Monday, January 28, 2013

Marriage Monday--Personal Commitment

The Marriage Monday topic for the week is commitment.  I would have liked to think that it would be a cinch to write about how to stay committed in marriage.  But, it isn't.  It's been almost five years since we tackled the topic of divorce in this forum.  It was there that I began to articulate some of my thoughts of how the commitment is to God, and the relationship with the spouse grows from that.  It is how to traverse the difficulties of life in marriage.  I still believe what I wrote.  But five years of growth and watching other marriages and experiencing the roller coaster of life my husband & I have been on, I've come to a further conclusion.  Commitment is very personal and cannot be generalized.

I continue to be blessed in a marriage where we are healthy, employed, content and faithful.  Yet we have experienced so much change in the last five years that there were times it would have been easy to throw up my hands and say "enough!" I haven't because I believe that God has brought us together for this crazy roller coaster and I trust God enough to trust German. Although by the time my thoughts get to computer screen they are aligned (re-aligned) and following German's lead, they certainly don't get there immediately.  There have been many a difficult discussion. I'm sure there are days that German, too, would throw up his hands and cry "enough!" But he doesn't. He doesn't because he believes that God provided us for each other and we need to support each other in the chaos.  He chooses to trust God enough to also trust me.  That is how we personally view our commitment to each other--it is first a commitment to God. Your experience will be specific to your situation. Even a "first commitment to God, second to spouse" will look different when you do it than when I demonstrate what I mean.

I look around me and see that, for better or worse, that commitment to God first may not always appear to be the case.  We have watched friends' marriages fall apart.  We have been part of the "who gets custody of the friends" situations.  We have seen other marriages hang together for no other visible reason than God must be holding it. I have recently uttered for the first time in my life "they would be better off divorced"--and meant it.  The psychological abuse that is evident breaks my heart and not even separation has helped.  In other situations I am praying fervently for restoration. And I only know tips of icebergs in each of these situations.  Obviously, I am not privy to all the details.  In some cases there appears to be unreciprocated commitment. Others reciprocated, but in languages that are not communicating to one another. Others, maybe the commitment is to a feeling but not to something with a strong enough foundation.  In other words, commitment is nigh impossible to judge from the outside.  So we shouldn't. We should be willing to pray and to offer support as requested. But judgment needs to be reserved.

As we journey through life we will see marriage commitments that seem to fail.  Let us be careful in how we respond.  Let us be quick to extend grace and slow to judge. May we remember that demonstrations of commitment are personal to the individuals in the situations. How you would react may not be generalized to everyone should react the same way.  If we can do that, maybe we can show a little of Christ's encouragement to others.

Please join us at Chrysalis Cafe for more discussions of commitment.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Threading a Needle at 100MPH

One of my husband's favourite things to do is drive.
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And one of his favourite things to do in Germany is drive on the Autobahn. No speed limits and good roads!
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One of my favourite things to do on a road trip is to get a little stitching accomplished whilst visiting with German.

Over the Christmas holidays, was the first chance we had to do some serious driving. I took along a small ornament to work on in the car. No colour changes and simple design means I can work in the car without issue. And all went well. Until I needed to thread the needle with a new string.

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Threading a needle whilst traveling 100+ MPH down the autobahn is....well nearly impossible. I did get it threaded, but with great difficulty. It actually became more enjoyable to just lay down the stitching and enjoy the drive.


I've come to consider that adjusting to life in a country where you do no speak the language is very much like threading a needle at 100MPH. Threading a needle is a common task. Just about anyone can do it. But the speed causes a "translation problem" and the simple becomes difficult.

So much of our life the last four month has been made up of the same mundane tasks that have always been a part of life. Laundry. Cooking. Getting from Point A to Point B. Setting up Appointments. But, as with any move, a new place means one must accelerate the performance of tasks. I need to find out how and where to accomplish those tasks whilst at the same time making my family's life seem to flow seamlessly.
We want ham for Christmas--must find out which butcher, how to ask for it, how much lead time to order it--in order to make it seamlessly appear on the table. (Actually a bad example, because I never was able to find out those things so we ended up with Roasted Beef this year, which was wonderful).
German needs suits for work--must find the new dry cleaner, get enough German words to ask for what I need, learn that a task that usually took 1 day in States and 3 days in England and 2 days in Ireland is going to take SIX here--and miraculously have the clean suits hanging in the closet on the day needed.
You get the idea. Lots of accelerated learning alongside tasks. That happens with every move. Find the best places, learn the new lead times, etc.

But the language difference ramps up that acceleration. Every other move there have been "speed limits" of being able to communicate whilst on the learning curve. Now we are on an autobahn of a learning curve....speeding along in a different language.

Which explains a lot of why I have not had the mental energy to blog much the last few months. It has all gone to trying to acclimate to our new life.


As I've been contemplating this idea since Christmas, I wonder if some of our "growth leaps" in our spiritual walk are also like "threading a needle at 100 MPH." Sometimes God leads us on nice, well-traveled paths that we can meander and learn and apply the truths in our lives. Other times he takes us to new pastures where we will step outside our comfort zones, but the language and the landscape are common enough that we are learning faster but are still able to acclimate and communicate the changes. Then there are those moments that he says "Let's go for a drive on the Autobahn". In those moments we are just holding on to the experience. Later we are able to reflect and make application.

I'm learning to lay down the common tasks and enjoy the ride. I know that there are others out there right now who are taking Autobahn trips with God. May I suggest you just enjoy the moment. Reflection and application will come after the experience. And it is just as sweet.

Oh....I did finish the ornament. Sitting in my familiar chair in my comfortable living room.
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Next week I'll post some of the pictures of the places that the Autobahn led us to over the holidays.

Whatever the pace of your journey this weekend, I pray that you enjoy a sweet time with friends and family.

photo credits: purchased via

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Marriage Monday--Faith and Marriage

There are very few places on this earth that German must consult with me before accepting a job transfer that would require a move. Parts of Africa. The Middle East. Germany. Parts of South America. That's it.

Wait, you say. Germany? You love Germany. And you would be correct. But Germany is one of the few countries where we could work and live that homeschooling is totally illegal. We have believed from before we had children that God called us to a lifestyle that included educating our children on our terms. Therefore Germany is on the off-limits list.

So, that day in June when the call came, we were both surprised at our confidence and peace with the answer.

German: "They want me to interview for a new account. It's in Germany."
Me: "Go for it, how soon will we go?"
German: "Immediately. Are you sure?"
Me: "God will still provide for school. Be sure it is included in the package."

That was the discussion. I was in a taxi on my way to the train station. The girls were with me and I didn't want to get them worried. German was in a taxi in London on the way to a meeting. He said later he was surprised I did not have more questions. But I was totally at peace. I knew that this would mean a new lifestyle entirely. Yet, I was utterly convinced that God had orchestrated this move (remember this is before we even had the job) specifically for one of the girls. When German got home he said to me, "I think that this move is about ___". He named the same child that I am/was convinced this was destined to develop. I laughed aloud--isn't God good to reassure with the same thought.
(And weeks later when discussing the move with a friend she said, "You know this move is all about ___ don't you?" Yep, same child mentioned. Confirmation.)

So many people have been surprised by my okayness with all these changes. All I can relate it to is that I have absolute faith that German is leading this family according to his best understanding of God's leading in his life. If we did not have trust in each other's faith in God, we would be lost. But because we know that we individually are seeking God, we can trust one another. For me that is how faith exhibits itself in my marriage.

To see what an amazing group of women are writing about faith and marriage, please visit Chrysalis Cafe. You will be blessed.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Goals for January 2013


In December I made these goals:

1.  Stay on track with Daniel study-did okay but not great
2.  Continue to actively seek a friendship that could grow into prayer/study partner.--still seeking
3.  Write every week.  Post on blog at least 4 times during December.--nope
4.  Finish ABCs of Life cross stitch.--YES!
5.  Stitch 3 Xmas ornaments.--yes
6.  Celebrate Xmas and not lose focus of the season!--absolutely!

January Goals:

1.  Stay on track with Daniel study
2.  Continue to actively seek a friendship that could grow into prayer/study partner.
3.  Write every week.  Post on blog at least 8 times during January.
4.  Finish Multiplication cross stitch.
5.  Stitch 2 Bride's Tree ornaments.
6.  Organise my sewing area
7.  Find a German tutor

Happy New Year!

Well we are eleven days into 2013 and I haven't done much writing.  Forgive me if you must, but I don't feel guilty about it either!  This was the first year in 8 years that German had time off at the end of the year--and first time ever he was able to take two weeks--so I have been enjoying relaxing with my family.  Sometimes we forget how to reconnect.

This week was focused on doing the things I would normally have done whilst he went back to work--taking down decorations, catching up on laundry, etc. The house looks "almost" normal and the closets have clean clothes and the baby is still sleeping so I can write!

So moving right along....the typical end of year review and beginning of year post:

Last year my word of the year was INTENT.  I wrote:
As you look around many Christian blogs, you will see calls to live intentionally in 2012. And although that is part of what I am seeing in these words, it actually runs along a different vein than many are using the word. I believe that I am being called to look INTENTLY at motivation, at the things I study, at the blessings I receive and the ministry opportunities that open to me. It is more than making decisions to be intentional. It is about looking at the intent (the motivation) behind my decisions. It is a heart issue. I want at the end of 2012 to be more aware of why I make the decisions I make and that the motivation behind my actions to be more and more based on what I see in scripture.

I don't know how it will look at the end of the year. I just know that it should look different than it does now. I look forward to seeing what God lays in my path as I seek him, intently.

I'm really not able to put into writing what this year has been in terms of this word.  God has used a willful toddler, an international move, changes in church, leaving homeschooling behind, and so many other things to help me to evaluate and reevaluate my intentions.  It has been good.  I know that there is an internal change.  Just not sure I can point to much tangible example.  The writer in me is bothered by that because I cannot communicate what is happening.  However, the word goals are not meant to glorify me in my blog but to change me in my thoughts and motivations.  So, maybe, that is the tangible proof itself.  Anyway, it was a challenging word and I hope it continues to be a part of me the way TREASURE and PONDER and ENGAGE and CONNECT have.

Whilst praying for a word for 2013 I came across this picture (and other variations of this picture) at

The picture resonates with me on two levels and the words I have chosen come from those images. First, I believe that 2013 is a year of TRANSFORMATION. Now, that word in and of itself is terrifying to me. I am a creature of habit and change is not always my friend (yes, you can laugh knowing how many changes that our family has made in the last 3 years). I prefer quiet and home and the transformations in our lifestyle over the last few years I have known were preparing me for something. Maybe this is year I will more clearly define the something. The verse that accompanies this thought is probably obvious but here it is:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 (ESV)

This year I want to be intentional about the things that I put into my mind, that I put things to memory that will transform me and edify me and aid me in edifying others.
Secondly, I believe that 2013 is a year of EMERGING from one way of life into something that God has been preparing me for all along. I don't know exactly what that is yet, but I believe that it will involve a more intentional emphasis on ministry and writing than I have had in the last few years. I can't wait to see what is planned!

So that is where I'm at. I've enjoyed reading some of the other "Words" given to some amazing bloggers that I look forward to seeing how God transforms their lives as well. I ask for you prayers as we begin this new year together.

What about you, has God given you a word for 2013? Care to share?