One Decade Down: marriage thoughts.

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I’ve been married for 10 years!

I know, crazy right? I wasn’t even a child bride.

10 years ago I decided to bet the farm on a curly-headed surfer who inspired me to dream bigger, see the unseen, and never quit.  I was sure our marriage would be perfect. I remember reading through the pre-marriage materials thinking, “gosh, I am so glad I am reading this now, we WILL NEVER BE THOSE PEOPLE”. You know the people I am referring to right? Those selfish, arrogant couples described in all the pre-marriage books who are always fighting. I was sure OUR marriage would be easier. After all, those people suck, and we were awesome. Not to mention, “God brought us together”, and “we loved each other”. Love is all we need, right?

Wrong.

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10 years ago I married a dreamer.

In 10 short years, we moved 8 times, had 2 kids, traveled to 6 different countries, and experienced 100s of wild adventures…. Some that I would do again.

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And in 10 long years we learned that despite our many similarities, we were as different as Mars and Venus. And that a picture perfect marriage, was harder than it looked… maybe impossible.

We laughed.

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We cried.

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We had love. But we needed something more.

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We lost.

We cared.

We embraced.

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We believed God would of sanctify us through our marriage, but it was hard. Maybe even harder than it was for the couples in the book.

We hurt.

We fought.

A LOT.

We failed to protect and then we drowned in grace.

And with GRACE:

We forgave.

We believed.

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We learned to LOVE each other thru that GRACE that covered us so completely. We experienced the depth of humanity within the battle for holiness. We realized that we needed grace MORE than we needed love. We needed to receive it, walk in it, and extend it every chance we got. Because grace would enable us to practice sacrifice and endure suffering.

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Always hoping.

Always trusting.

Always persevering.

And now believing, that LOVE, real love; love that comes by grace thru faith. That love NEVER FAILS.

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We thought our marriage would be perfect.

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Maybe it is.

Maybe the perfect marriage isn’t the one without spot or blemish, but the one that makes you more like Jesus. God has used our marriage for moments of great joy, but you know what I remember today? I remember the moments that filled my heart with hope and belief in the things unseen. And the moments that built trust in the sovereignty and wisdom of a Savior. Those moments are perfect. And for them and so much more, I am thankful for 10 years of a REAL marriage.

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“A man’s heart plans his way: but the LORD directs his steps”

Proverbs 16:9

Photography by Latisha Carlson. www.latishalyn.com

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My Everyday Mom

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Well I have been missing for two weeks. If you haven’t realized that it is because you are among the billions of people who do not check this blog for weekly updates (Hi, I’m Shaena).

For those of you who’ve missed me, (Hi mom!), I’ve missed you too!

There is just something about the holidays that makes me want to do LESS and do it BETTER.

As a rule (self-imposed), I am not allowed to blog unless I can blog AND be nice to my kids and my husband… the busier I get, the harder that gets… so… anyway.

 A little grace for the holidays? For sanities sake and all.

 But before you go, I shared a little about my journey as a mom on Kelli and Vanessa today and I would love it if you’d swing over there and send me a virtual high five! I love the Everyday Mom segment and have gained wisdom and encouragement through sweet glimpses into the ordinary lives of extraordinary women. Anyway, somehow I snuck in so check it out. Here’s a snippet:

I never felt called to be a mom. Some friends of mine felt called. But I am pretty sure I just volunteered. 

Our (I’ll say “our” to include my husband because that is what married people do) first pregnancy ended in a painful miscarriage, forever knitting my heart to women who walk the lonely road of infertility and pregnancy loss. Our second pregnancy ended early, exposing us to the miracle of premature birth, a depth of gratitude for neonatologist, and the wonders of the NICU. Our third pregnancy ended with a return to the NICU, and a month of wondering if our child would be “normal”…whatever that is. 

I still never felt the call. 

Somewhere along the way, I guess I learned to embrace motherhood as a gift rather than a calling. A gift that challenges me to the very core of my being, and a gift that sometimes leads me to question my mental stability. A gift that, through it all, the good and the bad, is making my heart look a little more like Christ’s every day. (read the rest at kelliandvanessa.com)

 Love you all. May His Shiny face shine upon you while you love, serve, and give this Christmas season!

 Xoxo,

S

Let Us Be Women Who Love: A Poem by Idellette McVicker

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Hello Friends! Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful for you! You inspire and encourage me every week. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

I wanted to share a magnificent poem with you. It is one of my favorite! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Let Us Be Women Who Love

Idelette McVicker

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women willing to lay down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence and towering stance and fill the earth with extravagant Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who make room.

Let us be women who open our arms and invite others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.

Let us be women who carry each other.

Let us be women who give from what we have.

Let us be women who leap to do the difficult things, the unexpected things and the necessary things.

Let us be women who live for Peace.

Let us be women who breathe Hope.

Let us be women who Create beauty.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be a sanctuary where God may dwell.

Let us be a garden for tender souls.

Let us be a table where others may feast on the goodness of God.

Let us be a womb of Life to grow.

Let us be women who love.

Let us rise to the question of our time.

Let us speak to the injustices in our world.

Let us move the mountains of fear and intimidation.

Let us shout down the walls that separate and divide.

Let us fill the earth with the fragrance of Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us listen for those who have been silenced.

Let us honor those who have been devalued.

Let us say, Enough! With abuse, abandonment, diminishing and hiding.

Let us not rest until every person is free and equal.

Let us be women who love. 

Let us be women who are savvy, smart, and wise.

Let us be women who shine with the light of God in us.

Let us be women who take courage and sing the song in our hearts.

Let us be women who say, Yes to the beautiful, unique purpose seeded in our souls.

Let us be women who call out the song in another’s heart.

Let us be women who teach our children to do the same.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of fear.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of our stories.

Let us be women who Love loudly, beautifully, Divinely.

Let us be women who Love.

 

Praying for you this week.

Xoxo,

S

Life Matters

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Yesterday I started writing this blog.

And then I deleted it.

And then I started writing it again.

And then I deleted it… again.

I deleted it because there was nothing funny about it. In fact, it is an unpleasant topic, that, like most people, I’d rather avoid completely.

I deleted it because there are women I know and love who are walking wounded, and it hurt my heart to think of reopening their wounds and causing any more pain. But maybe truth can be spoken in love. And instead of hurt, these words can set someone free.

So I started writing it a third time.

And you guessed it; I deleted it a third time.

And then I spent an hour reading stories that will haunt me for a really long time. Stories of botched abortions, partial birth, tiny little jaws, hearts, limbs.

Stories of horror.

Stories of shame.

Stories that, quite honestly, if I could go back and unread, I would.

And then I started writing… because PEOPLE MATTER.

They matter.

People aren’t accidents.

They aren’t mistakes.

They aren’t a consequence of sin or circumstance.

They matter.

They’ve always mattered.

They mattered when they were carefully woven together in their mother’s womb.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

Psalm 139:13

They mattered when they were made in the image of God.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” Gen 1:27

They mattered when there were created for a purpose and with a plan.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11

People matter.

You matter.

I matter.

And so I started writing again, because how can I expect a DESPERATE WOMAN, who either believes she has no other options or is terrified by the options she has; how can I expect her to be BRAVE and TAKE A STAND, when I’m not even in her shoes and I am too afraid to say LIFE MATTERS… at every stage.

People matter.

There is hope.

Tuesday, November 19. The voters of Albuquerque, NM have an opportunity to vote FOR a ban on late term (post 20 week) abortions. Will you join me in praying for this historic day in our cities history? Maybe you’ll even be brave enough to publically declare that LIFE MATTERS.

To the walking wounded: You matter. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and NOTHING, no NOTHING, can separate you from the love of God. Come to Jesus, let Him bind your broken heart.

Praying for you. Xoxo,

Shaena

Say Wha???: On being misunderstood

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I could write a book on being misunderstood. I wont because it would mostly be a compilation of awkward moments caused by miscommunication and poor attention to detail. Stories like the time I bought a shirt that said 100% natural, which at the time I understood to mean organic. I.WORE.IT.A.LOT. I was proud to be slightly ahead of the “clean eating” trend. It wasn’t until I wore that shirt to a church camp, that a friend pulled me aside to tell me the “natural” that was written across my chest was not referring to my eating style… not exactly the statement I was intending to make.

Message Fail!

I sometimes think of that t-shirt and smile at how easy it is to be misunderstood. The message we are sending is not always the message people are receiving. And ya’ll, messages have been failing for thousands of years.

Remember when David wanted to show some love to new king Hanun? Oh you don’t?  Well you can read it here 1 Chronicles 19:1-21. Anyway, here is my super abbreviated version:

David wanted to show some love to the son of his old buddy, Hanun. Who had just become king btw (NBD). So he sent some men to express sympathy to Hanun concerning his late father. Unfortunately, that is not the message that was received. Hanun’s commanders convinced him that David actually sent his men to spy out the land and overthrow it. Poor David!! Some people are so misunderstood. And poor David’s men after Hanun freaks out, cuts off their beards and sends the men packing with their butts exposed… as if cutting their beards was not enough!!!! (I have no idea how new kings typically react… I have limited knowledge of royalty, but this seems like a great example of the wrong way to respond to bad news).  I wont spoil the rest of the story for you, but I will say that plenty of really bad things could have been avoided had it not been for this little miscommunication.

As women, we love to read deep into EVERYTHING. The clothing store clerk offers to grab us another size, and we are all up in arms offended they don’t think we are really a size 2. The barista, calls us ma’am and we are sternly explaining that, “we are not that old YOUNG MAN”. Our kids say they want a snack, and suddenly we are a bad mother… okay those are just me, but I really needed to get that off my chest. Thank you.

Back to us. Before we read too far into someone else’s intentions, (you know, like deciding the girl in the 100% natural shirt is a huge skanky skank, and not just a moron) lets commit to the ancient practice of… TALKING TO EACHOTHER.

Matthew puts it this way: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you” (18:15).

Has a simple misunderstanding caused a rift in one of your relationships? There is still time to make it right. Maybe you need to take the first step towards unraveling the miscommunication and salvaging the relationship.
Dear friend that encouraged me to retire my boobie brag shirt, you’re the bomb!

           

 Love you girls. Praying for you this week. 

xoxo,

S

What WILL you do today?

Today I am going to go for a run.

It’s going to hurt.

BAD.

It’s going to hurt because it’s been a while since I’ve gone for a good run. Although I make it a point to wear running clothes at least once a week…

Today is the day.

I’m going to do it.

I’m going to silence that voice in my head that says I’ll never get back in shape and I’ve waited too long, and just run.

I may only make it around the block, but it’ll be further than I ran yesterday.

And I’ll have won.

I’ll have challenged that part of me that is always shouting CAN’T with WILL.

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Today, I will run!

 What will you do?

Don’t let the fear of pain or failure keep you from living victoriously today. Do something. Do anything. Just move. And then come back and tell me all about it ;0).

xoxo,

Shaena

Candy. Costumes. and Christians on Halloween

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Halloween is the worst.

I am the Ebenezer Scrooge of Halloween. Seriously, my least favorite time of year, just the thought gets me in a mood. Here are the top 3 reasons:

  1. Candy– Bleh, good enough for me, but I want better for my kids. Like, apples with sugar free caramel… or how about just apples.
  2. Costumes– I have to admit I am almost won over by the costumes. That is until some idiot shows up at the church carnival dressed as a scary clown; and I have to spend the rest of the night reassuring my 3 year old it was not real. Not cool.
  3. Christians– But honestly the real reason Halloween makes me moody is the great debate: “should Christians participate in Halloween?” Dun dun dun. This debate seems to get noisier every year. And the guilt from Christians who just want to let their kids be super hero’s and not shepherds can be heard around the country.

STOP IT

If you hate Halloween, if you feel a strong conviction that you should not participate in it, fine. Don’t participate. Round up your kids, make popcorn, turn off your porch light, and start your own tradition of watching family movies or whatever. Do nothing, fine. But trying to convince the world of wiles of candy and costumes is getting tired.

Please stop.

I know the back-story. Halloween get’s it’s roots from pagan traditions. So does the Christmas tree, btw. Today, Halloween is about costumes and candy. Neither of which, are inherently evil. Attempts to make it seem any more ghastly than any other secular holiday are misguided.

Christians who let their kids dress up and eat candy ARE NOT CELEBRATING DARKNESS. That idea is ridiculous and rooted in superstition.

Pagans are superstitious. Christians have the truth of God’s word. And the truth is, evil spirits are no more active on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year. In fact, any day is a good day for Satan to prowl like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), but we know “greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

As long as there is light in this world, darkness does not get a day of celebration. You don’t fight darkness by turning off your light but by shining brightly like a city on a hill.

Not sure how to do that on such a SPOOKY day? Here are a couple things I’ve seen done that are pretty stinkin’ awesome:

  • Hand out tracks with your candy. (Pray for the people who will come to your door, and give them Jesus when they do)
  • Carve pumpkins that tell the world Jesus lives. (I’ve seen crosses, Ichthus, hearts, and awesome phrases like “Grace is in this place” & “Jesus is alive”
  • Opt for a Halloween alternative at a local church. Invite friends to a safe and fun environment. These are seriously the best & most churches have some gospel sharing activity planned at these amazing community outreaches. If you don’t have one at your church and live in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area, you are welcome to join me ;0).

Whatever you decide to do, or not do, remember that God made us all different. The Christian who responds to Halloween with a gospel-centered heart is no less spiritual that the one who takes this day as an opportunity to pray for the safety and spiritual well being of others. One body, many parts.

Now to finish “testing” the candy to make sure it is “safe” for the children… ;0)

Xoxo,

S

What do you do on Halloween? I’d love to hear your thoughts, reactions, and creative ideas here! Leave a comment!