Yes, I AM Broken.

Have you ever thought about how many relationships you have been in during your lifetime?

No, I don’t mean just boyfriends, girlfriends, fiancés, ex-husbands, etc. I had a few of those, don’t get me wrong, but I mean relationships with people that haven’t worked out the way you’d wished when they started. Even family members! These severed relationships, hurt feelings, unmet expectations and desires, all of these things cause us to be broken. Point being: WE ARE ALL BROKEN.

This was, as you can guess, the theme of the 2nd session of our Re-engage class. How life in general has left us all broken. Therefore, we are all (in some part) the cause of failures in our marriages. The hardest thing that I had to do in this lesson was to look at my past. And I sort of hate things in my past. I hate things that I did, things that happened that I can’t change, the way I treated people, or the way I was treated by others. What about you? I have realized the greatest thing about the past is that you can use it for GOOD!

Let’s play a game!

Oh I love games… ok but not the ones that make me look bad. Just hear me out though – Take a second to draw a figurative circle around yourself and do some digging. Not into the wrongs that your spouse has committed against you, but maybe how YOU responded to those wrongs. That time that you didn’t encourage your husband when he was having a really hard week. Or maybe when your wife wasn’t at her best, nagging you about something ridiculous (I’ve never done this for the record), and instead of giving her the benefit of the doubt, you pointed out her flaws. Point being, no matter how hard you try, there is absolutely nothing that you can do to ‘fix’ your spouse. Not nagging, not pointing out their flaws, having distain for them, list goes on..

This verse was just a good slap in the face for me:

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”  Romans 2:1

Just remember when you start to point a finger at your spouse, pray about how you could approach a conflict or situation differently than you normally might. I do this all the time now, I don’t always get it right but that’s ok! Think about it this way, if your spouse ALSO draws a circle around themselves, that’s when the change will start to come. You have to both be willing to reflect on your brokenness and use it for good.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18

Until next time –

~Amy @Marilyn Sue

Love Thy Spouse

I am NOT a patient person.

No, really. Jaime likes to remind me at least once a week. So naturally, when it came to starting our Re-engage class, the pace was a little too slow for my taste. First you have to go to orientation, the next few weeks you participate in large discussion groups until you are chosen for a small group. Luckily there were so many people like us, anxiously awaiting to be the chosen, we landed in a small group pretty quickly.

That all being said, when I started to read our first lesson titled ‘LOVE’ (yes, you have to do homework), I thought – Love your spouse? Duh. Of course. SKIPPING THIS CHAPTER. I mean, the chapter is pretty much focused on everybody’s favorite, or most loathed wedding verse –

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

This verse was purposefully not read at our wedding. Instead, my friend Susan read this beautiful Etta James song that I felt was more unique, not so played out. I went back and read the words to our wedding song that was proclaimed out loud for 200 people to hear. Sounded good. Did not play out in real life.

Turns out, my love is not as deep as the ocean.

And for that matter, my love is not patient or even very kind at times. I’m not really a jealous person (skimming through 1 Corinthians)… but proud, demanding of my own way? Oh yeah, that’s me. After really digging into 1 Corinthians, I realized this verse is much more than the corny wedding readings give it credit for. It is truly a manual, a how-to guide for true love. The key is really learning to master it, slowly by dissecting each piece.

After soaking in the intensity of a chapter about how to love, we actually had to answer questions. Personally, on how we love. And talk about them out loud. To other people. My GOSH. Well, luckily I’m sort of an open book. So here’s an example:

  • Which ONE of the qualities of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 do you struggle with the most?

One. Let me think. Patience is a struggle. But kindness is only a struggle when I’m not treated how I deserve. Oh and pride – I’m pretty proud. I never get irritable though, cross that off the list. (LOL)  Keeps no record of being wronged… I could go on but wow, it really became tough for me to choose only ONE quality of love that I truly struggled with.

In the end, the simplest fact was taken away from this lesson. My husband is a child of God. And I should think of him that way. Since reading this chapter, when I start to get those negative vibes about him, I just tell myself, Jaime is someone’s child. In fact, he’s God’s child. And Belinda’s… but you get my point. I personally love my child SO much that I would go to the ends of the earth for him. I really would. But wow, this is how much I’m supposed to love my husband?

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:12

Maybe if I tried harder to utilize this how-to-guide for loving my spouse, rather than rolling my eyes during wedding ceremonies, God will show me how to love more completely. Instead of me, once again, trying to figure out this love-thing all on my own.

I’m starting to notice a pattern here…

 

~Amy @Marilyn Sue

Re-engaging.

As I mentioned at the start of this blog, I’m digging into the heart and soul of things. I’m not messing around. So that being said let’s do this!

And wow, I have to say, I am so glad that a fresh new year is here for us to bask in its glow, in God’s glory. Because 2015 went downhill for our family real quickly. See, the problem was that I thought I had it all figured out. I had the job of my dreams helping Veterans with disabilities. I mean what a calling. Then God said, not so fast. Is this your plan or my plan? I can tell you this now with a smile on my face. But months back, I would have cried. I actually had a friend at church ask me in the Fall how things were going and I immediately cried and ran off like a baby. She is probably reading this and remembers that awkward moment.

So back when I thought I had my life all figured out, I was reading a book with some friends called, The Power of a Praying Wife. It’s actually a beautiful book that I highly recommend and plan to re-read now that I actually do pray for him without resentment.

THIS IS THE MOMENT IT ALL CHANGED FOR ME.

Secretly, each chapter hit me hard. I was bitter toward my husband for so many things over the years but I didn’t want my church friends to know that. So I tried really hard to pray for him, but I had hardness in my heart. I selfishly felt that if I had it all together with my cush part-time job, me-time, extra time with my son – my prayers to change my husband would be answered. Here is what I prayed (abridged version), get ready to laugh,

“God please help Jaime to realize that I’m amazing and show that to ME more.  Give him a great job so we don’t have to worry about finances, and I can maybe work a little less… shop a little more.  I mean, spend more time with my son.. maybe shop a little more.  Thanks God.” 

Shortly after this time, I lost my job. What a shocker! I realized that I heavily identified myself by my career and I felt lost. I shut everyone out, including and mostly, my husband. Feeling that something needed to be fixed (but not me!), we talked to Pastor Andrew. I was so amazingly bitter that I needed a new word for bitter. Maybe aggrieved… I told him that Jaime needed to get his act together. Period. And I actually thought that was true. Our pastor recommended a free marriage class – I jumped on that like wild fire. See, I’ve been through marriage counseling in my past life and played the blame game. I’m pretty much a pro at it, so I was more than excited.

RE-ENGAGING.

We started this program called Re-Engage, which I’ve now discovered is a nationwide ministry for couples that need help, guidance, and definitely need the Lord in their marriage. When we walked in, I was shocked to see couples of all ages. Even couples in their 60s, 70s. I assumed by that time you would have it all together, or not care if you didn’t. Wow, that was such an eye opener for me, and made us both feel instantly at ease.

That night they asked us who is ‘to blame’ in our relationship. Obviously a tester question that had a hidden meaning, right? I said Jaime… Jaime also said Jaime. That’s when I realized what I had done.

Whoever hides his transgressions will not succeed, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will find mercy. Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into disaster.   Proverbs 28:13-14

And guess what? That very same night, my husband found out that he had lost his job too. Sometimes God has to WAKE YOU UP. In a BIG WAY. This was it for us.

More to come.

 

~ Amy @ Marilyn Sue

What are these Plans, Lord?

Oh hi, Amy here, and this is the absolute FIRST blog post for Marilyn Sue Designs. Wow how nerve racking, and I have to say, it was not easy. Finding the words, the perfect blog hosting site, website hosting site. Jeez I was tired before words even came off my fingers.

INSPIRE LOVE.

Yes I will talk about this subject a lot in my blog. I want this to be about real life, as a mom, a broken wife, a broken Christian, and how God has blessed us along the way. The least I can do with the life that I’ve been given is to inspire love.

Jeremiah 29LET GO.

My comfort level points me to my favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11, which I happen to have tattooed on my ribcage and I have not regretted as of yet!

Whether it be prospering a nation, or prospering a little family who is in search of love, acceptance, success, guidance, and a deeper love with God, the Lord has plans. Just let go.

FIND BEAUTY.

I don’t know about yours, but my family has gone through some real struggles. But as my friend Joseph Brewster once stated in an awesome time management MeetUp group (that I attended because I was unemployed, which was struggle #27 for my little family):

We need to find the beauty in the ocean and its vastness, its unpredictability.

After the discussion, Joseph asked me how I was using this time to soak it in, rather than let it sweep over me. Have you ever tried to control your own life? Impossible.

Speaking of the ocean, I heard this verse in a marriage class that Jaime and I have been going to every week. (Yes, we’re going to all of the MeetUps, classes, and sessions that we can.)

Pass through waters.JPG

I went back to my ribcage and really read those tattooed words – God has plans for my family. For your family. For YOU. If you’re passing through the waters right now, you have a friend in me. There is hope and a future; I’m really trying to focus on the beauty of that.

~ Amy @ Marilyn Sue

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About the photos:

  1. My Mom, Marilyn Sue, holding me as a baby.
  2. My cute Granny, in the hospital after falling, but not letting it get her down. Bravest 85 year old I know!