Weird Dreams

Do you ever have reoccurring dreams that are so real you wake up to make sure that it actually was your imagination? I am a vivid dreamer. Sometimes God speaks to me through my dreams and other times I am asking myself what on earth I was thinking about before I fell asleep!

One reoccurring dream I’ve had over the last year is a variation of the idea that Andrew and I know each other  but don’t get married. In my dream I know about my “real life”, that we’re married, have Caleb, etc. I know how our story goes, and my dream starts out following reality and then somewhere along the way takes a turn.

One time I dreamt that we liked each other but then he decided to go another path and we never dated. The torment in my heart was so vicious, I felt like I could literally die in my dream. I tried to scream at him what could be. I tried to tell him about Caleb. I tried to tell him about the happiness we would experience, but it was like he couldn’t hear me. He was numb to my emotion.

Another time I dreamed that we were dating and it was getting to the point where we got engaged in real life, but in the dream he tells me he’s been accepted to school and is breaking up with me. I repeat the same anguished cry, pleading him to seek God for confirmation, but he becomes numb to my voice and tunes me out.

Each time I’ve had this dream, I wake up panicked, checking to see if Andrew’s asleep beside me,  making sure the baby monitor is still flashing and that Caleb is still our boy.

Taking a few deep breaths, I can usually fall back to sleep.

As I was up with Caleb last night, sitting in the dark of his room, moving back and forth in the rocking chair, I asked Jesus why I have this heart wrenching dream. I guess I’ve never asked him before, and this morning he told me this:

“What you feel in that dream is the tiniest fraction of what I feel when someone walks away from me. I call to them and speak what could be, place hope and vision in their path, yet they tune me out and become numb to my voice. I then watch them walk a path of pain that I died to save them from.”

Wow. I wish I could accurately describe the pain and hurt in my entire being when Andrew rejects me in my dream. God said that’s the tiniest fraction of what he feels. And his love and motives are actually pure. Mine was still rooted in my own desire and my own cry for happiness.

Listen, the Lord of heaven and earth is heartsick when you reject him. He knows what your life could be, and he longs to pick you up, rescue you from the kingdom of darkness and transfer you into the kingdom of his dear son, who ALREADY purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

Don’t run from God, his plans and purposes are much greater than you can even imagine, in your wildest, most bizarre dreams! Though you have lived apart from Christ, he will redeem your life. (Jeremiah 29:10-12)

If you are walking with the Lord, I pray that you can feel how desperately He aches for people to turn to him, and that we would be driven on to share the hope that we have with others.

 

 

 

“Just Wait”

I’ve had a lot of conversations lately that have gone something like this:

Person: “Is your baby walking yet?”

Me: “Not quite, he’s getting close though!”

Person: “Just wait until he’s walking! Then your life will really get crazy. You’ll wish he never learned how to walk.”

Since having Caleb I have been introduced to the worlds of parents who always think they are one harder and more challenging step in front of me.

I quickly realized these people will say that about every single stage:

“Just wait until he’s on the move”

“Just wait until he’s on solids”

“Just wait until he starts walking”

“Just wait until he can talk”

“Just wait until he starts school”

The “just waits” started to drive me crazy! Each stage that should have been exciting was met with well-intentioned parents who tried to put fear into me.

This is why I will never say a negative “just wait” statement.

No matter what you do, or how much you dread it, your baby is going to learn to walk, talk, run and jump. In fact they won’t even stay babies! Dreading the future won’t change a thing and it robs you of your joy in the process.

I feel it is much more helpful to say a statement like this to a mom whose baby is about to start something new, like crawling.

“Wow, this stage definitely holds some new challenges, but it sure is exciting to watch them find their independence.”

We’ve acknowledged the truth of the challenge, while recognizing the joy of the new action. We have also instilled a positive comment in this already over-thinking mom and filled her with a bit of confidence that she can handle each new phase that comes her way!

I don’t know why we do it. I’ve caught myself about to make a negative statement like that to a mom with a baby younger than Caleb. Usually its rooted in my own insecurity. My competitive nature starts to overtake me.

1 Peter 3:10 says

If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.

Discouraging words are not of God, and not only rob others of enjoying life and having happy days, but rob you as well!

Life might seem to get a little busier, but it sure is a joy to watch my son grow and discover!

Just wait until your baby turns one…it’s so much fun!

Remembering

It’s funny how you can long for a season of your life to pass by for so long, only to realize later how quickly it went by. Tonight I went for a walk with my sister and cousin through my hometown. I spent so many hours in my high school or at my part-time jobs, worrying about pleasing people I never see anymore. In the moment it was such a big deal. Their approval meant so much.

I walked past my school and all that remained for me was memories.  I wished I would have been more open about my faith and more passionate about sharing my salvation story. Jesus had done so much for me, what was scaring me?

It’s too late to worry now.  All I can do is move forward.

Time is such a funny thing. One moment drags on and on and the next zooms by so quick you don’t have time to breathe. In reality though life keeps moving on at the same speed.

One day this stage of life will simply be a memory that I look fondly back on. I heard one older mom say that she had no idea how brief a period of time babies actually would be. All the things that worried and overwhelmed her are now just cares of the past. A past which holds some regrets and many joys.

I need to stay present. I need to remember to enjoy this whole stage. It will soon be over before I know it. I’ll drive by our current house and long to hold my babies again, remember our first five years of marriage and feel a flood of emotions from this time.

Don’t be drunk on the future, be engaged with the present.

Stress Free Wedding Planning Part Two

While you are following the three D’s to stress free wedding planning, there is another piece to this fantastic engagement period, that often goes unnoted. Well, at least unnoted to the extent that I feel it should be. I’m talking about pre-marriage counseling or enrolling in a pre-marriage course.  

 I’m not talking about a chat with your pastor in his office, I mean a “dig down deep” pre-marriage course. One that challenges your motives for getting married, asks God to confirm your relationship and prepares you for some of the tough stuff you’re going to face.

The course that my husband and I took was a 10 week intensive that brought up a lot of great things for us to process before getting married. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed that we were having to be so serious during the fun stage of engagement. I am so thankful we took the time to invest.

A lot of couples I talk to have an extremely difficult first year adjusting. The couples we know who have committed to an extensive pre-marriage program have transitioned very well to married life.

50% of all marriages end in the divorce. No one wants to be a part of that heartbreaking statistic, nor do they assume they will be, as they walk down the aisle. I believe it is way more important to set your marriage up with a great foundation and have a little less time for your wedding, than to have a perfect wedding and start out on a rough note.

Our pre-marriage course taught us the importance of praying together daily, of being in agreement and the seriousness of covenant. These things have been invaluable to us.

Never underestimate the power of preparation. Don’t let the busyness of wedding planning cause you to neglect deepening your relationship during this fundamental stage.

A few other thoughts…

Enlist volunteers! You have more family and friends than you realize who want to help. Many of them just want to be given a job and let at it! If you are organized with jobs for everyone ahead of time, the set up stage will fly by!

While setting up for the wedding, DO as little as possible! Just be the coordinator walking around answering questions and organizing. If you don’t feel like that’s something you want to be in charge of, having someone really close to you who understands most of the details to be the one who does this. They can filter through all the questions and bring the important ones to you

Pray over the details of your wedding. Marriage is God’s idea, and he loves throwing a party for a wedding! Hey, Jesus even went to weddings!

Decide that anything that doesn’t get done by midnight before the wedding, just isn’t going to get done. Don’t worry about it. Don’t think about it. JUST ENJOY YOUR WEDDING DAY!

This is a wonderful time that only comes once so do as much as is in your power to let it be a positive memory of love, peace and joy! 

If you would like help finding a solid pre-marriage course in your area, feel free to email monica@myredandpurplelife.com

Happy Wedding Planning!

 

Birthday Boy

I can’t believe that it’s been a year since I gave birth to our precious little boy. Honestly, this has been the fastest year of my entire life. I pray that time can slow down a little bit!

I wanted to share a video that my husband made of Caleb’s first year of life.


We love our boy so much, and thank God daily for the gift he has given us. We look forward to this exciting next year with Caleb!

 

Three D’s To Stress-Free Wedding Planning

On June 5, 2010 I married my best friend, and I can happily say that I walked down the aisle with very little stress! I’ve had many people ask me for advice regarding wedding planning, and I’ve decided to try to sum up what I believe are the things we did well, and maybe not so well to help you as your embark on this exciting journey towards marriage!

For many couples, planning a wedding can be the most stressful time of their relationship with hardly anytime to get to know each  other more. Instead of treasuring the short time of engagement, they combat unnecessary strife. Often the bride can let a monster jump out of her that they didn’t even know what inside of them, scaring her beloved groom and inciting the awful title of “BRIDEZILLA!”

But does that have to be?

Planning our wedding was one of the most exciting times for us and here are three D’s to why I think that was the case!

D #1 – DETERMINE!

When we got engaged, I knew that I could become an over controlling bride who wanted everything my own way. I made a choice
in my heart and determined that the utmost priority was growing closer with my fiance and preparing for marriage. If something about the wedding got in the way of that priority, then it was cut.

Sound harsh? Well just stay with me. You can still have your dream wedding. When you determine this in your heart, that leads you to the next D.

D #2 – DELEGATE!

Once you have determined that your relationship doesn’t need a ton of unnecessary stress, you will be at peace to release details of the wedding to other people.

Let’s be honest, you think you want to do everything on your own right now, but the week of the wedding you will be having a full-out panic, and probably a big fight with your groom-to-be if you take this project on alone.
Our family and friends were absolutely amazing with helping us put on our wedding. Once we sorted out the main details, we were able to pass on a lot of the pieces to people who loved us deeply and were excited about being a part of our wedding.
A great example was our decorations. I wanted our decorations to be absolutely perfect, and my husband has an aunt who is a gifted decorator. I hummed and hawed a little about whether to pass off the decorating plans to her or not. I wanted it perfect, but I also knew that for me the decorations would probably consume my life and create unnecessary stress that wouldn’t be helpful to this period. I followed through with my decision and passed it off to her. I shared my vision and colours, and she made everything perfectly amazing. The decorations are still on of the most favourite parts of my wedding!

D #3 – DECIDE (together)

I believe that bride often robs their fiance of the most wonderful experience for growing together as a couple when they lock out their groom from the wedding planning stage.

Some of you men reading this are probably shouting, no I don’t even wanted to deal with the wedding planning!

Well here is the truth: The bride NEEDS her man to help bring balance to the crazy amount of decisions that have to be made, and to call into perspective the stress that can get out of hand.

You both need to use this as a chance to learn how to make decisions together!

We determined to make the most out of our wedding planning stage and turned many things into date nights, whether it was shopping for ties, choosing our wedding cake and many other fun decision that we decided to make ourselves and not delegate. You can CHOOSE to make these decisions fun.

Looking back, we both say that doing our wedding together was the best decision we could have made!

Next time I will talk about making pre-marriage counseling a priority, and a couple other little tips that will make your day a success!

Remember: Your wedding will one day be just a memory, do everything you can to let it be one of peace, love and joy!

Happy Wedding Planning!

 

Toddler Transitions

I’ve heard a few times that at eighteen months children develop their will and can start being willfully disobedient. While I’m not expert in child psychology, I do have an almost one year old and I do not believe that anymore.

We’re had an interesting month with Caleb as he’s started throwing his food, screaming when he isn’t getting his way, and all the other normal things that come with transition to toddlerhood.

That said, because it’s normal, doesn’t make it any easier on the first time parent. We have spent many evening talking about whether Caleb is getting his way too much, if he demands too much attention, and praying that he doesn’t become “one of those kids” who people label a spoiled brat.

With so many different philosophies on raising kids and many books, programs and guides to go with them, we find ourselves crying out for wisdom.

I read in 1 Corinthians 1:30

 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself.

I was so encouraged by this! Not only am I one with Christ, which I of course knew already, but Jesus is wisdom itself!

Knowing Jesus means that I know wisdom. Phew. I can breathe a sigh of relief now. And don’t you love how the verse says “for our benefit” God did this? He knew we would need all the help we could get, so he made Jesus not just the savior of the world, but wisdom itself.

God you’re too good.

I’m still nervous about this toddler transition. But I was nervous about the baby transition. And I’ll be nervous about the elementary years, and the teens years. This I am thankful for: I have a personal relationship with the saviour of the world who is wisdom, and I’m going to make sure I tap into that wisdom as much as possible!

 

How was your transition to the toddler years?

 

An Unknown Outcome

Before my husband and I started dating, there was a lot of confusion around what was going to happen. I know heard that he liked me, and I definitely liked him. Ok “like” seems like such a ridiculous word, he completely consumed my life.

I had been praying about it for a while, asking God to confirm whether Andrew was the right one for me.

It was hard, we were friends and friends with the same people, so we all hung out, led worship together, went to camp, etc. After finishing the school year there was hardly a day that went by that I didn’t have a chance to see him. And if there was a chance that I might not see him, working at our church held many opportunities for making up excuses for why needed to stop by my office!

As we moved into a season of praying with our mentors about moving forward into a relationship, I was filled with anxiety surrounding the whole situation.  I had a prophetic dream where the Lord told me loud and clear that Andrew was the one that I was to marry. Somehow it didn’t fully quiet my spirit. I was so worried that the Lord wouldn’t speak the same thing to Andrew! I felt like my life was in the hands of this guy, and that didn’t make me feel very secure.

On one of the nights when we were leading worship out at a camp, I was particularly struggling with what the outcome of all this was going to be and God spoke these life changing verses to me.

Surely the righteous will never be shaken; 
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; 
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

Psalm 112:6-8

The key part for me was that I do not need to fear bad news, because my heart is steadfast and secure in the Lord, not in anyone else. 

I put this verse in my phone and set it to remind me of the verse each time I knew I was going to be around Andrew! I meditated on these verses day and night, and they really did take root in my heart. Before I found out that Andrew did receive confirmation from God about our relationship, I had complete peace that my destiny was not bound up in the hands of a man, but that my heart and life was firmly rooted in Jesus Christ.

Whatever your struggle is, whether it’s a relationship, a job or an illness, if you know Jesus Christ you do not have the fear any bad news that might come your way. His love for you is so great, and his plans and purposes for you are good. Our lives are not held in the hands of men, but in the hands of God. Those hands are much stronger and safer.

I hope I can be as confident as Paul when he said,

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. (Philippians 1:21)

 

In Christ alone our hope is found!

*the photo is the first one we had taken of us after we started dating

 

A New Season

Our lives have been on a roller coaster since March 21, 2012. It’s funny how one moment in life can be such a pivotal one. That day our garage burnt down. I’m sure half of you are so sick of hearing about our fire, but just think of it as our turning point.

Being tested by fire is an interesting thing. There were only two items that we have saved from the fire. One is a toonie, and the other is an espresso cup. They have the marks of the fire on them, but they were made of material that was able to withstand it.


I feel that as we were tested by fire in the natural, so we were tested by the fire in the spiritual.

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. (1 Peter 1:7a)

Questions surfaced in our hearts surrounding what we held most dear.

What is important?

What things in our life are we holding on to that we shouldn’t?

Are we truly living the life that God has given us to the fullest?

For us it was a culmination of the fire, taking the Married for Life course and the timing being right with Caleb getting a bit older that has released us into a new season.

The new season…

Starting in August my husband is taking three months off work and we are doing a full-time internship at our church under our Young Families Pastor.

Before the fire, we did not see how we would be able to provide for our family during a full-time internship, even though it was on our hearts. We were so blessed with the insurance money and God showed us that he has used this event to make a way for us to enter into a new season of ministry. We have always known that at some point we will move into full-time, vocational ministry.

We don’t know much of what this season holds. We’re very excited to learn, grow and get involved. God is just taking us by the hand and revealing step after step. He is holding his lamp to our path. He led us to the conference in California, then gave us new dreams and is now leading us to a season of deeper preparation.

As we continue to walk with Him, I know the next step with become clear.

The fire was a test, but the thing that has brought true breakthrough has been our commitment to pray together, and our commitment to pray for each other.

I have just finished going through the 30-day Power of a Praying Wife book, and I have seen God do amazing things in Andrew as I’ve prayed over the specific areas of his life.

If you feel like you aren’t walking in all that God has for you or that you aren’t making the most of this one precious life he has given you, He DESIRES to breathe new life into you.

I challenge you to go on a prayer journey, asking God to reveal his heart to you and to work on the deep areas of yourself. As he does this, he will be faithful to hold the lamp to your path and guide you. You won’t need to strive. You won’t have to stress. You’ll just have to take his hand and walk.

Psalm 119:105 says

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

The path that the Lord marks out is truly an adventure. There is no such thing as a boring life with Jesus!

Faithful Moms

I was reading some of the Facebook status’ and tweets this morning, and I was struck by some of the words said about moms who had been faithful for so many years.

I have been thinking a lot lately about all the amazing things I’ve learned since becoming a mom and how my life has changed. Today it hit me though that being a faithful mom is going to take repeating this for years and years and years, continuing to grow, learn, love and encourage.

I can only pray that twenty-five years from now my children will arise and call me blessed. That I would have done my job consistently and raised my kids in the ways of the Lord.

It’s been an incredible first year of raising my first baby from a newborn to an almost one year old, but I know this was the easiest phase. It was all predictable. Now comes the hard part of shaping character, disciplining, being a godly example and loving unconditionally.

So here is to all you moms who have been faithful, committed, loving and purposeful day in and day out for many years. Here is to you moms who haven’t been recognized with an award for faithful service, or given the key to the city for raising great citizens. Here is to moms that survived years of not sleeping, and still are fully functioning humans! Here is to the moms that pour out God’s love onto their kids and lead them towards the love of Jesus.

You are amazing.

May you be so richly blessed today and always.

Thank you to my mom who has been an incredible blessing to me for twenty-three and a half years. I have such a deep appreciation and respect for the job she took on, and giving birth to four kids, after becoming a mom and giving birth! I love you!

I am so blessed to now have two moms, gaining an incredible mother in law in 2010! I love you too, I can’t imagine what life was like before I was in your family!

One of the best things of my life has been watching these two amazing moms become grandmas. Love just oozes from them, and I know my son in outrageously blessed by these godly women!

 

Happy Mother’s day to all you moms, may you feel strengthened, appreciated and blessed today!

 

High Five For Friday!

Wow, has another week just flown by? I can’t pretend to have been desperate for Friday, since I didn’t even know what day of the week it was half the time the last seven days! I am excited to be heading into a weekend with my family celebrating my first Mother’s Day!

I am linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog. Check out the other posts there!

1. I had coffee with my other sisters this week! If you don’t know the Bachtold girls you can get to know them here, since they were the winners of the celebrating family photo contest. They are such great friends, and I really enjoyed catching up with them, and having a bit of time out by myself!

2. Caleb was up for almost six hours during Sunday night/Monday morning. It was not fun. The good thing was that Andrew stayed home the next day to help me take him to the doctor and get some extra rest. We had very tired eyes that day!

3. On the day my husband stayed home, we killed a bit of time at the library after going to the doctor. I picked up some of my favourite time wasting magazines. This picture was from Tuesday evening when I got into bed at like 7 p.m. and read while Andrew put Caleb to bed. It was good break.

4. I was craving pasta salad this week and I made my first one. Ok, I know that’s lame, but I used to hate pasta salad. It was delicious! I am definitely going to make it again.

5. Apparently I had a good find at Value Village! I saw a skateboard and bought it for my husband (his was stolen a while ago). I paid ten dollars for it and I found it would be worth almost $200.00 brand new. Andrew’s already teaching Caleb!

Enjoy your weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!