3 Simple Things to Pray Over Sex in Your Marriage and Why

new blog picI am super excited about this post. I have long admired Sheila Gregoire and her site To Love Honor and Vacuum. I think the issue of sex and intimacy in Christian marriage is not talked about enough, but Sheila has been changing that for 9 years. I had the privilege of writing and sharing 3 things that I pray over sex in my marriage and she has published it today her on her blog.

Here is a sneak peak at it and you can click the link to read the rest:

For most who will be honest, if you have a rocky marriage, sex is the last thing on your mind. Therefore, whether your marital problems started with sex or not, it becomes a big issue or rather the “not having it” becomes the issue adding to marital turmoil.

In my past, I was mistreated and told that a true woman pleases her man sexually no matter how depraved his request may be. There have also been times when I was that woman that used sex as punishment or reward. I’ve also been through the deep pain of divorce. I am happily remarried now. I want to learn from my past and not make the same mistakes. I want to change unhealthy attitudes I have had about intimacy. I also have a very strong belief in the absolute power of prayer. I thought I would share three simple things that I pray over sex in my marriage.

To find out the 3 things I pray over sex in my marriage and why, visit 3 Key Things to Pray Over Your Sex Life.

 

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How a Coke Revealed to Me What Was Important in my Marriage

Scarcely had I left them when I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go. ~Song of Solomon 3:4a

My husband and I just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. I found a clean white envelope on the kitchen counter simply addressed to my angel. Later, as I placed the sweet card on my desk that he had given me, I noticed a Coke can sitting there. I remembered the day he gave that to me as well.

It had been one of those days. I had come home from work unusually stressed and tired. Trying to scramble to get dinner ready while snapping at my husband who was trying to help me, as he often did. As I was getting the plates and silverware, he gingerly came up to me holding a can of soda. I looked up and it was one of the new “share a Coke” cans and on the side it had the word Soulmate. Eagerly he said, “I want to share this with you over dinner.” Immediately I felt all the tension of the day leave my spirit. Isn’t it amazing how one act, one word can change everything?
Later, my heart felt heavy with guilt as I lovingly rinsed out that soda can and placed it among my special treasures on my desk. How often does my husband get the back seat in our life or after our children for that matter? How often does he get my leftovers? I would never treat others, such as my boss with such disrespect. I know the answer is because at home, I am most comfortable. I feel safe among my precious loved ones enough to let my guard down. But does that make it more excusable?

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Scarcely had I left them when I found him whom my soul loves; i held on to him and would not let him go. ~Song of Solomon 3:4a

It has been a long and difficult journey thru heartbreak and divorce to finding my way to my husband and the same for him. Our dynamic is different because we each have children that we must prioritize. We may not have the luxury for just the two of us to go off on an exotic getaway. The children’s medical bills, braces, college and family vacations come first. However, I can show him he means so much to me, not in the elaborate but in the every day. I can give him my best, my encouragement and support. Set aside a small part of my day just for him.

I want to be my husband’s true mate, a real partner in life and I was reminded of that by a soda can. I pray that I will always be continually reminded. Reminded that showing my husband everyday in some small way that he truly is the one that my soul loves.

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post and South Africa’s All4Women

 

What Huffington Post Left Out

Weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised when the editor of Huffington Post Divorce contacted me and asked if they could feature our family for their blended family Friday feature story. I had recently had two pieces published on the Huff Post blog, but this was truly an honor. It was a rare chance to share who we really are with so many. I know that it is not a Christian news outlet. However, I am who I am and in the interview I did not hide how much our faith has been the center of our family.

When the email finally landed in my inbox to let me know they were running our feature this past Friday, I could barely sit still for days. All morning on the big day, I kept checking the site, waiting for it to go live. When it did, mouth dry, I nervously clicked on the link. (You can read the feature here.)

As I began to read, confusion began to swirl and then disappointment settled in my spirit. Although it had several elements of what I had said, sadly, every part about our faith, the essence of who we really are as a family and how we deal with stress and difficulties was edited out completely. (Particularly question #5). Also in vowing to spread awareness, the things I shared about my son’s Chiari had been cut as well. But I want others to know us, see God in us, so I am posting my original interview.

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Our family journey has been filled with change, disappointments, victories, worry and joy. Our faith has been there through it all. Divorce and re-marriage is still an issue where we are looked down on and judged by some within the Christian community. I have a passion to reach out and spiritually encourage other moms like me who may feel judged or shamed so I started my blog www.familiesunbroken.com and it’s kind of evolved from there. As a writer, it only takes one moment, one thought, one written idea to change someone’s life. I don’t have all the answers but I share my heart and hope that it resonates with other families like ours.

1. How many family members do you have? Ages? 

My daughter is 17 years old, my son is 12 this month and Daniel’s son is 13 years old. And we have a furbaby named Brady that just turned 5 years old that is the most spoiled in the house.

2. How long have you and your spouse been together?
Daniel and I have been together nearly 9 years and will be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary in a few weeks.

3. What are some of the biggest challenges of blended family life?
I think it is the same as in many blended families. It is trying to find balance between home and work while coordinating schedules, parenting time, school and other events.
What’s one specific problem you’ve faced time and time again and how have you sought to address it?
Daniel is the “every other weekend and one night a week” parent so we have to cram family time as well as one on one parenting time into a very limited space. Because of this, he feels he never sees his son enough. What we have found that works is we deliberately set aside one on one quality time with him and we plan it before his parenting weekend. Sometimes it’s going to breakfast on Saturday mornings or mountain biking on Sunday afternoons, etc… As a family, we try to simply do activities to make memories. We do a lot of day trips. I think I have a talent for finding activities to do or places to visit that are out of the ordinary (lol). Daniel tells me all the time how much he loves me for that. His son appreciates that we respect the short time he has with his dad and it has helped us to appreciate the family time we do have together and the memories we are able to make.
4. What’s the best thing about being part of a blended family?
I feel that it’s learning to love each other coming in from the outside. More of an effort goes into learning our children’s individual uniqueness and as we have grown more as a family, the effect is that we love and appreciate each other all the more for that effort.5. How do you deal with stress in your household?
We have a very strong faith that is rooted in grace, acceptance and forgiveness. During times of stress in our home we have tried to teach and practice extending grace to each other. We try to accept each other, that we are not the same and each of us has our own thoughts and feelings, as well as reactions. We are not robots. We then try to forgive each other, learn from it and move forward.
As far as handling the internal and emotional stress that comes with being blended, prayer helps us a lot. Daniel works out at the gym several times a week. He calls it his therapy, and I love to write.

6. What makes you proudest of your family?
What makes me most proud of our family are delicious ordinary moments. It’s those moments when we are not a blended family, we are just family. Moments where we are at the dinner table eating together, laughing hysterically at inside jokes and sharing about our day. Those moments where we are riding together in the car singing and dancing to the radio, playing at the park, or camped out on the living room floor watching a movie. It is those moments where we are not a blended family around the dinner table, we are just a family around the dinner table. We are not a blended family having fun, we are just a family having fun. I really am proud to say over the years we have shared countless moments like that.
7. What advice do you have for other blended families who feel like a peaceful family dynamic is out of reach? The best advice I can give is only what has seemed to work for us with a lot of time and patience. First, throw your preconceived ideas out the window. It will never be what you expect. Accept that there will be tears, yelling, confusion, and adjustment. Second, make your marriage a priority. That doesn’t mean your children are less, but because your children deserve more, and don’t need to go through another divorce. The kids will learn to appreciate the stability of a healthy family home. Finally, learn to be selfless not selfish. Focus on making memories instead of what you can’t control.
I also want to share just over a year ago, my son was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation and underwent brain decompression surgery. It was an emotional eye-opening experience for both his father and me, but from that came better communication, patience and appreciation for each other as his parents. It affected every one in both families. It helped to solidify in our hearts that at the end of the day, what truly is important, is each other.
I would like to sincerely thank Huffington Post for everything, especially the wonderful opportunity to share with so many that otherwise would not be possible to reach. I want to say thank you for including a link to my blog so that I could write this post and share what was left out. Allow me to share more of a part of who I am, who we are.
But most of all, I want to thank God for opportunities to allow me to share Him and how he truly has helped make something new out of our brokenness.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
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You may have started out broken but God heals and restores to unbroken.

 

Hey Stepmom, You Are Not Alone!

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We all need people. That need for fellowship with another has been placed there by the Creator since our beginning. For me, that has always been true. In fact, after my second divorce (yes you read that right), I remember praying in earnest and begging God to please take that desire away from me.

It wasn’t that I just wanted to be IN a relationship, I craved relationship. I felt so lonely. I wanted companionship and friendship, and to be able to connect and talk with others who understood. And satan was there to remind me constantly of how unworthy I was, of how I had failed miserably in not one but two marriages, and how I had dragged two children through the whole gauntlet of my messed up life. One day I confided in a church leader and he reminded me that “It’s not good for man to be alone.”  He told me to stop asking for something that God Himself had placed in my heart.

It helped me realize that it was okay for me to long for relationship and companionship but to seek only those that would bring me closer to Him, not farther away. And I have been blessed to have a husband who does just that. But I have continued to long for friendship and connection with other moms like me that are trying to navigate the difficulties of a blended family.

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The SOS retreat I attended was held at the beautiful Winshape Retreat center.

Recently, God gave me the opportunity to connect and begin lasting friendships with many wonderful ladies who all share a common bond. We are all stepmoms. I did so by attending a Sisterhood of Stepmoms weekend retreat. I honestly was worried at first that I would not find others who were in the same situation but I could not have been more wrong. There were moms of all situations such as blendermoms, childless stepmoms, stepmoms because they had married a widower, etc… We spent the weekend being ministered to, prayed over, and listening to messages of hope, encouragement and wisdom.

If loneliness and yearning for fellowship is something that you have struggled with or are currently struggling with, you are not alone! There is a sisterhood out there. Sisters that know what stepfamily daily life is like. Sisters who are riding the roller coaster of hills and valleys. Sisters who understand the sheer joy from a stepchild’s smile and the deep hurt of being unappreciated or misunderstood.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

I encourage you to check out the links to the Sisterhood of Stepmoms and sign up for their upcoming SOS retreat this fall!

 

 

Real Love And Rainbows

I have seen it all over Facebook and social media along with everyone else; opinions exuberant or angry over the supreme court ruling on marriage yesterday. People practically shouting about God’s judgement while others joyously displaying rainbows shouting back equality with hashtags such as “#lovewins”. DSC_0915

And I believe deeply with every thing in me that love did win, but not in the way you might think. See, for me love won on the cross when Jesus laid down His life for the ones shouting hell and judgement. For the ones shouting equality. For my enemies. For the ones I love most dearly. For all. For me. John 3:16 “For God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. One of the most quoted verses in the Bible does not say “whoever believes unless” it says who. ever. believes.

The gospel of Jesus has not changed. It is the same today as it was yesterday. It is that love, that sacrifice that we need to be sharing with the world as Christians. Leading everyone to the cross. Leading everyone to Jesus. I am a follower of Christ because I believe He died and arose again. I believe He is the picture of unconditional perfect love; a picture of God’s love in the flesh.

I love how the pastor of Newspring Church described it in a post:  “Amidst the protest signs, yelling crowds, and political referendums, the simple message of Jesus’ love for you is often drowned out. Never doubt that Jesus loves you more than you could ever know. Jesus doesn’t just love a future version of you; He loves you exactly as you are right now. Jesus’ love for you has no prerequisites or requirements. Even if you hate Him, Jesus loves you and wants what is best for you. Love is at the core of everything Jesus taught. Unfortunately His message of love has been conveniently left out by many who would rather make a point than make a difference  (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8-10; Romans 5:8; Psalm 86:15).”

As I wrote about in my last post, I did take that step of faith toward a speaking ministry. In my message I shared that sometimes you just have to let go and let God be God. Shouldn’t we be leading others to the Cross and not trying to pick and choose what sin we think someone else needs freedom from? Lead them to Jesus and let Him cleanse their hearts from whatever He deems unclean. It is with deep conviction that I say rather than voicing opinions that we simply lead “all who are thirsty” to the only One who can quench that thirst through grace, love, and mercy.

Social media and all over has been lit up with rainbows. I love a quote I saw posted on Instagram by Jackie Hill Perry written by John MacArthur. “Every time you see a rainbow, listen to me, it represents the victory of grace over judgment. What does this world deserve? Judgment. What does it get? Grace because this is the age when God has hung up His bow. The triumph of mercy over wrath, this is the age for us to go to the ends of the earth and tell them of God and His mercy, God and His grace.DSC_0915

Soulmates and Soda Cans

Song of Solomon 3:4a “Scarcely had I left them when I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go.”

The other day, I came home from work unusually stressed and tired. Trying to scramble to get dinner ready and snapping at my husband who was trying to help me as he often does. As I was getting the plates and silverware, my husband gingerly came up to me holding a can of soda. I looked up and it was one of the new “share a Coke” cans and on the side it had the word “Soulmate”. Eagerly he said, “I want to share this with you over dinner.” Immediately I felt all the tension of the day leave my spirit. Isn’t it amazing how one act, one word can change everything?

I was convicted as I lovingly rinsed out that soda can and placed it among my special treasures. How often does my husband get the back seat in our life or after our children for that matter? How often does he get my leftovers? I would never treat others, such as my boss with disrespect. I know the answer is because at home, I am most comfortable. I feel safe among my precious loved ones enough to let my guard down. But does that make it more excusable?

I have also become disgusted with how mass media tends to portray husbands as stupid, bumbling idiots with the wife being smart, powerful, and controlling. There is no partnership in that. There is no companionship or mutual respect when one is controlling or dominating the other. Yet a lot of ladies grow up thinking that is how it should be and they set up house with that kind of dynamic. It is the world’s way, the world’s view but it is not God’s way. Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

It has been a long and difficult journey finding my way to my husband and the same for him. I want to be his true mate; his partner in life, not his boss. My prayer is that God will continue to remind me of this. Remind me that showing my husband everyday in some small way that he truly is the one that my soul loves.

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Top Step Parenting Blogs Please Vote For Me


I was floored that my blog was nominated as one of the top 50 step parenting blogs of 2014 on voiceboks.com!!  I am so completely honored to be nominated.  It would mean the world to me if you could click the link and scroll down to #8 “Blendermom” and click the “like” heart to vote for me.  There are no words for the amazing comments and encouragement you have given me so far.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Respect & Marriage Boundaries & Freaks

I’ve talked a lot about marriage, respect, and the marital wheel of bliss in previous blogs and it’s about respecting your husband and your marriage.  I don’t even begin to pretend I am a marriage expert but I have learned from my numerous mistakes!  Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about others respecting the marriage boundaries.  I was speaking with a friend the other day and she was telling me about her ex husband.  She related to me that they were having a lot of problems and that as they were trying to work it out, he began receiving texts from a couple of single gals he worked with.  She felt that was highly inappropriate for a married man.   There may be some who will disagree but I think it is inappropriate too.  I feel that if you have close friendships with the opposite sex it opens a door for trouble ESPECIALLY if you are having problems in your marriage.

Moving on, it got me to thinking about the single girls doing the texting.  It feels as if the enemy is attacking marriages.  Look at the statistics about broken homes, divorce, and remarriage.  Remarriages have a much lower chance of surviving so I personally think there has to be strong boundaries set around your marriage.  Why does it seem that when ladies see a wedding ring on a guy’s finger they see it more of a challenge and not an “off limits” sign?  Does it make them feel better about themselves that they can get a supposedly committed man away from his commitment?  Does it make them feel powerful to get a married man to flirt with them?  It may say a lot about the man involved but it screams a lot about the woman to me.  At any rate, my husband and I had a situation that arose a few years ago from a single gal and I’m going to share the story and how I handled it.

My husband received a message on facebook from a girl he had went to high school with and knew only as an acquaintance.  She was asking him about another girl he had dated.  He showed me the message and we decided he would msg her back and ask why she was asking.  This gal proceeded to respond with how she had a huge crush on my husband back in high school.  How this other girl had gone behind her back and went out with him because she herself wanted him.  She talked about how gorgeous she thought he was then and then went on and on about how gorgeous he was now.  I read the msg and it pissed me off!  This crazy freak lived several states away and it wasn’t  like I was worried in any way but if you are on our facebook page you can easily see that my husband is a family man with pictures of me and our kids plastered all over the page.  Yet, instead of commenting for all to see, she wants to send him private messages of how she is still crushing on him.  He said he would immediately delete her from his friends in which I agreed but I told him to wait first.  I decided to send her a msg on his behalf and this is what I sent.  (note that I did not act like a jealous freak or cuss her out; a fact at which I am prod of seeing as to how angry I was.)

“Why in the world would you say some thing like that to a married man and especially to a married man with children?

Don’t get me wrong! This is not about me being worried about my marriage or anything, it’s just that it is very

inappropriate on your part.

Obviously your lack of respect for marriage and family values would lead me to the conclusionfor blog

that you are also lacking in character.”

I signed my name and hit the send button.  (Hehehe!) I still chuckle about it a little bit.  I can only imagine her face when she read it and surprisingly (I’m being sarcastic) we never received a reply from her!   What could she say really?

I share this to say protect your marriage period!  1Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”

Fight and Flight…my thoughts on marital conflict

My husband and I recently had a huge fight.  It was the biggest fight we have had since we married 5 years ago.  I’m not saying we don’t ever fight but we typically are over it very quickly and get on with the making up part. (blush blush)  The trouble had been brewing for a short while now but it came to a head and exploded over $30 water bottles. (crazy! right?)  This is the kind of argument that you can’t see your way past your anger and the kind that last a few days and when you’re done you feel exhausted and maybe even a little numb.  Teen in the midst of this came home and feeling the oppressive tension asked me if we were going to get a divorce.  I’m pretty sure that when parents fight that all kids ask that but I feel it is asked on a deeper level by a kid that has already gone through a divorce and remarriage with a parent.   It got me thinking.  There’s such a high percentage of subsequent marriages that don’t last.  Why is that?  My guess is that after going through divorce it is no longer this huge wall that you have never seen what’s on the other side.  It is no longer an unknown.  Most people when facing something big would rather face the known rather than the unknown, at least I would.  In those heated moments when you want to shake them and make them understand, when your inner self is wanting to be “one up” and the winner, you tend to think very irrationally.  (duh!)  Be very honest….how many times have you thought or said or had your partner say, “Well there’s the door if you want to leave!”  During times of stress and fear, scientists say we have a fight or flight response.  We decide to stay and fight or we rapidly run away.  I think in a remarriage/blended family relationship it’s more like fight AND flight.  You get to fighting and decide “I’m strong and independent.  I’ve taken myself out of a bad situation, started over, and I certainly can do it again!”  So you remove yourself from the situation or think about removing yourself from the situation.  In other words, you think about leaving.

I am trying to put my trust in God.  This is what I am trying to do during those times.   There is a marriage page on FB by DaveWillis.org. It’s an awesome site.  I found a picture on his page that sums it up.

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It may seem easy on paper but it is so very hard to do!   Be compassionate, have sympathy toward your spouse, love them without condition, and show humility if at all possible!  1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you be like-minded,  be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”  Wow! In researching and praying as I write this post I am so convicted!  How often have I not practiced this verse towards my friends, my family, and most importantly my husband! If you are reading this right now will you stop and pray for me and my husband.  Pray that I will remember this verse when our marriage faces difficulties.  Pray that I will be mindful to put my trust in God because He loves me, He loves my husband and my children, and because He wants us to succeed.  Pray that I will remember He has it all figured out.

My husband and I drove down to the dead end of our street where we could have privacy and worked it out that afternoon.  We started with arguing but ended with really listening to each other.  We then went back to the house and had a family meeting.  We explained to the kids that it was no secret we had been arguing that day but that no one is perfect.  We are all human, we get angry and emotional at times, we don’t always agree and our farts smell sometimes. (Rec’d giggles from them over that last part).  We explained that we love each other very much and that we are not divorcing or splitting up.  We re-assured them of how much we love them and asked if there was anything they wanted to say or any questions they may have. You could see the worry and tension leave their faces and a peace settled in our home.  (Thank you Father God for that amazing peace!)

All of this has made me sure of what I want and don’t want.  I don’t want the fight and flight response!  I just want the FIGHT!  I want to fight for my marriage.  I want to fight for my family.  I want to fight to ensure that our blended home is a happy home.  I want to fight satan and defeat him and not let him have yet another marriage that will destroy lives!  As I hit the publish button, I am praying for you reading this.  I am praying for you to show forgiveness and grace in your marriage and I am praying for that peace that passes all understanding that only comes from God.

Amazing like God

So this past Sunday was Mother’s Day and as a mom and bonus mom, it was a great day.  My kids showered me with lots of hugs, kisses, and “I love yous”. My youngest son still holds a bit of a soft spot in my heart because he is still at that age where I don’t embarrass him.  He loves for me to hug him and hold his hand in public, say prayers and tuck him in at night, and write notes on his napkin in his lunch box.  He drew me a special card that spelled out the letters in my name and described me.  The very last letter of my name is ‘A’ and he wrote about me: “A is for amazing like God”.  Other things were “nice as a flower” and “cute as a dog” but wow! “Amazing like God”.  It got me thinking about the example I am to my son and my children.  Those are some really big shoes to fill!

Webster’s definition of amazing: amazement, great wonder and surprise.  The definition of God:  the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshiped as creator and ruler of the universe;  a person or thing of supreme value.  To me, my son thinks that as a mom, I bring wonder and amazement to his life as someone who is in authority with wisdom and goodness in his life. Proverbs 31: 28,29 NLT   “Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her.  There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”  

Heavenly Father, how do I ‘surpass them all’?   How do I set that example of how a Godly mother should be?  How can I truly be amazing as a mom?  And God seemed to speak to my heart.  It is by teaching him the commands of God about ‘loving thy neighbor’, ‘honoring thy father and mother’, and ‘putting God first in everything’.  It is by tucking him in at night and praying with him.  It is showing him my love with those hugs and kisses.  It is leaving those little notes on his napkin in his lunchbox.  It is by doing those things we do as moms that can make us amazing and wise and good in the eyes of our children. 

Take it a step further and extend that to your bonus sons and daughters.  Try to show them love, affection, wisdom and goodness.  Be an example of what a Godly christian woman, wife, and mother should be in your home so that you can strive to be “Amazing like God” to your hand-picked God-given precious family!  Deuteronomy 6:6,7 NLT “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children.  Talk about them when you are at home and on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”Image