Time For A Little Perspective

Do you ever struggle with balance? I sure do.
Literal balance. As well as work life balance.

Thankfully, I don't have too many run ins with the literal balance beams of life, minus the occasional curb I miss while walking and texting (oh don't judge, you've done it too).

But it's so much harder to ignore work life balance. I mean, the minute you do, things easily spiral out of control. Before you know it, you are overwhelmed, over-worked, over-exhausted and just plain over it all.

Been there? Done that? Relate...at all?

My hubby and I are trying to do a really neat thing...not something I'm willing to share in great detail with you at this point...but let's just say that our lives will be pretty epic if we accomplish it.

However, the odds seem to be stacked against us. Bigtime. Life seems to be working against us. Schedules? Against us. Health? Against us. Time? Against us. And God? I'll be honest, lately I've been feeling maybe even He is against us. Yes, yes, I know that isn't biblical. But I'm only human. So cut me some slack.

Do you ever feel like some days you are stranded alone on your own Woes Me Island? That's an awful place to be, isn't it? Maybe it's time for us to gain a little perspective.

It is so amazing how God places people in your life just when you need it! I don't know why this still surprises me, but it does. I am so thankful that when I've been feeling stranded, my husband will offer just the right scripture to help heal my heart. And God places people in my life at just the right time, to let me know that He truly does hear my prayers.

And, to lighten the load, even when we're both feeling a little stranded, we still like to act a little silly. What can I say, we're kids at heart.

Today, I wanted to come out of hiding and let you know that you are not alone. Jesus loves you. I love you. Your family loves you. And even if you feel like you are sometimes all alone on Woes Me Island, with whatever trial or sin you are dealing with...that's a lie. You are never alone.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 NIV

Take a deep breath. Go outside for some fresh air. Gain a little perspective. See how special you truly are, and be intentional in your desire to become the special person God's designed you to be.

Let's leave behind our Woes Me Island shall we? And paddle ashore to Reality. It isn't always perfect here. Heck, sometimes it's just plain chaotic and overwhelming. And you don't always get your way. Things don't always go according to plan. (I'm really selling it, aren't I?) But the good news is we never have to go it alone. Christ is with us.  Always. Always.

Not sure where to start? Pick up your bible and dig in!

XOXO, Nicki

Pray For A Marriage In Need

This marriage stuff is hard work! Not as easy as they make it seem on TV, right? I mean on TV, marriage is either perfect, or it ends when it gets too hard. Fade to commercial. You come back and everyone is happy. Neither depiction is remotely biblical, or realistic for that matter.

I grew up in a broken home. The hubs did too. So starting our life out together, I guess you could say we were "in the hole" as far as parental role models went. If someone had given me a heads up, maybe it would have been easier to deal with some of those difficulties that came along early on in our marriage. But as I wrote last week, we got through them. And we are all the better for it! Why? We sought out Godly marriages and role models, and learned what it means to truly live God's design for love and respect.
It wasn't easy. And it's still a work in progress, just like any healthy relationship is. But we are in an awesome place. In life. In marriage. In our relationship with the Lord. And we continue to work at it daily.
Praise the Lord for do-over days. And forgiveness. And abundant mercy and grace.
We all can learn from our mistakes. In life. And in marriage, right?
But if that's true, then why do so many marriages, and so many people, keep making the same mistakes over and over again?
The answer is so simple. SIN.
Stupid Satan. And darn that Eve for eating that apple! (j/k, sort of)
But let's be real here. We are all sinners. We are all in need of a Savior. And we all need a blueprint for a Godly marriage.
I don't know if it's due to my life as a radio girl, or just because I am approachable, but I'm aware of ALOT of people who have very broken marriages. Christian people. Couples who put on smiley faces on Sunday and then the rest of the week, well, let's just say it's not so smiley. People you would never in a million years suspect of an unhappy marriage.
It makes me really, really sad.
Maybe I'm still riding the happy wave of recently celebrating 10 wonderful years of marriage, but today my heart is so very heavy for people whose marriages, well, kind of suck.
I am so blessed to be loved by such a wonderfully imperfect, loving, God-honoring man who is as committed as I am to making our marriage healthy. Notice I didn't say happy. Because no marriage is always happy. Or perfect for that matter. But it can be healthy, even when we're grumpy or going thru a difficult time in life.
Today my heart just cries out for friends, acquaintances and others I know who are in such a dark place in their relationships right now.
And I guess I want to use my small little space on the internet to simply ask you to pray today. Please pray for the people you know who are in that dark place in marriage and life right now.
(And if you are there yourself, please reach out and ask a trusted friend or two for prayer. Please, don't give up hope. Keep praying. Keep asking God to move mountains in your marriage. Take a look at your own sins and failures (we all have them) and ask God to reveal to you what you can't seem to see, whether your blinded by pride or anger. Whatever it may be, just don't give up hope. And continue to ask God to work wonders in your spouse. He is a God who can move literal mountains. He can do it in your marriage too. Just don't give up hope.)
Will you join me in prayer today?
Pray that hurting marriages everywhere can be healed through God's word and alot of patience, love and hard work. Pray that spouses who are angry and apathetic become overwhelmed with a fierce desire to fix what is broken. Pray for those who feel they have officially checked out to check themselves back into their marriage and renew their covenant with the Lord. Pray for those that feel it's not their fault to have their eyes open to their own sin and how its damaging their marriage relationship. Pray for spouses to get into God's word and remind themselves of His design for their broken, hurting marriage.
We can't fix broken marriages. But God can.
So please take time to pray for a marriage that is hurting today.
It's a simple request really. But so very important.
We might not be able to change the world, but we can pray that God will change hurting, angry and broken hearts.
Thanks for praying friends.
XOXO, Nicki

To Love Honor & Sneeze Together

This week I'm celebrating 10 wonderful years of marriage to a really incredible man!

Truth be told, they haven't all been wonderful years, many have been difficult and long for both of us. But we got through them together. Some years with heartache and tears, other years with joy and smiles.

There were days, years maybe, for both of us, where it probably seemed like it would never get better. We resented each other at some point, I'm sure, for our lack of respect and love to each other. We were so busy with our own hurt hearts that we couldn't see through to the other person's pain and frustration. There were years for both of us where it was all about 'me me me.' Those, by the way, were the difficult years. That 'me, me, me' mentality didn't work when we were 2 year olds; it certainly doesn't work any better as adults, does it?

But we got thru those 'me me me' years and they've morphed into the "us (Him) us (Me) us (God)" times.

There are three of us in our marriage now. God. Me. Hubby. 

We both come from broken homes so we didn't have the best role models. But the one thing that has been at the center of our marriage is our commitment to God to be in this marriage for life. For better or for worse. For richer or for poorer. Till death. Yikes, who knew that would take so much work!

Marriage is hard work. So work hard for your marriage!

Think about it, we are all a bunch of less than perfect humans, sinning humans nonetheless, who one day decide to get hitched to another not so perfect sinning human.  It sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? But thank God literally that He's given us a road map of how to love each other through the bible.

To Love, Honor & Sneeze Together!
For the past week or so my hubby and I have both been sick. We've shared over a dozen Kleenex boxes. We've endured each other's snotty noses, sneezes, fevers, coughs and sleepless nights. We've prayed for each other, we've laughed, I've even cried (my head has hurt so much).

After 10 years of marriage there isn't another human being on the planet that I'd rather share my snot-filled moments with than my husband. 

This truly incredible man is a precious gift from the Lord that I hold dear to my heart each and every day. He is my best friend. He has been with me thru death, joy, sorrow, heartache, plenty of tears, car accidents, silly moments, crazy moments, sleepless nights, cancer and other health issues, bad cooking fiascos, female temper tantrums, family drama and pain. I am tearfully overjoyed at how lucky I am to have him. And how blessed I am to know him as a person.

It is such a privilege to be alongside him in this life. I get a front row seat to watch how God is growing him into such an incredible leader in our home, our church and our community. His passion for the Lord is contagious. His love for others overwhelming. I am truly blessed to know this man. And even more blessed that he choose me to be his wife.

I am not perfect. I never will be. I've stopped trying to strive for something that's impossible. I've also recognized that he's not perfect and our marriage is never going to be perfect either.

But we have been able to come together, two beautifully imperfect people, to love one another despite all our imperfections. We commit each day to try to love each other and to try our best to serve our Lord through our marriage. And I guess, that's all any of us can really do, isn't it? Just keep trying. And loving each other the best we can, snotty noses and all. 

Will you please take some time today to let your hubby know how much you love him? We get so busy and mad and crazy and tired sometimes, that we forget. So don't forget today, okay? Love on him with all you have.

Keepin' It Real - Living Life In The Real World

I've had 10 insanely productive, relaxing and enjoyable days without Facebook. Can you believe it? (Last week, I deactivated my Facebook account) I realized that Facebook is not a very healthy tool for someone who is super social (um, this girl right here) and is predisposed to procrastination (um, hello, me again).

This social girl has realized that Facebook has been a major distraction over recent years. A way to keep me from the necessary but mundane things in life. But even pleasant distractions have a way of turning into bad habits. And I don't know about you, but my distractions tend to get in the way of me making the most of my days. Both spiritually and functionally.

I had alot of emails this past week asking why I deactivated my account. It was honestly a year-long process, but the tipping point, so to speak, was when I logged into Facebook the other weekend and my news feed was filled with posts of 'friends' who had tagged other 'friends' they had hung out with that weekend. Um...hello...talk about feeling a bit excluded. Which let me say is totally ridiculous, as I just had a weekend filled with real world friends and good times, and I wouldn't have hung out with these particular people that weekend even if I had been asked.

So why did I feel excluded? I really don't know. But I did. And now I sort of find them annoying. And rude. Which is totally judgmental and just not me.

Do you ever feel excluded or judgmental in cyber space?
Be honest.

I mean, think about it, if you were in a room full of 300 plus people, would you grab a microphone and point out that you had a great time with 6 people in that room over the weekend? Um, no. Why? Cuz that would sort of be rude. And a bit weird. A little self absorbed even. And chances are, if you are a nice person, you wouldn't want other friends to feel  left out, or hurt, by the fact they weren't invited, right? So...if we don't do it in the real world, why is it OK to do it in the cyber world? 

I know I'm not alone in this struggle. I have friends who feel the same way. We recognize it's totally silly. And insane. And utterly irrational.

Facebook has only been around for a decade, but over the last year or two there have been alot of studies showing that it makes women feel isolated and insecure. Ironic for a social networking site, right? All I seem to hear lately is women telling me how they don't measure up to the supermoms on Facebook. They wish they had 'so and sos' life. Or they judge (and gossip about) something a person posted. It makes me so sad.

In real life I am not excluded by the people that matter. So I guess I don't want to feel excluded in the cyber world by people who don't.

I am not a judgmental person. Or an apathetic one. But this silly platform has been making me feel petty, judgmental and downright ridiculous. And I don't like it.

You might not agree with me, and you know what, that's totally OK. But this is where I am right now. I don't want to contribute to someone else's negative feelings about their own self worth. Or make them feel they don't measure up to my "perfect" (so not true) life. (And honestly until I don't give a rip that so and so hung out with so and so, it's simply time for me to take a break.)

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12
I have done more laundry, cleaning, writing and actual fun stuff this past week - like spending extra long quality time with Jesus, the hubby and good friends; cooking gourmet food, writing letters to old friends - than I have in quite some time. I've been filling my 'extra' time with things that really matter, or at least have tangible outcomes. Right now, I'm choosing to live life fully present in the real world (except for blogging, hahaha). I know it's what God wants me to do in this season of life.

My desire for you this week friend, is that you continue to be more intentional with your time and your real world relationships. Maybe Facebook isn't a distraction for you. But chances are, something is. And maybe it's time to get rid of it. Time to number your days with wisdom, not folly.

Oh, and as a last thought...will you please consider taking a moment to evaluate if your social interactions may be impacting others in a negative way, even if it is unintentionally?

Please be considerate of others. We do it in the real world. Let's do it in cyber space too. OK?
xoxo, Nicki

YOUR TURN...Be honest: Has social media ever made you feel excluded? Have you ever stopped to think that what you write might be impacting someone negatively? Have you been struggling to find balance in your life? Is God convicting you to give up a major distraction this week?