Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
For example, I am an introverted extrovert. Now, I know that doesn’t make much sense, but essentially for me it means that I like to be by myself, except when I don’t. I like to be with people, and I especially like to be included in things that are fun. Now my husband, on the other hand, is what I like to think of as an introverted introvert, meaning that he likes to be around people the bare minimum of acceptable or appropriate time. He recognizes that he must deal with people and be around people at work and other places; however, if socializing is not required, why do it?
You might see how this could create a certain amount of friction in our home. I use the word friction very lightly. For us, it’s not really an issue because we’ve found a middle ground that works most of the time.
However, holidays seem to be the time when these differences can really creep in and cause a disturbance in the home. Take two people with different personalities, backgrounds, and traditions and put them in the same home during holiday time and I can guarantee there will be some discussing that goes on.
The October Challenge
For us, nothing has proven more difficult than agreeing on festivities for the month of October. Call it what you will–Halloween, All Hallows Eve, The Day of the Devil–this day has proven to be a difficult one for our family to find any middle ground. My husband feels very strongly that we should be locked in our home with the lights off, watching movies and pretending that the rest of the world doesn’t exist during this day. For me, I see it as an amazing opportunity to have some serious fun with my kids!
We’ve been at this parenting thing for just over six years, and October 31st requires extensive discussion every single year. Don’t get me wrong, discussion is great. It means that both parties are open to voicing and hearing the other person’s opinion. However, it also means that there is obviously not a clearly defined answer to the question “What are we going to do this year for Halloween?”
Our wonderful church hosts a neat little get-together where the kids can (but aren’t required to) dress up and they get to play carnival games and eat popcorn and get candy and they love it. And I love it. And my husband tolerates it. No scary costumes are allowed and there are no scary elements. Other churches around town host other activities as well. But this always seems to bring up the discussion in our house about whether people in the church should really be participating in this “holiday” at all. That’s a long winding road that I am not going to traverse in this blog. However, it is just another point that comes up each year when we are trying to decide what to do!
But this again brings me to another point: finding a balance which can exist in the home among two different people with different minds, hearts, souls, and backgrounds. Each year we discuss extensively what’s on our hearts regarding this day. Each year we battle with ourselves and sometimes one another. Each year we find agreement and some middle, (or his side, or her side) ground that we rest on. And each year we live to see another year as a family.
God Intends Us to Love
So often small and simple conflicts seem to wedge themselves further between us and our loved ones. And for what? Sometimes it’s our own pride that gets in the way. Sometimes it’s the sting of the other person’s words. Sometimes it’s just plain and simple bitterness. But whatever it is that is driving a wedge between spouses, children and families, it’s not of God. One of the most popular verses from the bible can be applied here.
How those words can sting when we are not practicing them! Love does not insist on its own way. For me I have to really dwell on this verse when there are times of friction between my husband and I. There will always be things to discuss. There are always opportunities for disagreements, whether it be about holiday celebrations or bigger issues in life. The thing I have to remember is that God intends for us to love.
Do you ever find that you and your spouse have one particular thing that you can’t seem to agree on? How have you worked through it?
What scriptures inspire you to love those God has placed in your life?
Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
25 YEARS! That’s how long I’ve been married! Today is our anniversary. We’ve been through so much in the last twenty-five years and it has not always been easy.
Our wedding vows were:
…To have and to hold from this day forward,
for better for worse,
for richer for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death do us part.
To have and to hold from this day forward… Well that about sums it up! He’s stuck with me. It has not always been easy and I know that there have been days that we both have wanted to just throw in the towel and give up. It’s just been “too hard”. But, we have worked through our problems and stayed together. I know I am not the easiest person to live with but he has stuck by me all these years. We dated for three years before we got married so he knew what he was getting into… mostly.
For better for worse… We have had lots of both of these times. The better was the birth of our three children. The worse was years of infertility and the loss of our first pregnancy. The better was new jobs, God’s Provisions for us, new opportunities, friends, more things than I can remember…Thankfully, there are so many more better than worse. We stayed together through all of these worse times and these times brought us closer together and closer to God.
For richer for poorer… We were poor when we got married. My husband was unemployed but had the promise of a job within a month. That job did not pan out but another did the following month. It was a better job, financially. We focused on our careers in the early years of our marriage and were financially sound. We have had our financial ups and downs over the years but have always found that God will provide for our needs. My husband always had faith that God would provide the job he needed when he needed it and this has happened on numerous occasions.
In sickness and in health… That has been our biggest struggle. Sickness means sickness in this marriage. I battled infertility for three years. I also had a terrible accident in which it took ten stitches to sew up the side of my face. My husband had a medical condition that went undiagnosed/misdiagnosed for a year. He ended up losing his job because of this illness. After numerous doctors and specialists, he was finally correctly diagnosed and treated very easily. He has also had kidney stones and he developed food allergies. And now more recently, he had a heart attack last year just a week after our anniversary. He should not have survived this heart attack. I then had my own heart scare that turned out to be false positives (I believe this was due to the power of prayer. I had too many tests that showed problems for the angiogram to come back with nothing wrong.) His heart attack affected us the most. That made me realize just how much I love and need him and I could see how much he loved me because of how he fought to stay alive. I also could see his love for me when I had my wreck and when I had my “heart problems”.
To love and to cherish… We love each other, although there are probably times that we do not like each other. He buys me the most heart touching cards that declare his love for me. He knows that I think that cards are a waste of money but he still buys them to tell me how he feels. (I think part of it is to see how much he can make me cry now, oh, in a good way, not bad.) Even though I tell him to quit wasting money on cards, I do look forward to them. I, hopefully, have shown my love for him through all that we have been through. At least, I haven’t purposely fed him something that he is allergic to. (It’s a joke in our house that I will feed him something and then collect the life insurance.)
We have been though a lifetime in the past twenty-five years. God has been with us through it all, even when we were not walking with Him the way that we should. I pray that God will give us at least twenty-five more. Till death do us part.
A lot of prayer and thought has gone into whether or not to write this post. For you see, I am your acquaintance, your old high school friend, your daughter, your granddaughter, a person you sit next to in worship. I am your Facebook friend. I am typically very transparent in my life but there is an area that I only share with those closet to me. Those free of judgement and “Well, you need to…” statements.
You see, a year ago my daughter, a high school student, through tears of shame and fear told me that she was gay. It was nothing I did not already suspect.
This is a journey that my “tribe” rarely speaks of and in the past has not been a topic tied to love and grace. As the headlines of the supreme court decision began to hit social media, I quickly saw my news feed divide. Mostly, it was profile pictures turning to rainbows or some pretty heartless, condemning, and unkind statements. My heart began to sink as I noticed some of these people were people my daughter looked up to and were even related to.
I wanted to scream of my daughter’s struggle and that these hurtful statements were beyond counter productive. There are a lot of things I do not know about this journey for my daughter. I don’t know what this will look like in her life. I don’t know all the right things to do or say.
BUT what I do know is: I love my daughter. I will walk beside her on this journey and not try to drag her on the journey I think she needs. I will pray over her daily. I DO trust God to work in my daughter’s life and be Lord of her life.
This is my verse for my child.
We know all the scriptures that have been listed. We know all the theologies you could discuss with us. That is not what my daughter needs. She needs to know she is loved.
She needs to know that she is loved by God’s people unlike any other people on earth. I truly believe that God created us to crave community and I have done everything in my power to make it well-know to my children that the church is that community. This week has placed my daughter back into a place of shame and you see, as a mom I do not want to tell her story but I want her to know I am not ashamed of her.
What I wanted my Facebook status to be this week was:
There are young eyes that are watching how “our tribe” will respond to this day. Young eyes that are searching and struggling with their sexuality. They are looking for a safe place. A place filled with love to navigate a difficult journey. We need to remember that they may be reading Facebook today through a frame of insecurity and fear and if they do not find an overwhelming feeling of love, they might just determine not only are they better off turning their back on God and anyone claiming to be “His people” but also maybe this life. Please post wisely and thoughtfully. Do you want to be right or do you want to exude God’s love?
Luke 15:20 says “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him…” Only love brings us back to God’s open arms.
Are you willing to help me love my daughter and anyone else who is struggling, so that they too may feel Christ’s hands & feet at work in their lives?