So you may be wondering why there is a picture of my two bare hands....with no wedding ring. I would be wondering too. Read on to find out what is going on inside this crazy head of mine.
If you have been following our blog, then you probably know about our "Fresh Start" blog series. For any newcomers, I will quickly catch you up... Basically, the "Fresh Start" is an experience that my husband and I are doing together. It's a practice that will hopefully deepen our relationship with God first and then in each other. The "Fresh Start" series is broken down into 4 parts: "Dating," "Engagement," "Renewal," and "Honeymoon." The idea behind this series is not to replace what we already did when we originally dated, got engaged, married, and went on our honeymoon (which all happened 7-8 years ago), but it's to "re-live it" in a way. This whole idea may seem strange or just weird, but it's something we feel is important for us to do as a married couple. There are a number of reasons why we feel that way, some of those reasons are ones that we came up with together and some of those reasons are ones that I came up with for myself, in which I will explain below.
One of the reasons we thought of together is that as a couple we want to make sure we maintain the mindset of putting God first in our lives and then each other before our child (who is due at the end of March). Now let me start by saying, that doesn't mean that we won't love our child (and future children) with a passion, protect them, and care deeply for them - because we most certainly will! But we believe that as Christians we should put God first, then our spouse, and then our kids. I can't seem to find an actual Bible verse on this specific order, but there are Bible verses that talk about putting God first, then your spouse, and then other family members next in your priorities in life. However, we realize that putting our own child after each other will be very difficult to do because of how much we will love our little boy. Therefore, in doing this "Fresh Start" method, it will help us to keep that mindset. So by going on dates and keeping up with each other it will hopefully keep our focus on each other while raising a child together.
Another reason we came up with together is because we have been through a lot this past year with the loss of our first child, Noah. We just want to make sure that our relationship stays strong, even when faced with tragedies, trials, and the struggles of this world. Most days are great, but there are some days when we ponder more on the loss of our child, which in return can make us depressed. And so, in doing this "Fresh Start" series, it allows us to reminisce on the good memories and make new ones all the while keeping our relationship strong.
A personal reason for the "Fresh Start" series is because up until recently I struggled with things that happened in my past and in my past relationships. These struggles followed me around like a little puppy dog, and would sometimes keep me awake at night. They had a grip on me for a number of years... Until I FINALLY HAD ENOUGH! I finally decided to do WHATEVER was possible to let it all go, to pick up my cross (which essentially means to lay your sins and burdens down at the feet of Jesus), and allow God to intercede in my life and in my marriage. I'll be honest, it took a lot of guts and it cost me a great deal of hurt, loss, and vulnerability. As it says in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." I definitely have found this verse to be true. When I was ready to do absolutely anything to put the past behind me and totally let go and give it to God, I had to confess my sins in a somewhat public matter. In doing so, it caused some hurt and probably confusion for others, and in return, I lost that connection from them, people whom I loved and cared so deeply for. But, again the part in Romans where it says, "for the wages of sin is death," the wages for my sins and struggles was the death of those relationships. However, it also says in Matthew 18:8-9...
"If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."
This verse essentially means that you have to get rid of the things that cause you to sin and struggle, even if those things are things you love and care about. Because it's better to let those triggers go than to live life in sin, which then leads to death eternally. But, you know, although I had to lose something dear to me, I am now forever grateful for it because it has changed my life. See, when you are ready to lay it all down at God's feet and allow Him to move in your life, then amazing things happen, and He literally will change your life and perspective. As long as we are still living in the period of grace, then it is NEVER too late to ask God for forgiveness, for help, for redemption, and/or for freedom from that bondage. It’s NEVER to late to find that true freedom in Christ, and only Christ can fully and officially give you that.
So... My purpose for the "Fresh Start" series is for me to “re-date”, “re-engage”, “re-marry” and “re-honeymoon” without any distractions or struggles from my past to get in the way! I love my husband VERY much and cannot think of any other man that I would want to spend the rest of my life with here on Earth. He is seriously the BEST gift I have ever been given and blessed with by God or by anyone. Having him as my partner in life is truly magical and amazing. God blessed me with a Godly man who has a heart of gold. I believe my husband is a true representation of what and how a man is supposed to love his wife, as the Bible says a man should. Therefore, in doing this "Fresh Start" experience, my prayer is that it will help me to live up to the Biblical standards of how I should love my husband as well. Another prayer of mine during this process is that it will also cause us both to fall in love with each other over and over again, and even more so than the first time. Yet another prayer is that it will cause us to solely focus on our relationship with God and with each other.... oh and with our children :) Plus, it will help us to be more thankful for what we have already.
So there you go. Those are the reasons behind this crazy idea of a "Fresh Start." Oh, and the reason behind the "no wedding ring" thing is that I want this experience to be as real and authentic as possible. So even though we will still be married of course, not having the ring on will help us focus on putting forth the effort to court and “date” each other, just like old times :)
We hope that you guys follow along this adventure with us. And we hope that it will help you to be encouraged to step out of your comfort zone, or to do something that may seem silly to others in order to help deepen your relationships, whether it's with God, your spouse, a family member, a friend, or someone else.