Posted
November 21
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A TIME TO LOVE

“There is a time for everything…”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago…I was a mother of little ones.

John Mark—my wild one, incapable of sitting still, coming out of his skin with ideas and interests. He was born to challenge boundaries, encouraged to question, destined to a story of vision and conquest.

Next came Rebekah, overflowing with joy, loving people, born with an insatiable need to fix, to help. She inhaled books, studied anything and everything that interested her inquisitive mind, and met injustice with the ferocity of a warrior-woman.

A boy and a girl, both so high on the intensity scale, they filled this mama’s days with wonder… and weariness.

Then came Elizabeth. Soft and gentle. Slow and easy. Compliant. She turned all that familiar intensity inward, filling up with wisdom, dishing out prophet-like insight. An easy infant, an easy toddler, even an easy teenager— easy on everyone but herself.

We waited a while for Matthew, our delight-filled, drama-prone, willful one— who came out of the womb looking for a party and filled our home with his friends.

All I’d ever wanted was to be a mother, to surround myself with little people, to create a legacy. But somehow I thought I could do all that and still keep my house always tidy, my chore list crossed off, myself looking like a model, my marriage conflict free…

And I couldn’t.

Not even close.

And there’s a whole story I can’t tell right here, the one I’m working to tuck into a book for next fall— about my flailing struggle and miserable failure to measure up to my own impossible dreams of how life ought to be.

On this wind-swept No-Rush-November day, all I can say is this:

For every worn out mother who wonders what happened to her dreams, hold tight, hang on. There is time for everything. Between your time to be born and your time to die, you will have more than enough time to achieve, to make your mark, to create beauty, to excel.

But what you are doing now, in the midst of the messes and the piles and the impossibly long lists of things that must be done— this is your finest hour.

When you hold that infant to your breast… you are nourishing a human who will grow up knowing deep down that she matters, that he is loved, and not just by you, but by God Himself. When you hold those babies close, their hearts sinc to yours… and to His.

Because God says:

Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! Is 49v15 nlt

When you hold that little one’s hand because he is afraid, because he needs you, because holding onto your hand keeps him safe… you are giving him the deep down security that can only come to one who puts his whole trust in God.

Because God says:

See, I have written your name on My hand. Is. 49v16 nlt

When you do the hard work of discipline— again— and you think that’s all you are, just one big-mean-mama, you are planting within that child the ability to choose. To choose how to act, who to follow, what to do when life gets hard. You are giving him the gift of soul strength, of self-control. Of life.

Because God says:

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 10v11 niv

For just a few short years of your life, you are assigned to fill in for God. You guide with His hands, you speak His words, you guide every child-paced step towards the path that leads to life. You open the door to introduce your child to a Father who welcomes them in.

This, dear mothers who need to know, is…

The time to love:

To embrace sweaty boys while they still hug long and close.

To plant seeds of future dreams by imagining with them what could be.

To laugh over silly jokes with no punch line.

To dance to tunes about building snowmans and being free.

To read stories and give piggyback rides and fix lunch and rummage in the messy closet for socks that match.

This, my dear mothers, is the time to find beauty in the faces right in front of you.

Right now, during these fleeting days of No Rush November, will you redefine your definition of perfection?

Will you choose to live at peace with the imperfection of your body, your abilities, your to-do list?

Will you decide to see that achieving is not the same as doing?

That, indeed you are— in these sometimes disorderly, discouraging, disheartening years— achieving more than you could possibly hope to achieve in all the rest of the days of your life?

May He give you eyes to see.

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. if your answer is YES! will you write it in the comments?

 

(Image by Abi Porter)

Posted
November 17
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THE FRONT DOOR #2

How To Lead A Woman Well

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, and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Ephesians 5v25-27

Dear Matt,

On the day you took Simona as your wife you made a whole string of promises. You covenanted before God and a whole crowd of friends and family to hold her close, to love her faithfully, to care for her no matter what.

You promised to love skillfully and persistently— purposefully— for a lifetime.

And then, because you hold the teaching of Scripture to be true and relevant, you promised to take the lead in your relationship.

Not to dominate her— but to take the initiative, to grab her hand in yours and chase after God’s assigned tasks[1] together.

To lead a woman well is an art form that takes skill, patience, practice, humility, and clear thinking. And respect, lots and lots of genuine, bone deep respect for who she is and what she wants and how God designed her.

Take a peek at Psalm 139 if you want to begin to grasp how intricately He wove together this woman who is now your wife. Let the words sink deep. Let God’s value of her marinate your heart.

And see this: Simona is different than you. Vastly different. When God saw that it was not good for man to be alone, He was not just talking about sex!

He also meant that she- woman- Simona- would fill up places in you that need filling. That she would help, come along side, make up for your lack.

You need to understand that her differences are not a threat to your vision of what you will do with your life. On the contrary, those differences are exactly what God intends to use to hone and craft your future. He will use her differences to make you more usable and more useful— together.

And so, my son, here are some things you need to know about those differences:

1.  You have different gifts.

You know this. Of course you do. But what I see as a harmful tendency too many ascribe to, is thinking that your “better half” should have all her gifts PLUS all of your own strengths. As if your gifts are the bottom line of normal and hers are the extra that you admire.

It doesn’t work that way.

Her gifts may very well inconvenience you at times. Just as your gifts may create some uncomfortable moments for her.

Learning to live with and step aside for each other’s different giftings is a beautiful way to honor the God who gifts every one of us.  

2.  You hold different values.

I love order. To walk into our room and see everything in place: the bedspread even, pillows puffed just so, closet door closed, pictures lined up straight… bliss.

When we were first married, Dad loved that I brought order from the chaos that had plagued his life as a single man. But within just a few weeks he made a shocking discovery: sometimes my value of orderliness means doing what doesn’t make sense to him.

Like making the bed when in just a few hours we’ll be back in it. Why bother?

Suddenly, my offering of order began to seem more like a compulsion that made more work for him.

And me? I fell in love with his big, warm, loud embrasure of life. Except when it sometimes collides with my desire for order. Or quiet. Or more people than my introverted nature can handle with grace. What then?

We’re still figuring it out. But now we know this: Your different values, combined and interwoven, will create your own unique way of doing life. Not like yours. Not like hers. Like yours together.

Learning to live with and honor each other’s different values creates a whole new and fresh way of doing life better.

3.  You go at a different pace.

Some people are sprinters. They run fast and hard, then collapse, all out of breath.

Others are joggers. They just keep going, one foot in front of the other, at a reasonable pace.

Some are hurdlers. They face obstacles and figure out how high to jump, finding exhilaration in the conquering.

Others are good at hills. The challenge of pushing hard as long as it takes, the glory of reaching the top, that’s what stokes their fire.

Here is the key in marriage: allow each other to go at the pace that works best, rather than forcing each other to go at the same pace.

This takes team-work. And understanding. And graciousness.

Learning to accommodate and honor each other’s different paces creates a satisfying run for both of you.

As a leader, Matt, you would be wise to take into account all three. To ask yourselves some questions and to be patient while you figure it out.

Questions like…

  • Am I stewarding my wife’s giftings even when doing so means stepping aside sometimes?
  • Am I willingly honoring her values in order to create a life in which we both thrive?
  • Am I learning her pace and explaining my own so that we are both running well and free?

Your dad does these things with me, Matt. It’s not the way we were taught, but it is the way we have learned… albeit slowly and sometimes painfully.

And because he has chosen to steward my gifts, and honor my values, and let me go at my own pace, I am, at this point in my life, thriving like never before. His love has created a safe place for us both.

I hope and pray and know that you will do the same for Simona.

From my heart,

Mom

P.S. Is the man in your life understanding his privilege to steward your gifts as well as his own? What does that look like in real life?

 


[1] Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

(Image by Hillary Kupish)

Posted
November 13
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RESTABITFORTISARAREPLACETORESTAT

We spent our honeymoon holed up in a cozy inn on the edge of the sea. Every day we walked the winding road that led higher into the hills, rambling past the stone house we dreamed of owning someday, along the stream framed by lush ferns, to a bend in the road where we could overlook the whole world.

And there we stood, breathing in the greatness.

Then we’d ramble back, filled full from that sight of something bigger than ourselves. As we walked, we talked and listened and discovered and dreamed— about the future, about what might be, about what we might do and where we might go.

In that suspended part of our lives we didn’t stress or strive or write lists or assign tasks. We just walked… and hoped.

And as we tarried in that two week time between the rush of the wedding and the press of what our lives would soon be, we puzzled over a sign tucked into the flowers on the fence:

Restabitfortisarareplacetorestat

The owners of the inn wouldn’t tell us what it meant, just laughed when we asked and told us we’d figure it out. They seemed so sure.

And so we’d cock our heads and sound it out and shrug our shoulders in that way of two lovers on their way to more loving. Probably Latin… or Gaelic… or just a pretty piece of nonsense put together to add a bit of quaint.

Until the day we saw, with opened eyes, that by adding spaces and maybe a comma or two, the mystery was made clear:

Rest a bit, for tis a rare place to rest at.

That refuge overlooking crashing waves and sparkling ocean was indeed a rare place to rest at. A place to love and discover and receive… and now a place to remember— how to rest.

Because real rest is rare.

And being a woman at rest is rarer still.

And I’m asking myself… and asking my Father, how to be this woman at rest. And here is what I’m hearing…

That rest— soul deep rest— is found only in God.

Not in a pretty place, not in an expensive vacation, not even in having all my hopes and dreams realized… but just in Him. Because He is the only safe place. He is the always-faithful One. Only in Him am I really, truly happy and at rest.

But how do I find that place? How do I reach that spot where I can see the whole world at my feet and open my arms to full, unhindered joy?

Here, my dear girls, is the beginning of a list. And I’m hoping you’ll add to it so that we can learn and grow to be women marked by restfulness. But for now—

Four Ways Into Rest

1.  Rest yourself in God

The most rest-filled moment in any day is that set aside time when it’s just me and God. My Bible is open, I’ve a notebook just in case, maybe a book filled with wisdom and insight… and I’m alone with Him.

This is where worry turns to waiting. This is where all that troubles me is laid at His feet. This is where I am at rest.

2.  Set aside a place to rest

While I was writing these words, my sistas were texting messages to each other early in the morning. I think it was Jules who sent the first picture. It was her spot in the window where she waits to hear God, with her Bible wide open and her heart surrendered. Then each of us started texting pictures of the place we find that rest from all that harries us.

Because place is important. Whether it’s a favorite chair or a corner by the window, fill your place with beauty. Make it a place where your soul responds to God.

 3.  Find people who bring you back to rest

In an old book, written to a woman whose life was filled with the unrest that comes from living among people who were conflict driven and unkind, I read these words:

“Do not hesitate to solace yourself with the society of some congenial, pious friends.”

My “congenial, pious” friends bring me back again and again to that place of soul rest. They remind me of what I know and need to hear over and over. And they do it in a way that is congenial. Those are friendships worth cultivating.

 4.  Ramble in a restful place

Getting outside into the place God fills with His created beauty is the surest way to rest that I know. Breathing deeply, opening my eyes to beauty, feeling the rain on my face or the sun on my back, while I ramble in the woods by my house… I hear Him there. To go a day or a week or any length of time without getting outside to purposely pursue His created world makes my soul stressed and leaves my thinking kinked into uselessness.

We need the garden He placed us in.

In a few weeks Phil and I will be returning to that little inn on the edge of the sea where we started our story.  We’ll rest there, and remember. We’ll amble along the road above and pass the stone cottage, the hidden stream, the oaks hung with moss, and we’ll come to that place where all the world lies under our feet.

We’ll breath deep and dream…

From a heart still learning to rest a bit,

Diane

P.S. Okay, can you add to my list? How do you find that place in your soul where rest fills you full of the Father? We learn from each other, “congenial friends”…

(image by Bethany Small)

Posted
November 10
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THE FRONT DOOR #1

Vision

“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD, trust in Him, and He will do it.”

Psalm 37:3-5 NASB

  

Dear Matt and Simona,

Welcome back! Your honeymoon is now a memory; an oasis to look back at in the midst of the daily crush of bills and schedules and errands and work and that seemingly fruitless fight to keep up.

And so today I want to talk to the two of you about the way into this life you are forging. About the front door and the welcome and the vision of what lies ahead. Because if you get this right, if you consciously wipe the mud off your shoes and purposefully choose to tread carefully, you will experience a welcoming transition into your new life together.

Today I want to talk to you both about vision. Because I have seen that the surest way to the oneness you both want is shared vision.

Vision is the thesis, the purpose statement, the framework for who you want to be and how you want to live.

And the best way for two people to walk as one with the least amount of chaffing is to both know where you are going.

But here’s the problem: you both want different things.

Of course you do! Just like every one else I know, just like your dad and I. Wanting different values to be the shaping factor of your vision for the future is normal.  And sometimes, when you each bring those different purposes to the front door trying to fit them in takes some thorough thinking.

You saw this in action while planning your wedding.

Simona, you envisioned elegance and intimacy, a time to relish those who are close to you. You saw your wedding as a suspended moment of beauty, of love expressed in hushed reverence.

Not Matt. He saw a party with every friend, every potential friend, every person who has ever brought delight into his life. He didn’t care so much about beauty or elegance or hush… he wanted fun and dancing— to shout at the top of his joy that he is in love!

And together, with a few tears, a bit of tension, and many long talks, the two of you found a balance of both.

Your wedding was beautiful, elegant, with hushed moments of sacred sweetness.

And your wedding was fun.

John Mark teased his little brother with a hilarity that brought an instant relief to the tension of so much intimate emotion spilling down your faces. We laughed and we cried and we danced in that hopping up and down joy Matt’s D.J. friends played for us.

Now, how to do that for the rest of your lives?

As usual, I have a list:

How Two People Form One Vision From The Dreams Of Both:

1.  Take time deliberately.

You are embarking on a quest to discover what God is envisioning for two people who are now tasked with the daunting process of becoming one.

You’ve been pursuing each other with marriage in mind and now that you’re married you need to keep pursuing each other but with a different end in mind:

Now you’re pursuing each other’s vision for the two of you.

 2.  Ask questions relentlessly.

The hardest part about knowing another’s heart is our self-centered tendency to assume we know more than we do— and the only way I know to learn about another is to ask questions.

Then ask again. Then ask to explain. Again.

Ask in order to discover. Ask in such a way that the other can answer honestly, without having to over-state or justify or defend what may seem silly or impossible.

And remember:

Neither of you want to play the role of cold-water-reality-evaluator of each other’s dreams.

3.  Dream fearlessly.

A dream, for a follower of Jesus, is simply that seedling of desire hidden deep inside, waiting to be cultivated into fruition.

Be slow to squelch those seedlings. Instead, listen, give hope, offer courage and help.

And don’t be too quick to filter one another’s dreams through the lens of your own plans.

God has this delicious way of tantalizing us with just a bite of possibility… and then shaping it through the long wait.

 4.  Pray expectantly.

Dreams don’t just happen because we’ve talked about them.

Dreams become reality when the both of you, together, clasp hands and pray.

… when you trust and hope and work together faithfully.

… when your delight in God, together, becomes bigger than what you hope to do.

… when you open yourselves up to His shaping of your dreams and then get the thrill of partnering, together, with Him in the doing.

That is the way to live— as chasers after God, together!

5.  Listen closely.

Some of us have a hard time articulating our dreams and ideals for the life we hope to live. Strangely, it is often the talkative ones who can’t quite say what they mean. And then it is the quiet listeners who are given an uncanny gift for hearing what the other can’t quite say.

However it works for you, it is your honor to listen both to what the other is saying and what you perceive the other is meaning.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard a wife clearly state her husband’s mission while he’s looking blank about what to say.

She knows him better than he knows himself and she believes in him and his vision and so she uses her gift to put that vision into words for him.

I love that!

 6.  Write it down purposefully.

Even the prolific Apostle Paul didn’t see his vision clearly. You remember the story- he has a dream of a man gesturing him to come. Scholars call it The Macedonian Call. When he gets to the spot he was supposed to meet this man, he turns out to be a she— a woman by the name of Lydia.

In the male-dominated world Paul lived in, that had to mean disappointment. But he wrote out the whole story and because he did we get to see a pattern of the way God works.

By writing it down you will begin to see the pattern God uses to lead you throughout your lives together.

After 36 years of doing that, your dad and I are no longer surprised or caught unaware of God’s leading. We know the pattern.

7.  Wait patiently.

When we had a dream of starting a church we had to wait 7 years to see it happen. I had a dream of writing my story into a book over 20 years ago and I’m just now finishing it up.

Most dreams take a long time to percolate, to be refined and revised and prepared for and achieved.

That’s normal. It’s the way things work in the kingdom of God’s eternal way. He’s just not in the hurry the rest of us are.

Can I just tell you how much fun it is for me to sit on the sidelines, watching the two of you become one?

Simo, I dreamed of a woman like you for my boy. A woman who would let him be who he is while helping him to be so much more.

Matt, I dreamed of the day when you would launch out with a wife at your side to make your unique mark on the world— together.

From a heart bursting with joy for the adventure I know is ahead for you,

Mom

P.S. Stories anyone? Have you been helped in your vision? Either to articulate it more clearly or to actually go for it? Has your husband or wife taken up your dream and helped? I love this stuff.

(image by Hillary Kupish)

 

Posted
November 6
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A TIME AND A WAY

(source)

Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right.

Ecclesiastes 8v5

All week I have been delighting in the rally cry of women wanting what I want— to catch our breath and choose to “to slow down, to do life better… to intentionally take more time to engage.”

And all week I have been hearing about how you’re doing it, this challenge to “refuse to rush through our days leaving our people neglected and our souls depleted.”

And I’ve been taking notes, learning from women who, like me, find themselves rushing relentlessly through their days yet looking back and wondering what in the world we’ve done with those 16 hours of wakefulness.

Then this morning, as I walked along the gravel path that leads to my cabin in the woods behind Firwood Cottage, I had that uncanny sense that God was about to teach me things. Things about doing life well and wisely, about living a no rush life— on purpose.

And He did. 

Because, girls, God speaks. In fact, I have come to see that He delights in speaking into the dailiness of our lives. As if building nations and stopping epidemics and saving people is not enough… He actually waits to be invited to sit next to us as we plan our days.

He says just that in Psalm 37v 23:

“The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD.

He delights in every details of their lives.”

And when I do, when I invite Him in and  “commit everything I do to the LORD, trusting Him” (v 5), He actually gets involved in those details of my life and starts directing my day.

Can you believe that?!

The crazy thing is how often I don’t bother. I don’t bother Him and I don’t bother me long enough to scoot over while I’m making my lists and ask Him what I’m actually supposed to do. Today.

I remember when Matt was just a little boy of about four. John Mark would have been 16 and rarely home, Bekah about 14, and busy with her horse, Elizabeth 11, and living every spare moment at the barn with Bekah.

The first words out of Matt’s mouth every morning were, Where is everybody? Meaning, of course, John Mark, Bekah, Elizabeth, and Dad because those were the people that mattered most to Matt, the ones who held the happiness of his days. What he really wanted to know was not so much where they were but when they were coming home to play with him. Ah, the spoils of being the baby in a big family!

But then, every morning, Matt asked question # 2:

Mom, what’s the plan for today?

And I wonder if that isn’t how the Father wishes we would start our days.

Abba, what’s the plan for this day? 

I think that’s what Jesus did. I think Jesus woke up every morning and asked His father to plan His days, to direct His steps, to manage every moment of His life.

I suspect this may be why Jesus managed to pack everything that needed doing into a life that ended at the age of 33. And why He managed to say, “I have brought You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave me to do.” John 17v4

Everything You gave me to do…

What might that look like for us— women working hard to get it all done, stretched between the tension of tasks and relationships?

How do we do— everyday— those everythings the Father gives us to do?

How do we live a No Rush Life and still be able to utter those three words Jesus said on the Cross:

It is finished.

And about now you’re thinking I’ll have a list. Because I love lists. Because lists are cross-off-able. Because I live my days guided by my list.

Or you’re thinking I’ll offer you— free!— an app or a program or a sure-fire way to live efficiently and effortlessly for just $9.99 per month.

And I might have done that last week. Except that less than a week ago while I was writing the ideas for No Rush November, a woman I know wasn’t feeling well. Just tired and flu-ish and generally not great, she went to the doctor to see what he might prescribe to perk her up. Vitamins? Exercise? Hormones? Something she could take to feel better quickly so she could get on with the rush of real life with kids at home and a business to help run.

Only the doctor didn’t give her vitamins or tell her to move more. Instead, he  admitted her to the hospital with a diagnosis of acute leukemia.

While we do No Rush November, this mother, wife, business partner, home manager, list maker, will spend the next 30 days in the hospital being blasted with radiation.

Who plans for that?

No time to clean her house first. No chance to stock the freezer with meals for her family. Or get her hair cut or do that errand that didn’t get done, or let her clients know that she’ll be out for a while…

And I wonder. Does any of that matter to her now? The list sitting on her desk that won’t get done— does she care? Or is she so enmeshed in the fight to live to see her children grow up that she’s ceased to fret about all the stuff that keeps the rest of us rushing?

Her story is changing the way I look at today. Her fight to live is reminding me that I have no idea what next month will bring. And I’m not writing bucket lists, nor am I pulling out the bucket to wash my windows lest anyone notice how hard they are to see through… instead, I am doing what Jesus did and I invite you to do it too.

For every day of No Rush November, I will ask God to order my days.

I will pray what Moses prayed when he felt overwhelmed by a list too big to accomplish and a job too fraught with interruptions to get enough done:

“ So teach us to number our days

 that we might present to Thee

a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90v12

NASB

I will invite the Father to order every day and every week. Then I will ask Him, “what’s the plan?” as I pull out my calendar to look at next month… and next year.

And while I’m praying and planning, I will remember that The Plan is not all about me… but it is all about Him. And so I will pray along the lines of Jesus too:

“… not my will but Yours be done”. Luke 22v42

And that, am convinced, is the way to live an unrushed life.

From my heart,

Diane

P.S. I’ve read your words on Facebook, laughed with you on the @hespeaksinthesilence Instagram, signed deeply at your pictures on #norushnovember. Thank you for those, I am learning from you. Please keep it coming!  And fill up the comments too—we need to learn with each other.

When I asked the Lord what I can do for this woman I barely know, I heard Him again: pray. 

Pray every day. Pray when you wake up at night. Pray one your way to whatever it is you’re rushing off to. Just pray. 

And so I am. I hope you will too, though I’m not sure she’s appreciate her name being blasted all over the internet. You don’t need to know her name to know that she needs us to beseech the Father for healing.

 

 

Posted
November 3
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THE HONEYMOON #5

(source)

How To Start Your Story Well

part two

Dear Matt and Simona,

Last week I gave you a peek into the mistakes your dad and I made in our first year of marriage. Nothing fatal, not enough to make us give up, but hurtful mistakes none-the-less; errors in our way of doing our new life together that took a while for us to figure out.

I gave you two pieces of advice, things we wish we’d understood and implemented early on in our marriage. And today I have two more.

1.  Say no to others so that you can say yes to each other.

This is going to be as difficult for both of you as it was for us. Anyone who loves people and values relationship will struggle with sorting through and prioritizing… which in real English means being realistic and disappointing people whose favor you care about.

There is this pervasive message heralded in magazines and conversations and just about everywhere in our culture— that we should be doing more. Work faster, network smarter, connect frequently, know everything… and of course, Just Do It!

What happens in real life with all that over-doing is a weakening of relationships. You only have so much time to go around and so you end up parceling it out in tiny, unsatisfying tidbits.

Here is a better way: sit down together and create a matrix for how you will decide to use your time. I’ll be writing more about this later, but for now just start talking about it— patiently. Look for time wasters. Figure out what “fills your bucket” and what drains you— or who drains you.

Guard yourselves from those time-wasters and soul-drainers. Let your friends know that you cannot say yes without first checking with each other— that’s what married people do—without apology. It’s not confining, it’s fun!

You are now we.

2.  Be patient. With yourselves and with each other.

Resist the temptation to expect perfection—from each other or from yourselves—in all areas of your life:

  • Sexually: You’re learning. And there’s a lot to learn! Be patient with the process, enjoy the process! Keep reading, keep trying, keep talking, keep laughing.

(more on this later)

  • Time management: It’s a whole other world now of taking each other into consideration as you plan your days. Be patient with each other’s mistakes.
  • Conflict: Be persistent in talking to each other about why his not doing what he said he’d do… or how her not being available when you want her… is creating stress. Figure it out. Be nice. Try again.
  • Home: This is a whole other area neither of you have had to factor in before. Dorms and roommates are hardly preparation for making a home. Be patient, go easy on each other. Avoid bossiness or criticism and instead work together with a mutual goal of creating a space that is a refuge and delight for both of you.
  • Family: You are not the only ones making adjustments. Your families are trying to figure out how best to fold you into their changing dynamic. They may intrude on your space too much, or seem less than happy with you… give them the gift of patience as they struggle through to a satisfying new paradigm.

Talk to them! Be gentle, not rejecting. Let them know you’re both trying to figure it out, that you value them, that you need more time together to forge this new family into something satisfying and right.

(more on this later)

  • Emotions: Change of any kind wrecks havoc with moods, feelings, reactions, energy. That’s normal, plan for it. What you want is to learn to recognize that the tension you may be experiencing is not the other’s fault. It is just part of life— the underside of change. And you want to allow each other the luxury of not being “up” and “on” all the time.

Her moodiness does not mean you have failed to make her happy. His crankiness isn’t your fault.

Learning to stay emotionally connected and yet mood-independent takes time… and patience. 

  • Communication: This is a challenging one. There is the whole male/female language barrier, as well as completely different family approaches to solving conflict. Add two different personalities, throw in various but not always the same values, and you’ve got some learning to do. Be patient! This one is going to take a lifetime.

You’re going to blow it. You’ll need to apologize—a lot! That doesn’t mean your relationship is fatally flawed, just that it takes a tremendous amount of time to learn to talk and listen and ask questions and respond well. Give each other a lot of grace in this area. Give each other room to grow, room to grow up.

(lots more on this one later!)

A lot to think about, I know. But do the thinking now while life is fresh and your story just started. So much better than looking back with regret at your own blunderings!

I love you both!

From my heart,

Mom

P.S. For those who are reading: Have a good story about any of these areas? Or some practical advice? We’re listening!

And join us on Instagram @hespeaksinthesilence for our #norushnovember challenge as we take some time to slow down and enjoy the little moments this month! 

Posted
October 31
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glimpses- ag

NO RUSH NOVEMBER

(source)

Yesterday, I fell apart.

After a whirlwind week… at the end of a whirlwind month… following a whirlwind season, I just caved in.

I couldn’t make decisions, form complete sentences, or remember where I put my phone. Or my sunglasses. Or the boarding pass that would get me on the plane to take me home.

And I know that real life gets busy, that even Jesus worked to the point of exhaustion at times. He was harried by crowds who wanted too much, pushed by men trying to control the uncontrollable. He, too, got tired.

Yet I see a pattern in my own life that cannot be healthy—does not feel like His way:

First, I work way too hard, too fast, too much. My shoulders tense, the clock ticks. I work harder. I wake in the mornings to the press of hurry. I can do it. I will.

And if I’m honest, sometimes I crave the addictive rush of planning and crossing off and getting all that doing done.

But it’s not sustainable. Before I should, before my list is marked all through, I drop. Like a pricked balloon I leak. And then, like every woman I know, I look for someone to blame. I resent the unseen enemy who made me work too hard.

Poor me.

Then, zombie like, I rest by doing nothing. I withdraw into myself. I sleep too long, do too little, hide too deep. All the while feeling guilty and slovenly and shamed.

Even my rest seems too… much.

Yet as I read through the bios of Jesus, those stories recorded by always busy Matthew, and excessively dramatic Mark, precise Dr. Luke, and friend-of-God-John, I cannot help but see that He did life different than I do. There was a steadiness to his rhythm, a calm amidst the chaos.

He didn’t rush.

And so, I propose that we follow in His footsteps.

I propose that for the month of November we refuse to rush through our days leaving our people neglected, our space demolished, and our souls depleted.

I propose that we institute No Rush Novembers into the rhythm of our lives.

And maybe we is just me, but I dare to think that I am not alone in this need to slow down, to do life better… to intentionally take more time to engage.

And so, this morning I have been talking to the Father and asking how to be a woman who embraces life at a pace that allows me to live and love and work and accomplish… from a place of rush-less rest.

Instead of a list of what I will not do, I’ve found a strange urging to make room in my life for doing more… living better, steadier, more bravely.

Here is my list for me, things I am going to do this month on purpose:

I AM GOING TO… walk in the rain.

Living here in the Northwest, it rains a lot. As in nearly every day. Which means that to go outside at all is to get wet.

Most days a mist falls, a gentle leaking from porous skies. But some days the clouds battle unseen forces, lashing rain on the world, throwing branches to the ground in a fierce show of fury.

Those are the days I stay inside, safe, protected— and limited.

Not this month. During No Rush November I am going to walk in that rain and let it soak into my skin, and with it, this truth: that He is Living Water, Master of Storms, Soother of Seas. That to hide is to limit His use of me.

I AM GOING TO… build a fire in the fireplace.

Even though it’s messy. Even though I don’t need to. Even when I don’t have time to clean it up or pick up pieces of pine needles and bark that follow sodden footsteps from the wood pile to the inside.

Because I do have time. Not for perfection, but for rest, for warmth. And I am going to take time to draw near to the fire of a love that is all-consuming.

I AM GOING TO… make a big pot of chili and let it simmer all day.

Hot and red, spicy and rich, I am going to breathe in the scent of home. And then I am going to fill every bowl for friends and family, and a few more besides. To celebrate our not-aloneness. To relish those relationships that chase the chill of loneliness away. To open my arms and my kitchen to souls who hunger with the want of a shared bowl of goodness.

I AM GOING TO… clean out the garage.

You’re laughing now, but hear me out. That garage has been bothering me and shaming me and confusing me and making me feel like life is too busy to live well. Every time I open that door I see chaos. I feel the defeat of disorder.

My messy garage has become symbolic of a life hassled by hurry.

In no great rush I am going to finish sorting through the excess. I will keep only what I use, what I need, giving away the dishes I haven’t used in forever to someone who will.

I will lean into the whisper I heard months ago— to SIMPLIFY FOR THE NEXT SEASON. To actively choose to live with less so that I am useable, available, free.

For this one month I will recalibrate. I will re-think and re-order and remember. I will rest. I will create. I will make room in my life for surprises.

Will you join me?

From my heart,

Diane

Show us how you’re engaging in Now Rush November by taking a picture and posting on Instagram.

Use the hashtag #norushnovember so we can all join in the fun.

And check out our new Instagram account, @hespeaksinthesilence for more ideas on how to live at rest in the midst of real life.

I’d love to read your own ideas in the comments. Let’s keep this conversation going all month!