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
My husband took me to Magnolia Farms in Waco, TX recently. I am a huge fan of HGTV’s Fixer Upper and I was so excited to finally make it to Waco to see the Silos and visit Magnolia Market!
I love Joanna Gaine’s style and love the way she and Chip banter with one another. You can tell that they love one another, love their family, and that they enjoy what they do. Isn’t that what life is all about? Love God, and love others!
Shopping at the Silos was so inspiring. There were beautiful vignettes all throughout the store and plenty of photo opportunities.
We were at Magnolia Market on a Friday, and it was a gorgeous day, but the crowds were pretty large. Which made it difficult to see everything. If I have a chance to go back, I think I will go on Tuesday morning, and hopefully, it won’t be as crowded. I loved all of the flowers inside the shop and the gardens outside the shop.
Just in time for Spring, one thing caught my eye and I knew that I needed to take it home was the boxwood wreath I saw hanging on the wall. I knew that it would make a great addition to my front door, and would take me from Spring to Fall. Here it is pictured below with some topiaries I had in my entryway and these precious little bunnies I found at Home Goods. What do you think?
This got me thinking that Easter is only one month away, and I have barely gotten everything taken down and put away from Christmas. However, I really want our Easter Celebration to be special as special as our Christmas this year. I want to focus on the Resurrection power we have through Jesus Christ and am praying about ways to make this an important part of our time together as a family.
This year I decided to pull out my parent’s wedding china and use it for our Easter celebration. I miss my parents so much and have fond memories of eating off of these plates throughout the holidays. I look forward to incorporating this into my Easter Table this year.
I threw together this centerpiece with stuff I had from previous years, and just love the way this bunny looks nestled within the eggs and flowers.
So what about you friend? I would love to know what traditions you celebrate at Easter. Do you have anything special planned this year? Leave me a comment, and let me know what you are doing for your Easter Celebration!
What would you ask Ann Voskamp, Christy Nockels or Rebekah Lyons if you could sit across from them and ask a question?
I decided that I wanted to get an encouraging word from these women to share with my fellow Christian blogger friends and ministry partners. God has called us to an amazing journey but it has its own set of challenges that these women are all too familiar with!
I recently attended the broken and free tour and over the course of the evening, we worshiped God with Christy Nockels and listened to inspiring messages from Ann Voskamp and Rebekah Lyons.
I have been following and Ann Voskamp’s blog for many years and her book 1000 Gifts was life-changing for me! I was reading it during my pregnancy with my baby Liam who had trisomy 18. Ann’s wisdom helped me take the most excruciatingly painful experiences and pour it out in an offering of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord and to others. If you’ve never had the chance to read 1000 gifts or her nearest book The Broken Way, I would highly recommend them!
You can not feel fear & gratitude at the same time.-Ann Voskamp
Christy Nockels and her husband Nathan started off in Houston many years ago. I had the opportunity to see them when they came to Champion Forest Baptist Church in the 1990’s and have loved them ever since. Christy’s music has always taken me into the presence of the Lord during some of my most difficult times and some of my sweetest memories of worship.
This was my first opportunity to meet Rebecca Lyons. I loved her message of freedom and feel like we are probably somewhat kindred spirits since we both know the joy and the pain of raising a special needs son.
My one question for them was this: looking back over the course of your ministry, what one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
The wisdom these ladies shared did not disappoint.
Ann Voskamp took her cue from Beth Moore and said if you are writing a Bible Study to teach it to the ladies God puts in front of you. She said to teach it to the people right in front of you, get feedback, and do business with the Lord there working that thing out. She concluded by saying to pour your life out as an offering and let the Lord use you right where you are, and Rebekah Lyons shared a similar sentiment about ministering to those God puts right in front of you.
I love the wisdom Christy Nockels shared about ministering from a place of rest! It is easy to get caught up on a hamster wheel of life, and ministry is no exception. Christy’s message was similar to a word that I received last year from Beth Moore, which was “enjoy the process.” The video below is Christy’s response to me, I hope it encourages you as much as it encouraged me.
Broken things can become new! – Ann Voskamp
Shauna Groves was our host for the evening, and one of the highlights of the evening was when Compassion International signed people up to sponsor children. Compassion is helping release people from poverty all around the world.
Jesus Christ came to heal our brokenness and set the captives free! Are you walking in freedom today my friend? Do you know the lover of your soul? Do you have an intimate relationship with him? He loves you, and He came to save you! As we prepare our hearts to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus during Easter this year, I challenge you to go deeper in your relationship with Him!
Seek Jesus, Study the Word, and Grow in Grace
Please drop me a note if you are in need of prayer today. I would love to pray for you!
Much Love, Misty
Today I am honored to share a story with you about a sweet friend of mine. My beautiful friend’s countenance is full of joy, and her smile radiates Jesus! We were together the other day, and as we sat across from one another and shared our hearts for the Lord and all that He is doing in our lives, tears streamed down her face. She said how can people know the joy of the Lord and not share it with others? Then she said, “why didn’t anyone ever tell me about Jesus?” My heart sank. What stops us from telling others about Jesus?
Why didn’t anyone ever tell me about Jesus?
That was the cry of my friend’s heart. She wondered why no one had ever shared the beautiful gospel message of hope in Jesus Christ with her before. She didn’t understand how someone could have this gift of faith and not share it. She didn’t become a Christian until adulthood and had come from a broken home marked by pain and suffering.
My friend was a corporate professional facing a difficult time in her life. She was searching for something but was coming up empty.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”012cG” via=”yes” ]We have a God-shaped hole in our heart that only Jesus can fill![/ctt]
Just then a young lady who worked for her approached her about attending a Bible Study. She anxiously drove across town to attend Bible Study. She didn’t even know what Bible Study was, but it was there while attending Bible Study that she gave her heart to the Lord and became a Christian.
My friend’s husband was hostile to the gospel. He did not want her to go to Bible Study. He thought she was joining a cult. When she returned home from Bible Study that evening, he had locked her out of her house! After many tears and crying out to the Lord eventually her husband surrendered his life to the call of Jesus too. This couple is now on fire for the Lord and raising their children in a Christian home.
How often do we fail to share our faith with others?
My friend had a valid point. Why and how did she walk around on this planet for over 30 years and never know about the saving redeeming love of Jesus Christ? Shame on us as Christians if we don’t tell others about Jesus. We have been given the greatest gift that has ever been given! How can we keep it for ourselves, and not share?
[ctt template=”2″ link=”skAcY” via=”yes” ]Sometimes I think we don’t share because we are afraid, or we are not sure what to say.[/ctt]
However, Jesus tells us not to fear and reassures us that the Holy Spirit will give us words to share when we don’t know what to say or how to pray. We are all called to share the love of Christ with the world and should always be prepared to share the hope with us.
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect – 1 Peter 3:15
There are hurting and lost people all around us who need the hope of the gospel. I love what Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church,
” we are not waiting on a move of God, we are a move of God”!
My Pastor David Fleming of Champion Forest Baptist Church says,”know, grow, go”. Once we know the love and saving the grace of Christ, and we grow in wisdom and maturity through reading and studying the word, and through prayer, then we need to go tell others. We are called to Move Toward the Mess.
What are we waiting for?
Like my friend, Debi Chapman said at the Refresh Gathering, what we do matters. Christian friend, we need to be busy about our Father’s work. The church needs us to move and share the love of Christ with others now. It is time for us to go. What are we waiting for?
This week I challenge you to invite a friend, a neighbor, or even a stranger to a church service or Bible Study, or better yet tell them about the hope that lies within you. Find a way to share how Jesus has changed your life and in doing so you could change someone’s eternity.
I would love to hear about how you are sharing your Faith with others.
Linking up with the following.
Are you weary? Does your soul need to be refreshed?
As women and especially as wives and mothers, our hearts can become so weary from caring for the needs of others that we tend to overlook taking care of ourselves. Recently, I listened to a message from my friend Lisa Allen, Executive Director of Ministry Training at Proverbs 31 entitled, “Self-Care Isn’t Selfish.” This message really resonated with me. As women, wives, and mothers, why do we think it is selfish to tend to our own needs? For years I have poured my life out for others and neglected to care for myself. The Lord is showing me that life is a marathon and not a sprint. Runners don’t run marathons without first being properly nourished, rested, and hydrated.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us – Hebrews 12:1
As Christian women, we are called to run our race in life with endurance. To run with endurance, we also need to be properly nourished, rested and hydrated. Our nourishment comes from spending time in the presence of God, meditating on His word, and loving others. Before any flight takes off, the flight attendant instructs passengers of what to do in an emergency. Passengers are told to put on their own oxygen mask before assisting anyone else.
This past weekend was a breath of fresh air for my soul, it was a privilege to attend the Refresh Gathering hosted by my friend Debi Chapman. I am so excited to share the Refresh Gathering with you this week. I love Debi’s heart for the Lord, and her multigenerational vision to encourage women. The Refresh Gathering was held at a beautiful venue in Grapevine, Texas called the Laurel. The day was referred to as a “spa day for your soul.”
It is a beautiful thing when women of all ages come to together to enjoy Christian fellowship with one another and to encourage one another in their Christian walk.
Debi Chapman’s great opening session centered around the story of Lazarus in John 11. The key scripture from her talk was John 11:40.
Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40 ESV
If you believe (in the midst of your pain, suffering, and mistakes), then you would see the glory of God. The enemy wants us to question God when things go wrong in our life. We can’t go back and change the past, but we can choose to see Jesus in the midst of our circumstances.
We must believe that no matter what happens in life….. that Jesus sees us, He hears our prayers, and He loves us!
[ctt template=”2″ link=”a148b” via=”yes” ]Where do you need to be refreshed today?[/ctt]
Colleen Stickl of Awakened Heart spoke on receiving refreshment and taught from the scripture in John 4 about the woman at the well and our need to be refreshed by living water. Colleen focused on three specific areas where we refreshment, our identity, our perspective, and our purpose. Each day our souls need to be refreshed by living water so that we can refresh others out of our overflow.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” – John 4:10 ESV
The woman at the well was full of regret and was isolated. As Christians, our identity is not shame or regret. We need to remember who we are, and whose we are!
Our identity is in Jesus, and we are called, chosen, and forgiven.
My favorite statement of Colleen’s was this….
The enemy wants me to look back at regret and look ahead and fear.- Colleen Stickl
Our identity, our perspective, and our purpose need to be in Jesus.
Monica Zuniga of We Are Unveiled spoke on being refreshed through forgiveness. She taught from the story of Joeseph and reminded us that we have been set free so that we can forgive others. My two favorite quotes from her talk were….
The enemy will always divide
Man will subtract
God brings Unity
Our encounter with grace and mercy with the King of the universe should affect our encounters with others. – Monica Zuniga
Next, we heard from Emily Thomas of Mom Struggling Well. She encouraged us to obey God, and if God is telling you to do something, just do it. He will help you do whatever it is he calling you to do!
Kaye Haun of House on Oak Street encouraged us to allow the Lord to renew our souls. To create an environment that brings refreshment to ourselves and those who we have the opportunity to serve in our homes, we need to be sensitive to our season in life. She talked about slowing down and being present with the people in front of us and being present with the Lord. She encouraged us to spend time with the Lord listening to how he would have us care for ourselves and for others, and allow him to give us ideas of refreshment.
Cindy Haggerton spoke on wellness. Dr. Jim Bob and Cindy Haggerton are a husband and wife chiropractic team who have dedicated their lives to educating the public about health and wellness. I encourage you to find out more about them here at Family Wellness. Cindy shared her powerful healing of restoration in her marriage to Jim Bob. She taught about the brain, digestion, and chronic inflammation and it was fascinating. Her philosophy is “move well, be well, think well,” but this is my favorite quote from her session.
“Your husband needs to see you refreshed.”- Cindy Haggerton
Susan Ryan has lived an incredible life of international travel and is passionate about developing leaders. Through humor and wit, she encouraged us to embrace life in all its fullness, messiness, and beauty.
I love this quote from Susan!
“Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.”- Susan Ryan
Lexa Brecheen of Gateway Church was precious! She spoke on God’s sufficiency to supply all of our needs. She told us about the importance of one word of refreshment and how it can change the course of someone’s day. Refreshing other people is not about us. It is about God being glorified. Make it all about Jesus.
The day concluded with an insightful panel discussion and Q&A with the speakers, and Debi Chapman closed out by sharing Jeremiah 15:19.
Therefore thus says the LORD: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them.- Jeremiah 15:19 ESV
Her final charge was this: We are precious because we are made in the image of God, and that the enemy tries to convince us that it doesn’t matter what we do, but what we do matters!
What we do matters!
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. -Proverbs 4:23
We are salt and light, and as we are refreshed by the Lord, we need to refresh others. There were other amazing vendors and sponsors, so be sure to check out Refresh Gathering for all of the details.
I want to close with one final thought from the book of Hebrews.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
Let us encourage one another to love and good works. I would love to know how you inspire and refresh others in your sphere of influence!
Link ups this week.