Giving Respect

6-13-sweet-pearI’ve been reading through the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas for some research for our upcoming Bluefish TV marriage series. I read the book last year for my small group but there’s just something about reading a book for the second time. 

Gary is a man full of wisdom who draws on his personal experiences being married to his wife, and from classic leaders and writers of the past. So many things Gary said challenged and spoke to me today. A concept he wrote about today was on the issue of respect- which happens to be what I’m learning most about right now in my marriage. He described how comparitively few Christians think of giving respect as a command or spiritual discipline. We are obsessed with being respected, but rarely consider our own obligation to respect others (54).

Wow! Isn’t that so true? Being the fact that I’m a woman created in the image of God, I’ve been commanded to respect my husband- when I may not agree, when I might be offended, or irritated, whatever, I’m called to show respect most importantly through my actions. It’s interesting how I can put on my best face in front of others and respect others easily, but when it comes to those I really love, I sometimes have a harder time. 

In our culture today, and since the fall, respect has always been an issue. Women, in particular, struggle with being domineering, controlling, and taking the authority that should be a man’s. But that is not our role at all as women. God’s word is pretty strong in saying that the word of God is blasphemed (I know it’s a weird word but it means insulting, showing contempt, or irreverence) when a woman tries to usurp the man’s role, leadership, authority, etc. God knows what he’s talking about. It simply “works” when we’re functioning rightly in our appropriate role. I see it in our marriage clearly when I go against God’s will for me as Jeremiah’s wife. In humility, I’m called to submit out of reverence toward my husband. This is not the kind of submission that some men have a skewed view on but the kind where the woman delights in submitting because she knows her husband loves and cherishes her.

Do you agree that the role of women/men is often reversed? What ways have you seen your marriage work beautifully when the love and respect is really happening? In general…Guys- what’s it like for you when a woman tries to overtake the role you were created to fill?

two days with “iPhone”

0283_apple-iphone-case1A few Sundays ago, our contract ended with Sprint and we were contemplating buying new phones. Jeremiah did some shopping around and just couldn’t find what carrier he wanted. He knew how much I loved my sister’s new iPhone during Christmas and spontaneously, he decided to purchase two new iPhones for us under AT&T. I was really excited about it. He bought a pink case for me and everything. That was Sunday.

After having so much fun playing with the phone and loving its ridiculously amazing features, both of us around the same time began doubting the decision. Jeremiah knew we had 30 days if we wanted to take them back. We figured out the numbers and with our plan over a span of 5 years, we would have spent $10,000 on the two phones. We decided that maybe should go towards the baby’s fund or towards the church. Whatever. Well Monday came and a lot went on at work evaluating the future more closely with the economy the way it is. I then evaluated my decisions and what I could do personally. On Monday, I said “Let’s just take them back.” (I think Jeremiah was waiting for me to say it).

He was really happy at my suggestion. (I know he wanted to make me happy and I honestly believe we might have just kept them if I said I wanted them- who knows) but I also knew deep down that he was probably thinking it wasn’t the best financial decision. All along I think I made too many hints at what I thought I wanted and Jeremiah probably felt he should provide in that way. I know that many people have this revolutionary phone (all the guys I work with do) and I am not at all judging their or your decision, but for me personally, choosing to let go of the phone was what I knew I should do. I already struggle with checking email too much and with that phone I knew I probably would even more. I also knew the ability it had to define my worth or “status” or keeping up with what’s new. I even knew it could quickly become some kind of an idol as strange as that might seem. Even though of course I know it’s a heart issue.

For a short period, I was bummed we gave them up but yet I also felt so freed especially knowing the money could go elsewhere. In 5 years from now, what will compare to the iPhone? Maybe nothing will. Who knows. I may even have one in the future, but for right now, this was the decision we had to make. Those two days were really a time of growth for me- learning to let go and not put my worth in material things- something I will continue to learn all my life.

The good thing is I have enough friends that have them so I can play with theirs if I need a fix!

Welcome John Samuel

img_0081It has been just shy of three months since John Samuel was born. (I’ve really been MIA from blogging) There’s absolutely no way to fully explain the joy of a brand new baby. A baby that is yours in fact. John arrived on October 23 at 5:55 AM. I had prayed that I would be able to have a natural birth and God answered my prayer. It was the worst pain of my life but I knew it was purposeful and that I would not regret choosing to go natural. Hiring a doula gave me great confidence in addition to my husband’s support. She had me up and going during contractions and everything! As crazy at it may seem, I am so glad I was able to feel everything and that I didn’t have to get the needle of an epidural. Our entire experience at Baylor University Medical Center here in Dallas was exceptional. I am just so blessed that the entire birthing process went so well.

John has made our marriage complete. We just love him to pieces. I love watching Jeremiah being a new dad. I’ve never seen this part of him and I am just amazed by him. He is truly going to be #1 Daddy. I never knew I had the capacity to love like this. He is such a sweet-natured boy who I truly believe has great things in store for him. As I write this, I’m pretty exhausted but so thankful for so much. So much has changed yet so much has stayed the same. I’m really looking forward to a full night’s sleep sometime soon, but I hope to be content no matter what the circumstance or how many hours I get.

John Samuel- Welcome to Mommy’s blog. I’m excited to write in the new year of 2009 and give my readers updates about you. You are a gift from above and it would be selfish for me to keep you all to myself so my reader’s are going to get to know you too. I hope you’re having a good nap right now. Sleep sweet my precious boy.

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Uprising back from the press

We just finished up the edits to a new video-driven study based off Erwin McManus’ book, Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul. The study has six sessions all dealing with how God wants to transform our character to be more like his. The whole kit is back from the press (I love that smell!) and it looks incredible. We’re really happy with how it turned out.

On the production team, we seek out real-life stories that fit with the teaching in the sessions. A certain story that was needed was facing courage/doing what is right in the midst of a major trial like a job loss. I pitched my husband’s story of losing his job for sharing his faith to our team and they ended up shooting our story together. It’s now in the Uprising kit.

Being almost two years out of that trial, it was easier to share the story (even though it did seem like we were reliving it somewhat) and be an encouragement to others. You can check out the trailer here (props to Phil). The guy in the salmon collared shirt talking with a patient near the beginning is my husband.

This may be a study you’re interested in and will want to check out.

Stone Blue Productions

Jeremiah Guelzo, owner/producer/photographer of Stone Blue Productions in Lynchburg, VA informed me of his new blog. He posts regularly on it and it shows a lot of his recent work. Jeremiah did our wedding photos, wedding video, and my bridal portraits in 2005. His work was incredible then and it’s even more so now.

Way to go, Jeremiah. God is using you in incredible ways. Here is a photo Jeremiah took of me and my handsome husband… oh the memories!

God, My Mom, & Dave Ramsey

It’s been several months since we took the Financial Peace University class by Dave Ramsey. Looking back on the class, it couldn’t have been a more appropriate time for us to be in it. My mom is the one we have to thank because she “urged” us to. We had no idea we would get pregnant during that time either or even that the economy would look a little different six months later. God’s timing is always perfect.

We now have 3-6 months of income saved. Our savings account has never looked so big. It’s almost surreal. Our credit cards are gone and the only debt remaining is about $8,000 on student loans and a car payment. All that to say, we would not be where we are without God, My Mom, and Dave Ramsey! We are no way near perfect in the area of finances but we’re striving to keep growing.

The highlight for me this week was my first guilty feeling of purchasing a pumpkin spice chai frappucino for almost $4.00. Now, I love to splurge and treat myself (I don’t over-indulge too much at all). I’m a big fan of rewarding yourself. But something just clicked and I thought, this is definitely a lot for a drink that was gone in 2 minutes!  My husband agreed it was a huge step for me. I mean it’s Starbucks, come on.

Later on in the day I learned more about the condition of our economy. It’s pretty crazy what’s going on right now. I’m more encouraged now to be wise with the money God’s given us. It’s not always easy but so worth it.

State of the Heart Leadership

My boss has given our team the opportunity to be a part of a leadership track on Tuesdays during lunch to discuss a series on leadership by Andy Stanley. Brian said the requirement was that we listen to the podcast and fill out the hand-out page so we’re prepared and ready to discuss what we learn. He would treat us to lunch as well.

I am so excited about this opportunity. Brian is not only interested in our leadership at work, but in our ministries, at home, etc. Leadership is an area I always love learning about. When Jeremiah and I were just getting to know each other, we went to Catalyst together in Atlanta and I just couldn’t get enough of the principles learned there. We both ended up listening to State of the Heart Leadership together. We had a great time learning from it.

A few things that stuck out to me in Andy’s teaching:

Unhealthy people are comfortable in disfunctionality.  I had never thought of this in this way before. I have definitely seen this played out before. This creates unhealthy environments. What does this mean to you? Why do people remain in environments that are destructive?

The condition of your heart will eventually determine the moral and ethical climate of your organization. It sure is amazing that the heart will determine everything else… for out of the heart, flows the wellspring of life. Why do you think keeping our heart’s in check (on a daily, hourly basis) is so important?

When you expose your weakness to someone, that is not new information to them. If leaders admit they screw up, then the whole organization will! Yet another life-changing truth. I had the opportunity to practice this yesterday when I screwed up. It was so freeing to admit my failure and to make sure I was back on the same page with the person I offended. Why do you think we’re not quick to admit our wrongs- even though all along that person/people know where we messed up already? I really hate the PRIDE that’s in me sometimes.

I can’t wait to learn more about these principles and to dive deeper into the meaning of leadership- healthy servant leadership.

John Samuel’s Shower

On Saturday, Sept. 13, my dear friends in Dallas (including my Mom and Sister who flew in) threw me a baby shower. One of my best friends here, Julia surprised me with having the shower at a clubhouse in her community called the Village. It was the perfect location and so homey. She made home-made chocolates and decorations. My mom made her incredible punch and my sister was the main host. Around 30 of my closest friends celebrated with me. One of my best friends from college, Bethany, even came all the way from Florida.

We played some incredibly creative games like guessing what’s in the bag (each item in the bag started with the initials in John Samuel) and the crazy fun game where you crush up chocolate candy bars and put them in a diaper to guess what candy bar it is. My sister and Bethany read a toast/tribute written for both Jeremiah and I. Then a few others went around the room and gave me words of encouragement. It was so meaningful and really added an extra touch to the shower.

I’m so thankful for the friends and family God has given me. A time like this can feel overwhelming but when I know I have community around me- it makes everything so much better. Yesterday marked one month until baby John arrives and my and Jeremiah’s 2 year and 9 month anniversary of being married. We have this “17” thing going on. We can’t wait to see his little face and to learn even more about selflessness. As Bethany’s mom’s advice was that marriage strips away a layer of selfishness and having a child strips away the rest.

It’s coming…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia’s home-made chocolates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

an amazing cake from a Mexican bakery in Midland.

 

 

 

 

 

Nautical theme (like John’s nursery)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

getting ready to open gifts

 

 

Sis, me, and Mom

Partnering with RELEVANT

RELEVANT magazine is pretty familiar to most of us in Christian publishing today. Relevant first published in 2003 and since then, they’ve had a base of more than 75,000 readers. Relevant’s companion web presence, RelevantMagazine.com was launched before the print publication.

Relevant explores the intersection of faith and pop culture with the tagline “God. Life. Progressive Culture.” Their articles feature fresh spiritual voices, often profiling young musicians, authors and entrepreneurs like Paper Route, Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Margaret Feinberg and Sarah Cunningham. Relevant also offers political spotlights, social issues, and reviews of recently released media selections. I’ve enjoyed writing for their women’s online publication: radiantmag.com.

In the past few years, we’ve had the privilege of working with Relevant as they’ve sponsored our past three events through the RightNow Campaign. They’ve also exchanged ads in our leader magazine for sponsorship. Recently, we’ve partnered with Relevant in a different way and just this week, several of our small group Bible studies are now live on their store.

In the future, Relevant hopes to add video previews for each of our products. We’re really excited to continue building our partnerships with Relevant and being open to how God wants to use more of our resources on their site.

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