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A Blessed Romance

A Dance Through Life With The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

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Marriage

The Titus 2 Woman

We hear so much about the “Proverbs 31 Woman”. She has become so popular there are companies named after her, and even a workout program for Heaven’s Sake! She is in the face of every Christian woman, used properly and beautifully sometimes, and sometimes manipulated as an unreachable bar set before the Church, leaving women with yet another scar of insecurity in a world rampant with those who are more than willing to beat her down.

But my focus is not the P31 woman today, but another, extremely valuable, but often overlooked woman. Today my thoughts and dreams drift toward the New Testament, the Titus 2 woman.

Titus 2:4- “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

Recently my heart has given itself over to a longing. Deep in my spirit I have a need, a burning desire, a passion, and so I set my feet upon a journey, a mission on which I do not know exactly what I am looking for, but I feel I will know it when I see it.

I’m looking for a mentor, a spiritual grandmother. I’m looking for an older woman, close in proximity, who is willing to speak into me spiritually, to step up and wrap their arms around me and point me to the cross. I’m looking for a friend, one or more steps ahead of me in life, one whom I can confide in and trust. I see sweet tea and cookies at a kitchen table, talking, sharing, and pouring: pouring of one, more experienced life, into a younger, less-wise one.

Where Is She? It’s exciting, the journey to find her. It’s also exhausting. I find myself peeking around every corner, as if a child amid a game of “hide and seek”, asking myself, “Could that be her?” The most exciting part of this road so far is all of the amazing women I am meeting along my travel as I seek her out.

Older women, are you ready to step up? Younger women, are you ready to receive?

I do not refer to “older” as an age necessarily, but a spiritual walk. If you are walking along the path with Christ, whom are you pouring in to? Who is pouring into you? If you are not getting at least one of those there’s a swamp somewhere, and swamps stink. The insight and wisdom gained by the preceding disciple’s years of previous experience is pivotal to the next generation of Christianity.

Christianity is a process of discipleship, no matter your walk, your age, your life goals; we have been called to reach out to another…   Discipleship does not require perfection or a seminary professor level of the Bible.  It required a humble and willing spirit.

Sisters, The harvest is plenty, and the workers are few and often weary from the load that can be lightened by the addition of hands.

So, as my search continues I press on toward the goal to which I have been called, with her in my mind, knowing God will cause our paths to collide in his perfect timing. I wonder, have I already met her? Is she already here? Where is she now? What is she experiencing? What is she praying for? Is she already praying for me? How will we meet? How will this relationship start? Is she someone here now whom the Lord has yet to reveal to me?

The wait has been beautiful.

Sisters, I implore you to reach out to someone today, someone who can pour into you, and another person you can pour into.

God bless your discipleship journey!  Much grace and peace to you!

 

Trista

 

 

 

The God of the Aftermath

There I sat, on the floor, against the wall of my bathroom, head in my knees, once again, sobbing relentlessly.   I could no longer control myself.  This was too regular.  I knew no way to stop.  Frankly, I didn’t want to stop.  This emotion was the only one which I could feel.  It was raw.  It was real.  Everything else seemed like a mere day dream and I was only floating through the motions of life.

My precious husband walked in and handed me a necklace.  He said,

“I’ve carried you as far as I can carry you, now God has to carry you.”

I looked at the necklace.  Its charm held the image of two little feet and Isaiah 46:4:

“Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

I had a one year old son who was precious.  I had a great job, a great life.  I had a house, a new car, I was free to do virtually whatever I wanted.  My husband loved me very much.  From the outside looking in I had it all.  Yes, I had lost a baby during pregnancy a few months before, but so many get over it so quickly!  I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t one of those women, why did I not even want to be one of those women…who could move on.  I lived in a house of cards, desperately hoping the slightest breeze wouldn’t come and my world would crash around me…again…    I found myself in the wake of a storm of life, picking up the pieces in the aftermath, in vain, fruitless, void of all things good.  Life seemed meaningless.  I was stuck.

I needed a rescue. 

I needed a hero to ride in valiantly on his white horse, a fearless knight to swing me up on the back of his steed, then carry me to his castle to live forever.  I was about to get just that.

I cried out to the One who made me.  I couldn’t do this anymore.  I had so much to live for.  I was needed.  I was damaging the relationships I had.  I was detrimental to the people who loved me most.

“God, save me!” I cried.  “ I need you Jesus!  Come and rescue me!  Save me from myself!  Save me from the hurt and the bitterness!  Deliver me from this anguish!  I have tried this on my own and it just isn’t working.  I know there is more for me.  Sustain me like you say you will!  Make me who you want me to be through this!”

And he did.

It was ugly, but beautiful all at the same time.  It was treacherous, but blissful, serene yet chaotic.  I spent the next years crying out to my Savior, resting in the deliverance he was providing.  I sat in my bathroom, my back yard, my car, my kitchen table, where ever the event happened to hit, sobbing, crying out to my Creator the things in my heart I so desperately wanted him to heal.  There was always Kleenex by us at church, but at this point I didn’t mind one bit using my sleeve.  I cried during most worship opportunities I experienced in that season.  It was truly terrible but so, so stunning.  I don’t know that there are human words to describe the process.    In the quiet he would come to me.  He would wrap his arms around me.  He would minister to my heart.  He compelled me to draw nearer to him.  He called out for me.  He gave peace in the middle of unrest, and I would fall arms open, face-first into the chest of a precious Savior.  The more I poured out to him the better I came to know him.  The more I came to know him the more I wanted to know him.  He made himself evident to me in the small things, a smile from my son, the beauty of a flower, a sunset, the beauty in his glorious creation.  During that time I came to really take hold of the fact that his Word was true and I could fully trust in the God of the universe.  I had given it lip service for years and years, but I neglected to fully embrace the God of the promises he had laid out in his Word.  I was too busy trying to survive on my own.

He never, ever left (and still hasn’t), no matter how terrible I was to deal with.  He never turned his back.  He never needed a break.  When others could not bear my burden, because my burden was never meant for humans to bear, he gladly took up my troubles, my chains that I was not ready for him to release me of, and walked with me.  Those times are precious to me.  Yes, so much pain, but yes, so, so much love from a precious Daddy.

Healing is usually a process.  It seems the times you realize you’re healing is when you look back down the long traveled road and realize just how far you have come.

I often pray for God to wrap his arms around people.  I pray this because I know how it feels.  It is better than any drink, any drug, any promiscuity, or any earthly relationship, and I desperately desire for every person I encounter to experience that precious time with their Maker.

I could go on forever about this season.  I am so thankful for it.  Its experience was invaluable, to really learn more of who our Abba Father is, how he operates, and just how much he truly loves us.  To really lean in to him, just as he wanted, was/is a priceless experience.

Our Savior used that season in my journey to pave the way to bring healing to other areas of my life, to learn to offer forgiveness in several aspects, even those which had not come to light just yet, those that had already happened but I never realized I harbored.  He broke the chains that bound me and kept me from a closer relationship with him.  He used this time to amplify the precious spiritual gifts he has blessed me with.

It was precious to me, to learn that, no matter the circumstance He will walk with me through it.  I used to live in fear of things that could come.  Now I know, beyond any shadow of doubt, regardless of the trial I face, I have a friend, a Comforter, who knows my pain even better that I know it myself.    That relationship does not release me from suffering, but it grants me peace, and the knowledge that my Father holds me all along the way.

Focus not on the pain.  Focus on the hero, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who always comes to the rescue.  Friends, He will be faithful.  He will always be faithful.

Romans 8:18-21:  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed .  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Romans 8:37-39:  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You know what, just read all of Romans 8…

Love you all,

 

Trista

 

 

 

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

I’m sitting in our women’s group on Tuesday night.  By some miracle I have a cell phone signal in the metal building, and even made several comments about it.  In the middle of my boasting of having found the “magic spot” in the building (because no one else got signal) I get a text from my best friend.  I will never forget it:

“Call me- emergency.”

So, leaving the building, I return her call.  Knowing in my heart it was bad, not knowing who it was about, but hoping, praying it was not really as bad as I knew in my heart it was I waited, not so patiently, for her to pick up the phone.  After only a few rings, but seemingly forever, I reach my beloved friend.  Then she tells me, words that you cannot, but so wish you can, un-hear.  There was an accident.  Her brother-in-law is gone.

Silence.  I have no words.  For once in a very few times in my life I cannot speak.  This is not some man who had lived his life of 90 years and went home after a well-served time here on earth to be with his Lord so we all have a party to celebrate a long wonderful life full of devotion to God.  This man was 39, THIRTY-NINE!  He had two boys, precious 10 year old boys.  He has a wife who loves him dearly.  He still has duties to fulfill here.  His mom and dad are still alive.  No parent should have to witness the burying of their child.  Ever.  His work cannot have been done!  He wasn’t finished yet!  NO!

His wife deserves to live a full life with the man she loves.  His boys deserve to have their daddy there for them on their wedding day.  They do not deserve the emotion tied to witnessing his death.  This family does not deserve this tragedy.  Her mom does not deserve to see her child and grandchildren hurt this way, nor does her sister and her precious kids.  No one deserves to have to bear the load that is left by the weight of this tragedy.  Why, God, WHY?

Why do bad things happen?

I have no idea….

And, honestly, people can give you explanations until we are bored and all blue in the face…  Because there’s sin in the world….We live in a fallen world….It started in the Garden…  Bad things will happen until God restores the earth…  It was God’s will…God has a plan…blah, blah, blah.  Yes, some of those may be true, but do we really say that to those 10 year old boys who only really care about the fact their their daddy is gone?  Some of the “canned Christian answers” I have given during trials make me sick to my stomach.  Do not hear me as judging anyone here, but do hear me out.  Words do not change the hurt.  Words do not bring true comfort.  God comforts with words.  Our words fall terribly short of offering peace in a time like this.  People comfort and love by actions.  Give words when you are asked for them.  Just think about that.

In some precious prayer time with my husband that night and sweet friend the following day I allowed myself to cry out to God.  I yelled at him.  This is not a “curse God and die” yell, like Job’s wife offers.  This is a “Daddy, I do not understand” yell attached to a reverent fear but all-consuming love.

In the silence later that day that still small voice calls to me, beckons me to listen and just be still.  I hear “My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts” reminding me whose authority I am under.  My feeble mind wants to ask, to just yell at my Savior and say, “WHY?”  like a teenage daughter who feels unjustly reprimanded by her well-respected daddy.   No, God did not cause the accident.  God allowed it to happen.  Sure, there are several reasons it could have happened.  It’s well above my pay grade to guess at those reasons.  What I do know is that we do not serve a God who allows tragedy to happen in vain.  My prayer for this family is peace, and for them to see God at work in the middle of this tragedy, in the middle of their deepest pain.  My prayer is that his wife and boys can one day rejoice at the number of people who are drawn nearer to God and who accept Christ as their savior because of this man’s life, legacy, and essentially his death.

The God on the mountaintop is surely still God in the valley.

If you are not familiar with the statement I just made (about accepting Christ) or if you want to know what real, true love is, please email me (heritagedesigns@live.com).  Message me on Facebook.  Find a trusted Christian.  Do something.  One day in the cause of Christ is better than thousands elsewhere.

Also, please, PLEASE consider a donation to this sweet family as Wendi and her two boys pick up the pieces in the wake of a terrible storm.

This is their Give Forward account:

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/2qbb/family-of-firefighter-kevin-hudgens?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fb_sharer&utm_campaign=php_fundraiser_main-carebears&og_action=hug&fb_ref=sharer-carebears&t=3

Heartbroken, but still with all my love,

Trista

The Bitter Wife Walk:  The Day God Hit Me, Gently, With a Ton of Bricks

I am an Aggie, the proudest member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2005.  Ags are storytellers.  As a matter of fact, our football “Yell Practices”, which occur the night before any football game at midnight, revolve around “stories” the yell leaders will tell about the upcoming game.  So, in true Texas A&M fashion:

I got a little story for you:

Several years ago I’m walking through my house.  I’m not just walking but I’m doing what I call “The Bitter Wife Walk”.  This bitter wife walk consists of me storming through the house, clanging dishes,  scooting toys to the wall….with my foot….from across the room….Yanking up random articles of laundry off the floor….

All the while I’m muttering not so sweet nothings under my breath.  Things like,

“If he really loved me he would know to do….”

“I cannot believe he….”

“Can he not see that ……needs to be done!!!!”

“I’m just a servant to him…”

“He never knows what I need!”

“He never stands up for me!”

Who am I kidding, I was throwing a fit!

I was absolutely content with the fact I could beat my husband down, to pieces on the floor, right next to the laundry, with my words.  It made me feel better.  In my mind he was not measuring up to the ruler I provided him to measure against.  I was hot, beyond angry.  Things were not going well.

Then, in my bitterness, selfishness and self-righteousness (did you catch all the “self” words there?) God spoke to me.

Has God ever met you where you stand, swinging a bag full of a ton full of bricks, and gets you right between the eyes?  There I was, BAM!  He nailed me.

He said, “Little Girl, you really do not respect your husband.”

Little Girl is God’s endearing name for me.  Crazy, I know, but I hear it.  I think it just reiterates his desire to not only a Father but my precious Daddy.

My reply:  “God, my husband does not deserve my respect.”  Then I listed off a host of perceived injustices of which I felt I had been served.

God:  “Trista, do you love me?

Me:  “Yes, God, of course!”

God:  “If you love me keep my commandments.”

Me:  “What do you mean, God?”

The conversation ensued.  What God was attempting to get through my thick skull was that even though I felt Caleb did not meet the requirements where respect was deserved, God had called me to respect my husband in his Holy Word (Ephesians 5:33, just read the whole section, it’s good stuff) regardless of how I felt!  God told me because I love him (God) I need to keep his commandment to respect my husband, even though I felt Caleb was not holding up his end of the bargain.  He loved this man enough to send his very son to die for, why could I not give this man my respect?

He also revealed to me that I had used a measuring stick on Caleb he was never meant to live up to.  You see, I was requiring Caleb to fill a God shaped void in my very soul.  I was asking Caleb to be the source of my joy and my happiness.  Of course he was going to fall short of my requests!  He was just a man!

My tongue had the ability, and consistently acted on said ability, to emasculate my husband.  I tore him down in front of friends, family, and co-workers, when he was there and when he wasn’t.  I constantly pointed out where he was falling short, rolled my eyes, and kept a bitter chip on my shoulder.  My words caused much damage, even if Caleb never heard them.  My selfishness would not allow me to see the good things Caleb was doing.  My self-righteousness mottled the path on which God wanted me to take my husband by the hand and follow him down.

So I hit my knees.  I repented.  I did my best to stop tearing down my precious Caleb.  I began to live up to the vows I took when I married that man.  I learned what it meant to cherish him.   I tried to get behind his eyes and see how I could express my respect and love for him.  I fulfilled him physically and intimately, even when I might not have felt like it.  I continually and earnestly prayed for our hearts to be one, for him to boldly step up into the leadership position in our home, one which I feared he would not because  I had taken that position away from him so many times.

I prayed.  I interceded.  I boldly approached the Throne of Grace on behalf of my husband!  You know what happened?   God changed my perception of my husband!  I prayed for God to change my husband and what he really did was change me!  He made me see the amazing qualities of my precious husband.  Yes, he did eventually change Caleb and guide him to step up, but not until I started doing my part!  If you know Caleb you know he is an amazing spiritual leader for our home, a great provider, and an amazing confidant.  He loves me and our boys with a bold love he is not afraid to show.  He is God’s provision for me.  He is a precious gift my savior entrusted to me to live this life with and to, Lord willing, grow old with.  I am a blessed woman, and was the whole time.  I just needed to understand how to receive that!

Sweet sister, it doesn’t matter where your husband does not measure up.  Be the wife you were called to be, even though it is so SO hard!  Ask God to help you forgive and let go of the bitterness in your heart.  Hit your knees for your man, then step back and watch God do an amazing work in you both!

With all my love,

Trista

First Day

My precious son, My sweet, tender, innocent son,

Tomorrow you assume the title you have so longed for, “First Grader”.

I know you are so excited.

I have waited with you, held your hand through the anticipation.  We have talked through the nerves.  We have met your amazing new teacher.   You lunch is ready to pack, your clothes are waiting for you, you dad will cook you breakfast in the morning.

Tomorrow, as I will watch you walk or even run excitedly away from me yet again this year toward your newest adventure I will be reminded once again:

You are not mine.

I am merely a steward of you and your brother.  God has entrusted your father and me to rear you.  For some glorious reason, which we are ever so thankful, God gave you to us for this short time to bring up in His name, to raise to know His truth, to teach you the ways of a cruel Earth, and to find hope in the midst of this ever changing world in the One Steadfast Everlasting Father.

My son, who realized your need for Jesus and asked for salvation not long ago, at the tender age of six, we have you for a short time.  Our Savior has you forever, firmly in His grasp.  Nothing can take that away from you.

Our biggest prayer for you has been answered, that one day you will know your need for the One True God and you will act on the call He places on your life to accept him into your heart.  What a beautiful event that was for your father and I to witness!

Now my prayer for you, precious son, is that you set yourself apart.  My prayer is that you consistently find hope in the Everlasting God.  My hope is that you act in a manner which makes others say,

“This kid has something different.  I want to know more about what he has.”

When you walk through those halls I hope you remind yourself, son, you are God’s child.  I pray you conduct yourself in a manner worthy of that title.

I pray you draw nearer and nearer to your Jesus.  I pray you fall so deeply in love with Him that His is the first face you seek out each morning, the first counselor you pursue when you are in need of advice, the first you ask to hold you when there is trouble, the first you cry out to, the first you rejoice with, the Only which you exalt and make Lord of your life.

I pray you listen to the small voice of the Holy Spirit He has instilled in you the day you asked Him to be the Lord of your life.  I pray you are faithful with little, so that you one day will have the opportunity to be and will successfully be faithful with much.

I pray you have the heart of a lion.

I am praying for your courage, for your empathy, for your compassion toward others.  I hope when you see those left out you make a concerted effort to include them.  I pray you forgive where forgiveness is needed and ask forgiveness where it is needed.

I pray you treat all that you encounter, especially those who may look different, act different, and smell different with the same love The Father has for you.  He is especially fond of you, son, and He is especially fond of every single person on this planet, no matter how they look, what they say, or even how they treat others.  He loves them all son, just the way He loves you.   My prayer is that your heart stays soft and you do what one of your favorite songs says:  “Love like you’re not scared, give when it’s not fair, live life for another, take time for a brother, (your favorite part) FIGHT FOR THE WEAK ONES, speak out for freedom.”  I hope you do this not out of a sense of duty or obligation, but out of the desire to love others the way your Father in Heaven loves them, whole-heartedly with reckless abandon.

Son, I want you to hold your head high, no matter the circumstances.  If someone treats you badly, forgive them.  Understand there is normally a reason, something lacking in their lives, that makes their heart hard toward others, stand your ground, but also extend grace the way God has extended grace to you.

My hope is that one day you do not have time to consider what others are thinking or saying about you because you are too busy seeking out opportunities to glorify the Lord.

Son, I love it when you introduce yourself to people at the grocery store, even when they do not respond to you.  I love how you compliment others.  Do not ever let go of that compassion and deep consideration for others.

Son, I want you to have an easy life, but know that “easy” never achieves growth, so I do not pray for that.  I pray, instead, your character is built on a foundation of Christ the solid rock, molded and made beautiful by the Refiner’s fire.

I know one day you will leave our home and come back only for short visits.  If you are called to marry you will have a family of your own.  We wait in eager anticipation for this, son.  You will be amazing at whatever you do.  But now, I bask in the kisses you place on my cheek.  I relish the hugs.  I soak in the conversations.  I love it that you still want to hold my hand.  I am so thankful for every second you will be under my care and will lavish in all the time we will have with you as you grow.

As we prepare you the best we can, know we will mess up.  Sometimes we will fall terribly short.  I hope in those times you can look The One who never forsakes or lacks.  Also, there will come a point where you have to choose.  You have to exercise your free will.  I pray you make wise choices when those times come.

In the midst of it all, son, I pray He blesses your sock off.

I love you very much, more than words this side of Heaven can express,

~Mom

He’s got this.   🙂

firstgrade2

#prayerchangesthings

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Let me lead you back to my past for a short time.  I promise I will be short this morning.

My prayer life was lacking.  It was full of half-hearted attempts to petition Our Savior in which normally I:

  1. Fell Asleep
  2. Got distracted
  3. Got bored
  4. Forgot to finish
  5. Gave up
  6. All of the above

Imagine if you will a scorched land, where the only moisture left is your own perspiration.  This would be my prayer life….lacking….severely.  I did not take into consideration how privileged we are to have a God who wants to speak to us directly.  He wants to hear what we say!  He wants to hear even the smallest things, from praise to fear.  He wants to hear it.  He listens. What an amazing opportunity we have to reverently hit our knees before a God who can answer any problems we ask Him about!  That’s true power, Friends!

Insert the Holy Spirit and, long story short, my prayer life went from desert land to a beautiful oasis in the middle of the Sahara where the waters of grace, mercy, and love quenched my parched soul and poured blessings into my lap, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing.  (Luke 6:38)

In honesty, however, this did not happen until I really started to consider others in my prayer life.  Yes, I saw my own prayers answered, and yes, that was a blessing, but the best blessings, the ones that provided unspeakable joy and supplied supernatural elation, did not start until I began to petition the Throne of Grace for the needs of others: people who do not like me, strangers, friends, anyone.  I prayed for them, not just in name, I confidently and boldly approached my Savior about their needs, them.  I asked my God to bless them.  I started listening to that small voice probing me to even seek out people on the street, asking them if I could pray for them, or just offer an encouraging word.  It has transformed me.  It is one more thing He has used to draw me nearer to Him, probably one of the most powerful things at this point.

Jesus calls us to live outwardly.  He wants, he commands us to serve others!  I have a challenge for you today.  I want you to seek out someone who needs your prayer.  Don’t just quietly go into your prayer closet and submit a prayer for them.  Approach that person, take them to the side, take their hand, and confidently storm the Gates of Heaven straight to your Savior totally on their behalf, and use your whole heart to do so.  You don’t have to know their needs.  The Holy Spirit will intercede with you and will deliver help.  (Romans 8:26) Ask Him for the words, He will provide.

This could even be a private message to an individual on Facebook who has asked for prayers.  Don’t give them the canned Christian answer, “I will pray for you.”  How does that person know you actually prayed for them?  Do it, right then.  Send them a private message and follow through on that commandment to love others!

Be sure to act out your challenge with humility.   (Matthew 6:5)

Sit back and watch for, even the small, things that happen after.

#prayerchangesthings

Prayer changes YOU.

We are so excited to see how God shows up in your walk today!  Share your stories with us!  Let us pray for you!  Heritagedesigns@live.com

With all my love as your sister, grafted into The Family as part of the Bride of Christ,

~Trista

You don’t have to hold a wealth of knowledge of the Bible, even young children can intercede on behalf of others.

The Plight of an Enemy in Marriage

Our enemy is real and bold.  Our enemy has the utmost intention to cause you harm and to do evil in your marriage.  This enemy is waiting, calculating the next move in which to sabotage a beautiful and holy thing.

The enemy emits a clear and present danger.  The enemy is a scary being who wants nothing more than your marriage to dissolve before The One who brought you together.  The enemy is all of these things, and many more.

But friend, your enemy is not the person with whom you share your marriage bed with.  The one you come together with at the end of a busy and sometimes treacherous day is your partner, your team mate.  Your spouse is the one you are to share a connection down to your very soul with.  (Mark 10:8)  How hard of a concept this can be!  When I first heard this it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I treated my husband like the enemy.  I do still slip up and forget.

I all too often let my arrogance get in the way.  I tell myself I am better than he is.  I all too often conform to a culture that tells us women are the superior authority.  I tell myself, “If he really loved me he would….without having to be asked” or “If he loved me he would know…….”  How preposterous that I would assume my husband would know something in my brain I likely have never told him!  I’ve often treated my marriage like a competition.  Dr. Kevin Leman says, “If someone is winning your marriage, you both are losing.”  He is right.  These times, friends, are nothing more than the enemy using me to place a hard-driven wedge in the middle of God’s sacred work, our marriage.

I often forget that this man, this perfect provision God has sent for me, is on my team!  He wants the same thing I want, for our marriage to be great!  So many things cause me to forget this: fatigue, stress, children, so many of life’s obstacles, but at the end of the day I have to make a choice to receive my spouse as God’s perfect provision for me.  When I easily anger I have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember this man is on my team. 

The real enemy is trying to compromise the foundation of our marriage from the inside so the he can crumble it with outside attacks. That’s what he wants.  He wants every “good Christian marriage” broken into tiny pieces on the floor at his feet, on display for all the word to behold, to gawk at, to point fingers, and to seemingly confirm a growing belief there is no sanctity in marriage, especially that of a “Christian” marriage.  This is his life’s work, and he’s very good at it.

Here’s how I got started in my process of considering my spouse on my team (this is a repetitive process, and I mess it up daily, so please do not think I have it down):

Repent!  Our Sweet Savior is just waiting on us to ask forgiveness.  He’s ready, willing, and able to forgive and separate us from our sin.  I ask for my spouse’s forgiveness as well.  In the progression I make sure to forgive myself, which is often not easy.

Ask God for clarity– I ask for a clear thought process so I may realize the times when I isolate my spouse, by treating him like the enemy, so forgiveness can be sought or the thought process can be stopped before the event happens.

Put on the whole armor of God– (Ephesians 6:10-18).  As a Christian we are given a specific set of armor that prepares us for the war we wage against principalities of darkness.  Read Ephesians 6, starting at verse 10, soak it in, and apply it.  I ask God to not lead me into temptation and, when temptation strikes, I try my best to use the blessed armor to help stand strong against the devil.

Treat him like we both are on the same team– even though he may not act that way.  The best way to change behavior is for you to change yours first.

Respond in love– in all things we are called to love, everyone, under every circumstance.  This is not withheld just because we happen to reside with someone.  Is this hard?  You bet.  It seems we hurt most deeply the ones we love the most.

We love you, sweet brother/sister, and are happy to pray with and for you.  heritagedesigns@live.com

~Trista

Here I Am, Send Me

I love words.  Always have.  Always will.  In my opinion there is nothing more important than a word in the proper place at the right time.  Words encourage.  Words breathe life where there once was lifelessness.  Words instill peace and hope in a valley filled with despair.  Words heal.  Words are a powerful means of changing that which was broken into newness.  Sure, words also have the ability to break down, destroy, and condemn, and I have been guilty of all of those, many times, but that’s not what I am here to talk about today.

My love affair with words started in high school.  I hated writing.  Hate is a strong word.  I was your normal teenager who had a lazy streak, who was always a pretty decent writer, but never put it to much good use.  Two teachers helped me overcome my distinct disdain for the written word.  One, my Freshman English teacher, who was also one incredible coach, had me writing about everything from country songs to Shakespeare.  I loved her, and secretly appreciated what she was “making” us do.  The second, my English, English Lit, Spanish (oddly enough), and Journalism teacher, he probably taught a few other classes I was in but have forgotten about (it was a small school, teachers wore a lot of hats).  This guy MADE me participate in UIL writing.  He MADE me, and not something easy like Headline Writing, NO, news writing, editorial writing, and whatever else he felt like signing me up for, or so it felt at the time.  Honestly, our relationship evolved into more of a mentorship over the years.  He was an unwavering source of support during a time of my life I am confident I would not have survived had it not been for God’s Grace supplying that mentorship.  He was a reintroduction to the goodness of our Savior, and an introduction to the Holy Spirit. He will likely never know just how grateful I am for him and his sweet wife, so much so that when Caleb proposed to me there was no one on Earth I wanted more to marry us.  My inability to express my gratitude, my friends, is an opportunity when Earthly words simply fall short of emotion.

So, as that sweet teacher wrote on one of my more “wordy” papers in large red letters (had to get that word count in):

“Get to the point”.

Those opportunities to write began to divulge a small talent.  I received a journalism scholarship in college.  I didn’t take it.  Why:  again, teenager, lazy streak.  I eventually started a business helping others display words that “speak” to both them and to me and, due to nothing less than the Grace of God, it turned into a full-time gig.  I wrote my grandfather’s obituary and the funeral director offered me a job.  Here and there I have been asked to write various letters, articles, etc.  Mine and Caleb’s heart happens to be in marriage ministry.  Have you ever felt a calling, responded with “YES” then ran away from it 100 miles per hour?  Think Parable of the Two Sons, we were the latter son.  But that’s a different story for another time.  While serving in the “marriage ministry” capacity I met a precious new friend.  She asked me what I had planned to do with my passions.  Ouch!  God used her to gently call me out, to start a search for my niche.  I rarely used my “gift” and even more rarely used it to the Glory of the Lord.  I am not claiming to be a great writer who holds the secrets to the most Holy mysteries in the universe.  What I am actually doing, in this very draft, is a proclamation, begging my God to use me, take me, mold me, and make me into what He would have myself and these messages to be.  I am asking for Him to get me out of the way and show up, show out, and use this effort as He sees fit.  If one person, just ONE, receives refuge in the Holy Spirit though this effort, then it is all worth it.

This blog was originally intended as a marriage ministry.  I cannot tell you that this is primarily our purpose at this point.  The name “A Blessed Romance” is misleading.  It has nothing to do with the husband/wife relationship.  It has EVERYTHING to do with how God pursues us and how He wants to be seen in YOUR eyes!  My husband loves to dance, so I naturally think of dancing as a method of pure, innocent romance.  God wants to dance with you.  Imagine a Father/Daughter dance at a wedding and multiply it by infinity.  He wants to be in a love affair with you (again, another post), a pure, open, honest, tender relationship in which He is primarily what your thoughts turn to at any given point during the day.  He wants that, He really does!  We want that for you as well.  We want you to walk, day by day, in the rest of the Holy Spirit.  We hope this effort will help direct you to that!

I would like you to walk through life with me.  Here I will be putting my walk with the Lord on display for the entire world to see.  That’s unnerving.  🙂  It’s not a place where you will hear preaching (unless it’s a guest writer).  You will hear my prayers, God’s response, struggles, triumph, and whatever else He sees fit.  This is my testimony, on screen.  It is a place you will see me mess up, often.  It is a place in which I will be held accountable.  It will be a place I ask God will use to mold me.

We are here for encouragement.  We are here to help you seek answers to questions.  We don’t know all there is to know by any means, but we can help you pray through for answers and seek Biblical wisdom.

We are here to pray for you and would love nothing more than the honor of boldly approaching the Throne of Grace on your behalf!  (use the email address)  Please know your situations will be held completely confidential and will be treated with the utmost respect.

We love you already and are so excited to begin our journey together!  Come and join us!

Trista

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