So, for those of you who are so faithful to following our blog, you have probably noticed that there hasn't been that much activity.  Well, there is a reason for that and it has taken me a while to put it into words.  Through this blog, the Lord has continually shown me that when I portray myself in the most honest way possible, usually someone will be able to relate to those feelings.  But, sometimes being honest isn't always easy.  Honesty can show the dirt and the grime of ourselves, and not the squeaky clean image that is so often displayed.  Usually, I try really hard to live my life full of sunshine and rainbows.  But, lately, there have been some clouds with rain looming over my soul.  It has been tough trying to figure this out, and not very easy to share.  I so easily revert back to my insecurity of wondering what others will think of me but I have to remind myself that this is an outlet to relate to others and to share the hardships of life just as much as the good times.  It is going through these tough times that makes me so much stronger.  So, here goes...... In this month's memory verse post, I mentioned that I have really felt called to pray.  Pray for peace, guidance, and assurance.  I have just needed some clarity this month.  I took a couple of days early this November to just rest my mind.  I didn't overwhelm myself with daily lists and responsibilities, I decided to just do what I wanted to do and the rest would get done in some form or fashion.  It was so nice to just breathe above water for a couple of days!  Also, I finally started something that I have wanted to do for the past year.  It is a goal of mine that I just needed to begin and I am so glad that I did.  It has been so much fun and I felt like God approved of me starting this task.   I felt His peace and encouragement with this new project so it helped me to feel confident in its' purpose.  Over time, I will go into more detail about this project, but this is as much as I need to share about it at this moment.  Besides starting this project, I also got back to my Jesus Calling devotional and daily Bible reading.  I had taken a break from that to read a book for our small group but now that it was finished I got back to my daily routine.  One thing that I learned is that I missed some quality time with God by choosing to just read the book.  It was so easy to say, "Well, I only have this much time to do quiet time so I will choose to do the book I have to read to teach small group."  What I should have done was continue my daily routine of reading my devotional/Bible and then add in the book at another time.  We are constantly multi-tasking throughout our days but it is so easy to just fit our "God time" into one small time frame of our day.  I should have read the book at lunch or before I went to bed, instead of knocking out my daily ritual.  On November 10th, my devotion from Jesus Calling was this:

Focus your entire being on My living Presence.  I am most assuredly with you, enveloping you in My Love and Peace.  While you relax in My Presence, I am molding your mind and cleansing your heart.  I am recreating you into the one I designed you to be.

As you move from stillness into the activities of your day, do not relinquish your attentiveness to Me.  If something troubles you, talk it over with Me.  If you get bored with what you are doing, fill the time with prayers and praise.  When someone irritates you, don't let your thoughts linger on that person's faults.  Gently nudge your mind back to Me.  Every moment is precious if you keep your focus on Me.  Any day can be a good day, because My Presence permeates all time.

This devotional struck home to me when I read it that day.  I felt myself thinking, "This is it.  This is what you have to do.  Focus yourself on God."  I think when I decided to try to do just that, Satan started throwing some spiritual warfare in my face.  He started to plant these seeds of doubt, fear, and intense jealousy into my heart.  Satan used every tactic that he could to fill my head with lies.  Our marriage was under attack and each night we would fight another battle.  This went on for days and so many tears were shed.  We hurt each other with our words and our actions.  Both sides became stubborn in our stance on who was right and was not letting the other one off the hook.  We both had valid points, but we weren't seeing each other clearly enough to come together with a compromise.

I hated disliking my husband.  He is my best friend and fellow teammate.  He's the one that builds me up and makes spaghetti and meatballs.  He's the guy that I promised to love for better or worse. After this pattern continued for a couple of days, we finally could not take fighting any longer.  We were both exhausted physically and emotionally.  We sat down and began to realize that we had not been 'focusing our entire being on God's living Presence.'  Both of us had allowed Satan to fill our heads with His lies. In  John 8:42-47 Jesus says, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here.  I have not come on my own; but he sent me.  Why is my language not clear to you?  Because you are unable to hear what I say.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!  Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?  If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me?  He who belongs to God hears what God says.  The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

Friends, Satan is a LIAR.  He wants to get God's children wrapped around his skinny little finger and manipulate our minds into believing what he says.  The devil preys on those of us that put our hope in the Lord.  When he gets us into his lair, we become his biggest prize.  He places us on the top shelf for all to see of his accomplishments.  He is proud that he won over a child of God.  If you don't get anything else out of this post, please get this: BELIEVE IN THE TRUTH SPOKEN BY JESUS CHRIST!  Jesus is our redeeming Savior and has never lived a life of sin.  We need to turn our hearts towards Him, and cast aside the devil's lies.  Jesus will never try to manipulate or deceive us and HE WILL NEVER LET US DOWN.  When it comes to marriage, we must keep Christ in the center.  Both man and wife must spend quality time with our Savior.  He is with us always, we just have to allow His Presence to fill our minds and our hearts.

At the end of our battle, we both realized that we HAVE to make Jesus our number one priority.  He comes before one another and our girls.  We both have to spend alone time with Christ to be able to fill up each other with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  When we have Christ inside us, our mouths aren't so quick to speak and our minds are filled with calm instead of irritability.  Christ IS love and He is what makes our marriage strong.  It is so easy to not spend quality time with Jesus but it is one of the biggest mistakes we can make.  'Any day can be a good day, because His Presence permeates all time' but we have to make a choice to ACCEPT His Presence.  Allowing His Presence in our lives is what it means to have a personal relationship with him.  It's not necessarily becoming street corner evangelistic, it is having Him in our minds and hearts throughout our days.  This takes discipline on our part, but with this comes much reward.

I think most people would agree that a marriage takes work.  There will be hard times but Christ can and will get us through those times if we allow ourselves to become humble servants to Him and to one another.  Every day we have to make a choice on how we want to live our days.  Our marriage is not near perfect, but Christ is perfection.  He will always live up to our expectations and will always love us no matter what.  When we choose to love each other through Christ, we are strengthening the bonds of our marriage each day to fight off Satan's lies.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen