A Million Mundane Moments

Reflections on Marriage

Back in November, Ryan and I celebrated five years of marriage. We spent the weekend hiking and enjoying time together at the place where we met: a secluded campground and conference center that hosts summer camps every year. It’s located around the Turner Falls area in Oklahoma, and during the off-season, they have a hotel/lodge you can stay at for a pretty reasonable price. The autumn colors were on full display and we enjoyed a little weekend getaway there to reconnect with one another.

During our getaway, we reminisced about the night we met there 5 years earlier as we walked around camp. The camp has a prayer garden, and we got up early on Saturday to hike up to the garden and check out the sunrise. While we were there, we re-read our vows to one another, and we spent some time praying together about our marriage and our commitment to one another.

a million mundane moments

It was such a refreshing time together. I loved looking back over our vows and reflecting on how we had or had not fulfilled them over the last 5 years. It was a good exercise, to be honest with one another on where we are in our marriage, how we’ve grown, and in what areas we can work to grow more and improve.

I’m sharing about this now because we are just a few weeks away from Valentine’s Day – a holiday known for grand romantic gestures and displays of affection. Ryan and I don’t usually make much of Valentine’s Day – he may get me some candy and flowers, but there are no expectations or requirements.


This is typical of our relationship as a whole, as well. We don’t have regular date nights – sure, we go out occasionally – but date nights have never been a regular thing. We have never felt the need, and I’m okay with that.

It’s not that I believe date nights, gifts or getaways are wrong. I love to go out with Ryan. I enjoyed our weekend getaway for our anniversary, and I delight in an opportunity to get a night alone with him kid-free.

For us, though, our marital intimacy is built on the every day – the support we give one another in pursuing personal passions, the way we share parental and domestic responsibilities, the comfort of being in the same room with each other even if we’re doing separate activities. I enjoy just going for a walk with Ryan or wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart with him as we run household errands. I especially enjoy when he plays the piano while I’m in the kitchen prepping dinner, and then he’ll do the dishes while I give the kids a bath.  I love getting cozy on the couch together after the kids are in bed and watching Sherlock or Parks & Recreation or whatever other show we’re into at the time.

What I’m trying to say is, I just plain enjoy him. I enjoy doing life – normal, ordinary life – alongside him.

Another writer put it this way:

Marriage is made up of date nights and romantic weekends. But far more it is made up of those million mundane little moments. More than it is dancing and candlelight and bed and breakfasts, it is doing chores together, driving to church together, watching a miniseries together, eating meals together. It has been my experience that the more we enjoy those ordinary moments and the more we find satisfaction and significance in them, the less we need or even desire those extraordinary occasions.

This is the biggest thing I’ve learned in our five years of marriage: the value of a million mundane moments. They aren’t grand, they’re rarely Insta-worthy, but they are the most meaningful for us. And they’re the marriage moments I cherish.

a-million-mundane-moments-reflections-on-marriage

So as we go into Valentine’s Day, my encouragement to you, friends, is to be thankful for those million mundane moments of normal life. Delight in them and celebrate the ordinary ways you and your significant other love one another every day.

signoff

The images above were taken by The Bell Photography Co. for our engagement in 2011. I’ve re-used them here because I just love them so much. Also, Ryan read this post before I published it and stamped it with his seal of approval. 

5 Scriptures to Pray for Yourself

5 Scriptures to Pray for Yourself

 

Recently, I’ve shared different Bible verses to adapt into prayers for your children and for your husband Today I want to talk about another important person in your life who is in constant need of prayer: you. When I pray, I don’t spend much time praying for myself. I often devote most of my prayer time to others’ needs and requests. If I do spend much time in prayer for myself, it’s generally asking for forgiveness or protection.

That’s why I felt challenged to share this post. When I thought about how I was praying specific requests from God’s Word about my husband’s love for the Lord or my children’s thankful attitude, I realized I need to be transformed by scripture just as much as my husband and children do. Praying God’s Word about myself jumpstarts that transformation. By praying specifically about myself using language taken from scripture, I’m conforming my heart and mind to the image of Christ.

If you’re here today and you don’t spend enough time applying God’s Word to yourself in specific ways through prayer, I hope you’ll be challenged by this like I was. Here are 5 scriptures to pray for yourself:

  1. Replace my insecurities with the ability to trust you and rest in your approval, knowing that if I’m “trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10, see also Proverbs 29:25).
  2. Let my beauty be in “the hidden of [my] heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).
  3. Give me grace to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, [and] slow to anger” in my daily interactions with my children and husband (James 1:19).
  4. Give me wisdom, strength, and perseverance for the “good works, which [you] have prepared beforehand” for me to do, according to the unique ways you’ve designed me (Ephesians 2:10).
  5. Let me love for others be deep, sincere, and sacrificial, “[loving others] earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).

Obviously, there are myriad commands and promises in scripture we should apply to ourselves through prayer. This list is just a small portion, but these prayers reflect attitudes or changes that I need God to accomplish in me daily. What scriptures do you pray for yourself regularly?

Weekend Recap: sweet friends + Kings Kaleidoscope Live

Weekend Recap

Weekend Recap

 

Monday is upon us once again, dear friends. I work outside the home, so Mondays are bittersweet as I return to my day job and deposit my littles into someone else’s care for the majority of the hours in each day. It’s not ideal, but it’s our normal right now.

We had a great weekend. Mr. Forrest worked hard on his homework all last week to free up some space in the weekend for fun activities, and it was so nice to spend time together and with friends for a change. Saturday morning I reunited with some sweet friends to celebrate the impending nuptials of one of our tribe. I’ve known these girls for 5 years or more, and we started as coworkers and ended up as gal pals. Sweet Friends

We had a blast reminiscing on our time together as coworkers, reflecting on where we’ve all ended up after 5 years and passing on bits of advice or wisdom for the new bride to be. This group is a think tank of incredible talent and creativity, and I’m honored to know them as friends. They inspire me to pursue passion and to live with purpose and intentionality. They are all incredibly gifted, funny, smart, witty women.

Kristin and me

Our hostess has been one of my dearest friends for more than 6 years, and though our paths don’t cross as often as we’d like, I’m so glad that it seems as if no time has passed when we do get to see each other. She is a sweet sister who has walked through many of my life’s significant events alongside me, either directly (she was a rockstar at my wedding – she did my hair, helped decorate, accompanied the service, served at the reception, pretty much ran the show) or indirectly through prayer.

After the bridal shower, I spent the afternoon doing housework and getting ready for a night out with my best friend/beloved Mr. Forrest. The Forrest sprouts followed me around as I folded laundry or vacuumed, and though they were an inconvenience or downright annoyance at time, I was thankful to have them near. I snapped this sweet moment of them when I was doing some organizing in their room:

Rae & Roar Read Together

They don’t always get along, but my heart bursts at the seams when they do. I’m thankful our strong girl has overcome the challenges of being the only to being the oldest, and she loves her little brother now as if he’s always been around. He’s recently discovered a feisty streak that’s giving her a run for her money, though. That’s sibling life, though, am I right? (I’m a middle child, so I’m full of sibling angst, but that’s a story for another day.)

Saturday night, my beloved and I got to have a rare night out without the kids, and we put on our converse and went to a late night indie concert like we were teenagers and not 30-somethings married with children.

Converse

Acting young and staying out “late” brought on some nostalgia, but when I hit my pillow at 11 p.m. that night, I was thankful that I’m in this season of life and not the former. I’ll be turning 30 in a few months, and the major word of wisdom 30-year-old Rachel would give to 20-year-old Rachel is this: you’ll like yourself better at 30 than you do at 20. (As an aside: I’m planning to collect some thoughts about this very thing, what 30-year-old me would tell 20-year-old me, so be on the lookout for that post soon.)

 

We saw Kings Kaleidoscope in concert at OBU in Shawnee. They’re a faith-based indie alternative band out of Seattle, and they are ridiculously talented. They build upon the standard bass, drums, guitars and keys by incorporating a variety of sounds into their songs using orchestral instruments and experimental rhythms and accompaniments. They played for about an hour, which would have disappointed me ten years ago, but as an old person I was thankful it ended earlier. If you’re a KK fan, here was their set list for the show:

• Zion • Seek Your Kingdom • Dreams • I Know • Come Thou Fount • Psalm 139 • Redemption in Motion • Felix Culpa • Snippet of “Enchanted” (new song) • In Christ Alone • Be Thou My Vision • How Deep the Father’s Love • All Creatures • Defender •

Of course, since I am a nearly 30 mother of two, I bemoaned how loud the music was and had to leave in the middle of a song for a bathroom break. Also, even though I was rocking the converse like it was 2005, I still had on my mom uniform of a flowy tunic and stretchy pants, because comfort is not to be sacrificed for the sake of being hip at an indie show:

Mom Uniform: Tunic and Stretchy Pants

 

Those are Old Navy’s pixie pant, which I have in about 5 different colors because they are the absolute best. I prefer them to jeans now in my awesome mom bod.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low key. We worshiped with the body of believers Ryan is currently serving in South OKC Sunday morning, and I read/blogged while the rest of the Forrests napped in the afternoon. The next two weeks promise busyness and stress for us as Ryan finishes up his semester and I finish the planning and then host one of the biggest faith-based community events in our city. I’m thankful we had this weekend to enjoy one another and have some downtime as we head into the next couple of weeks.

What did your weekend look like? Did you do anything out of the ordinary, or start reading anything new?

some additional concert pictures….

Mr. and Mrs. Forrest

a selfie on the way to the show, because we cute.

Kings Kaleidoscope

see those guys on the side? they’re harmonizing. swoon.

Kings Kaleidoscope2

it was a great show!

Praying for Your Husband | 5 Bible Verses to Impact Your Marriage

Praying for Your Husband | 5 Bible Verses to Impact Your Marriage

Praying for Your Husband | 5 Bible Verses to Impact Your Marriage

Last week, I wrote about the importance of praying for our children and I shared some bible verses to help you pray for your children. I thought I’d follow it up with sharing some of my favorite scriptures to pray for my husband. Marriage is a sanctifying work, y’all. It is a beautiful picture of the gospel, of Jesus Christ and His bride, and it is a privilege to be called to marriage. However, it is not easy. My husband and I are celebrating 5 years of marriage this year, and we’ve experienced many challenges in that time: unemployment, unplanned pregnancy, going back to school and we’ve moved 6 times in those 5 years. As I’ve learned, when babies and business demands and broken dreams start crowding your lives, you need to hit your knees in prayer for your marriage.

Often, I can sometimes get so focused in praying ABOUT my husband that I fail to pray FOR him. However, I find that as I pray specific promises from God’s word for my husband, my heart is changed and I am a better wife as a result. When I spend my time praying intentionally for my husband, and to see the fruit of Jesus Christ in his life, then I am changed and our marriage is transformed. Here are 5 bible verses to pray for your husband and impact your marriage:

  1. Fill my husband with “delight…in the law of the Lord” (Psalm 1:2) and “open [his] eyes that [he] may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18).
  2. Empower him to “run with endurance the race that is set before [him]” and to focus on pleasing you (Hebrews 12:1-2).
  3. Because you “oppose the proud and give grace to the humble“, instill a genuine sense of humility in my husband’s heart (James 4:6).
  4. Enable him to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).
  5. Increase his desire to teach and model godliness as a father, “that the next generation might know…and not forget the works of God” (Psalm 78:5-7).

Praying for your husband is one of the most important things you can do for your marriage. When life gets hard, conforming your heart to the heart of God for your husband by praying His word can make a powerful impact on the health of your marriage. What are some of your favorite verses to pray for your husband?

I used to be more spiritual

I used to be more spiritual what I've learned about marriage and my relationship with God

I used to be more spiritual what I've learned about marriage and my relationship with God I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:32-35)

This post is a hard one to write. Even as I type these words, they are latent with conviction and trepidation.

I was doing some cleaning this morning in our home office (aka JUNK ROOM), when I came across my prayer journals from a few years ago, from when I was single and in seminary. I spent some time flipping through the pages and reading over the cares of my heart and mind from that time, and I immediately began thinking of these words from Paul in 1 Corinthians 7. Because as I read, I realized that my consistency in prayer and other spiritual disciplines looks much different now than it did then.

When you’re single, I think you read over these words of Paul a little flippantly. Maybe you don’t, but I’m pretty sure I did. Much like many young women, I loved love and earnestly desired to find a man with whom I could share my life and pursue Christ together.

But now that I’m married, I can echo what Paul’s subtext is in this passage: marriage ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, y’all.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being married. My husband brings me SO MUCH joy and laughter and love. Our little trio of a family is the fulfillment of so many of my heart’s desires. And we seek to glorify God in our marriage and our home as best we can by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Nevertheless, I have to fight for “undivided devotion to the Lord” now. If I want to be deeper in the Word and more consistent in prayer, I have to carve out time for those things in a day that is already full from waking to sleeping. And, I fail at it often. More often than I care to admit.

There’s diapers and laundry, meals to cook and dishes to wash, not to mention ball games or homework or club meetings and church activities. And on top of that, we need to be intentional about nurturing our marriages, too, because healthy marriages don’t just happen by accident.

So maybe you are right there with me. Maybe your prayer life or your time in the Word is lacking because of the worldly concerns that often crowd our anxious hearts. To you I say: His grace is sufficient for you. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, so don’t examine your spiritual life with the lens of judgment.

If you are single, to you I say: enjoy this season. You may be longing for marriage or embittered with your relationship status, but I hope you hear me when I say this season of your life is special, truly. Marriage is a sanctifying work, and the time you have available now to nurture your relationship with the Living God is vital to your relationship with Him later, when your heart will be divided and your time will be crowded.

Married or single, we all need to pursue grace. Pursue is an active verb, which implies intentional movement from the subject to seek to attain or accomplish something. Thankfully, grace has already been accomplished for us, when Jesus lived a perfect life, died a death we deserved, rose again three days later and now intercedes for us at the throne of the Father. Thus, to pursue grace, we pursue Jesus, intentionally and actively.

Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, once said that if he faced a particularly busy day, he would need to spend an extra amount of time in prayer because he was too busy not to pray.

Even if my spiritual life doesn’t look exactly like it did 4 years ago, when I could often devote time to write my prayers on tangible materials, I can still pursue a deeper relationship with my Lord through prayer and study of God’s Word. I can listen to sermons as I fold laundry. I can sing songs to my daughter that teach about God’s attributes and truths from His Word. And I can pray as I cook, wash dishes, or take a shower.

What about you? In what ways can you pursue grace to deepen your relationship with God?