad was his favorite person, he said something different. Something amazing. Something that brought tears to my eyes.
In response to the question who is your favorite person and why, he said
Jesus...because he protects me
That is what it's all about, folks. We have learned that in one part of his country there is a lot of violence, and while his area is safe, I'm sure it affects his people just as if there were a lot of violence somewhere in the US would affect us. Him knowing that Jesus protects him warms my heart. Him knowing about Jesus at all is amazing. We are so thankful to be a part of his life. I just want to go over there and hug him!
I do so little. I send so little, but God multiplies his blessings. He is healthy and in school and loves to play. And he is happy. What an amazing God I serve!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013...A Fresh Beginning

New years are wonderful beginnings aren't they? We love them. We celebrate them. You don't see anyone with a sad face in Times Square. Everyone, it seems, has hopes when a new year dawns.

I am NO different. I had an amazing 2012...I finally became a stay at home mom. I had my second son. Quite a lot of joy last year, but I'm ready to blow the doors off 2013.

While perusing pinterest yesterday, I came across a post by Jolene Engle over at The Alabaster Jar discussing her plans to have Christ centered plans for 2013. She said she was going to apply one word to her life this year: worship. I love the idea, and it took about a nanosecond for me to know my word.

I am personally responsible for so many things.
1. I am the one responsible to study the Word and pray. Not my preacher. Not my husband. Not another blogger sharing truth. ME! I am responsible, and I plan to take that responsibility seriously.
2. I am responsible to love, honor, and respect my husband. No matter what is happening in our lives. No matter how busy we are. No matter if I feel he is falling short in some area.
3. I am responsible to raise our sons. Every day. I am responsible for teaching them and directing them to the Lord. If I do not take my responsibility to number 1 and 2 seriously, I cannot do this well.
4. I am responsible to manage the home. Our home is where we relax...where we are safe from all the world throws at us. I've done the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge, but I need to make sure that every day is a haven day. And while that challenge didn't include cleaning, that's important too...we need a safe, uncluttered environment for me and my husband to thrive personally.

So there we have main responsibilities. Would you join me in a Christ-centered plan for the new year? If you need ideas, you can find them at the link to the Alabaster Jar.
Happy New Year.
Wishing you and yours the best as we begin anew...