Monday, 31 January 2011

Consistently Inconsistent

One of the hardest things about having a blog is...actually taking time to update it. Readers (the six of you) may have noticed that our first post was on January 10th. The next post did not come about until yester, January 30th. I'll break it down for you: that's twenty days, almost three weeks, since we've last posted! This is a good sign of inconsistnency.

Inconsistency is one of the many struggles I have dealt with for far too long. Student teachig has challenged my consistency, and I realize more than ever how terribly inconsistent I am. This has impacted many realms of my life: my intimacy with Christ, my intimacy with Courtney, my peace, and (sometimes I feel) my sanity.

That said, I've began to pray that God would teach me what it means to be consistent. Moreover, I've asked him to teach me how to pursue consistenc with a right heart. I never want a checklist to govern my life or become my god. Rather, I want to learn to use checklists, calenders, and the like to enable myself to be intentional and worshipful with all of my activities.

Finally, I hope that Courtney and I are both consistent in posting on this blog, because that will mean that we are really putting time and effort into becoming better spouses for one another. Thank you for your prayers.

YOU have given me greater joy... Psalm 4:7

As Jake and I have begun the journey of preparing to be married, we have seen that most aspects of our relationship have grown significantly more difficult.  There is the pressure of planning the wedding, the busyness of life with Jake's student teaching and both of our commitments with Young Life, communication issues, my search for a career, physical struggles, and financial concerns.  Some times I feel as if getting married is more of a burden than a joy in life.  Compared to the big picture of life, falling in love is easy.  Recently, I have let Satan allow me to be caught in the lie that now that we are engaged, life should be so much easier and so much more fun than our crazy dating experience. And like most of Satan's lies, there is partial truth to that.  But God is revealing to me that the key to growing closer to Him and falling deeper in love with Jake is to see the struggles as a growing experience.  I long so badly to be set free from the struggles we face.  I get so consumed with just wanting to beg God to make everything easier, but He is showing me that instead of simply wanting things to change, I only need to focus on knowing Him.  I think this is the same concept as focusing on the Giver rather than the gift.  It's a very fine line to walk sometimes for me and I don't think that I am alone in that.

In his book Love and Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs focuses on Ephesians 5:33 - "Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." My prayer for our relationship is that as we grow to learn more about each other and as we continue to seek Christ together for life, that we will not let this simple yet challenging truth be lost in the midst of our struggles.  I feel like the issue of love and respect is a barrier that Jake and I consistently struggle with.  I have a terrible habit of wanting to shut down when I feel unloved, and Jake tends to get angry when he feels disrespected.  This has caused our relationship to be so much harder than necessary.  I ask for your prayers as we dig deeper into these issues and are challenged by what the Lord has to teach us.  In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he is not asking a man to love his wife and a woman to respect her husband, he is demanding it.  Dr. Eggerichs writes that "when a husband feels disrespected, he has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel unloving to his wife, and when a wife feels unloved, she has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband."  I pray that over the next few months, Jake and I will be more intentional about showing love and respect to each other.  God has truly convicted me over this matter, and I am humbled because it is definitely an area where I struggle (even though I don't want to admit that.)  I know that God is going to use this to grow us immensely, and I trust that he is going to use this book along with our struggles to reveal to us hard yet also beautiful truths about    marriage. 

Sunday, 30 January 2011

so they are no longer two, but one. therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. Matthew 19:6

You know, when I was growing up, I imagined getting married to be one of the most phenomenal and wonderful experiences of my life.  I thought that as a bride-to-be I would be pampered and treated like a princess and it would be the most luxurious experience of my life.  However, I also thought that it would be an ending.  I dreamed of getting married, but never actually imagined what it would be like to be married.  God has been teaching me lately that marriage is infinitely more than I ever believed it could be.  It is so easy to be consumed by trying to make the details of our actual wedding perfect, but there is no such thing as perfect except in Christ.  And I don't want our marriage to be about the small details and about pampering ourselves or trying to get everything right.  I want them to be about seeking God, no matter the circumstances.  And to love as He loves, because He is Love.  My prayer for our marriage is that we won't let it become about each other or we won't get bogged down by our own expectations.  God has shown me over the past year that there is nothing that can interfere with His plans and nothing can hold Him back from making Himself known.  I am very thankful for this, but also extremely scared because I am a planner and I like to know what is going to happen.  I have no idea what God has in store for Jake and me, but I hope that you will join in praying with us and for us that we may seek His will above all other things and that we may conduct ourselves always in a way that pleases Him.  There is so much beauty in the unknown and I am looking forward to seeing what God has to teach us through our engagement. 

Monday, 10 January 2011


Hello everyone! Thanks so much for visiting our blog. Courtney and I have quickly come to realize that engagement and marriage are not simply about romance and happiness. They, like all of life, are about Christ's Glory and making us dependent on him. Courtney said to me today,"Without God, marriage could never work." I'm convinced that this statement is absolutely true. The two of us have come to the agreement that our engagement will not simply be six months of wedding planning; it will be six months of training for a Christ-centered marriage and planning a wedding ceremony that will celebrate the Glory of Christ.
To that end, we've started listening to a sermon series by Tom Nelson called Love Song. It is a verse by verse study of Song of Songs. We're only two sermons in, but it's already challenging us to love eachother better. We also plan to make use of a number of other resources, including a DVD sermon series by Chip Ingram called "Marriage Built to Last" and we hope to enroll in premarital counseling asap. I say all of that to make this point: we are treating our engagement as a very serious time of preparation and reflection.
In light of that, this blog has two main purposes: (1) it gives us an outlet to reflect on the knowledge we're gaining and the training we're going through and (2) it creates a forum for us to share our experiences and hear your thoughts/advice. So, please leave a comment if you have any thoughts/advice you'd like to share.
Finally, Courtney and I pray that we are all mutually encouraged and challenged as we engage with eachother through this blog. God bless you all!