Monday, October 24, 2011

Part 3: Miss to Mrs

Part 3 of “Miss to Mrs”

Our third and final portion of this mini-series of devotionals ends with “S” as “Surrender your thoughts and emotions to God.”

When you’re planning a wedding, you have countless number of thoughts running through your mind. It is so easy for Satan or your flesh to take over and really mess with your emotions. Things that wouldn’t normally bother you all of a sudden do; areas that you are normally very patient in become incredibly difficult to wait upon and yes, I’ll say it, girls, we are very emotional in life transitions! Even if you have a wonderful relationship with your family and soon-to-be in-laws it’s easy to get hung up on their suggestions for the wedding or ideas for how things should go and you can get overwhelmed! There were so many times I wound up in tears over something so pitiful and so not worth my tears! Kory and I entered into the season of wedding planning praying that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed with it all but It was most certainly a battle to the very end! So my advice? When you feel your emotions rising, take a step back and say, “I surrender these emotions and thoughts to you God.” Don’t even allow your mind to go beyond that initial thought. Emotions are wonderful and should not by any means be disregarded, however I will say as one who can be very sensitive, they get in the way! They truly can destroy the joy of everything if you allow them to. God is above your emotions: your faith is not based upon your emotions, it’s a choice. Similarly, when things are thrown at you during the planning process, you have to approach them with a clear mind, with minimal emotions. Happy and excited feelings are great! Bridal showers, bachelorette parties, hair appointments, decorating for your new home are wonderful and should be lavished with your emotions! I remember at my Bridal shower in South Dakota, I was so overwhelmed with the love and support of my family and the church body, I started to cry during my speech and EVERYONE began to cry (45-50 women!). It was so beautiful! I loved that moment! CLING to those moments of emotions. On the other hand, I think I cried to Kory every night of the last week leading up to the Wedding. I remember it was 11 O’clock the night before I asked if Kory and I could pray together before midnight (as if we were going to turn into pumpkins! We didn’t see one another before our Ceremony). I was a mess. He was great to affirm me in all of it but I was a mess! Reality will sink in and a lot of emotions will take over. This is when you have to step back and say, “Lord, I trust you! I trust you with my emotions and ask for your will to be done on this special day!” Your worrisome mind will not make the wedding go any smoother nor the transition of being single to a wife any easier! Worrying about anything will not accomplish anything! Worrying will only make you more fatigued from your already hectic schedule, am I not correct? I am really preaching to myself because you realize that this is not just a “wedding thing,” it’s a day-to-day struggle for a majority of women: it continues well beyond the kiss at the alter!

So what does scripture say about your thoughts? I feel like David, although a very manly-man, was pretty emotional considering the Psalms he wrote! I love it because we can definitely relate to him! Here are some Psalms that ultimately our God who created emotions, wrote through the Psalmist David:

Psalm 10

1 Why, LORD, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

Psalm 13

1 How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

Psalm 92:4-6

4 For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD;
I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
5 How great are your works, LORD,
how profound your thoughts!
6 Senseless people do not know,
fools do not understand,

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

Psalm 139:23
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Do you see the emotions in David? He isn’t necessarily ignoring them and being emotionless: he is investing his emotions into the LORD and not in his situation or people he is interacting with is he? The times that he did react with his emotions, he ended up sinning! Now is this saying you shouldn’t confront someone or a situation? Not necessarily but whatever that situation is, it shouldn’t be a response ridden with random emotions that lead to endless drama and regret. If there’s an issue ---during the wedding, after the wedding, it should be approached with emotions expressed to God first, then probably your spouse can be a sounding board and then a response to the offender/offended. Make sense? Ultimately, God needs to be the God of your emotions. He didn’t give us emotions so that we could make decisions on our own: He gave us emotions as a gift to truly experience and worship Him through our senses! When we waste our emotions on matters of this world or worry of what could happen, we are taking away from the gift that God gave us for worship. Make sense?

So there you have it: Miss to Mrs! There are many more “tips and hints” to this process but when I was practicing “r” by running one afternoon the week of the wedding, this idea came to me as one that would be worth sharing! So what does MRS stand for? Make time. Rest in Him and…..Surrender your thoughts and Emotions to Him! And…..guess what, just over 2 months into it---I AM STILL HAVING TO APPLY THEM! That’s why Miss to Mrs is not just for pre-married women, it’s for ANYONE regardless of season of life!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Miss to Mrs Part II

Continuation of the series "Miss to Mrs" Part I was on "Make Time" today's blog, "Rest in Him" and yet to come, "Surrender Your Emotions." These are three tips mostly for the "Bride to be" but can be applied to any one's situation!

Rest In Him

What is your typical sleep pattern? Do you get 8 hrs? 9 (lucky!)? The few months prior to the wedding, my sleeping pattern was horrible! I had so much going on outside of the wedding that it only added to my already sporadic sleeping pattern. Just last week, my beautiful and much more technologically savvey friend Jessica, showed me an application on her phone that tracks the depth of her sleep pattern. Picture a typical x-y axis with a line following closely to the X-axis: this meant you had a wonderful, deep sleep---the kind that you do not like waking from. Then she showed me the crazy squiggle lines one night she slept poorly: months prior to the wedding, my screens would have looked like!
It wasn't so much my concern that everything would be perfect, there was just so much to do. It doesn't help having a bit of a creative mind that doesn't want to shut off. But more often than not, it's easy to become really consumed with ideas and anxiety if and when they will become a reality. You may be experiencing lack of sleep for other reasons; school, work, family issues, tension between a friendship or a boyfriend/girlfriend, fear of future problems, finances and the like. Sadly I recall a wonderful devotion on this topic but have forgotten who wrote it. I remember the devotional said something along these lines: sleep is actually an act of worship because it's a signal that we are trusting God with tomorrow. The mentality: "I don't have to fret about tomorrow now when my body is aching for rest, I can sleep and trust that the Lord will provide." Now the Word also warns about sleeping too much, haha, but for the sake of this devotional, let's pretend we all have sleep depravity. I found a couple scripture verses that pertain to this idea of trusting the Lord as we sleep:

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.

Psalm 127
Unless the LORD Builds the House

A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
1Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.

Isn't verse 2 a wonderful verse to cling to on this subject: It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." I don't think God is hating on the "Early Bird/Late Owl" mentality here so just because you enjoy getting up in the morning or like to stay up later doesn't mean you are in vain---but in context with "eating the bread of anxious toil," can reveal that God is talking about individuals that have a tendency to fret and worry themselves to the point that they cannot sleep. Here are some more verses:

Psalm 4:8
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety.

Ecclesiastes 8:16-17
16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the labor that is done on earth—people getting no sleep day or night— 17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.

And if you think about it, God used sleep as a time to speak to people throughout the entire Bible. I wonder if He thought it wouldn't scare them as easily as someone like Gabriel just walking into your home. Ha!

So although you may be having loads of fun creating things for your wedding, it's important to allow yourself to simply REST IN HIM because it's so easy to become unhealthily consumed with the wedding, the job, the greatest fear etc... And if you think of your sleeping as an act of worship, it is easier to do! Approach going to bed like walking into your church sanctuary with a beautiful worship going on. It will make your pre-wedding months so much more enjoyable!!!!