Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Question That Saved Our Marriage

Let me preface this post with two clarifications. First, our marriage was "sticking" no matter what. Divorce was never an option. The title of this post could more accurately be "The Question That Brought Greater Joy, Depth and Life to Our Marriage." I just like the other title. More eye-catching, I think. Second, I was inspired by my husband's message tonight. If you want to hear it for yourself, go to The Village Church podcast on iTunes. Wait until Monday though. It won't be on there yet. Sorry. Now that that's out of the way, here we go...

I was the ultimate good girl. Church was my second home; youth group, my perfected extra-curricular activity. I played by the rules. Mostly. Outside of a month of outward rebellion (emphasis on outward) in my junior year of high school, I was the golden child. I'm pretty sure I was what every parent thinks they want in their child. Submissive. Compliant. Polite.

However, no one tells you there are deeply rooted, insufficient cisterns that are hewed out by and inside the good girl. They're deceptively devastating, cloaking themselves in the fabric of lies like "it's the Christian thing to do" or "just stuff the emotion and do it."

Now, put that broken line of thinking into a marriage. That was me.

We had issues, just like every other couple. It was the same argument, the same frustration, the same disappointment, the same resolutions over and over again. It was insanity. Everything would be going along swimmingly for about a month and then something would set it off. We would be thrown into the same whirlpool, trying to cling to some common ground. Eventually, Matt grabbed a life line. He started going to counseling to deal with his hurts and hang-ups. I, on the other hand, continued to swirl round and round in disappointment in myself and in my resolution to "get my act together" and "be the wife I should be."

I just needed to read the Bible more. I just needed to commit to think of and serve Matt selflessly. I just needed to anticipate his needs. I just needed....

I just needed to ask the right question.

Repeat the above six times a year for six years. Yes, SIX years. Picture a night of tossing and turning after a heated discussion. Imagine feeling helpless and nauseated. Envision standing on your back porch asking yourself if this is what life will always look like. Failure. Disappointment. Pure and utter self-centeredness. MY self-centeredness.

I look back on that night and am thankful in two ways: I'm thankful that it happened and I'm thankful that it happened...it is in the past and not now! I finally gave up making the list of all my "shoulds." I finally asked the question of God...

"How?"

Before that night, I thought I knew how. Puffed up in pride, I had pulled out the paper with my presumptuous plan, smoothed the wrinkles and proceeded to read my solutions to the problem. This time, however, I was out of solutions. I had no plan. I could only listen. Listen to my husband's plea for me to hear. Listen to the Lord's plea for me to bow down and humble myself.

I had to admit that I needed help.

The prideful little good girl within me trembled in her pew. Could I possibly confess to being imperfect? Gasp.

The answer to my how came in the Center for Christian Counseling.

How: the question that saved our marriage. I pray that if someone out there reads this and it resonates with you, don't be afraid to ask how. More importantly, don't be afraid to wait for the answer and then obey.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Holidaze

Yes, I know He's the Reason for the Season. I know that these are the HOLYdays. But even so, I tend to get distracted. I don't quite understand what happens, really. All my shopping was done. Most, if not all, of the presents were wrapped and patiently waiting under the tree. No extensive cooking took up my schedule. Just a few Christmas services in which to take part. But nothing in and of itself that I would label "distracting."

Still. Still...

I was distracted. I left God on the back burner. I thought about Him. I talked to Him. But I didn't engage Him. And let me tell you, there is a difference!

Enter...the Accuser.

He's so crafty. He relishes in manipulating my already fallen flesh...the subtle pride-filled part of me that wants to earn it. How can you call yourself His? You completely blew it. You don't deserve to talk or sing about Him now.

Ironically, he's right. But only partly right. You see, I have an Advocate. And, by His blood and His Father's love, I am still His child.

Whew.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My New Favorite Movie



For more on this story click here. Make sure your volume is up...you won't want to miss out on the aural atmosphere.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

She's Back

Since you're all wondering...(ha)...I finally got Bianca (my white iBook) fixed! She can actually hold a wireless signal without having to move the screen back and forth or tapping underneath the keyboard rightintheperfectspot. Yay!

On another note, I've included a couple of pictures of our Christmas home decor. Honestly, I was playing with our new camera, trying it out on inanimate objects.




**Two seconds after posting this, I noticed there are two sad little presents underneath the tree. I took this picture a few weeks ago. I promise we have more presents. Even if we didn't, it's not about the presents anyway. Just don't tell Michael Scott that.**

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Firetrucks and Family

For Christmas, Matt and I gave each other a new camera. Yay :) Here are some of the fun shots I've taken.






Last weekend, we visited Santa at the local fire station. Reid loves firetrucks so he was in heaven. Our friends, the Losers (pronounced Low-ser), joined us. Reid thinks Parker (who is Audrey's age) is the greatest thing ever.






This weekend we celebrated Christmas with my brother Jonathan and my sister-in-law Tiffany. It was so good to see them. Audrey and Reid especially loved their presents. We love you Jonathan and Tiffany!





Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Card Pictures

On Friday, a friend of ours so graciously gave of his time to take our annual family Christmas photo. We had fun. We are so grateful for our wonderfully talented friend and the beautiful pictures. We love you!




Friday, December 7, 2007

My Hope Deferred Revealed

Not long ago, I posted about a hope in my life that was at that time deferred. I wrestled with whether I should reveal the specific hope or not. When sharing with my Bible study girls about it, this verse immediately came to mind...

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3 - 4)

So my prayer is that the Father of mercies and God of all comfort would bring comfort to your heart through the comfort I have received. Below is a letter I sent to friends and family earlier this week...

Friends and Family...

Two and a half weeks ago we found out we would be expecting our third child. We had decided to keep it between just a few of us until I told my Wednesday morning bible study group. The Tuesday night before I was to tell my bible study girls, I started to bleed and cramp. I saw my OB the next morning. She did a sonogram and found nothing. She said I was too early in the pregnancy to see anything. They took a blood test that morning to measure my hormone levels. I went in again two days later to have the same test done. If there was a significant increase in the levels, I would still be pregnant. If there was no change or a decrease, it would be likely that I had miscarried. This was somewhat torturous because I had to wait over the weekend. Finally, this morning, my doctor delivered the news that I indeed had miscarried.

Though this situation could have been so much more devastating, I have not escaped the effects of such a loss...even if it was an early loss. My emotions have been everywhere from hopeful to content to frustrated to just sad. However, the Lord has been so sweet in whispering His truth and promises in His Word. Two verses that have been especially meaningful have been 2 Corinthians 1:20 and Romans 8:28. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says "For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

I realize that this is for His glory and our good. My soul utters an Amen (a "let it be") to Him for His glory in this. I am grateful that He uses everything...everything good and everything seemingly bad...to point us to a greater glory...His.

Thank you to all who have prayed with us and for us...to those who have sent us letters, flowers and food. Thank you.

We love you all,
Lauren for the Chandlers

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Kids' Christmas Program

On Tuesday, Audrey and Reid had their Christmas Program through their Mother's Day Out program. Of course, Audrey was an angel in the manger scene. She sheepishly stepped out on stage, batting her eyelashes with seeming shyness. However, when the music started, she opened her mouth wide and belted, "It came upon a midnight clear..." Priceless! Yes...I cried.

Reid, on the other hand, marched on stage with perfect confidence and then....and then...he spotted Dad. His bastion of bravado quickly caved in. The corners of his mouth slowly sloped downward while his forehead wrinkled in distress. He wanted nothing to do with "Jesus Came" to the melody of "Jingle Bells." The only thing he wanted was Daddy and Mommy. So sweet! Much to our surprise, and delight, he made it through the song without running off stage.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Hope Deferred

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12

There is a hope I'm holding onto right now that is currently deferred. In a sense, I am left in the waiting room with legs crossed, bouncing the top one to the rhythm of the sadly mediocre music. I'm flipping through the magazines gazing at the pictures and articles but not really taking them in. My mind is elsewhere. My mind is on the "what if" rather than the what is.

In the midst of the waiting and the hoping, the verse above ran through my mind like the unending pleas of my 2-year-old for "cake, Mommy, cake!" It was as if the Lord was saying "Lauren, pay attention. Turn yourself towards me. Hear what I have to say. Hear what MY desire is for you."

So I turned and this is what I heard.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."

Okay. I get it. My heart feels sick because my hope is deferred. And when I get what I want, I'll be happy. Makes sense. No grand revelation here.


But...(a very beautiful "but" I might add)...is there a place I can put my hope that it is never deferred? Sure, I may not get what I think I want or need...but is there something better I can get?

And Psalm 42:5 answered me...

"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."

Indeed, there is a better hope. There is a place I can put my hope that is never deferred. Though I may not get what I think I want or need, instead I get Him. He is a hope that is never deferred.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Finally!!

Hawaii in pictures (and a few words)...


First class....is glamorous, glamorous... (yay for aadvantage miles upgrades!)


The view from our hotel room.


Cruising in the convertible. Yes, I know my mouth is ridiculously large. God made me that way.


Matt living out his dream as a soldier in WWII. Pearl Harbor.


The SS Bowfin. I can't imagine living in one of these underwater for any length of time. Aren't our headphones stylish??


The Mighty Mo. Look at those guns!! The ones on the ship are pretty impressive too...



A gorgeous lookout point overlooking the windward side of Oahu.




Matt has really caught on to surfing...just kidding...that's actually a pro-surfer surfing in the Vans Triple Crown at Haleiwa.







Wonderful, glorious Hawaiian shave ice.


Beauty even when it's raining.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Horrible, I know

Two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Since I've posted. Unforgivable :)

You know it's bad when your husband (who usually gives you a hard time about blogging too often) complains that you haven't posted in a while. Practically a miracle. So here's my somewhat lame excuse.

I've been waiting for Matt to get back from Hawaii. Yes, we were in Hawaii (together for about 5 days and then Matt stayed on for a leadership practicum which finished up today). I can't find our camera (boo-hoo!) but thankfully we uploaded most of the pictures onto Matt's computer which is...you guessed it...with him on an airplane headed this way. So as soon as I get my hands on his computer there will be pictures. Until then, you'll have to wait with bated breath :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Reid...lovin' his Big Wheel

Reid's Uncle Jonathan and Aunt Tiffany gave him a Big Wheel for his birthday. What's funny is I remember my brother (Jonathan) vrooming around on his Rambo Big Wheel many years ago. Reid looks a lot like him :) Love you, Uncle Jonathan and Aunt Tiffany!

video

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Reid is Two!!

Two years ago today, Reid was born. I always wanted a November baby. Not really sure why...just did. We enjoyed celebrating with a few friends and family. Lots of cake (thanks Elizabeth!), lots of presents, and most importantly, lots of TRUCKS! Reid is a bit obsessed. I love how excited he gets about them. He's so passionate...kinda like someone I know :) Proof of his obsession:


video

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Farm Day & Halloween

On Tuesday, Audrey and Reid dressed up as farmers for the MDO program's Farm Day. I snapped a few shots before they went to school.






Peter Pan & Cinderella (aka Reid & Audrey)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Post #2 of the day

Must. Go. Here...

The Yellow Butterfly

Bangs and Baby Pics

Yes...I got bangs. I was in the mood for something different but not so different that you wouldn't recognize me. I didn't want to do the go-back-to-my-natural-hair-color thing. In fact, I did it once and I will NEVER do that again. There is absolutely nothing natural about it. So...I came up with bangs.

I thought it would be fun to see what I looked like the last time I had bangs. Like everyone else, I had bangs for the entire decade of the 80's. Didn't miss a year. Here's what I found...



While I was rummaging through a box full of photos, I found these...


Halloween, 1983 - I was 3, almost 4 and my brother Jonathan was 4 months!


Halloween, circa 1988


Thought this looked like another blue-eyed baby I know :)

As you can see from the photos b.h. (before highlighting), I really am a "natural" blond. Wow, this post came full circle.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Currently Kicking My Butt...

is this book...



Andrew Murray's "Humility"

A few tastes:

"It needs to be made clear that it is not sin that humbles but grace. It is the soul occupied with God in His wonderful glory as Creator and Redeemer that will truly take the lowest place before Him."

"Just as water seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds the creature empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless."

"As the meek and lowly One, He will come into and dwell within the longing heart."

"It is a solemn thought that our love for God is measured by our everyday relationships with others. Except as its validity is proven in standing the test of daily life with our fellowmen, our love for God may be found to be a delusion."

"Flee to Jesus and hide yourselves in Him until you are clothed with His humility. That alone is holiness."

"Place yourself before God in your helplessness; consent to the fact that you are powerless to slay yourself; give yourself in patient and trustful surrender to God. Accept every humiliation; look upon every person who tries or troubles you as a means of grace to humble you."

More on this later :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Catching up...

We had an extremely eventful week. Wednesday, we went to our local high school's homecoming parade with Natalie and Lily. On Friday, we trekked down to the fair with Natalie and Lily and the Bleeckers. On Friday night, Matt and I witnessed the Battle of the Axe (a football game between two rivals in our school district). Let me tell you, we got our fill of fall fun this week!

(*note - for some reason I'm struggling with posting the pictures vertically today, my apologies)

The Parade...







The Fair...











Big Tex says, "Y'all come back now, ya hear?"

The Game...