Lesson 11 from Our 11th Year of Marriage

Lesson 11 from Our 11th Year of Marriage

My not-so-little sister got married this past weekend and as part of their celebration, they did a generations dance. All the married couples danced to "Remember When." People with smooth skin and wrinkled, smiled at each and swayed to music. Slowly couples married less years sat down until one couple was left standing — a marriage 67 years in the making, my grandparents.

Can you imagine being married for 67 years in a culture where a marriage lasting more than 67 weeks is a rarity? Can we not simply hang in there for 67 years, but also enjoy the ride? That's our plan.

Last year to mark our 10 year anniversary, I wrote 10 Lessons from 10 Years of Marriage. Last Saturday, my husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary and I've been mulling over what I've learned in our past year of marriage. If you stop learning, you stop growing. 

So, here I humbly offer my lesson 11, from an 11 year + 8 day old marriage: 

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When You're Afraid You Haven't Changed

When You're Afraid You Haven't Changed

I answered the phone to the sound of tears. Not just the soft kind, but the kind that you shed when you're on the brink. The kind you shed when you're staring into the same old pit and feel like there's nothing you can do to keep yourself from tumbling down. The kind you shed when you feel like you're there all over again, in the place you never wanted to go back to. And it feels like the same old struggle is the same as it's always been. 

Between tears she said, "The thing I'm the most scared of is that I haven't changed." 

Lean in loved one and listen closely, because truth sets us free. Imagine we are face to face, I am staring you in the face with my finger in the truth, and maybe a bit of your face, because it’s a battle out there, but we have what we need to live victorious.

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She Said Yes + [Last day of the G I V E A W A Y]

She Said Yes + [Last day of the G I V E A W A Y]

How did we get here?

My mom and I were on the plane to Abbotsford both grateful for another opportunity to serve God by serving His people. We were also both not entirely sure how to answer that question. We pondered and then my mom went first.

She told me when she was a new believer in the 80’s, the church she was part of was hosting Vacation Bible School. Someone asked if she would lead a Bible study for the moms who were dropping their kids off. She said yes. It was the first of many yeses, followed by many more over many years. 

Many yeses to God over many years eventually equals a surrendered life.

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What Only God Can Do + [1 more day of a Beth Moore G I V E A W A Y]

What Only God Can Do + [1 more day of a Beth Moore G I V E A W A Y]

I was appointed to navigate us across Toronto since I was from "around here" (AKA Canada). Thankfully, we did eventually arrive at the restaurant after much prayer and the GPS recalculating. We headed to the reserved area in the back where the two teams were meeting to eat. I rounded the corner and stopped dead in my tracks. Beth Moore was standing six feet away casually chatting it up with her team members.

I reminded myself to think like a cucumber and be cool. I appeared to be the only one in the room fighting the urge to act like a crazy person. I sat down and channelled my crazy into a text to my friend who was with me in Vancouver in 2008 (whose goal in life is to sing backup for Travis Cottrell one day). I typed, Oh my goodness… I am at dinner with Beth and Travis!!!!!!!

Her immediate response (which I fully anticipated) was, I'M DYING! I’M DYING! Feel free to introduce me! I know they're real people but seriously! This is an 8 year old miracle.

Then I remembered that I never play it cool nor I’ve never been cool. Crazy is so much more me. So I got up and casually walked over

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The Path of Imperfect Progress [+ LIVING PROOF LIVE WITH BETH MOORE GIVEAWAY]

The Path of Imperfect Progress [+ LIVING PROOF LIVE WITH BETH MOORE GIVEAWAY]

“Are you going to keep writing?”

I was unprepared for this question at my dad’s funeral. I had begun blogging during his journey with ALS simply to keep people updated on his progress so my mom wouldn’t have to over the phone. The purpose was clear— to tell my dad’s story and how God was continually showing Himself faithful.

When my dad died (August 17, 2009), I figured my blog would too.

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When There's No Way Out But Through + [A BETH MOORE GIVEAWAY]

When There's No Way Out But Through + [A BETH MOORE GIVEAWAY]

When I heard my dad’s voice on the other side of the phone, I knew something was terribly wrong.  A fatal disease I knew nothing about was about to change everything. The world where my dad was invincible shattered with three simple letters — ALS.

It had been nine short weeks since God had held out His hand and asked me for my time.

My small group was in the middle of a Bible study called Living Beyond Yourself. God had prepared my heart with His Word using 5 straight days of personal study on His faithfulness. Under “How does God want you to respond to what He showed you today?” I wrote: “Faith is necessary to follow God and it must be based on the faithfulness of His character and who He is, not what He does.”

From a DVD in my living room the day after that fateful phone call, Beth Moore taught us this:

“Always associate ‘through’ with ‘faith.’ Faith always goes through.”

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That Day God Had Something Special to Say + [A BETH MOORE GIVEAWAY]

That Day God Had Something Special to Say + [A BETH MOORE GIVEAWAY]

With one hand on my shoulder and the other wagging a perfectly french manicured finger inches from my face, she boldly declared, "God told me He is going to tell you something you are going to KNOW and you are NEVER going to forget."  

I was not one to make confident claims about hearing from God outside of general revelation of Scripture. But I was always intrigued when people would share about how God had spoken specifically to them. And, I was confused about what He sounded like and how on earth they were so sure it was Him.

The sidelines felt safer than stepping into my own lane and starting to run. I had never felt special enough for special revelation.

Nevertheless, I was excited. If God was going to speak, I certainly didn’t want to miss it.

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A New Fight Song for A New Marriage

A New Fight Song for A New Marriage

I heard recently that the hardest years in marriage are the ones after the wedding. That may be hard to believe on this very perfect day where everything went as planned. As you gaze into each other’s smiling eyes, you might not be able to imagine that at some point, you will stare into those same eyes, only all of a sudden, they may look quite angry.

Unpleasantly surprising thoughts like, “this is not what I signed up for,”  or, “this is not what I expected,” or, “it was not supposed to be like this,” might wander through your mind.

When you find yourselves with your fight faces on, I want you to remember this: Choosing to fight for each other, rather than with each other, will change the climate of your marriage.

So, let this be your fight song. Your take back your life song. And your prove your marriage is alright song, because I know you’ve both got lots of fight left in you.

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That Time I Tried to Start a Fire

That Time I Tried to Start a Fire

How hard can it be to start a fire? 

This was my thought the other night as I planned to enjoy a quiet fire in our backyard pit. The garden hose was close by in the event it became too excited.

My pile of dead lilac branches and my few crumpled pieces of paper seemed full of promise as I took the lighter to them. The paper went out as quickly as quickly as my confidence without a single branch catching the flames. Apparently, sparks come easy, but starting and sustaining an actual fire is an entirely different story. 

Determined, I marched back inside and rummaged around until I found plenty more paper and several chunks of cardboard. Back outside, I placed them underneath the twigs and branches providing ample opportunity to ignite.

This time, the spark was sustained, and I enjoyed being captivated by what fires do: consume

As I sat, my thoughts wandered to spiritual fire. Experiences with God seem to spark fires of faith, but after the weekend retreat, the end of the blog post, the conclusion of the conference, the last chapter of the Bible study, or the closing song of the worship service, why are they not easily sustained?  

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Hope for Humboldt

Hope for Humboldt

As we made our way home from school, my littles began noticing the plethora of hockey sticks decorating the front porches of many of the homes in our neighbourhood. I explained that people had put out their hockey sticks for relay a message to Humboldt: "We're with you."

Another why followed and I explained that when you're hurting, the biggest thing is you want to know you aren't alone.

In pain, our first need is presence.

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