I have made goals for this year because of things I desperately want to learn. They aren't resolutions but places I want to grow in my walk with the Lord, marriage, parenting and ministry. I wish that I could say it is an easy process, but it is not. What I can say is that the journey is worth it knowing what the result will be.
With that being stated, one goal is to be INTENTIONAL in my relationships. How we invest in others is so important. Naturally the first relationship I should be MOST intentional about is with God. This is always a challenge as we face each day, don't you think? We have the best intentions, but at the end of the day, can we really say we did our best? I appreciate God's grace even more on the days I am not as intentional as I should be.
The second relationship I need to be focused intentionally on is my marriage. I have felt this area needed more for some time. Frankly, I was afraid. I do love my husband, but what will happen if I invest more of myself? I know that I should have no fear in loving completely the person God has gifted me to share life with. Yet, I was still fearful. I am afraid of being too attached, then having to let go. I have to, it is what I am being called to do.
I decided that instead of hoping that being intentional would just naturally happen, I took action. The timing is perfect. Valentine's day is coming and I went looking for ways that I could show my husband I loved and appreciated him in small ways. I wish I could tell you that I was ready and completely expected the response I have gotten as I start.
I cannot. This is how my God loves me. He knows my heart and the fear I have. He has used my husband to encourage me that it is ok to come out of my shell some.
I found a website called The Dating Divas. They have all kinds of great ideas for dates and ways to show love to your spouse. One of the ideas they had was 14 days of love. I read the instructions and thought it would be an easy place to start.
The point of the task is that each day for 14 days I leave a small treat with a note somewhere for my husband to find. I brainstormed with my bestie about different places I could leave the treats. Since I had time before Valentine's day, I figured February 1st was a good day to start.
On the first day, I left the treat in his pocket with a clever little note. The next day I placed his treat in the bag he takes to work every day. The next day I took the spare key and drove to his work to place the treat on his dashboard while he was busy providing for our family. I have also had a co-worker of his help me. I gave a bag of treats for him to leave on my hubby's desk certain days.
My favorite was Day 6. I had the co-worker put a box of Honey-Comb cereal on the desk with a note that said, "Honey-comb your hair, I am taking you on a date tonight!" It was so much fun to hear him talk about the excitement of our date. I took him to his favorite resturaunt (which we only go to a few times a year since it can be pricey) then I took him to the local family fun center for video games. It was fun to have a date that didn't end in a fight or at Fred Meyer. (really boring....)
The part that has blessed me so much is how my husband has responded. I expected him to want what most hubbys do when their wife shows extra attention. None of my notes were "bedroom" notes, but simply that I liked him, I am proud of him, he makes me laugh, I want to hang out with him, things like that. They were cleverly written as a play on words depending on the treat. My husband has returned the favor with gentleness, kindness, sweetness and compassion. Subtle and gentle. Such a blessing. God knew that I was going to love that coming from my husband. I found a way to be intentional each day- even in a simple candy bar- and in return I received love. Not just from my husband, but from my Heavenly Father.
It reminds me of the verses my husband and I chose for our wedding. Phillpians 2:1-4...
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others."
I have many more places in my life that being intentional is needed. Starting with my husband has encouraged me to find ways to carry on with others.
I think it is important that we invest in each other, ON PURPOSE. If you think you should call someone, call them. If you want to send a card, do it. If you want to hug someone, reach out. Don't be afraid to love someone. Don't be afraid to encourage someone. Just don't be afraid. We have no idea what change may come next, and we don't know what God will do in the life of someone who needs your intentional investment. You don't know how God will change you either.