Category Archives: Marriage

When You Feel in a Funk – A Letter to the Weary

For those of you who prefer a hot cup of coffee and a little chat instead of reading, I wanted to share a short video with you today 🙂

Dear friend who feels like you can’t get out of bed in the morning,

Who feels guilty because nothing too terrible has happened to you lately, nobody has died, and you have food each day and a place to live. Who keeps telling yourself you shouldn’t feel sad because you know Jesus and you know His grace.

You have friends and family who love you but you still feel alone.

You feel in a funk.

You’ve felt this way for months, years, or maybe just a week.

You’re weary.

It’s hard to just lift your head off your pillow in the morning and face the “normal” day of tasks ahead of you.

First, I want to give you a little squeeze, a smile of compassion, look you in the eyes, and tell you one thing.

No, you’re not crazy.

Even though nothing catastrophic has happened to you, there is still sin in this world, and that DOES affect you.

Things add up. Sorrow for loved ones who don’t know Jesus. The catastrophes happening around the world. Miscommunications and disagreements, situations where you don’t know what to do or what choice to make… all of these things can add up and tempt you to feel down.

Remember.

Remember that you’re in a battle.

You’re not at the finish line yet.

And though reading that sentence probably doesn’t make you feel any better yet- {Suzy, I thought you understood how weary I am?!} -as Christians we just have to remind ourselves of reality.

“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…” -Ephesians 6:10-18

The enemy does NOT want you to be effective for the Lord. He wants you to forget the hope you knew at first.

And you know that creeping thought that keeps telling you that you’re alone?

Guess what, you’re not. Not even a little bit.

Jesus promised He will never leave you or forsake you. Ever.

The struggle you are feeling IS a real struggle, so don’t just push it away. Jesus is with you in the struggle.

Jesus WILL supply you with all the grace you need.

Dear weary friend, there are two little things I want to share with you.

First, wait for the Lord.

“Wait for the LORD, be strong and take heart, and wait for the LORD.” -Psalm 27:14

And as you wait on Him, keep FIGHTING. Fight for His joy. Keep asking. Keep praying. Keep searching the Scriptures.

Secondly, don’t worry about tomorrow. Where you’re going in life, what you need to do. All those plans looming on the horizon.

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear… Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25-34

Focus on TODAY and the tasks that God has appointed you to.

Are you a wife? Are you a mama to a bunch of littles? Do you have a job? Are you a caretaker for an elderly relative? Are you in ministry? Do you have a huge pile of laundry to do?

We all have various tasks we wake up to each day. Sometimes it’s easy to think of these tasks as just obstacles to a bigger vision {getting through the Monday through Friday just to get to the weekend}, but that is so far from the truth.

These tasks are God’s specific and purposeful calling for you today.

Today God has appointed you to do these things. Do them by His grace, without complaining.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10

” Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky  as you hold firmly to the word of life…” – Philippians 2:14-16

Dear friend, I know that pillow is so soft, and the blankets are so comfy, and the day seems so daunting. But His mercies are renewed every morning. He is ever faithful to you.

God WILL see you through this trial. Wait on Him and focus on what He has called you to today.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

If this encouraged you I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments below!!

If you have a friend or loved one you think would be encouraged by this, please share this letter with them!

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4 Surprising Things I Learned Living in a Tiny Honduran House

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Guest post by: Lukas VanDyke

There’s little place to escape when you only have 360 square feet.

Suzy, Wilder and I  just passed the two week mark of our two month foray living in a tiny house in the mountains of central Honduras. We have been spending time visiting villages where the houses are all made of mud, have a single spigot in the front yard for water, and the bathrooms are a made of a couple blankets hanging around a bowl and pipe that drain into the river.

For us, however, although the space is small as you might note in the photos, we do have all the modern conveniences. Electric stove, fridge, sink, bathroom and shower etc.

What is interesting though, is that most of the things for our little house were brought in from America, shipped down in suitcases with missions teams one piece at a time. Things that are difficult to find here include doorknobs with locks that work, sinks and faucets that don’t leak, bathroom fixtures, curtain rods, or pretty much anything else that can’t be easily fabricated from scratch. There are some furniture stores, but since they also import a majority of their inventory the costs are exorbitant.  Want a curtain? You better know how to sew. Need a table? Well pull out your hand saw and try your hand at wood working. In fact after visiting over a dozen stores I just came to the conclusion that if I wanted a lamp I was going to need to make one.

So although our space looks very normal, it was quite the feat for the missionaries who put it all together. Each and every aspect needed to be shipped from the states and assembled together with the rest of the pieces fabricated by local craftsmen or visiting teams who came down here. No quick runs to Home Depot for a missing doorknob.

In fact one of the big things I have been working on here is building a lot of different furniture for various spaces. A few of the pieces I have been working on include the table, desks and lamp you see in our little house which after we leave will be used by visiting speakers when they come down. I’m also working on things for the dorms for students attending the seminary, and furniture for the offices and other ministry related spaces. If you’re interested in helping fund different projects you can click the link. The more wood I have, the more things I can make while I am here. 

But enough back story. What have I learned from living in a 360 square foot house?

  1. You can’t escape. There is no retreating to a far side of the house to be alone. You are there, husband and wife and child, forced to work out your differences and talk things through right away. Although this can be a little difficult at times (especially since Wilder can’t talk) It’s really good! It forces you to be one with each other and on the same page all the time! I recommend everyone try this.
  2. It’s easy to clean. At home I know it’s easy for us to let the dishes pile up. But when you only have three plates there is nothing to pile up. You need to wash them if you want to use them again. You also can’t just close the door and move into another room and leave your projects spread out. You need to clean up each and every project as you go. Two-thousand square feet also means two-thousand square feet to dust, mop, sweep and vacuum. Three hundred and sixty square feet means… well you can do the math.
  3. Simplicity is freeing! When you have one meals’ worth of dishes, one week’s worth of clothes, one shelf for books, a single coffee mug, and one chair for sitting, all of a sudden a lot of decisions related to stuff go away. You’re left  so much more free to LIVE YOUR LIFE instead of spending time managing all your stuff.
  4. You can still do ministry. So far we have had a number of meetings, Bible Study small groups, as well as coffee dates and meals with people here. Somehow it all seems to work. Just because your space is small doesn’t mean you can’t have people over! 

Over all for me I feel such a freedom from the chains of being tied to so much unnecessary things and space.  

It’s a breath of fresh air. 

– Lukas VanDyke

{Guest blogger & husband of Suzy VanDyke!}

Do you live in a small house? What are the struggles you face? What are the blessings you see? We would LOVE to hear from you in the comments below!

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Six Years of Marriage & An Honest Conversation

Today I could talk about how we are packing and finishing last minute tasks in preparation for leaving the country for two months TOMORROW.

Or I could talk about a number of things God’s been teaching me that have been rattling around in my head lately.

But instead what I feel like I need to share is a conversation Lukas and I had three days ago. A hard yet simple conversation that lifted a heavy burden off of my shoulders. Swept a breath of fresh air across us both.

And has been keeping my heart singing ever since.

This month Lukas and I celebrated six years of marriage.

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If you asked me two weeks ago how we were doing, I would say we were good. And I would mean it. But there was a hidden sadness deep in my heart. I didn’t know where it stemmed from, and I kept pushing it away, telling myself I needed to let it go.

But still it lingered. It lingered like a tiny little splinter that breaks off in your thumb and you thought you got it out but there’s just a little left you can’t see. So when it hurts you try not to think about it because you thought you’d already dealt with it.

You think it’s going to heal but there is still just a little left you need to scrape out.

I prayed and asked God why I felt sad. And after pondering and asking myself some hard questions I realized what it was. Don’t you love when God gives you that? He knows our heart so much better than we do.

There was a misunderstanding months and months ago… 10 months ago to be exact. Right after Wilder was born. And I knew it was a miscommunication and I thought I had forgiven Lukas, and moved on…but that little misunderstanding had started a constant drip in our marriage that slowly grew into a deep puddle and led to a feeling like I couldn’t quite trust him as much as I thought I could.

These are subtle deceptions, hidden beliefs you have about something that doesn’t show up until all of a sudden you find yourself lashing out, or like me, just plain sad and not knowing why.

Lukas and I sat together in his back little office in the glow of the lamp light thankful baby was asleep. We talked for over an hour, talked through the situation, what he had been thinking, how I could have communicated better, how we could prevent it in the future. I cried, and he held me, and we asked forgiveness to God and eachother, and prayed together.

And you know what. That time was one of the SWEETEST times in my marriage so far.

Marriage can seem “good” when everything is rainbows and butterflies (is it ever really??). But walking through the hard situations and being brave enough to be completely honest with eachother, yet humble enough to listen and learn- those situations build trust. Walking through the struggles in a godly way builds a strong foundation.

And it is scary and difficult and you will see lots of ugly sin and selfishness. But it’s so worth it.

So now, six years after marriage, I love Lukas more than ever. He is a man committed to doing what is right. Committed to me and Wilder. Most importantly committed to honoring Jesus with his life. He wants to learn how to love me better, and when I hear him say that I just cry because I never thought I would get a man like that.

So in celebration of six years of marriage… I share this story with you.

I want to encourage you to think about your marriage, and ask God to show you if there are any little deceptions that have crept in unnoticed and taken root. Be brave, be humble, be honest. There is so much HOPE my friend.

And for fun, here are some of my favorite wedding photos!!! I can’t believe it’s been six years! Thank you Bill Blakey! Weren’t we little? 🙂

If this post encouraged you I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments below!!!!

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