At some point, a light-bulb went on in my head.

Being a good husband must be very hard work.

God used Isaiah 54:5, “For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name…” to teach me that the husband role is so difficult for a human to fulfill that God himself covers the role by being our perfect husband.

Each man has the privilege of learning from the Lord and doing his very best to husband like Him, but no man will achieve that calling perfectly.

The point is that Jesus meets each need that should be met by a perfect husband. When we finally rest in Christ, we can revere and forgive the man we married, believing the best: that he could imitate our great Savior’s love.

Then I noticed that God never claims to cover a wife’s responsibilities. He says He is a Father, a Husband, a Friend, a Lover… He even compares Himself to a Mother, but He never says He is like a Wife.

So, I developed a theory. (You’ll have to tell me what you think.)

Theory: Though it must be very difficult for a human being to be an excellent husband, it must be at least possible for a human to be an excellent wife, for God never claims to cover a wife’s responsibilities.

While Scripture doesn’t develop specific “husband how-to’s” (besides, well, imitating Christ’s perfect husbanding of His Church), it is full of practical and specific teachings regarding how to be an excellent wife. This established my foundation of unconditional respect for Ryan and his calling as a husband. (It also encouraged me to receive the blessing of my more succinct, less vast role and dive right into womanhood with a very grateful heart.) I’ve asked Ryan if he and his friends stand around and absolutely quake at their vast responsibility. He said they try real hard not to think about it that way.

Five years ago, this brainstorm started me thinking about how I could support Ryan, encourage him, pray for him, and aim to understand the significant weight of his role as my husband.

And that my friends, is why I want you to come back tomorrow. To read (gulp!) about the ugliness that Jesus illuminated in my own heart so that our marriage could come to life again.

So, subscribe, and you won’t even have to remember the url!

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When we don’t want anyone snooping around our marriage, disturbing the comatose status quo that we’ve grown accustomed to, or aggravating the egg-shell layer of peace that we’ve finally established, we need an overhaul.

When we don’t make eye-contact with our husbands, rarely smile at them, and think that watching a B movie together is intimate, we need some waking up.

When one or the other of us is neglecting God, by forgoing Scripture and prayer, we need a break-through.

These are signs that something has run amuck within our hearts. That somewhere, somehow, we started living like we are dead instead of alive, alive in Christ.

Sometimes, these symptoms reveal that we have died in our marriage – young and prematurely. We might wear the ring and share the bedroom, but we have separated our hearts from one another, and are walking in disunity.

Man might look at the outer appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

He sees what is hidden and can bring it into the light, giving us the resuscitation that we crave.

Then, He will bring our marriage to life again…

…and we can mean it when we say: until death do us part.

*****

When we brought our first baby home, I spent hours dancing with her around the little nursery. One of the songs that stirred my heart and became my naive prayer was “Invade” by Watermark. I had no idea that as I sang and prayed this song, Jesus was taking my request seriously. I had no idea that as the music played, He was beginning to remove the cloak of “normal” that we had tossed over our lives. Little did I know, He was about to invade our lives with healing; shedding light on us in the most tremendous, breath-taking ways. (More on that later!)

Requesting that Jesus invade our home was one of the most life-changing prayers I have ever stumbled upon.

It is one divine treasure that I offer to you with open hands.

Click on the title, “Invade,”to hear part of the song. But, more importantly, consider joining me in making it our brave request for the day or week or year… In my experience, even if the process is painful, receiving His light is worth it.

Invade

Come, come in

Invade all You see of us

Any man, who’d walk Your road is welcomed here
And You’re the only one

Chorus:
Jesus, come and walk the halls of this house
Tread this place and turn it inside out
With Your mercy…
Jesus, teach us the prayers that open these doors
Until Your light floods in and illuminates these floors
And let Your truth be on our steps and in these rooms
Jesus invade…

Reach, reach in
With the hand that heals all our suffering
Conquer all that is not of You
Bring Your spirit through out
As we fill these walls with Your praise

Jesus, come and walk the halls of this house
Tread this place and turn it inside out
With Your mercy…
Jesus, teach us the prayers that open these doors
Until Your light floods in and illuminates these floors
And let Your truth be on our steps and in these rooms
Jesus invade…

I call for angels
I call for mercy
I call for freedom
In the name of Jesus
In the name of Jesus

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1: 5 – 9

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We will do anything to keep the heart beating.

All of the other organs may break down, but if our hearts are still beating, our loved-ones have hope in their eyes, they press our hands and write us cards. The beloved well-spring of life. We battle through diseases, infections, cancers, and aging, all to keep that heart beating.

And, in the end, the heart is always the last thing to go.

When the heart dies, there is nothing else beneath it that can keep life going.

We talk about that in marriage vows.

until death do us part…

I said those words without the slightest clue what they meant, really.

It was easy to promise that I would never divorce this handsome young man. (“Sure! I’ll say that!” I agreed simplistically.)

But, I know now that the phrase is about so much more than “divorce or no divorce”.

It is about the very structure of our hearts. The everyday treatment of that smiling groom.

I joined my heart in oneness with him, making our marriage together the heart of my whole life.

Vowing that everything else will die before that.

“My marriage will be the very last thing to die… during the times in life when things must die.”

Vowing that I will crucify my time,

my pleasures, obligations, idols,

my addictions, communication quirks, and fears,

my past.

All to preserve my union with that one man.

It’s not doom and gloom. On the contrary, we make that vow with a pursuit of happiness, knowing in our depths that a covenant like this – one that remains when all else fails and fades away – is what makes life whole, blessed – a thing of wonder.

until death do us part…

Because I said it one day, every day asks about it.

“What dies first today?”

*****


I’d love for you to watch this clip just one time during this marriage series so you can know why I like to talk about marriage. I have every reason in the world to hope for your marriage and mine.

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A Chapter in Our Marriage

I recently shared a part of this story with some women who wanted to know more. Their questioning hearts compelled me to edit a series of posts from last year.

If you or a friend are struggling in marriage, maybe something that helped me will help you.

Please join me on Monday to begin this journey of looking back, so that we can look forward together.

Posted in Marriage | 5 Comments

Relevant Conference 2010

Dear Readers,

This afternoon, I will be heading towards Harrisburg for the Relevant Conference. Folks, that’s 200 Christian women bloggers, all gathered together under one roof.

If you could have been in on the past two weeks of twitter feeds regarding the conference, you would have felt like a 13 year old girl again. We are all so excited, you can practically hear the squealing through cyberspace. I can’t wait to meet my three roommates in person, and to see for myself whether or not some of the outstanding women who I’ve been admiring for so long are really real. (I’ll report back. I’m especially suspicious about Ann Voskamp and Carissa. Check out their blogs and you’ll see why.)

For some reason, the whole “blogging” theme has fallen way off of my radar; I’m so excited about the fellowship! Of course, if I pick up a few blogging tips here and there, that’s just a bonus for me… and you!

Speaking of a bonus for you: I just found out that you can watch the main sessions live through MomTV. Check the schedule to see if there are any sessions you can join in on!

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Snoopy!!! Reprise

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What a wonderful time we had last weekend, performing Snoopy!!! The Musical.

Our community showed up in droves, tickets sold out, and some dedicated folks even sat behind the backdrop just to listen. Now that’s true puppy love!

We performed in a local theater, an old barn with lots and lots of history and character. The stage is set in a round, an intimate and friendly setting for this type of play.

I’m happy to report that, for the most part, I remembered all my lines, sang all my notes, and did my share of scene-changes without a hitch. By the last night, Lucy, Sally, and I even nailed a dance step that kept tripping us up. An adorable young man backstage was looking out for me though, reminding me when to enter, where, and with which colored block. (I think he could sense the fuzziness in my brain… thank the Lord!)

Truly, it was delightful. Thanks to all who supported me in this!

The Adult Cast

With the Children’s Cast “Peppermint Patty”.

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Need a Smile Today?

Here’s the cooking video that we shared at

by Vivienne!

Of course, I’m biased, but I know you’ll just love it!

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These past few months have been full of enriching experiences around here.

Ryan and I have become a force to be reckoned with!

He has taught me how to drive the tractor so that I can mow the lawn;  we’ve adopted a new home, 2 cats, and millions of green beans; we’ve stayed up way too late canning peaches, pears, apples, tomatoes, soup, and applesauce; he’s interviewed me for StoryCore, supported me in Snoopy!!!, and took us on a week’s vacation full of fun – from Wilbur chocolate buds in Lititz to toasted marshmallows over a campfire; and a few days ago, we completed a gorgeous 50-mile relay together with a van-full of friends.

Now, for our next adventure!

We’re going to be learning our parts for “Sleep” and joining with hundreds of voices from around the world to sing in a beautiful virtual choir! Sound intriguing? Everything you need to know is right here.

At the very least, sit back and listen to Whitacre’s recent project:

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If the story intrigues you, listen to NPR’s story about Eric Whitacre’s work.

Subscribe today!

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Posted in Healthy Living, Marriage | 3 Comments

A 50-Mile Relay!

Friends, today I did my part to complete a 50-Mile Relay over and around the mountains of Central Pennsylvania.

The day was a knock-out. Gorgeous blue skies. Autumn trees. Perfect temps.

And, although I haven’t wanted to face it all along, I ran my 3.4 miles.

It ended up feeling fantastic and the other runners on our team ran so fast, I can’t believe we’re done already.

FIFTY MILES!

(I just had to share that with you!)

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My Biggest Secret Yet

Let’s face it: most of the tips that I post on this blog are little more than theory for me.

I’m only 5 years into this motherhood thing and have lots and lots to learn.

However, I’m happy to share the things that I find handy because I’ve been so blessed by your insights as we go along together.

Some of the things I’ve posted about so confidently have gone by the wayside, while others have really worked well and stuck around. (For example… Surely you remember my Friday Favorite post from January 11, 2008? Oh, you don’t? Well, Deceptively Delicious ended up in a YARD SALE, while Educating the WholeHearted Child has become my #1 homeschooling resource and recommendation!)

Here’s one of the secrets that I’ve held tenaciously for the past five years, and have a feeling it’s a keeper:

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Posted in All Posts, Character Training, Marriage, Motherhood, VLOGS | 6 Comments