Keeping the “Spark” Alive

So with Valentines day upon us, I thought it would be good to write a little about my own love story.

I haven’t written a lot about me and Tony (the love of my life:) probably because this blog is more about helping women with their food struggles than it is about marriages.

However, every February I tend to wander a bit onto the path of love…

I have been a lucky girl for sure. God knew I needed Tony. All of the things that I desire deeply in my own life: self-control, patience, and endurance just come so “natural” to him. I’m the high maintenance one in the relationship, so I got the better end of the deal, I’m sure:)

We will be married 20 years in 2012 – so almost 20 years of  good times and definitely bad ones as well. We moved across continents and raised four children together (well technically we’re still busy raising some of those young ones) And then recently we’ve been thrown into a total different ball game ( by the economy and God’s plan of course) when we started up a brand new business at home. Some days I have to hang on to my sanity for dear life – homeschooling, phones are ringing, emails are coming in, work needs to be done, orders need to be processed, laundry, dinner, quiet time, exercise…well basically just a normal day in the life of a working mom:)

During times like these romance sort of fades into the background, and it bothers me. So I do what any decent Christian woman would do – I whine, and then I cry, and then I pout, and then I threaten, and FINALLY I cry out to God… and what do you know… He always first start with my heart. A pinch of gratefulness, an ounce of respect for my man, and a heap of forgiveness.

When we’re done with phase one (aka working on Heleen) God will surprise me with a sudden burst of laughter between me and my guy, or some secret we get to share, some inspiration for a project we can do together, some book that comes our way, or some marriage seminar that I “stumble” upon. He’s even been known to draw us into in-dept marriage counseling at times … and ever so miraculously… the “spark” comes back.

How’s your marriage doing?

Listen girl, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH OUR GOD. He holds the universe in His hands. He created love between a man and a woman. We can not bring the “spark” back into our marriages by whining, crying, or threatening. Believe me, I’ve tried it all. We can not let our husbands be responsible for our happiness or our wholeness. We can also not expect our marriage to be exactly like our friends’ marriages, and definitely not like the fake marriages we see in movies or read about in books.

God may want to restore your heart first before he restores your marriage. Granted, He may need to restore your husband’s heart too, but why don’t you allow him to start with your heart. This quote of  Oswald Chambers sums it up perfectly ” No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by God first”

However, when we’ve allowed God to heal us and fill us with His love, we can also ask Him to restore and heal our marriages. He knows exactly what is needed to put the “spark” back in your marriage. It might be a good book, a good laugh, a marriage seminar,  OR it might be something you and I never thought of. Go ahead and ask Him…HE IS STILL IN THE BUSINESS OF HEALING BROKEN PEOPLE AND RESTORING BROKEN MARRIAGES!

Tony and I  – 19 Years ago on our wedding day

Not so young anymore (but still in love:)  – this picture was taken last Christmas

Here are some of the resources that helped us through the years:

Laugh your way to a better marriage by Mark Gungor (Book)
Laugh your way to a better marriage by Mark Gungor (DVD Series)
Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Check Focus on the Family‘s Website for a possible Love and Respect Seminar in your area.
His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley
Fireproof (DVD)
Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective by Martha Peace

There are obviously many more resources out there, and if you ask God to show you the possibilities are endless…

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Heleen

augh Your Way to a Better Marriage: Unlocking the Secrets to Life, Love, and Marriage

In Every Season…He is still God

My heart is broken for so many of my friends.
In the past weeks close friends of our family buried a daughter and grand daughter. Other dear friends lost their precious baby girl.

I am praying at the moment for people who live under horrible circumstances and others who are trying so hard to break free from years of bondage. In a neighboring town a young boy has disappeared from school, leaving the whole community in shock…

Life is hard and our seasons are not always joyful, on the contrary…

I wish I had wonderful words of wisdom but I don’t…

I only know this: In all of the seasons of our lives, HE IS STILL GOD.
ONLY the everlasting love of God can mend broken hearts and pick up shattered lives.

If your season is particularly painful, long, and difficult then I want to extend my prayers and this song to you…

Desert Song

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

VERSE 2:
This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

CHORUS:
I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

VERSE 3:
This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I’ll stand

BRIDGE:
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

VERSE 4:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve received I will sow

Brooke Fraser

Love is…

Love is patient, love is kind.


It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.


It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.


Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.


It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.


Love never fails.


But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.


And now these three remain:

faith,

hope

and love.


 

But the greatest of these is LOVE.


1 Corinthians 13: 4-13 (Today’s New International Version)


Does the above passage make you uncomfortable?
Does it strike you as something you will never be able to do?
I agree, it’s much like the passage in Proverbs 31, it sets a standard that is very hard to come by.
You might come away from this passage with a feeling of hopelessness.
Who can love like this?
We want to love like this, but honestly, even on a good day we might only get as far as being patient and kind.

Actually, the love described in this passage refers to AGAPE love.
We don’t have it, but we need it.
We can’t produce this kind of love, but God can give it to us.

Not only can He help you to love your husband, boyfriend, child, or friend in this way, but even the person who pushes your buttons, and yes, even your enemy.

It’s as simple as asking.
Maybe you will have to ask a few times and keep asking every time you find yourself head on with a certain person, behavior, or offense. But don’t let that keep you from asking.
Go ahead, next time you find yourself all out of love, ASK!
Maybe something like this:
“Lord, I have no love in my heart right now, but I realize how important love is to you. Please give me love in my heart for this person. Your love that overrules my own feelings and offenses”

How do you get a constant flow of this Agape love in your life?
Read John 15 again. According to this passage there is only one way that we can have fruit  (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) in our lives and that is to “abide in the Vine” or “have a close relationship with Jesus”
(my translation)

You have nothing to lose you know… when you love you always win!

Have a wonderful Valentines Day ladies!

There is someone who is in desperate need of your love you know…
It could be romantic love:) or it could be love of a very different kind…

Love,
Heleen

Kids and Worries

Face it, the two go together like fish and chips, or peanut butter and jelly (in America). If you have kids, you have had some worries.

I have heard it being said that we waste half of our lives worrying about things that never happen. This could easily be true for me, especially when it comes to my kids. Today I was pondering on this worry-pattern that I have going. I saw my 9 year old laying on the couch, reading a book. This warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face, because for the last 3 years, since I started teaching him to read, I have been worried: Will he ever be able to read fluently? Will he ever love reading? Will he ever read a whole book on his own?

This is not the first time I went through this. I have four kid, and for crying out loud, you think that I would have learned something by now. I remember distinctly being very worried about my eldest son when we moved to Oregon about five years ago: Would he forever be scarred by this move? Will he ever make close friends again? Is this going to ruin him? Well, of course he’s not ruined. In fact he has more friends than ever, loves God and is a thriving 19 year old.

I remember pushing the kids to get involved in music: What if they could have been famous musicians and I just didn’t push them enough? What if I ruined their future because I couldn’t afford music lessons? Well, lo and behold, my middle son just one day picked up the guitar and started teaching himself to play. He is now on a worship team and loves to play without any help or motivation from Mom.

 

So, I should stop, right. No such luck! I have a two year old and I am already worried that she will never get potty trained, never stay in the church nursery without crying about Mom, and never learn to count to ten without leaving out 4 and 8.

 

Oh well… fortunately God made mothers, so I know he gets us. However, he does remind me quite frequently to cast my cares on Him. And when my anxiety levels climb too high, he calls me into his presence so that I can make all my needs known to him through prayer, petition and thanksgiving. Then, of course, peace follows as I am reminded that they are after all God’s children first, and I can trust him to take good care of them. I am also reminded that prayer is the most powerful tool God has given me as a parent. Worry doesn’t accomplish anything, but bringing my precious kids to the throne of God has always made all the difference in the world…

My son’s offering

IMG_0443Today my 9 year old son did something that made me so happy.

I guess he was thinking about God for a few days, because he’s been asking questions about the rapture and he told me out of the blue that he really likes God. Now make no mistake, he has his moments, so little tokens like this makes me a very proud and happy mommy indeed.
He made a tiny basket and attached it to a helium balloon that we had floating around after a New Year’s Eve Party. He wrote a tiny note to God, wishing Him (God) Happy New Year and also told Him that he loved Him. I felt so privilege that he asked me to come and see the balloon float to heaven, and we ended up having a little church right there in our back yard. I couldn’t hold back the tears. I needed a touch from God, a special touch, and I got it. Right here, in the most unexpected way. While watching the balloon turn into a tiny speck, I imagined I could see the smile of God fill the heavens. I was so aware of His presence, His greatness and his love for me and my son in that moment.
Aren’t you grateful for times like this. It keeps us going, it gives us new hope, it strengthens our faith that waver so easily. I don’t want to seem greedy, but I found myself asking for more tokens of affection like that. In fact I’m sure I miss many of those, I don’t want to, I need to be reminded that God loves me and that He’s beauty is all around me.

Look for the little tokens of His love and beauty this year, it’s all around you too.