The Three Loves

While scrolling through my Facebook feed this evening, I ran across a post that really hit close to home.  It was someone who had recently ended her relationship with her fiance.  It wasn’t so much that she called her engagement off within months of their wedding; it was the link to a post that she put with her public apology.

The link was to a blog post titled “We Only Fall In Love With 3 People In Our Lifetime – Each One For A Specific Reason.”  Some of the things that were stated in there were absolutely true!  If you don’t follow the link above, please take the time to read the excerpt that I have placed below.  It’s seriously worth the time to read it!

“It’s been said that we really only fall in love with three people in our lifetime.  Yet, it’s also believed that we need each of these loves for a different reason.  
Often our first is when we are young, in high school even. It’s the idealistic love—the one that seems like the fairy tales we read as children.  This is the love that appeals to what we should be doing for society’s sake—and probably our families. We enter into it with the belief that this will be our only love and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t feel quite right, or if we find ourselves having to swallow down our personal truths to make it work because deep down we believe that this is what love is supposed to be.  It’s a love that looks right.
The second is supposed to be our hard love—the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved. This is the kind of love that hurts, whether through lies, pain or manipulation.
We think we are making different choices than our first, but in reality we are still making choices out of the need to learn lessons—but we hang on. Our second love can become a cycle, oftentimes one we keep repeating because we think that somehow the ending will be different than before. Yet, each time we try, it somehow ends worse than before.
Sometimes it’s unhealthy, unbalanced or narcissistic even. There may be emotional, mental or even physical abuse or manipulation—most likely there will be high levels of drama. This is exactly what keeps us addicted to this story-line, because it’s the emotional rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows and like a junkie trying to get a fix, we stick through the lows with the expectation of the high.
With this kind of love, trying to make it work becomes more important than whether it actually should.  It’s the love that we wished was right.
And the third is the love we never see coming. The one that usually looks all wrong for us and that destroys any lingering ideals we clung to about what love is supposed to be. This is the love that comes so easy it doesn’t seem possible. It’s the kind where the connection can’t be explained and knocks us off our feet because we never planned for it.
This is the love where we come together with someone and it just fits—there aren’t any ideal expectations about how each person should be acting, nor is there pressure to become someone other than we are.  We are just simply accepted for who we are already—and it shakes to our core.
It isn’t what we envisioned our love would look like, nor does it abide by the rules that we had hoped to play it safe by. But still it shatters our preconceived notions and shows us that love doesn’t have to be how we thought in order to be true.
This is the love that keeps knocking on our door regardless of how long it takes us to answer.  It’s the love that just feels right.
…There may be those people who fall in love once and find it passionately lasts until their last breath. Those faded and worn pictures of our grandparents who seemed just as in love as they walked hand-in-hand at age 80 as they did in their wedding picture—the kind that leaves us wondering if we really know how to love at all.  Someone once told me they are the lucky ones, and perhaps they are.  
But I kinda think that those who make it to their third love are really the lucky ones.  They are the ones who are tired of having to try and whose broken hearts lay beating in front of them wondering if there is just something inherently wrong with how they love.
Just because it has never worked out before doesn’t mean that it won’t work out now.”

I can safely say, I’ve experienced all three of these.  As I was reading, all of these little flashes from my past came back and made me realize that yes, there are lessons to be learned in all sorts of love…and the pain that comes with it.

The one that caught my attention was the second love.  Oh, second love.  This is where my heart goes out to this young lady who posted her public apology tonight, because at one point, I was in her shoes.

I can’t speak for her relationship, so I won’t.  But I will speak for what mine was.  It was unhealthy.  It was unbalanced.  It was narcissistic.  It was an emotional rollercoaster.  There was manipulation.

Even though it was all these things, I never once viewed myself as a “junkie” that was addicted to it.  But in a sense, I guess I was.  I had put myself in a position where I had spiraled so far down from where I was, I couldn’t find a way out.  My only glimpse of “me” were those extreme highs.  But the number of highs slowly started to be out numbered by the extreme lows.

Much like this particular young woman, I was engaged.  I was actually a month away from “the big day” when I decided that I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I was tired of the tears, I was tired of the fights, and I was tired of feeling like I was lost.  He is a good person for the right person, he just was not good for me.

But never throughout the process did I ever feel like I owed anyone other than him and my family an explanation.  Because in the end, it wasn’t anyone elses life to live… it was mine.  And no amount of “I’m sorry for…” was going to soothe the curiosity that pulsed through my social media accounts, job, and friends.

About the time my third love came around, I was sitting in an office chair in a gas station looking at all of the shattered pieces of my heart trying to decide where I was to go now.  I let the tears fall and the prayers rise up.  I wasn’t ready for a relationship and I knew I wasn’t ready for a relationship, but I asked God to just give me a sign that there was someone out there for me.  Someone who was going to love me for who I was; broken pieces and all.  Love literally knocked on that office door that day.

Even though we both felt it (literally) in that moment, I knew I wasn’t ready and I’m sure he wasn’t ready for me at that time either.  But, that was the defining moment that started to made my world spin again.  It took a knock on the door, one turned down date, a returned telephone number, and a leap of faith to get us to where we are now:  married for almost 2 years, a house, and a baby on the way.

Do I wish that my fairytale would have been much like those stories you hear about high-school sweethearts?  No.  Because it literally took an experience with each one of those types of love to get me to where I needed to be to begin my relationship with Shane.  I’m glad him and I have had the personal struggles we have had and  I’m glad that we’ve learned from past experiences.

All in all, it doesn’t matter how you get to your fairytale ending.  Let your story write itself.  But ladies: please, please, please do not ever feel like you owe anyone an apology for taking steps in a direction that may lead you to your third love.  You are stronger than that.  You are worth more than that.

You will love again, I promise.  That love will be the love that will make you forget all of the hurt, the pain, and the struggles that it took to get you there.  But you won’t be able to forget the lessons learned through all of the struggles, hurt, and pain.

Take that leap of faith.

Find that “fairytale” love.

If he left you beaten down and broken, just know there is someone out there who is able to pick you up and put you back together.

I can say that with confidence because:  been there, done that.

 

 

 

*Disclaimer:  I did get permission from the young lady to include a portion of her story.  I would never use someone else’s personal life without their consent.  ❤ *

You Can’t Take It With You.

The saying “You can’t take it with you when you go” has more truth to it than we know.  I’m not sure about you, but every time I have heard that saying, I think of it in a “here and now” sense.  I can buy this or that, but if I move, there may be a chance I can’t take it with me.

Last night, I had a whole new spin to this saying put into my head.  See, my husband (Shane), our friends Katelyn and Ryn, and I attended a concert last evening.  We were able to see John Tibbs, Finding Favour, Audio Adrenaline, and Newsboys.  (Which, it was AMAZING and I’m sure I’ll be blogging about it off and on throughout the week because the amount of content we got is a lot to process!)

While each artist had a touching story of demonstrations of Christ’s love within their life (which I will go into throughout the week as I do my postings), there was something that grabbed me during the Newsboys.  Michael Tait (the lead singer) was speaking to the sold-out crowd.  He was commenting about how it is just so easy for us to collect things.  Things like clothes, homes, cars, toys, collectables, animals, money.  Just about anything that you can imagine (aside from necessities), we tend to have more than we need.

But what do those material items mean in this life?  Social status?  Risen self-esteem?  An act of jealousy or anger?  An attempt to “one-up” your neighbor?  But what good do these things do us in our next life?  You know, the new life that we are given when we die.

It tells us in Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.” and in 1 Corinthians 10:14 “Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”  But, what does that really mean to us?

It means that even though we do not try, we put things, money, and social status above God and He does not want that from us.  I’m guilty of doing this even just this past week.  On my birthday, I tried to buy a good mood.  I went to ShopKo, I bought myself a new shirt and some other things for around the house and tried to buy my way into a good day.  I would almost bet majority of you have done that at one point or another.  Retail therapy sound familiar?

It is almost in that moment that we hand over the cash or swipe the card that we are telling God “I’m sorry but you just aren’t good enough.  I need to buy my happiness.”

I’ve never once intended to put God beneath the material items in this life, but it happens…even when I don’t want it to.

Michael then told us “I’ve never seen a U-Haul hooked up behind a hearse.”  That’s when I realized the “You can’t take it with you when you go” went so much deeper than just this Earthly life.  Our time on Earth is limited.  We all have a timer that is counting down to when we are eligible to begin our new life in Him.  Why should we waste our lives spending money on things that are of no value outside of this life?

Then Michael made this comment: “Instead of collecting things, we need to collect people.”  AMEN!  We need to stop buying our forgiveness from people, stop buying our social status, stop trying to be greater than our neighbor.  We just need to stop.  Instead, we need to show love towards people.  We need demonstrate patience, kindness, understanding and mercy towards others.  That is how we can show the love of God without being overwhelming, aggressive, and what others could consider as rude.

I for one will admit that I am not the best with this.  I would rather stay in my quiet little shell.  But, being in a room with 4,000+ other believers and feeling the power in there made me feel a new sense of boldness, a sense of strength, and a sense of desire to do this for Him, not for me.

It was during that concert, I felt the need to reach out to a friend who is struggling.  She has been struggling over the past month or so.  I know how not fun those challenging times are, and even though I felt like nothing anyone could say was going to help me, I felt like I could help her.  I felt that in those few moments, she needed to know that God was there for her.  I sent her a 10 second clip of 4,000+ people singing “It’s all God’s children singing glory, glory, hallelujah, He reigns, He reigns.”  He does reign and I”Hey, I’ve got this.  I have you in my hands.  You are loved.”

Blake NeeSmith of Finding Favour couldn’t have said it better when he said “You are loved.  You are worthy.  You are enough.”

Are you satisfied with the things you can bring with you when you go or do they need some work?  I’m looking for form a prayer team, even if it is just on WordPress.  I want you all to hold me accountable for reaching out and showing others the love that Christ has for us!

It’s More Fun Than Expected.

One thing that everyone takes for granted at one point or another is time.  Perfect example; you probably noticed (or you didn’t) that I didn’t post on Saturday.  Instead, I spent the morning attending my daughters spelling bee (or at least driving there.  She didn’t get past the written round), working out in the yard, getting my homework caught up, planting my garden/re-seeding my herbs, and spending some one-on-one time with my husband.

The day just seemed to fly by and it wasn’t until we were on our way to Sioux Falls that I realized I hadn’t made a post.  But, that wasn’t the time to do it.  I was on a date with my husband and the last thing that I needed to do was stick my nose in my phone and write a post.

The only time I touched my phone was to take pictures when we were at the sports complex playing Glow Golf.  Other than that, I did not communicate with anyone other than my husband and the employees of the businesses that we visited.

I got messages like “Why are you ignoring me?”  “Are you mad?”  “How did I upset you?”  None of these were the case.  I was putting effort into keeping my marriage a happy marriage and supporting my husband.  Because, believe it or not, he needs me just as much as I need him.

Ephesians 5:25 says “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church.”  Christ didn’t just do enough work to get by.  He pursued His people and sought them out because He loved them.  This verse points at the husbands and that they are supposed to love their wives in this way, but it’s not just the husbands.  Wives, it’s us too.

Pursue your husband the way you did when you were first dating.  Those stolen glances, the flirty eyes, the little giggles, the sweaty palms when you held their hand for the first time, and the butterflies in your stomach.  Leave little notes for one another, take date nights just the two of you and leave the phones at home or in the car.

It is all too easy for the outside world to get in the way of marriages now.  Not only do we have those men and women who are so unhappy in their relationships that they set out to ruin others, we have technology.  Literally anything can be at our fingertips in a matter of seconds.  Pornography, a conversation with an ex, a flirty conversation with someone other than your spouse, pictures of other people who you lust after.  We also have other forms of technology that are just as invasive.  Video games, computer games, online gambling, television series, etc.  The list of things that can invade a marriage are endless.

But it isn’t just technology and unfaithfulness either.  It’s kids too.  You get so busy running and scurrying that soon one day turns into six days and you can’t remember the last time you had an actual conversation with your spouse.

As soon as one of those things works it way in, it is hard to maintain the level of communication and the amount of dedication that our spouse needs.  We would rather sit down and zone out to the latest episode of Revenge/Grey’s Anatomy/Dancing With The Stars/The Walking Dead or sit down and indulge ourselves in our computer/video game until we reach the next level…or the next….or the next.  We then lose track of time and it’s time to head to bed and you don’t even know how your husband or wife’s day at work went, how their doctor’s appointment went, what they spent most of the day thinking about, etc.

I’m guilty for sitting down in front of the TV for a couple of hours without muttering more than 7 words at Shane.  But, he will sit next to me, he will rub my feet or hold my hand, and he will just be there.  Sometimes, that’s all I need.  I’m not good at communicating how I feel most of the time, or offering suggestions as to how it can be fixed.  My head spins on things that it shouldn’t and it ruins my day and I spend the next 2-3 days picking myself up out of the dumps.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t try to communicate these things.

I’m also guilty for jumping to my phone when I hear a game notification, an e-mail, a call, a text, or a Facebook chime come through.  I’ve told countless friends that I will be there for them whenever they need me, and I have been and will continue to be.  But I also need to keep in mind that my family comes first.  My family needs me and they can’t have me when I let these things get in the middle of us.

I’ve had a couple of people tell me that their marriage “isn’t as fun as they expected.”  Let me ask you this, when was the last time you had a date with your husband?  When was the last time you put down the phone, turned off the electronics, and had a meaningful conversation?  When was the last time you listened to what your husband had to say and offered advice or support or vice versa?

To be honest, my marriage is more fun that I expected.  Did I expect to fight all the time?  No.  But I was always warned on how it takes a lot of work and it’s exhausting and it’s a full-time job.  Yes, it is a full-time job; there is laundry to be done, bills to be paid, dishes to be caught up, dusting that has been neglected for weeks, floors that are disgusting, mouths to be fed and treats that need to be baked.  That doesn’t include the yard work that needs to be done, the basement that needs cleaning, concerts and sporting events that need attending, the dogs that need to be fed and walked, the cat that needs to be fed, and the flower garden that needs weeding.

But it’s fun.  We find a way to enjoy these things together. We’ve turned bills into a lesson about money for the kids.  We’ve created meals out of random foods in the kitchen.  We’ve found enough stuff in half the basement to hold a healthy garage sale.  We cuddle with the dogs before bed.  We plant, dig, rake, and tend to the outdoor things together.  We compete to see who can tend to the dishes or the laundry first so that the other doesn’t have to do it.  Just because it’s work doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

I realize that you need your friends as well, but you married your spouse, you didn’t marry your friends.  Marriage takes work.  A lot of work.  But how can we put work into something if we are always putting distractions and addictions before our husbands or wives?

Not only do we have to work with our spouse, we have to work with the Lord as well.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

It was refreshing to get out and disconnect from the world for a few hours.  I got my behind handed to me in Glow Golf and we ate super unhealthy burgers that fixed our (my) burger and fries craving.  But we were spending quality time together and we were able to work on our marriage while having fun.  We talked about faith, we talked about friends, we picked on each other, we talked about family, we watched people in Sioux Falls, we relaxed.  Together.  We probably even prayed together without realizing we were probably doing it together.

Marriage is all what you make it.  What have you made yours?

The Never-Ending Hug.

One of my friends posted this picture yesterday and I couldn’t pass it up.

This picture speaks volumes.  Therefore, this blog is going to be super short.

I am so thrilled that I was able to return to my faith and finally see and feel what God was doing in me and in the lives of people around me.

I am thankful that He overcame death so that he could forgive every wrong that I have ever done and that I will ever do.

He speaks to us through His word and shows us that He is there for us every step of the way.  We just have to trust Him and allow Him to take us into His arms to show us the way.

Organized Chaos.

Heavenly Father,

You tell us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

However, we have not been good about sending our requests in God’s directions.  We feel that we can handle Earthly things on our own and tend to get ourselves in deeper than intended.

We ask that you give us your grace so that we are able to relax and get rid of the anxiousness.  We lift our petitions towards you and allow you to take control of the things in our lives that we have no control over.  Bring order to the different areas of chaos, bring beauty into ugly situations, heal those who are grieving, allow us to forgive those who have offended us, bring a sense of content and calm among those who have jealousy and envy, and bring sanity to us who are wandering around confused.

We ask that you continue to give us wisdom, knowledge and strength to handle the situations that we do have control over.  Allow us to handle them with your level of understanding and love.  For it is through those traits that we will be able to minister to those who may need you at the point in their life.

We ask that you continue to be with us today, Lord.  Calm our fears, fill our hearts with love, and encourage us to embrace one another.

In your name we pray,
Amen.

The Root Of All Evil.

When I ask you to think of the things that make you most happy in life, what comes to mind?  Your car?  Your house?  Your closet full of clothes?  Your electronic devices?  Any other material items that you may have purchased?

They say that money cannot buy you happiness, but yet that’s what society show us.  If you’re mad/sad/upset/etc., there is always retail therapy.  If you want someone to fall “in love” with you, buy them things – a lot of expensive-ish things.  If you mess up in your relationship, buy them flowers, jewelry, or clothes to say “I’m sorry.”

We don’t blink an eye at spending $50 on a large bouquet of flowers to say “I love you.” or “I’m Sorry.” or spending $50 at the liquor store for a “fun” Friday or Saturday night.  Yet, when the offering plate comes around at church, we cringe at the thought of throwing a $50 bill in.  Why is that?

Is it fear that we will never see that money again?  That that money may be spent in “better” places?  Let’s face it, we have spent large amounts of money on some ridiculous things that we didn’t need.  I’ll be the first to admit, a few years ago, I would have rather spent my money on fast food, pop, candy, etc. instead of throwing it in the offering plate and giving back to The One who gave me all.  I would have rather chased after that temporary feel good than chase fulfillment in knowing that my money was going somewhere much better than the local gas station or fast food store.

Matthew 6: 19-21 says “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

A lot of truth rings out in that passage.  When we leave  bikes out in the rain, they rust over time.  When mice get into vehicles, they chew and destroy.  We put more money into repairs and maintenance over time than the initial purchase probably was.  Look at cars, for example, oil changes, tires, rotation, transmission flush, replacing brakes, replace wheel bearings, replace tie rod ends, head gasket repairs, and the list goes on.

With maintenance and repairs comes frustration.  “How much money are we going to have to put into this?!” The more money we spend, the more upset we get.  Sound familiar?

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”  1 Timothy 6:10

Shane and I do not live outside of our means.  We don’t drive brand new vehicles, we tell our kids no, we budget wisely.  We weren’t aware of how much wasteful spending we had until we laid out the budget.  All the little $2.00 and $5.00 transactions added up.  We were placing our temporary feel good above our giving to the Lord – the one who provided us with the items for that feel good moment.

Shane and I have become much happier and feel more blessed now that we are actually “putting our money where our mouth is.”  We used to be the “hypocrites” who didn’t understand those who could spend endless amounts of money on alcohol or material items but claimed they couldn’t afford an offering; but we were no different with our pop or snack purchases here and there.  We didn’t need those things and they put a dent into what we could give.  There were weeks where it was too tight for comfort but we offered what we could.  After we cut our needless spending, we found that we were able to comfortably offer more unto the Lord when we weren’t so focused on ourselves and our desires so who were we to judge others?

We don’t realize how selfish we really are until we stake a step back and realize how much we do for our satisfaction (pop, fast food, electronics, etc.) instead of His satisfaction.

I realize that there are some of you who are doing all you can to make ends meet, I’ve been there done that.  God doesn’t care about the amount of money you have or the amount that you give.  However, he does care if we start to worship the goods that money can buy.

“No one can serve two masters.  Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.”  ~Matthew 6:24

So, what makes you happy?

We’re On Our Knees, Lord.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We know that the challenges and the trials of this Earth can become overwhelming.  Often times we get so caught up in our Earthly life that we tend to forget that you were the one that created this Earth, the one who created our lives.

We are grateful that whenever we do lift our troubles up to you, that you hear us and deliver us out of those troubles.  You give us a sense of peace, happiness, and joy.  Thank you for calming the waters when we feel like we have been left out at sea during a storm.

Lord, you carry our burdens when the load becomes too tough.  You bring rest upon our souls.  Today, we lift up those who feel weary, doubted, defeated, or sad.  Even though they may be surrounded by rough waters, you will calm the storm and you will relieve them of their pains.  Please give them a peace of mind and declare that their hearts will no longer be pained.  Remind us that even though we struggle, you have also struggled.  For you were betrayed by your followers, you were tortured, and you were crucified for us.

Jesus, we ask that you replace any feelings of doubt with assurance, sorrow with joy, weariness with enthusiasm, and defeat with victory.  Allow those feelings to help us focus on Your blessings in our lives.  Help us to not become conformed to this Earthly life but transform us by renewing our minds and our spirits.

Allow us to put on your armor as we prepare to face the battles and the feelings that are headed our way the rest of this week.

In Your name we pray,

Amen.