“Begin with Him”

Morning reading ๐ŸŒผ

๐ŸŒผ Marriage Topic ๐ŸŒผ

I sometimes complain to God, “why I have to be the one who need to ask forgiveness and/or give forgiveness (even when my husband didn’t even ask for one) and/or initiate good conversation after a conflict/disagreement happened?” #whyme #thatquestion

This morning this statement from the book I’m still currently reading (“What Did You Expect?” by Paul David Tripp) ring again:

“We must fix our marriages vertically before we ever fix them horizontally”
The core problem is not that I don’t love my husband enough, but my problem is I don’t love God enough, and because I don’t love God enough, I don’t love my husband as I should.

I let my little kingdom reign instead of the Lord’s.

To forgive and to seek reconciliation first of all mend my relationship with God. Can you really pray to God when in your heart you are disliking someone? (Other than the prayer “please Lord change him/her” #haha).

I hope over time and with intervention of His Spirit when a conflict arises (yes, it is ‘when’, not ‘if’), the question I wrote the earliest won’t matter anymore. It is easy to write this when things smooth sailing โ›ต๏ธ I’m praying there is grace we both need when we are required to put into practice what we know/learn.

“He must become greater,

I must become less”

John 3:30


#2017mindfulmarriage

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“The True Grace” – The Awakening Truthย 

(Today’s post is quite long, I must say it is one of those significant moments in my journey following Christ).

Going back to the devotional I read on the March 8 this morning, because the truth is awakening and I feel like this is the first time I have my thoughts explained in words so descriptively, and I need to digest it more thoroughly.
Sometimes I have this worry and “fear” that I still don’t get God’s characters right after all the years I follow Him.

It’s so easy for us to be trapped inside our own bubbles of theology.

“Theology” is not something that only priests and church leaders have or get to understand. Every one of us has our own view of who God is, and that is the theology we actually live in, not really what the church or our cell group leaders teach us to believe.
I still often think that as God’s children, I “deserve” easier life. When I experienced difficult circumstances for quite a long period, I pleaded God over and over “Lord I need Your grace”. But still I have to endure the hard situation/s for months, some for many many years. Then where is the GRACE?

Does that mean that I am not experiencing grace when I don’t receive the relief that I need yet?
This is where my eyes been opened. Apparently the “grace” that I was asking is the “grace of relief/grace of release“. Like when Paul asked God three times to set him free from the thorn of flesh, and God answered him instead that His grace is more than enough for him, YET the thorn remained.

Yes, this is the view that I apparently see and live in, my own “incorrect” bubble of theology.
I cannot define God’s grace according to what I want or think right. That way I leave space for disappointment toward God whenever my prayers don’t get answered the way I’d want them to be (regardless how “good” they may be).
When God allows me to endure difficult situation just so I can learn to TRUST Him more, that is GRACE.

When He allows me to endure hard circumstances and people just so I can be TRANSFORMED more into like His Son, that is grace.
When you think of the word of “grace”, what do you really expect from God?

So much to chew on this truth, and so much more to live them in. 

May we be courageous enough to find and to live in the truth, no matter how unpleasant sometimes they can turn out to be. 

Unity in Christย 

In February I and my husband agreed to fast together to seek God’s wills in each of our individual life as well as collectively for our marriage and family.

One word that I receive during the period is: “UNITY“. It is a simple word, but seemed like it’d been buried deep down amidst life busyness and “cruise control” operating mode for our marriage.
I was reminded and rebuked at the same time, when I was angry was it because of my concern for my husband or concern for our marriage? I have to honestly admit that most often, I was angry because he offended MY feelings. 

It’s not like we as couples are not allowed to have arguments, but my concern is we too often fight for issues that are simply rooted from our SELFISHNESS instead of fighting for causes that have eternal impact to God’s kingdom on earth!
This marriage certainly needs a greater focus; a greater plan, purpose, and calling rather than our own selfish agenda.

Otherwise, what differentiates our marriage as Christ believers with others?
We need the unity to love God above ourselves, 

because it is difficult to love our spouse without having our relationship with God restored.

You don’t fix a marriage first horizontally; you fix it vertically” – Paul David Tripp.
I’m still praying for His grace to make this revelation becoming real in my daily practical life.

For now I shall close with another quote from Tripp,

If you are God’s children,

it is never just you and your spouse,

somehow hoping that you can work your way through your problems.

No,

there is a third Person who inhabits every situation and location of your marriage.

He is with you, He is willing, and He is able to come to your aid”.
What a good news!

I never walk alone.

When He calls, He always equips.

I know He has prepared a greater plan and purpose for my marriage, and this year is like my “wake up call”.
Have a blessed day and marriage beloved (maybe one day I can write about “courtship” topic based on my experience for my single friends ๐Ÿ˜›).

.

#2017mindfulmarriage 

#crunchynatsjournal

“Valentine 2017”

Yesterday Valentine’s dinner at the comfort of our own home ๐Ÿ˜†

We usually didn’t celebrate Valentine, mostly because my husband thought Valentine was on Feb 28 (you get how charmingly unromantic he is ๐Ÿคฃ). However, this year I wanted something different. In line with my intention to “work out” more of this marriage rather than letting it “go with the flow” (inspired by Tripp’s book “What Did You Expect” I’m currently reading #2017mindfulmarriage – special hashtag I created on Instagram to record this year’s related journey ๐ŸŒž), I decided to plan something a little bit more special.
Since his love language isn’t about “giving gifts”, I didn’t buy him anything. Instead I planned to cook something special for him (not because my everyday meal wasn’t special ๐Ÿ™Š #selfcompliment #gataumalu ๐Ÿคฃ) and did an extra table arrangement with my limited skills and resources lol.

Few days ago I asked him before went to sleep his favourite meal (I was expecting “steak” ๐Ÿฎ would be his answer, but turned out his answer was: BACON ๐Ÿฅ“ hahaha!) – so there it was, I made Portobello Mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese and topped with bacon, grilled yellow nectarines and some more bacon to put them on top of the salmon avocado toasts, poached spinach, fried sweet potato chips – it was all like a big (mess) mixed up lol but hubby liked it anyway โœ… #missionaccomplished #thankyouforyourgrace haha).

The point is, I’m learning that “marriage is like a long-term exercise in gardening” ๐ŸŒฑ(thank you Tripp for this insight!). Beautiful garden isn’t a result of any shortcuts. Works need to be done, and surely not for a lazy or impatient gardener.

This small thing I do is just my act in planting seeds, seeds of mindfulness and my way in expressing my care toward him. Rather than complaining he didn’t do or give anything special yesterday (which he did give me something special hooray! #kemajuan ๐Ÿคฃ), I decided to be intentional and do what I could do best from my part.

Well, thank you for reading anyway. Sometimes it isn’t all about the “theory” but also the “daily practice”, and yesterday was just one of them haha.

God bless your marriage and relationships too beloved! โค๏ธ

“What Did You Expect?”

Happy New Year first of all!

Here’s to my first blog entry in 2017 ๐Ÿ˜„

My Current Reading

Obviously “Just Married” ๐Ÿ‘ฐ๐Ÿป๐Ÿคต๐Ÿปdoesn’t apply anymore to me and my husband, BUT that is why I bought this book by Paul David Tripp (adding him to my fave gospel-centered list of authors) – because the moment I thought I had “figured it out”, I was wrong.

I read more of motherhood books since I have my first child, and when I did read a book about marriage my mind thought “this is the ideal, but the reality is so much difficult this sounds just like a ‘nice theory’“.

Either difficult, or indifferent.
Last year I have met some tough situations in my marriage, not that they were the first times, but that season was hard it challenged me how I should “make a move and do something different”. Kinda like, “OK stop it devil, you are no longer allowed to take advantages of this!! ๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿป๐Ÿ”ฅ”
For a wedding we need to plan carefully ๐Ÿ’,

Why we have to quit planning for the better in our MARRIAGE?

Why we have to quit to learn about one another and enter the complacency zone?
I’ve just on the second chapter of this book and my heart’s hooked already with so many realities explained (we live in the fallen world, we are sinners, and we marry a sinner! Is there still any questions of why does our marriage often not live up to our expectations?).
The GOOD NEWS God is powerful, faithful, and willing. He has sacrificed Himself at the cross, why wouldn’t He even more pour out His grace and save/turn our marriage to the better? #helpisthere
I’m writing this not because my relationship with my husband is in “danger” in some ways (aka “di ujung tanduk” haha), but I just feel the need to PROTECT this marriage and my husband and ANTICIPATE better of what may come in the future.

My aim is not to reach a perfection, but in a more simple way: so that “we could response better to the things that normally trigger conflicts”.

For me to not take this marriage lightly, for me to not be lazy to stand up to pray for my husband (our husbands NEED our prayers – not only our children just because they are still little).
Thanks for reading this heart-to-heart sharing btw ๐Ÿ˜Š I’d recommend this book for those singles too (better “theory” preparation is still something than nothing).

God bless! โ˜บ๏ธ

“30 Days of Gratitude”

Hello good morning all!

I couldn’t believe it is almost November already! Only two months left in 2016 ~ am getting older by this end of the year #Decembergirl ๐Ÿ˜„

Speaking of month of November, in US they celebrate thanksgiving day on the 24th. In Australia we don’t celebrate it as much as they do ceremonially in the States, but let’s take a purposeful step by taking up this challenge “30 Days of gratitude”!

HOW?

“30 Days of Gratitude” for the month of November

I found this image from Pinterest and have printed it into a cute size to have it handy on my working desk as a reminder. If you’d also like to join in just print it out too and/or journal it somewhere ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will be posting the answer/challenge for each day on my Instagram @crunchynat and will be using a hashtag #my30daysofgratitudejournal because I like to refer it back in the future and simply count my blessings! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Well that’s it I guess for now ~

1 Thes 5:18

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Godโ€™s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

God bless you my friends! 

“Grace More Than Enough”

“A late post from September”
It’s been a while I haven’t updated my blog at all, the reason: I had forgotten my password! Lol (perhaps you wish another fancier reason haha). I only update my blog from my mobile phone app (to save time I usually just copy paste what I write from my Instagram “online journal” with the hashtag #crunchynatsjournal along with my handlettering quote/verse of the day), and most often within minutes I’ve got distracted again to make an effort recovering my forgotten password ๐Ÿ˜… so my apology for being MIA! 

Some quick updates for now:

โ€ข Baby ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป number 2 is HERE already! 

โ€ข Meaning: welcome back sleepless nights (and day!); some days are manageable, some other days are tougher than ever (at the moment I am the latter, with the bub waking up every half an hour to an hour during the day and two hours at night – I am totally exhausted #realmumlife ๐Ÿ˜…)

Becoming a mom to a newborn can be “lonely” sometimes. Those wee hours at nights when you’re breastfeeding your baby #silentnights (not as serene as that Christmas song lol) and the struggles during the day – you wish people closest to you will get to understand how much tired you are – but the reality: they don’t, and they won’t.

Inside my heart nonetheless, His Spirit reminds me His grafe is sufficient. In midst of my desperate sighs and stressful groans, the still small voice inside my heart telling me: He understands and He cares (even at times I do ask Him back, “do you really, Lord?).

All the setbacks and weaknesses are only to bring me closer to Him, to keep me on my ground pleading for His grace.

This home needs grace, this family needs grace, I need grace. I need Jesus.

Wherever you are, maybe you are not a mother, but you do feel alone sometimes, wondering if the Lord cares for you at all. If He cares why He seems didn’t do anything?

At this time my friend, only to His words we can hold on to. Words that has power to change lifes, words that will never come back in vain. Don’t trust our feelings, they are full of deceptions.

9 โ€œAs the heavens are higher than the earth, 

so are my ways higher than your ways 

and my thoughts than your thoughts.  

10 As the rain and the snow 

come down from heaven, 

and do not return to it 

without watering the earth 

and making it bud and flourish, 

so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,  

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: 

It will not return to me empty, 

but will accomplish what I desire 

and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:9-11

Within this short time frame I can only leave you (and my own self) with the verse I handlettered at above #preachingtomyself

2 Cor 12:9-10

9 But he said to me, โ€œMy grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.โ€ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christโ€™s power may rest on me

 10 That is why, for Christโ€™s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

He who promised it is faithful, and He cares beyond our imagination. 


“Motherhood and His Calling”


As I’m writing one of my fave quotes from CS Lewis to be screen printed to my “welcoming baby gifts” goodie bags (am I well prepared enough? ๐Ÿ˜† #lessthanamonthtogo), I can’t help not to think how God has been faithful leading me and my husband to arrive to this decision for having the second baby.

It wasn’t easy for us (especially me), as circumstances had not been “right yet” for us. But when I felt somehow “it might have been”, still there were so many fears, worries, and concerns overwhelmed my heart. 

Yet God is so good and full of love, He gave personal confirmations for me and my husband on separate events through end of last year (you know that moment when you shared things with your spouse and he also said “me too!!” ๐Ÿ˜ #beautyofmarriage #inChrist), and eventually the PEACE and CONFIDENCE overtook all the fears – how amazing!

And this confidence that I have, is not based on some positive thinkings that “I can do it”, but because God’s GRACE will never change in my life. Jesus Christ is the same in the past, now, and forever. He is the Alpha and the Omega. 

Soon I also realized this wasn’t just a matter of our decision to parent this baby, but it is God’s personal CALLING for me. Just like God called Moses, Gideon, Esther, and many others in the Bible. 

They were also hesitant at first, but by God’s grace they took the first step and the rest is God’s and the stories of amazing faith were born. 

When I did realize it is God’s calling to be a mother to this baby (not just “I have to”), how could I reject and runaway from Him? 

Glory and praise to Him who is able to do MORE than I can imagine; His grace, providence and love will always be in our steps. 

When in doubt, look above. Look up to His grace.

“The First One with Me in the Delivery Room”ย 


As weeks approaching my delivery date getting closer #hellodedeAimee ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป there are times when worry and anxious thoughts crowd my mind.

Second time pregnancy doesn’t guarantee “I know all” as the experience is still different compared with my first one (eg. physical discomforts that I didn’t have when I was pregnant with Aimee, getting used to the medical shared-care system here in Australia, and what-yet-to-come-next the delivery procedure itself, etc etc). 

Sometime I think it may be better for the first time pregnancy as I didn’t really know much = less expectations. 

However, uncertainty in life is inevitable.

Thankfully my Lord knows all my thoughts and everything in my heart. Couple of days ago when I was awaken at 1.30am and couldn’t get back to sleep, I turned to my pregnancy devotional, and found this promise of God from Deut 31:8.

The devotional itself discussed at first the option we could have to request someone to join the mother in the labor/delivery process (well I didn’t think of this at all, as I did an emergency caesarean with Aimee when I was in Jakarta – I wasn’t given the option to have my husband be with me at that time). But regardless of who we invite to the room, GOD HIMSELF will be in the delivery room with me, as promised at the above verse!

WOW! What a powerful promise and assurance He’s given me!
His promise may not erase my fears all at once, but it makes a GREAT difference whenever I am being attacked with one. I can recall and speak out loud His promise! 

His promise and words always arrive in time. I can only surrender all to Him; that’s what gives me the peace and strength I need. 

#crunchynatsjournal