God +Love > Sweatpants--wellofaith.com

Fallen World “Beauty”: God + Love is Greater Than Sweatpants

God+Love > Sweatpants

This article was originally posted in 2015.

This is Why the World Can’t Have Beauty

Recently I stumbled across and interview Eva Mendes gave where she stated that the end of a marriage can be directly related to the wife wearing sweatpants.

If you want to read the original article that led to this posting click here.

Say what?

Normally, I don’t pay a lot of attention to what celebrities talk about.

I especially don’t tend pay attention to celebrities who feel qualified to give marital advice when they’re not married.

However, reading many of the comments linked with these articles on social media made me reconsider.

In Society Today, Beauty is Only Skin Deep

There are a lot of women–too many women–who feel Eva Mendes is correct.

They believe in this day of Photoshop and plastic surgery what a wife wears is the true key to the longevity of their marriage.

I need to clear this up.

For everyone.

Or, at the very least, for the people who read my weekly ramblings.

What We Wear At Home Should Not Be a Deciding Factor in the Strength of Our Relationship With Our Spouse.

God+Love>Sweatpants--wellofaith.com
No, this isn’t my husband or me. It is a great photo, and captures exactly what should connect a husband and wife.

Marriages are a contract, yes, but they’re a contract that should be tied to a deep and abiding love and faithfulness– to not only our spouse, but to God.

When I got married, I distinctly remember the minister mispronouncing my short name, but getting my husband’s long, long, long name correct. the words, “for better or for worse” among the words my husband and I repeated.

I’m sure there are people who will smirk and say, “For better or for worse doesn’t have anything to do with bad style choices.” I disagree. Completely.

If my husband’s love for me were directly tied to the way I looked, our marriage would have ended years ago.

I may not wear sweatpants, but I also don’t wake up each morning before my husband so he doesn’t see me without my ‘face’ on.

For that matter, I rarely wear make-up, so there’s that.

He’s seen me with bedhead, fighting the stomach flu.

I’ve had chronic migraines, that have done nothing for the way I look; and long ago, he saw me when I drank too much.

None of these sights were pretty, and they’re all a heck of a lot worse than him seeing me in a pair of sweatpants.

Love Isn’t About the Way You Look, It’s About the Connection You Have With Someone’s Heart.

Love is the butterflies you get in your stomach when you know you’re going to see them; it’s the comfort their presence brings you, without them saying anything.

It’s knowing that you don’t have to doll yourself up all the time to impress them, because they’re impressed with the way God created you.

God+Love>Sweatpants--wellofaith.com
I can guarantee I’m wearing work out leggings in the picture. Possibly baby spit too. Also, pretty sure my three year old is wrapped around my leg.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

1 Peter 3:3-4

They don’t love you because of the adornments you use to be fashionable or beautiful for a materialistic world.

I understand what she ‘might’ have been trying to say.

Women Should Take Pride in Themselves.

The biggest problem with associating this with a type of pants, is that people miss the bigger picture.

Pride in yourself is fine–as long as you remember everything you have is God’s.

Be careful about having too much pride in your good looks, your perfect body, or the clothes you wear.

All of those things are fleeting.

The beauty God created inside you–your heart and soul–those are where the true strength of your marriage will come from.

So, ladies if you feel like your husband (or boyfriend) will leave you if you don’t look your best, walk away.

He’s not the one for you.

Don’t sell yourself short for someone only interested in the outer trappings.

Find that person who will love you even when you’re looking your worst, because he’ll see the beauty God created.

Besides, no one wants to be worried about their hair or make-up at two in the morning–when they’re in labor.

No one.

Trust me.

God + Love > sweatpants. Always.

Until next time,

wellofaith
God+Love>Sweatpants--wellofaith.com

Father’s Day and Healing

Three days ago we scattered my father’s ashes in the Puget Sound. A place he’d always loved. The week leading up to the memorial was rough and emotions ran high with everyone. I wanted nothing more than to forget about the whole thing and keep my father’s ashes on my shelf, because as soon as they were removed from their place of honor, lonliness enveloped me. He’d been there since February, a constant companion in my home. It was time to let him go, but I wasn’t sure I was ready.

At the approximate time the sun would have been setting, had the rain not decided to join our tears, we said a final goodbye to the man who had taught us so many things. There was laughter amidst the inappropriate humor my father was so used to from my sister Rae, and me. As she shared her memories, it occured to me that my father was a wonderfully flawed person. He swore, he drank, he was selfish, and was always impatient. I realized much of my personality came from him. Many of my strengths and many of my weaknesses were nurtured and ingrained at his knee. My father made many mistakes in his life, but one thing he did that wasn’t a mistake, was loving his children inspite of our differences, and sometimes because of them.

With that knowledge, it was important to remind myself that we all grieve differently, and that emotions are strong factors in the way we react to situations. That night wasn’t about who we were, it was about who he was. There was no right or wrong way to memorialize him. Whether it was drinking a bottle of wine in his memory as the rain poured down, or closing off from others and holding inside whatever emotion was burning the heart. We needed to set aside our various differences, ignore the typical family dynamic and just be there for one last moment with the man who had raised us in the only way he knew how.

After the others left, I sat on the bench beside the water with my dear friend. We watched otters play in the current, and I cried. Big, ugly, body wracking tears. For months there had been a pain inside my heart that couldn’t seem to heal. It was like a splinter left just beneath the surface, and it was festering as the days went on. I didn’t realize it, even as I sat there, that the healing had finally began. For the months since my father passed, I was in a holding pattern, not really grieving, but not really healing either.

Three days before Father’s Day, the proverbial splinter was finally removed, the wound cleaned, and my body and soul could really begin to heal.

When Sunday arrived I was leary of attending church. It was my first Father’s Day without my Dad. I didn’t know what to expect, and I was concerned I’d break down and not be able to stop. In fact, I almost decided not to go, to stay home and be safe from the emotions, smiles, and warm wishes of others.

Instead, I prayed.

Then I put on my big girl pants and joined my family in church.

It was a wonderful day. The words were exactly what I needed to hear, and my heart didn’t ache. For the first time in months I didn’t feel like I would get blown away in a stiff breeze, or shatter like glass. I felt free. With the scattering of my Father’s ashes, a weight was lifted from my shoulders. My Father is truly at peace now, and even though I might not be completely there yet, I am on my way. My heart is light and I am filled with the Joy of the Holy Spirit.

Life moves on and changes, much like the tides of the sea.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy and may you forever be at rest in the place you loved best.

Sare

Changes in Life

Each new day that dawns brings changes, whether we notice these changes or not doesn’t make them less important. Not every change is HUGE. Not every change makes you stand up and take notice.

Every once in a while, though, a change (or even several) will occur that makes a HUGE and noticeable difference in your life. This year has already been a year of changes, and not all of them have been positive in their nature, even if they have led to positive things.

While each of these major life changes are important to who I am as a person, some of them deserve their own blog post, so I won’t include them here. Today, though, I want to focus on two things that have added a positive spin to my chaotic life.

Not long ago my husband and I contemplated purchasing a home, but as we began the process we quickly realized my student loans were going to be a huge (like $72,000 huge) hurdle. This led to our first aha moment. Even though this wasn’t really a positive thing for us, and it was a huge  disappointment, it came to be a huge blessing.

I started praying for something to come up that would help me use my soon to be finished degree and help me to pay down the student loans before they’re due.

This led to wonderful change number one.

A wonderful opportunity to help service members, veterans, and their spouses was introduced to me, and I have been able to join the team as a freelance writer; creating professional resumes and bios for these members as they transition to life in the civilian world. It has already proved to be exciting, educational, and although not exactly what I had expected, is pretty perfect for me.

The second amazing change to occur happened by chance. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an announcement about Usborne Books and More. I’d heard of them in passing before, but had never really taken the time to look into them. This time, it felt like there was a tap on my shoulder nudging me to check it out.

It didn’t take me long to realize this was something I could truly get behind. As a book worm with a family of avid readers, I’ve always been a huge proponent of engaging children and adults with good books instead of video games. Joining the Usborne Books and More team definitely fits well with my family. I’m excited that these opportunities came just when I needed them to, and I’m so thankful to have the ability to remain home with my children while I work toward paying off those student loans.

God’s Work in My Family

Since the day I got down on my knees and asked Jesus to guide me through this life, to save me from the person I’d become, and to fill me with his Holy and loving Spirit, I’ve seen my life change before my eyes. Some days are easier than others, but each day brings me closer to His presence.

It doesn’t end there, though. I’ve seen His work in others in my family as well. I’ve seen it in the way my daughter is growing; always thinking of others who might not have the things she does. She always searches for ways to be of help, either to me, her brother, or a little kid at the park who seems lonely.

God isn’t just working in her life. He’s working in the heart of my husband as well. In the beginning he went to church, because it was what I wanted to do, and he wanted to be there for me. He didn’t care which church we went to, and would have preferred if I’d chosen a Catholic church. I didn’t, and I don’t ever regret that decision.

He has become a different person. He no longer attends church just because I want to. In fact on those days when I’ve become too overwhelmed by people and desperately want to stay home and spend solitary time with the LORD, he’ll motivate me to get dressed and go (sometimes even he can’t get me to go for fellowship, because sometimes I just need the silence and the personal time with my Bible and the LORD).

Recently, I feel God placed in his heart something I never could have on my own. My husband felt called to volunteer, and he looked into opportunities and found the one that he felt in his heart the LORD was leading him to. On Monday night he spent time at a men’s home helping with dinner, and spending time getting to know the men living there. He came home tired but filled with a new light. I look forward to the changes the LORD brings to my family and myself.

Praise the LORD!

Why I’m Saying ‘No’.

When people hear about homeschool, they tend to ask the question that every homeschooling parent rolls his or her eyes at. “What about socialization?”

Let me put this in perspective for you. First, as the saying goes, “I’ve seen the village, and I don’t want it raising my children.” Second, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know I find true discomfort being ‘social’. You also know that I ignore that idiosyncrasy for my children’s benefit.

Obviously we're an un-socialized family.
Obviously we’re an un-socialized family.

My children, but especially my seven year old daughter, have no shortage of socialization. They’re social with children at church, at Awana, at our local homeschool meet-up, and at various play dates. They interact regularly with both children younger and older than they are, as well as adults.

People who have never educated their children at home have a hard time understanding just how many possibilities there are to make sure children get adequate time with others. In fact, sometimes there are just too many possibilities. There is such a thing as too much socializing. Not just for the moms, like me, who find socializing to be more exhausting than manual labor, but for the children as well.

God has called us, as parents, to raise our children, to teach them, and to train them. While that does include spending time running around outside, or playing “Narnia” (feel free to insert whatever imaginary game your children currently find interesting–this seems to be my daughter’s favorite this month) make-believe with friends, that isn’t the only thing. We need to spend time together at home. Our children need to see what it means to be a family. This includes responsibilities,like chores and actual school work. After all, those bathrooms don’t clean themselves.

Normally, we don’t have a problem balancing socialization with our at home studies. Keyword there is normally. This week is anything but normal. In fact this is a week where socialization is threatening to take over our lives. With that in mind I think a cave far away from people sounds delightful. This is where the sometimes magical word, ‘no’ comes in. For both my want of a cave (no, Sare, you can’t run away to a cave), and for adding anything else to our already packed plate.

It’s okay to say no.

In fact, children whose parents say no don’t appear to grow up with extra arms or an uncontrollable need to brush their hair with eating utensils (I’m looking at you, Ariel). At least, not that I’ve ever seen.

Repeat after me: It’s okay to say no.

You’re not a bad parent if you do. Ignore that guilt. Your children will survive if they don’t get to hangout with Susie Q tomorrow. Especially if she already hung out with two other friends this week. Children need downtime as much as they need socialization. Sometimes, I think they need it more.

I’m saying no, because there is so much on our schedule this week we haven’t had a chance to enjoy each other. All our time together feels rushed. We ARE rushed. I homeschool my children, because I want them to have every opportunity to excel and to thrive. I don’t believe a person can really thrive when they are so busy they don’t have a chance to breathe, or process what they’ve already done.

So, I’m choosing to embrace the word no, and I’ve decided I will not feel guilty about it.

At least not too guilty.

In what ways have you embraced ‘no’?

Sare

My One Word: Fellowship.

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Our LORD is amazing and He works in ways we couldn’t begin to imagine. He has a plan for my life, and even though I’m not sure yet what that plan is, I know it will be amazing.

When I first chose FELLOWSHIP as my word for this year, I didn’t know what it would mean. Honestly, I’m still not one-hundred percent sure what it means or what it will mean at the end of 2015. What I do know is that I’m already seeing evidence of God’s work on me through it.

My husband and I have been attending our church since the first Sunday we were in town–so just over a year now. Our church has an active military group who meet twice a month for fellowship and study. During the last year I’ve interacted with most of the people in this group, yet never once was I aware of the FELLOWSHIP that was available. Then, this past Sunday, my husband and I were invited to join the others.

It was TIME.

A month ago, I probably wouldn’t have been open and receptive to the invitation. It was socializing, and what was even more deterring, it was socializing with other military families. Something I’ve been known to shy away from, because of a number of bad experiences in the past.

This week, my heart was open and waiting. I heard the voice inside whisper, “This is for you. Say yes.”

On Monday my husband and I, along with our two children went to our first small group fellowship, and in so many ways it was right. It filled my cup with laughter and joy. We discussed upcoming studies, and it was refreshing to know others going through the same things I was.

After an emotionally draining day, God knew exactly what I would need. He opened a door for me, and I walked through it. I can’t wait for what He’ll teach me through this experience with FELLOWSHIP.

Do you have a particular moment of Fellowship that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it.

Prayers to you and yours,

Sare

Loss

On December 30, a dear friend of my niece’s went home to the LORD. She was a young woman with plans and dreams. She was a new mom with a little boy about the same age as my own son. Her loss was as unexpected to her family as it was to my niece. Although I didn’t know her personally I’d like to take a moment to pray for those affected by her loss.

Please, join me in praying for her family and loved ones.

Heavenly Father,

May her family and loved ones find peace in Your Greatness. May their hearts be filled with happy memories of her love and laughter. May her son grow up hearing wonderful stories of her love for him. LORD I ask that you comfort her family and friends while they grieve and help them to find solid ground once again.

Amen.

Sare

A Year of Walking in Faith

For those of us who don’t plan on being awake at midnight tonight, tomorrow begins the first day of a brand new year. I’ll have to remember to write 2015 at the tops of my school papers and just when I get used to that it’ll be 2016. Such is the ongoing cycle of life.

This past year has been filled with experiences, both good and bad. I began the year, not with a list of resolutions, but with a single word to focus myself throughout the twelve months of 2014. As many of you who have followed my admittedly sporadic posts know my word for 2014 was FAITH.

When I chose FAITH, I didn’t know how it would affect my life. I just knew that after prayerful consideration I felt led to choose it. Through those five little letters I grew and changed just as the seasons around me did. I learned more about myself, about God, and about the wonderful strength having a little bit of FAITH can bring.

Things happened during the year I’m not yet free to speak about, and truthfully might never be. However, I know, without a doubt, that without the LORD and FAITH I wouldn’t have made it through without a lot worse scars. I wouldn’t have had the strength to face the pain, the horror, and the heartbreak that hit my family. I wouldn’t have had the strength to stand strong for my family.

What started out as a word, became a living experience each day. FAITH was no longer just a word, but a natural part of who I now am. Each day my FAITH grows stronger and deeper. As I watch people I know change and become more bogged down in the world, my FAITH in God and His plans grows. As our society tears itself apart at the seams with racial tensions and anti-law enforcement protests, I have a strong FAITH in the plans the LORD has. I can’t explain the reasons, or why FAITH is so important, I just know it is.

I started out the year with no answers to the problems facing the world today, and I still don’t have them. What I do have though, is a FAITH in a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He carries the burdens of the world, so that we don’t have to. Is every day sunshine and lollipops? No, but they are made brighter by the unconditional love and forgiveness the LORD has given me.

So as 2014 fades away into the darkness and 2015 rises into the light, I have prayerfully considered what word will guide me through the coming year.

I am not a particularly social person, and I prefer my own company or the company of my husband and children to that of others. I prefer the solace of my home to the bustling energy of public gatherings, but regardless of these facts, I feel God has led me to focus on FELLOWSHIP in whatever ways He decides throughout the year.

I have no doubt that the next twelve months will be just as educational and enlightening for me as the last twelve were. I look forward to each lesson God will teach me and pray that I never turn my back on His teachings.

With Prayer and Love for you in the New Year,

Sare

“For to us a child was born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Snuggles with the LORD

I don’t know if many of you have heard of the DVD series, “Buck Denver asks…What’s in the Bible”. It’s from Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales. When I popped in the first DVD and realized it was a bunch of puppets I was NOT excited. I dislike puppets. I was the weird kid who didn’t like the Muppets. In fact, I still don’t like the Muppets. I do however, enjoy these puppets now.

Each morning this week, after our one-on-one studies are completed, my kiddos and I take a break for some snuggles on the couch. We watch one of the thirty minute episodes (today’s was on 2 Samuel), and I smile when my youngest who isn’t quite a year-and-a-half yet, starts dancing on his bum. My daughter, who has seen many of these episodes in Children’s Church will giggle and sing along with the songs. I’m not ashamed to say I often find myself tapping my foot or my fingers to the beat as we all sit together.

It is wonderful to know that something created for kids can still entertain an adult. It is even better to know, that even though we don’t watch a lot of television- preferring books for our entertainment- that there are shows out there that teach wonderful things. This show has opened up the stories of the Bible in a great way.

I love being able to snuggle with my children while they learn about the LORD…

Okay, I admit it, I’m learning too. 🙂

Snuggles and the LORD…a great way to start any day. 🙂

Sare

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

The Well-Trained Mind

Homeschooling is a very new adventure for my family, and everyday we find something new to learn about it. We spent a month working on a unit study of volcanoes and working on a lapbook of them. That seemed to work well. During that time my daughter also worked through Life of Fred Butterflies for her math. We snuck in grammar and history through various things, but I just didn’t feel it was solid enough for us.

So I did what I do.

I read.

At the beginning of this journey I did a lot of reading. I read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with the homeschool highway. While reading I noticed people talking about “The Well-Trained Mind”, and it didn’t sound like anything I was interested it.

Until, after days of praying for a better way, I was.

So I bought the book and read through the chapters dealing with the Grammar stage. This is the learning stage my daughter is currently in. Then I borrowed the book, First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. I was floored. This is it. This is exactly what I was looking for, but didn’t realize it.

It’s the Classical Approach to learning, and it is what I know in my heart we need. At least for this season. I’ve prayed about it, and like with the knowledge I needed to homeschool, this feels right.

On Monday, we’ll be beginning our first official day of learning in the Well-Trained Mind. We’ll learn from FLL and from Story of the World Volume One. We’ll continue with Life of Fred, and all our reading we do. We’ll begin learning about animals as outlined in TWTM, and we’ll continue to spend time with our Lord.

This is just another step in our learning process. It may not be forever, but it is for this season. I’ll continue to turn to God with my questions and problems, and he’ll continue to guide me along this path for as long as is right.

Do you homeschool your children? If so, what approach do you use? Please share with us in the comments below.

May God Bless You All,

Sare