While hiking side by side with my husband along a trail in Arkansas, the sight of this tree caused me to stop.
Do you see the rock in the middle of the tree? Do you see how the tree has grown around the rock?
I imagine that tree spent many days praying for God to remove that rock. “It’s in my way,” it whined. “I was here first!” It pleaded. “Please tell it to leave so I can grow.”
But God said No. He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Taking the Lord’s answer, the tree decided to stop sulking and instead keep growing, despite the rock in its way. And now years later, this is the result: A firmly planted and mature tree with a rock in the center.
I have many rocks in my life – burdens I’ve prayed for God to remove. Financial stress, relational strain, homeschool woes, fears and shameful memories. Some of these He has removed – to the glory and praise of His Great Name!
But others, He has left.
I am beyond excited to announce that No More Secrets is now available in paperback! Yes, right HERE on Amazon you can purchase yours!
In honor of that I’m including some more information about the book, an interview with one of my blogging friends.
Last year I decided to join a blogging course where I met Leanne , a fellow clumsy blogger who, like me wanted to improve her skills. As we posted our blog posts on the Facebook group, I immediately connected to her style of writing and the topics she wrote on.
We have commented back and forth on each other’s blogs and so I asked her if she would read my book and offer feedback. She blew me away with her knowledge and heart to help me share this story. So, I’m honored to share with you her interview with me about this book. Here we go…
My husband and I have this great relationship. He says profound, small sound bites that pack a punch and I write them down and later turn them into a blog post. The other day, he said something at the office he knew I would have taken notes on. When he got home he relayed it to me before he forgot. Here’s what he said –
“Satan wants to play in the puddles of our past and then blame us when we get wet.”
Isn’t that the truth?!
It’s like he runs beside us and spies a perfect puddle just ahead that would smear mud all over our face. He poises for the jump and does a cannon ball right in the middle of the puddle. Water and mud splash all over our face, and we remember the time, way back when, when that happened. That horrible, awful event that rocked us to the core. And just like that we’re back there.
We remember what it smelled like, what flavor ice cream we used to eat, the song that played on the radio, the feel of the leather seats in the car we drove. Just like that Satan splashes in the puddles of our past and we think we’re that person again.
Christmas cards line my window sill, familiar carols jingle from the radio, lights twinkle through the windows, darkened from the night sky, and hot chocolate spills on the couch as the kids cuddle close. It’s Christmas time! This season ushers in plenty of warm, cozy feelings, but also spreads a blanket of anxiety. We rush from church activity to school activity and store to store shopping for bargains at the biggest sale of the year. We search for the perfect gift for the perfect party. Pinterest floods our inbox with magnificent, museum quality, must-have decorations that leave us feeling less-than if we don’t download and make them right now. With all this pressure it’s easy to lose the holiday cheer. By the end of December, our relationships with those we love most feel the strain.
How do we navigate the holidays and keep our marriage thriving?
- Keep Family Margins
When I was in school, I remember my English teacher stressing the importance of writing within the margins. She took points off the paper if I wrote beyond either red line. She said staying within the margins made the paper neater and easier to read.
Staying within the margin is important in life too. It can make life neater and easier to handle. Margins give us room to breathe. We can freely fill in the lines with enjoyable activities, but leave room in the margins to breathe.
Let’s face it: So many activities appeal to us during the holidays. We feel like we must do them all, but we can’t. We can pick a few favorites and do them joyfully, and then gracefully say no to the others and take some time to rest, relax and read a book. There’s no reason to rush so hard that it takes you till February to recover.
If you joined me last week, I shared three out of six truths that have transformed our marriage and I hope the lessons we learned will benefit you as well. If you haven’t read the first part, you can do that HERE.
4. Keep a Manageable Schedule
There’s a hierarchy in marriage and if children ever become the object of worship in the family, then you can very quickly expect of symptoms of disintegration to happen in the marriage. A man and woman married first and have a priority over the kids. The kids will leave one day and it will be one on one with our spouse again.
If the erogenous website Ashley Madison was a hurricane, it would be classified as a category 5 storm. Damaging winds have reportedly spread debris over all but three zip codes in the entire U.S.
For adrenaline pumping storm chasers this might sound like the storm of the year to track. But beware: travelling too close to these 155+ mile an hour winds leaves you liable to be sucked up in the raging vortex yourself. For we weren’t created to withstand that amount of force against us.
Just ask Josh Duggar.
The bottom line to me in this story is one Ashley Madison illustrates beautifully: Your sin will find you out.
Unlike birthdays, anniversaries don’t come around every year without some effort on our part. I mean you just have to survive for 365 days to celebrate your next birthday! Marriage, on the other hand requires hard, intentional work from two people if you want to celebrate another year. An anniversary is a perfect time to reflect on the past year or years and remember the lessons learned and celebrate the victories won.
This year Adam and I celebrated 16 years of marriage. Sixteen years. That seems like a long time to me because we were only 16 when we met. We’ve basically grown up together.
I don’t know where you are. Maybe 16 years sounds like a lot or maybe you have that grin on your face that says, “You just wait! Sixteen years ain’t nothing!”
Either way, I think you’ll find something of interest in today’s post.
Last Friday I wrote a post called What Happens When We Meet in the Middle.
I like it. But I started thinking about all the marriages around me that are either entering divorce court or their divorce is already official. When you’re in that position, how do you swallow words about meeting in the middle? What happens when meeting in the middle hasn’t worked?
And you’ve tried…again and again.
It’s like the couple desperate for the pregnancy test to say positive, but hears their best friend has the news instead. It hurts. Doesn’t mean you’re not happy for them. Doesn’t mean their joy isn’t justified. Just doesn’t help you and your desperate situation.
So, to those individuals, this one’s for you.
Marriage is hard. Not something that just comes together like a fairy tale. Two people meet, fall in love and live happily ever after. It just doesn’t happen like that in real life.
I’ve made many mistakes over the years. God had distributed much grace over those mistakes and allowed Adam and I to still hold hands before Him today. One thing I’ve learned is to take the advice of an old country song I used to hear in High School about two kids too young to drive so they’d set out on foot and meet at a central pine tree…
“I’d start walking your way, and you’d start walking mine. And we’d meet in the middle ‘neath that old Georgia pine. We’d gain a lot of ground cause we’d both give a little. And there ain’t no road to long, when we meet in the middle.” (Meet in the Middle by Diamond Rio)
Never thought I’d say this about a country song, but how true those fiddle playing words are!
Meeting in the middle is essential and a critical maneuver in marriage. Yet, it’s one of those things that oftentimes, I don’t feel like doing. I don’t want to meet in the middle, I want my husband to come to me.