Rise Again

The month of February is drawing to a close. Although it is the shortest of all months, it oftentimes feels like one of the longest here in the Upper Midwest – it seems inevitable that this is the month when the snow begins to take on a dirty, ominous quality and even a balmy temperature of 32 degrees can feel cold. We’re tired of winter. We’re tired of waiting for spring. We’re tired of shielding ourselves from the elements each time we venture outdoors and we’re tired of feeling cooped up inside our homes, not able to enjoy the full potential of our outside world.

In my first post this month (“A Suitable Helper”), I told all of you wonderful Holy Hen House readers that I was going to be challenging myself to focus on relationships in this month’s posts -- namely, those we share with our significant others. A challenge indeed! Each week, I struggled with choosing a topic that was “safe” enough: personal, yet not too revealing. I wondered: Who would my audience be? Would my husband read it? Would my mom read it? What about other friends (or even mentors, gasp!) who respect me? What if I showed too much weakness or need for personal growth in such an important area of my life?

But now that these four weeks have come and are almost gone, I can honestly say, I am better for the challenge. Did I shy away from a few possible topics because they simply seemed too expose too much of myself? Sure. After all, we’ve only been at this blog for a couple of months – we’ll see how comfortable I feel next February! However, the topics I did choose (striving to be a more suitable helper, remembering how important the little things are, and allowing another to help) definitely encouraged me to look at my own marriage from a new perspective.

So after this month, that means I (and all of you) have it completely figured out, right? Perfect marriage or relationship? Check! We’ve got this part of life licked – on to the next topic, please!

Wait. Wait. Wait. Not so fast.

I doubt you truly feel this way. And I’d be lying if I said that a few blog posts written from the heart had permanently changed my attitude and made me a new person either.

But it’s a step in the right direction. And sometimes, that’s all we can ask for.

 Heart_in_Hand

As one of our attempts at continuing to grow closer as a couple, my husband and I have tried numerous devotionals – some made specifically for couples, others not. I have to admit, I don’t think we’ve made it completely through one of the books – but we’re trying. We recently began reading the “Love & Respect” devotional. In it, the author speaks about different “cycles” in which a couple can get stuck. My husband and I found ourselves nodding in agreement as we read his written descriptions of these “cycles”. But what I truly found refreshing was when he explained that, unfortunately, as a result of sin, we will never truly be rid of these cycles during this life on earth. No matter how hard we try to break the negative cycles and stay on that of the equal “love and respect”, there will be times when we find ourselves back in the same old rut. The trick is not staying there.

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again. ~Proverbs 24:16a

Eggerichs, author of “Love & Respect”, cites the above passage in regards to this truth. He challenges the reader to place the word “spouse” after righteous to help remind us all that we will fail one another. But that we need to rise again.

It is my sincere hope and prayer that you have found some spot of encouragement in this month’s posts on our most sacred relationships. Perhaps you are blessed to feel as though you and your loved one have it “all figured out” – if so, that is absolutely wonderful and press on! Or maybe, you feel like you fail (or are failed) more than you succeed – and that’s okay, too. Regardless of which end of the "relationship spectrum" you fall on, I challenge you to find a way to make it better. Yes, you both will fall, but, with the help of God and each other, you will rise again. Refuse to be content with just “making it work” and strive for the fullness that God intended for both of you.

If you find yourself in a rut, stuck in a “February” of your own relationship, allow yourself to be renewed and inspired by your longing for spring – rid your heart of the dirty piles of resentment and pride. Open yourself up to the possibility that changing one small part of your daily interactions might just begin to open up a whole new world of possibilities, communication, and understanding. If there’s anything this journey from single woman to wife to mother has taught me, it is that life's constant changes cause changes within our hearts simultaneously. These inevitable changes create the need for constant renewal and change within our relationships, too – no matter how strong you may feel. This world is full of distractions and the devil works at us from every angle to weaken the bonds which God has blessed us with. Fight for it and don't let the devil take a foothold.

Pick up a devotional you can do by yourself or together. Attend a marriage seminar or conference. Seek advice of those in godly marriages you admire. Most importantly, pray. Pray that the Lord grants you patience, thaws your heart, renews your strength, and daily reminds you of the importance of your unity.

Whatever you do, act out of true godly love, inspired by Him who first loved us. With that as your motivation, you absolutely cannot fail.

MelSignature

Cheers to New Beginnings!

Cheers! Grab a cup, glass, mug - or what have you - and raise it. The moment we have been waiting for is here! What I'm referring to is not the count down to 2013, that the decorations are put away, or that the kids go back to school soon. For us ladies at Holy Hen House we are celebrating the opening of our collaborative blog. We hope to inspire each other to embrace the unique roles God has given us women. We will encourage not with empty talk or gossip but with Christian friendship, discernment from God’s Word, and if need be, tough love to steer each other back to God’s will. We will encourage one another with chatter that matters.

You see, the vision of Holy Hen House began last June. We naively thought - "All right! Give us two months and we'll have this up and running!" Well, being friends is one thing and collaborating with friends to design and feature a blog is another. The statement 'too many hens in the hen house' wasn't far from ourselves.

We decided on the name, changed it, changed it back, made several moves, planned Google hangouts, received anonymous gifts, lifted up prayers, one of us had a baby, changed designers, and celebrated the holidays. whew! Finally, Holy Hen House is ready - and later than we expected by half a year! Often occasions that happen not as planned are the ones that can be the most fulfilling and turn out better than originally intended. This is one of those times.

Let me just take a moment and say how privileged we were to work with designer and illustrator Joy Laforme. You can find her busy at work here. Joy's name suits her and her grace and talent were exactly what we were praying for.

Last summer we were crammed in my apartment with drinks and creative ideas trying to brainstorm our blog. This memory makes me smile. None of us knew how we would get here or if we would at all! However, we shared the trust that what we were doing would glorify our Lord and that he would guide us.

Did moments get difficult? Absolutely! Can doubt keep you up at night? Yep. Faith is what sees us through. We trust that when our plans don't succeed God's will is better. In fact, God's will is perfect.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that."

James 4:13-15

As this year begins I am reminded that every day is a moment of grace. Here at Holy Hen House we will share women who inspire us as mentors, devotions from God's Word, creative projects, delicious and healthy (sometimes junky) recipes, anecdotes that will make you laugh or at least smirk, and ultimately ourselves - daughters of Christ - humbly equal and holy in Christ alone.

So join us, grab a cup of coffee, and draw inspiration from our adventures in loving our families and thriving (or not!) in the home.

SHARE! What is one moment in your life that did not happen as planned but God turned out for the best?

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