Monday, March 28, 2016

*Trigger Warning*

Why can't we rejoice or weep with each other anymore? Why do we feel entitled to people tip-toeing around our triggers? We have managed to make everything about ourselves. A friend shares an exciting thing with us and it triggers our lack or loss of said thing. A friend shares a sorrow and it triggers how our sorrow is deeper. Friends can't share in joy anymore. Friends can't hurt with each other. This is so isolating! We have come to see our own interests as more important than others. Your struggle is not as real as mine. Your joy rips the bandage off my raw pain. We are so preoccupied with our own lives and situations that we allow our triggers to supersede our love.

We constantly have to label our lives with trigger warnings because somewhere someone will be triggered into something painful. There is pain everywhere. This sin sick and fallen world is teaming with surprising and unspeakable ways of hurting us and leaving deep throbbing wounds in us that never quite heal right. We cry out to God for healing and sometimes we don’t get the answer we want. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like we get an answer at all. This thorn in our flesh, the one that digs and tears at us, the one that even the slightest touch triggers lightning bolts of pain through every nerve is real. This world is not as it should be and as a result we hurt.  The remedy to that hurt is not isolation though. That is what happens when we avoid people for fear of them triggering our hurt. We isolate and remove ourselves from the very thing that could be the vessel God uses for our solace. Isolation is the Devil’s playground. He wants you to be alone. If you are alone he can be uninterrupted in whispering his lies to you.

We spend our energy shielding our triggers and hiding from the pain but as we live life we find that more and more triggers manifest themselves. These losses, those unmet expectations, this betrayal, and that tragedy begin to add up faster than we thought possible. If we spend our lives trying to shield our triggers, pretty soon we will just remove ourselves from all of those things that God brings into our lives to enact healing and redemption. Christ was well acquainted with loss, betrayal, and tragedy. Isaiah prophesied that Christ would be “despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering and familiar with pain” (Isa. 53:3a) and the writer of Hebrews declares that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus knew all about triggers. Hebrews’ author doesn’t stop there but continues on with hope, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16) You will notice that it doesn’t say “Therefore let us draw away from people and things that will trigger us so that we can avoid pricking those raw nerves.” No! It says draw near to the THRONE with CONFIDENCE! Hallelujah! Our High Priest who is our Intercessor takes those triggers and he redeems them. He might not heal them in the way that we expect or hope for but he redeems them for a purpose. 

Paul proclaims, “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:12). This verse gets a bum rap but in the face of these wounds it is our hope and our life line! God is at work in ALL things!  And he has a purpose for it! Our wounds are not arbitrary just as Jesus’ wounds weren’t.  The greatest evil that ever happened, the death of the Son of God was not without purpose! His death was to redeem a wounded and wounding people.  We too are called to die. We are called to die to ourselves, to our sinful nature and its passions and desires (Gal. 5:24). “Greater love has no man then this that he should lay down his life for a friend” (John 15:13). That might mean literally laying down our physical lives for our friends but that is not going to be everyone’s specific calling. So what does that mean for everyone else? That means that we lay down our lives by setting aside our triggers, by running to the throne confidently and laying those triggers and that pain at the pierced feet of Jesus. That means allowing God to take those wounds and use them as He used His Son’s, for redemption.

To redeem means to buy at a cost. Our redemption cost God is Son. God is in the redeeming business and therefore, by association so are we. In order to be used in the incredible and holy act of redemption it is going to cost us something. It is going to be painful. It is not going to be easy. But it should be viewed for the privilege that it is. To be used for the glory of God and the redemption of others is a sacred privilege that is only ours through Christ.  That means that when we leave our pain and triggers at the throne, we are freed to love one another, to rejoice with one another, to grieve with one another, to minister to one another! We have been bought into the freedom of God’s servitude. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:30) Jesus said we will fine rest in humility. It takes powerful humility to view others interests as more important than our own. In order to do this is not going to be easy and it probably won’t be simple.  Pain is not simple, so moving on from it isn’t either. If it was, we would all have done it already, right? Sometimes, that means some good long prayer time and delving into the Word. Sometimes it is that and talking to a close trusted friend. Sometimes it means to also seek professional counseling. There is no shame is reaching out for help when the pain from those triggers tries to drown you. Like I have said earlier, isolation is the Devil’s playground.

Now you say, what about not causing a brother to stumble and to be sensitive to others in their struggles, yes! Do that! To those of you, reading this who are not on the painful side of this spectrum right now, yes! Remember us! Remember our hurts. Be sensitive to our pain. We are all called to consider others interests as more important than our own. That exhortation applies to not only those who are in pain but those in happiness as well. So to you, dear brothers and sisters, please be kind and examine your heart’s motivation before you share so that you can love us as you ought. But you don’t need to try to examine ours. We must examine our own hearts and must work by the grace of God to leave our triggers behind so that we may be free to love you as we ought. The freedom that we find in letting go of our triggers allows for God’s beautiful design of community to minister to our hearts. Have you ever entertained the idea that perhaps the avenue for our healing could be Christ bringing another's rejoicing into our lives? Is it so impossible to believe that we can be helped by someone else’s joy? Have we truly lost the art of rejoicing with each other that much?  How often did Paul write of rejoicing in his letters to the early churches?  In Philippians, in Colossians, in Ephesians, Paul’s letters drip with thankfulness and rejoicing with these churches.  It would have been so easy for Paul to write “You know it really sucks being in this prison while all I hear is about how you get to be in community and fellowshipping with one another.” But he didn’t. He found joy in hearing of God’s church growing and their faith deepening and broadening. Oh, the beauty of that kind of joy and love! If the prisons that Paul found himself in weren’t enough to ruin his joy and love for people, then the prisons of our pain shouldn’t be either! I don’t know about you, but I want that kind of love and joy! That is not going to come natural or easy but just like any love it comes with a choice.

So today, I am choosing to die to myself and rejoice with others, to grieve with others, to see others interests as more important than my own and to see the merciful hand of God in people and things outside of myself. I won’t do it perfectly but as the Holy Spirit reminds me and makes me aware “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). The Christian life is not meant to be lived on an island but in a Garden. Lord, let my life and my love be a glimpse back to that Garden, the way it was meant to be.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Daily Bread

I don't know if you know this about me but I go through seasons of anxiety.  The majority of the time I am ok.  But about once or twice a year I will go through a several weeks of frequent moderate anxiety attacks. I have been doing this cycle pretty much my whole life.  I used to be afraid of meteors coming and crushing my house, I was afraid of the house catching on fire, the goat man, Big Foot, and spiders in my bed.  Over the years I have grown up and matured. I thought that meant I would grow out of being afraid of things but not so much. I am still afraid of spiders but I have pretty much out grown monsters and meteors. Now, I find that I focus mostly on physical discomfort. Sickness and persecution or the two biggies now. During one of these anxious seasons my book study group decided to start reading the book Running Scared by Ed Welch.  If that name sounds familiar that is because this is the second book I have read this year that he authored.  The first one being When People Are Big And God Is Small. Both of these books are excellent and I highly recommend them.  Running Scared is incredibly candid discussion about the spiritual side of fear.  The author is very open about his own struggles with fear, which was the first realization I had. Other people had fears. I always kind of felt alone in my fear, which I think is a pretty common side effect of fear.  Partially because fear is an embarrassing confession. Fear equals weakness. As I turned page after page I felt like I was reading directly from my own heart. Although there was a mature understanding of fear that I knew I was deeply lacking. He kept referring to the account in Exodus 16 where God provides manna and quail for Israel in the wilderness. As he continued to reiterate God's provision in the wilderness it began to click.

Fear is directly related to a lack of knowledge. Fear of the unknown is people's number one fear. We are afraid because we don't know what is ahead of us. We don't know what the future holds. Then came the sucker punch to the gut. We are afraid because we don't know God. The story of Israel and manna is about God's provision of daily bread, which pointed directly to His unfailing provision of grace. God gives us "daily bread" or daily grace. Think about Israel. God gave them very clear instructions. They were to go out in the morning, every morning, 6 days out of the week and gather mysterious and miraculous bread that appeared like dew. They were to gather only what they and all those in their household needed for that day. Gathering more than needed did no good because it rotted by the next day. In this way God kept Israel from hedging their bets. This way they couldn't say, "We got enough for the next day so in case God forgets or miscalculates how much we really need, we are ok." It also kept them from saying, "Well, we gathered enough for the next week so we can relax and sleep in the next couple of days." The Sabbath was the only day they didn't go out and gather because the day before God provided enough manna for 2 days so that His people could rest. You might ask what all of this has to do with fear. Let me tell you. I fear the future and discomfort because I think that my God has underestimated how much manna I need. I think He will forget a day and I will be on my own. I go about my day never realizing that His grace is sufficient. I feel like I have to add something to the equation in order for it to meet my needs. Or I think I have to do it all by myself. I have means of grace right there in front of me that I use throughout the day without even realizing it. Either I attribute it to myself or I don't even think about it because I take it for granted. I have His Word. I have a direct line of communication to Him through prayer. I have wonderful and godly people God has blessed me with to minister to my soul. I have access to this same God that provided manna and quail to a messy, grumbling, fearful, insignificant little nation. My messy, grumbling, fearful, insignificant little soul matters to Him. And therefore He has promised and provides my daily portion of grace.  My soul is cherished by Him. Because of His Son everything that is Christ's is now mine. That is my daily bread! He gives that to me for today. He has not given it to me for tomorrow, or in 2 weeks, or in 2 years. I have it today. I know that I will have it tomorrow but I do not have it yet. God takes one day at a time with us because He knows that is all we can handle. It also is to remind us that He is the giver and sustainer of grace. I have never gone a day when I can remember laying my head on the pillow and going "God it wasn't enough. I ran out mid day and had to fend for myself." I know it will be enough because it always has been enough. I don't know how but it has. For whatever lies ahead I know that my daily bread will be enough to sustain me though my worst fears befall me. I don't know what that could even begin to look like. I don't know how it could even be possible that I would have grace to withstand the unknown. But then again I guess I do. Christ. Christ plus nothing equals everything. I have enough for today. I will have it for tomorrow.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Cor. 12:9. 
"If God is for me, who can be against me?" - Romans 8:31. 
"The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid." - Psalm 27:1
"I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13
I don't need to fear because my God knows, has written my future and He already knows my prescribed dose of grace needed for each day ahead. So I don't have to worry about tomorrow. I can't stock pile grace and I don't need to hedge my bets. God says, "Tomorrow has enough trouble of it's own." I will not meet tomorrow with a grace shortage which gives me the beautiful freedom to love and serve today.
Now here's praying that I remember that :)
Disclaimer: There is a medical side to fear and anxiety that I did not talk about because I know nothing about it. This is meant solely for the discussion of fear's spiritual side and implications.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Beginner's Pulled Pork by America's Test Kitchen

Because I love to cook and I love barbecue and I had requests.  Enjoy!

1/4  packed brown sugar, plus extra as needed
1/4  cup sweet paprika
1     tablespoon garlic powder
1     tablespoon onion powder
1     tablespoon ground cumin
1     teaspoon cayenne pepper
       Salt and pepper
1     (5-pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and quartered
1     cup barbecue sauce, plus extra for serving
       Cider vinegar

1. Combine sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in bowl. Using fork, prick pork all over. Rub sugar mixture over pork, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refridgerate for 8 to 24 hours. Unwrap pork and place in slow cooker.

2. Spread barbecue sauce evenly over pork, cover, and cook until pork is tender, 9 to 11 hour on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.

3. Transfer pork to large bowl, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces discarding excess fat; cover to keep warm. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar to taste.

4. Toss shredded pork with 1 cup of braising liquid; add more liquid to keep meat moist. Serve with barbecue sauce.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lesson #5: Loving In Spite

Yesterday I found myself jotting down a list of the things I love about my husband.  This is a little exercise I like putting myself through to keep my favorite qualities about him at the front of my mind.  The usual suspects were on the list: kind, funny, thoughtful, patient, etc. As the list grew attributes about my husband kept popping up that I would think about but they didn't make the list. When those arose I rather magnanimously thought to myself, Well, I love him anyway.  After I had collected a dozen or so things I went back to my day feeling pretty contented.  As my day progressed, however, I couldn't stop thinking about that one little thought "Well, I love him anyway." It is a very common idiom to love someone in spite of their flaws, or to love someone in spite of those things that don't really make you happy.  After all as 1 Peter 4:8 says, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."  I began thinking again to those qualities that didn't make the cut for my list and do you know that only one or two of those things could have even remotely been classified as sinful?  I began wondering to what extent my love actually covered. 

I have always fancied the idea of doing things in spite of something. That just struck me as a little defiant and wild and I love it. Can you tell I have a rebellious streak? I was well aware, having grown up in church that love does not keep any record of wrongs, that it bears all things (1 Cor. 13:4-8) and that it has the power cover sin (John 3:16, 1 Peter 4:8). But thinking about these verses that talk about loving in spite are talking about sins. That is talking about forgiveness.  There is a difference in sin and flaws.  Sin is just that.  Actual, real, holy law breaking sins.  Flaws, as I am using the word for the purpose of this post, are perceived offenses to a persons sense of approved characteristics.  Love does not cover annoyances, personality differences, idiosyncrasies, and the like.  So then what do you do with it?  As I meditated on these verses I started to realize that my love covered the easy stuff. My love covers the nice things; the things that fit into my idea of good; the things that make me feel warm and fuzzy; the things that conform to the rules of MY kingdom.  What kind of a love is that? Was I really so arrogant to think that I was somehow doing my husband a favor by looking past those faults and foibles?  You see the thing about loving someone in spite of themselves, it automatically puts the lover in a position of great power and when grace and humility combine to use that power for forgiveness you have a taste of glory.  Loving someone in spite of their sin is beautiful.  It is grace. It is mercy. It is holy. It is necessary. But the real question is not, "Do I love my husband in spite of himself" but, "Do I love my husband in spite of myself?"  It is harder to love someone in spite of myself. In spite of my selfishness, my pride, my inpatients, my temper, my sin here is a man whom God has given me to show Christ to.  In order to love him, really love him I have to let go.  I have to admit I don't have goodness figured out.  I have to admit that my idea of perfection is not a perfect one.  I have to confess that I want to fool myself into thinking I am better than I am.  To love my husband I have to be willing to lay down my kingdom, my life for the glory of God.  

Love is a choice.  It is not an easy choice because it costs. 

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

On my own I can't pay that.  Relying on my own strength and desire for self improvement I can't and won't pay the price for holiness.  I can pay the cost only because Someone else paid it first.  Only because of Another am I even able to hope that I will succeed at this even sometimes.  Real love costs.  Christ was willing to pay the ultimate price, His very life, for a people who were his enemies because He REALLY loves us.  God came and humbled Himself and became man to show just how great His love was for me and for you. Because of this truth we have hope.  I have hope.  That God, who began a good work in you will continue it unto completion.  So by the very power of Christ Himself through the gift of the Holy Spirit, I can say with confidence that in spite of myself I will seek to really love my husband as my God so loves me.

God is at work! Hallelujah!

The Adventure Continues

The last post I wrote was a very hard post to write for me.  As many of you know the very reason I started this blog was to invite you into a journey towards fulltime ministry.  When I began this blog I was hopeful and expectant of what I thought the journey would look like.  There were doubts and some trepidation of course as I welcomed you into my insecurity but I felt a call and I some how thought that automatically guaranteed my plans. I had visions of meeting with college girls and being as well loved as my own RUF intern had been. I imagined hard struggles but mostly good memories of diving head first into college ministry, changing the world one freshman at a time.  I could picture meeting another like minded college ministry focused guy, falling madly in love, and then embarking on the great adventure that is RUF Campus Ministry life. With each blog post I wrote the more my imagination ran and the more deeply in love I fell with my wonderful plan for my life. I just knew that God couldn't deny such a good and heart felt desire that I felt so clearly called to. And then He did. The rug seemingly got ripped out from under me and suddenly I was having to write that shame filled post informing everyone that I had failed. That I had got it wrong. That I had been rejected. That the door to what I wanted my life to be had been slammed in my face. The hurt was so real I could taste it and it was bitter. It has taken a long time to heal.  In fact, the broken bits still cause me discomfort at times, which, is why inviting you into that vulnerability again was even more difficult this time.  But I knew I needed to write it.  I had to share. I had to allow myself to be vulnerable again because I need prayer. I need accountability. I need to swallow my pride.  There were still wounds from the past and this time it didn't involve just me. I didn't want my husband to have to go through the hurt that my heart had suffered. I did not think I could take it if another door closed yet again for both of us.  I couldn't bare to see that look in my love's eyes.  When I wrote my last post I didn't want to hope. I didn't want to dream. I wanted to state the facts. I wanted to ask for prayer because I knew whatever my next post would be it would be a difficult one because either way there were rough times ahead and only the grace of God and much prayer would get us through.

I was working late one Friday night a few weeks ago. I was tired and very ready to go home. That was when I received a phone call from my husband.  "I did it!" Those were the 3 words I didn't dare to hope for.  Those 3 little words that have changed everything and instantly brought tears of joy and relief. The letter that began with "I am please to inform you . . . " My husband was resoundingly accepted into seminary! He begins in the Fall.

My prayers are as follows:
1. That I will be the supportive and encouraging wife my husband needs.
2. Perseverance and strength through Christ.
3. Growth in grace as our Father molds us into His image.

Thanks be to God!!!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The New Adventure for 2014

The very catalyst for this blog’s existence is rooted deeply in a love and desire for ministry.  Throughout the years that I have been writing this blog you have gone along with me on the ups and downs and the doors opening and closing.  It has been a road that at times has been bright and exciting and time when the road has been so flooded with tears that I couldn’t even see the road anymore.  Ministry is not an easy thing to be called too.  It calls you to make a vocation of being others-focused, which for any human heart, particularly mine, is no small request.  It commands you to step out of your comfort zone and talk to people who might reject you, mock you, or even harm you.  So far it has demanded more faith from me than anything ever has and it is not even my literal job yet.  There are times when fear sets in.  There are times when doubts arise.  There are times when I am discouraged or tired or just want to be selfish for a while.  There are times when I think, “Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just not go there? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just keep to myself and let the world just pass me by in peace?”  There are times when I think, “What if I got this wrong? What if I totally misinterpreted God’s leading? What if I completely missed the boat?”  There are even more times when my brain screams, “Lord, you picked the wrong girl! I can’t do this! I am too messy!  I am too broken! I am too afraid! I am too self-concerned! I am not cut out for this. How could I possibly be any use to you in this? You have clearly made a mistake.” Strangely enough though in spite of all of that, most times I am so on fire about doing full time ministry that my skin tingles with excitement.  Either I will be talking to a coworker or I will be teaching my high school discipleship group or having coffee with a friend or I will just be sitting in a sermon and I will be flooded with a renewed sense of purpose.  In those little flashes God refutes my doubts and my objections.  He speaks truth back into me and says, “Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, and I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).” 

It is with all of that I invite you deeper into my world of ministry.  I welcome you to come along with Mark and me as we set out on an adventure.  I beg you to pray with and for us as we step out on faith to pursue what we believe whole-heartedly God has called of us for our marriage.  Last fall Mark applied to the Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) in Atlanta, GA.  It is our hope and prayer that in the fall of 2014 he will begin online and commuter classes in their Diploma program with the end goal of becoming an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America.  RTS accepts a small percentage of non-degreed applicants every semester.  Mark has his Associates degree but not Bachelors at this time although he has completed a number of accredited hours through correspondence courses at The Bible Institute in South Africa (BISA).  We have had almost all of our paperwork submitted to RTS since October.  We have just one last document to get to them and that is Marks transcripts from BISA.  Unfortunately, BISA has been on their summer break for the last 2 months and the person in charge of sending transcripts has been out of the office even before their break started.  As slots begin to fill up down in Atlanta, Mark and I trying to remain positive and hopeful.  This program is very competitive as there are few positions available and as many men are called to the ministry later in life.  What God calls you too he will equip you too as well.  For the last several weeks I have had these verses from Jeremiah 29 stuck in my head by no coincidence I am sure, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This promise doesn’t mean that my current definition of “hope and a future” equals God’s definition but I do know that God has a funny way of growing my definitions to match his.

My 3 prayer requests for this coming year are:
1.      That God would continue to mold us into his image and make our desires match his.
2.      That we would, without fear or anxiety, with patience and faith and hope await his timing.
3.      That now would be the time that we can finally and wholeheartedly pursue the desires and call on our hearts.

Praise be to God and let’s see what he has in store for us in 2014! Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lesson #4: Calling Does Not Equal Easy

For some reason I had the strange impression that because I felt called to be a wife that it would be a natural lifestyle to fall into.  I thought I would just naturally find joy in all of the little things that go into being a wife.  Cooking, cleaning, laundry, you know that stuff.  I didn't think it would be easy having two sinners living in the same house but I thought I would at least be a natural at wifely duties.  And then reality hit. I think it mostly had to do with the fact that I was still not ready to give up my single lifestyle that I had grown accustomed too.  Cooking a meal for my husband got to be more and more of an annoyance than a joy. I longed for the days when having a sandwich for dinner was acceptable. Coming up with ideas for a well balanced delicious meal every night after getting off work soon became something I dreaded and tried to avoid.  It didn't help that I went through a spurt of really bad cooking ventures which put the kibosh on all the delusions of grandeur I had about being a great chef and that ended in frustration and eating cereal for dinner.  A mini lesson here. Always have cereal and milk on hand.  I longed for the days when I didn't have to do laundry if I didn't feel like it.  I had enough underwear to last me a month so if on a weekend I wanted to be lazy and ignore the laundry I could. No one was there to care but me.  If I wanted to skip the vacuuming one week so what!  I didn't have any pets to clean up after who was to tell. Spray some Frebreeze and it was good as new.  I didn't really think I needed to mourn it but I know now I should have savored those little bits and that stage of life.  It was easy.  It was the independence.  It was the epitome of the Frank Sinatra song "I Did It My Way!".  If I wanted to be selfish I could and no one would really be the wiser.  My sin could be secret.  And that right there is why being a wife isn't natural for me. I like being selfish.  I like doing it my way.

I think that is precisely why God called me to the life of a wife.  I thought I was called because I would be good at it.  God gives us gifts and talents and opens doors for us to use those gifts for sure to bring about His glory and our good.  But that doesn't mean we don't need Him to accomplish it.  Where do you think those gifts and talents came from in the first place?  There are definitely days where I delight in being a wife.  Please don't think I hate it!  It is challenging for sure but it is even more of a blessing than I could describe to you. He calls us because He can use us.  But He also calls us because we need it.  I need a crash course in dying to self.  I need a daily dose in humility.  I need a reality check with my sin.  I need to be reminded everyday that what little sacrifices I concede are nothing compared to the wondrous sacrifice of my Savior.  I need the picture before me of Christ's patience and selfless love for me.  I need that grace that is so natural to Him in order for my sin nature to be quieted.  I am not a natural at sacrificing my time, my energy, my resources for the good and blessing of another, which is really the life of a wife and husband for that matter. In fact, it goes against my nature as a sinful human.  But I am still called to be a wife.  My calling isn't based on my ability and my works is it?  Christ came to die for that sinful human nature of mine that I still cling to so desperately at times.  He conquered my sin when He took my place on the cross in order that I would be reconciled to God.  He paid a precious price for my messy heart and He is redeeming me daily.  Slowly but surely through marriage He is refining me into His image by not letting me do it my way.  Instead He lovingly woos me with His amazing grace, compels me with His unfailing love, commands me with His perfect holiness, empowers me with the Holy Spirit to do it His way!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. - Philippians 2:3-4