Going to War with Your Spouse

The word compromise gets a bad rap. When I think of people compromising I imagine a place of war, two guys standing on a battlefield after days of violence agreeing to each other’s terms. They don’t like each other, in fact they were at literal war with each other moments before but now they have come to an agreement.

Do you ever feel like that’s what compromise in your marriage feels like? You are gearing up for battle, you’ve got your list of their faults as your shield and and angry rebuddles as your sword. You are feeling good, you’re going to get what you want because you DESERVE it. You shouldn’t have to lie down while they stomp all over you. You have pride, you have a running list of things you’ve done that they don’t do and if it comes down to it, you’ll just do what you want anyway.

Now here is where this all falls apart… compromise shouldn’t be me vs. him. That isn’t what compromise is about. In fact, the word compromise way back in the 15th century was defined as “a coming to terms, a settlement of differences by mutual concessions.” Now I’m going to be real with you here. I hate compromises in my marriage. I am a competitive person and deep down I want to get my way (neon blinking sign that says “child of wrath” should hang above my head). “Mutual concessions” is not my go-to move in my marriage.

Prior to being a believer I would argue back and forth and there were numerous times where there was no answer decided, we just moved on. Sometimes we just went to bed and woke up the next morning like it never happened. If you’re married you probably recognize these situations and are thinking back on your own arguments. That’s the silly thing about marriage, you’re going to fight. There is always going to be another fight and that’s okay. You have to learn to be okay with it (I’m still learning this).

When you live with someone you aren’t going to agree 100% of the time. If you mix in stressful jobs, commutes, family issues, friend drama, children, scheduling, chores, etc. it all becomes a hot mess pretty quickly. That’s why compromising needs to be important to your heart.

You’ve probably heard that we should both give 100% and I completely agree but sometimes the other person doesn’t have 100% to give. Maybe they have a big presentation at work, the baby isn’t sleeping through the night or they are having emotional struggles, the list could keep going. Sometimes we are giving 110% and that’s okay. There are times when “mutual concessions” are what will make your marriage healthier and stronger.

I’ve been compromising with scheduling recently to be able to attend a Bible study on Monday evening. I take our daughter to church small group and leave at 7:30 so she can be in bed at 8. My husband gets some time to himself and we both say goodnight to her together. Monday’s I’m not home in time to tuck her in and before we made this compromise I wasn’t usually home for bedtime Sunday’s either. Like I said earlier, I want to get my way but this was the compromise we all needed.

Compromising doesn’t mean rolling over or giving in. We need to remember that this isn’t a battle in the first place. This is someone we love and they have an opposing opinion that we should take into consideration. Compromising is showing grace and love to our spouse in a way that reflects God’s love and grace towards us. It should be celebrated and not shunned.

 

Thankful for the Terrible Twos

When you live with an almost 2 year old there are days that are full of sweet hugs and some days that are full of tears, whining and frustration. If I stop to remember that she wants to communicate with us and is trying her hardest I can sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) be okay with the whining.

This weekend has been a full of whining and tears type of weekend. We went to a theme park on Saturday and there were multiple times where she yanked her hand out of my hand. She wanted to be everywhere all at once and did NOT want to be carried, holding hands or sitting in a stroller. It didn’t help that she had bug spray, sunblock and sweat all over her hands. Today the family went to run errands and she was in the same mood.

My patience is almost completely depleted and we are about to start another week tomorrow. These are the moments where I struggle as a working parent. I want to enjoy the weekend with her and rest for the week ahead but I find myself in a down mood wanting to go lay in the bathtub.

Thankfully my faith and husband help me to kick the mood and enjoy my time. While doing my Bible study I read that this is all temporary which reminds me that although this season is hard, it is only temporary. My husband emphasized the good moments and helped me to see through the darkness.

Although I won’t be as rested as I would like, I have so many moments to be thankful for. In between the fits and tears there were hugs, cuddles and kisses. After the tantrums were pulling me by the hand to sit with her. This life has been blessed by our Father and I will keep reminding myself of that, even if my patience is completely out the window.

 

Satan, You’re Not Welcome Here

I’ve struggled with anxiety for the greater part of my life. I’ve seen counselors, doctors, taken medication, done yoga, breathing exercises and anything else I could find to get it under control. Thankfully, I haven’t struggled with my anxiety and panic attacks for over a year. There are moments occasionally where I feel anxious and it feels like the anxiety is in control again.

My husband was traveling for work and I thought I heard noises in the house. Logically I know it’s because the house is creaking but my illogical fight or flight instinct was kicking in. I laid in be in a panic until I remembered a phrase that one of the women brought up in Bible study. She said that when she feels like the enemy is trying to mess with her she says out loud “Satan, you’re not welcome here.” I never imagined myself saying it until I was lying in bed stuck in my anxious thoughts.

I started thinking it hesitantly and kept doing it until I was confident that he had no power. I fell asleep changing “Satan, you’re not welcome here” in my head. It might sound silly but it worked. He has no power over us, he is not our master, we can drive him away. He prays on our insecurities and in those dark moments we need to be confident in our Lord and tell the enemy to get out.

I don’t think telling the enemy to go away will solve my anxiety but it helped me to find strength through our Father. Now I find myself saying it in my head pretty regularly. If I’m being judgy, getting angry about something out of my control, or just not being a very nice person I tell the enemy to hit the road. I know that some of those things are my own sins, but in that moment it tells me to be looking up at what matters and just in case, tells him to get lost too.

 

A Big God

For the past 6 weeks I’ve been doing Matt Chandler’s Bible Study “The Explicit Gospel.” It’s our Women’s Summer Study and I was very excited when I heard it was going to be a book by Matt Chandler. I listen to the Village Church podcast as often as I can and I’m always impressed at how clearly and bluntly Matt can communicate big, important and complicated topics.

This week is our final week and I’m sad to see it be completed. Every week I feel like I’m diving head first into who God is and catching a glimpse of how big His glory is. I keep mentioning the word “big” and it’s perfect that it’s the word that keeps coming to mind. One of the large takeaways I’ve had through this study is how big God is.

I watched this video where God is compared to the entire universe and then we are mentioned. A small speck amongst billions of stars, millions of galaxies and countless planets. When I was praying I couldn’t help but imagine God working across the universe creating astounding creations that we can’t even fathom but for some reason listening when I pray to Him. This enormous, sovereign, omnipotent being makes time to listen to these small creatures that aren’t even the largest creatures on this tiny planet in a small galaxy.

Now the really meaty part is that he doesn’t just listen to us, he granted us mercy. It’s our nature to disobey Him and he knows that we are going to fail. But in his merciful kindness he sent his son to be a sacrifice for us. This isn’t a son that he created for this specific purpose. This was a son who had been there from the beginning with Him. A big God sent a big God to give his life for ours. Out of the entire cosmos we were created, loved, saved and welcomed into this big God’s family.

There is so much to be thankful for in this life and it should all start with thanks that we have a Big God.

 

Top Takeaways from Women of the Word

A topic my husband and I talk about constantly is time. We don’t have enough of it, aren’t using it wisely, thought we used to have none before we had our daughter but now we really don’t have any… I’m sure you have these same thoughts. What’s funny is, with as little time as we had before we have even less now. Time is a precious commodity and we all want to use it effectively. Sometimes that means we miss events, stay at home more and have less time for relaxing. One of the first things that I cast aside when I became a mom was reading.

When I was a kid, I used to devour books but as I’ve gotten older it’s become harder for me to find books that keep my attention. Then, when I became a Christian, I started picking up more and more books. I want to absorb as much as I can and the best way I’ve found is through reading. Along with the Bible, I’ve read books about faith, ways to study the Bible, devotionals and right now I’m reading a book about Jesus being key throughout all areas of the Bible. The problem that I have is I don’t have time to read as many as I’d like.

A New Series

I thought to myself “if only someone could read the books I want to read and give me the gist so I know whether I want to read it or not.” I know other women have to be thinking the same thing, so instead of waiting for someone else I decided to kick off my Top Three Takeaways series.

The first book I’m going to give you my takeaways from is Jen Wilkin’sWomen of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and our Minds.” My small group leader suggested this book and I’ve been lending it out since I read it. It’s a fantastic book, a quick read and it has so much information and wisdom jam-packed into 160 pages.

Below I’ve outlined my top three items that truly encouraged me:

 Bible Study

You Need Context

Something I never considered while reading the Bible is knowing the context. Who was the book written to, when was the book written, why did they use certain references and why was that important at the time? Prior to reading this book I read the Bible with the understanding that it is in the past, the people are apostles (in certain books) and that the Old Testament is just about the fall (I was super wrong btw).

One of the 5 P’s that Jen talks about in her book is studying with “Perspective.” Perspective can be defined as the “true understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion”. An example of this is the differences in culture now and when the book was written. Although people typically aren’t fans of the IRS we don’t go to the level the Pharisees do in the Bible. In Mark they showed as much disdain with Jesus eating with tax collectors as sinners; “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

The tax collectors at that time were Jews who worked for the Roman Empire. People don’t like paying taxes now, imagine if you were paying taxes to an oppressive group and your neighbor was helping them while lining their own pockets… If you didn’t know that, you might have been really confused at why they would be upset and the importance of Jesus eating with them.

Biblical Context

This is God’s Story

Our tendency when reading the Bible is to compare the stories to ourselves. I’ve seen myself as Doubting Thomas before and used the lessons in comparison with my life but ultimately the Bible is God’s story. It is His story about the creation, fall, redemption and ultimately restoration. It is about how great of a king He is and not about our trials. Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t rely on the Bible for wisdom but reading that the story is about God was eye opening.

Once I started reading from the perspective that God is at work in everything and the Bible is about Him and His plans my thoughts changed as well. When we think about Jesus laying his life down at the cross, we see it as our redemption moment but how must it have felt to turn His face away from Jesus and allow him to bear our burdens. His grace and love are magnified when I think outside of just my Biblical experience. It seems like common sense to know it has His story but until I read this book I didn’t see it.

In Timothy 3:16-17 it says “16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” So he has declared that we should learn from the Bible but we can also grow in knowing Him and His story through the Bible.

 

P’s framework

My process with studying the Bible had consisted of:

  • Reading scripture
  • Finding something interesting
  • Research that topic, verse etc.
  • Take notes
  • Continue reading

It wasn’t the worst way to study but I found after reading this book I could dig in deeper (also there is no wrong way to study). Jen came up with a framework that consists of 5 P’s that will help guide you in studying scripture. What I like about it is that I can really unpack what is going on and it slows me down. I don’t want to rush through the Bible just to say I’ve read it. I want to savor learning it and really enjoy going through His word.

Her P’s:

  • Purpose
  • Perspective
  • Patience
  • Process
  • Prayer

It can be a lot if you are trying to read the entire Bible quickly, but if you want to really understand the text, it’s so helpful. I did find myself even after reading the book, forgetting some of the P’s so I made myself a printable that you can download for free here.

Sneak Peak of the P's

I’m a fan of studying, highlighting, taking notes and digging in so a lot of these were just more tips on how to do them, that was until I read “Patience.” When I learn something, I want to learn it quickly and implement it just as fast. The Bible isn’t designed for that. He is a mysterious God and there are scriptures that we need to ponder. We are being sanctified and that can take time, which can be a hard pill to swallow (I’m very impatient).

If you do have a spare moment throughout the day or can take the time early in the morning, I would suggest picking up Women of the Word. It’s short and lays everything out in a simple way that makes sense.

If you have read the book and had different takeaways I’d love to hear them. You can leave a comment here, on the Mom Y’all Facebook or on the Mom Y’all Instagram.