Giving Grace: Chronic Illness

Giving Grace: Chronic Illness

We took a pause from our Giving Grace series, but we're back to it with two lovely people who are willing to share a bit about what it looks like to give grace in a marriage where one spouse has chronic illness. Please welcome Stacey and Ryan as they give us a glimpse into their journey together!

Read More

Imitation Self-Control Tastes a Bit like Imitation Vanilla: The Real Thing is Better

Imitation Self-Control Tastes a Bit like Imitation Vanilla: The Real Thing is Better

I am, we are, works in progress. The past few weeks have been a painful work in progress. It seems like the whole onion analogy works here. There are layers and layers of my controlling nature and as God peels them away, sometimes I cry.

A large part of why I control is because I’m afraid. My biggest fear is that I will fail my husband and my kids.

So much of my planning, organizing, and caretaking stems from the anxiety that if I don’t do X, Y, and Z—or if they don’t—things will fall apart. I keep my expectations high for a well-run, well-organized life, doing my best to keep everyone moving along as they should, investing all that I can emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I believe that this continually striving will give me protection from all that failure that looms large out there.

Hey, guess what? I’m exhausted. Again.

Somehow, I fooled myself. I cloaked my controlling nature and hid it under the guise of simple self-discipline, self-control. That sounds so holy, right? How can self-discipline, self-control, be wrong?

Read More

What a Tree Can Teach You about Kindness

What a Tree Can Teach You about Kindness

On Monday, Craig stayed home from work and through the morning, I still found myself bitter. Poor guy. HE'S SICK and I can't seem to muster up the compassion I know I should have and should be showing.

Part of the problem is that on Saturday, we spent all day working in the garden. Craig helped me. All day. But instead of resting in that gratitude for the day he was able to help, instead I grew resentful of the fact that we still had so much to do (inside and outside) and now, I would be completing all these tasks by myself.

I could have done the sane thing and adjusted the amount of items reasonably achievable by one person. But when I get in my "uber-productive" mode, I lose some section of my brain entitled "Rational thought." Words such as EFFICIENCY! PRODUCTIVITY! ORGANIZATION! ORDER! play through my brain on repeat. And anything (anyone?) that tries to disrupt my work? The image of Alice and Wonderland's Queen of Hearts passes through my mind.

Sad.

Read More

3 Ways to Steward Money Well (without being a control freak)

3 Ways to Steward Money Well (without being a control freak)

Organization, clean lines, matching baskets, tidy boxes—these things bring me great joy. 

Every paycheck, with a click of the "record pay" button in my budgeting software, the entire amount gets distributed across rows and rows of envelopes.

The dollars assume their positions. I know what I can spend and where. It's nice and orderly and the money obeys the boundaries I set for it.

But because it is the way life happens (two kids in braces at the same time???), my envelopes are hardly ever overflowing with money. In fact, it seems, more often than I would like, the needs are overflowing. And when the incoming needs outpace the outgoing amounts of money, my sense of orderliness and calm flies out the door and, in my anxiety, I invite in chaos.

Read More

This is Us, Advent, and Marriage

This is Us, Advent, and Marriage

Did you see last night's episode of This is Us? Craig and I were bawling! After some reflecting, I realized what powerful implications the ideas in this episode have for our marriages—and (how fun is this!) our search for light.

(I don't think I'm giving too much away in this post, but feel free to save this post and come back to it AFTER you've watched it so you can be sure I haven't ruined anything.)

We knew before last night that Rebecca knew Randall's biological dad. This week, Randall finds out, too. He feels how you would expect him to feel: angry, hurt, betrayed, bereft. During the show, he starts talking to his dad (we know his dad is deceased, so to find out how he starts talking to him, you'll have to watch). At one point, Randall flashes back to his childhood. Even though the particular memory that plays out through a window in the cabin is filled with joy and love, all Randall can see is his mother's betrayal. The pain of his mother secret overrides and overshadows everything.

Read More