Can you be sure you’ve met the one?

choosingtheone

The question I am asked the most is “how did you KNOW Andrew was the guy?”.

I LOVE this question because God gave me an amazing assurance in this area, and I believe he wants you to have complete confidence in making this decision.

I have boiled it down to the four things that made me certain he was to be my husband.

1. Ask God. Ok this seems obvious, but seriously ask God with an open heart “is this person who you have for me?”. Be open to hear no. Get to the point where you can honestly lay it down and accept this verse that God gave to me when I was asking Him.

They {the righteous} do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

Psalm 112:7 (italics mine)

At that time in my life if God said no to me being with Andrew, it would have felt like terrible news because I was so in love with him. By God giving me this verse he was saying, “no matter how I lead you, don’t fear because I’ll care for your heart.”

2. Confide in a mentor, parent or godly person you trust. Once you feel the go ahead from God in your heart, bounce this feeling off someone else. Ask them to seek the Lord on your behalf and to have them share what they get.

Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.

Proverbs 20:18

This is the second biggest decision you will make in your life, next to choosing to follow Jesus. What this verse is saying is don’t make life altering decisions without wise advice!

3. Keep the physical minimal. Our society tells us that you need to have sex with a person before you commit to them. You don’t need to test it out, if you save yourselves for one another, there’s nothing to compare it too!

Keep the remaining part of your unsurrendered brain clear enough to make this decision.

I asked Andrew not to kiss me until we were engaged, because I only wanted to kiss one man. When he did kiss me, my heart was completely his. It would have been nearly impossible for me to hear “no” from God once he did. (I’ll also add, the one worth marrying is the one who’ll protect you by respecting your request to wait!)

4. Take an in-depth pre marriage course. The course we took challenged us each week to talk through the topic and make sure we were on the same page before proceeding in marriage. It felt intense in the moment, but we look at it now as the best thing we could have done before getting married!

Rather than trying to get ready for your life together through gaining possessions Proverbs 16:16 encourages us to seek wisdom.

How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver!

Surviving that pre-marriage course still convinced this was right was the final confirmation we needed!

 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

James 1:5

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The guy in the hallway

My office was a good walk from the main printer in the church I worked at. To save myself from running down ten times a day, I would save most of my printing for once in the morning, once in the afternoon.

Hitting “print” on all my files, I picked up my keys and headed for my short cut to the main office. I cut through the gym, past the kitchen and opened the door for the back hallway.

All of a sudden there was a pounding inside my chest stronger and louder than  anything I could hear in the moment. My head felt dizzy and my cheeks were burning hot. All the blood rushed to my toes and I felt faint.

Was that Andrew Switzer walking toward me?

I didn’t even know that I liked him consciously, but this unsuspecting encounter had me wondering where my heart was at during this full body reaction.

“Hey Monica!”

“Oh, hi, what are you doing here?” I choked out.

Dumb question. It’s probably confidential, it is a church.

I couldn’t even hear his response with the pulse in my ear drums pounding so loud. Why was I being so ridiculous? I was officially in my twenties now, not a high schooler, I couldn’t react like this!

I heard him say something about how he was going to be working on a video for the pastor I was assistant to so he’d be in contact with me on some specifics.

Oh great, I’d have to pull myself together enough to work with him on something!

We parted ways and I took my racing heart down to the printer to pick up my papers.

I remember every single detail about that encounter, because it’s the first time I remember recognizing this unspoken attraction to Andrew. It caught me off guard and overwhelmed me completely.

That was five and half years ago. We started dating the following summer, got married that spring, had our first baby the spring after that, and our second baby this past spring.

It’s been a whirlwind roller coaster at times, and sometimes I forget what a privilege it is to do life with this guy who radically stole my heart.

Everything about him on the outside seemed so different from me; care free, relaxed, maybe even a bit disorganized – but I loved that and he literally injected fun into every situation I saw him in.

The funny thing about “growing up” together, is that we see ourselves changing, I becoming a little more like him, and him maybe becoming a little more like me. But it helps to take the time to remember where we came from.

Being with him is pretty normal now, but he’s not normal. He’s the love of my life, and if I ever forget that all I have to do is think back to how desperately I wanted to be with him.

And then I thank God for giving me the man who made my heart beat so wild to live, serve and raise kids with.

I’m so proud to say that this world changer is my husband. 1507673_10153589756810431_1080552055_n

Lessons on Lombard

Our last day in San Francisco we were walking to Fisherman’s Warf and Pier 39 from our hotel and then taking the bus back since it was a good distance to walk. We had the double stroller and more belongings than we needed.

It was a good time, but we were exhausted by supper. This is was end of a long trip. Caleb was done with big crowds and Amayah wasn’t loving sleeping in her car seat.

We were told to walk up to Lombard Street and that we’d be able to catch a bus to our hotel.

We walked up a minor hill for a bit and realized we were not seeing any bus stops. Feeling optimistic since the kids were quiet we kept walking, expecting to see one in the next few blocks.

Suddenly we are standing at the bottom of an extremely steep hill. All I could think of is that I was way too exhausted to even attempt this. We looked up and down the street and realized we’d have to walk big hills either direction in search of a bus stop.

What we didn’t know is that Lombard Street is famous in San Francisco for its crazy hills and especially a section with eight sharp turns. Lombard_Street-_San_Francisco,_CA

Makes sense since at the top of each pass we climbed there was a large group of people photographing the view from the top.

We conquered the first hill only to stand at the bottom of a yet another. We did that hill, to stand at the bottom of a steeper one. One road had stairs because the incline was so steep.

These moments of deep exhaustion are where you see what you’re made of. I saw something in my husband that day that I had not seen before. It was a focused determination to finish strong.

I’ve known that he is motivated but what I saw that day was an amazing ability to encourage and inspire me to greatness.

My instinct was to collapse into a heap and say I want to go home and blame him for not knowing where the bus stop was.

Because of his positive attitude and vocal encouragement I couldn’t give in to my complaining. His drive was contagious!

When we climbed the last hill and enjoyed the view, I realized that this was a picture God was giving us for our life. With drive, determination, high doses of encouragement and relying on God, together we would conquer what we feel in the natural is impossible.

There was a shift that took place in my heart during that walk. For the first time I finally saw Andrew has my team-mate and the power of encouraging one another.

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25

But What About My Needs?

stayingafloatI’ve written a number of posts lately talking about ways that I have been challenged to be a better wife. Some of you feel discouraged with where you are at after hearing about positive things going on in someones else’s marriage.

I’ve heard your stories, and trust me, they break my heart.

Asking your husband to give you a break from the kids seems like asking for another big fight – one that you’re not sure if your relationship can survive.

You want to see your marriage change for the better, and perhaps even feel a little hope, but how do you make it through in the mean time?

First, I want to just say that I’m speaking of couples who are struggling. Some of you simply don’t want to inconvenience your spouse by bringing stuff up to them (e.g. asking for a break). But this is part of learning and growing together. You give. He takes. You take. He gives.

So while you’re doing your best to learn how to respect your husband, manage your finances, and pray for him, you need to make sure that you are getting cared for so that you don’t fall apart.

Here are some practical ideas to keep you afloat while your marriage is sinking.

  1. Seek wise counsel. You can’t do this alone. If you’re husband (or wife if you feel this is applicable to you as husband) is even slightly open to someone meeting with you guys, do it! You may have to be vulnerable, and it may be humbling, but it will be so worth it. If your spouse won’t go with you, seek counsel alone.
  2. Find another mom who you can swap babysitting with. If you aren’t able to get a break from the kids by way of your hubby, there will certainly be another mom in the same boat. Make it simple: kids movie time at her house one week, and then switch off the next. The one baby sitting doesn’t have to have a ton of extra work.
  3. Find a prayer partner. I’m not talking about someone who will let you dump on them and then join you in a husband bashing session. You’re looking for a woman who will stand with you in prayer, believing for the BEST in your marriage and in your spouse.
  4. Lower your expectations on yourself. You might be walking through a lot emotionally, and you need time to connect with the Lord and rest. What can you take off your plate to lighten your load that isn’t of top importance?
  5. Get involved in a loving, supportive community. Mom’s groups, bible studies, and a solid church family will make sure that you are surrounded and cared for. If you’re plugged in, you can’t slip through the cracks! If there is nothing like this at a church or community centre close to you…create it! (Tips here)

You are not being selfish by taking these step! If you want your marriage and family to survive, and eventually thrive, you need to be supported!

You don’t have to be in this alone!

You got this!

virtuouscapableProverbs 31:10 asks a daunting question.

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? It almost implies that these two things together are nearly impossible to find. The second part of the verses says “She is more precious than rubies.”

Oh to find a woman such as this, the writer Solomon cries. If you find her, do not let her go.

Many of us as wives and moms don’t feel capable at times, and what on earth does virtuous really mean in today’s world anyway?

Let’s look at some simple definitions.

Capable: Able to achieve efficiently whatever one has to do

Virtuous: Having or showing high moral standards

What I want to tell you, dear, tired, mom, wife, child of God is that you are more than capable. You have absolutely everything you need in Christ Jesus to fulfill the role that he is asking of you.

He has promised us strength.
He has promised us grace.
He has promised us peace.
He has promised us wisdom.
He has promised us knowledge.
He has promised to be our joy.

Partnering with our Lord, you are 100% equipped as a capable wife. If every batch of muffins flop and you can’t figure out how to fold a fitted sheet (ok, I need to learn a trick for those) you are still capable of doing what you need to.

You are worth far more than rubies. Or diamonds. Or gold.  Or {insert highest valued item here}.

Second is virtuous. High moral standards. We all have standards, but what are they based on? The Holy Spirit is waiting to bring conviction to our hearts.

I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

Psalm 16:7-8

So I hope you hear what I’m trying to say.

You got this.

In better english: You can do this!

God is continually strengthening and equipping you to do exactly what he needs you to do as a wife and mom.

Not what I need to do, or what your best friend needs to do, or your sister needs to do. He’s equipping you to do what YOU need to do.

Don’t compare. Don’t strive.

If you don’t do what you’re to do, than whose going to do it?

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? YOUR HUSBAND!

Be blessed with strength, courage and a mind secure in Jesus Christ today!

If You Think He Doesn’t Love You

IfYouThinkHeDoesntLoveYouMy number one love language is quality time. As a child, a time out would have been a terrible punishment. Remove me from my friends? A nightmare!

In my books, there will never be a date long enough, days off consecutive enough or a conversation too lengthy with my husband.

I love road trips with him. A long drive, a coffee and enough time to talk about everything.

With a little less time in our schedule these days, and kids who like to monopolize our driving time, my quality time tank can be lacking.

During my first three months with our new baby, I went through a number of postpartum ups and downs (I’m forever thankful for periods of hormonal stability). Not having my number one love language met consistently caused me to question my husband’s love for me.

It’s not that he didn’t want to spend time with me, we just had a baby that cried almost non stop, and a toddler trying to fight for equal attention. It was tough.

One evening we ended up talking about it and through a mess of tears and mixed up words I told him I didn’t know if he really loved me right now because we weren’t spending much time together.

He was able to tell me that he had been showing me love through his number one love language, acts of service, because time was not as available.

I had been so blind. My house was spotless every night! Now that’s love!

There are times when we need to ask to have our love language spoken, but then there are times to ask what our spouse’s language is and see if they’ve been trying to speak to us that way.

If you are in a seemingly healthy marriage (no form of abuse) and you are starting to question if your spouse loves you, ask yourself these questions.

1. What is their love language? (Take Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages Quiz)

2. Are they trying to speak love in their language?

3. Can you become bilingual? Meaning, will you accept the love they are trying to communicate with out putting them down?

Once you accept it, you can bring up your need to be loved in your language from a place of respect instead of a place of neglect.

I have gleaned a lot of wisdom from a concept that Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love & Respect, laid out in his book. He encourages couples to assume that (if in a non abusive relationship) each other is a person of goodwill who is not trying to be mean, unfeeling or degrading.

They simply do not understand and need to be loved, or respected to a place of seeing your heart. 

My husband was certainly not trying to deprive me of my relational “air”. I simply misread him because he was speaking a different language!

Make sure you aren’t hitting a language barrier. Learning any language takes work, but becoming bilingual always pays off!

Pinterest Problems

Okay, I’m going to try word this post as nicely and lovingly as possible. Like I warned in Let Your Voice Be Heard, I felt like God was going to have me speak up to a few things that I think are going to be leading to the detriment of our society. And here is one that has been stirring in my heart for a while.

When I first signed up for Pinterest, I don’t think I fully understood what is was for (who does when they initially sign up for a new social media site anyway). I loved the home decor, and especially the DIY (do it yourself) projects that were suddenly grouped together for me, and I didn’t have to spend hours searching through blogs. It seemed pretty great.

But I have a concern when it comes to two things.

1) Some of the images that are being pinned are really scandalous, revealing and a flat out inappropriate. 

2) I am seeing way too many boards from the married and unmarried alike of people they find attractive. I’ve seen many names for these boards, from “eye candy” to “crushes”. 

Will you bear with me for a moment to understand why I am concerned about these two things, and why I believe you should be too?

First of all, I believe that bikini’s, for example, are not a good thing to be wearing in public. This is for many reasons, but mostly because it causes the men around us to struggle. Now, if you’re alone on a secluded island with just your husband…do what you want. But please, can we all agree to leave our lingerie in the bedroom and work together to fight this issue of lust that is sweeping our world away?

Now, I can already hear people saying that if it’s a struggle for you, don’t follow my boards. And let me say I agree. If you pin an revealing picture, I will unfollow you immediately, because my husband or son could be sitting right next to me. 

Should we though, contribute to another person’s struggle? In Romans 14, Paul talks about how it is better for us to not eat meat or drink wine if it will cause another believer to stumble. He is so concerned for the stability of the other believer and that they not fall to their temptations, he says it’s better to not partake in the activity at all then to lead another believer astray.

Secondly, if you are purposefully drooling over bodies that you find attractive, you are lusting over them. I think sometimes as Christian women we can think that lust is just something that men deal with.

In the long list of fruits of the flesh, lust is right alongside sexual immorality and impurity. Philippians 4:8 says

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

The last thing that I think is probably the biggest issue, is the problem with comparison. No woman (or man) wants to be compared with an unrealistic, air brushed model. You can’t live up to it. If my husband had some open infatuation with another woman, whether he knows her personally or not, I would be hurt beyond what words can describe.

Lust can be as powerful as a drug, and so can insecurity. Relationships today need more security, trust and wholehearted faithfulness, not less. We should go above and beyond the call of duty to show our spouse that they have our undivided love and adoration. If you are not married yet, I encourage you to practice this principle, and not develop habits that will be hard to reverse later on.

I was struck by this verse in Song of Solomon 2:15 the other night as we were reading.

Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!

Hear me say this: More often than not it is the little things that ruin relationships. Catch the little foxes, the little habits, patterns and sinful actions because they destroy your love.

If you have regrets, don’t feel guilty or under the weight of any condemnation, just choose this day to be an example of holiness, purity and modesty to a confused generation.