The Never-Ending Cycle

photo(1)I sighed as I placed yet another load into the washing machine.

I’ve long given up on trying to figure out how three people, one being a child, are able to produce so much laundry.

It’s like the song that never ends. One load in; one out, almost daily.

Separating. Folding. Putting away. Over and over again.

As I stood at the white machine this morning, removing clothes one by one from the hamper to place them in for their weekly washing, I remembered to be grateful for the tasks that do not end.

For one day, they will.

One day, little people will grow up.  And taking their laundry with them, there will be less clothing in the wash than there was before.  I’ll long for the days of grass-stained denim and sweaty Little League shirts and chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup dripped across faded shirts that are worn over and over again despite a drawer full of new ones because of how loved that one shirt is.

I think about those that are single and how, perhaps, they dream as they do their laundry to one day have another to do such a meaningful task for.  For in the dreariness of redundancy, there is beauty in serving others.

In just a few short months, I’ll add to my load–both literally and figuratively–with spit-up onesies and other let’s not mention it right now types of stains and I know there are women out there longing to see these things in their machines.  For their never-ending cycles are far worse than mine–each month to want the one thing they are not getting.

There are many other “never-endings” in my life, but I want to be the woman who relishes in the goodness and security that they provide than to grow bitter that they do not cease.

And so I put one more load in.  The hamper stays empty for all of twelve seconds before the socks I told him to make sure weren’t left on the floor finally get picked up and put in their proper destination. Right after the load is done.

Yes, the security of those white socks always await me.

And I am happy.

I am blessed.

Advertisements

Learning from your spouse.

Last night, my hubby shared something with me and I’ve been meditating on it all morning.

I don’t know if it was meant to be kept private, but honey, it’s too good not to share. 🙂  I remain so encouraged by it.

We’re getting ready for bed and hubby says he wants to have a serious talk.

Uh-oh, I thought in my head.  Can’t I just go to sleep?

Hubby mentioned a men’s group he had attended the night before and there was a lot of talk on marriage.  And coupled with doing his own thinking, he had a lot of realizations.

We, and by we I mean I, are always saying how different we are.  And by “saying” I mean, I throw it in his face when the going gets tough.  It’s my go-to defense mechanism.

So here’s what hubby shared.  Those qualities that make us so different…well, those qualities are ones that God gave us.  And the good qualities one spouse has may be (or are usually) ones the other spouse is lacking.

My husband encouraged me by stating that more and more he sees qualities in me that he wished he possessed.  He is learning from me.  And that is a great perspective to have.

So that’s the encouragement I want to pass on to you, whether you are already married or one day will be.

God knows what he is doing when he joins two people together.  So on those days when you feel like you and your spouse are worlds apart; that you’ll never meet eye-to-eye, look for qualities in your spouse that you know you should possess.

For example, my husband has been encouraging me a lot lately on how he admires how I want to serve people.  I always want to help people out; I rarely say no to requests to be there for someone.  My hubby, on the other hand, doesn’t have that natural tendency to want to do that.  But maybe he needs to exercise that trait more.

And me?  Terrible with money.  So much better than I once was, but still with a mentality of “Why do it myself if I can pay someone to do it for me?”  So when my son was vomiting all over his bedroom carpet one day, my natural inclination was to run to the computer and buy a Groupon (See!  I can be conscious with saving money!) for a carpet-cleaning service.  But not my husband.  He went to the market, spent a couple of dollars on a carpet cleaner, and did it himself.  This past week, my lovely boys stepped all over dog poop and thinking it was mud wiped it all over the car mats.  I wanted to run to the car wash.  Hubby went outside and washed them himself.

(I think he has more of a servant’s heart than he realizes.)

So I see those qualities in my spouse and I want them to.

Sure, I’d love if my husband put dirty cups in the sink, but I value that he would rather read his Bible even if it means dishes stay dirty in the sink.

I’m sure my husband would love if there was a homemade meal waiting for him at the end of every work day, but I know he values my heart more than a fresh dinner if I’ve been out of the house all day helping at our son’s school.

It’s a give and take and instead of fighting against the things that makes us different, I can see it as God putting together two wonderful–very broken–but wonderful puzzle pieces that are meant to complement one another.

It’s NOT a bad thing to be different.  It’s a bad thing to allow those differences to cause tension and discontentment within your marriage.

So, again, I encourage you to see the qualities in your spouse that are opposite to your natural tendencies and see if you can learn from them.

Marriage is a partnership.  And going at life together will always be better than being disgruntled that your spouse is not just like you.

(Because “you” is probably not all that anyway. :))

I can focus on the things I don’t like about my spouse, or rather the things he does, or I can cherish the way God created him.  The unique traits that make him the person God designed for me to share life with.

And I can be grateful that God knew exactly what I needed.

Because only God could know the perfect person to balance out my type of crazy.

Be encouraged, friends.  God knows what he’s doing.  😉

With love,

Lis.

lovestory{via}

3 Ways to Gain Perspective In Your Marriage

I’m honored to have the opportunity today to share my heart over at one of my favorite marriage blogs, Nitty Gritty Love.

I am far from perfect, but daily I go to the foot of the cross and plead with the Lord to change my heart. I want to be a wife who loves her husband the way Christ would have me love him.

Read more by clicking on the link below.

3 Ways to Gain Perspective In Your Marriage

3-Ways-to-Gain-Perspective-In-Your-Marriage1-297x300

With love,

Lis.

When your husband hears your heart.

One of my biggest problems with blogging is writing these words: I’ll write a post about this later.

And then I never do.  I’ll publish a post and within it mention another topic for a post that should be forthcoming and that has equated to many “Part Twos” or “more to comes”  that never happened.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget about it because you think to yourself, Who noticed that anyway?  Days and weeks and months can pass and it doesn’t seem worth it to revisit a thought you had long ago.

So I was pleasantly surprised when someone found my blog through a shared link (thanks!) and must have went back and read past entries because they asked the question, What did you get for Mother’s Day?

I had to laugh.  It was in reference to this post and within that post I wrote these words:

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday.  The boys left early to church and I awoke to a card.  Inside was such a special surprise and I’ll share about that next week!  What I can say about the gift is that it showed me how much my husband listens to me.  And that’s why I burst into tears as I saw the gift and read beautiful words.

I do not know why I did not come back and share.  Time sure does slip away.  But I’m here both to answer the question of the gift for “just because” reasons but also to share an important attribute of marriage.

First, the gift.

IMG_0695

The Lion King on Broadway!  Hubby took me and the boy to see this amazingly fantastic show.

We enjoyed a nice lunch first at Chevy’s.  It was funny because that restaurant (in Times Square) was our go-to spot when we were dating, so it was weird to take our son there more than a decade later.

IMG_0688.JPG (2)Mmm…fried ice cream.

IMG_0690

We headed inside the theatre…

IMG_0689.JPG (2)

IMG_0691

IMG_0693

IMG_0694

and were treated to a show we’ll never forget.

Seriously, go see it.  It’s worth the money to have that experience.  I’ve always heard people remark it’s one of the best shows on Broadway and having seen many, I have to agree.  Spectacular.

So what does this have to do with a husband that listens?

Well, I don’t know when it was.  Could have been weeks, months, or maybe years before that I mentioned how much I would love to see this show.  I knew the expense of it, so it was one of those “bucket list” dreams.  An avid Broadway lover, it would certainly be my goal to see every show on and off Broadway if I could.  But The Lion King was certainly at the top of my list.  I’m sure I mentioned it every now and then; you know, when for some random reason we happen to mention Broadway and get on the topic.  But that conversation was long out of my mind when I opened that card that Mother’s Day morning and saw tickets that answered a mini-dream and reminded me that my husband is always listening.

Even when I don’t think he is.

I write a lot about my thoughts on motherhood in this space.  I have a ton of folders on my computer with organization photos just waiting to be pieced together into a post.  But when it comes to marriage, I often struggle to find the words.  For one, it seems very personal.  I feel like I’d have to constantly “check-in” with the hubby to see if something was okay to write about and share and that can limit the “freeness” of the writing process.

But if I were to be completely honest it would be because most days I struggle more than I succeed in my marriage and therefore feel inept to offer any input into the subject, good or bad.

So what I can offer you now is an encouragement.  That if your husband is anything like mine, he is listening.  He hears your thoughts, your dreams, and what will make you happy.  And when the time is right, he will act on those things you one day long ago may have whispered–or, like that one year where I wrote in an email exactly what I wanted for Mother’s Day–and surprise you with the opportunity to live out those little dreams you shared.

It’s easy to believe the lie that your husband doesn’t care.  I say a lot of things and I know my {poor} husband has a lot to filter through.  I can be silly and a bit spoiled and want every new electronic that comes out.  I can imagine it being confusing to have to process and decipher, What in the world is she serious about and what is she joking about? Ha!  Broadway shows are certainly not important to my husband, so it’s easy to think that even when I share with him how I’d love to see a show that because he doesn’t care about that…that it must mean he doesn’t care about me.  No way!  Not the same thing at all.  And even if he did not get those tickets, it still wouldn’t mean he did not care.  That’s an evil thought that creeps into our minds when Satan seeks to destroy marriages.  I threw this paragraph in as an afterthought after I had already hit publish.  I feel it’s going in a tangent that really needs to be explored more one day.

It’s not about the gift.  It was lovely and special and we all benefited from the time together for sure.  But it was really about the moment I opened that card and saw a husband who remembered something I told him.  And that means all the world.

He hears and is becoming familiar with the heart of his wife who isn’t as much into gifts as much as she into experiences.  I’d rather have memories than a ring on my finger.  Photos than a new appliance.  He’s learning.  We’re growing.  Marriage is hard but beautiful, but when two people are committed to working at it together there will be success.

It reminds me to take the time to listen.  Not in order to buy him the perfect gift when the time comes, but because that’s an important part of marriage.

I look back on almost ten (10!#$?) years of marriage and wish I had listened more.

But no time is wasted moving forward when you’re willing to make the changes needed for your marriage.  Whether it’s listening more, talking more, being together more, or whatever it is your spouse and you need to do.

So that’s why I burst into tears that morning and probably will every Mother’s Day, birthday, or anniversary because hubby sure knows how to knock it out of the park with the words he writes on the perfect cards he finds and the experiences he allows me to have.

He’s listening and I’m encouraged to listen better because of it.

Feel free to share with me: Do you need to listen more in your marriage (or any other relationship)?  What’s the best present your spouse has ever given you?

Striving to be better in my marriage for the glory of God alone,

Lis. ❤

One date can pack a whole lotta punch.

May 1.

It’s a loaded date around these parts.

And by “these parts,” I mean mainly in my head.  And my heart.

As much as I share on social media (and I’m refraining a lot nowadays, trust me), I’m not the type to lament a “bad morning” or the like.  Truth is, I recognize how blessed I am and how even my minor “trials” pale in comparison to the sadness so many other people wake up to in this world daily.  No, I try not to complain.

Except when I post about neighbors who like to do the deed at 1:30 in the morning.  Or 4:30.  You know, it’s cool.

But I think by posting that kind of stuff got people praying, ’cause it’s been awhile since their passions have awoken me.  Hallelu.

But I digress.

It was a rough morning.  It was a rough night last night.  I could feel all my roughness come out of my poor son.  He felt the rough.  I couldn’t place my finger on my out-of-control emotions last night that had been so well contained for many months now.  It clicked this morning.

Roughness that caused my son to enter his school and come running out screaming, Mom! Mom! as I drove away and turned the corner at which point another mother grabbed him to stop him from running into the street.

Are you kidding me!?

He had left a project in my car.  He knew what he had done was very wrong (running out of the school without telling anyone once he had entered the premises).  And he collapsed under the weight of a lot of pressure he felt from the roughness of long nights and busy days ahead.

But still.  Running down the block!?  What was he thinking? 🙂

But I digress again.

***

May 1 was the day hubby and I started dating.  For the most part, it’s a good thing.  What makes it hard is being where we are now, it’s hard to look back on those days fondly.  Our relationship was so sinful; being heathens isn’t even a strong enough word to describe how we were and the things we did.  And something I try to shield myself from admitting is part of that truth–I was still dating another person when hubbyand I made it official.  In my heart it was over with that guy.  But that argument wouldn’t hold up in court, I’m sure.

See?  So wicked.  Not caring about anyone but myself.

I love seeing how far we’ve come.  God took something that was “bad” and turned into something beautiful.  Not perfect, a lot of times not even good as we fall and bend and make mistakes.  But beautiful.  We love and serve the Lord together.  We are raising a child to love the Lord we love.  It’s hard, but always beautiful.

656_41259772186_5631_nApril 7, 2001.  The moment we met.  How many couples can say they have documentation of that?  Pretty cool. 🙂

***

Four years ago, May 1 was the day I miscarried.  Or had an ectopic pregnancy.  Adding to the hurt was that it wasn’t clear which it was, which for some reason made me all the more upset.  Like I did not have a clear answer as to what went wrong.  All I know is I was left broken over a life I only got to “feel” for a couple of weeks.

It technically began to happen on April 30.  But we were in the hospital until the early dawn of May 1 and being a significant date in our history, it’s the one I’ve attached to this event.  May 1 used to hold more value in my eyes than even our marriage date (for personal reasons, for now).  I knew that was never how it should have been, but it was and when this happened it felt like any happiness I could possibly feel with hubby was taken away.  All the important “dates” were marred and I grew bitter.

It’s hard to grieve a miscarriage (It’s just easier to refer to it as such even though it’s not certain that’s what I had.) because I know women have gone through so much worse.  I also know that I have a happy and healthy child and so many women could only wish to have that one.  But I still need to acknowledge the date for my own healing.  As an advocate for pro-life choices, my beliefs are life begins at conception.  Therefore, even though that life never saw this side of heaven, it’s a life still to be celebrated and cherished.  I think often a the three-year-old I “should” have had by now.  I imagine how life would have changed and envision what it would like like now and would feel like for Goob to have a little brother or sister.  Once upon a time, I dwelled on these things to a point where I grew resentful and became angry with God.  Now, they are fleeting thoughts and I am grateful that through this trial, God allowed me to only grow closer to Him.  With the exception of this date and perhaps the baby’s due date, I can look back at the year with only fond memories.  It’s the year we decided to buy our own home.  It’s the year I got to take my husband and son to meet my family in a country I adore.  For those things, I am forever grateful for 2009.  It all happened exactly as it was supposed to.  I couldn’t see that then.  I cherish that notion now.

5689_104489177186_8002927_n (1)February 17, 2009. Special memories for special reasons.

***

On, May 1, 2011, one of Christofer’s main teachers passed away unexpectedly.  I’ll never forget that day.

Hubby and I have always tried to “recognize” May 1 regardless of the circumstances surrounding our beginning.  It was the day that started what we are now, and it’s okay to tip our hats to it once a year in acknowledgement.  For that special “ten year dating anniversary,” honey went all out.  We went to see Catch Me If You Can on Broadway and were supposed to follow that up with an amazing dinner at a Cuban restaurant on the same block.

Except on the way there, I began getting text after text about Mrs. Edwards being rushed to the  hospital and being in poor shape.  The texts flew and as the hours passed, the prognosis looked grim.

Oh, the irony of sitting in a comedic show trying to enjoy something your poor husband spent a lot of money on while checking your phone every two minutes.  By the time the show ended, I asked hubby if he would mind skipping the meal.  I knew I would not enjoy it and would feel horrible if I did not get to the hospital to see her.

I never made it.  Just a few stops short of our home on the LIRR I received the dreaded text that Mrs. Edwards passed away.

I wailed.

I cried for her children now without an earthly mother.  I cried for her husband.  I cried for her students who would face Monday and the rest of the year without her.  I cried because I would not have my talking buddy in the morning.

It was the first time as a Christian that I lost a Christian friend and felt the weight of it.

I don’t count this as a positive at all, for I’d give anything for Mrs. Edwards to still be with us today, but because of her the blog title “A Life Well Done” was born.  One consistent theme you heard woven in the stories people spoke of her was when she went to heaven God most certainly would have said to her, Well done good and faith servant. Mrs. Edwards had a servant’s heart.  She was kind and a motherly figure to her students.  You could feel her loving you through her words and warm embraces.  She was a mama bear for sure, but more importantly she was a Godly woman I aspire to be and I wanted to live the life she did.  One that was well done.

I miss her still.

243100_10150177167642187_5468956_o

***

It was last year or the year before, I can’t remember, that I poured my heart out into a couple of blog posts that detailed some of these experiences.  They got deleted, ugh.  The emotion was raw and even though I was very upset, they served their purpose.  Once I released those emotions into the open, I could move on.

So here I am, trying on another May 1 to release.  To share.  To let you know that whatever dates you have that don’t conjure those nice warm fuzzy feeling we WANT To feel–

You will heal.

We have a Heavenly Father who sees our hurts and a Savior who can very well sympathize.  When I call out to Him, it doesn’t mean those emotions go away all at once.  But I begin to heal.  I begin to look past my circumstances and open my eyes to what I DO have.  I learn to be grateful.  I look to the cross.  I remain grateful and humbled of the gospel and what it means in my life.

And if God took EVERYTHING away, that would be okay.  Because I would have Him.

I don’t need “dates.”  I don’t need a baby.  I don’t need Mrs. Edwards.

I like those things.  I love those things.

But I need HIM.

And while May 1 may always be rough, I’m learning to see the beauty in the day.

I look ahead.

Knowing that the time is fast approaching when only good days will come.

When I’m worshiping my King.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

~Psalm 23:4 ESV

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust,
O Lord, from my youth.
~Psalm 71:5 ESV

Let your steadfast love comfort me according
to your promise to your servant.
~Psalm 119:76 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
~2 Corinthians 1:3-4

And so many more.

Be comforted today, friends.

Be brave.  Share your stories.

Let’s help one another get through these days, shall we?

With lots of love,
Lis.