Here’s this week’s Love Calendar!!
Have you ever felt a nudge, a niggling deep in your heart, urging you to do something, something that seems so strange, or perhaps so uncharacteristic for you, you decide you can’t possibly be hearing God right? Therefore, you conclude that thought to be but a passing brain flutter, triggered by a sappy commercial or perhaps last night’s dream.
But then it comes again, and again, and your heart begins to prick as excitement builds. And yet, before you put feet to the thought, another follows and then another as your brain lists all the reasons you shouldn’t do that thing.
It doesn’t really matter what the thing is, does it? It can be something as simple as getting up and getting your spouse a glass of water when you’d rather sink deeper into the couch. Or maybe it’s volunteering to serve in a new ministry, or perhaps it’s writing a check for a missionary family you recently learned about.
If we belong to Christ, each day, I believe, we receive countless promptings from the Holy Spirit to, in some way, live out our faith. But I’ve found, those nudges are often much too easy to ignore.
I was a young mom, and though I accepted Christ at a neighborhood Bible club, I was just beginning to grow my faith. It hadn’t been terribly long since I’d been on the streets, and as a result, I lugged around a great deal of shame. And had developed a habit of hiding. Of wanting to step out, but, well, I didn’t. Instead, I went to church, sat in the back by myself, (my husband wasn’t a believer at the time), then, when the sermon ended, grabbed my daughter from the nursery and hurried home.
Week after week, I did this, and week after week, as listened to the sermon and sing praise songs, an odd thought would flit through my brain: You should go to the nursing home.
It was the strangest idea ever. I didn’t know anyone in a nursing home and truly had no reason to go. Besides, I had enough to manage keeping my toddler occupied. And what would I do there? Did nursing homes even allow such a thing–random strangers to come in, and do what? Sit?
No. It was absurd, and so, I shoved the thought aside and resumed my routine: Go to church, sing songs, pray, go home. Repeat.
But the thought wouldn’t go away, and every time it came, a hint of excitement followed, which was as odd as the thought. Why such a thought should bring any kind of emotion at all was beyond me.
But after a month of steady promptings, I went, and brought my daughter with me–only because I had no one to watch her.
I randomly chose the facility, marched inside with a toddler on one hip and a stuffed diaper bag bouncing against the other.
I met Frank that very first day. He was an old, sprite man full of laughter and jokes, and he adored my princess. The three of us quickly formed a relationship, one my daughter remembers to this day. She and I came often, Frank and I chatting about everything from the weather to… well, to be honest, I don’t remember. And it didn’t really matter, because sometimes, oftentimes, presence is enough.
But then one day, maybe two months since our first visit, we arrived to be greeted by one of Frank’s caretakers. We learned Frank had taken ill and refused to leave his room. He wouldn’t see ANYONE.
Anyone, it seemed, but my princess. When he learned we had come, he came out, and we talked, and again, I don’t remember what about, but it didn’t really matter.
Because sometimes, oftentimes, presence is enough.
God had prompted me, for over a month, to do something so simple yet so deeply meaningful–to sit with his dying child.
And I almost missed it.
When I read 2 Thessalonians 1:11, I think of this event.
“…May He [God] give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do” (NLT).
May God give us the power to overcome our selfishness, our anxieties and insecurities, our pointless busyness, and everything else that hinders us from responding to His promptings with anything but full and immediate obedience.
Let’s talk about this! Can you share a time when you sensed God nudging you to do something that didn’t seem to make sense? Did you respond with obedience? If so, what were the results? If not, what kept you from responding in obedience?
ACTION PLAN: What might God be asking you to do this week?
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.
Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently on sale at Amazon for under $4 (print and kindle version)!
As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution propel her north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with a potential conspiracy at work, one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. Then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?
Read a free, 36-page excerpt here: http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/slattery_sampler/1
You can buy a copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or CBD.
Let’s get one thing straight before I dive into this post:
I am not a Stepford wife.
I am more like a “catch me when you can, honey because I have a long to-do list, two small children, and 10 hours of daylight” kind of wife.
There, I said it. And that’s why I need to these 5 small habits for big strides in my marriage. I tend to forget about the person I sleep next to in bed every night. After another long day, we just kind of teeter out until another day begins. But for married people, our relationship to our spouse is our most important human relationship. So here they go:
5 Small Habits For Big Strides In Your Marriage
Habit #1 Set aside 10-15 minutes of couch time every evening. Spending 10-15 minutes to talk about your day helps you reconnect. Make sure this time is CHILD FREE. If you have children around, give them something to occupy their time during this period. Doing this will show them that the basis of the family is the marriage, not the children.
Habit #2 Ask your spouse if they need help with something. As busy moms, we often hit the ground running each day. It’s easy to forget that marriage is a partnership, and partners need to look out for one another.
Habit #3 Say “Thank you.” Our spouses may do a lot of things for us and the family, but because we’re used to it, we take it for granted. For example, my husband gets the kids ready in the morning before he leaves for work so I can have some uninterrupted writing time. (Yeah, I’m lucky. I know it.) What has your spouse done lately that you haven’t thanked them for?
Habit #4 Schedule in Date Nights. Whether it’s once a week or once a month. Time spent together as a couple (Outside of the house and away from the children) is so important. Months have passed before my husband and I went out on a date, and it took a toll on our marriage. We were just getting through our days and pushing through the dailies of life. Once we scheduled date nights, things changed for the better.
Habit #5 Pay regular compliments. Last week, I got a new pair of high heeled shoes. I rarely wear high heels, but I wanted something different. I chose Aerosoles because they were a combo of cute and comfort. When I wore them for the first time, my husband said:
Husband: “You have a new pair of shoes.”
Me: “Yes. You noticed.”
Husband: “I notice everything about you.”
(Let’s just say I had a strong visceral reaction to his comment.)
Compliments work, people. So start complimenting your spouse.
There you have it. The five habits. Have you tried any of these lately?
Here is this week’s Love Calendar. Enjoy!
Date nights have been few and far between at my house. My goal for 2015 is to go on a date night once a month. I even scheduled our first date night for this week. There are so many competing priorities in my busy life that I have to schedule them in. So I thought I’d share a few ideas for date nights that may interest you too! Here they go:
- Wander in a book store. This idea is kinda selfish, as I love books and I love bookstores, but hey, I can share the love with my love!
- Hang out at Starbucks. Caffeine and love, a perfect combination.
- Sit on a park bench and chit chat. This is completely free of any temptations to purchase anything (unlike the Starbucks and book store idea!)
- Rent a Redbox movie. Watch it after the kids are in bed for guaranteed alone time.
- Go to a real movie. An alternative to being in the same building as your children.
- Browse a local farmer’s market. A fun way to learn about local vendors in your community.
- Walk on the beach. Enjoy the sun and sand together!
- Go out for ice cream. I love this one. (For obvious reasons.)
- Take a walk around your neighborhood or at a nearby nature trail. Walking together leads to lots of talking, and both are good for you!
- See a local play, opera, or musical. This is a very good way to try something new if most of your days have been pretty routine.
There you have it! My date night ideas. What are yours?
And if you haven’t downloaded my free printable Love Calendar for this week, don’t forget to grab one here!