Young Adults & Children

My young adult children are incredibly important to me. God gave each of them to us to love, nurture, raise, train, protect, love, train, teach, and lead to their own lives in this world.  Never abandoning them or their hearts, but letting them learn to grow on their own and depend on God for themselves.

We have three grown children/young adults given to us do these things with and when we started our family, we were barely adults ourselves. I was 23, hubby 21, when our first was born, our youngest two are now 21 and after raising them the best we could with our own story’s and God, and I want them to live their lives. Two of our kids left home at 18, one headed to college and one headed to the military, both ready to make a life for themselves. When our first daughter left, I started her out in the dorms at college, attempting to set up some parameters for her as she was on her own for the first time. She stayed in the dorms her first year, and I learned there isn’t much supervision or structure even there. Our son was ready to be independent, earning his own living, making his own way, and finding his own answers, he did that by doing the hardest thing a mom can watch her child do, agreeing to work for the American government. He was always independent, a lot like his mom, and he has proven that life isn’t going to outdo his God or what He created him to be. Our youngest daughter is still at home with us, at least for another minute. She is 21 and hasn’t proven to be great at managing money, resisting playing, or deciding that it is too tough at mom and dad’s house to move out. And, the time has come that she do just that.

So, what do I do when I don’t feel as if she is ready for what this world has to offer? What if I don’t get her settled into life and on her way by doing it for her if she isn’t going to? What do I do if I begin to resent that she thinks I am too hard on her at home by making her pay a small rent amount that we save for her, so that when she moves out, she has money saved up for a rainy day? What do I do when all of her friends in their 20’s, and their families, tell her that she should enjoy rent free, chore free, living without any consideration for her parents and the fact that it is their home? What do I do? All of those questions asked, I will clarify that she is a joy and has my heart, but she is still very young in her idea of what this world is like. My mom heart is concerned.

I have spent all the years of their lives attempting to give them a good life financially, tending to their hearts and nurturing them emotionally, and letting them live in our home on in to adulthood. When did our adult kids become so dependent on us? Hubby has been the silent partner all these years. When I was sick all those years, he didn’t ask the kids questions, and he couldn’t nurture them as a mom can, he did his best but some things slipped through the cracks. I know we failed them in so many ways, and I personally have spent the last several years apologizing and owning the areas where I know I failed them. I am the age my mom was when she and dad were divorcing and think back to how she must have felt when I thought I knew everything but still was dependent on her financially. She asked me to leave her house at 18, I was such a pain to live with, and today I felt what she must have been feeling all those years ago. She gave and gave, only to constantly be reminded of how much more I thought she “should” give. It was an awful feeling to face about myself and about my kids. They are all adults now, we raised them the best we knew how and we love them more than they will know before they have kids of their own. Now, it is time for them to find their own way and their own ability to trust God.

Many that read this may not agree with me at all, and I am okay with that. I am watching a generation of young adults that are not leaving the nest or they are ricocheting in and out of their parents homes as if the parents owe them something and I say NO! This is kind of a rant that I needed to post today.  I love our young adults, I will never abandon them. I will assist in any way that I can, but I will not do it for them anymore. I think they get it. My mom was an incredible woman of God and she made many mistakes, but I look back at our life together and I know who she was now. I had a front row seat to her pain and suffering when my dad left, to what she faced with a son that chose a life of play that has cost him dearly, and this daughter that didn’t appreciate what she had until mom kicked her out and made her do it with God. I am grateful that she chose that for me, it made me tougher and definitely caused me to depend on God. And because I would never want to shed negative light on her, she helped me any way that I asked for except moving back into her home, her safe haven where she needed her peace.

So, what does this have to do with TheChallenge? Everything! This year has been one of ins and outs with our adult children, and the end of our season of parenting our beautiful brood. I am grateful for each one of them, and have a great idea what each is offering me in my life, even today. I also am in need of a season of my safe haven, alone, with hubby. We need to rediscover our own adventure that we started 25 years ago and didn’t have near long enough to develop before they joined us in our journey. I know our children, each one of them is a light to this dark world, and God has them. As they are journeying in this world, the best thing I can do is pray, and not having to always catch them when they fall. That is the tough one. I know my role now is to send them out to discover with God what He will do with their lives and I will cheer them on as they go. If they don’t cling to Jesus as hubby and I have, what then? I will continue to pray that they know and love the heart of Jesus as I do today.

Today my prayer is this,

“God, please help me to love my kids well. Please give me the courage to give them to You Lord and know that You have them. Remind me that You loved them and knew them before they were even a thought in my head. Comfort my heart, and theirs, when they must pay for choices they make without seeking Your will for their lives. Hold us all close as we transition into this new place and season. Love each of us as only You know how to Dad! In Jesus’ name I ask these things, bringing all glory and honor to Your name!”

Run By the Clock

Over the past few years of illness and no idea what my body will say yes to, I think I’ve gotten lazy.  Not lazy in getting things done, but lazy in being on time.  I get around slower in the morning than I did before last year when I spent 224 in bed.  Basically. Ir really upsets hubby’s day when I am late, anywhere!

I never intend to be late and we have had the same disagreement since I met his dad and he explained the rules.  In hubby’s household, they attended the early service on Sunday morning and they would leave an hour early, in case of car trouble, get to church that early so that they could get their seat toward the back.  Mind you, church was a 20 minute drive.  I learned early on in my relationship with hubby’s parents that being late was an intention of disrespect to them individually.  To that, I have always told hubby that my mom left when it was time to be there, we were always late , and nothing bad ever happened.  I learned to pull up my big girl panties, walk into a room late, and own that I know I am late and it has nothing to do with you!  I seem to always run behind.  I intend to be on time and it never seems to work.  When I went to work with hubby in 2013, I was told that the ony way he trusted me to work with him, only if I would guarantee that I would be there every day and no later than 15 minutes early.  I made that agreement and honored it until we bought our current house and worked day and night and I got sick again.  

Last year’s illness has thrown me for a loop.  I thought the minute I got my tube out everything would be downhill from there and I would bounce back more like I have in the past.  With how much commitment I have to health this time, I assumed that I would be bouncing back and be ready to do life as I did before this last year, seldom late.  I want that so badly.  Hubby isn’t super restrictive, even with our office needs, he wants me to tell him when I commit to be there and then honor that.  I am committed to honoring that.  I will offer him what he needs, we need, to make US thrive and I am offering 10am.  For now.  I pray soon that I can be there by opening and stay until closing, every day that we’ve agreed we need me at the office.  For now, I will ask that our readers ask questions and hold me accountable as well.  I want to honor hubby here and  I will make mind over matter my choice.

Tonight we connected in a way we haven’t in a little bit.  We were against the clock, but we connected eyeball to eyeball.  Heart to heart.  Understanding and grace to understanding and grace.  Hubby and I fit like two souls that were meant to find each other.  I don’t know if that is why, or, we both wanted our spouse to be our best friend, lover, confidant, and sexual outlet, whatever it is, we fit.  We fit in bed, we fit in life, and we fit in love.  I offer hubby forgiveness and my truth, I’m not always right.  He offers me forgiveness and his truth, he’s not always right.  We are finding common ground.  This is intimacy my friends, I love this man and what he stands for and his opinion matters.

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Noise in the Bedroom

This morning I was thinking about Mother’s Day and how we didn’t spend our normal time cuddling in the bedroom this week.  My thoughts went to how the morning played out and what a truly wonderful day it was, thank you so much hubby!  He had a plan that morning and it was to fulfill all the things that he knows I love and have been important in the past…made breakfast for us (I have to add, he does this most weekends), posted a Facebook message to me (it makes me feel special, what can I say?), wrote a blog post, gave me my Treasure Time with God and let me do what I wanted all day.  I changed my mind over and over again because of my energy level, it was an incredible weekend with friends for Seis de Mayo party Friday and our daughter’s graduation from college on Saturday and by Sunday I was pooped!

So back to noise, our daughter was home from college for the weekend for her graduation party and so we become more inhibited in the bedroom, her room here attaches to ours.  I thought about Sunday mornings and how our other daughter is typically gone all morning to church serving and attending so we have several hours.  That day, our cuddling could have led to more and our daughter was next door.  She has made comments about not enjoying hearing our adventures and frankly, we don’t want to share.  We’ve had them leave at times since they were 16, because noise in the bedroom is important.  I realize that with young kids and teens alike, it is a struggle and we are muted in the bedroom for fear of damaging their psyches. So, over many years of making love, we learned to keep it silent as possible.  Does anyone know what I am talking about?

In a conversation with a friend today, she has two sons that are home, under 8 and pre-teen with hormones and questions.  She said they put on music and have had the discussion about one day the oldest figuring out when one particular artist was playing and the door was closed.  I get the need to keep it quiet or like our situation, ask the kids to go and get dinner out and treat (okay so we don’t even offer that, it’s our house, get out, lol).  What are other options?  The enemy has stolen our ability to use our voices in the bedroom and seriously, that isn’t okay either!  I know for me, the more hubby uses his voice to show gratitude and sheer joy during sex, that is priceless.  I don’t remember if he and I have talked about this, but we should.  It is expression of love for me that I get and want to hear, fully.  So, how do we keep that part from being stolen?

We’re figuring it out as we go, we don’t profess to have it all together.  One of my favorite things about Jesus is this…He can use us right where we are to tell our story of His amazing grace and mercy that He offers each of us daily!  I am grateful I don’t have to have all this or anything else figured out to share my story as messy as it may be.  I like noise in the bedroom and will ask God to make a way for us the rest of our lives.  I’d love it if you’d chime in!

Challenge:  Have a conversation with your spouse about making noise in the bedroom.  Come up with some ideas to cover ears or sounds and share with the rest of us if you would!  And, see if you can find your voice for your spouse, I know they will appreciate it!

Fireworks!

This week has been so interesting.  So many things have happened that are a piece of some major things in my life in the last 33 days, I do believe if we weren’t doing this challenge, it could have been a dry season in the bedroom.  God is so good, He knows just what we need and just when we need it.  My daughter and I were talking about a sermon we’d heard the weekend before recently, I loved how she summarized the entire sermon into three small points.  She said, “For everything, God has a time, God has a place, and God has a purpose.”.  She is a wise young woman, I learn from her consistently!  I am watching God come for me in some MIGHTY ways and it has been painful emotionally but so worth it daily.  These big things have cost us a lot in the Ford household, we’ve argued, yelled, ignored, and run the gamut of emotions for ourselves, our kids, our ministry, our friendships, our family, and it has taken a toll. Still, I can see God in all of it and I know that it IS worth every bit of it!

Last night, last night was one of those nights that is a welcomed reward in this journey.  Last night there were fireworks!  We spend Tuesday mornings together, hubby goes into work at 3 so the morning is ours.  You never know what subjects may come up on Tuesdays, or what the evening will look like because of the topics.  Yesterday started out tough and stayed there for a long time.  After working out, we came home to get ready and a touchy subject came up that has haunted us for a year and a half.  It is a subject that I would imagine, with the emotion that it brings up in our home, other people might choose to avoid and yet, it came up.  After us disagreeing for some time and loud words being exchanged, I came to my war room to journal.  I knew the words being said were not healing either of us and only one of us can take care of the matter.  Hubby came to the room to try and continue conversation without anger and pain, mostly pain, and as we talked, I finally got to the root of things.  It was a really hard place to get and I shared it with him, he was quiet mostly, I knew he was listening and I knew it was painful.  I wish I would have stopped sooner than I did, once I found the root it made so much sense and I kept talking.  By the time he reminded me of the time, I was so far behind schedule and had made a commitment to my daughter, so I was frantic for the next while trying to play catch up with my raw emotions hanging out.  That was interesting, I don’t panic much these days but when I got behind, I panicked.  For the next hour or so, hubby got me being highly irritated and needy, that isn’t a great place for me to be.  I was being snide about some things and he was trying to be so kind, so helpful, I ended up very convicted of my behavior.

Hubby did everything he could think of to help me not be irritated, I saw it but I was in a early stage of marriage place where I didn’t want him to be able to console me.  He prayed over me by text, let me know he was continuing to pray, offered to do anything I was needing done, and I stayed there for a minute.  Gratefully, I was able to settle by the time I got to the office with him and we were able to work and talk.  I needed to hear what he had to say to me, I am afraid to trust him in some areas, I’ve heard the words before and I’d hoped and I was left in pain.  I really want this time to be different and here is what I know about hubby, this time is.  I choose to trust him…again.  I want to trust him and I have always wanted to, so I choose to trust him.  I believe in him more than he believes in himself, that is why I married him in the first place!  We talked, he held me, we kissed, and I chose to trust him.  Last night, hubby was in thought, I understood it but I knew he’d have to come out of his head because we had guests coming and so I prayed for him a lot.  It was really incredible, dinner was quiet between the guys but by dessert, he was back with me and it was perfect.

By bedtime, I was so grateful I married Matt Ford.  Our guests were an old friend of mine and her boyfriend, I hadn’t seen her in five years and never met him, it was so fun!  I got to watch hubby come back to life as he shared about our challenge and our ministrys, that is my favorite thing about him so, I was grateful!  It was one of our highlight nights in this challenge for me, I am sure there will be many but for me, it was the first.  It is amazing what conversation will bring about for intimacy.  If not for this challenge, some of our conversations could have done much more damage to our intimacy, make up sex rocks!!!

Good Morning…

Yesterday, hubby left early.  I woke up about 6:30 and he was gone.  I knew he was leaving, he was headed to Anadarko to share the last day of TrueNorth BaseCamp with the men.  This year, after a few years of running these camps, hubby is going to do daytime attending, our blog explains that.  Gratefully, I went back to sleep, injections in my back on Friday morning had left me worn out so I welcomed the sleep!  A few hours later, I woke again, headed for coffee and my phone to start my Treasure Time.  I normally do not look at anything on my phone and head straight to YouVersion but yesterday, there was a text from hubby and I had to read it!  It told me to be sure and read his blog post, I’d forgotten he had put one on here so I was glad he reminded me.  I opened our blog and immediately laughed.

Next, I panicked for a second.  It didn’t last long but the enemy immediately reminded me of judgment I’ve received in the past over my mouth, I shut him down.  Back to laughter!  What an incredible man God has given me. Yesterday was interesting, after hubby attends one of these mens events, he is in deep thought and prayer that day so we weren’t fully engaged but his blog started my day out great!  He does love that I cuss a little, I’ve tamed it A LOT over the past few years but it still slips out in high stress situations, gratefully those don’t happen nearly as much while God and I are training my tongue to do better.  I got a great night’s sleep and felt refreshed, the shots I got Friday were taking effect and medication is on the decrease, Praise God!!!, I just knew it would be a great day!

It really was a great day, just not sexually charged as I was hoping.  I do understand hubby has a calling and he is great at it, I always want to champion that!  I felt lonely.  I did.  He was home by 1pm and we spent the rest of the day together, side by side, hand in hand.  We went to lunch with the kids, looked at houses and lots, went shopping for groceries, made dinner, cleaned out closets… I can actually here you griping at me through the computer right now so stop it!  We have a unique relationship, we can literally spend all day together and I can not really feel like he is here at all.  If you can feel me, please comment!  Hubby is so good, I don’t have much to say on the negative front and one of the most beautiful things about him is his heart!  That heart didn’t fully come home yesterday.  So, for the record, we met our challenge for the day but no fireworks for either one of us.  We talked about it this morning.  We realized that soul ties were not broken and thoughts were pre-occupied in places that aren’t always fruit producing and today, we are back on the same page.

I love that man!  I love how much his heart is called to lead men to become fully devoted followers of Christ (to borrow from my church, Life.Church).  I will champion his calling as long as I have breath!  I also know that the enemy can occupy only what we give him freedom to. We want our thoughts on things eternal, our relationship is a part of that, central to our time on earth.  Hubby, I love you exactly as you are and I want to say thank you.  You have always championed me in my endeavors, and I will offer the same.  Thank you for loving me exactly where I am and leading me to becoming a wife of an elder.

Sex? When I hate him right now?? #2

This has been challenging.  Most days, I am not quite sure why God asked us to do this.  It seems as if the enemy goes on heightened alert when he sees what God is doing in our hearts through this journey.  Hate.  Hate is such a strong word.  I guess I know that I do have definite times that I hate Matt.  He absolutely knows my buttons and at times, I get to hear out of his mouth what the enemy thinks of me, that, that makes me hate.  I had no idea how to define my feelings as hate or if it would even be “okay” for me to say that I hate my hubby.  I love him so much and when some darts are thrown through his mouth, I go to the opposite…hate.

It is difficult to admit out loud that I hate Matt, even if it is for a brief moment.  I know it isn’t true, but it sure feels that way.  I can only hate him however, to the degree of the opposite which is true, I love him!  On the days when that war inside of me, to listen to lies or truths, and his actions say to me he hates me, I don’t know what to do sometimes.  Now this is compounded with the commitment I made to make love to him every day, for 224 days.  I suppose this commitment implies that I have to lay myself down, minutely some days, for the purpose that I believe God has set for me right now.  So far, most days of this, we hate each other for things the other one is saying and my heart is hurting.

What will I do today God?  I am so angry at hubby and I don’t like him at all right now!  Please come for me here Jesus, I really cannot believe the things he says to me when he doesn’t like to face truth some times.  His extremes that he jumps to when he realizes that his arguments aren’t holding up against truth.  Then the attack jumps to my feelings being “wrong” and I should change them to accommodate his lie.  Wow, this is hard.  What do I do today Jesus, to desire to even hold his hand??  Much less become one with him.  One of the things we agreed on before we began this journey was hubby’s role, he would pursue me.  Daily.  Multiple times daily.  An idea in our minds that we both wanted but unfortunately, he’s not offering me that as we agreed and it is causing tension.  Pursuit is one of the biggest things he talks about in front of other couples and how important that the husband realize our crock pot sex drive and work diligently to pursue their wives.  Sometimes when he says it, I’m a little resentful.  Now I want to explain that, he does pursue me in some ways, unfortunately, mostly, it is in the ways that he finds are easy for him to do or remember rather than the things that I have specifically listed and we’ve talked about to the point of nausea.  That is really painful.  And.  I don’t fully understand it.  That is the part that hurts the most, I know he REALLY wants me to feel pursued!  So, I don’t understand the block that keeps him from action.  So, each day as it approaches the time to make love, I say to God, “I will trust you.  I don’t have to understand his actions because I love his heart and the intentions that I desperately want to believe are there toward me.  I will acknowledge that YOU are doing a work in hubby that I don’t understand and You will direct me through it all.

I don’t know how that sounds to you, easy or difficult.  For me, getting to that place each night by the time I committed to make love to my husband gets easier each time I just “do it”, let go of my feelings, my mood, my anger.  As hubby prays before we begin to make love and invites God to join us, I sometimes feel all of those lies begin to melt away and I know I decide to capture my thoughts and remember truth.  That, is how I make love to a truly Godly, loving, kind, morally upright, gentle, caring, incredible man that God gave to me to love well.  I pray that I will continue to capture my thoughts throughout this process and from this day on, because I truly am grateful for Matt Ford.

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!