The Downside of a Routine

Hi everyone! So…you know how you have one of those days? Well, mine was yesterday! I am sorry I missed you. Please forgive me. 😊

How are you? I hope you enjoyed your weekend. It’s countdown to Christmas and I am happy about it. My children will be ecstatic to see what they have been blessed with this year and my husband and I are grateful that we can bless them. We are also grateful to be upon our thirteenth wedding anniversary. Let me know if you’re tired of hearing this…LOL

I love having a routine. It helps to keep me focused and on task. If I don’t have a daily routine, it is easy for me to slip into procrastination and many things would fall to the wayside. I have been in a routine since I was very young. I can remember being ten years old and getting up early and beginning my day. I still get up early each day, but what’s changed is having a husband, children, job, blog, and everything else.

Having a routine in marriage is helpful too. Planning routine getaways and date nights will help to keep your marriage on the right track. However, if a negative routine develops, it can drain the life and fun out of your marriage.

Almost two years ago, my husband and I moved from Philadelphia to Georgia. It was a big move for us. The routine in my household completely changed because of the move. I went from working full-time as a manager to working from home part-time and caring for my children full-time (PRAY FOR ME). There have been so many changes, that my marriage kind of fell into a rut.

Things were splendid the first few months after our move. We were walking on cloud-nine; happy about our move, our home, neighborhood and our new beginning God promised. However, a few months later, I noticed my patience was much shorter. My husband was working longer hours, but I thought no big deal he has to work. Then I noticed I was more annoyed and began complaining. Next, my husband who is very patient, came home irritable. I thought “No problem, he’s probably tired, from working more than usual.” Finally, after three weeks of this behavior, we had a disagreement. At the end of it, we kind of sat there in a daze like, “What just happened?” And, what was this really about? Instantly, we realized by way of the Holy Spirit, that we were not spending enough time together. Both of us got so focused on our move, and our new routine, we forgot about keeping each other first.

After fifteen years of being together, we enjoy spending time together often, yet the one thing we enjoy doing most was the one thing we neglected to do. I was praying, but I  was not paying attention because I allowed the outside to affect the inside.

Song of Solomon 2:15 – “Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!”

I am grateful we were able to recognize it before it caused real damage to our marriage.

As married people, we must know the cycle of our relationship. We must be careful not to develop an unhealthy routine. For some couples, a weekly date night is imperative to keep the fires flowing. For other couples, physical touch is a way to keep intimacy. For many, sexual intimacy must be kept at the top of the list, to avoid issues. Every marriage is different, and you must know what works for you.

My husband and I love to get away. One of my marital goals for the New Year is to make sure we take time to getaway consistently. This is the positive routine I plan on implementing, and January 14, 2019 will be the beginning. My other goal is to make sure I do not allow outside influences to dictate the routine of my marriage.

Do you have any marital goals for the New Year?

Blessings.

 

 

Photo by Scott Walsh on Unsplash

I will never forget my first or my second

Hello everyone. I hope you had a great weekend! Can you believe it’s December? Twenty-two days until Christmas. It is unbelievable how fast the year went by. Are you looking forward to the new year? I am excited for the opportunity to start over. I am ready to accomplish the natural and spiritual goals I’ve set for myself. I am also looking forward to my 13th wedding anniversary. Lord, thank you.

As a ponder over the past twelve years, I am in awe of God’s grace. My husband and I have experienced extreme highs and unbelievable lows, but we did it and stayed together. My marriage was the first positive relationship in my life. Actually, my husband was my first in many ways.

Let me backtrack a bit. God was my first. He was the first person I learned loved me exactly the way I was. As a child, I never had anyone love me that way. Whenever I made a mistake I trembled with fear of harsh reprimand. When it came to God, I was also fearful because I thought if I messed up, he would turn his back on me. However, the day I came into the realization of God’s love for me, it changed my life. I finally understood there was nothing I could do to get God to stop loving me.

After walking with God for several years, I was very secure in his love for me, but I struggled with believing he could send me someone who could love me just the same. I never expressed those feelings to God, but I am so glad he knows the secrets and desires of our hearts.

Psalms 139: 1-2 “Lord, you have examined me and know all about me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts before I think them.”

Years later, God answered my heart’s desire and sent me a physical example of unconditional love when he brought my husband into my life. I had been healed from so much pain, but there was still some unresolved trauma I was not aware of. It was not until after I married, that those issues resurfaced.  My husband loved me through it all.

The Lord was my first spiritual example of true love and my husband was my spiritual and physical example! Through all of my ups and downs, my husband loved me as Christ loved the church…unconditionally. Sure, we had other issues that had nothing to do with my trauma, but we learned to work through all of it, allowing God to be the third cord in our marriage.

Ecclesiastes 4:12A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (NLT).

The relationship with my husband taught me how to persevere, sacrifice, and endure; especially when things did not go my way. When you think about it, it is similar to the relationship we have with the Father. We endure trials, tests and hardship, but at the end of it all, we win.

James 2:12 – “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (ESV).

God was my first. He loved me, healed me and set me free. My husband was my second. The person God sent to aid in my remaining healing process.

Before dating and most certainly before we wed, it is important we are healed from past issues, otherwise, we will bring those issues into your relationship as I did. However, God is so merciful and full of wisdom that He knew who to send to aid in my healing process. That is His unconditional love. My FIRST love, before I knew that HE was.

God bless you.

 

Photo by Asaf R on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Marriage journey…again

Hello everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with love, laughter and most of all thankfulness. I truly love this season. November is a time to be thankful. December is a time to celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. And my personal favorite, January, is a time to reflect and celebrate my upcoming wedding anniversary!

On January 14, 2019, I’ll be married for 13 years. YAY! For some people, this may not seem like much, but for me, it means a lot. There was a time I did not think we would make it, BUT God!

A few months back, I discussed the 12 lessons I learned in twelve years of marriage. I received a lot of positive feedback, and I pray my sharing was a blessing to those of you who are married and for those of you who desire to be.

However, as I reflect on my almost 13 years of marriage, I have learned another major lesson. The lesson I have learned is…

Lesson 13. – I am still a work in progress…

Philippians 1:6: …“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT).

With all that God has allowed me to learn in my marriage, I still have a lot to learn. I still have areas that need changing. I still need to learn patience. Though I listen to the Holy Spirit, (most of the time), I still need to watch what I say.

A few years ago, knowing this would have made me feel defeated. But now, I feel grateful. I am not the person I was at the beginning of my marriage. I am excited to share in this journey with the man God blessed me with, and I am thankful I still have the opportunity to get it right. Glory to our God!

My husband and I, like all married couples, faced many difficult challenges. But I would not change any part of our journey. It is what makes us unique, and it is what makes us sensitive to other married couples.

When I finished my Marriage Lessons blog posts, I was happy to move on to the next subject. But the subject of marriage stayed on my heart. Therefore, if God sees fit to use me to speak on the subject, I will submit to his will and trust the process. It is not because I know everything, but because the lessons I have learned, in part, saved my marriage.

Marriage is the one relationship that is meant to mirror Christ, yet many marriages do not. My husband and I are much better than we were twelve years ago, but as I mentioned, each of us are a work in progress. It is my hope and prayer that by sharing my journey once again, you will begin to desire the type of marriage God intended.

As my anniversary approaches, I hope you don’t mind if I share my journey with you. The journey of my work in progress that will lead to our 13th wedding anniversary and beyond!

Blessings.

Deliverance at the Root

For healing and deliverance to occur, it must be plucked up from the root. However, I have learned that most people do not realize there is a root at all.

Many months ago, I watched a documentary about our U.S. prison system. It was one of the most heartbreaking documentaries I EVER saw. My heart broke as I watched it. All I could do was cry and pray.  What made it worse was the documentary was about women prisoners.

One female prisoner touched my heart. She said she began committing crimes at age seven. She spent most of her life in prison. She said while in prison she felt “safe and respected.” I thought, “What happened in her childhood that caused her to act this way?” Then the same question I thought about her, I asked myself. And it brought me back to my childhood.

Growing up, I could not trust women (and I am still apprehensive sometimes). For me, it was difficult to get close to women. After many years of feeling this way, I decided it was time to open myself up. Unfortunately, I felt hurt and betrayed when women that I admired turned out to be the opposite of what they portrayed.

Truth is, these feelings came from the experiences I had with my mother. As much as I wanted a relationship with her, it could not happen. She could not be what I needed her to be. Instead of seeking God about my pain, I unknowingly put that burden on other women. I expected them to be what I needed instead of seeking God. After this issue continued to resurface, I realized I had to deal with the root. I asked God to help me and he did, but the process was slow because the roots were deep. This was one of many areas I needed healing.

The difference between myself and the women in the documentary is I had an opportunity to deal with my roots.  Most of the women have not come to terms with their own root issues and some never will. Although the women are serving time in prison for the crime they committed outwardly, they are serving another sentence for their inward bondage. What hurt most was their greatest need is healing, yet there is a possibility that healing will never come…so I pray.

My question to you is…Have you gotten to the root of your issue? Do you know why you do what you do? Is there something from your past that you are still holding onto? Are you holding onto something God told you to release, yet you will not let it go? Are you holding onto unforgiveness? Past pain? Mistakes? Issues with your parent(s)? Do you repeat negative behaviors?

Contrary to what the world believes or what we think, the only way to deal with negative roots in our lives is through prayer and the Word of God. The Word of God is what penetrates the heart and the heart and soul is where all of our issues lie. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Today I encourage and challenge you to expose the negative roots in your life to the Lord. He is the only person that can go deep enough to extract it out.

Prayer,
Father, I ask that you show me the areas of my heart and soul that are not rooted in deep pain. Help me to be healed and set free which is your will for me. Forgive me for the times you showed me those areas, but I refused to let you in those places of my heart. God, I repent, and I give you full access to my heart, mind, and emotions. You are a good God who has great plans for my life. Thank you for another chance to submit my life to you. In Jesus name I pray…Amen.

Blessings.

Scriptures
Hebrews 4:12
Jeremiah 29:11
Exodus 15:26

 

A Letter to my Dad…A Letter to My Father (very long post)

Hello all!

I pray you are well, and you enjoyed your weekend. Today’s blog post is a bit different from ones I have written previously. I wrote this in June, read it over and saved it. But three weeks ago, I opened it and felt led to make it a blog post. I did not want to, but I felt strongly that I should. So here goes…

If you are reading this post, I want you to know that God loves you. He hears your cries for healing and deliverance in whatever area you need it.  God is always near to us, even when he is silent. God desires you to be healed and whole. But we must follow His plan to obtain healing.

…“If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I AM the LORD, who heals you.” – Exodus 15:26

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Dear Dad,

It is your daughter Darlene. It has been several years since we last spoke. I want to talk to you, but since I do not know where you are, I decided to write. The first time we spoke was over the phone; it was in 1998. I was eighteen, so nervous, but excited. I am sure you do not remember, but the first thing you said to me was “Don’t get pregnant.” After you said it, I did not want to continue our conversation because I was already pregnant. I thought you would not accept me, so I never told you. We continued the conversation for a couple more minutes and you told me I had brothers and sisters, but I was your oldest daughter. I was excited to learn I had other siblings. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet them and that was the last time we spoke…twenty years ago.

I am now thirty-nine and a few months ago, I discovered how much I missed you. I miss what you didn’t give me. My childhood was not a good one and I often wondered where you were. I wondered if you thought about me sometimes. Did you care about what I was experiencing? I was so insecure growing up. At age twelve, I experienced my first heartbreak by a boy. I wanted to know where you were. I had so many questions to ask. I wanted to know what was wrong with boys. I thought I wasn’t pretty because the girl he dumped me for was much lighter than I was.

When I saw a picture of you for the first time, I was angry. I was angry because I realized where I got my dark complexion from. Of all the things you could have given me, you gave me the one thing I hated the most.

When I was fifteen, I started seeing a twenty-three-year-old man. I am grateful for the wisdom God placed in me at an early age. I knew I needed to get out of that situation or it would turn into something worse, so I did. When I was sixteen, I was violated by one of my mother’s boyfriends and it was a secret I held until I told my husband at age thirty-five. Later that year, I began dating the father of my firstborn son. Deep down, I knew I should not be with him, but he was light-skinned with green eyes and it made me feel special that I could attract someone who looked that way. At eighteen, I became pregnant and I was depressed. My light-skinned boyfriend with green eyes dumped me and my life was ruined, or so I thought. I told my mother, but she could not offer me any advice. I was on my own. In those moments, I mourned you most.

I remember the day I saw you for the first time.  I was nervous and excited and if it were not for my mother and husband, I would have opted out altogether. It had been six years since we first spoke. I was about twenty-six and by then I was married for six months. You met my husband that day and I could tell you liked him and surprisingly, he liked you too. When I saw you, I could tell you still had your own issues to deal with. I knew there was no way you were ready to be what I wanted. I said hello, shook your hand, smiled, and quietly walked away as I forgave you in my heart. As I walked away, I knew that day would begin my journey to healing from so many things.

When I was young, my mother told me how sad she was that you left her to raise me alone. She did not know how to handle that pain, so she inflicted it on me…I forgave her years ago. Did you know my mom passed away five years ago…Probably not?

Dad, I wrote this letter, not to make you feel sad or regretful, but to let you know, I love you and I am okay. I forgave you a long time ago. I respect you because you gave me life and I am grateful for it. I have absolutely no ill will against you. I want you to see God’s grace in my life because it is the only thing that has kept me all these years. I serve a GREAT God. I am hopeful and prayerful that the Lord would allow us to connect so I can learn who you really are, and you can learn who I really am. And I would love it if you could meet your ALL your grandchildren. Whatever God’s will for our relationship, I want you to know I love you. You were the best Dad that you could be to me at that time.

I love you with the same love Christ has shown me.
Your daughter,
Darlene
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Dear Heavenly Father,

You knew me before you formed me in my mother’s womb. When my mother and father forsook me, you took me up according to your word. You have been my comforter and my friend. You were the One I called on when I was being abused. You were the one I called on when I had to sleep outside on my front porch because my mother had an outburst. You have always been there for me. But Father, I realized I never had a conversation with you about my biological father. And this year, I realized it is time. I am so glad you were there for me when he wasn’t. I do not know what I would have done if it were not for you.

You have been my everything when I had absolutely nothing. You were the one who dried my tears when all I could do was cry. You were with me while I grew up in a halfway house with my mother and others, who had their own issues. You protected me when demons tried to kill me at night. You were the first man to tell me I was beautiful and fearfully and wonderfully made. You were the first man to love me unconditionally and forgave me when I made mistakes.

You loved me so much, that you sent me a wonderful husband; something that I did not expect. You sent me a man who loved me through the pain I did not know I was still carrying. He held me when I cried for no reason. He prayed over me at night while I slept, although he thought I was asleep. You sent me someone who told me I was beautiful. Thank you for giving me a husband with patience beyond anything I have known. You sent me a husband that loved on me and walked with me through my process. Most importantly, you sent me a man who loves me like Christ loves the Church.

Although the process was long, you healed me from my pain. You helped me to forgive so many people who broke my heart, especially as a young child. God, you allowed me to be a mother and raise all my children with ALL the love I did not receive. You were the only example of love that I knew. And I learned you were the only example of love I needed.

Father, I love you so much. Thank you for this journey that I would not trade for anything. It made me strong, wise, loving and softened my heart towards others who have experienced similar pain.

There are not enough words to express my gratitude. Thank you for loving me….now and FOREVER

Your daughter,
Darlene

Scriptures
Mark 11:35 – And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins

Psalm 27:10 – Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me

Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Ephesians 5:25-26 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her; to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word

 

Marriage Lessons- Week 12

I am overjoyed. This is the final week of the Marriage Lessons. God is so good. I have been encouraged and uplifted as you have read, liked, commented, and followed my posts. I am grateful for every obstacle I faced in my marriage; whether it was my fault or just our journey. God has once again proven himself to be faithful. Today’s final lesson in the series is…

Lesson 12. NEVER GIVE UP

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR MARRIAGE. Sometimes this is easier said than done. When I look back over the most tumultuous circumstances my husband and I faced, I am grateful we trusted God and walked through it. Sure, I did not feel that way while experiencing it, but I am better for it and so is my marriage. Those trials made us stronger as individuals. Our faith was made stronger and our commitment to each other deepened. Your marriage is worth fighting for. Your children are worth fighting for. If no one else is on your side, God is! Ask him for help, ask him for guidance, and ask Him for grace to get you through…when you don’t want to.

The scripture I leave with you today is found in Romans 12:12 and it says, Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

My Marriage Lesson & Your Lesson
1. Never give up

Scripture:
Romans 12:12

Now, let’s recap on the eleven lessons discussed over the past twelve weeks….