“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13
For the last few weeks I’ve had some anxious thoughts. Personal situations and discussions about the political climate, along with the random worries I can generate all on my own, have really messed with my perspective.
But I’m making a choice. One which I want to take deep root in my heart and mind and transform my thinking.
I want to be defined by hope.
A hope that is more than wishful thinking.
A hope not reliant upon a political candidate or an agenda, which leaves me empty and focused on the things of this earth.
A hope that is more than counting on someone to keep a promise, because sooner or later I am disappointed. Or the disappointer.
A hope bolder than feeble prayers I offer when I honestly just want my way.
A hope stronger than my emotions or circumstances at any given moment.
But to really live IN hope. And for that to happen I have to seek God to shake some things up. Change my desires and habits to live a life defined by trust and purpose will require:
· Shutting out the voices of many to focus on the voice of One. It’s my fault for letting the news, social media, and various opinions define my patterns of thinking. While many I chose to hear are positive, that’s not enough. I need to be in God’s word and in prayer.
· Living as if this world is not my home. Too much energy has been given to things I cannot change. Colossians 3:1-2 states,
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
I am a steward of what God has entrusted me to care for in this world. But I cannot let those things, however noble and right, own me. Otherwise, they become little gods rather than what can give glory to Him.
· Truly worshipping. Not the Sunday check-in. But cultivating a heart turned to God. Every thought and decision should flow from being in his presence. Without it comes confusion and selfishness. I have known that place of worship. And it’s beautiful. It’s time to go back.
Living in hope is not devoid of struggles and hard times and life changing moments of despair. Actually, I expect these times to come. But, good times and bad, I want a life defined by a hope secure.
Secure because of the work of Christ, who continues to work in me and for my good. And for His glory (Colossians 1:27).
(Special thank you to Ali Leonard, who made the beautiful handcrafted “hope” plaque. Check out her and Courtney Tidwell at Our Funky Farmhouse page on Facebook.)
Today’s revised post is one I wrote a few years ago. It’s some humorous memories about my feeble attempts to be a perfect newlywed wife. And I’m not sure even Pinterest and HGTV could have helped me! Hope you enjoy!
Today Jim and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary (insert happy dance and “whoo hoooo” here!). Life has just been crazy this last year, so no big trip or extravagant gifts planned. Just keeping things simple and enjoying just being together sounds like the perfect evening.
Low key and easy. Definitely not what newlywed Beth ever pictured as ideal. Wow, did I have some unreal expectations!
I had in mind what the “perfect” wife should be. Fabulous cook. Spotless house. A master at multi-tasking.
Reality check, please
The one time I fixed meatloaf was the last time I fixed meatloaf. I vaguely remember numerous trips to the bathroom. One of us may or may not have thrown up. Good times.
And then there was the curtain disaster. I proudly hung a new set, complete with the poofy 90s style valance in the middle, just in time for our first dinner party. Then a guest whispered, “I think you have those up backwards.” Awesome.
There was my attempt at making a wreath. I was scarred for life from glue gun burns. I mean, who needs feeling in your left pinky-tip anyway, right?
And let’s just say never have vegetable oil and Murphy’s Oil together on the kitchen counter. Because the brownies you make for your couples Bible study could taste funky. If they don’t combust in the oven first. Or kill you by poisonous fumes.
But I pushed through, determined to be the wife I thought God and Jim wanted me to be. Until the Saturday I ironed a dozen dress shirts. Let me tell you – those babies hung in the closet like starched domestic masterpieces.
I thought so, anyway. Then Jim mentioned I had done all the collars wrong.
(To any guys reading this: Do not try this at home. Trust me.)
He had to be kidding! I had spent my one day off on these shirts, only to hear I had not done them correctly.
I cried. He sighed. Then came the words all wives must be hardwired to say.
“WHY DID YOU EVER MARRY ME? I CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT!”
What Jim said next was probably out of sheer desperation to end my meltdown, but I know the Holy Spirit gave him the words I needed to hear.
“Honey, I didn’t marry you just to do things for me. I married you because I want you to do things with me.”
Definitely a lightbulb moment.
“For” had become a legalistic to-do list of unreal expectations. “With” could become a to-do life of real experiences.
I needed to choose which I wanted for our marriage.
Fast forward to 2015. If you come for coffee, five loads of unfolded laundry might be on the couch. The bathroom will likely need deep cleaned (and peek behind the shower curtain at your own risk). Feel free to write you name in the dust. It’s an acceptable form of a guest book.
Those things always get done. But given the choice, I’ll pick being with my husband over an immaculate house.
Because perfect homes and perfect marriages don’t exist.
Memories. Good times and tough times. Happy days and sad days. Together.
That’s what is real. And breathes life into marriage.
Newlyweds (and those still learning) ~ go live life as one. Pray faithfully. Serve the Lord fully. Forgive quickly.
Be passionate. Embrace each day. Laugh a lot. Don’t be afraid to hurt. Take chances.
Together, with God’s help, you can do this marriage thing.
Just be careful with the brownies, okay?
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