These Days

It’s definitely about time for a personal update around here. While Micah has been a newborn I have been very busy trying to figure him out. He’s a tricky one. And then there’s Noah, a 1 1/2 year old who spend his days trying to convince me he is actually in his “terrible twos.” I haven’t had a lot of spare time to sit down and think about writing.

I loooove my boys. Love them. But I will always be one of the first to throw up her hands and admit motherhood is tough. It’s killing me, ya’ll.

But it’s killing me in the way that it should. I have little to no time for “me things.” (Let’s just not talk about how neglected my eyebrows have become.) I feel incredibly awesome when I get to take a shower, and when I get a shower TWO days in a row, I want to write it on my calendar (it’s that momentous).

I am dying a slowww painful death to “me.” Not by choice, mind you. If it were up to me, I would be painting my nails the perfect winter shade, sipping my Starbucks, and watching Parenthood right now. What I’m actually doing is  sitting on the floor next to an almost three month old who is trying to roll over, typing with one hand around the toddler in my lap, and watching Curious George. And my nail color is two weeks old and chipped to high heaven.

But it’s good, guys. It is SO good. Lately, the phrase “taste and see that the Lord is good” has been floating through my head. It’s just so true. Parenting is a “taste.” It’s hard and I honestly don’t know how people without Jesus can do it. When everyone is screaming, pooping, and spitting up all together and I feel like crying, I look at my ceiling and plead with my Father. Helllllllppp mee pleeeeeese.

And he always does. Whether he extends my patience, gives my heart a refresher, or soothes the crying babies. Sometimes I feel no help and so I put my head down and do what needs to be done. I focus and hustle. And probably still feel discouraged and overwhelmed. But later that day I will get a text or a phone call from a friend that lifts me up and puts me back where I should be. Yep, God is GOOD. I’m tasting and seeing.

In other family news, Connor and I are good. We are loving Colorado and our sweet little townhouse. It is perfect in every way….except for how the fireplace’s chimney is apparently blocked. So when we lit a cozy fire this weekend our whole downstairs filled with smoke. That was STRESSFUL. HA. The scent of camping is now gone and someone is coming to clean the flue out on Friday. Thank goodness.

I am much better at doing updates on instagram, so please follow me there if you want to know more! ;)

We are failing at marriage

I have failed my husband. My husband has failed me.

And we are not alone. It is happening in every. single. marriage.

Failure.

When Connor and I were married three years ago, we included in our ceremony one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 14:4-7

I could not wait to share that kind of love with my sweet and wonderful husband for the rest of my life.

In the months following our wedding, we did everything we could to build a fortress around our marriage to keep evil out. We prayed together – over our marriage and each other. I felt so safe in our relationship.

Not to say our first year wasn’t rough. It was. Learning to respond with love and grace, regardless of our emotional state, was an incredible challenge.  But we really loved each other so, when those lessons of humility kept coming, we did our best to welcome them with open arms. Because, after all, love is not self-seeking. We made real progress. It was precious and beautiful progress towards maturity in our love and the ways we related to each other.

The scary thing, friends, is that all marriages are at risk of Satan’s influences. Even (and especially) the strong ones.

See, while we were “building” our marriage, I was still feeling “failed.” Things would happen between us that hurt me. Every time I would say, “I forgive you,” and would really want to mean it, but the hurt lingered in my heart and refused to go away. So I became passive in my love towards my husband. Eventually, I did not feel loved and I did not want to forgive my husband anymore. The trust we had on our marriage day had been dismantled.

I knew I wanted to repair our marriage to what it had been before the broken trust, but I kept getting lost. I willed my heart to forgive him. I prayed desperately for God to help me and heal our marriage. I thought I was making little steps of progress. However, there was still hurt and anger brewing inside me that quietly bided its time and built up potency – until one day, when it burst like an ugly pus-filled wound.

While driving myself to a meeting for work, I was overwhelmed with what had happened to my once beautiful love-filled life. I was MAD. I could not accept that my marriage was flawed and always would be. I could not believe that I had “chosen” to forgive my husband.  He needed to know my wrath, my disappointment, and my hurt in full force. He did not deserve to be forgiven. He deserved to know EXACTLY how he’d hurt me and to be punished. I had let him off too easy. Guys, these kind of thoughts are not unique to me. This is the human condition. Human nature longs, with an ugly bitterness, for retribution when we are wronged. So when all of these thoughts attacked my heart, Satan won a battle in those moments. I was seething and it was ugly. I was failing my husband. I had been offering him conditional love. “Mmm, I’m only going to love you completely if you do right by me, all the time. Otherwise, forget it.”

Drowning, I cried out to God with an utterly broken soul. And when I was done, he spoke to me very clearly. Very. He said, “Dearest, this is not your burden. I am the one who deals out judgments in righteousness. It is not your job to make sure your husband ‘learns his lesson.’ I have you in my hand, sweet one, and you are loved. I have your husband in my hand and he is loved. Do not despair – all will be well. You do not know what Connor and I are working through right now. I am with him. This anger is not for your own hands. You can release it to me.”

Finally, I was able to unclench the fist I had been choking my heart with. I began to realize that my husband is and will forever be a human. All humans are broken and imperfect vessels. That is where the true beauty of marriage in Christ begins. I did not marry a perfect man – he will never be a perfect man. He did not marry a perfect woman – I will never be a perfect woman. Spouses will fail each other. It is unavoidable.

From that point on, forgiving him for the things I had held on to was something I chose to do over and over again, every day. You see, sometimes, true forgiveness is a commitment you must choose to act on with every thought in your head and word in your mouth. Forgiveness is WORK. One step forward, two steps back, rinse, repeat.

As Christians we are told to love each other like Christ loves us. Christ loved ME so much that he died for me. Regardless of the fact I have sinned against him and spit on that gift in more ways than I can name. That he loves me, regardless of anything, is a truth that I know to be infallible. I have found only love and grace from Christ, so shouldn’t that be what my spouse receives from me? No matter what wrong has been committed. The “big” or “small” of the wrong does not matter. Our choice to forgive though – that matters.

There is a blood that covers over all of our offenses and imperfections. Both of our slates have been wiped clean. Our marriage has been wiped clean. While we are imperfect – GOD IS PERFECT!!! When we look to our spouses to complete us, we fail. When we look to Christ to complete us and choose daily to love each other with grace and forgiveness because God loved us – then, our marriage is daily renewed, deepened, and made into something more beautiful than you can imagine.

I LOVE my husband more than when we got married. I have more compassion for my husband than I ever thought possible. We work harder at our marriage than most. We refuse to fail. Having been to a fragile place in our relationship, we know we never want to be there again. We are strong, in Christ. We are imperfect, but we are willing and eager to love each other unconditionally.

This is why failure is happening in every marriage: because we are human. We are selfish. If you feel that failure in your marriage, my heart aches for you. I want you to know that you can have your marriage back. I want you to know you can find healing. It is not easy and it is not quick, but you can get there. It starts with forgiveness. Long-term whole-hearted forgiveness, that only Christ can give you the strength to follow through with.

Do you have a story about forgiveness and marriage? Questions? I’d love to hear it! Leave a comment below or send me an email at thegracefilledhome@gmail.com

Your husband deserves

Your husband deserves to be loved by you.

He might be cranky, he might be sweet, he might be overwhelmed, you might feel like he’s overlooking you. It doesn’t matter.

As wives, we are called to serve, help, give grace to, and believe in our husband.

And here’s the deal, our love should be consistent. It should supersede our circumstance (bad day, good day, weird day).

Ugh. So hard for me. I absolutely love my husband, but I also have ALL the feelings and they get in the way of expressing that love. I get mad, tired, irritated, overwhelmed, etc on the DAILY. Usually, Connor gets the brunt of my negative emotions. Enough said about that, hm?

Yesterday, I remembered that. I remembered that on the day I chose to marry Connor I had committed to choosing EVERY day to love him. So last night I left a fresh package of candy canes (his fave) and a short love letter on his pillow to let him know that I remembered. Then I dropped my phone in the pumpkin latte scented candle I lit for ambiance. Oops.

I encourage you to do the same. Love on your spouse for no reason (but maybe don’t drop your phone in hot wax…). Because when we married our wonderful, hard-working, human and flawed husbands we chose them for the rest of our lives.

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Community Brew | He will provide

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I really enjoyed reading Madison’s opening words to this installment of the Community Brew link-up.

God DOES do big things. Absolutely. And I seek his provision daily and earnestly.

But Madison asked, was I seeking God with “open hands?”

Nope. Big negatory on that one.

I am a close-fisted seeker. What I have, I want to keep and have no intention of letting go.

I am devastated when He “takes” something away from me. Like a child. However, one of the the verses Madison shared got right to the heart of my emotional immaturity.

 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9
 
 

God is not cruel. He is greater. Greater than me, greater than circumstance, greater than all things. He can see beyond. When He comes to me, and asks me to have open hands, He is not “taking” from me. He is making room. Greater room for greater things.

God has always provided for me. He has given me all I need and more. I have absolutely no reason not to trust Him when He asks for some things back. I should know better. Because HE knows better.

My greatest obstacle to seeking Christ with open hands is money. One of the subjects God is SO specific about in the Bible. Men and women who give their last pennies to God, without looking back, are praised and always provided for. Men and women who hoard their money are passed over and punished (Ananais and Sapphira, anyone?). That knowledge should be plenty motivating for me and yet, when it comes time to tithe I struggle. When I see someone sitting on a street corner, asking for help, I struggle. When I am asked to support a child in Africa, I struggle.

I have PLENTY of things I need to use my money on. “God-money” comes out last (and, as a result, usually has a $0 balance).

How unbelievably backwards and selfish is that?!?

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

Matthew 6: 25-26

 

Thank you Madison, for such eye-opening words!!

 

Linking up with Madison and Rachel. Thank you, ladies!

 

In All Things

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I’ve been throwing myself a little pity party this week. Sticking to a budget is hard, especially when you want to go through a drive-thru a get a big fizzy soda, but it’s not “in the budget.” Or when you realize you can’t afford to replace your iphone5, which was the reason you have so many precious good-quality photos of your son’s first year of life.

And while running errands yesterday I had a moment of clarity when I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. Right now – I get to watch my son FULL TIME. I am blessed with the time to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my little family. I am so loved by my husband that he would work 10 hour days to provide for us. How can I allow myself to be cranky when this is my reality? Ugh. bad job, Kathryn.

So I figured this was an incredibly appropriate time to do a “What I’m thankful for” post. :) To remind me.

I’m thankful because…

1. Connor, Noah, and Micah are healthy

2. Micah is ALMOST HERE!!!!

3. Our townhome does NOT have creaky floors. Isn’t it the worst when you’re walking by your baby’s room and it takes you ten minutes because you have to tip toe and hit just the right spots so a giant CREAK doesn’t wake them up? Yeah. So happy we have solid floors now.

4. Our laundry facilities are on our main floor.

5. We live in a quiet complex. No noisy college kids or party animals. I am so thankful for this.

6. Tonight is pizza night.

7. Cooking is getting a little easier. A little.

8. Noah loves people. He is such a social little stinker. <3

9. I have not had any complications with this pregnancy. What a blessing.

10. No one is allergic to candles in our house so I can burn them as much as I want to.

11. Fall is almost here.

12. Noah takes two naps a day. Hallelujah.

13. After I fold the load of laundry that’s in the dryer right now, I will be completely caught up! Until tomorrow…lol

14. My husband is an amazing musician. AMAZING. He has the most incredible an unique voice. And I get to hear it anytime I want. :)

15. Connor and I can have free babysitting almost any time we need it, thanks to my aunts.

16. I can still paint my toenails, even at almost 36 weeks pregnant. Holla!

17. Did I mention tonight was pizza night?

 

 

 

When your toddler drops your iphone in the toilet.

I did not have a super day.

Bleh. I don’t like admitting that. I’d rather post about how awesome everything is or how I learned this great lesson about parenting/marriage.

But today just wasn’t one of those days.

I woke up with Connor this morning, packed his lunch and kissed him goodbye. I am so proud of that man for working as hard as he does. I love waking up at the same time as him and squeezing in a few more minutes with him. So, despite the rest of the day, my morning was really nice. :)

Then Noah woke up and the day began, full tilt. I was loving life, feeding my little one breakfast, unloading the dishwasher, singing along with the sesame street radio station. After breakfast I put Noah on the floor to play and started cleaning his high chair. I turned to the sink to wash the removable tray off and then I heard it.

Clunk.

And I knew Noah had sprinted his little self to the bathroom and flung his hand into the toilet. He’s been doing that lately. And so, lately,  I’ve been gagging a lot. And washing his hands with soap for very long amounts of time. And keeping the bathroom door closed. Except I forgot this morning.

And this time, it wasn’t just his hand. It was his hand AND my iphone. Clunk. All the way to the bottom. I was not a happy camper.

It did not turn back on. And it makes me so sad to say this – but that totally ruined my day. And I was not the best mommy I could be. I felt like I was cut off from the world and OH MY GOSH  I couldn’t post anything to instagram! The phone is currently sitting in a bag of rice, but I don’t anticipate positive results in the morning. And I was a major grump all day. Patience did not flow freely.

Connor came home to find Noah and I sitting on the doorstep, waiting so very very eagerly for him to get there. We sat down to dinner and I told him, while holding back ridiculous tears for a PHONE, what had happened and that we didn’t buy insurance on the phone and I didn’t think we would be able to replace it and I didn’t even get a chance to shower today and *pathetic little sob*. My handsome husband told me to go take a long shower and that he would handle all of Noah’s bedtime routines by himself. I resisted a little, but really, that was exactly what I needed. So I accepted my husband’s gracious generosity. And I took a reeeeaally long hot shower. I even tried to laugh at myself for being so upset over a phone…too soon though. ;)

And now I’m trying to figure out what I can take from today. Heres what I’ve got so far….

1) Do not try to compensate for your depression by going to Goodwill to look for a rocking chair for the nursery. A divine intervention on behalf of your financial situation will occur and all of the store’s furniture will be gone. Really.

2) Do not rely on instagram as your main social outlet.

2) Do everything in your power to love and teach your son well, even when he makes you crazy upset.

3) Do not try a new recipe for dinner on days when everything has gone wrong. Just. Don’t.

4) Do always be extremely thankful for a husband who is gracious and loving.

5) Do pray. Pray often and hard during those hard days.

Thank goodness His mercies are new every morning. 

I am going to set this burden down tonight with prayer and more prayer. There is no need for me to carry this awful-no-good day with me into tomorrow.

Goodnight, friends. Sleep sweet and wake fresh.

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Taking the time to be his mother

I was sitting down, resting my swollen pregnant feet. Checking my email, scrolling through blogs, and generally enjoying my quiet Noah-free time. My mother (Nana) was playing with Noah in another room. After awhile I realized they had both been laughing themselves silly almost the whole time they were together. Instead of investigating, I stayed where I was. I was pretty sure my me-time was way more important than whatever they were discovering together.20140729-224544-81944269.jpg

He was learning how to somersault. He would stand up and bend over until his little head was resting on the ground. Then my mother would roll the rest of his body over. His squeals of joy were endless. He LOVED this new activity. My mother and my son did this again and again and again. Neither of them growing tired of it. My one-year-old even somersaulted by himself at one point. It was the most precious thing in the world. And, he will never somersault “for the first time” again.

I know all this because, eventually, I did get up. I peeked my head around the corner and beheld that heart-warming scene. I didn’t need to participate. But I did need to watch. I will hold in my heart that memory of those two dear faces, nearly tear-soaked with laughter, playing together on the floor.

It was goodness.

It was beautiful.

It was priceless.

Sometimes, getting “me-time” is very important. It invigorates and focuses me. I remember my priorities, my God, my purpose. But lately, I have been focusing too much on my alone time. There are a lot of things quickly coming up in our life that are consuming my thoughts (like baby #2’s arrival in a little over a month…), and it has become difficult to live in the moment. I don’t think a life lived entirely “in the moment” is good – we all benefit from some  planning and preparation – however, a life too planned is no life at all, in my opinion. Lately I have been spending most of my time making lists and very little of my time just letting Noah and I “be.” 20140729-224545-81945138.jpg

If I had been watching Noah that afternoon, I doubt we would have somersaulted together. I probably would have been trying to figure out which store to buy diapers at most cost-effectively while Noah played with a race car.

As I was watching this sweet scene and my heart was spilling over with joy, I realized that I am going to fast and too slow at the same time. I am looking into the future almost exclusively and spending all my time in the present preparing for the future. Yikes. What a mouthful.
But really, God told me he clothed the beautiful flowers and he feeds the carefree birds – He has ALWAYS done this and He ALWAYS will. So why do I dwell so much on making sure things are prepared, perfect and “ready”? Human nature I guess.

But I am writing this to keep myself accountable. I don’t want to miss special moments with my son because I am wrapped up in my head. I want to be fully with him most of the time. If I have to spend a few minutes thinking about legitimately important things, I am completely fine with that. However, I am going to focus my efforts (especially in the next few weeks before we add another member of our family) on loving my son (and husband!) without borders and being truly present.

I can’t believe I get to be this little guys mother. It is the biggest blessing I have ever received. It’s time I started acting that way.

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