Category Archives: Marriage

Eyes Wide Open

This morning my husband woke me up and would not let me give him my “5 minutes” hand signal.

He cuddled me, took away my down comforter, told me the coffee was ready, he went through it all.

I finally got up, hugged him back with eyes closed and went to wake up my baby to feed him.  Sometimes I think it’s so unfair the schedule he has to follow because of Micah and my life… but anyway…

I fed him and hopped in the shower.

As I reached up to grab the shampoo I (still groggy) almost knocked over every bottle that was on the shelf.  My first reaction – shut your eyes as tight as you can!  I didn’t think about it.  It’s just what happened.

As if closing my eyes was really going to protect me from the falling boulders… okay bottles, but still.

How often in life do we do that, especially in periods of unknown or suffering? Just wait for it to all be over?  For the next season to come, and this one to pass?

The older I get and the more I desire to be like Him, I am realizing you cannot just “be carried” by Him and then look back like the poem Footprints would have us do.

Sure, there are times we need to be carried, need to close our eyes and be still.

But really, I am realizing I want to WATCH what He is doing in my life, even when I don’t understand it.

There is only one way I can do that in the here and now, without it being reflection, and that is to keep my eyes wide open.

I will try to be like my son, everything is new and sometimes enjoyable, most things are changing constantly, and almost everything is not understandable or always enjoyable – yet he still watches and he follows (sometimes with whining).

Lord, help me be like an uncomplaining child, secure in Your love for me and my identity in You, when it comes to You teaching me, help me know You always have the best planned.  Help me keep my eyes open to You and close them from the distractions and lies of this world. Amen.

 

eyeswideopen

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This Weekend.

Byrd Ashley gets married.

When I first met her, I thought she was so cool.

I wanted to be her friend.

She couldn’t even remember my name so she would say “hey girl” when I would come up to her at church.

Good thing she asked someone for my name because we ended up becoming housemates and some of the best of friends.

This girl is hilarious. She is so forgiving.  Sacrificial.  Encouraging.  A hard worker.  Motivating.  Caring.  Wise.  Devoted.  Did I mention, funny?

My life is better because Byrd is in it.  I am more like Jesus because Byrd teaches me how to be.

This afternoon, I will travel to a place that has some of my fondest memories.

A place where the Lord changed my life forever and gave me a new heart.

I met some of the most amazing friends there and we did life together, a lot of it.

Byrd is one of those friends.

Our friends have been through quite the gamut – births, deaths, divorces, break-ups, get-togethers, ministry, moves, marriage – you name it.

Byrd is a rock.  She is strong when many of us our weak.

This weekend, the last of the “ministry house” ladies is getting hitched.

Joining her life with an amazing godly man.  I can already feel the tears and the lump in my throat.

I am so full of gratitude.

It is so amazing to see the Lord’s handiwork and the way He has been weaving all our lives.

I am so glad she is part of mine and can’t wait to stand up there as she enters into a marriage covenant with the amazing Andrew Campbell (he would need a whole other post. this guy is legit).

Andrew & Ashley we hope this weekend (and next week of course) is nothing short of awesome.

byrd

PS: you are the only gal Im okay with Micah running his fingers through your hair 😉 hope Andrew doesnt mind!

 

Okay sentimental stuff over,

This weekend I will also:

  • Hopefully finish the Hobbit with Micah during our car rides.
  • Leave my baby overnight for the first time so I can spend the night with the girls (pray for me! Micah said he is sleeping outside with Haddon… don’t worry not in the cold he won’t).
  • Eat Taste of Thai food
  • Get in lots of sweet girl time, oh how I miss them!
  • Stare at the mountains and soak in that majesty.

Companionship.

by Micah.

Have you heard the question posed to a married couple, “what’s your favorite part about being married?” I have. Sarah asks me what seems to be tri-annually.

My go-to answer, and I think it’s accurate, is companionship. This is often the answer that I hear from others as well. It’s sometimes fleshed out by the newly married individual saying “it’s just so nice not having to leave at night.” I’ll never forget Dan Bergey talking to me about him and Simone before Sarah and I were married and he described it as being a lost puppy dog when Simone wasn’t around!

This week has confirmed that. Haddon in the equation adds to the love of others’ presence factor. I’ve been in Delaware for training all week and it’s Sarah’s first week back at work. It was so nice to be able to go home to Sarah…even if she’s occupied and can’t converse or do anything that has to do with me at all!

Being away does help me appreciate my wife, and therefore comprehend the unity that God has molded us into as well. It is difficult to live as “one-flesh” while states away from one-another. It helps my sympathize for those in the military all the more as this is barely a taste of the mouthful that they must stomach.

 

Sarah and I are meandering through Galatians with one another from afar. She wisely picked it as we as a church are going through the law in Exodus and understanding our ability to apply it through Christ. There is in Galatians a consistent theme of “without faith in Christ, your efforts are futile.”

It has been a blessing to learn lately that

A.                    Part of the law’s intentions (as a gift from the LORD) are to point us to our need for Christ

B.                    Paul writes the Galatians to reveal that those who put their faith/trust in the Gospel of Christ will be led to rely on another

C.                    God created the concept of marriage (me and Sarah, for example) in order to image-forth the future relationship between His Son and His followers (me/the church and Jesus)

Of course I can break many of the commandments by relying on Sarah’s companionship too much…but Jesus’ commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3) and I’m thankful for marriage helping me understand the Gospel and the Gospel helping me understand how to miss Sarah while separated during marriage.

Haddon, if you ever read this sorry there’s a lack of mentioning of you but I do smile every time your wonderful mother sends me pictures of you and I can’t wait change your diapers while you scream because you’re on your back….and then smother you with my bearded kisses!

Two Years.

since the beginning of the most amazing adventure…

This is going to be a short post darling because, well our anniversary present for this year needs to be fed!

You amaze and inspire me daily.  Thank you for loving me so well.

Happy Two Year Anniversary darling!!  I love you more with every moment.

Kiracofe Farm.

Two years ago in April Micah and I had engagement shots by the amazing Shay Cochrane at the Kiracofe’s farm (our friend’s parents farm to be exact).

We thought it would be fun to do our first maternity session in the same spot during the month of April.  This time Sasha, one of the awesome photographers, from the husband/wife duo of Rothwell Photography (they photographed our wedding) did the shoot.

I’ll just direct you over to the Rothwell’s blog to see the full maternity post. 

We took the maternity shots on our 1 yr 10 mo anniversary.  So of course Kate’s cupcakes had to make it into one of the pictures!

Here are a couple comparisons though-

In the barn:

 

 

 

 

 

The one on the right was taken after many attempts of Sasha trying to get Micah to act “natural” doing a model pose.  I said well… let me show you what Micah’s natural really is! The picture is the result.  That’s my husband 🙂

River:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kisses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the barn window:

 

 

Definition of Marriage.

Disclaimer: I am not writing this post to argue with anyone, so please save your energy for another blog if you do not have the same beliefs and that is your desire at the end of this post.

I use this blog as a platform of my faith and as a journal for my family.  That is what you are reading if you visit here.

I believe in the truth of scripture.  I believe that all of it is profitable. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

I believe you have to read it very carefully and have direction from the Holy Spirit to understand it fully.

I believe that marriage is as serious a covenant as can be- almost as serious as the one God made with His children (I said almost, after all, it is just a picture of it).

I believe that marriage is a God-ordained covenant that God defined and uses to refine and sanctify us.

I believe in God as creator and sustainer of the entire universe and all things in it, including and especially people.

I believe that God gave the first definition of marriage. (Genesis 2:18-25)

Thus, I cannot bring myself to believe we have the right to give marriage a new definition. “A definition of marriage that was established on Day Six of Creation and has been the benchmark of civilization for 6,000 years.” – Doug Phillips

Taken from John Piper’s blog (which I encourage people to read, which is in no way hateful, but very factual, according to Piper’s and most conservative Christian’s beliefs):

“God ordained marriage with the words: “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  It is one thing to tolerate sin. It is another to build society on it.”

I do not believe in hating on people for their sin.  I would despise being hated on for my sin.

I do believe in loving people.  I do believe pointing people towards Him is the most loving thing we can do.

I will always think its interesting/unfortunate we talk about “certain” sins more than we do others.

What about pride, selfishness, covetousness, etc.  How come we don’t get in fueds and uproars about those things?

I do not believe in judging unbelieving, unrepentant people by God’s standards.

However with all of that said –

Just as public laws wouldn’t get changed or made if people didn’t speak out, God’s laws wouldn’t be remembered if people did not continue to tell them.

I have a responsibility to teach my son about God and call to remembrance the things God has done and said.

He is not going to grow up in a world where they are the most popular (obviously).

And so, with all this talk/fighting on the internet.  This is my very small way of standing up for what I believe God meant when He made marriage and why I will not vote otherwise.  Even if I get hated on by the people that tell me to stop judging/hating/etc (John 15:18–19)

I hope I have honored Him and His word like He commands 1 Peter 3:15

15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

1 year, 9 months.

That’s how long I’ve been married to my sweet husband.

Today he woke me up like he usually does.

With sweet kisses and getting back into bed even though he has been up for 2 hours, to cuddle for a minute until I can actually open my eyes.

Then he did what he does sometimes,

him: “do you need some coffee?”

me: makes a sound that resembles mhmm

him: back with the coffee, holding it up to my nose, “come on make your noise”.

me: mmmm (you have to hear it in person to understand)

While he took a shower I prayed, and sipped my coffee, and rubbed my belly thanking God for our son.

He came out and we read a letter from a book called “Note to Self”.  It is an excellent quick read, good for devotionals, etc.  We highly recommend it.

This morning’s was a note to self about pride, the instigator of all sin.  So good, humbling, and convicting.  Wonder what I’ll do with it today? 

Portion of 1 Peter 5:5 God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Yesterday, Micah’s co-workers threw him and another lady a surprise baby shower.  I was invited to come be part of the surprise.  It was our first “shower” and as I saw him hold up those mini shoes and onsies, open the diapers and say he is going to try and change all of them (apparently our pastor gave him this advice, Kevin Hass- thank you.period.), hear his co-workers talk about how nice, sweet, helpful, and humble he is, and hear Micah talk about Haddon’s upcoming arrival with a sparkle in his eyes, I felt more blessed by the second.

Who am I that I get to spend my life with such an awesome man of God?  It is evident he has an awesome reputation because of the transforming work Christ has done in his life, and it’s not only obvious to me.

We were learning about qualities of elders on Sunday and my heart literally felt like it was getting bigger and more grateful with every characteristic taught.  I don’t care if Micah is ever an official “elder” of a church.  He embodies so many things biblical men are supposed to look like.  I am more than proud of him.

I am also humbled that he is my leader.  I can’t wait to see him father Haddon.

We’ll spend our 1 year, 9 month anniversary by going on a Riverside Hospital Tour for labor and delivery and then scootin on over to bible study.  When we get home we’ll eat Kate Sacra’s wedding cupcakes as is our monthly anniversary tradition.

I am thankful for one more day of waking up by his side, and one more month of marriage.  I hope for many more.

Thank you Father for my sweet husband who teaches me and makes life so full.

Counting the Ways.

Baby cakes,

Thanks for loving me so well.  I know it’s only because of His love over you that you can do it like you do.

1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us”.

Here are some (as insignificant as they may seem) really important ways you show your love for me.

  1. Thank you that we don’t have cable.
  2. Thank you that you sold your game system before we were even engaged.
  3. Thank you that we don’t have the internet.
  4. Thank you that we spent almost the whole winter (so far) with nights by the fireplace reading.
  5. Thank you that you let me have workout time.
  6. Thank you that you let me cook for you and have never ever complained about something I made.
  7. Thank you for when you cook even though you rather do almost anything else.
  8. Thank you that you encourage me to be thrifty and wise instead of coming up with gourmet meals.
  9. Thank you for not caring when I do spend a lot of money at the grocery store.
  10. Thank you that you don’t have a hobby, obsession, or anything else that you prioritize over our family.
  11. Thank you that you don’t drink a lot or care about going out.
  12. Thank you that you don’t spend ridiculous amounts of money.
  13. Thank you for teaching me to be more conscience of what I spend.
  14. Thank you for waking me up every single morning even if you have already left the house.
  15. Thank you for cuddling me for 30 minutes every morning when you are home in the morning (that time needs to be cut down though…haha).
  16. Thank you for always asking what you can do to help.
  17. Thank you for calling me when you get off work every day.
  18. Thank you for being so considerate and sweet to others, you are such an example to me.
  19. Thank you for talking to our son and making me feel beautiful as a pregnant lady.
  20. Thank you for your willingness to get healthy so you can help me after he is born (I do not thank you that he seems to have your genes and desires for ice cream and cookies).
  21. Thank you for printing things off the internet for me when you think they will be beneficial.
  22. Thank you for reading and studying so that I trust you for guidance.
  23. Thank you that you are goofy and use that silly, ridiculous voice with me and then ask me why I am the one that does that to you.
  24. Thank you for always driving.
  25. Thank you for always opening my car door.
  26. Thanks for that time you called and asked if I wanted any chick fil a (just FYI, always, the answer is always yes).
  27. Thank you that you care about providing but not about “finding yourself” through a job or career.
  28. Thank you that every time I ask for a kiss you say “how about a bunch of em”.
  29. Thank you that you read to me in the morning sometimes before I can even open my eyes.
  30. Thank you that you want to shower so you smell good for me.
  31. Thank you that sometimes you let me gel your hair since I think it’s cute.
  32. Thank you that you always ask what you can eat out of the fridge to make sure we use up things that go bad.
  33. Thank you for running errands and never complaining about it (unless you can’t find something in a certain aisle).
  34. Thank you for chasing me around the house (even if it’s with a harmonica…), I hope we always play.
  35. Thank you for marrying me into an awesome family.
  36. Thank you for loving mine.
  37. Thank you for not being perfect.
  38. Thank you for not holding grudges against me.
  39. Thank you that you always want to talk things out.
  40. Thank you that you are quick to forgive.
  41. Thank you for your attitude.
  42. Thank you that you care about our God and pleasing Him.
  43. Thank you for loving us Micah Downs.

I had Microsoft word count for me and that is just 43 ways you love so well.

MWAH.

Is Marriage for Holiness and/or Happiness?

by Micah.

After a year and a half of marriage, I can honestly say that I love it. 90% of the time, when Sarah and I are alone, we are just as happy with one another as you see us in public. (just a lot more goofy). In fact, we suppress our giddiness for one another while others are around. There is, however, another 10% or so that we are in disagreement with one another about one thing or another. It’s usually something that has grown out of selfishness and a desire to be pleased by the other, and it takes the most frequent form of different opinions concerning cleanliness or lack thereof. (“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is not part of God’s written word to us; although I think that Sarah is more tempted to add that principal than any other!)

One way that I let my sin deceive me is by instinctively having a desire to always get along, and to change that 90% to 100%. I tell myself that things would be easier; that we would actually be engaged in a healthier relationship if we were not disagreeing, and that the joy of our marriage would increase if we saw eye-to-eye on everything. This is a horrendous misconception and does not allow the Holy Spirit to change us. This desire is much more selfish even than me wanting things “my way!”

I forget that in part, marriage is meant to change us and make us more like Jesus. I am quick to overlook the practical implications of Sarah and I entering into a covenant relationship. We were given to each other as a gift to encourage, love, remind, help, lead, rebuke, and change one-another. These situations allow the Holy Spirit to work in us as they lead to being more joyful. It helps us be changed more into who we are as God’s children and how we were created to love each other and God being made in the image of God.

Sarah and I read in a book, “what if marriage is to make you holy, and not happy.” We agreed and quoted this for a time, but these are not contradictory ends! Sarah, being used as God’s instrument of changing me to be more like Jesus, is a gift to me to change me. Yes, she makes me happier, but when she is being used by God to reveal my selfishness, it is not something to dread, it’s something to celebrate. Christians learn to realize that suffering is a gift for the purpose of looking forward to the hope of the Glory of God (Romans 5:1-4), and so is each and every opportunity that I have to serve my darling wife. Our relationship is a catalyst to team up with one another to better be prepared for the Divine Marriage after we die. It’s to make us both happy, and holy. This is because true happiness for the person who by faith loves Jesus, is evidenced by a love of becoming more holy.

For Christmas, Sarah bought “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller. I highly recommend it whether you’re single, married or divorced. The thoughts above were initiated by reading a chapter of it last night!

Baby D.

Forgive me for being MIA for almost the whole month of November, but I had a lot on my mind and was afraid I would let it leak.

I would like to officially introduce you to our baby-

baby sonogram, sonogram, 12w sonogram

{Baby D was so active the first time we met}

He/she is 12 weeks and 3 days old.

What a surprise.  What a blessing.  What a miracle.

I always thought conception and birth were amazing, but now that it’s happening to me and I get the front row seat so to speak, I am just in awe of our Creator, His way of bringing forth life, and the way He fashions us.

I’ve always wanted to be a mother and now that I am, it feels surreal.  Can’t understand why God would allow me to be.  I still have so much to learn, etc.  I know He will use this baby as a huge way he teaches me though.  I am so thankful.

I can’t imagine a better father for this child than my husband.  He is the most genuine, caring, thoughtful man I know.  He loves so well, and sacrifices daily, he is an awesome teacher, goofy as you would never believe, and as serious as he should be when he needs to be. 

If there are two things this baby will not lack in it is: affection and love. 

I am so glad that Micah and I can be an example to him/her of parents that adore one another.

I dont want this blog to turn into a pregnancy or baby blog, however, I’m sure a lot of posts will now consist of the ways God is sanctifying me through pregnancy and preparing us to be parents.  I’ve already had huge lessons!