Wednesday, February 17, 2010

40 Days of Love

The 40 Days of Love began at our church on February 14. It consists of reading one chapter a day from the book 40 Days of Love and attending a small group once a week to discuss the chapter. We have chosen to attend the group led by our senior Pastor. Last night was our first meeting- Grandma and Grandpops watched Addie Girl for us.

So far, we have thouroughly enjoyed our assignment- reading one chapter a day of the book 40 Days of Love by Tom Holladay with my love. The basic principles of the first few chapters has been putting relationships, especially our relationship with the Lord, before other things such as money or tasks.

This really struck home with me. As I'm sure you have figured out, I am a very goal oriented person. I am lost without my things-to-do list, and I don't rethink or make adjustments to my list as quickly as I would like when the unexpected comes up. This chapter really made me think... Am I spending too much time worrying about and doing the unimportant when I should be strengthening relationships instead?

Right now, Addie is learning how to feed herself. And as wonderful as that is, sometimes I can't help but think of the mess I'm going to have to clean up afterward or counting how many times she has ended up in the bathtub after her meals. This chapter made me think, which is my priority? Spending the time teaching Addie to feed herself and keep her area somewhat neat or just having her eat so we can move on to the next item of the list.

I decided to make a list of what are the most important things for me to focus on. Relationally my time with the Lord must be first, spending a relaxed time with Brian (not sitting with him physically while mentally I'm making my to-do-list for the following day), playing with and teaching Addie (I only get these years with her once), spending time with my sister (I only have her here until July), and reaching out and spending time with family and friends (with the passing of my mother and cousin, I came to realize that people are not here forever). In my home, the most important things are for me to have food for my family to eat, clothes cleaned for them to wear, and a home that is clean for them to live in. Above that, I need to make sure that I do not take away from their time to accomplish my other goals (organizing, hobbies, etc.).

I am really enjoying the time I am spending with Brian reading the book together for two reasons. First, it reminds me of when during our dating and engagement, we used to read books together on my parents' back porch and then discuss what we had read, bringing up topics and conversations that we may never have had otherwise without the prompts, quotes, or conversation triggers. Secondly, reading has again prompted us to discuss things in our own relationship that we may not have thought of.

Communication was always one of our strong points, but sometimes it is easy to fall into a rut conversationally. Reading together definitely triggers conversations on a deeper level. I am definitely not the same person I was when we were dating. Six years of marriage, love, loss, working as a married woman, staying home as a mother, and Bible study in each of the roles I have played and will play has changed and molded me into who I am today and who I will become in the years ahead. Communication helps our spouse understand our ideas, inner workings, and values (somewhat...I don't think women can ever be coompletely understood especially when we don't always understand ourselves!) especially as they grow and develop throughout the years and span of your marriage.

I am going to encourage you to join me in taking of step back from the to-do list (or as some of us have the must-do list) and just spend some of that time building your relationship with the Lord, your spouse, children, or loved ones. When it is all said and done, I don't want my family remembering me for having an organized home. I want to be remembered for spending time building our relationships.

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