Friday, January 27, 2017

Is it the Will of God?- Part 1

Image result for bob ross winter scenesOK so have you heard of Bob Ross?
If you haven't, look him up.
He's a gifted painter.

And while watching Bob Ross paint recently, (because hubby has been binge watching every season) I was mesmerized at the brilliant use of color and brush stroke that made every painting breathtakingly, reflectively, and simply beautiful. ( How's that for a long sentence?) 

 I was in prayer Wednesday morning,  focusing on seeking the Lord for direction for my family. The verse in proverbs was my motivation. I wanted to make sure we "acknowledged Him in all our ways, [that] He may direct our paths."
As I knelt at my chair, talking with my Father, a painting from Bob Ross begin to take shape in my mind's eye.
First there was the various shades and gradients of blues and whites, birthed from a whirlwind of broad brush strokes to form the backdrop.

Then Father spoke to me-
See how the magnificence of this background color formed? It was a masterful mixing of hues on the palette, a skillful retrieval of paint onto the brush- just so- , and a confident generous application of the paint onto the canvas. Though,it was not done with a fine brush but a broad one, though the strokes were not singular, but wide-spread, it produces a backdrop from which the rest of the story will emerge. 
Related image
broader brush for background*

These are the"normal"  happenings in our lives that create the backdrop for our unveiling stories. It's  our daily getting up and ready for work-whether inside or outside the home.It's the every day chores, general tasks, and the seemingly mundane responsibilities. God is not at this point worried about the type of toothpaste we choose, the grocery market we prefer, whether you wanted wintergreen or peppermint Altoids, or if the color of your car should be champagne or pearl. As long as it does not cause you to transgress, God can use you at that in-door office job or that  manual labor,construction job. Go ahead and make the choice that suits you best. You will not abandon his grace, and mess up his plans for your life because you chose one over the other. Like the broad brush strokes the painter uses for the background, there are parts of our lives that flow one into the other. God trusts us to choose what to do, without suffering anxiety about whether this be the Lord's will for our lives.

But what of the not-so-normal?

Continued in part 2:

*Image from www.ateliermagique.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Holy and Happy Part 2

Related image
image from wanelo.com
Happiness, it seems, can only be defined on an individual basis.
What makes me happy may not do the same for you.
But in exploring happiness in holy matrimony, is it wrong to expect it?

And is it naive to expect your spouse to be a source of happiness for you?

I say no, and no.

 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.- Prov. 5:18

Why else do we marry, if not in it's simplest form, for the belief that we have found "the one who our soul loves"?
When we are convinced in our mind, and soul we have found the one who evokes that "peaceful satisfaction" in our spirits, we agree to the deepest commitment there ever can be outside of Christ.

And I believe it is God-initiated.
This desire to marry, and our desire toward the one he leads us to marry, are a part of a God-instituted drive, to unify two hearts into one.

Will spouses fail at making the other happy?
Yes,
because we are frail and dust.
But it is not impossible, to walk in the Spirit, and subdue the carnal nature and oblige ourselves to serve the other in a way that brings them a peaceful satisfaction (my definition of happiness)- and actually find joy in doing so.
Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.- Ecclesiastes 9:9

Yes there is a way to find joy in service. Think about the delight you will inspire in your spouse's heart to have prepared their favorite meal. Think about the smile on her face when you thoughtfully clear the clothes and books from the foot of the bed. Imagine the pure joy in his eyes when he comes home to inviting arms and a kiss.
Shouldn't knowing you had a hand in your spouse's peaceful satisfaction, compel you to put in the effort to do the little things they request of us?

This dedication to your spouse is a holy dedication. It is attentive and exclusive, because no one will know them as well you as the years go by. No one will know that he likes black tea, not green, so much. No one will know her greatest fear and her biggest accomplishment. This is what makes your union holy. And in the pursuit of holiness, there is a peaceful satisfaction that results. Holiness is separation from the "world" and dedicated exclusiveness to your love. This holiness inspires service, and this service inspires happiness.

Maybe marriage was not meant to make you happy, but happy you will be, when holy to one another and to God, you are.

-Blessings, Chantel


P.S. Maybe you would like to Check out the book Sacred Marriage:What if God designed Marriage to make us Holy more than to make us happy by Gary Thomas.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Holy and Happy pt 1

Lately I had been turning over thoughts of marriage and notions of happiness and how to have both simultaneously. I recently read the beginnings of a book that was titled "What if Marriage was meant to make you Holy, not Happy?"
By all means I imagine the author was not trying to say happiness is not to be expected in marriage. Granted, it was making the point that happiness , while not the goal,  is the product of the pursuit of holiness.
Never the less, I believe we can expect happiness- it just looks different from one individual to the next.

So first let me clarify what I mean by happy.
Immediately the word "happy"  evokes, for me, a sense of rest and satisfaction. It's a sense of accomplishment- things are as it should be.

It's watching my children hungrily chomping away at their sandwiches in the middle of the day, knowing they  are one less meal away from hunger. It's hearing the chaos in the hallway from a hide and seek game that has gotten out of hand, and cringing at the noise , yet secretly smiling at the accompanying joy. It's having a cut off notice for the lights but not worrying one bit, because you and your husband are from the "buckle in and knuckle up" club- and we've got each other.

Yes happiness for me does not mean things are "perfect". It simply means things are in place, and are at a level that I can cope.

With that in mind, it's understood that couples may get to a point in marriage where they are merely surviving the day, and they lose sight of happiness. They lose grip with peace and satisfaction as things spiral out of proportion. 

I admit, I may look at my husband at the end of the day, in the middle of a chore, with a put-on smile that only serves to reveal my exhaustion even more. It's on those moments I am silently hoping he can receive the telepathic message: "I see you babe. I just have no energy for us right now." This exhaustion, coupled with dissatisfaction at the result of all the output of my energy, renders me unhappy. 

The problem, they say, is when we look to one another to make us happy.
Or is it? 
 To be continued...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New year- New priorities

Image result for perspective
image from web
And sometimes its not the priorities that are new. It's the way they fall in your life. 




 Last year, it seems (from general consensus all over the internet), was hard for most folks.
 2016 was a struggle ya'll.
But when the going gets tough, things are revealed.
What's important becomes apparent.
 Things you thought were priorities, reveal themselves to be merely comforts, or preferences, but not quite as important as we made them out to be.

I thought a bigger house was important.
But more than a bigger house, the people in my house needed to work on bigger hearts.
We implemented various ways to cultivate peace and unity in our home over the course of 2016.
Finally in the last month we solidified what we call our Four walls or "laws" of peace

  1. Say Yes and OK
  2. Say  "Sorry"
  3. Honor other's requests
  4. Speak softly
See peace right now is high on the priority list.

And I thought an extra job was important.
But it turned that out more important was the job of keeping my house a home.
The anxiety and stress from trying to clock in and, be prepared, and do well, was not worth the forced neglect of order, overseeing, and management my children needed at pertinent times of the day.  Calm has returned to our mornings, instead of a harried frazzled rush.

Last but not least by any means. I thought reading the bible in one year was important.
I learned that more important than that was reading the bible and hiding it in my heart. What good was getting through all the words, but none of it getting in me? 

How did 2016 reshape your Priority list?
What did you realize you could live without, that you once thought you had to have?

Image result for perspective
Image from web
New year- new perspective- New priorities.
With our relationship with God as number 1.