The intense stress that comes from having a special needs child can put an incredible strain on even the healthiest of marriages. The difficulty in the day in and day out can be overwhelming. Some special needs people have a difficult time performing even the simplest of tasks such as dressing, toileting, and general self-care. Exhaustion sets in from lack of sleep and that can wreak havoc on any sane person, and a lot of times special kids barely sleep at all. The financial stress that comes from therapy not being covered, the endless doctor appointments, or because anything with a special needs price tag comes at an astronomical cost. The grief that comes from unmet expectations, the heartache that comes from comparing your child and their abilities, or sometimes the guilt alone from blaming yourself or your spouse is enough to tear a marriage apart.
My husband and I have experienced all of this and more, but things really came to a head in our marriage when our son was a baby. I was a weary young mom doing my best to make it from day to day. Our precious little man screamed at the top of his lungs all hours of the day and night and didn’t sleep at all for the first three years of his life. We were constantly in the doctor’s office and in and out of the hospital.
I don’t know about your husband, but my husband is a fixer. He can not stand it if there is something wrong with me or one of our children. Since he is a problem solver, he wants to fix things. However, there are some problems that man can not fix, no matter how hard he tries. This took a toll on my husband and thus took a toll on our marriage.
Things got really ugly between us. This wreaked all kinds of havoc in our personal lives and with each other. I will spare you all of the gory details, just know it was bad enough that I ended up in Lawyer’s office seeking counsel to get divorced. But God—God divinely entered into the midst of our pain and difficulty, and we took the “D” word off the table and choose to commit to each that no matter how bad things got that we would stick it out with God’s help.
We forgave one another and choose to love, not in our strength and might, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. In those moments, everything changed. Our circumstances with our son didn’t change, but our perspective on our situation changed. We faced our problems together with the strength of our mighty God to carry us through. Life didn’t become easy—there was no instant healing. In fact, the years that followed were much more stressful than the previous years. The difference was our relationship to each other and our reliance on the Lord.
Our marriage has been tried and tested and forged in the fire for nearly 25 years. My husband is my best friend and He loves me like Christ loves the church. Through the years, we chose to love one another and submit to Christ, and his plan for our marriage. We now have an incredible relationship. My husband is the biblical leader of our home, and I have embraced my calling of biblical womanhood.
These same principles that have guided our marriage are discussed in Jen Weaver’s book, A Wife’s Secret to Happiness. I love this book! From the sparkly cover to Jen’s modern interpretation of the Bible to practical wisdom this book offers to women, Jen has such a great conversational style that you feel like you are sitting across the table from one another sharing your hearts over a cup of coffee.
There are eleven chapters in the book, and each chapter highlights a particular blessing God wants to provide to in your marriage and a conflicting “wifestyle.” A wifestyle is a habit or way in which our routines as wives either attract or reject God’s divine provision. Each chapter contains a wifestyle or a real life story used for practical application.The first blessing is the blessing of three strands, which is taken from Ecclesiastes 4:12:
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken -Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV
This principle takes the heart of two people and binds them together with God to make a marriage that is not easily broken. It is the supernatural strength that comes from the Holy Spirit being alive and active in our marriage that I spoke of earlier.
Jen does a great job of handling some difficult subjects that come up within a context of marriage from leaving and cleaving and becoming one, to submission, to the beautiful gift of sex. In the chapter on the blessing of unity, Jen uses a great analogy of dancing to talk about submission in marriage.
A tango cannot have two leads, and our Marriage instructor, our third strand, calls us to submit to our husbands that we may have unity in our relationships and live in concert with his spirit. -Jen Weaver
There is bonus material to delve deeper into each subject that is available online. This book is a must read for young women preparing for marriage, as well as married women. I wish I would have read something like this before I got married, it would have made the first few years of marriage a lot easier. Jen Weaver nails the secret to happiness in marriage through receiving, honoring and celebrating God’s role for you in your marriage.
A special thank you to The Blog About Network, The Blythe Daniel Agency and publishers for providing a copy of this book for review and one to giveaway.
Leave a comment below with your best piece of marriage advice below, to be entered to win a copy of A Wife’s Secret to Happiness.
Jen is married to her best friend Jared and mom to their adorable toddler, Dillon. Jen is an author, marketing professional, Bible study teacher, conference speaker, and a host for The Declare Conference – a blogging conference in Dallas, Texas. She is passionate about sharing strengths with others through her stories of humor and hope.
A Wife’s Secret to Happiness(Leafwood, March 2017) is already receiving rave reviews from Jim Daily, President of Focus on the Family, Associate Senior Pastor Pastor of Gateway Church, Allan Kelsey, Author of Breaking Busy, Ali Worthington, Author of A Mary Like Me, Andy Lee, and many more! www.TheJenWeaver.com
Looking back, 2016 was an incredible year, and some amazing things happened in my life! God called me to write and speak, and the rest is history. Early in 2016, I signed up for She Speaks 2016 and the next few months were a whirlwind of conference preparation. In February, I set up my blog, and began writing a Bible Study. When I first started, I had no idea of what I was doing, but thankfully I survived the first year! Here are the top 10 blog posts of 2016:
10. Finding Fulfillment this Holiday Season – First of all, fulfillment does not come from being married, having children, or having a career. True fulfillment comes from knowing Jesus Christ and living for Him. But here is the rub: we will never be truly fulfilled here on earth, because this is not our home. We have a God-shaped hole in our heart that only He can fill.
9. Our Home – A Sanctuary -A wise woman is careful to build her home. Making our homes a place of beauty that reflects our personal taste is one of the greatest joys as a homemaker.
8. She Speaks Conference 2016 – The Lord has been faithful to walk me through each step of the way, and I am learning so much in the process.
7. She said “Yes!” – An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.- Proverbs 31:10
6. Declutter My Heart – How many times in life do we miss out on God’s best because we clench things so tightly with our fists that we don’t let go and make room for God to bless us?
5. Called to be His Helper – I don’t know about you, but I don’t just want a marriage that can survive, instead I want an abundant marriage that thrives the way God intended. When we follow God’s plan for our lives and for our marriage, we unlock the secrets to true happiness.
4. Learning to Let Go – No one warned me how difficult and painful it would be on me when my boys started to pull away. A boy has to detach himself from his Mother in order for him to grow into the man God calls him to be. This is the way it is and has always been. It is good and natural, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
3. Little baby Liam – We began telling others that Liam was a gift from God, and that God would determine his future. We knew that the Lord had a purpose and a plan for his life, no matter how long he lived.
2. Connor’s Smile – Don’t give up, don’t lose hope! Continue to pray for those situations in your life that look hopeless, because in Jesus there is hope! He is faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Turn your eyes to Jesus and cry out for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5.
And the number 1 post from 2016 is…..
1. Prayer Update for Connor – The most heartbreaking part of all of this is that he had been living with all of this for 15 years! He did not get diagnosed until the age of 16. After years of going to doctor after doctor, Connor was misdiagnosed with PDD-NOS, an Autism spectrum disorder. We are so thankful for the brilliant doctor who finally correctly diagnosed Connor, and we began treatment shortly after that.
Wow, 2016 was quite a year! These were the top 10 blog posts out of the 67 that was published last year. Also, my partnership with Blog About and the Blythe Daniels Agency I was able to host some great giveaways. Listen, Love, Repeat!, Bible Basics: Book Review & Giveaway!, God Loves You!, Journal the Word, and Give Your Child The World.
Be sure to subscribe to my email list, to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything!
Goodbye to 2016. I look forward to all that God has in store for 2017! Blessings to you in the new year!
How was your 2016? We had a year of ups and downs, but what a difference a day makes! For our family, Christmas came early. A life-changing event occurred three days before Christmas, when on December 22, 2016 our eldest son Jacob Phillip proposed to his beautiful now-fiancé Jane Reynolds.
After much dreaming and planning, Jacob surprised Jane by taking her out to a romantic dinner to their favorite Houston Sushi hotspot, Uchi for their 14 month anniversary. When they finished dinner they meandered over to a place that it is near and dear to both their hearts—the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
Waiting anxiously in the wings for the happy couple to arrive were family members and a few friends. We had a wonderful photographer and longtime family friend Madeleine Frost there to capture our special moment.
As Jacob dropped down on one knee, and asked Jane to marry him we were all there to witness and share in this special occasion.
Jacob Phillip & Jane Reynolds are pictured with her parents Hope & John Mark Reynolds
Misty Phillip with Jacob Phillip, our future Daughter-in-love Jane Reynolds, and Peter Phillip
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.- Proverbs 31:10
We look forward to Jane becoming a part of our family next year. She is absolutely precious. I often tell Jacob he has chosen well. Jane exemplifies the woman who fears the Lord found in Proverbs 31:10 ESV.
I don’t know what 2017 has in store for us, but I am sure that there will be quite a lot of wedding talk.
Today on the blog, I am talking about the importance of the family table, and sharing a few pictures from our Thanksgiving table 2013. Earlier this week, we heard from Michelle S Laurek on practical ways to love our neighbors, and I told you about her new book, An Invitation To The Table: Embracing the Gift of Hospitality. If you missed that post, be sure to check it out here Love Your Neighbor!
I love this description of An Invitation To The Table: Embracing the Gift of Hospitality from Amazon.
Jesus spent a chunk of his ministry eating and drinking with the “”sinners and tax collectors”” of the world. If we strive to be more like Jesus, shouldn’t we do more of what he did?
Hospitality involves more than the domesticated event we have grown accustomed to practicing. It is an embodiment of all the Christian life stands for: a gesture of love, opening up our hearts and lives, and sacrificing luxury and security for the chance to display Gods glory. To receive hospitality from others is an invitation to receive Gods transformative power to work in their lives.
Wow! Have you ever considered your family table a place of ministry? We have a huge farm table that we purchased several years ago to accommodate our growing family. The wooden sun-bleached benches on either side of our 10 foot table are flanked by several mix-and-match black chairs with rush seats. It is reminiscent of farmhouse meets french flair, and it is located in our beautiful sunroom. The sunroom is one of my favorite rooms in our house because it has 12 huge windows that look out into our back yard, and we have a gorgeous view of the sun rise.
The importance of the family table, and the top 3 reasons I love mine! And you should love yours too!
Fist, there is something special about choosing the perfect table linen, arranging your favorite dishes, and adding a seasonal centerpiece. I love to prepare a feast for friends and family. I am going to let you in on a little secret though, I have a dish problem. I love my dishes and love any excuse to use all of the dishes that I have collected over the years.
The table is another great place in our home to spruce up with the changing of the seasons. I love to search Pinterest for new and creative ideas for my tablescapes. I also love repurposing old things and using them in new or unexpected ways.
For the 2013 Thanksgiving table, I used an old wine box, that Peter brought home twenty years ago when he worked at a hotel. I darkened the box up with a little leftover stain that I had from another project. Nestled in the box is a fairytale pumpkin, some pine bundles from our trees, Mason jars with tea lights, surrounded by pinecone candle holders with cream tapers.
Depending on the formality of the holiday or occasion, I may use chargers or place cards. When my children were young, and I wanted to make our holiday tables special, I would include them in helping me make place cards. For the 2013 Thanksgiving table, I purchased these vintage goblets at an antique store for just a few dollars. This was a fun way to serve our beverages, and I didn’t have to worry about them breaking.
Second, conversations at the family table tie heartstrings to our children, family members, and friends. This is an important time of connection and communion. At the table, you can linger, talk about your day, and impart your values to your children. There is time to reflect on issues that arise in our culture, morality, religion, politics, and books. Gathered around the table is also a great place to share stories from the past, or tales of family members that have gone on to be with the Lord. This is something that Peter’s mom Gigi instilled in me early in our marriage. We spent many hours in lively conversation as a family around the table. The Thanksgiving 2013 table pictured is very special to me because this was the last meal we shared together as a family with Gigi. She was an amazing woman, who was an incredible influence on my life. Read more about this at 5 Things Gigi Taught Me.
Holiday tip when entertaining for the holidays and small children are sharing the table with us, I always put a fancy tablecloth on the table, but then cover it with clear plastic. This way the table still looks beautiful, but it is protected from the inevitable spills that are bound to happen.
Third, in this fast-paced microwave society that we live in when families are going in different directions all the time, and we eat at the drive through or on the run. To have time to sit down and eat a home-cooked meal on real plates, not paper ones, and have time to connect at the table, and enjoy a meal is priceless!
Whether you are gathered at the table for a holiday or sharing coffee with a neighbor or friend, know that your table can be a place of ministry. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Celebrating the holidays with friends and family is a great way to make memories and tie heartstrings with those we love. Last week I talked about our homes being a sanctuary, Our Home – A Sanctuary. This week, I am excited to share a few more photos of my 2016 fall decor in my home, along with a couple of photos from Christmas 2015 to inspire your upcoming holiday decorating!
Also, I want to tell you about a lovely book that will inspire you with your holiday planning. This wonderful little e-book was written by my friend Debi Chapman, and it will help prepare you for the holiday of your dreams! In the coming weeks, I plan to share other books I love on hospitality, and making Christmas meaningful.
I just love this new vignette on my entry table – a beautiful floral arrangement surrounded by mercury glass canisters and candles. At the front and center of this photo is a beautiful cross that I recently purchased.
The cross is such a beautiful reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for us on Calvary. God loves us so much that He sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth to live and to die, just to save us! If you are interested in learning more about God’s great love for us, I would love to share the good news of Jesus Christ with you!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16 ESV
Pictured below is that same entry table in Christmas 2015. I love to incorporate my existing decor with seasonal items. Here I incorporated my mercury glass containers and paired them with a beautiful cherished nativity scene we received as a wedding gift from a family member, a nostalgic looking Santa Claus, and a beautiful sleigh filled with gold ornaments, flanked by lit aspen trees.
One of the reasons that I love Christmas so much is because it is a celebration of the birth of Christ!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 ESV
We have so much to celebrate! During the Christmas season you will find nativity scenes scattered all throughout my home, because Jesus is the Reason for the Season!
Another area that is easy to change with the seasons is my fireplace mantel. It is the focal point of the great room in my home. My decorator friend, Sherry from Just Lovely Decor, always helps me to come up with beautiful vignettes and holiday decorations. I love the way these white pumpkins look with the heathered blue pumpkins and florals. If you live in the Houston area and would like help decorating this holiday season, Just Lovely offers full design and installation of decorations for your home. Just let me know, and I will put you in touch with my friend Sherry.
Pictured below is my mantel all decorated for Christmas 2015, along with a side view of my Christmas tree. Notice how I have used the same candle holders and mirror both in fall and at Christmas. Again using my existing decor and adding some seasonal items to spruce things up.
By taking advantage of sales each year, I add a few pieces to my Christmas collection every year. My collection began to grow when my mom started a very special Christmas tradition with my boys. From the time they were born, they would each receive an ornament from her as part of their Christmas present every year. I love this tradition, and plan to do the same thing for my grandchildren in the future. Another special tradition that began early in my marriage was Gigi would take us shopping after Thanksgiving dinner every year. These are special memories I hold in my heart.
What holiday traditions are you celebrating this year? Are you overwhelmed by the thought of preparing for the holidays, or are you just not sure where to start? I am excited to tell you about my friend Debi Chapman, and her new e-book Holiday Happening – 21 days to the holiday of your dreams.
In Holiday Happenings, Debi gives you practical ideas and tips to make the most of your holiday season. This book is filled with beautiful pictures that are sure to inspire, along with practical how-to advice to prepare your home for the holidays. I love the way that Debi incorporates healthy living and use of essential oils for your home during the holiday season. She encourages you to dream, and then provides practical hints and tips to pull it all together. I can’t wait to incorporate Debi’s wisdom in to my holiday planning this year!
In Holiday Happening you’ll find a simple path to 21 days of purposeful holiday preparation. Follow the plan day-by-day and I know you’ll begin to see your ideas take shape. Each day will take you one step closer to the holiday of your dreams.
The ebook comes with a Holiday Happening
Pinterest Board and a Facebook Page to gather and share ideas, progress reports. You can order a copy of this e-book at: www.holidayhappening.com
. Books are only $5 and are payable via Paypal.
I am convinced that our homes are the battlefields for society and it’s my privilege to encourage mothers to stay the course and embrace the daily – for the sake of Christ. – Debi Chapman
Debi’s mom-journey began over 30 years ago. Armed with a newfound devotion to Christ and a Child Development background, she married her college sweetheart. Together they began to dream of what a family could become. Presently, Tim and Debi have eleven children, nine grandchildren, and lives filled with frontline battle scars and victories beyond measure. Debi desires to leave footprints for those who follow and impart grace to mothers of all ages.
Debi’s blog Fresh Grace for Mothers is full of life-giving wisdom to moms, Refresh Gathering – women’s retreat, New Season Oils – home business, Fresh Grace – facebook page
I hope you found some inspiration to help you begin preparing for the upcoming holiday season and look forward to more helpful holiday inspiration in the coming weeks. I would love to hear about how you plan to celebrate your holidays this year!
Our homes should be a place of refuge and protection from the world, a sanctuary. Home should be a place where we can relax, renew and recharge. “There is no place like home” is an expression for a reason. As women, we have an incredible opportunity to make our homes a refuge from the world for both our family and for our guests.
The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. – Proverbs 14:1 ESV
A wise woman is careful to build her home. Making our homes a place of beauty that reflects our personal taste is one of the greatest joys as a homemaker.
What are some practical ways that a wise woman can build her home?
This is my favorite time of the year. I cherish the art of hospitality and making my home a sanctuary. Over the course of the next few months, I would like to invite you into my home via the blog and share the beauty of the season with you.
I love to create beautiful flower arrangements, and seasonal decor to spruce things up and to keep it fresh. Pictured below is a floral arrangement in my dining room.
Pictured above is a lovely little vignette for fall on my butler’s pantry.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”EaFXB” via=”yes” ]Creating a beautiful home that refreshes requires engaging all our senses.[/ctt]
We love playing musical instruments and listening to music. In fact, we have a dedicated music room in our home and have been known to pull out all our instruments when having friends over for dinner.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”J2MH0″ via=”yes” ]The type of music that you listen to within your home has a profound effect on the atmosphere of your home.[/ctt]
The kitchen is my happy place, and I love to create beautiful memories through food with family and friends. Making fresh home-cooked healthy meals is a joy for me, but even store-bought food can be presented beautifully with a little imagination and creativity. Pictured below is crusty sourdough bread with brie and an assortment of antipasto.
I love diffusing essential oils, lighting candles, or fresh baking goodies to create a beautiful aroma that is pleasing to our sense of smell. Even a basket filled with potpourri can invigorate our senses.
I would love to know what you are doing to make your home a beautiful refuge from the world!