Day 2…

As you know, we started our journey yesterday after being apart for the weekend.  When we got home, finally, to one another, the conversation was INCREDIBLE! I knew last weekend was going to be about God and us…individually.  Yes, we spent our weekend nurturing relationships that are special to us as well only God was nurturing each of us individually as well.  The weekend was filled with high favor and blessings for each of us. Hubby is coming into his leadership role and I must say, he’s doing it beautifully.  I watch as he continues to submit to God’s will in life and I can breathe easily when I submit to him.  We took a personality test a few weeks ago, my counselor suggested it would help her understand our dynamic, we also took one about each other.  When reviewing the results with me, she repeated a few times, that she was blown away how well we know one another.  It truly was interesting to see that 25 years of marriage has been filled with communication and observation, and that it has paid off in dividends.  I will share some of the results with you that were particularly interesting.

There are several categories that were tested but the ones that brought such questions to her mind as…how do you submit to Matt?  We were tested on dominance and submission, the results were exactly as Matt and I assumed they’d be (maybe a bit high, and God has worked miracles in us).  According to the test, I am “by nature” 99% dominant, Matt is “by nature”, 98% submissive.  Wow, that is pretty amazing and it worked, not well, for several years.  It nearly killed me, but it is the way things happened.  To us, it isn’t a bad thing for me to be dominant, after all, I’m a lot like my dad, or for Matt to be submissive, after all, he was trained to be as a child and young man by his dad.  Not only that, but IT IS the way God made us originally.  My first response to things is to figure out how to repair them and then, make sure the people that need to repair them…know.  Praise God, He is teaching me to take it to Him and release Him to them with truth, IN LOVE.  And. Others’ inability to see what God is doing and how the enemy is playing, that is tough to swallow, especially if my feelings are involved.  Matt’s first response is to figure out how to repair them, and then make sure I know what they need to hear.  Ugh.  Sometimes this thing is sticky.  When Matt read John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart in 2008, I began to see a change and can say with confidence, today the man I choose to submit to is an incredible leader.  So, if I am so “outgoing, confident, courageous, etc”, with my first response, how do I submit? Well, thankfully today, it’s simple, Matt can submit to God with ease.  His nature is to submit, His nurture by God enables him to have the final say on things.  And since the beginning, he has usually been able to assert his opinions and feelings throughout our marriage.  It doesn’t sound simple, and for many years, it wasn’t.  But God (my favorite two words in the Bible) has led both of us to a new place and I’m grateful.

All of that said, yesterday became tough for a bit.  My daughter asked me last night, after hubby was asleep, if my eyes were swollen and red from a good cry.  (Yes, she is wise that way!)  I looked at her gently and said, no.  My heart was on fire!  I had been seeking God and letting him heal the wound that had nothing to do with hubby and yet, everything to do with him.  He had kept something from me for several months.  I do understand why.  I really do.  I just feel pain when he isn’t completely open with me about things. In this instance, he wanted to protect my heart.  To me, protecting my heart looks like telling me things and letting me cry, yell, scream, collapse and anything else I might need to do with the pain.  To him, sometimes it has looked like this, “what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her and I love her too much to tell her awful things others are doing to us”.  The problem, darkness will always come into the light when you let God shine it.  So, he shared it with me last night because God is ready to shine His light.  It hurt.  Bad.  The thing, it hurt.  I’m feeling punished repeatedly for a mistake that was just foolish judgement where I let the enemy play over a year and a half.  The cost………..many, many, many conversations, and even more tears.  It cost our family time, energy, pain…oh so much, fights, disagreements, the cost HAS been mighty.  But God, He is restoring, redeeming and making Himself known in all to all his kids, gratefully.  We are ready for the reaping of the cost, the “and then some” God that I serve is full of great things to come.  2016 is the Year of Jubilee, restoration, and then some, to all of us and I am eagerly anticipating as it arrives.  I don’t know about you, for me, 2016 has already exceeded my greatest hopes!

Two days to the start!

I am so excited to start this challenge and God is good!!  This weekend is already been a highly blessed one as we rev up to begin.  Hubby is at The Ascent, the second John Eldredge offers as The Advanced in Colorado, leading Oklahoma men into the message.  It is such an incredible opportunity that God has given Matt in leadership over the last several years as he’s managed several of these camps.  This particular weekend is a pivotal one for Matt, he is teaching a session of it! He is a really good teacher, he’s been teaching me for many years, he isn’t sure of doing it in groups.  We have been attacked by our enemy hard this rime around, hubby got sicker than he has EVER been.  He doesn’t really get sick and his stomach has seemed, to me, to be made of iron.  It. Was. Bad.  When I picked him up from the office, I found him lying in the floor, in the doorway of the restroom with a trashcan, sprite, crackers and a rolled up towel.  I felt so bad for him.  The enemy can get in to places that are unusual even when you are diligent.  I know that God has a huge plan in this weekend because of the size of the attacks we have been facing!  Please be covering Matt in prayer when you read this, it will be a weekend he won’t forget.

I am gone with our girls on a sisters! weekend.  It began last night with our drive out of town, God has blessed our conversation and favored us so beautifully!  Today, we’ve been pampered at a spa and now we are enjoying Pitch Perfect 2 and resting.  I love getting to know our girls as young women. Today beautifully pushed all three of us to face some personal fears and they both handled them as the confident, fearless young women I know them to be.   I must tell you, God gave us the perfect three children for us!  Each one blesses us in a unique a special way., consistently.  Please cover us in prayer as we spend three days laughing, loving and playing!

I’ve sensed so much prayer coverage, so if that is you…Thank You!  It is so appreciated and I ask God that He return it to you and then some…as you cover us, our marriage and our ministry! We will begin to post regularly next week, the challenge begins Sunday.  Please ask questions, leave comments and ask for prayer if you follow our challenge, we love hearing from you.  Hubby will start posting next week, he leaves it to me to do more because, he says, I’m better.  It definitely helps that I talk more and studied journalism in college.  We’re looking forward hearing your stories, God bless!

Let’s be honest…

 

Last night after our wonderful Valentine’s Day, after we topped it off with an incredible intimacy that I never dreamed possible, we were on our way to sleep.  We were spooning as we do, yes after 25 years, hubby had fallen asleep within his normal 2 – 3 minutes and panic set in.  I’ve never gone to sleep as quickly as him so this used to happen a lot.  I began to think about the HUGE number of 224 and I panicked.  Just for a minute, gratefully, but I thought, I want to share this with whomever the Lord brings to our blog.  I’m a wee bit nervous, let’s think about this…

For 224 days…in a row…we are going to make love.  Wow, what exactly does that look like God? I began to think back to 2010 when I began asking God to heal our marriage after my 20+ surgeries.  It was tough then, I remember barely having the energy to make love at the end of a life filled day.  I remember thinking, do we really have to do it tonight, I have worked like a dog and I’m tired.  I remember my mothers voice saying, “Chandra Ann, you make sure to take care of your husband, men need that.” , that was about the extent of bedroom talk that my mom and I shared.  It wasn’t a “normal” thing for good Christian women to talk about this stuff, right?  Wow, how the enemy has lied to us about that, I wanted my children to know what a gift it was, so I asked for more!  I had no clue what “more” looked like, but I have a great friend Kate that always says, “I have no idea what that looks like, but it is what I want and ask for”.  That was powerful for me, maybe I don’t have to know what healing looks like to actually receive it and be blessed by it.  So, in 2013, when hubby approached me with that Bible study, I jumped in and God’s healing became apparent.  So, I know that this too, brings even more healing into our marriage and praise God!  I’m still a wee bit nervous…what does this mean???

I have to be honest, I am going to share with you what it looks like for me, a woman who has been sick for nearly a year, to face the enormity of this challenge.  I ask God to give me the strength to give you what a “day in the life” of a woman that is blessed by a challenge WAY bigger than me looks like.  I will offer my vulnerability so that Christian women all over the world will begin talking about what love REALLY looks like.  Where is it that we fall short and where is that we want to have Jesus come for us?  I fall short, I am also human.  I ask my readers to pray for us as we embark on a season of exploration and favor.  I will pray for you as you begin to embrace a challenge of your own and ask that God prepare a way for you in it.  Ladies, let’s be honest, this is tough and gratefully God tells me that where I am weak, He is made strong.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Ready…

Hi all! This is Chandra and Wow, this process has been a long time coming. Hubby and I have said YES! to God and we are starting our daily sex challenge of 224 days in a row. 😳 Yes, this sounds insane but as you read, it may become a bit saner. 2015 was a tough year, I do not wish to repeat it. However, I am highly grateful to God for the training and love He so graciously lavished on me while I was amidst the storm.  7 surgeries, 7 ER visits, PAIN, pain medication (I’ll share more on that later, but suffice it to say, pain medication has been a HUGE issue in our marriage until last year, so PRAISE GOD!), months in bed losing muscle, 30 pounds lost, WOW, just writing it down makes me a bit worn, and yet I’m so much more grateful for today!  What I can say is this, Jesus never left me alone, He IS Faithful. And I am certain God, who began the good work within me, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Luke 22:23)

I am sure that many are wondering why I would take on this challenge after a year like 2015??  What am I thinking, right?!?!? Why would I, a 46 year old woman, take on such a challenge with my husband? Well…this is the easy answer…because I am madly in love with him!  Ok, so I do know that love isn’t enough for an undertaking of this magnitude, right?  Or is it?  Several years ago, during some of the darkest days of my life, I asked God if He would restore…and then some…our sex life and He has been faithful!  Recently a young woman and her husband began the first Song of Solomon bible study that hubby and I did in the summer of 2013.  One evening, when we were together, she asked me, “Chandra, how do you make it not a chore at the end of the day that you just check off your list?”.  I answered the best way I knew how, we play.  When we are kids, play is what we long to do, for us, this is our adult play time.  For me, making love to Hubby is an escape from the worries of this world and a path straight into the arms of each other and God.  And, some days, most days, it is exactly what I need to pull me back in from the stresses of this world. A time to totally relax and enjoy what God has given us to do together “as One”.  For me, as the girl, it is about so many things, some that hubby and other men can’t identify with, but many women can; it is worship to our Father as 3 become 1, play within our covenant, stress relief, letting go, life giving, and so many more things.  It is also, Hubby and I realigning the placement that God gave us in our home and our marriage.  I didn’t used to look at things like this and I realize that it is a stretch for most women.  I also have been at the bottom in many ways and have watched as God has answered prayer after prayer for healing and He has healed!   That being said, sex, within marriage covenant, IS biblical, IS special, WILL bond my marriage in a way I never dreamed possible and I WILL take this on with a cheering crowd from heaven lighting my path.  Please know that I am nervous….  224 days in a row, yikes.  Ok, so I am also asking that my sisters in Christ pray for me, PLEASE.  This is huge.  Biggest number in a row to date, 34, and. This. Is. Big.

So, back to the question posed earlier…Why would I do this?  Have you ever been so angry at someone that you simply wanted to prove to them that what they said IS NOT TRUE!? Well, that is a big part of it.  I have listened to thousands of life stories in my few years of life, I talk to everyone!(it’s what hubby fell in love with;))  I love people, all kinds of people and the stories I’ve heard, they have a common thread…Pain. When I talk to others, I hear all the pain in this world and the one that gets me the VERY MOST is so much pain in marriage!  So I ask myself, how does the enemy steal Christian marriages so easily?  Communication, sex and money!  And I am angry with him!  This challenge requires all three, not to mention so much more.  I am excited, nervous, puzzled about the steps and eagerly anticipating watching how God works.  I am so excited that hubby agreed to blog about this with me, I pray God will use it in so many marriages to fulfill His promise of Romans 8:28, “And I know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” and for today, this is my purpose.

 Ok, I’m also going to add that I read a great article a year or two ago about the benefits of daily sex, you can check that out here:  https://megan-conley-25s7.squarespace.com/meg-in-progress/five-reasons-you-should-have-sex-with-your-husband-every-day

Thank you for reading our blog about the toughest challenge to date that God has given either of us.