Five Years Ago Today…

Sometimes I wish that God would help us out a little in terms of recognizing moments that we should remember vividly forever. 🙂 A little nudge would be amazing.

My best example: when I met Brennan. That was a slightly important moment in my life, and I honestly don’t remember much about it.

It was five years ago today, Easter Sunday, sometime around noon. It was at East Shore Baptist Church. My life was about to change and I had NO idea.

I remember that I had been up since 4:00am and had just helped lead three worship services. I was exhausted. I remember that his mom said something about wanting me to meet someone, and me (the exhausted introvert) reluctantly following her. I remember inviting him to our newly formed “singles” class the following week and not saying much else.

Why is it that we can often remember the boring, unimportant details about such important moments, but not the details that really matter? Why can’t I remember what he was wearing, what he said, how he looked at me, etc.? In these moments, a little nudge from God would be SO helpful.

Mr. and Mrs. Brackbill!

In the past five years, so much has happened.

We were friends for three months, dated for six, were engaged
for nine, and have been married for three and a half.
Since our wedding, we have had three addresses.
We are expecting our first child, a daughter, in August 2014.

And, much like the song we danced to on our wedding day says, “…and I thought I loved you then.”
I never could have imagined how much love grows and deepens almost daily!

“What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more – but I’ve said that before…”

I may not remember very clearly how we met, but I am no less thankful for what joy the last five years have brought to my life.

I wasn’t looking for love that day, or even a date. But God, in His sovereignty and grace, redeemed that uneventful first meeting and turned it into a lifelong love.

Like a river meets the sea, stronger than its ever been
We’ve come so far since that day, and I thought I loved you then”

 

Day Six: I’m Thankful For…My Husband

Preface: Last year I decided to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I never finished this series, so that’s my goal this year. I am re-posting the ones I wrote last year and adding new ones. This was originally posted on 11/06/12 (with slight changes made today).

Today is our third anniversary.

I am so thankful that God brought me to Pennsylvania for many reasons…but I’m especially thankful that He allowed me the privilege of meeting Brennan on April 12, 2009.

I was content where I was and wasn’t looking to get married…but God had other plans and I’m SO thankful that His ways are different/greater than ours!

Brennan has been such an amazing friend and life partner through the past four and a half years of being together.

He consistently encourages me by his example to be a better person and sharpens me in ways I didn’t expect.

Just some of the things I love about Brennan…

  • His smile
  • The way he rubs his hands together when he is excited
  • The way he looks when he’s dressed up (SO handsome!)
  • His scent
  • His selflessness
  • His simplicity
  • His gorgeous green eyes
  • His leadership with our MHS boys
  • The way he cuddles up to me in the morning
  • His affectionate nature
  • His love of showing his affection for me–publicly and privately
  • His willingness to eat anything that I prepare
  • The way he can read me in a second and know how I’m feeling
  • His tendency to become protective of me when I am hurting
  • His amazing work ethic and how hard he works to provide
  • The passion he displays when he prays out loud
  • His love of children (he will be an amazing father)
  • His never-ending support and encouragement
  • His patience
  • His goofiness 🙂

The joy that Brennan brings to my life is incredible. Life is so much richer with him by my side! I am so thankful for him and for the adventures we’ve had so far…and for those yet to come.

Thank you, Jesus, for answering my lifelong prayer for a husband by bringing me Brennan. He is more wonderful than I ever imagined.

We Bought A House!

As many of you know, Brennan and I are now homeowners. After renting small apartments (less than 600 sq. ft) for the first two years of our marriage (in an effort to live frugally and eliminate our debt), we are now the owners of an 1,800 sq. ft house! It isn’t a perfect house — it does need some “love” in a few areas–but it is perfect for us and for our future family.

1

During our home inspection, the inspector continually smiled at us as we expressed our gratitude for the things the house offers that we have missed and appreciate so much…things like:

  • a dishwasher
  • a laundry room (no more laundromats!)
  • central air conditioning/heat with a thermostat
  • the ability to buy a refrigerator with an ice maker
  • our own backyard and deck
  • ceiling fans in every room!
  • bigger closets than we’ve had thus far in our marriage

It’s truly the little things in life that are worth celebrating.

It doesn’t take much to make us happy because our contentment isn’t found in “stuff”–it is found in immaterial things. We don’t need a brand new house that is perfect from the beginning–all we need is a place to call our own and to make our own. God has blessed us with a house that was a tremendous deal (worth far more than what we paid for it), and it’s one that we can easily afford (only slightly more than our rent now) on just Brennan’s income. We are so blessed and so excited to transform this house into our home!

Day Seventeen: I’m Thankful For…Mystery Shopping.

Preface: I thought it was fitting to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I’ve never taken the time to do this, and it will be a challenge to blog each day, but it’s so important to recognize the blessings God has given us! 🙂 These are in NO particular order…

In early 2011 I began mystery shopping, and it has been such a blessing to us.

It all started when Brennan came home and mentioned that the Hotel Hershey had been evaluated by mystery shoppers from Forbes/AAA recently and they had just received their scores. I couldn’t believe that someone could get paid to get a massage! 🙂 I was familiar with the concept of mystery shopping because my mom and grandma had done it when I was younger; so, I decided to look into it for myself and have found it to be a really fun hobby!

Mystery shopping provides us with abundant “free” date nights. We can mystery shop movie theatres, tons of restaurants (ranging from fast food to fancy), hotels, sporting events, concerts, etc. This has been such a blessing to us because we strive to live as frugally as possible and this allows us to still “date” each other frequently (which is very important)!

On the practical side, we hardly ever pay for oil changes, brake inspections, shipping packages, etc. anymore. There are so many ways to get paid for things you need to do anyway! This has saved us so much money in the past two years!

Mystery shopping is challenging and requires a lot of detailed observations; but, once you get the hang of it you develop a system. Brennan is a great help on these shops because he can help me remember the details when it’s time to enter the shop into the system and he really enjoys it as well.

Finally, mystery shopping has been a way for me to bring extra income to the table which has allowed us to pay off our credit card debt so much faster. Since I only work part-time currently, it has made me feel like I am contributing to our family finances more, which I love.

I’m very thankful that God has provided this opportunity for us to date, live frugally, and have fun through mystery shopping!

(To read more about how to get into mystery shopping on your own, read this post.)

Day Six: I’m Thankful For…My Husband.

Preface: I thought it was fitting to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I’ve never taken the time to do this, and it will be a challenge to blog each day, but it’s so important to recognize the blessings God has given us! 🙂 These are in NO particular order…

I decided to wait to post about my husband on our anniversary (2 years!) instead of on “day 2” 🙂

I am so thankful that God brought me to Pennsylvania for many reasons…but I’m especially thankful that He allowed me the privilege of meeting Brennan on April 12, 2009. I was content where I was and wasn’t looking to get married…but God had other plans and I’m SO thankful that His ways are different/greater than ours!

Brennan has been such an amazing friend and life partner through the past three and a half years. He consistently encourages me by his example to be a better person and sharpens me in ways I didn’t expect.

Just some of the things I love about Brennan…

  • His smile
  • The way he rubs his hands together when he is excited
  • The way he looks when he’s dressed up (SO handsome!)
  • His scent
  • His selflessness
  • His simplicity
  • His gorgeous green eyes
  • His leadership with our MHS boys
  • The way he cuddles up to me in the morning
  • His affectionate nature
  • His love of showing his affection for me–publicly and privately
  • His willingness to eat anything that I prepare
  • The way he can read me in a second and know how I’m feeling
  • His tendency to become protective of me when I am hurting
  • His amazing work ethic and how hard he works to provide
  • The passion he displays when he prays out loud
  • His love of children (he will be an amazing father)
  • His never-ending support and encouragement
  • His patience
  • His goofiness 🙂

The joy that Brennan brings to my life is incredible. Life is so much richer with him by my side! I am so thankful for him and for the adventures we’ve had so far…and for those yet to come.

Thank you, Jesus, for answering my lifelong prayer for a husband by bringing me Brennan. He is more wonderful than I ever imagined.

Guest Post: Building Up the Men in Our Lives

Featured authors

Building Up the Men in Our Lives
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9, NIV)
 
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
 
learn more ▶
 
When our husbands let us down, it’s hard not to voice our anger and disappointment. We don’t do it to hurt or embarrass our husbands. We are women, and we’re wired to share our hearts with another person. We definitely need one another to become the women we want to be, but we need to be careful not to cripple our men by uncovering their weaknesses to everyone.Obviously we all need someone to help us sort through our feelings. I think it is best to find one or two trustworthy people who are in favor of our marriages and won’t repeat our conversation to others. I have two best friends to whom I tell everything because they help me see things from my husband’s perspective and help me fight for my marriage by praying and sharing wisdom from the Word. I am careful, even with them, not to overshare in a way that would humiliate my husband, Steve.

Think about how we would feel if our husbands talked about our weaknesses at their workplaces. Let’s commit to covering our men and not exposing them, and let’s pray for them to grow as leaders.

Don’t Enable . . .

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

Because we women are so good at leading, many times we leave our men in the dust or allow them to become weak leaders. How are they ever supposed to learn to lead if we do everything for them? We are not their mothers; we are their wives. Christ asked them to love, lead, and take care of us the way He loves the church.

It’s important that we not try to do things that are our husbands’ responsibility unless they are absolutely necessary. Even if we can do their job better than they can, we’re not helping them become the men they long to be; we are enabling them. They will see us as their mothers and not their wives, which will make us bitter toward them and produce the fruit of self-hate in their lives.

Do What You Can to Empower Him . . .

Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do. (1 Peter 3:6)

I used to think it was strange that Sarah called her husband “master.” I thought maybe she was even putting her husband before God. But today I realize she was a wise woman. She was empowering her husband to find his place as her leader. We can also help our husbands become godly leaders for us. Even if they do not rise up right away, we shouldn’t give up on them. We can keep praying and empowering them. Whatever they do, big or small, let’s encourage them. Let’s be like Sarah and do whatever it takes to empower our men to be great.

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visit www.biblelifecoaching.com.

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Guest Post: “We Are on the Same Team and Fighting the Same Enemy”

Featured authors

We Are on the Same Team and Fighting the Same Enemy
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
 
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
 
learn more ▶
 
Think about what makes your heart melt when you watch a great love story. It’s not the hero’s physical strength or his beloved’s beauty, is it? No, you and I are drawn to the power of true love and its inexplicable ability to prevail over tragedy and adversity. The greater the conflict, the stronger the love must be in order to resolve the issue. When the hero does whatever it takes to save the relationship, our hearts soar with renewed hope. Likewise, as we seek to truly listen and understand our men when differences between us create friction, we set ourselves up for more satisfying and loving relationships.

The Author of love and life and the Designer of our differences knew there would be conflict between men and women. The real problem comes, though, when we get accustomed to seeing relational problems solved in the time it takes to eat a bag of popcorn. Our hero and his beauty have less than two hours to defeat the dragons and overcome unspeakable challenges. You and I are not going to magically resolve deep relationship conflicts in our own wisdom and definitely not in less than two hours.

When I met my husband, Steve, I was sure we were a match made in heaven. In fact, we have had the privilege of being in ministry together for most of our marriage. I wish I could tell you it’s been an effortless, wonderful life for the two of us, but I would be lying to you.

I learned to fight loud and strong by watching my parents. My brother and I would hide together in my bedroom as our parents tore into each other during arguments, often screaming and throwing things. Because of my broken family, when I first got married I was sure that every conflict between me and Steve would end our marriage.

Steve was raised by parents who had stayed married, so it was impossible for him to relate to my fears and worries. He was raised in quieter surroundings. His parents dealt with conflict quite differently from mine. There was no rage. No yelling. No broken furniture. His parents rarely fought—and never in front of their children. But his family also had no system to resolve conflict. That meant issues went unresolved—though not unnoticed.

Steve’s and my fighting techniques were drastically different. However, neither of us had been equipped to deal appropriately with marital conflict. That led to major challenges early in our marriage whenever we attempted to resolve a disagreement. To make things even more difficult, when I married Steve I was a new Christian and had not yet learned how to channel my anger properly.

I tried everything to get him to react or resolve conflict with me, and as I waited, I became more bitter and he became more distant. One day I couldn’t take Steve’s calm, cool responses anymore. From my perspective, he obviously needed some lessons on how to fight for our marriage. I’d had enough of his “let’s work it out peacefully by ignoring our problems” act. In my mind, he was being polite only to annoy me.

“Why don’t you ever show some emotion and prove to me you care about our marriage?” I yelled.

Steve stood there quietly, shaking his head and looking down at the ground. Then suddenly, he turned toward the mirror on our bedroom closet door and kicked it as hard as he could, smashing it to bits.

Wow, I thought, what a performance. He sure learns fast.

Suddenly I began to laugh hysterically through my tears. I was so shocked I wasn’t sure if I was relieved or ready to run from what I saw. His toenail was jutting out at a bizarre angle as he asked me, “Is that enough emotion for you? If it would help, I could probably throw myself on the floor and work up a good cry.” We both began to laugh together as we attempted to pick up the glass fragments scattered all over our bedroom floor. In that moment I realized how much we had shattered each other just because we were different and had not been trained on how to resolve conflict. Our marriage was not the problem; it was our hearts. Neither of us had a teachable spirit.

It took several years, a lot of tears, and one expensive closet door mirror to repair the damage inflicted during those early years. We still have conflict, as all couples do, but we now understand that we are on the same team and that it’s okay not to agree on everything.

After twenty-five years of marriage, we’ve decided it’s worth letting go of the little things and fighting to understand one another. Conflict comes no matter who we marry. We may be fighting about different things with different men, but there will always be major differences between men and women. I once heard a pastor say that if spouses agreed on everything, only one of them would be needed. Let’s not allow our differences to divide us any longer!

For a sneak peek of Sheri Rose’s Your Heart’s Desire Group Experience, or to learn more about her ministry, visit www.biblelifecoaching.com.

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