Category Archives: God

Sparrows and Blogs

“What is the price of two sparrows–one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” Matthew 10:29

As much as I’d love to believe that my view of God is accurate–Biblical and true–I can find myself falling into some really basic mental pitfalls. Most of my wrong views of God stem from my own parenting shortcomings. I love my kids to distraction. But I am also easily frustrated by them. I get annoyed by their humanity, even when I’m being a hypocrite about it sometimes (ugh, kids; how dare you leave your clothes in the middle of the floor again, regardless of the fact that I do the exact same thing?). Some days, I’m overflowing with patience and lovingkindness. Others, I’m doing well not to say out loud: “Your voice is like an ice pick in my brain, and everything you say–no matter how normal or basic or necessary–is aggravating the snot out of me.”

It’s easy for me to project my bad days or ill humor onto God and assume that he reacts the same way, even though I know from Scripture that it’s not true. He doesn’t change his mind. He isn’t fickle or hormonal. He’s slow to anger and abounding in love. And that love endures forever. Just like my love for my children. Only, he never has to apologize for the things he said when he was hangry.

LIKEWISE, I can find myself questioning just how much God could possibly care about the minutiae of my life. I mean, there is actual suffering in the world. Surely, my little issues can’t be that compelling. (SUCH a human thing to think when God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and independent of time and space). But then, I read verses like the one above about the sparrows or Matthew 6, which is all about God’s caring for the grass and flowers and how, if he take the time to give a daffodil its frilly edges and buttery yellow hue, how much more does he care about me? Yes, even the things that shouldn’t seem to matter.

Or sometimes, I get such a sweet glimpse of the way he orchestrates the details of my life that it rocks me back on my heels, theologically speaking.

Take Sunday night for instance. I went to bed at 11:15. I had to wake up at 5 AM to teach my Body Pump class, so I set my alarm, but I did not plug my phone in because it had 65% battery, which was more than enough to make it through the night, my class, and most of the rest of the day.

What felt like mere seconds later, I awoke to find Theo standing beside my bed. Feeling groggy, I hauled him into bed and snuggled his little body close. And then, curious, I checked my phone to discover that it was only midnight (even though he’s my earliest riser, he rarely comes into our room this early, and I don’t remember the last time it happened at midnight). As I stared at my screen, something else registered with me: my phone battery, which had been at 65% 45 minutes before, was now at 15%. Even though I hadn’t been using it at all. Apparently, there was an app in the background siphoning its battery power at an alarming rate.

You guys. If Theo hadn’t crawled in bed with me at midnight, my phone would have died in the middle of the night, and I would have disappointed 20 people who got up early with the express design of taking BODYPUMP the following morning. I would have gotten a call from my group fitness manager asking why I hadn’t shown up to class. And I wouldn’t have had anything else to offer than: “My phone died.” It would have been embarrassing and just all around bad.

Or take my blog.

Yesterday, it disappeared. Just…poof. Wasn’t there anymore.

I came home from errands yesterday evening, and Shaun asked me if I had done anything different–updated something or changed a setting. NO, I said. WHY DO YOU ASK, I said.

Because it’s gone.

Whuuuuuuttt?

I didn’t panic, but I certainly did feel anxiousness begin to simmer in my soul at the prospect of losing almost 7 years’ worth of projects and pictures and memories.

I have the utmost faith in Shaun’s ability to fix all things technical. He’s a wizard. But I still know that, sometimes, technology breaks for no apparent reason, and it can’t be fixed.

We called GoDaddy (our hosting provider), and they spent about an hour on the phone with Shaun trying different things to help him restore the information…with no luck.

It was a database issue. Not a hosting issue. And we couldn’t even log into my account to figure things out because my username and password are stored in the database, which was clearly corrupted.

Here’s the thing that blows my mind, though, y’all.

We’ve been needing to update my blog for ages. You know that. Some of you semi-regularly email me about that. I mean, my profile pic is approximately 4 years old. Two kids are missing. It’s ridiculous. But it takes a lot of time to do much of anything technological, and we just haven’t had it.

Last Saturday, we finally had a free day to focus on the changes. But first, Shaun said we needed to back up my blog to his computer…just to make sure that, if any of the changes caused any problems, we’d have a copy of everything.

This is the first time we have ever done this.

Two days later, my blog crashed. Apparently, there were tables with information in the database that had grown much too large due to a bug in a plug-in, and my entire site just shut down out of sheer exhaustion from having to carry the weight of all of that info (NOT a technical explanation, I realize…but one that many mamas will be able to relate to).

It had nothing to do with our backing it up, and the back up took so long that we never got around to changing anything on the site. In other words, we did nothing to cause the crash. It. was. going. to. happen. We just didn’t know it.

But God did.

And I firmly believe that he prompted my husband to do the backup of everything…two days before…for the first time in seven years. And because of that, once we figured out and fixed the problem with the database, we were able to restore all of that saved info.spilled milk

Are y’all picking up what I’m laying down? It’s hardly water into wine, but I do consider the fact that my blog still exists an absolute gracious miracle of God.

Why do I say all of this?

Well, first of all as an Ebenezer. I want this blog here to be able to look back on when I (inevitably) begin to wonder whether I should take this or that silly little ol’ thing that’s making me anxious to the Lord.

And maybe as an encouragement for you too. I don’t know most of your circumstances. However, I do KNOW that God cares about them because he loves you. I knew that before he used a toddler to make sure I woke up on time or made sure we backed up my blog so it wouldn’t disappear. But I sure am grateful that he saw fit to give me those little windows through which to glimpse his love.

Maybe you’re struggling with something you think is too minor to take to God. Or maybe you’re staggering under the weight of something that feels too big for God. Neither is true.

Like the old song says:

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Is there something (big or small) I can pray for you about? If so, it would be my privilege. You can email me at blogabbie{at}gmail{dot}com.


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The I Do Chronicles: Positive Husband Talk

i-do-chronicles

I’m no expert on any of this and am just learning what the Lord has to teach me as I go, but if you’re interested in bumbling along with me, you can read all of the posts in this series here.

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I’m assuming you’ve heard of this lady named Oprah, yes? And the power of something called “positive self-talk?”

Not that Oprah created the concept or anything. But when I think of personal pep talks, she definitely comes to mind.

I’m honestly not super-great at positive self-talk. I can beat myself up with the best of them. But I can also be disdainful in general of the potency of motivational quotes and rah-rah speeches. Probably because, deep down, I’m a bit of a cynic (I prefer “realist,” but when the Bible tells us to give thanks in all circumstances, semantics are pretty moot).

And yet, I can’t ignore Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

And I would assume that includes the things we tell ourselves.

It definitely includes the things we say about our husbands.

Which is why–in many ways–positive husband talk is one of the best things we (I, me…preaching to myself) can do for our marriages.

I am blessed to be surrounded by women, who, in general, speak positively about their husbands. I have several close Christian friends who have never “husband-bashed” in my presence. And unless I have a serious case of marriage amnesia, I think I can claim the same.

I mean, honestly, Shaun is pretty easy to praise. He’s kind. He’s witty. He works hard. He’s a great daddy. He loves the Lord. He’s genuinely my best friend. And he’s super hot too, so there’s that. ;)

I have few (if any) legitimate complaints.

And any I do have are usually brief and certainly don’t bear airing to anyone else but him (or the Lord).

STILL! This does not mean that I’m always perfect in the way that I speak to him. (Or about him, although this is not my main struggle).

Recently, two incidents came to my attention that made me analyze more closely how I communicate my regard for my husband to him and to others.

In one case, the claim was legitimate. I was tired/hormonal (not an excuse, but it was the context), and I responded shortly/dismissively/disrespectfully to one of his requests in front of someone else. And that person noticed! I have since apologized to Shaun, but that incident is lodged in my mind as an example of a time when I failed to present a godly snapshot of marriage.

In the other example, my “rudeness” was completely misunderstood as I was only pretending as part of an inside joke between me and Shaun–one that he finds hilarious and one that it never occurred to me could be misconstrued. But still. It affected this person’s opinion of my treatment of my husband.

Tricky, right?

What we say about and to our spouses matters (duh) but, especially (for women), in the context of how we display respect to our husbands. (Because I don’t know a single man who values “lovey dovey” over words of acknowledgement, affirmation, and praise).

I have an acquaintance who has mentioned several times that she becomes frustrated with the way her husband goes about certain tasks and that she would just rather do them herself. She’s not negative, per se. Simply dismissive. And yet, I can’t help but have a different view of her husband (and their relationship) than I would otherwise have.

I overheard another conversation recently (because I was in close vicinity and incapable of moving) about a wife’s refusing to even consider her husband’s wishes on a certain subject that I can’t unhear, and it has–whether it should or not–created an image of their marriage in my mind.

I’m not saying we should lie. Or that we should present a rosy picture when there is genuine conflict at home. I’m just saying that proclaiming it to the world–like a stranger in a restaurant the other day was doing too loudly for me to ignore–is doing no one (least of all, us) any good.

Yesterday, with at least mild fear and trembling, I asked Shaun if he felt like I used kind, respectful words with him in general (because I know the answer to “all the time” is no).

His response? “In general? Yeah! I mean, sometimes, you can be short. But for the most part, yeah.”

Phew. I passed (although you could argue that what else is a guy going to say to his seven-month-pregnant wife if he values his life? ;) ).

I knew what he meant, though. Especially in the last several months, there have been certain days when I’ve felt like I could crawl out of my skin with irritation for no good reason. (Thank you, pregnancy hormones). So, even though, for the reasons I listed at the beginning of this post, I generally find it easy to be nice to my husband, that’s not necessarily what actually comes out of my mouth if I’m especially tired. Or emotional. Or fed-up with kid drama. Or…

If I tried hard enough, I could probably find a justification for speaking snippily to my husband all day every day.

None of them would cover my sin, though.

And none of them would change the fact that–even when he takes it well or says he understands–I am not “building him up according to his needs.”

The Lord has been impressing this on my heart in pretty much every area of my speech lately, if I’m honest. But it might as well start with how I speak to and about the man God has given me to respect, love, and serve for a lifetime (because if I can’t speak words of life to him, how am I ever going to hack it with everybody else?).

But, Abbie. What if I struggle to find even one nice thing to think or say about my husband? I get this. Completely. Not about my husband. But about a different relationship in my life in which I fail miserably in this area more often than not.

And I have a challenge for both of us: let’s pray for the Lord to reveal one tiny thing for which we can praise this person. For at least one word that we can genuinely speak that will be “life” and not “death” to this person’s soul. No matter how much we think they don’t deserve it. (Because what do we deserve except eternal punishment and separation from God in hell? Thank you, Jesus, for the cross!) And for strength to keep our mouths shut until we hear from the Lord what that word might be.

And if you find your husband easy to praise, ask yourself: when was the last time I said out loud–either to him or to someone else–at least one of those good things I know to be true of him? I’ll be asking myself the same thing.

I’m not naive enough to think that every (or any?) marriage makes it so very easy to focus on spouse-thankfulness. But neither am I cynical enough to dismiss the benefits (to our husbands, to ourselves, and to those who hear us and are encouraged) when we choose praise over criticism. Not to mention that, when we do right, it brings glory to God!

I am grateful for the godly example of women who have realistic, yet unfailingly positive things to say to and about their husbands. And I pray the Lord would make me more like them each day.

Feel free to shout out something you love about your husband in the comments! (Just don’t forget to actually say it to him too :) ).

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