12 March 2009

My Love Story

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It's fitting that the request was to share our love story, cause my husband and I are participating in a "Love Dare/Fireproof Your Marriage" group, and we have been asked a couple of times to share our story... how we met.

Paul and I grew up in the same hometown, half our lives living only 4 or 5 minutes from each other, then only about 15 minutes apart during our older school years. We may have even played together (near each other) when we were like 4 or 5... cause my mom was friends with the mom that lived on the corner of his street. I remember visiting there and having neighborhood boys running around playing with the boys that lived at this house (I went to preschool at the same church Paul's parents now attend, with the older boy Chet, and three years later my little sister went to preschool with his brother Michael).

But we official met at Ball State University, 90 miles away from our hometown, in November of our freshman year. The gal who lived in the room directly below mine (Tammy), was in marching band with Paul. She brought him over to our dorm one day and was introducing him around. That particular day, I officially gave up on the guy I had a crush on (he wouldn't ask me out because he didn't want to mess up friendships in our circle of friends... complicated story), so when I saw Paul across the room, I thought, "He's cute, I'll go talk to him!" He immediately said something funny and twisted, and we hit it off right away.

My mother had been encouraging me to "play the field", so I was excited that week to have two dates with two guys (I was asked to dinner by a different male friend).... but after my date with Paul, I canceled the other. Shortly after, we became almost inseparable, and within weeks he moved into my dorm (it had the girls on one side and the guys on the other with a big lobby separating the two).

We spent two more semesters together at school before we both went back home. I continued with school at a local branch while having our first daughter, and he joined the Navy. We married at the end of that year.

We spent the first 21 months of our marriage separated, as Paul had gone from one Navy school to another school in Virginia to a ship that deployed for 6 months.... so I stayed in Indiana and finished my degree. Nikki was two and a half when we finally were able to live together as a family.

In the years that followed, we had two more children, along with a few more moves (to Illinois and then back to Virginia, and now to New Mexico), and we went through our share of hard times. But through it all, we have had a strong relationship. Five years ago, I became a Christian, and Paul began to have a real relationship with the Lord. Since then, our marriage has gotten even better and stronger.

I feel so blessed that we somehow figured out at an early age how to really listen and communicate effectively. We have had so many circumstances stacked up against us that would make many think a healthy and strong marriage would be near impossible, but somehow the Lord preserved our marriage through all those years we lived without Him. Thank you, Jesus!

I think the thing I love the most about our marriage is how perfectly we seem to have been made for each other. We often know what the other is thinking before it is even said. We have many similarities and common interests, usually agreeing on most things (that helps eliminate fights and disagreements). And where there are differences.... we usually compliment each other. Where I am weak, he is strong (and visa versa)... we balance each other out.

I know my husband loves me, faults and all... and I am so amazed at times how well he really does know me. And I am sure that he would say the same thing. He is my best friend, and I am his. We share everything together, and neither of us would want it any other way. He is my shoulder to cry on during my hard times, and I am the emotional support he leans on in his hard times.

Everyone should be so blessed as to find a spouse as wonderful as mine.... to have God fill your marriage with the love and skills needed to love each other unconditionally, and work together through the hard times (coming out the other end so much stronger than you were to begin with)... as well as enjoy the good times!

One thing that Navy life has taught us is this..... don't ever take the other person, or the time you have with them, for granted. Cherish every day together. Love each other and focus on the positive instead of letting negative circumstances tear you apart.

May each of you be blessed wildly in your marriages and relationships!
God Bless!

05 March 2009

A Heart Breaking Experience

Two weeks ago, Paul came home from church with a prayer request for a family from the Picnic in the Park (the ministry we are involved with that feeds the poor and homeless of Las Cruces)... to pray for a family who were about to lose their kids. He did not have details, other than the there was a court hearing that week.

Last night, this couple joined my table at our Wednesday evening Bible study at church. Fitting enough was the topic of the evening... the storms of life. This family is going through quite a storm right now. The husband is trying to stay strong for his wife, and the wife is trying not to fall apart with the absence of her small children.

At the end of the evening, during prayer time, this mother of two broke down in tears. Let me just say, that in the past, I would have run away from this situation as fast as I could. I would have felt badly inside, but yet so uncomfortable I would have no words to say to this hurting mother. I would have been so afraid of my own repressed pain and emotions, that I had no ability whatsoever to show compassion to another hurting soul I did not know.

But last night, the Lord broke my heart for this woman. I cried with her, and I tried to comfort her as best I could. I felt the Lord telling me to tell her that He was there holding her hand, that she could lean on him during this painful time. It could have been easy for me to walk away without saying a word.... actually that would have been the comfortable thing for me to do. But instead, I walked around to the other side of the table, and I whispered to her that Jesus was there holding her hand. She broke down more and began to tell me a little bit about her kids. I cried with her and told her how sorry I was that this was happening to her, and I asked her a couple of questions, like how old her children are. Then she had her husband show me their picture. Most of all, I just tried to listen with compassion.

Even though this was an uncomfortable situation to be in, I really felt the Lord stretching me and changing my heart. I know that God is walking me through my own healing knowing He wants to use me to help other hurting people.... and in this process, I have to step out of my comfort zone and let Him use me.

I do not know if I helped this woman at all during this painful time in her life, but I know that at least in some small way, the Lord has changed me through her pain.

Lord God, I do not really know most of the circumstances behind what is going on with this family, but You do. You know their pain and their needs, and I know that ultimately You are in control of this family's situation. Bless this family with Your peace and comfort during this storm in their lives. Thank you for changing my heart and growing me more in You. Give me strength and courage to step out in uncomfortable circumstances to show compassion to your hurting children. I love you. Amen.

April 2005

April 2005
Justin, Kim, Nikki, & Tricia

October 2011

October 2011