Love Challenge: Go with the Flow

My Valentine’s

Don’t compare your love story to those you watch in movies. They’re written by scriptwriters, yours is written by God.- @TheNoteboook

This week has been all about going with the flow for me. It started Sunday with one very sick 6 year old who was insistent that he couldn’t miss church. Reese woke up Sunday and threw up, but then afterward said he was feeling better and that Sunday was his favorite day of the week and he couldn’t miss BridgeKidz. He told me he had really been looking forward to starting “40 Days in the Word”, the “Bible Boat” with his Sunday School class. I, of course, melted inside and sighed. What Christian mother doesn’t long to hear those words? I must have done something good along the way. So, I relented and off we went for a great Sunday at the Bridge Church. (By the Way, My Bridge Church Commentaries are coming back to the blog. They have just been on the back burner with all of the curve balls life has been shooting). During the course of Sunday morning and church, he proceeded to throw up several more times and at the end of the day Sunday had thrown up 6 times. The most memorable moment was at the stroke of midnight (no joke, exactly 12) I heard noise coming from the boys room. They share a room and have bunk beds. I got up to inspect and Gentry, who to this point had not been sick, was standing there and starting throwing up all over the floor, walls, and doors while simultaneously Reese started throwing up all over himself and in his bed. I had put them to bed with bags and trash cans, but they apparently couldn’t get to them quick enough and we had the makings of a new Olympic sport “Synchronized Vomiting”. I stood there laughing hysterically like a crazy person. I mean really, what else could I have done? From there, baths happened, beds were stripped, the wet/dry vac came out, floors were mopped, walls wiped, sheets and blankets cleaned off and washed, and mattresses sanitized before new sheets were put on. It’s all part of being a parent. Those middle of the night events and our reaction to them all go to create the foundation of love, care, and acceptance that our kids can stand on when life knocks them down.

Reese continued to have a fever and be sick the next couple of days and then his eyes got red, itchy, crusty, and full of green goo. The school would not let him go back without a Dr’s note even though he was feeling better. I took him to the Dr and thankfully he didn’t have pink-eye, just bacterial conjunctivitis which is treatable with an antibiotic and eye drops. In the midst of all this, we had company in from out of town on Monday afternoon and evening that stayed through until Tuesday, music practice at my house on Tuesday, as well as all of the other duties, chores, and assignments of life. Flash forward to Wednesday and the record began to play again, only this time it was my husband. So, anyway, I sit here on Friday wanting to form the eloquent blog I had in mind for this week that now seems so far off from my mind. The good news for all of my fitness followers is that my running continued throughout all of this nonsense. I even ran my “long” training run of the week yesterday, 8 miles, just to get out of the house for a brief moment of fresh non-toxic air and sanity. In moments like these running isn’t a bothersome “to do” list item, but something I crave and need.

My intention was to blog a “Love Challenge” in honor of Valentine’s Day this next week. I am still going to blog the challenge I had in mind, but first wanted to issue a different type of challenge. I challenge everyone to go with the flow in their relationships. Relationships take a lot of work, but usually the hard work happens when we try to control everyone in our lives. I learned early on in my marriage that I can fixate on the fact that socks aren’t being put in the hamper or the fact that they are turned inside out or the fact that they are balled together when I go to do laundry, or I can fixate on the fact that I married a man of great integrity, character, respect, and love. Far too often we do not go with the flow. We get something set in our heads, possibly based on an unrealistic movie or novel, and then complain or nag when life doesn’t turn out exactly how you want it to. This can happen in love relationships, parental relationships, or friendships. I am a Type A personality, so going with the flow isn’t natural to me. Maybe it is for you. Maybe you let life happen to you and it doesn’t bother you much. My personality is to make life happen and to make life fit into the mold I have for it. This is a fabulous personality to have on a lot of days, but a frustrating one when others around me don’t do exactly what I want when I want it how I want it. It sounds so selfish when pen is put to paper, but it is what it is. I am yielded to God in this area of my life, and that is what keeps me from displaying the ugly side of my Type A and utilizing for His glory the good sides of it.

As a lady that lives with 3 men, I have learned that men need to be honored, encouraged, and esteemed. The greatest gift a wife can give her husband is to let him be the man. It bothers me so much to see a marriage where the man is emasculated. I am a strong woman, but being a strong, independent, educated woman doesn’t mean that you can’t be your mans girl. Real men want a real woman. The Bible has a lot more to say about being a Godly wife and mother than what you usually hear. I know that I used to get visions of women in Victorian dresses that are giddy about lace doilies when I would hear preaching about a Godly wife and mother. This is not a correct image or view, unless that is who you are. The most Godly wife and mother is the wife and mother that honors her family, reads and prays God’s word, and is true to herself. To me a Godly wife is one that makes her man feel like the most handsome, rich, smart, Godly man in the world. I could choose to be annoyed over the fact that certain things may not live up to my specifications at times, or I could choose to be thankful for my husbands hard work, diligence, character, and love.

This week for Valentine’s Day, don’t put weird undue pressure on your relationship. If you are only celebrating your love one day a year, you have bigger problems anyway. Everyday should be Valentine’s Day. I don’t want a teddy bear. I don’t want chocolates.  I really don’t even want flowers. I am happy, content, and beyond blessed with all of the love in my home. So, when you’re wiping vomit and knee deep in flu viruses from the men in your life, know that you are experiencing the greatest depths of true love. My dad asked me several times a week during my engagement “Do you love Jonathan enough that if he was paralyzed from a car wreck during your honeymoon that you would stay with him forever and take care of him and honor him with faithfulness, fidelity, and kindness?” As a 21 year old girl, that was a HUGE question. At the time I said “Yes” and honestly believed it, but after 11 years of marriage, 2 kids, major stressful life situations, and all that we have been through I believe it even more. The true love challenge of going with the flow is to love your spouse, your children, and your friends the way they need to be loved. Put yourself aside and jump into their flow. That shows true love and respect.

Here is an excerpt from the book “Real Marriage” that said better than I said what I want to say:

Ladies, you’re very powerful. And here’s what’ll happen if you disrespect your husband.

Number one, if you disrespect your husband, you put him in a lose/lose scenario, especially if you do it in front of other people. That’s why some of you do. It’s like a hostage situation. If you disrespect him, here are his choices. “I respond to her, and then I’m a bully, and I’m mean, and I’m not very nice. And I know she’s going to get loud and embarrass me or cry and humiliate me. I can’t beat this woman.” Or he says, “Okay, I’m just gonna take it,” and then he’s a wuss. It’s a lose/lose. A man can’t win an argument with a disrespectful wife. It’s a lose/lose.

Number two, if you disrespect him, you will drive him away. I’m not saying it’s right, but I’m saying it’s inevitable.

Number three, you can have a big, outgoing, vivacious personality and still be respectful. (My favorite line because this is me)
And some of you have believed a demonic lie: “I’ve got a big personality. I’m an outgoing, gregarious person. That’s why I’m disrespectful.” No, you can have a big personality. You can be a strong gal. You can have strong opinions. You can be an extrovert and still be respectful.

And number four, here’s the hard, cold, sad, painful truth. If you disrespect him and win, so that you can rule over him, you will despise him and not even be attracted to him. True or false? You’re like, “I beat that guy. Now I feel like his mother. He’s not even interesting to me.”

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