Welcome home!

I took my son to Kansas Monday night to just hang out, and then play golf yesterday.  It was a great time for he and I to reconnect and become better friends! He’s 21, and he’s been overseas for 2 years in the Air Force – he’s being restationed next month at a base on American soil –  yay!

But because I took a night away we didn’t have sex on Monday. (We DID have sex twice on Saturday – does that make up for it?)

Monday night away made our sex Tuesday night really good!  Maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder?  At least for Chandra and me.  We made love 4 times from Friday – Sunday, and we have had sex 186+ times over the last 186 days.  When we miss a day we really crave that physical intimacy. 

So Tuesday night was really good:  we couldn’t keep our hands off each other – lots of kissing and grabbing and cuddling – and the orgasm was really good. When you have sex every day you forget what it feels like to let the anticipation build up! I wish for all couples to find what Chandra and I have found through God’s gift of sex.

The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.”  – 1 Corinthians 7:3-4

 

Love and Respect in OUR Marriage

We’ve made it to Day 184 of TheChallenge, and I am amazed at the God I serve! I can’t give justice to describing to you the season we have conquered this year with Christ, it is amazing.  We went through a season where there was very little desire to offer one another much respect and as you know, that is a man’s number one need.  There was also very little desire on hubby’s part to show me love, and the that is a woman’s number one need. It wasn’t a pretty season, we have both been hurt by the other’s actions and choices and that was where our focus spent most of its time some days.

Gratefully today, our desire to offer love and respect to one another, above all else, seeking peace at every turn, we are on our road to healing.  I look back to the beginning of 2016, it looked so full of promise and hope for me!  Getting rid of that constant nagging drain in my gut on January 21 was a freedom I longed for many months of the previous year.  I was free and 2016 guaranteed to be a cake walk!  Not so much, I chuckled there as I wrote that sentence, it has been hell on this earth, the most difficult season hubby and I have been through in our 27 years together. Hubby has found his voice and I have learned to use mine less, this is a place of peace, both voices being considered as we move forward together in this world.

Day 180, wow, it is truly hard to believe that we have come this far! I said the beginning of 2016 looked hopeful, but during it, it didn’t “feel” like healing that God has so wonderfully promised.  It’s been tough.  I was thinking back to the day we made our commitment to one another and God to do TheChallenge, I don’t know that I would have made it had I known the full extent of the pain.  Soul pain has come up, the very essence of who each of us were made to be has been stripped and slashed by our enemy our entire lives.  We look our stories sometimes and wonder why he would have pre-occupied himself so much with our marriage and we have concluded, he must be afraid of what God can do with our marriage.  God has strengthened us this year in ways that we didn’t even realize He was working in, and He has freed us from the lies of the enemy that were harming our marriage and we are learning truth.

I figured out last year that my number one value in this world was justice, that got in the way too often so I had to redefine justice from God’s perspective.  Today, I am not seeking justice for myself, but for Christ alone.  If I received my due justice, the price would be my life.  For our marriage, I long to lay myself down, let hubby be who God created him to be, and offer the beauty God made me to be.  He deserves a wife seeking after the heart of Jesus, after all, that is the wife of his youth.

I pray our season of strife and struggle will speak to someone who is going through that season in their marriage, it has another side and God will take you there.  Press in to Jesus, if you seek Him, He will be there at every turn loving you gently into falling in love with Him.

“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,

and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33

Celebrate Marriage

We went to the KLOVE/Air1 Positive Hits concert on Friday night – we love worshiping our God together!  We have liked Danny Gokey since he was on American Idol, and his performance at the concert made me like him even more.  Of course he played his hits, but he also played two songs he had written to CELEBRATE MARRIAGE:  Pretty Beautiful, and Better than Gold (above).  

I rarely see anyone celebrate marriage in America today.  It seems that marriage is just a place where men and women go to get their own needs met, and as soon as it doesn’t work out they just discard it like it doesn’t matter.  Sitcoms make fun of it.  Governments try to minimize the importance of it by legislating what they want it to mean.  

I think we should celebrate marriage.  Any couple who would stick it out through the hard times in order to receive the blessings on the other side should be congratulated! I feel so blessed to have Chandra as my wife, and to have her offer her love, her time, her body to me after 25 years!  I want to offer her my leadership and my service as her husband.  And I want to be a shining example for what is available IN MARRIAGE to those who will FIGHT FOR IT.  

Let’s celebrate marriage as the vehicle which God uses to spread LOVE in this world!  Let’s celebrate those couples who lay down SELF to serve their spouse and love like our God loves.

“…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  – Matthew 20:28

25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.30 And we are members of his body.  31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”  – Ephesians 5:25-31

To Offer Hubby My Beauty

I attended Captivating by Stasi Eldredge and the Ransomed Heart Team in Spring 2013, 2014, 2015, and Advanced in Fall 2015.  That is where my deep search for Jesus began and that is where I heard that Jesus would come for me, and come for me He has! At each of the retreats I got something different, but at each I learned that one of the core desires of a woman’s heart is to have a beauty all her own to offer to the world.  We are designed for that and so, our heart’s long for it.  After the first retreat, hubby drove to Colorado and spent two nights with me at a Bed and Breakfast, that is the where, for the first time, I offered him my physical beauty with no inhibitions.

I could carry a lot of shame with me for the choices I made prior to meeting hubby, I could. I have chosen not to carry that shame because although I made some poor choices, I know that God has forgiven me and so has hubby.  Prior to marriage, we studied the bible together a good little bit and we read a book that said I could ask God to give me back my virgin status with Him and with hubby if he would accept that.  I prayed for that forgiveness and that gift to be returned to me and it was. The first time I was “with” a man, I was raped. I put myself in a bad situation and a boy took advantage of me.  That sent me into a dark place, to a place of “it doesn’t really matter anymore”, and that is an awful place to be when you are 16 and have no real adult supervision.  Thank God I met hubby when I was 19, I could have done more damage to my heart than I did.  And, I have never desired any other man since the day we began dating.

At that first Captivating, God did a major work in my heart.  Hubby and I were in the midst of exploration of each other’s wants, needs, and desires in the bedroom but it was hindered by shame on my part of more experience.  When we spent those two days at the B&B, I felt God help me to fully expose myself physically and start the process of intimacy emotionally.  It is hard to believe it has been three and a half years since the major journey into the heart of Jesus and my husband began.  That year I began asking myself what my true beauty was that I wanted to offer him.  Not only physical beauty, which I have to say that the body I have today is the best I’ve ever had, but also the beauty of a woman and God’s desire and role for a woman, this woman, me.  I have journeyed in this and meditated on it for these years and I am just beginning to understand what beauty I offer to hubby.

This morning in conversation with Dad, I discovered something new about my beauty. In Ephesians 5:22-24 it says this, “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.”, I am not the one saying that ladies, God is. As I have been on this journey, one of the things I’ve discovered about myself, this woman who God created for a purpose, is that I long to submit to hubby.  I don’t really even know what that looks like, but this scripture I’m meditating on says to submit to my husband as the Church (all of His kids) submit to Christ.  No, we aren’t that great at it, some are way better than others because of their walk, but none will have it down until we meet Christ. I know that I won’t, but as I talked with Dad today, He told me that submitting to hubby is a big piece of my beauty.  He explained that He took me (woman) from man so that is the order of leadership within our trinity, God – Hubby – Me.  I think I prefer it that way actually, I don’t know if I am made to make the final choices because I don’t want the responsibility of answering to the Lord for the wrong choices.

I do know that I have an incredible place in our home, and in this world – right now,  that no one but me can fulfill and that has nothing to do with submission for me.  I am hubby’s Ezer Kenegdo, life-saving counterpart, and I know that God’s design is perfect and I guess that is why I want to daily work on offering my beauty through the act of submitting to his final say, even when it isn’t what I really think I want at the time.  I ask God to continue showing me ways to offer beauty through all means He has so generously given me, but especially in this area. My old self didn’t like the word submit, not one little bit. My feathers ruffled every time that word became a topic of discussion.  But, I know that somewhere deep inside I always wanted to offer that to hubby. Growing up with such a dysfunctional dad, my picture of who God is got really jacked up. Then, I would hear things like “submit to your husband” and everything in me wanted to puke. Fortunately for me, I married a man who is gentle and good to me and submission is a desire I have because of the man he is.  What God asks us to do isn’t alway easy, but I do know that reward awaits on the other side when we obey so I pray I obey His order to submit a little more today than I did yesterday.  If I can do so, I can chalk up this day as a success in that area and thank God that He has worked that for good in me.

Hypertension, and sex

For a couple years I have had borderline high blood pressure – not dangerously high, but outside what is considered healthy. I am 45, which I don’t consider old, but apparently now I’m old enough to have a cardiologist.

Yesterday I had my first appointment, and he ordered a heart CT to check for calcium deposits in my coronary arteries and an ultrasound of my heart just to be safe.  He also put me on a mild medication to help keep my pressure down.  It’s hard to admit that I am getting older!

In addition to traditional medical care, he also suggested I get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 days a week, and then proceeded to list about 30 different types of aerobic exercise.  My wife was with me and asked, “Does sex count?”  The doctor said absolutely it did, and encouraged it – Thanks, Chandra!

I’m going to clean up my diet a little bit (I eat way too many burgers and fries), but I don’t think I’m going to have to change my exercise routine too much!  I already stretch and lift 3 days a week, and I’m having sex every day, so. . . 30 minutes of exercise – done!

I don’t know what I’ll do after TheChallenge; I will cross that bridge when I get to it. Maybe we will continue with our own customized workout schedule – aerobic sex 5 days per week!  We will keep you updated!

“Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.  Rejoice in the wife of your youth.”

– Proverbs 5:18

Day 177

Now that we’ve reached day 177 of TheChallenge, I kinda feel like we are back in the groove, so to speak.  Like Chandra said in her last post, we are at peace most of the time, and it doesn’t take long for us to get back there, either.

Whatever wounds or pain this challenge uncovered in me were tough to get through. And I know I still have a lot of healing to go.  I had to let go of a lot of unforgiveness that I had swept under the rug and ignored, where it was growing, unchecked – apparently for a long time!  And now I am able to respond to my wife out of God’s love instead of my own anger and resentment.

I have “posed” for so long, hiding behind “I’m ok, everything’s ok”. But really I have been a real mess not wanting to examine where I had unmet expectations and unforgiveness in exchange for just keeping the peace – which eventually led to the short temper and cold shoulders I had been giving my wife. 

Now that I’ve repented I think we are moving forward and building on the love we both have for each other and for our God. And we are truly striving for peace

“BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger,”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:26‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Peace…

Our counselor told us one day that it is our God given job to seek peace at all cost, I’m starting to crave that peace.  This has been a rocky road getting to Day 174!  It has been filled with so many great things and so many awful things that it was hard to see God in it for a minute.  I found myself asking God why He would ask us to do something that was going to hurt our friendship and relationship, He continues to remind me that He wouldn’t ask anything of us that wasn’t for our good in the end.

God’s thoughts are above my thoughts and His ways above mine (Is 55:8), I am continually reminded of that and know that He has a plan (Jer 29:11) and His plan will prevail as we seek peace and love.  I love hubby more than any other human being on this earth, I do love my kids next, but I picked hubby.  God instilled in both him and me to put one another first throughout our years together and that has sustained us through many rough patches in the past 25 years.  Many mom’s I talk to today have lost sight of what God put together prior to the arrival of the kids.  Their hubby’s are not priority in any way and their marriages are flailing at best and headed to divorce, or already there, at worst.  I knew I didn’t want the kids to grow up and find myself having idea who I was married to.  That being said, I have discovered that no matter how much you put your spouse first, you may get to 25 years and discover that you don’t know one another as well as you thought.

This has been a year of starting the conversations that bring about getting to know each other again.  After all these years, assuming you agree on things because nothing has been said any differently and now, finding out that you don’t agree as much as you thought is difficult to unravel.  This has been a year of unraveling that got us all the way to admitting we weren’t sure we even enjoy each other’s company like we used to. Illness, accidents, and prioritizing have gotten in the way even though we worked on our marriage.  That realization has brought us to the place of discovery and that is where we sit today.  We are re-discovering the laughter, fun, and joy that drained from our interactions and re-discovering what we fell in love with in the first place.  I know he is my knight in this world, I know God brought us together for a purpose and I know that He is going to use all we go through for His glory and His glory alone. And I don’t want it any other way!

Yesterday, I was feeling drained.  I’ve lost all desire to fight or argue, it is pointless and it only hurts the two of us.  That is not helpful.  I believe hubby is at the same place, last night it sure seemed that way.  I know we will make mistakes and I know that we will not agree on everything, that being proven just this morning on a financial matter.  I give hubby the final say on things, he is the head of our household and I want to respect him in that role and honor it.  So, this morning, I told him that he makes the final decision on what we do and I will honor that whether I agree or not.  God made Adam and from Adam He made Eve, we come from man and man has a special place in this world as the head of their households.  We have a special place in this world and in our marriage, Ezer Kenegdo – Life Saving Counterpart, and that is not minor role!  In today’s world, we aren’t taught to honor or submit to our husbands like in Bible times, this world is so messed up and sin filled that it seems an impossible task. My heart still longs to honor God by placing hubby in his place of authority in our home and then letting God handle anything negative that comes from his choices if he doesn’t seek God on them. I can say for me, I don’t want the responsibility that comes from being the final decision maker, Eve made it clear to me that I may not choose wisely.

No, I don’t think that I am always unwise or that I don’t know how to make decisions for myself and hubby isn’t controlling in that.  I know that if I were alone in this world, God and I could do it together and I would make all the decisions and probably be good.  I’m grateful that I don’t have to do that at this time in my life, I don’t know if I will be here without hubby or him without me, but I do believe that it will take a death to separate us in this world.  I trust God, I trust that He will sustain us in the hard times and love us right where we are.  Today, I am thanking Him for helping us both realize that losing each other would be the ultimate win for the enemy and ultimate loss for us and Him.  Without God, we wouldn’t be together today, this America makes it so easy to move forward and leave the old behind but in my heart of hearts, I know that isn’t an option because I love hubby too much to let him go.

Thank you God for giving us a new starting ground.  Thank you for bringing us to the end of ourselves and teaching us to look up, at all times.  Thank you for the growth and maturity that has occurred in each of us.  Thank you that You are doing a good work even when in the midst, it doesn’t feel like it.  Thank you God, for being the cornerstone of our marriage.

The Draw of a Kiss


First I want to say, I just read hubby’s post and that is about the most real I’ve seen him. He left out a lot of details that simply don’t really matter in the scheme of things.  It got really bad on Friday night, I went to the hospital for evaluation because frankly, I am feeling like things are all my fault.  I was sent home with good advice and poor advice, I’ll take the good and leave the poor, either way, I was told I shouldn’t check myself in and they were not going to admit me. Each time I start to believe he might be right about me, I get into a whirlwind of the enemy’s lies and hate myself and living.  I had a choice to live or not live almost 7 years ago, I believe I chose to live.  Some days, in our home, I wonder why I chose that and if I decide to drink more than a glass or two AND I am in that place, things are not good.  So, for a season, I have chosen NOT to run to alcohol to escape.  I don’t know how long the season will be, it will be whatever God asks for and that could be until I share a glass of wine with Jesus.

I started this post on Monday morning at the office.  I had only written a title because I wanted to talk about just that, the draw of a kiss.  Hubby and I do one thing REALLY well in this world and that one thing is physical intimacy.  The rest of the stuff we deal with needs a lot of improvement.  Yes, we are in a place of pain and hurt with one another again, even today, but I trust God and I want to tell you about the draw of HIS kiss.  When I got home, his kiss was all I could think about, I think that he was thinking about that and a bit more (she says in humor).  It was as great as ever, I had missed it.  On Monday, after the events of the weekend, I was remorseful and so was hubby, we’d reconnected Spiritually, emotionally, and physically and had begun to hear one another again.  When I began this post on Monday, I was recalling the night before and his kiss kept returning to my mind.  Friday was bad, but it was the head of a lot of shit that we have been facing for 25 years and it isn’t fun to work through.  It also isn’t always safe without a mediator and that night there wasn’t one.  On Saturday, we talked, a lot, we sat in the war room for extra precaution, God has that room sanctified! By Saturday evening, we were hearing one another again and treating each other respectfully. Sunday again, a good day.  So, we’re to Monday and what I was thinking about was, his kiss.

When we made love Sunday night, it began with a round of kissing.  I love kissing hubby, even when I am hurt, his kiss, it pulls me out.  I think it might do the same for him because when we are upset with one another, there will not be kissing.  Not OUR kissing, a peck from him, yes, but nothing more if he wants to stay pissed and I feel the same way. Kissing is one of those intimate things that I only want to do with someone I love dearly and only when I am not in pain from something they are doing or saying that hurts. Sunday night, I felt forgiveness toward hubby and I think he did toward me as, it only took the kissing to get us into the mood to have each other again, fully. I love that kiss, the one that makes you think of nothing more than what is to come.  I love that kiss especially when it can’t lead to that right at that time, but you know it will…later.  That kiss pulls me in so deeply that all I can think about at that moment is how much I love hubby, it’s not even so much of “wanting” him for me, it’s more of a place of safety and rest and that is love.  I miss it when we argue, I miss it when he doesn’t recognize the attack of the enemy and command the liars to go, the voices that say, “she always does that”, “she doesn’t respect you”, the liars, the voices of all that wants him to stay angry.   I miss it when I listen to the voices of the enemy as they tell me, “he will never change”, “it will be like this forever”, and I don’t tell them to GO!

Surely God knew all these things would happen and they happened anyway, so I believe Romans 8:28 will always stand as truth…

“And God will make good of all things for those who LOVE Him, those who are called according to His purpose”

As I hold fast to what God has taught me and what His purpose is, I will continue living His purpose one day at a time.  We hope as we unravel all the enemy has done, you will be able to find things in your life and marriage that are worth fighting for, mine right now is…his kiss.

 

Dazed and Confused

Since Chandra got back from Florida things have been a roller coaster ride here. Like she said in her last post the first 2 days she was home were incredible. We reconnected just as I had hoped, and the sex was as good as ever. 

On Thursday afternoon she confronted me with a commitment I had made to her and not fulfilled. Partially because I never wanted to make the commitment in the first place, but I was afraid of the repercussions if I didn’t. And partly because I didn’t know the best way to do it, so I procrastinated. 

The disagreement grew until it all came to a head Friday night. I am not going to share details but it was very bad. Saturday there was repentance and reconnection on both our parts and things were getting better a little at a time over the weekend. Plus our son is home for an extended stay after two years overseas which I thought would make things a little easier. 

Then we had counseling yesterday, and things went downhill fast. We had to spend time apart and arrived late and separate to a get together with some friends. 

Afterward I apologized for what I saw as my part, and eventually she said she forgave me. But even though she offered herself to me I was not in a place after the events of the weekend or of the evening to make love to her, and her feelings are hurt. There is so much more to this story, and maybe I will get a chance to share it with you as I disentangle all the pieces, but for now I remain dazed and confused about where we are with TheChallenge, with our relationship, and with our future. 

Please pray that God will reveal my sin and allow for healing and restoration. I hope to be able to bring good news soon. 

In Christ. 

Something Old/Something New

I wish that I would have written before yesterday.  My homecoming was awesome, hubby picked me up at the airport, he thought he would be a bit late but he wasn’t.  Of course, we could barely keep our hands off of each other after three days dry spell, but it was new.  Our conversation on the way to dinner was mostly on what we missed, not deep Jesus talk, but conversation.  I spent the weekend reading a lot of things including Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge, my mind was filled with curiosity and excitement over things I read, hubby’s was mostly curious about what awaited us in the bedroom.

Men are like that, especially when sex has been absent after a loooonnnggg spell like ours!  I was extremely excited about that too, I actually spent time thinking about it over the four days of travel.  One thing I discovered my first day back was this, hubby doesn’t appear to think on the things that I like in the bedroom as much I guess I think about what I offer him.  Which, if you think about it, isn’t that uncommon for us as human beings. I know that I don’t think about him first in everything, but in the bedroom, I do work on doing things that I know he loves. Since I began praying about our sex life 6-8 years ago, I asked God to give me a desire to do things that definitely please him, our sex life has grown into something I hope I never have to do without.  That being said, we still struggle on the give-and-take amounts.  It’s rather uneven at times, in seasons, and this is one of those seasons.  Keep in mind that seasons change rather quickly, so we haven’t been here the entire challenge only recently.

I was disappointed by that the first night, but he did try and make up for it the second day. Unfortunately by Thursday, I was worn out of being with people non-stop, even if it was only him, I was in need of a day’s break.  I had to start back to work first thing Wednesday morning after getting home at 5pm the night before and I was cranky. Me being cranky was not helpful as it cost us another day of not treating each other the way God would have us treat one another.  I am so tired of some of the patterns that we have developed out of our own brokenness, pain, doubt, and sin.  I’m starting to understand things as sin that I never even realized and although cranky isn’t a sin, what we do in that state can damage relationships with others.  I continue to keep my eye on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith as the finished product, I know His plan is perfect for me.  If I keep my eye there, and not on where hubby needs to improve, it is easier to love him well.  Frankly, all I want to do is love others well, it seems however, that with hubby I don’t love well nearly as often as I desire to.  I know God is working on us, and satan is afraid of what God will do through our marriage so he attacks a lot.  Cover us in prayer if you read this today, I know we will have an incredible weekend and I am eagerly anticipating what God has in store.