I love Christmas time. I love the smells. I love the lights. I love that people tend to show kindness a little more often. I just love it. Even buying presents now is wonderful. Thank you, Amazon!
What I don’t love is having to miss every other Christmas morning with my two older kids, who are 12 and 10. Since my older daughter was 3 (and my son only 1), they have spent every other Christmas morning in a different home. While we have all adjusted to living this life as a divorced family, we would be lying if we said it was fine. They have other siblings at their dad’s house and a little sister at mine. They will miss every other Christmas morning of watching their siblings’ excitement as well. Continue reading
I’ve watched the show Hoarders just a handful of times. I found myself completely shocked and asking, “How does that even happen?” The truth is that no one just wakes up and decides to create that kind of mess. It happens over a period of time, often months and years; it starts little by little. A small mess is made and is not cleaned up…then another, and another. Over time, the mess gets bigger and bigger until you feel overwhelmed, like nothing can be done. Hope is lost. Eventually, the mess continues until it becomes so unbearable that it destroys your life.
This isn’t just true of the people whose story is told on the show. It is a common story for many, including myself. I’m not talking about the literal mess. I’m talking about the figurative messes we sometimes create. Whether in relationship (no one just goes from happily married to cheating on their spouse) or finances (that mountain of credit card debt didn’t happen over night), it just takes one small mess after another being left unresolved to create such a similar state of disarray in your marriage as the homes we see on the show. And just like the owner who can no longer walk through rooms piled with junk, at some point, you too will have to deal with the situation. The truth always finds a way of coming out.
So what can be done? If I want to grossly generalize what happens on the show, I would narrow it down to three basic things. Continue reading
I remember when God put it on my heart to help marriages. In 2008, I was a facilitator with a ministry that helped people cope with divorce. Having gone through it myself, I knew it was a great ministry. But my heart ached. Each person represented another broken heart. Another broken family. And I wanted the ministry to disappear. I wanted there to not be a need for it. I wanted to be on the other side. There just wasn’t a ministry that existed to take a proactive approach to marital conflict. The only options I knew of were church small groups helping each other and marriage counseling. Nothing on a wider scale. Despite my heart longing to do something to help, I was stuck. Continue reading
Have you ever worked out to a point where you were on the verge of tears, you were hyperventilating and your throat felt like it was on fire? Me neither. Until recently. I walked into the gym one evening and was brutally honest with my trainer. “I have a really hard time coming here lately. Actually, I hate it.” She was taken aback a little as I continued to explain. “I feel like it always takes me such a long time to finish and I’m not getting any better.” After a little more discussion, I finally admitted that I probably (actually, definitely) was not giving it my all. Her solution: increase the intensity of the workout. She wanted to get me to push myself more than I had ever done before by completing three rounds of a prescribed workout as quickly as possible.
By the beginning of round 2, I was hyperventilating and near tears. A voice in my head said, “Forget this. I quit. I’m outta here.” Just slightly louder was my trainer. “Come on. Keep going. Give me one more.” And I did. Each time I wanted to quit, she was right there, telling me that I needed to keep going. I couldn’t quit. Quitting wasn’t an option. I completed the workout. Mind you, I was laid out flat on the mats. I was sweating profusely, tired and pretty sure I just burned a hole in my throat.
And so it goes with marriage. There will be times when you are hyperventilating, near tears, ready to quit and about to walk out. Don’t let quitting be an option. Surround yourself with people who love you enough to fight for your marriage when you don’t think you have it in you to fight anymore. People who will love you, encourage you and pray for you. People who will say “Give me one more.” And you will. Continue reading