Be A Shield

Proverbs 4:23 says:

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

I’ve heard it many times over that the enemy loves attacking marriages the most because a strong, united marriage can be a force- a ministry. Strong marriages carry the banner of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and a deeper love than any other so of course the enemy would want to stop THAT in it’s tracks. But lets be honest, sometimes we let him win this war rather than turning our marriages over to Jesus and allowing Him to bring victory in this area of our lives. Marriage is a war, two people daily fighting for their marriage despite a crumbling world around them.

Jim and I are guilty of this. We allowed sin and the enemy rip us apart. Our marriage is a beautiful story of redemption. So now it’s our hope and prayer that we can help others to build God honoring relationships and marriages.

Pay attention to special training.

We pay a lot of attention to others guard their hearts and their marriages. Taking special note of the strategies that are put in place to secure a safe haven for love to grow.

Credit: Fierce Marriage

 

Build a trench.

One friend recognizes how he for “a long time” did not honor his wife by whom he was around so now he has set a rule that if he is in a room/house/any where not in the open with another woman then his wife must be present even if there are other men there (including the husband of the woman present). It might seem like he has gone “too far” but it’s what he has to do for his wife and his marriage.

Know the enemy.

Another friend chooses to shut his cell phone off when he is with his family. His phone is not just a personal phone, but also his work phone so switching it off and focusing on those that matter most is his way of guarding and protecting this valuable relationship.  He knows the enemy in time with his family is his phone, by shutting it off he shows his family without words but by action that they are more important.

Stay in your own camp.

Jim does not text other women. If he needs information or something from a woman he has me handle it. As he says “I deal with the men and she deals with the women, it’s how we stay accountable.” It’s how we honor each other.

My point is simple: if we guard and protect this precious relationship we are in turn working to also cultivate many healthy relationships. When we allow our own sin, short comings, and others to breakdown our marriages we are setting ourselves up for trouble.

 

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Our Wedding!!

Jim and I had been praying and preparing for our wedding day for about a year before it actually happened. It was clear on the day that it had been fully paved in prayer in all the details. There was no drama, no disasters.

We had opted not to go through Royal Caribbean’s wedding people for several reasons. Mainly because we wanted our day to be a little different than what they offered and felt that going a different route would allow us the ambiguity that we desired. Really it was the best decision we could have made! Sure, it required more work from us but in the end we had the day we had been praying for.

As he turned the corner and saw me his young face lit up, he covered his mouth but the smile was still in his eyes..his Mama was a princess that day. I wish I had a picture of that moment, but my memory will have to make due for the absence of a photograph. As Noah walked over to me I noticed he suddenly somehow seemed taller, older, and ready to walk me down the aisle. We had been waiting and praying for this day for awhile now.

Diane and Ashlyn went ahead of us. Leading the way. As the room came into view Noah whispered to me “I got you, Mama.” I think others were there too, but really all I remember is walking with Noah, seeing my handsome Zackaree, and then seeing my Jim! I thought I would be nervous or something but in that moment I was so peaceful inside. I knew I was where I was supposed to be and that this moment was part of God’s design for us.

The ceremony flowed. Our Pastor spoke words of love and wisdom, reminding us of God’s design and purpose for marriage.

We wrote our own vows, but perhaps “wrote” should be a loose term as I did not write anything down. I tried. I cried. I tried again. His were perfect! So genuine and sweet.

Jim and I decided that as a family with the boys we should do a Unity Sand Ceremony during the wedding. God being the foundation to our marriage and home, His was the white sand on the bottom, our foundation. Next, a little of Jim(blue) and a little of me(pink, of course) and then both of us pouring together our own colors so they intertwined. The kids were last (yellow). After we had finished adding all the sand our Pastor prayed with us. As he told the boys they could go back to their spots I noticed each of their faces: Zack’s was red and a blotchy from tears and Noah had the biggest smile.

As we planned our day Jim and I both felt that it was important that we share Communion during the ceremony. I am so glad we chose to do this as for me it was one of the sweetest moments of the whole weekend.

At the end of the ceremony our Best Man Luis, prayed over us. He was so authentic and heartfelt. Ya’ll having praying friends is priceless!

As Pastor Sean prepared to tell Jim to kiss the bride I looked up and my goofy man was beaming and puckering up. He cracks me up!

Here are a few highlights from our day.

My prince and I.
My prince and I.
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Yes, the best man is kissing Jim’s head. Luis is the brother Jim never had.
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I am not allowed to do mushy because Diane (right) says that is not allowed, but if I were I would tell you that our day was better because these two were at my side. I am so thankful to have their love, their friendship (even the little woman), and their faith adding to my life.
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This is my favorite picture of my three guys. I am one blessed girl!
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This kid is NEVER serious, I am not sure where the serious look came from.


Our anniversary is October 17 which was a detail that I had mentally not wrapped my head around. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s true! In all the planning we had been saying “The wedding will be on the 2nd day” and well I am a blonde and hadn’t even looked to see what the date was. I didn’t care about that date, I was marrying my best friend! A week before the wedding our Pastor was talking with us to finalize the plans. He causally mentioned the day and inside I almost died. When I was 5 the 17th of October took on a special meaning: it was Chad’s birthday. So maybe I hadn’t looked at a calendar because I didn’t want to deal with that, but I saw my brother that day in Noah’s dimpled smile and in the way my boy’s eyes sparkled like his did.

 

The Untold Story

oldandnew

Two different sets of rings. Two very different marriages. Same two people.

My sister often says that my boys got what every child victim of divorce gets: their whole family back. It’s true. It was a modern day miracle. An impossible thought made possible. Who knew I was worthy of such a blessing?!

When Jim and I got back together I told him I wanted a new wedding set. I felt that we needed a fresh start in every way possible. We were changed. Never had I been so happy, not even the day Jim first proposed. Finally we were on a positive path to be the couple we were meant to be!

Maybe it was a sign and maybe it was just arthritis, but you know Jim’s first wedding band never fit very well. It cut into him and taking it off was not an option. Before he got his new set he wore the yellow gold set for awhile. During that time he had to have surgery and he wasn’t allowed to wear his ring in. He couldn’t get it off. They threatened to cut it off of him, he got it off before it came to that but it was not easy. When we wore the yellow gold set we never really fit either. We cut into each other with a sharpness that left wounds that appeared would never heal.

When the rings came off and we were apart the wounds began to heal. Slowly, very slowly. We were all worn and broken, mourning the loss of a complete family. My life became a statistic, my kids just two more victims of a bad marriage. I hated it all. My nightmares now are seeing my boys crying as Daddy dropped them off on Sundays. (Just typing that made me well up.) In the midst of our brokenness God was moving us. Teaching us to rely on Him in a way that we had never done before. Jim and I each hit rock bottom separately. Self-desctructing silently was really the best thing that could have happened.

I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the way I started to like him again. Not like “oooohhh he’s cute”, but as a person. He became my friend again and then eventually his status as best friend was restored. The boy I loved as a teenager turned man of God. He had changed and so had I. I must’ve blinked because I missed both of us changing.  Suddenly we could laugh again. Talking became about life, things beyond how our boy’s day was. Friendship was how we started back in 1991 so it was only natural to fall back into what was easy and familiar.

We had a lot to work on and through. Trust was a huge factor and not one that we could rush into. We spent much of the next few months dating as though we hadn’t already dated, married and divorced. We were new. We had to learn about the new person standing in front of each of us.

Our faiths are stronger than ever imagined; our relationship is built on the rock of that faith. We are HSFB and we live our lives in a way that allows us to be a blessing.

We carry with us everywhere, everyday the battle scars of our broken past. But, now they are our testimony. They could have been a badge of shame or depression. The divorce could be the anchor that the enemy uses to keep us apart from each other and from God’s grace. Oh how thankful I am for His grace!

I will tell everyone that will listen about His grace, His mercy and His unfailing love for us.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.