Why I continue to say yes. Celebrating 15 years of marriage!

This man of mine

I love you

You still make me turn my head when you walk in the room

It’s still true, as the years go by

My yes to you have become even louder

Because I watch you…a lot

And how can I say no to you when you continue to say yes to Jesus

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Yes when it is hard

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Yes when it means a no to your original plan

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Yes when you feel like you do not have the strength to lead me and our six children

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Yes to the for better or for worse

And you kiss my partially bald head

And tell me you love and find me beautiful no matter what

It took many years for both of us to get to this place but we are here

And I am grateful

You listen to me go on

AND ON when I am trying to make sense of my thoughts

Your strength of knowing how to listen and compassion makes it easy for me to talk to you

I cry and then continue to go on and on some more

You continue to listen, and when I am done

You pray for me

I cry some more

BECAUSE

You love me well

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These last 15 years have taught me that you are not perfect

I am fully aware

But it is not perfection that makes our marriage work

Oh how I wish I knew this from the beginning, striving for an unrealistic goal…it always left me frustrated

But no, it is not perfection but commitment that makes us work

Commitment first to the creator of our marriage which helps us to remain committed to each other

The commitment that makes us stick around when the for better passes and it feels like the for worse season will never end.

The commitment that drives us to our knees instead of out the door when our imperfections are on full display.

This man of mine

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I love you

And I am so honored to be your wife.

Happy 15th wedding anniversary Mr. Jones!

 

 

Called to Help Not Hinder

 

What would happen if we dared to be the wives God called us to be?  What would happen if we rejected this world’s system, refusing to conform to their definition but hunger to be transformed through the renewing of our minds of what it means to be a wife? A God kind of wife; one that has made a decision to help her husband not hinder him.  One that understands and lives the depths of her vows, “for better or for worse.”  One that has a made up mind to love and to honor him even when we see him at his worse and feels he doesn’t deserve our help.  One that says I will help build you up with my speech. Speaking life even when death is threatening to suck the life out of me, when you don’t tell me what I desperately need to hear.  One that says I will help you by spending time in prayer on your behalf, not just telling on you  but loving you through my intercession.  I will help by hearing what God has to say about you, and speak it right back to you when you are at your lowest and can’t believe it.

I want to be one that makes her actions scream, “I will not hinder you!”  I will not allow myself to become a weapon in the devil’s hands to wound my head. I understand that we are one, and hindering him is hindering myself.  I will not hinder by tearing him down with my words on the phone with my girlfriends understanding that even though he doesn’t hear the conversations, he senses the weight of the words in my touch or lack thereof.  I will not hinder through reminding him of his past demanding that he be held captive for his mistakes.  I will help by freely offering forgiveness as often as it is needed and not questioning whether it is deserved.

The world is broken and contrary to what they may believe they need to see helpers in action, they need to see the word lived out.  They got the memo on the hinderers, they are all around…on the big screen, in the magazines and some are even hanging out in the church pews.   I want to be THAT wife, the helper not the hinderer! How about you?

 If you can find a truly good wife, she is worth more than precious gems! … 12 She will not hinder him but help him all her life. 

Proverbs 31:  10, 12 TLB

 

Guess what? I am expecting!

I am expecting!  I know you have questions, so do I?  When do I deliver?  How far along am I?  What am I having?   I am not sure of any of the above answers. I don’t know when or specifically what, but I know it is going to be big.  It is going to be great.  Bigger than what I can do in my own strength.

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The pain has been intense, at times unbearable. I have had moments where I thought miscarriage was inevitable and I just needed a hug.  I needed reassurance that it was going to be ok.

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But today the life within me kicked.  I am overflowing with purpose, infused with hope, running on faith.

I will give birth to this thing.  I will. I will.  I will.  In the name of Jesus I WILL. Speaking of will, that is all I want to give birth to, His will.   I am pregnant with the promises of God, I want His kindgom to come in my life.  I take on the best birthing positon ever…PRAYER! You did not know? Prayer births things.  Big things. Great things. Impossible things.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Elijah, Hannah, and my personal favorites Isaiah and Faith.

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Are you expecting as well?  I invite you to join me in prayer as you prepare to give birth.  Be Blessed!

Anika

 

 

Decorating my heart for Christmas

It’s Christmas time again at the Jones’.  I get just as excited as the children at the thought of decorating our home for the Christmas season.  However, I know that it is even more important for me to “decorate” my heart with the truth of God’s word.  With that in mind, I went back to read the Christmas story from the book of Mathew and ditched the mindset of “I have read this so many times and I already know what happens.”

 

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In Mathew 1:18-19 we learn that Joseph was engaged to be married to Mary and she was a virgin; not an exception in those days but the expectation.  However Mary ends up pregnant and it was not by Joseph!  It is certain Joseph was hurt and felt betrayed but even in his pain he purposed not to humiliate her.  He instead decided to break it off privately.  It was heavy on his heart and  he went to bed thinking about this thing.  Ever been there, weighed down with concerns as you go to bed…I have. The Lord saw his heart, saw his pain and provided an answer of peace while Joseph was sleeping.   Mathew 1:20 says as he considered this, he fell asleep and the angel of The Lord appeared to Him.  The angel of the Lord brought clarity to his situation.

Here it is Joseph was in a major life altering dilemma.  It is almost certain that he was hurt by Mary’s seemingly betrayal, but he opted not to put her on blast.  Wow!  What is your first response when you think you have been wronged by someone?  Do you look for every listening ear to broadcast the offense, only causing the wound to go deeper?  Do you immediately go on a revenge mission seeking to inflict the same pain you are feeling?

The explanation given to Joseph and his response blesses and convicts me all at the same time.  The angel of The Lord tells Joseph that the child Mary is carrying was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  Now let’s just be honest here, the explanation just did not make sense, it was foolish…at least in the natural. A virgin getting pregnant by the Holy Spirit?  What?    Who has ever heard of such a thing?  But Joseph didn’t question the explanation, he knew it was from God and that was enough.   He did not go asking for a second opinion. When God tells you to do something, do you wait for it to make sense before you act.  I have learned that I have to be ok with not understanding all of God’s directives, I have to trust that He is God and He knows best.  We often want to wrap our mind around all God is saying before we sign on the dotted line, give up on that method, it is pretty ineffective.  Truth be told, we often won’t understand it all because the plan is always so much bigger than we can comprehend.  Humble yourself, trust God and say Yes!

Joseph didn’t even know what he had stepped into, here God takes this ordinary boy and makes him one of the key characters in the greatest story ever!  In Mathew 1:21-23 the angel tells Joseph that the baby is going to be a boy, name him Jesus and oh yeah, he is going to save his people from their sins.  Then the angel of the Lord tells Joseph all of this is a fulfillment of the prophecies  that were given about the savior.  I  mean can you imagine, receiving all this news in one night.  Jesus simply means “The Lord Saves.”  So in other words, Joseph’s yes brought salvation to the world!  How can your yes to the seemingly impossible bring salvation to others?  Or consider this, how can your no hinder the salvation of others. Your disobedience does not only affect you.  Don’t hinder the flow, play your part and say yes.

My prayer is that you will be  encouraged to decorate your heart with obedience this Christmas.  Stay tuned for part two of this post.  Be blessed!

 

 

 

 

I Train All Day

For the  last 10 years I have been a stay at home mom.  On more than one occasion I  have been asked what I do all day.   Um-mm let me see how to phrase this… I train all day.   Not the kind of training you may be thinking about, allow me to explain.  Scripture tells us to train our children in the way they should go, the God way, the truth way, the blood bought way.  Training is not an option.  Because of our inherited sin nature EVERY child, no matter how cute is born with a desire to do wrong.  Everyday I am training and quite frankly it is hard work.    My job is not to tame my children’s sin, instead I have been entrusted with the job of encouraging them to nail it to the cross through submission to Christ.  Training begins with teaching them the word of God, this is the manual. The end goal is beyond nice behaved children. I want them to live knowing that death and judgment is certain for everyone.  So through my training I am encouraging them  to have a right relationship with God so that eternity can be spent with Him.

I train them not only through speaking the word but by living the word through my actions.

  • I train them  to understand that true love disciplines wrong behavior in an effort to prevent worst things from happening.  I choose not to wink at undesired behavior because of love.
  • I train them to be humble and to have a repentant heart when I say sorry (even to them) when I am wrong.
  • I train them to forgive and extend mercy when I forgive their offenses; not constantly reminding them of what they have done wrong. Dish out the consequence for wrongdoing and move on.  Do not look for opportunities to bring up how they missed the mark.

I train not just concerning the spiritual but the natural, but wait… the two are very much connected.

  • I train them to  not be idle and prioritize that which is important when I choose to cook and clean my house instead of spending too much time on social media.  I also give them the opportunity to work with their hands and allow the mess that comes with learning.

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  • I train them to understand what  honor  “looks” like when their father comes home to a cooked meal and washed clothes.  When my words are tempered with grace and my eyes aren’t rolling when he says something I don’t want to hear.  They are watching more than I realize, and I have had to apologize more than once.IMG_1883

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  • I train them to have responsibilities when I sit in the kitchen  and talk to them for a hour and a half while they clean, a job that I could have done in 30 minutes. Or when I wait for what seems like forever for them to pick up every Lego off the floor and resist the temptation to do it all for them because I can do it faster and betterIMG_1930

 

  • I train them when I allow them to experience the consequences of their poor choices and not always come to the rescue.  “No I will  not allow you to be late to school because you can’t find your recorder for music class.  I told you the night before to put everything in your bag.  Are you kidding me? There is six of you, I cannot keep up with your stuff. Stop crying and get in the van RIGHT NOW!”  True story, I am not making this up.. oh it’s happened to you too?
  • I train them to love who God created them to be when I  allow them to cry because they just don’t fit in with everyone else.  I say a prayer, wipe the tears and tell them how beautiful and special they are because God said so and I believe Him.

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  • I train them to  feel secure through the meals we share as a family at the table.  Letting them know that even with the absence of fine china and a perfectly set table conversations about the highs and lows of our day can flow freely.

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  • I train them to know they are loved by putting my to do list on hold and reading a book with them or just being silly and laughing about nothing really important.

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  • I train them to know dedication when I take my tired body to bed, wake up the next morning, ready to do it all over again and again and again!

Yes, this training thing is hard work.  The struggle is real but so is God’s love, His grace and His wisdom.  I don’t always do it perfectly.   I continue to learn that God gave us our children to train but certainly is not expecting us to do it on our own. We can do this…because of Christ!

 

 

Reality

I have to face the reality that my body is perishing and not meant to last forever. Sure I can do things to improve my health and well being, and I am a strong advocate of doing so. However the experiences over the last week forced me reflect on a few sobering truths. I got hit hard with a nasty sickness. I had so much to accomplish on my to do list and while my mind was telling me to forge ahead, my body was screaming the opposite. I would love to tell you that I exercised wisdom and sat and rested but I can’t even begin to tell that lie. I fought like crazy to defy my reality. I was soooo frustrated. It so hard having an agenda and not being able to accomplish it. Ever been there?

I began to really think about the end. Not in a depressing way, but a lets really evaluate things here kind of way. We are each given an allotted amount of time here on earth and it’s so easy to have misguided focus. We act as if we are immortal and always assume we will have more time. We assume we will always be as strong as we were yesterday. We pursue our agenda without noticing that the clock is ticking and one day it is certain to stop. They say that there are two things that are certain, death and taxes. Hebrews 9:27 tells us of something else that’s certain after death…the judgement. When I stand before God, what will he think of how I used the time he gave me? What will he have to say concerning my priorities, did they line up with his? And my life, my heart, did it belong to him?

I am feeling better today but I have more of a resolve to build up my spirit, focus on God’s agenda because my end is one day closer. As I put him first, I don’t have to dread that day but I can look forward to it with great joy!