How I Stopped Worrying about Marriage

Firstly, thank you so much everyone who has commented on my posts about cold feet and dreading my wedding. Your support has overwhelmed me and helped me more than I can say. Thank you!

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So, how am I feeling about my marriage now? Nervous, I am almost 2 months away (I am sure that’s normal!), but I am also feeling peaceful, because I saw where my problems where coming from. For my best effort at describing this I would ask you to read this post here (puppets) if you haven’t already, I’d let things in my life lie dormant in me, ready and waiting to take control of my emotions and sabotage my life.

My first piece of advice if you are worrying over something – go back and pray about things in your past. Don’t dwell or chew over things, but quickly and calmly give them over to God again, let Him cut the ties from your past. Leave them with Him there.

Stop thinking what you are thinking and think about what God says. Seriously, even if you don’t agree with what the bible is saying think about it anyway. Whether or not you understand God is always right. Here’s my example – “Rejoice in the Lord always” I find this hard, confusing and it feels a bit fake – but when I think about the verse and mull it over in my mind it seems to settle my emotions down – so even without agreement God is working through His word. Amazing!

When you know what God wants you to do don’t doubt it – just trust Him and move towards doing it. I took a lot of time to pray and think about if marriage was the right way for me to go at this time in my life and He said yes, strongly, clearly and peacefully. I then started re-evaluating my decisions and that’s where my problems came. Once God says something to you – don’t let the doubts play havoc with your mind!

So here I am calm, peaceful and excited about my marriage! Good bye cold feet 🙂

Anyway, the main point of this post is to say thank you to all of you who took the time to comment, contact me and pray for me. It has been amazing and helped me so much!

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Anyone else get the Wedding Jitters?

Ok, so I have 3 months and 2 days until my wedding day……. I have this massive mixed up knot in my stomach pretty much every time I think about it. My dreams are filling up with invites still not sent, the fact that we still don’t (and may not) have a place to live and pretty much anything wedding related that could go wrong.

When we got engaged I was Ecstatic! It felt so right, so peaceful, so calm. We had started organising early and everything was falling into place. 6 months, 3 hospital trips and dodgy lease paperwork later we are not in the same place. Things are HECTIC! More to the point I am hectic!

So my question to all you experienced bloggers out there is,

Is this normal???

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I guess the spiral of my thoughts goes like this… Oh no we haven’t sent out the invites yet… What if people don’t turn up?…. Wow money is tight since he hasn’t been working, what if we can’t afford any furniture/food/fees and we end up miserably married?……. Things are looking dodgy with our flat, what if we have to live with my parents for a while? That will put a strain on our relationship!….. We haven’t had any fun quality time throughout this illness, what if when we get married we stop connecting??? What if we aren’t right for each other? Should we even get married when things are so up in the air??? End rant.

Anyway, the sensible part of me knows this is probably normal, I love him, he loves me, we are VERY different but most of the time it works great. But there is the nagging, cold feet inducing worry that maybe we are getting this wrong.

This evening we are being sat down by our pastor to take a marriage test. I kid you not, a marriage test – we pass all is well, we fail and it’s no wedding for us, we can’t be married in our Church.

Scary.

There is no way we can revise, no way of cheating (not that I looked into that or anything…. cough), and in the uncertain words of our pastor we should “pass with flying colours – or I hope so at least”. Hmmm, that’s encouraging!

In the meantime, people, can you help me?!?

Is this Normal?

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When Breaking up is the Best Thing to do

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Today I found myself texting a friend saying that all good couples break up at some point! She had just got back together with her ex, who is a great guy and I am so happy for them!

It got me thinking about how breaking up with my fiancé was the best thing we ever did.

Firstly, don’t worry, we are obviously back together – hurrah! But we probably wouldn’t be planning our wedding in September if we hadn’t broken up. Let me tell you why…

We met when he came to my hometown to do a years internship as a youth worker. It wasn’t really love at first sight at all, we worked together at lots of youth groups, I found he brought out my fun side and taught me how to celebrate life, I introduced him to “deep conversations” and he found that sometimes, only sometimes mind, he enjoyed them. Soon enough we fell in love with no clue the other felt the same (although apparently everyone else did!).

The only problem was that he had signed up to do mission work in South Africa in a few months time, and had no plans to come back to my home town. I was devastated to be honest, and prayed and prayed and kept trying to stop feeling things for him.

Then, on a sunny barbecue and football filled day (England vs Germany in the World Cup…. Not a great match but you can’t have everything!) he told me he’d fallen a little bit in love with me, that he knew we’d be far away from each other but he’d rather miss me as a girlfriend than miss me for no reason at all. It was amazing!

We gave the long distance thing a try, and anyone who’s been there knows it. Is. Not. Fun. It’s horrible, sad and so hard to do.

We lasted out the year apart, barely scraping through. He became ill with a parasite and I had started wallowing in self pity over being stuck at home in a horrible situation. We fought and fought and I cried and he distanced himself.

It was not the kind of relationship that was pleasing God, each other or ourselves. There was only one thing to do and that was to break up.

I have to say it wasn’t my choice. I was heart broken, absolutely crushed and at the time I thought it was the worst thing to happen to me for a long time.

I was wrong, it turned out to be the best thing to happen, we had gotten things all wrong at the start and needed to refocus everything.

To find out how we worked things out you’ll have to read my next post because it’s just too much for one sitting!

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Is saying I Love God the Biggest Lie I tell?

Am I a fraud? This is the thought going through my head today. Am I lying to myself when I say I love Jesus? Do I really, truly understand the shallowness of my wishy-washy relationship with God?

Yes, I mostly go to Church, yes I try to pray everyday, and yes I try to thank God when I remember to. I say I live for Jesus, I’ve been baptised, I tick “Christian” on forms. Hey, I even get pictures from God! I even do mission and youth work, my heart beats faster when I think of Jesus, sometimes though not always.

How long would a human relationship last if I treated the person the same as I treat Jesus?

If I gave someone the part of the day when I’m THE MOST TIRED. When I skim read their texts or emails? When I only half listen to what they want me to do and don’t often make the effort to do it. If I never really, really, properly spoke to other people about them, if I went through my whole day without even thinking to tell them how I am? What if I never, ever asked them what was important to them. Do you think this relationship would survive?

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Today I’m reminded of theses words, and I wonder if I am dangerously close to being the kind of person who hears them back from the Lord…

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23

This is my prayer today, that God will shock me out of this domesticated rut that I am in, that he will give me the electrifying passion he inspires in people to live life with God as the main focus. I want to live seeing God as my main meal, my breakfast, lunch and tea and not just a snack to fit in when I fancy it.

Jesus, show me what it means to know you, I don’t want to lie to you with my actions any longer.

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Self Help is No Help at All

Self Help is no Help at All.

“Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” The Message Matthew 16:24-26

This sounds like an extreme statement – OF COURSE WE NEED TO HELP OURSELVES! How else will we will be able to help people like Jesus said? How else will we have energy for Church work if we don’t look after ourselves? True points but the focus is off.

Even when we work as a Christian all day, working for others, caring for people, we can still have the focus on ourselves. We decide when we will help and who and which hour-long church activity to help out with. Is this letting Jesus lead? It sounds pretty planned.

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I’m sure Jesus loves that we incorporate help into our routines, and it’s an essential part of holding a church or community together, but what about the unexpected interruptions when people need help. What about when the deep relationships we are making with people take more from us than we think wise to give?

That’s when self-help is no help at all; we need to show self-sacrifice – that’s what Jesus did and that’s what He asks for.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” The Message Matthew 5:7

Jesus tells us an upside down God’s kingdom rule that works in our lives as Christians. When we wear ourselves out by personally loving someone, when we show self-sacrifice and care for others; God will care for us and He will give back far more than we gave out to those we helped.

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When you Just Don’t Want to Love Someone

Ok, so telling people that you just don’t want to love someone anymore sounds like a dramatic thing to say. Maybe you’re imagining me as some kind of martyr who doesn’t want to keep loving an abusive lout, but that my heart is simply too pure and huge that I can’t stop myself. I assure you this is not the case…

I don’t want to love someone anymore because it’s just too much effort. It’s taking my free time, my energy and my happiness and I just don’t want to do it anymore. Harsh but unfortunately true.

This is what my feelings are telling me, I’m ashamed of them and they go against everything I want to be; but I can’t deny the fact that it’s taking every ounce of my effort keep being there when I want to emotionally checkout and cry for myself in self-pity.

When someone you love needs you desperately and requires that you face things that are still incredibly painful for you to do, when you’re “buttons” are pushed and you’re forced to deal with issues you just don’t feel ready to look at, this is when God’s love starts to worm its way through. Unconditional, independent from your own needs, and so very powerful.

God’s love has a law of its own. It’s a law that no human can follow, and it’s only through the grace of God, doing in us what we could never do for ourselves that we can even get close to it.

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“3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.” 1 Corinthians 13:3-7 The message

I don’t think there has been a single day of my life when I’ve done all those things listed above, and right now sometimes I don’t even want to! But I want to want to with all my heart. When I pray, God answers, and out of my nothingness, selfishness and pity, suddenly strength bursts out to love other people more than myself, when I just can’t do it on my own.

Like a slow trickle of water providing a thirsty man just enough drink to survive, I get given love to give away, piece by piece, trickle by trickle, day by day.

I would be bankrupt without His love.

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I’m Dreading my Wedding!

I’m dreading my wedding but I can’t wait to get married.

Now before you think I’m an ungrateful little so and so who doesn’t know how lucky she is please keep reading and you might just understand where I’m coming from. I really do know I am crazy lucky; every time I think about the life we are going to build together, the days after the wedding and ways I’m going to grow as a person I get butterflies, big, amazing, excitement butterflies and I can’t stop thanking God. My fiance is the best, plain and simple. I truly am grateful to God for the marriage, it’s really just the wedding I have a problem with.

I am dreading the faff, and the judgement, and the expense and the pantomime – but God has also been showing me I am wrong.

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My problem is/was (I’m still working on it) that I don’t want to have to spend a day parading myself around my family in a fancy dress with them pretending to be happy for me when at the times I really needed them they weren’t really there. It felt fake to me to have this massive celebration, when actually I wanted to shut them all out and start my new life completely separate from the pain of before.

In the midst of this 23 yr old temper tantrum God has been breathing a few well-timed words to show me how selfish and prideful and not pleasing to Him this attitude is. He’s been saying…

 Forgiveness, Restoration and Celebration.

I need to forgive my family, and not wanting to spend this special day with them shows I have some deep hidden places which still don’t sing to God’s tune. Yes, they let me down, yes, the world would understand me not wanting to share my good moments with them when they ran from the bad, but this is NOT what God would do. I’m praying now for God’s heart for them, that I can see and feel their failure but forgive them to the extent that I want to share all the good things in life with them, and also that I can appreciate the good they tried to do, and when I look I can see that in abundance.

I need grace, sheer ole grace!

God doesn’t want me to hide and run away from my past; he wants to restore me within my problems so that people can see fully the contrast of my life before and after Him. My wedding day will be a testimony to God’s transforming power!

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God loves to celebrate, it’s all through the old testament, and God wants to celebrate our wedding. Though the shy part of me wants to hide under a table, God wants to show his handiwork off in celebration.

I don’t see how I’ll enjoy this now, but God is God and I’m sure you will see a post soon after the wedding where I admit how right He was!

On a more difficult note, I still well up at the thought that my Dad may not able to walk me down the aisle. The chances are quite high, and I will have to be strong and stubborn and rejoice that although there is no one to walk beside me, God has never left me and He will be the one holding my arm and calling me beautiful. I don’t think I’ll actually ever be able to stop dreading this, but I’m still trusting God in it (and if you fancy saying a quick prayer for me I would so appreciate it). In this place God is breathing comfort.

So I have found that although I am still dreading this wedding in my feelings, God has shown me in my heart and head that it is a good thing, solely and completely through Him. I am so grateful for that, so next time you are dreading something I challenge you to ask God for his perspective, I bet He will teach you more than you ever thought possible!

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