Tag Archives: unity

A Picture of Unity in Marriage

In the past week, God has given Brad and I two really cool pictures of the unity in our marriage.

A Common Mission

The first thing God showed us is that we are united by a common mission. Brad and I are convinced that a big part of glorifying God is by submitting to His mission to GO and make disciples. We are burdened every day by the lost around us.

One way we try to be a part of that mission is by loving our neighbors. It’s not always straight-forward how you can love someone on your street. But in this case, we have been building a relationship with a couple down the road who just had a baby (yahoo!).

I kept driving by their house last week and noticing the leaves in their front yard. They were just there, beckoning to be raked – in contrast to the houses on either side of them. I thought to myself, I bet that’s the last thing on their minds. It wouldn’t take very long to rake them up; I wonder if Brad would be on board with that.

I decided to bring it up with him that evening. Well, when Brad came home, we were chatting about the day, and he said (without any prompting from me), “I noticed that their leaves need raked.”

Wow.

I guess the Spirit really wanted us to rake those up! And I’m glad. When we did it, it blessed ME so much. The kids were awesome, too. Emma hung out in the stroller for about an hour (this is not usual). Samuel had a snack, played in the leaves, and blew bubbles. He was unusually low maintenance. God was really present in our work.

A Common Conviction

Also last week, Brad kept coming home talking about how God was moving him to look at our giving. Are we giving enough? How can we give more? What can we do without? How can we sacrifice? All great questions to ask yourself.

I hadn’t been asking myself the same questions, but God was also making me check my thoughts about “things.”

You see, I had a few “purge” piles of stuff I’ve been clearing out, getting ready for our neighborhood garage sale. We had planned last January to get a new stove this January when the sales hit, so we also had our old stove, the purge piles, a bookshelf, a trunk, baby stuff, etc. We talked about it and decided to give the lady who cleans our house once a month the stove; she had told us her mom can use anything for a home.

I decided, you know, out of the goodness of my heart, to also let her check out the purge piles, bookshelf, et al and see if she needed anything there. I expected her to find a few things they could use and leave the rest.

Well, she took every last scrap.

Let me clarify: she is not a greedy lady. She gives us a very good rate on cleaning our home, let’s us call the day before, plays with our kids. She’s a believer and sweet as can be.

I wasn’t upset at all  that she took everything, but it caught me off guard. I found myself thinking to myself that night, what was in those piles? Like I was worried or something. Hello! It was in the pile to be gone!! But once it was gone, I was all anxoius. Every time that question came up, I had to quiet it with the truth that God has provided for all of our needs and then some. I was thrilled that she could find a use and a home for every single thing – even if she is going to sell it herself or something – what a blessing!

It was a great reminder to truly hold what God has given me with an open hand and to always be looking for ways to give it away for the kingdom.

I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21, NIV)

What picture of unity have you seen lately?

Discipline is a Team Sport

When we started disciplining our son, it was as if someone just said, “Go! Discipline!” What I mean is, his behavior was disobedient all of a sudden. He was always exploratory and a risk-taker, but there was a sharp turn in him to willfulness.

Anybody else have this happen with your kids? 😉

Since he loves people and being the life of the party, time outs work awesome for Samuel. There do come times where just time outs are not working, but for the most part, being separated from what he wanted to be doing is quite a punishment for him. Even to the point of crying over it.

He wasn’t too old when we started doing time outs in a pack n play; he really hated it and would cry and flail his hands, as if to say “Take me out, please! Anything but this!”

Our hearts sort of broke for him, but at the same time we had to laugh. I remember one time when Grandma was here. Sammy got a time out, and she said, “I’m never going to give him a time out.” You have to understand – her heart is all grandma’d for Samuel. 🙂 We responded with, “OK, but that means he will never respect you.” (She has since given him time outs, by the way. But she’s still gracious like Grandmas should be!)

Now that he’s 2, there are times where he looks you in the eye, and his face tells you, “I’m doing this because you told me not to, and I want to be in charge.”

Surely, your child has never looked at you this way? 🙂

His time outs are no longer in a pack n play, and sometimes we have to take toys and privileges away, and there are wretched times where a rare spanking is in order.

And those are the worst for a mama’s heart! Even if I’m the one providing the punishment – I just want to melt on the floor and cry with him.

The real test always comes for me when Brad disciplines Samuel. Even if he’s just getting a simple time out, it’s like a *flinch* inside me wants to stop him: No! That’s my baby! He’s just hungry/tired/needing attention!

But I have to stop myself from making excuses for my son. I have to let my husband follow through with what he told Samuel.

Otherwise, Samuel will learn that daddy has no say-so, and mommy will always rescue me.

These are not the makings of a man – or a grown up if you have girls.

But we are not perfect parents. We will discipline incorrectly sometimes. Which means sometimes we need to admit our wrong to our children and ask for forgiveness from them.

Now, there are times where Brad and I have disagreed about punishment, but we have talked about our plans as a team quite extensively so that we’re on the same page. We know what punishment we plan to do for what kind of behavior, etc.

The most important thing here is that one of us is not undercutting the other. And to avoid that, we actually need to talk about discipline before we take action!

It’s also a good idea to evaluate your discipline methods:

  • Are you still on the same page?
  • Is something not working?
  • What else, particularly if you’re spanking A LOT, should you be trying instead?

Talking about discipline like this will unite you as a couple, which in turn shows your kiddos that you are a team, even during the hard stuff.

Have you had these conversations with your spouse? If not, will you plan on making time for it this week?