Let’s face it ladies, putting ourselves and our marriages first doesn’t come naturally to us once we have children.
We often forget that we are still a woman with real needs and the only way they can truly be met is by putting first things first.
Anyone who has been reading my blog since it first began will remember me teaching on this next graphic…that clearly puts things in their proper order.
In order for me to keep first things first, I must keep this target at the forefront of my mind daily. When things are getting out of balance all I need to do is remember He must be first. Next my focus has to be on maintaining the sacrament of our marriage and pour into it daily. Our children can’t grow into the adults God desires when I put them above Him or our marriage. They won’t ever understand the worth of a God honoring marriage and the grace given to it when He is NOT kept right in the middle.
An unbalanced life becomes what we teach our children if we are not careful with keeping first things first.
That my friends is what I’ve been doing all summer long. I’ve been relearning the worth of a God honoring marriage and what it meant the day we renewed our vows back in February. Fr. Mario has played an integral part in both of our conversions to Catholicism. You can read more about my personal journey right here.
To my left is my dearest and best friend of over 20 years Maria and to my husbands right is his best friend James who have walked us both through this journey with such grace and love! Having them stand by our side during our vow renewal was a HUGE blessing on many levels. They truly remind us both keep first things first.
Hold on, next was my turn and I couldn’t get his ring back on. I had to really keep it together and not burst out laughing (or cry).
I did it! Thank You GOD!
That was the sweetest kiss of my entire life! It truly healed so much brokenness within me and our marriage. I still struggle for words, but trust as time goes on I will begin to share the depth of what this moment began in our family!
Everyone needs at least one Maria and James in their lives!
You see because we put our marriage first and renewed our vows (convalidated) in the Catholic church our children had a clear image of what it looks like to put God first in everything. They also saw that nothing comes before our commitment to one another. For children who have endured deep loss through adoption, that became a defining moment in their lives. One none of us will ever forget.
Don’t mind us all huddled together in this next photo it was maybe 35 degrees outside. Brrrrrr!
These three girls are my heart and remind me daily to never stop striving to become a woman of virtue.
They hold a HUGE piece of their daddy’s heart. They are truly adored and loved!
Oh these boys! Ha! My laugh is 100% genuine here and they bring it out of me a thousand different ways!
But it is when I watch my husband train our boys to become men of integrity, honor, and valor I am weak in the knees! He is an incredible father to our sons and they are blessed beyond measure to have a father who always lives out his faith. He never forgets to put first things first. What an incredible lesson for each of us to watch daily!
And that is how we began putting first things first in our marriage.
Our marriage is now a sacrament. It is a way for grace to flow in us and through us.
Now queue in the LOUD screech sound.
Because sadly, this didn’t help me keep first things first. I got wrapped right back up into a spiritual battle as I was being prepared to enter the Catholic church. Then once I did things seemed to keep getting harder for me spiritually and I was unable to focus on putting anything first outside of getting through the day. I had my eyes so focused on the mess in my life and that it wasn’t going how I wanted that everything was falling out of place. Especially the beauty of the sacrament I said “yes” to with my full heart only a few months ago.
Did you notice all the “I’s” in that paragraph? I was in the way of any grace coming to me and through me. OUCH!
Each day I went to Mass hoping to feel something changing in me. But nothing was. I was begging God for help. And meanwhile, God was trying to show me how far off the mark I had allowed myself and life to get.
It took many sleepless nights, and months of feeling completely alone on this journey before I was able to see and hear clearly what had really happened.
I forgot what it looked like to put and keep first things first. It took hearing this several times in two weeks from our priests during their homilies for my heart to get the message loud and clear. Then it took me humbling myself before God in a way that felt real and hit my core for things to begin to change in me.
Friends, my life has been filled with deep hurts. I have walked some really tough roads. I have put myself on some of them. I have allowed them to define me for way too long. I was unwilling to see how damaging that was in my life and growth as a child of God. Not to mention how hurtful that was to my family.
It all came to a head two weeks ago. Like a tidal wave in my soul and all the wretchedness within me came flying out in a deep cry for God’s help. He not only heard my cries and prayers, He delivered me. The power of His Spirit swept over me and in me. For the first time in my life, my mind was clear and the voices that seemed to never shut off were gone.
Which allowed me to hear the soft whisper of God’s voice leading me back to putting first things first.
As the weeks go on I will share many stories of how this all fell into place and what it looks like for me to seek Him first before all else.
If you have not listened to this song, (FIRST) then click on it and allow it to minister to your heart.
Photo credit for all vow renewal images – Lundy Photography
PS You might also like this post on forgiveness.