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I have a Confession…

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Hi. My name is Courtney, and I have a confession to make.

I am married to this really great guy. No, really…

For the last twelve years I have had the privilege of waking up next to him, and so many of those mornings I have laid there, listening to his breathing and thanked God again for giving me such a great, patient husband.

When he wants to watch a basketball game and I want to watch a chick flick, the romantic comedies always win out. When the puppy whimpers in the middle of the night ( MY puppy that he got me for a Christmas present) he stumbles out of bed to let him out. When I have had another throbbing headache, he ushers me to the bathroom and runs me a bath. He does homework with the kids, gets take-out so I don’t have to cook, pays our bills, surprises me with chocolates, sets time aside in his schedule every week for our Thursday morning coffee date, schedules sitters so we can go out sometimes, listens to me babble endlessly about a rough day, picks up dog poop in the backyard, works around the house, puts up with my projects, takes care of me when I’m sick, calls me to see how I am doing, takes the kids home from school so I don’t have to, comes home every day so we can have lunch together, works hard for us everyday….yeah. He does all that, and that’s really just the short list.

You know the most amazing thing about him? He never complains about me. He never says mean things to me.  He comes home to me every day. He is totally devoted to me.

Here’s the real confession: sometimes, I am a horrible wife.  No-scratch that. OFTEN, I am a horrible wife.  When our girls have whined about how they can’t find their shoes or don’t want to make their beds, or when they have complained for what feels like the umpteeth time about what I have made them for breakfast, lunch OR dinner, or when I have gotten a bad report from school because one of them was talking back to the teacher, stealing, lying or hitting (among other things), or when the dog has peed on the floor or chewed up one of my favorite things or made muddy prints on a freshly washed floor or thrown up cat poop, my poor husband gets the brunt of it of my wrath.  He gets the cold shoulder, the rolled eyes, the gritted teeth, the brush off just for asking what is the matter. He has been known to stay and be late to work or come home in the middle of the day just to work things out with me.

Just today, after I reared my ugly, neck-contorting in attitude head at him after lots of the above kicked off our day, he dropped kids off (they go to school at the church he works at) and instead of staying, he went and bought me replacements to the things our puppy, Burton, had chewed up in the middle of the night (after which when discovered, I slammed doors and angrily hopped into bed throwing blankets and all those other mature things just so Sam knew how mad I was).

I know. I don’t get it either.

But here is one thing that I do know: my husband, Sam, loves God wholeheartedly. Sometimes I stand back and just marvel at his love and devotion, not just to me and our girls, but to God.  He radiates humility and kindness. He is a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy, and people flock to him in droves.  He is amazing, and so many days I ask God why He chose Sam for me. For me.  How is that possible?

I want so much to begin to deserve the love and devotion t hhes for me. It goes so far beyond my comprehension that some days (okay, again, MOST days) I find myself pushing him away and rejecting him in some twisted attempt to let him see that he deserves better than me; so much, much better than me. And sometimes, sadly, in my pride, it’s to show that I don’t need him to rescue me from ornery kids or mischievous pups because I (clearly-ha!) can handle it on my own.

Then I remember something. We are to be a picture of Christ to those around us.  I am so thankful that Sam doesn’t seem to forget that very often.  He is a picture of Christ to me every single day.

We love because He first loved us. (I John 4:19). I’m not capable of loving anyone else apart from Christ. I love, because He first loved me. If this is true for me, I know it must be true of everyone, even nonbelievers. Christ loves us all, despite how abusive we are or how we reject him. Don’t we all do this, believers and nonbelievers alike? Don’t we try to push God away in some attempt to show that we don’t need Him or don’t deserve His love?  One of those things is very true, while the other is very much not.

Though I need God, I have done nothing to deserve His love and devotion to me. I have done nothing to deserve Him to promise He will never leave me or forsake me (do you know that in the original language it translates to say, “no never” something like six times?). Why in the world would God, the one who set all of creation into motion with a single command, think of me; love me; be devoted to me?! It baffles and greatly humbles me to even consider and drops me to my knees.

I am so proud to be Sam’s wife. I am so thankful to be married to a man who loves God so much. I know, though I can try, I don’t deserve this wonderful man God has chosen for me, and I certainly don’t begin to deserve the love of God.  As much as I love Sam and as much as he miraculously loves me, in our humanity, we can’t begin to fathom or express the kind of love God has for us.

So I have one more confession to make. I am deeply in love, twice over.

After twelve years of marriage, I am still hopelessly in love with my husband, and after 29 years of knowing Christ as my Savior, I am desperately in love with Him. And each day, I fall more in love with both of them, not because of who I am or because of anything I have done to deserve this love, but because of selfless love shown to me every day.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:17b-19)

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)

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I made this card in my shop with the Song of Solomon quote. It says on the inside , “It’s you” 🙂

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A Beautiful Disaster

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I have always thought it would be fun to celebrate Christmas in July. I mean, why NOT celebrate Christmas two times a year? After my five-year-old looked at me and said, “I don’t want that one, I want a big one,” when I generously offered her a dum-dum lollipop it occurred to me that maybe we should be celebrating Thanksgiving more than once a year.  So yesterday, I invented “Thanksgiving in May”. Catchy, isn’t it? I have chatted with many of my friends, fellow frazzled mothers of ungrateful children, us all begging each other for the magical answer to getting our children to be thankful. In a society where parents revolve their lives around their children and often children are handed something without expecting to give anything in return (my children being no exception) it seems nearly impossible to teach them to be grateful for what they have.

So, yesterday, I set out, feeling a little smug, I might admit, for inventing this brilliant holiday, sure that it would be a success. I had it all planned out that we would go on a walk armed with our Kodak, ready to snap away at all of the things we had to be thankful for. Sounds like a good plan, right? I am going to show you the pictures, because what the girls wanted to take pictures of were cute. Here’s a start:

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Aren’t the pictures cute? In our case, a picture does NOT speak a thousand words. We started on our walk with hope and excitement and ended it with frustration and with me saying, “No more talking.” Followed by a tearful phone call to my best friend. Hmm…I wonder if the pilgrims felt this way the day of their first Thanksgiving….

What I pictured happening on this walk was an opportunity to point out to my girls all of the beauty in the ordinary-how all of creation magnifies God’s name and glory; how a sparrow in a tree can remind us of our worth in God’s eyes; how a simple flower is arrayed in greater glory than a princess in fine, silk dresses. I wanted them to see the world around us is full of things to be thankful for and take joy in.  What actually happened on this walk? My one daughter, the one who complained about the lollipop, complained about the long walk, the weather, her sister….etc, etc, etc, etc, etc….My other daughter spent the entire time trying to control me, her sister, the walk, the animals we saw on the walk, and refused to partake in our mission at all. She would speed up just enough to pass me and her sister, then slow down and walk a foot in front of us to control the speed in which we were talking and the path we were taking. She blatantly and stubbornly refused to acknowledge a single thing there was to be thankful for.

I admit, quite humbly, that I pictured this post before we set out on the walk one that I could write with pride and a sense of triumph. I wanted to be able to say that this was a successful journey, not only physically, but much more importantly spiritually.  This would be a new traditional for my family-not just a yearly one, but even weekly and eventually daily, so that we can get into the habit of seeing the beauty in all that is around us. It is so easy to see the things that discourage us, the things we don’t have, but I have found that when I stop to count my blessings, they far outweigh anything I am lacking.

After I talked with my friend yesterday she said, “Maybe thankfulness isn’t something that can be forced, but something that is taught by example. Something that your kids will catch by seeing your thankfulness.” What wisdom.  I have often heard that the remedy for a critical spirit is a thankful heart.  As a mom, I am sooooo ashamed to admit the times when I am way too critical of my children and my husband, feeling like it is my job to “fix” them rather than pointing out to them, and I think sometimes more importantly to myself, all the qualities and gifts God has given them.

So I began my own journey, after the girls were tucked away for their naps, and snapped a few things that I am thankful for. God is a romantic, and every day He woos me with His grace, love, and creation. For this, I am truly thankful.

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