This past week was the week I look forward to each summer, as I have the past 13 years. Each year my husband’s parents take the kids for a week to spoil them and make memories with them they’ll hopefully tell their kids about one day. It’s usually planned the week of their small town’s annual Lawn Party. This week is always a win-win-win situation: our kids get loved on by their grandparents and relatives, the grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren without mom and dad being around, and this mom and dad get some “just-the-two-of-us” time.
For the past several years during our kid-free week, my husband and I work on a house project. Two years ago we painted the playroom and put new furniture in the kids playroom. Last summer we painted and decorated our daughter’s bedroom.
Before the week arrives, each year we usually have a project set and ready to go. But this time we didn’t. The only project we thought we might work on was to make some changes with my blog (maybe you’ll see it soon!) It seemed strange to not have a house project. At the beginning of the week, though, my husband planned our delicious menu of things I don’t normally fix for our typical family dinner, and he even planned to cook and do the grocery shopping! What a gift that was!
Then on Tuesday, my husband received an email from the university where he works, informing that the football team’s locker room was being remodeled and the current lockers were outside by the field house and were free to anyone who wanted to come get one. A project! Our son has been hinting ever since last summer that he would like his room to be re-done. We had been thinking about it but didn’t have an idea and when we heard that announcement, we knew just what we’d do.
That evening we went to the university to claim a locker. To our surprise, they weren’t individual lockers; rather three big lockers attached together. Three to a pack. And you know they had to be pretty big to store the belongings of a football player. Well, to make a long story short…it took two days (one very hot one) to get those lockers apart, cleaned up and taken individually upstairs to our son’s room and then reassembled.
We thought it would’ve been much easier.
They were a lot heavier than we expected and it was a lot more work than we expected. My husband, who’s a jack-of-all-trades, did most of the work but I wanted to help how I could. When it was time to take the lockers upstairs to our son’s room, I put on my work gloves and spirit of determination. They were heavy! It took a lot of strength to get those lockers up those stairs…three times. I had to stop for a break half way with each locker, but we did it. And we couldn’t have done it by ourselves.
We couldn’t do it half-heartedly. We had to give it our all.
And that applies to marriage.
As newlyweds many think marriage will be like a piece of their wedding cake…always easy to relish and enjoy. And yes, God designed marriage to be relished and enjoyed, and to easily become more in love every day. And most of the time it does become easier through the years of marriage, but it can also become easier to develop the habit of being just comfortable, or too busy, or even lazy and fall into the nature of not making the effort to intentionally give your relationship your all. Self can get in the way.
At church yesterday we heard a great teaching about Mary Magdalene and how she was completely devoted to Jesus. Her love and devotion for him was not half-hearted. It was full adoration. Never-ending commitment. Her all in all.
I know there have been times in my life when, at one point or another, I haven’t lived my marriage, parenthood, and devotion for Jesus in all strength and perseverance the way I did to get those lockers up the stairs. Doubt, anger, apathy and lies creep in the soul to make me feel weak, not good enough, or strong enough, or determined enough. And then it becomes easy to think: why try to do my best when I don’t think I’ll make the mark or reach the top-of-life-stair anyway?
But I AM is stronger and He tells me I am stronger than I think I am.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
When we feel incapable in whatever area of life, Jesus gives us His holy power and the strength to press on to win the prize…which includes a stronger marriage and parenthood and a sold-out devotion to Jesus Christ. When we have that devotion to Jesus, hearts change and grow. Now, it’s not that we have to give it our all…we’re now devoted to love and desire to give all we have whole-heartedly back to Him and those we care for. He just wants us to give our marriages and people close to the heart our all because that’s what He did and will always do for us.
(And our son loved his new room!)
Joys and thankful for these recently
#1539 gift in story - The story of Mary Magdalene and how she was quiet, more risky then courageous and over it all was devoted to Jesus…not just halfway.
#1540 gift in story - the cute story about a preschool girl at our church who asked why weren’t there any girl disciples after having learned about the 12 in church class.
#1541 gift in a story - “Ours is a love story written by God” Studio JRU
#1542 teaching the kids how to “fly a June bug”
#1543 watching and hearing laughter while flying a June bug (is that too much summer boredom…or to show a creative way to have fun?)
#1544 baby fingers and granddaddy fingers
#1545 zucchini bread made from a HUGE zucchini from our garden
#1546 a raspberry filled cake from the bakery we got our on date night,
#1547 Maxie B’s bakery makes you smile
#1548 husband’s strength…and strengths
#1549 a project for son’s room
#1550 sleeping in late
#1551 husband’s gourmet cooking
#1553 grandparents to keep our kids for a week each summer
#1554 them taking our kids and niece to see Noah’s Ark at Sight and Sounds and through the Amish country.
#1555 shopping with friends for a bride
#1556 brother in law who’s helping get us started on my blog facelift…and “us” meaning my husband who’ll design it.
#1557 an invitation to share workout tips over a block of cheese
#1558 joy in son’s face when he sees his remodeled room
#1559 reading My Upmost for His Highest recently and each time was written for me to read that day
#1560 my husband planned our splurging dinner’s he planned to cook and even did the grocery shopping
#1561 I’m stronger than I think I am…because I was redeemed by God.
#1562 a beautiful sunset…and each one is unique by God’s hand.
Joining in today with Ann Voskamp counting joys