This Marriage is From the Lord

When my husband posted in his FB wall that his marriage with me is from The Lord, it was a confession and affirmation of God’s love for him and for me, for bringing us together and keeping us together in marriage. Our marriage story is one that’s not free from blemishes, but one that speaks of redemption and grace.

When we let God write our love story, He orchestrates everything in the same way that Abraham’s servant, Eliezer has found Rebekah for Isaac. No one can refute what God has in store for us. When it is His purpose, no one can oppose.  When we were on our seats last Sunday, listening to the pastor’s sermon about the story of Isaac and Rebekah (our church is on a preaching series, in time for the Love month, entitled ” I’ts NOT that complicated “), I looked at my husband and remember how our fateful debate encounter in our college years led us to a relationship and marriage. We still find ourselves in “passionate arguments” but then I remember that when God brought Jones to me, and I was given to him as his bride, we have dedicated the union to the Lord. Like how Laban and Bethuel replied,

“This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.” (Genesis 24:50-51)

Out of all the men in the universe,  He has a certain Jones for me. And I have to be reminded of that everyday, especially when the “loving” part doesn’t come easy as the years roll by. God has loved me deeply (Malachi1:2a) and is patient with me. In the same way that I need to be patient with my husband and he, with me. Patient love requires me to wait upon the Lord in the areas where I seemed to jump at any  opportunity to express my own emotions. How do we do that? We pray so we can subject our will to God’s will. We can capture our thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. And clearly, He will direct all our steps. Whatever He wills, He makes it happen.

What if there was opposition from the very start? Or challenges along the way?  Sometimes it is the price we have to pay for making the wrong decisions. The freedom of choice is a precious gift given by God that sets us apart from all of his creation. When we listen more to ourselves and go before God, we face bad consequences of our actions. But then, in His all-merciful nature, he calls us back to him and be restored to Him so he can make right what we made bad and can turn anything that seemed bad into good for His glory. I have seen His hand moved mightily in our marriage. This nature of God always amazes me for if I have chosen to dwell on my selfish self, I will choose to have others’ faults nailed on the cross rather than my own. Why , it’s so easy to look at the speck in my spouse’s eye!!!

You could be one of those who “liked”( in FB  parlance) my husband’s one-liner post but it was a bold statement that I love from him. It was comforting and reassuring to hear it from my husband, after 14 years of being married – not his ” I love you” for sometimes the utterance can be out of an emotional rush – but his declaration that this marriage is from The Lord and it will last a lifetime as He has directed. And so I speak boldly of the same.

Although Isaac and Rebekah’s story is about waiting (patiently!) upon the Lord for that someone whom God has set apart for you in marriage, married couples are also reminded by this story of God’s covenant with us , always speaking of us, His church as His radiant bride.It is a faithful reminder that God sees all the hurts, pains and joys in each moment of our lives. He doesn’t give up on us, nor in our marriage. If yours has been written on your own and you are striving to seek a happy ending to it, then It is time to let go of that pen and recommit your marriage to the Author, the One who writes from cover to cover, the One who is the beginning and the end. With every stroke, God will guide you as He unfolds another chapter in your life and in your marriage. Like what He is doing with mine.

Image

“God wrote your love story. Let Him read it to you.” (photo via web)

Badge of Service

Happy New Year!

In my recent post, I have declared that is going to be year of rejoicing knowing that God’s plans for me and my family are for good, they give us hope and a future, that He is before all things and He holds things together for His greater glory and purpose!

We started the year by joining in our local church’s annual weeklong prayer and fasting. During that week, I prayed ( among others)  that I be more loving in my earthly relationships – starting off with my husband. More so that I am in a new season as a stay-at-home mom, managing and keeping house, and homeschooling our children, it is easy to “feel” that I am doing most of the work at home and the enemy will feed my selfish ego telling me that I need more than I am entitled to. Oh, what a selfish attitude! That is why I prayed that I will be doing things borne out of love ,not of responsibility. For being a faithful steward also means being diligent in doing things, working not for men, but for the Lord.

It is true that the word of God searches your deepest thoughts and strikes through our hearts. It has worked that way for me – all the time. Just this morning, i was reading the following verses ,

Also, teach the older women to live the way those who serve the Lord should live. They should not go around saying bad things about others or be in the habit of drinking too much. They should teach what is good. By doing this they will teach the younger women to love their husbands and children.  They will teach them to be wise and pure, to take care of their homes, to be kind, and to be willing to serve their husbands. Then no one will be able to criticize the teaching God gave us.” – Titus 2:3-5(Easy-to-Read Version)

“..and willing to serve their husbands”! I wrote this in bold letter because it is as if the Lord is echoing it back and forth to my ears.:) He is telling me that all day long, when I thought I start and end the day with “service”, it is not because of the responsibility that He has placed on me as a wife and a mother, but it is because He has given me that gift to be a “living letter”, a message seen in a lifestyle, not only for my husband and children to see but for all of God’s people to see a reflection of His goodness, faithfulness and grace that is working in me – day in and day out! What a joy to be a “serving wife”!

When the temptation to not serve willingly or delightfully is strong, I will remember God’s truths in my life. Why he made me a woman, what I am capable of doing, and what I need most in this life is Him – His grace that sustains me, His love that makes me love others unconditionally, His burden that lightens my own, His act of service shown when he washed His disciples’ feet.

In marriage, I will remember that my willingness to serve my husband is the same as serving the Lord. I read once, that the danger of the Idolatry of Equality is slowly seeping in our marriages because of what the world offers us. I will choose to listen to what God says than what the enemy says – the one who accuses, feeding all lies,  who does nothing but that, day in and day out!

If you are a wife reading this, I am praying with you that God will breathe a fresh air into your life and in your marriage. May that badge of service that you wear not only stay there as a “permanent decoration” ( as what the Presidential Badge of Service suggests), a lifeless memorial of all the acts of service that you have done and will continue to do, but one that is full of life because of the power of  the living God that is in you! Serve HIM!

Image

                                                                           (photo via wordpress)

What is Your Marriage Story?

It is heartwarming to look at the stats of your blog occasionally. For my part, I get a glimpse of what people have been thinking about based on the “most searched” topics that I have posted. Recently, my top topic is about marriage. Just right as I have been longing to write something about this next story. Something not so mushy – forget about the “perfect one” based on human standards.

Let me introduce you to Hosea – a prophet in the past during the reigns of great kings of Judah and Israel. When the Lord instructed Hosea to marry Gomer, a prostitute, it was meant to illustrate the waywardness of Israel at that time. No matter how difficult the situation might be – he could’ve been an object of mockery and the subject of the ladies’ gossip ( as we do have in modern times), he did marry her as the Lord said so.

No matter how joyful or painful the situation is, every marriage tells us a story. Scary thought, I learned, but so true. To some, it might not be a good start (like this Hosea-Gomer love story), or bad things happen along the way, but in the end, the same God who restores His people back to Him can also redeem a broken marriage. Not an easy thing to do when God tells you to bring back the unfaithful one as He tells Hosea to “buy-back” Gomer but when we think of our own unfaithfulness and the price that God paid by giving His son, Jesus Christ – flesh and blood – for our own redemption, we know that no matter how messy or broken can that be, as long as there is a ray of hope, He can redeem and repair your marriage. Or,  when the mending  does not happen not because of our own doing, we ask – What’s to lose? to yield ? or to gain? We may bear the scars of the past, or might not be able to go back to our “Hosea” as Gomer did, but God is ready to receive us with arms wide open, if only we restore our relationship with Him. Amazing grace, isn’t it?

As flawed individuals, i see ours as an imperfect marriage story, but one that our good Lord has written perfectly to accomplish His purpose.  Yes, we have laughed and enjoyed successes together, but we have also gone through the darkest Valley of Trouble, but with each tear and prayer, He has transformed it into a Gateway of Hope.  I pray that may each marriage be a powerful testimony where promises are kept and vows are fulfilled – much the same way that God keeps His covenant relationship with us.

I pray not only for happy endings but joyful marriages. To those who might not be able to experience it here on earth, take heart, you have one for eternity. God loves you and will never break His covenant with you.

Image

photo via scotlandablaze.com

Tackling a Traveling Husband

This title is inspired from a book that my daughter has, Tackling Dad. So we were having a nice talk with my husband one fine afternoon and we remember how God has always been faithful each time He brings us to new places that entail bigger responsibilities and challenges. That each time He does it, He also brings us all to a new level of relationship with Him. Not that I didn’t quite experience it before the way I do so now, but as we grow in our walk with Him, He continues to discipline us, refine us, prune us, so our goal is to let Him accomplish His purpose in our lives , not only as individuals but also as a family. And the bonus is, there are always wonderful surprises along the way!

Funny in that talk, we also remembered how God has granted our desires for travels. I am glad, we both love to travel , knowing that it is the best teacher not only for geographical and cultural appreciation  but more so in our dynamics as a family “team”! The preparations don’t come easy (budget is a primary concern), we sometimes had petty arguments on where best to eat or if I’d rather be spontaneous and just go by what I fancy without sticking to the plan. Clearly, my husband’s leadership is cemented in times like this! But I am glad he always does, though he occasionally gives in to what I “suddenly” like (as long as it is reasonable – read – within the budget and time-frame). But generally, we are the backpacker type of tourists – we choose to have fun over the fancy. (But if you can have both, praise God!). I’d like to think that we have mastered the art of traveling light – both in our physical and emotional baggages!

In my husband’s simple prayer that he has written down in 2007, he asked God to let him be able to see all the continents before he turns 40. Just a whimsical thought, one can say, but true enough, in His perfect timing, God has been granting my husband’s desire, one continent at a time. Left to be discovered are the opposite continents of the world – Antarctica and Africa!  I am with my husband in this wonderful adventure. I had only been in 1 continent , traveling in the region, but I don’t dismiss what my husband tells me – that he prays he can also take me to where he has traveled and maybe someday, we can go together in those 2 left.

So let me go back to the title of this post – how do i tackle a traveling husband?  I have friends who have OFW spouses but this one’s for a short-term , momentary separation. In our case, 2 weeks to a month.

Here are some notes:

1. Cover him in prayer. Everyday. If you are a wife reading this, and haven’t started to seriously pray for your husband , there is a guide to a daily prayer for him in this previous post . More so with the physical distance that separates us, I pray that he will always be guarded in his thoughts, words and actions. He will be deeply rooted in prayer and will enjoy his quiet moments with God so that all his plans and tasks for the day will be successful, his burden lightened and each will turn into a delight.  Pray he will firmly say No to temptations – thoughts or actions that will not edify our marriage and honor God. There will always be a way out.

2. Make use of technology. If he’s traveling to a foreign country, mobile phone roaming service may be activated . Just make sure you will know all the details from your provider such as their partner-telecoms in the foreign country and the other charges for incoming and outgoing calls and incoming SMS. Most offer FREE outgoing SMS. But to us, Gmail and Skype are our ever-reliable partners.   FB has just entered in the scene but since we aren’t Apple users, we don’t enjoy Facetime. Make the social network your ally . 🙂

3. Plan. My husband does all the planning for his trip – what to bring, what to wear and other tiny details that I am glad I don’t have to think about. My only role would be to ensure all his medicines, emergency drugs will be in full supply so he doesn’t end up in ER , God forbid, due to a foreign drug that he has taken. Our bodies are attuned to certain types of Paracetamol, Mefenamic, Antihistamine and even Vit C brands.  What else do I do? I study. I google  and pitch in whatever I can to make the travel (at least, look) easier – the people , the weather, just about anything! My husband loves it when I give him ideas , because I care. My daily household plan is in place too, knowing he will be gone for a certain time.

Lastly,

4. Don’t get comfortable with the separation. This may come negative, but we have discussed this beforehand. There was a time in our lives that the traveling comes easy. The momentary separation becomes the norm, and we almost feel comfortable and okay with the set-up.  We know what we value in the family. Don’t get me wrong, I have full respect to those who have OFW husbands, I have several wife-friends whom I truly admire for they were able to hold fort and manage home on their own.  I respect their choice, but if there’s a chance to speak to them, we tell them to have at least, an “exit ” strategy for the husband so they be reunited soon.  To us, it is a decision because we are careful in fortifying the wall of protection for our marriage and our family. That is why, we keep in touch , if possible, daily, making use of technology so we keep the connection.  Our kids don’t love it when dad is always traveling. Yes, we rejoice when opportunities like this comes, we get to appreciate the scenery and the wonderful people that he has met and work with in other parts of the world, but we still all miss the physical connection.   Don’t give the enemy a chance to steal, kill and destroy what God has built in your marriage. Since most of his travels are work-related, whenever there is a chance to go with him, I go. And I am praying for that!

And so tomorrow , he will turn 38. In New Zealand. Didn’t I tell you God has given him a wonderful birthday surprise?

My Captain Jones Sparrow!

My Captain Jones Sparrow!

“But forget all that—    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.  For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? …” Isaiah 43:18a

A Wife’s Daily Prayer for Her Husband

 This is the 13th yr of our marriage and up to this time, we are still God’s work in progress – our marriage, our individual lives, our roles as a husband and wife and as parents to our growing children. Lately , as my husband has been out of town , I have never been more resolved to pray for him everytime i think of him (which is almost every minute! :-)) , and for our marriage. I pray that God will fortify the walls of protection in our marriage and our family and that there will be no back doors and holes where the enemy can easily go unnoticed (for this is where he is good at).  Even in clearly defined roles, I am constantly inviting the Holy Spirit to work in my heart so that submission comes easily (read more on “submission” here).  I never thought of it as the “art of submission” because it tells more of MY effort in practicing it to perfection, but it is the daily invitation and acknowledgement of the lordship of Christ that’s at work in me so that I will submit joyfully and willingly! I’m doing it not only for my husband , but for the Lord!

I am glad I chanced upon this blog that details a daily prayer for my husband in every area of his life. And while the separation is temporary, the days seemed eternity. I will be counting the days, yes, with thoughts about him, but more importantly , with prayers for him – not just for the next 31 days but everyday, as long as we both shall live!

***

31 days

    photo source:  pinterest.com

31 Days of Praying for Your Husband

by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

“She does him good . . .” (Proverbs 31:12a)

Bless your husband by praying for him! The Apostle Paul instructed all Christians to pray for one another (Ephesians 6:18). This includes wives’ responsibility and privilege to pray for their husbands. Earnest prayer for your husband is good for him, for you and the spiritual health of your home (Proverbs 31:11-12).

Satan desires to destroy your husband, especially his character and his leadership in your relationship. Trust God through prayer as you daily surrender your husband and marriage to the Lord’s wise, loving care.

Day 1
Pray that your husband will grow spiritually and consider his accountability before the Lord. Pray that he will guard his heart by developing spiritual disciplines—Bible reading and study, prayer, meditation, scripture memorization, etc. (2 Peter 3:18Prov. 4:23)

Day 2
Pray that your husband’s relationship with God and His Word will bear fruit in his life. Pray that he will be a man of wisdom and understanding, fearing the Lord. (Prov. 3:79:10Ps. 112:1)

Day 3
Pray that your husband will be humble and quick to agree with God about his sin. Pray that his heart will be tender toward the voice of the Lord. (Ps. 51:2-4Micah 6:8)

Day 4
Pray that your husband will grow in leadership skills in your relationship—protecting and providing for you. Pray that he will lead you wisely and love you sacrificially, so that God will be glorified in your marriage. (Eph. 5:25-29Col. 3:19)

Day 5
Pray that your husband will be faithful to his wedding vows. Pray that he will have a desire to cultivate your relationship as a sign of his loyalty and commitment to you, and as a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. (Prov. 20:6Gen. 2:24)

Day 6
Pray that your husband will love righteousness and hate wickedness, especially the evils of the culture. Pray that he will recognize and avoid wickedness in his own life, and if necessary, take a clear, strong stand against evil. (Prov. 27:12John 17:151 Cor. 10:12-13)

Day 7
Pray that your husband will safeguard his heart against inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Pray that his heart will be pure and undivided in his commitment to you. (Prov. 6:23-2426;Rom. 13:14)

Day 8
Pray that your husband will work hard to provide for your family, to the best of his ability. Pray that the character qualities necessary for a successful career and ministry will be a growing part of his character—persistence, decisiveness, strength, an analytical mind, organizational skills, positive relationships with people, determination, etc. (Rom. 12:111 Cor. 15:58)

Day 9
Pray that your husband handle finances wisely, will have discernment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord’s work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family. (Prov. 23:4-5Rom. 12:13Heb. 13:5)

Day 10
Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Prov. 20:71 Tim. 1:53:7Eph. 6:10-12)

Day 11
Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit and a servant’s heart before the Lord. Pray that he will listen to God and desire to do His will. (Prov. 15:33Eph. 6:6)

Day 12
Pray that your husband will yield his sexual drive to the Lord and practice self control. Pray that your sexual intimacy together will be fresh, positive, and a reflection of selfless love. (Prov. 5:15181 Cor. 7:3Song of Solomon 7:10)

Day 13
Pray that your husband use practical skills to build your family and make wise decisions for your welfare. Pray that he will serve unselfishly. (Gal. 5:13Phil. 2:3-4)

Day 14
Pray that your husband will speak words that build you and your family, and reflect a heart of love. Pray that he will not use filthy language. (Prov. 18:21Eph. 4:29)

Day 15
Pray that your husband will choose his friends wisely. Pray that God will bring him men who will encourage his accountability before God, and will not lead him into sin. (Prov. 13:20Prov. 27:17)

Day 16
Pray that your husband will choose healthy, God-honoring activities. Pray that he will not live in bondage to any questionable habits or hobbies, but that he will experience freedom in holiness as he yields to the Spirit’s control. (1 Cor. 6:1210:312 Tim. 2:4)

Day 17
Pray that your husband will enjoy his manliness as he patterns his life after Christ and strong men in the faith. Pray for his physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual strength. (Eph. 3:161 Peter 2:211 Cor. 10:11)

Day 18
Pray that your husband will have an eternal perspective—living in light of eternity. Pray that he will reject materialism and temporal values and put God first in his life. (Matt. 6:33Deut. 6:5Eph. 5:16Ps. 90:12)

Day 19
Pray that your husband will be patient and a man of peace. Pray that he will not give in to anger, but will allow the Holy Spirit to control his responses. (Rom. 14:19Ps. 34:14)

Day 20
Pray that your husband will yield his mind and thoughts to the Lord. Pray that he will not entertain immoral or impure thoughts, and that he will resist the temptation to indulge in pornography. (Prov. 27:122 Cor. 10:5)

Day 21
Pray that your husband will learn how to relax in the Lord and, in his greatest times of stress, find joy and peace in his relationship with God. Pray that he will submit his schedule to the Lord. (Neh. 8:10;Prov. 17:22Ps. 16:11)

Day 22
Pray that your husband will practice forgiveness in your relationship and with others. Pray that he will recognize any roots of bitterness, and yield any resentment and unforgiving attitudes to the Lord. (Eph. 4:32Heb. 12:15)

Day 23
Pray that your husband will be a good father—disciplining his children wisely and loving them unconditionally. If he is not a father, pray that he will find a young man to mentor in the things of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4Col. 3:212 Tim. 2:1-2)

Day 24
Pray that your husband will have a balanced life—that he will balance work and play. Pray that he will fear God, but also gain favor with people he knows at work and church. (Luke 2:52Prov. 13:15)

Day 25
Pray that your husband will be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, and that he will stand for the truth. Pray that he will protect you and your family from Satan’s attacks. (Ps. 31:24Eph. 6:13Ps. 27:14)

Day 26
Pray that your husband will discover and live his God-given purpose. Pray that he will offer all his dreams to the Lord, and pursue only those goals that will bring God glory and count for eternity. (Jer. 29:111 Cor. 10:31)

Day 27
Pray that your husband will understand the importance of taking care of his body—the temple of the Holy Spirit—for the glory of God. Pray that he will practice self-control by making wise food choices, and get sufficient exercise to stay healthy. (Rom. 12:1-21 Cor. 6:19-209:27)

Day 28
Pray that your husband will be a man of prayer. Pray that he will seek and pursue God in purposeful quiet times. (1 Thess. 5:17Luke 22:46James 5:16)

Day 29
Pray that your husband will surrender his time and talents to the Lord. Pray that his spiritual gifts will be manifest in his career, at church, and in your home. (Eph. 5:15-161 Cor. 12:47)

Day 30
Pray that your husband will serve God and others with pure motives. Pray that he will obey the Lord from his heart, and glorify Him in everything. (1 Cor. 10:13John 7:17-18Col. 3:23-24)

Day 31
Pray that your husband will recognize the lies of the Enemy in his life. Pray that his attitudes and actions will be guided by the truth as he brings his thoughts into captivity to the Word of God. (John 8:442 Cor. 10:4-5)

 

153

153 months, 4,590 days more or less. And we keep on counting… Love that has grown and remained strong  through the toughest of times and has celebrated the best of those. Love that has witnessed sickness and enjoyed the best of health – one that has endured the storms and embraced the warm rays of sun.   Love that knows that apart from Him, we are nothing and we cannot stand the test of time – that has gone by, and the one that we still joyfully look forward to…

Each 6th  my lovest, is a day to celebrate God’s faithfulness in our marriage, actually, every waking hour is. ..You are forever my love,  my one and only Valentine!

###

PS. Ours is not a perfect one, but here’s something perfect and true to remember all the time.

Tiffany-wedding-rings

Marriage Booster

Hello February!

Away for so long from blogging, this one needs a booster shot!  And what a weekend shot it was!

Recently attended a Marriage Booster event ( on the 5 Languages of Love by Gary Chapman) organized by Victory CDO

which was well-attended by the rookies ( 2 months old) to “pros” (38 yrs!).  I am delighted to know that we have the same Top Love Language with hubby – “Words Of Affirmation”.  His was followed by “Physical Touch”, while mine with “Receiving Gifts” ( read: may not be material stuff – but even the physical presence of the spouse is a gift!).  By the grace of God, it turned out that we are able to fill-in each other’s needs so our love tank in the marriage doesn’t run empty.   This booster shot in our marriage is a must-have.  Like in our bodies, booster shots are needed so our immune system runs well and we stay healthy.     In the same way, we need healthy, thriving , great marriages!  Yes, there were some bumpy rides in our own love story but now into the 12th yr, I can say that I am joyfully married!

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” (Gen2:24)