So here we are at the "end" of the challenge, and I'm needing to wrap up the past TWO weeks. I'm really sorry I've been so late in getting these up. If you read my previous post, you'll get an idea as to why I've been a bit absent. Now Emma is getting over the nasty bug Chloe had. Hopefully in a day or so, we'll be officially DONE with this illness for awhile! We also had company over the fourth weekend, which I'll post about soon.
So now into how I've been doing at honoring Travis in the past two weeks. I know you read this from time to time honey, so you'll have to let me know if what I'm writing is accurate.
1. Don't use sarcasm!
Well, I can think of a time when I used it last night, so obviously I still need work in this area. But I was pleased to see how quickly I recognized I was doing it, it was actually while I was saying something sarcastic! So thank you Lord for keeping me aware of this so that hopefully I can begin stopping myself before I even say a word of sarcasm. I've also been thinking about when I am most prone to use this dreadful form of communication and it is usually when I am feeling the most hurt, misunderstood, or vulnerable with Travis. In my mind, I am justifying it as the best way to get my point across when other attempts don't seem to be sinking in, and it's usually in a burst of passion and anger. But I think what I need to do in those situations is step away and really think about how I can explain myself and my feelings about something and then come to Travis in a calm, controlled way and, with honor, share my heart. And then, if he still doesn't get it, I need to resolve to pray for him, that he will get it somehow and/or that I will be able to let it go and let God meet my needs if Travis can't at that moment. Even though this is the end of the challenge technically, I really want to keep working on these goals, so I'm going to try to continue to report on them, don't hesitate to ask me how I'm doing.
2. Suggest a free time activity for Travis and create the guilt-free time for him to do it.
Hmm... I'm discovering that I have a long way to go in this department! Lately I feel that creating free time for Travis, without requesting his help and presence at home, is extremely difficult. I think what makes it so difficult is that I have a hard time not expecting the same in return from him. If this truly is a selfless act of putting his needs before my own, blessing him, loving him sacrificially, then I wouldn't be feeling resentful when I don't get the same guilt-free free time or other acts that speak love to me in return. But equality, though pop culture would beg to differ, is not the goal. We are to be an example of Christ's love for us to others, and first and foremost to our husbands. Did Jesus tell his disciples, "I'll die on the cross for your sins, but only if you treat me like royalty first!"? No, we are to "lay down our lives" for our brothers and sisters in Christ in obedience to the Lord and as living examples of the kind of love He as for us. Amazing, illogical, undeserved love! So where does that leave us when we give and don't always receive? It leaves us as poured out jars of clay, ready to be filled with the rich wine of our Master's love and provision. If we are full by other means, we leave no room for his filling. So again, I continue to need pruning!
3. Say good things about Travis, in front of him and when he's not around
It's amazing to me how much easier it seems to produce more good fruit in my life than it is to purge the sour grapes! As long as I am being conscious in my efforts, I see improvement. I have, ever since we moved into our new home, been impressed at how diligent Travis is at taking care of our landscaping and other items around the house that need attention. He keeps a beautiful green, trimmed lawn, vibrant shrubs and bushes, and has become so knowlegable and self-driven about our sprinkler system. I've been bragging on him, both in front of others and when he's not around. I can tell he derives pleasure from taking care of our house, and it makes me feel so loved and cared for. I've also affirmed him about how selfless he is in the night time hours when it comes to tending to sick babies. Since the girls have been sick the past two weeks, I've really seen his colors shining through. He's usually the first to spring out of bed at the first whimper, wetting rags for hot foreheads, preparing syringes of medicine, laying next to Emma in bed until she falls asleep, stroking her hair. I tell you, he reminds me every day of what a treasure he is as my life mate, and it's been my pleasure to verbalize my gratitude to him more often. I'm going to continue to make this a priority.
I guess that wraps up the challenge, but I consider this only the beginning. Christine, I think this should be an every-six-months marriage tune up or something! Thanks for letting me be vulnerable about this. It is my prayer that everything I learn might encourage or inspire someone else!