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on
August 30, 2017

The First Day of Kindergarten, from One Rainbow Mom’s Perspective

Right now many of us moms are sending our babies off to kindergarten.

For many moms this season likely creates a huge ache in their hearts and a trickle of tears down their cheeks that they quickly try to wipe away and hide, at least while still in view of their little ones.

After all, we’re sending our babies off into the world. And perhaps this is one of the first true moments of letting go. And the letting go is h-a-r-d.

This week I was one of the moms sending my baby off to kindergarten.

However, I wasn’t one of the moms that I just described.

Now please don’t hear me wrong, especially if you were / are one of these moms. I can empathize with the reactions and tears and difficulties in sending our babies off to school in a way that is much deeper than most realize and there’s no judgement here.

My experience this week was different. And maybe in a way that you might not expect.

You see, when you’ve walked the unexpected and traumatic road of child loss, as I have, it drastically changes you as a mother, as a person, and affects every aspect of your life including how you think and feel and look at the world.

One of the hardest aspects of losing a baby is that you grieve more than just them, more than just who they were, more than just your sweet one month old. You lose them and their entire future – and the future you had expected for yourself.

You lose an entire lifetime all at once, your grieve a lifetime of losses all at once, and you do it for your entire lifetime.  Read more

on
May 13, 2017

A Mother’s Heart

How are you ever prepared to live with the mother’s heart inside of you?

How are you ever prepared to live with the mother’s heart that beats for children in unexpected and unfathomable ways?

For the aching for children held in hearts instead of hands.

For the breaking for children who live in heaven instead of homes.

For the longing for children who exist only in dreams and not in wombs.

For the swelling of an incomprehensible love that longs to burst forth and pour out.

How did I ever miss the beating of your hearts?

And then they became the beat of my own broken and bereaved heart, and I see you’re never prepared.

How are you ever prepared to live with the mother’s heart inside of you?

With the mother’s heart that beats for children in both expected and unexpected ways and to unanticipated depths.

For the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that ensues.

For the guilt that weighs.

For the selfishness that hinders.

For the fears and worries that attack.

For the overwhelming desires to love and shield and shepherd.

…And of course I could go on and on, forever I’m sure, but you get the picture…

How did I see you mothering but miss the depths of your love and struggles?

And then they became the beat of my own stretched out, expanded, vulnerable heart as I love and struggle with mothering two rainbow boys, and I see even then you’re never prepared for this thing called mothering.

Perhaps one of the greatest blessings to come from all the unexpected ways motherhood has come upon me and shaped my mother’s heart is how everything has opened my eyes to you.

The ones with a mother’s heart.

You know who you are. And I don’t want to miss you. And I don’t want the world to miss you either. Especially this weekend, but every other day as well.

This afternoon I pulled out the thick white book tucked safely away in my closet and thumbed through the pages. I stopped when I reached the date May 10, 2010. The entry begins, “Well… I survived last week (glad it is over), which also means I survived Mother’s Day.”

My eyes skim delicately through the words. I read, “I will admit, I avoided church this weekend. I couldn’t face it, face the unknown. I didn’t know what it would be like if I went. Would they ask the mothers to stand? Would they pass out flowers to the mothers?… I couldn’t face it. Mostly because even the church fails to recognize the pain of Mother’s Day for many women like myself… I didn’t want to start my day out feeling like my motherhood was in question or non-existent… So I didn’t go.”

That was my first Mother’s Day, which also happened to be my first Mother’s Day without my child, my little girl having died just 4 months before. I was hurting, empty, scared. Wanting to be seen, afraid of being unseen and the pain that would cause.

And then I began to see all the women around me with mother’s hearts like mine. And I might dare to say that I think over the years the world is making progress in seeing us too. I know our current church home recognizes us. I see various sources and news outlets on social media recognizing us too just this week. I don’t remember that before.

So whether you’re reading this and you’re the mom with no child beside her, visiting your child in her mind or at a cemetery, aching to hold them. Whether you find no children in your home because you’re an empty nester or you’re struggling with an empty womb and deep longings. Whether you’re rubbing your expectant round belly growing with new life. Whether you’re rocking a baby and nursing and reading this at the same time. Whether you’re changing diapers or chasing toddlers or watching them graduate or walking them down the aisle. Whether you’ve given birth to all your babes or adopted or fostered or are waiting…  I could go on and on with all the ways the mother’s heart can appear for there are so many… whatever the story behind your mother’s heart, I hope know you’re seen today.

Whether or not I see your children, I see your mother’s heart.

The mother’s heart loves and struggles… with fears, worries, dreams, grief, identity, worth, weakness, exhaustion, selfishness, guilt, doubt, pain, inadequacy… and so much more.

The struggles may very in type and degree, but every mother’s heart beats and struggles in common ways. And most of the time we never knew our hearts could experience such depths and heights and struggles.

Here’s what I’ve also learned as my mother’s heart has beat through each of my struggles (as a bereaved mother, a mother of rainbow babies, a mother of boys, a mother of a strong willed child, a mother of children with allergies, a mother of Army brats, a mother who shepherds her children to know and love Jesus):

God created my mother’s heart, and while nothing may have prepared me for it, He knows it, and He alone provides for it.

Nothing may have prepared you for the struggles of your mother’s heart and the ways in which it beats. But I can assure you that God will provide for every need of your mother’s heart.

When our hearts struggle, He provides.

When our hearts grieve, He comforts.

When our hearts fear, He brings peace and courage.

When our hearts feel unworthy, He calls us worthy.

When our hearts feel unloved, He loves us perfectly.

When our hearts worry, He calms with truth as we trust.

When our hearts are scared to dream, He births dreams and writes new chapters.

When our hearts weaken, He strengthens them.

When our hearts feel inadequate, He says we are enough and fills our gaps.

When our hearts feel unseen, He sees them.

When our hearts struggle with guilt, He covers us with grace.

When our hearts break, He binds them back together.

I hope you can see the pattern here:

For every need of our mother’s hearts, God has a provision.

To the ones with mother’s hearts, God sees you and is doing a mighty and beautiful thing with these mother’s heart of ours. And I don’t know about you, but whenever I get a glimpse into His work, nothing makes my heart more joyful or beat stronger or feel fuller or more alive.

Trust that God will provide for your heart today, speaking His perspective, wisdom and truth into your mother’s heart in your mothering season.

Expect God to speak to your heart today, to provide for your heart, and may you find glimpses of Him in unexpected ways to brighten and encourage your heart today.

I turned the page and looked back at the end of that entry from May 10, 2010, that first Mother’s Day I was a mother, and I came across the evidence of God meeting the needs of my mother’s heart even then in the worst season of my life, surprising me in unexpected ways. That rose I wrote about not too long ago. It’s there in the pages.

“God blessed me with several gifts this weekend… He gave me His peace which allowed me to survive and smile yesterday. But He also gave me some unexpected gifts. He blessed me with a beautiful, vibrant, pink rose that fully bloomed [on Mother’s Day]… more beautiful than the pink rose our friend delivered to use the day Hailey died and more beautiful than the pink rose I placed on her casket the day we buried her… I like to think that this rose was a gift from Him and Hailey…”

That first Mother’s Day God provided for my empty and broken mother’s heart.

Seven Mother’s Day later and my heart still has scars and cracks, but is fuller and deeper than ever as God continues to provide so graciously for me and grow me.

God continues to meet me in unexpected ways, and every day I’m learning to have an expectant heart for His unexpected ways and His love and provision and promises that I can expect.

This week we found ourselves “back home” in Illinois where our baby girl is buried. In bed the night before we were to head back our home here in Tennessee, I realized we were about to leave without having visited her. To be honest, it wrecked me a little inside for simple and complicated reasons. But I needed to visit her.

A mother’s longing for her child in heaven. This is what it looks like here on earth some days.

So we pulled up to her cemetery in our van with her brothers before we left town the next morning. No words spoken other than to tell her brothers we were stopped to visit Sister’s grave. Of course which I forgot would quickly bring about a plethora of innocent questions about her and death and who knows what else from the hearts and mouths of our babes in the van.

Sometimes being a slow processor comes naturally to me and it’s frustrating. Other times it comes naturally and I choose to welcome it and retreat within it. This was one of those times. Slow processing means I can shove down emotions. This enabled me to choose to keep a joyful spirit sharing transparently with my boys about their sister and praying quietly within my own heart as we visited her grave site.

My husband and I reached down to wipe a layer of mowed grass residue from the hard black stone with her name. Unexpectedly, little hands joined ours and together we cleaned their sister’s headstone. Our boys observed and commented how they liked the butterflies and cross etched into her stone. There was a mixture of answering their innocent questions and quiet silence. After a few minutes, we said it was time to go. I turned to walk toward the car only to be stopped by the voice of my oldest saying something along the lines of, “Hold on mom I need to give sister a hug.”

And then I watched the most unexpected sight. His 5 year old little arms wrapped around his sister’s black headstone; he tilted his head sideways and rested it on top. He never met her and understanding he has a sister who came before him and died as a baby is difficult I’m sure. But here he was loving and hugging his “big” baby sister in the only way he could. It was so normal and natural to him. And as soon as his little arms reached for the hug, his little brother, two years old, followed suit. And there stood my two rainbow babies, Hailey’s brothers, hugging the hard stone of their sister’s grave, smiling, and saying goodbye to her.

And in my slow processing and hiding and holding back all the emotions that asked to come forth, I inhaled deeply and gave thanks as I felt God hug my own heart simultaneously.

A wordless whisper. A knowing. This moment this week. This was my mother’s day gift.

And it was perfect. For my bereaved mother’s heart. For my rainbow mother’s heart. For my heart.

The rare gift of visiting my daughter the only way I can, of a closeness to her, as close as I can physically be this side of heaven… The gifts of two healthy boys to love and care for and shepherd and momma. The gift of being together with my three children in this moment.

This was not as I expected or ever wanted. But I will count this as good and be grateful.

God saw the needs of my mother’s heart before I even know what they would be this Mother’s Day. And He faithfully provided.

God knows your needs too. He will provide. Hold on. Trust. Expect.

Happy Mother’s Day to the one with a mother’s heart. May He surprise you with His love and goodness today.

on
April 6, 2017

When You Want to Give Up

I cried into the chicken nuggets as I cut them into quarters for my little boy. The day had been challenging. When dinner time came, everything unraveled.

I had been slowly collapsing under the weight of exhaustion from weeks of sleep deprivation, pain from slowly recovering from surgery, parenting solo, and the seemingly endless whining, crying, and actual hurtful words aimed at me from my children.

It hadn’t just been the day. It had been day after day of the same thing. I struggle to mother well as is, but add on children who suddenly stop sleeping and who whine and cry and speak disrespectfully repeatedly throughout the day, and my negative thoughts tortured me until I felt like a hopeless failure.

I had been holding up the crushing weight of all my stressors and negative thinking, but as I cut those nuggets and heard simultaneous crying and yelling coming from both of my children for the umpteenth time that day, I collapsed into a puddle of tears. Those same little mouths hushed as they sat waiting at the dinner table staring at their momma, unsure of what to make of her tears.

I felt defeated.

In my mind I declared, “God, I cannot do this. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t stand another sleepless night. I can’t stand another single whine or complaint or disrespectful comment from my babies’ lips. I can’t do this. ”

The negative thoughts tried to snowball out of control as they had done many times before in my mind. I tried taking them captive with truth and gratitude. It stopped the snowball, but it didn’t change how I felt.

I wanted to declare defeat. I was done. I had nothing left to give. I wanted to give up.

And I’m no stranger to this place unfortunately, whether it’s experiencing the trials of every day moments of mothering or homemaking or being an Army wife or it’s facing giants of like tragedy and loss, I arrive at this place of defeat more often than I would like to admit.

It’s an ugly cycle I’ve been praying to break free from for years.

And here I was again. At this place of defeat.

And then a miraculous rhema moment.

As I cried out, “Lord I can’t do this anymore,” I heard God reply, “Can’t do what?”

When those words fell upon my soul, everything stopped. I hushed my own cries and leaned in to hear His voice.

“What have I asked you to do that you can’t do?”

I recognized the rhetorical question and waited for God to provide the answer.

“The only thing I ask of you is to love Me… Do you love Me?”

My soul quieted and responded, “Yes Lord you know I love you more than anything in this world.”

“I know. And that’s all I ask you to do. Can you and will you love Me? Yes you do.”

I paused, processing. All God asks is that I love Him, and He knows that I do. A gentle wave of peace washed over me, forcing the wave of defeat past, releasing me of its captivity.

I felt the burden of defeat lift. I felt free.

That was it. The simplest and clearest response I’ve ever received from God in the midst of my struggle with defeat: stop struggling to do all the things I think I need to do, that might even be good to do, and simply love God.

For days I had wanted the answers to be for my toddler to sleep again so I could sleep again, for my children to allow me to cook dinner without screaming or crying at me, for them to be grateful for whatever dinner I placed in front of them, and so on. I wanted God to give me what I wanted. But He reminded me, those aren’t the things I need.

“Love isn’t always giving us what we want; it’s being Who we need.” Kaitlin Wernet

I also realized that perhaps the reason for my feeling so emptied and inadequate and so easily defeated was because I hadn’t been filling myself with His word on a daily basis that week. Sure I was sneaking in time to read all the Christian (and good helpful) things, but it wasn’t the same as spending time with Him in His word.

“I’ve come to realize that the true antidote to my feelings of inadequacy is the voice of the Lord.” Katie Stoddard

How quickly we forget that God doesn’t ask for rule following, measuring up, or performance. God doesn’t place these expectations of what I should be cooking my children to eat for dinner nor does He define me by my child’s behavior or label me a failure as a mother when they complain about their dinners instead of giving thanks.

Whatever I’m struggling with and feeling defeated over, the answer to the struggle and the striving and the feelings of failure is the same:

Love God. Love others. That’s all He asks.

Choose to love. Choose to live loved by Him and choose to pour out His love onto others.

Freedom from striving and victory from defeat are found here.

Maybe you’ve experienced defeat in your life a time or two as well? A time when you just felt tired of trying and wanted to give up?

Defeated by the challenges of motherhood. Defeated by the pain of grief. Defeated by unrealized dreams. Defeated by cycles of sin and hurt as a result of your own doing or them being done to you.

Friends let us realize that defeat is just another word for hopelessness, and if hopelessness is a liar, so is defeat.

Let us remember these truths when we want to give up:

When we want to give up, God hasn’t given up on us.

 “For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

“The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.” Exodus 14:14

Where we see defeat, God sees victory.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

Where we see hopelessness, God brings hope.

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again- my Savior and my God!” Psalm 42:1-11

When we feel forgotten, God remembers us.

“Yet I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49 15

Where we see an area of our life (maybe our marriage, our children, our dreams) turn to ashes, God is breathing new life into them and bringing beauty to our lives.

The wilderness and dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing.” Isaiah 35: 1-2

When we see no way, God is making a way.

“I will lead the blind by a way they did not know; I will guide them on paths they have not known. I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground. This is what I will do for them, and I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

When we feel like we can’t measure up, God doesn’t ask us to perform for Him, He asks for us to love Him.

 “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:38

When we call ourselves failures, God calls us His, His beloved, His children.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1b-2a

Can we believe that if we feel like giving up God isn’t giving up on us or our situation?

Can we believe that where we feel defeated God wants to bring us victory?

Can we believe that the areas of our lives that have turned to ashes will be made into something beautiful?

Can we choose to quiet our voices and lean in to listen to God’s whispers to hear His truth and His hope?

Can we also choose to lean into His love?

When we want to quit and walk away, can we choose to love Him and do the next right thing in love?

Let’s stop striving to live by our own (or others’) expectations, checklists, perfectionism, legalism, etc. and instead live with our hearts set on loving God and expecting Him to show us what this looks like in our lives.

Let’s expect victory where we only see defeat, let’s expect God to resurrect the dead places in our hearts and lives, and for His love to be enough.

 


 

“However dry and parched your emotional landscape may feel this season, don’t despair. Because when the rain of God’s reign inevitably falls, your life will bloom.” Lisa Harper

 

**Some of this week’s revelations and quotes in this post come from the She Reads Truth Lenten study of Isaiah that I am doing. You can check it out here.

Also, Ann Voskamp shared a timely post the day after my tears landed in the chicken nuggets and God whispered this revelation to me: “Help for Parents Who Want to Give Up.”

on
February 12, 2017

Spiritual Warfare & Valentine’s Day (Plus a Free Printable Gift)

It never fails.

Every year on Valentine’s Day I feel the enemy’s whispers sling at me like arrows aimed for my heart.

They try to tell me I’m not loved. I’m not good enough. I’m not loved enough to be noticed or to be shown love on this day. I’m not lovable. I don’t matter.

It doesn’t matter that I’m married to a man who loves me and that this year we’ve been married for a decade or that we’ve known each other for half our lives.

It doesn’t matter whether my husband is home with me and loving me well, speaking my love language, pouring his love into me or whether I’m completely alone while he’s overseas and there’s no evidence of Valentine’s Day in my world.

The whispers still come.

I’ll wake up Valentine’s Day morning and scroll through my newsfeeds and flip through social media. I’ll see the images of gorgeous bouquets of red roses, surprise handwritten love notes. I’ll see the beauty of love showing up in the lives around me.

And instead of rejoicing for them and with them like I should, my first inclination will be a temptation to compare and feel jealousy rise up, which just seeks to feed those whispers.

(Maybe this happens to you too?)

I’ve learned my greatest hindrance in living with a full heart on Valentine’s Day is setting expectations and desires in my heart for how I want others to show their love to me.

But I’ve learned I need to flip the switch on my perspective.

If I don’t, I fall victim to those whispers seeking to engage me in spiritual warfare, seeking to rob me of love and life and joy on Valentine’s Day, seeking to destroy my heart.

I need to let go of my expectations on Valentine’s Day.

I need to focus on finding ways to pour God’s love into those around me, into my husband, into my children, our family, friends, neighbors.

I need to seek to give and not receive. It is better (Acts 20:35).

When we give our love, we give God’s love, we fulfill His call for us, and His love fills us.

You see this isn’t to ignore my desire to be loved.

Because to be loved, to be seen, to matter, these are our greatest desires, even needs, as human beings.

But instead of looking for others to fill me with their love, I’m going to focus on allowing God’s love to fill me.

I’m expecting God’s love this Valentine’s Day.

And that’s how you win against the whispers that want to engage you in spiritual warfare.

People will disappoint you. People will love you imperfectly. And even if they show up, the enemy will still try to find sneaky ways to steal the love from you.

But God…

God loves you perfectly and fully and faithfully.

God’s love does not disappoint.

Wrap yourself in God’s love and guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

Here’s my idea for us this Valentine’s Day. Let’s tape a scripture, a love note from God, to our bathroom mirrors so that when we wake up Valentine’s Day morning, those words, His loving words to us, are the first to greet us and fill us.

Here are two of my favorite scriptures about God’s love for us:

“Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”  Jeremiah 31:3

 

Maybe print out this scripture image I made and and tape it to your mirror or carry it in your pocket so you fill your mind and your soul with this reminder of God’s love for you. (Click here to download.)

Then, let’s say a prayer asking God to show us ways and give us opportunities to love those we come into contact with in our day.

And then, let’s walk through our day giving love and expecting to find evidence of God’s love for us.

Maybe we will see evidence of God’s love in the daffodils you see blooming along the side of the road as you drive your kids to school. Maybe it’s in a co-worker’s invitation to lunch. Maybe it’s a friend’s text. Maybe it’s turning the radio on and hearing your favorite song. Maybe it’s in the sunset bursting forth radiant colors. Maybe it’s a stranger’s warm smile. Maybe you had wanted roses, but you let go of your expectations and instead of making up stories or listening to the enemy’s lies or feeling disappointed when you don’t receive any, you choose to see your husband’s love for you when he wakes up at zero dark thirty to serve and provide for you and your family, and then offers to put the kids to bed that night so you can rest even though he’s had an even longer day and he needs the rest himself.

When we find love notes from God in our day, let us be glad and give thanks and continue through our day with grateful hearts, thankful for His love.

And let us not forget the greatest evidence of God’s love for us, His greatest act of love, His Son’s blood poured out on the cross for us (John 3:16).

When we fill ourselves with God’s love and pour our love out into others, we have found the secret to living loved on Happy Valentine’s Day.

I actually wrote about How to Have a Happy Valentine’s Day last year, which you can read here.

God’s beloved, I don’t know where you are on this Valentine’s Day.

I don’t know if you’re single longing for someone to love and be loved by. I don’t know if you’re suffering from betrayal or hurt in your marriage or maybe have experienced the heart break of divorce. I don’t know if you’ve lost your spouse and your broken heart aches and yearns for them. Or maybe you’re in a sweet season of enjoying the love of a spouse or you’re completely content where God has you.

What I do know, is we all have a need to be loved and we all have hearts that break.

And I know the enemy will try to engage each of us on Valentine’s Day, aiming his whispers and lies at our broken places and our need for love.

Let us be on guard, let us allow God to fill our needs and broken places, let us seek Him, let us open our hearts to Him, let us live as His beloved.

Let’s expect God’s love and invite Him in this Valentine’s Day.


I shared a little bit more about some of these topics in my monthly newsletter for February (make sure you’re an email subscriber so you don’t miss out to future newsletters where we dig in deeper and I share special extras!). You can sign up here.

on
August 1, 2016

Sacred Spaces Book Review (Part 1)

Sacred Spaces

Sacred Spaces: My Journey to the Heart of Military Marriage is a non-fiction book written by Corie Weathers that comes out TODAY, August 1st. When I first caught wind of this book, I jumped on the opportunity to apply to be a part of the book launch team, and I was accepted. Over the past few weeks I have been reading this book on my Kindle, pouring over Corie’s words as she poured her heart into them, and now that I’ve finished, and on her book’s release date, I can’t wait to tell you more and share my review and part 1 of my thoughts.

ABOUT CORIE WEATHERS AND SACRED SPACES

Before I share my review, let me provide you with some brief background about Corie, (I refer to her so casually because after reading her book I feel somehow intimately connected with her – and I think you will too when you read Sacred Spaces) and how the book came to be. Corie Weathers is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and the spouse of US Army Chaplain Matt Weathers. They’ve been married for 17 years and have two sons.

In 2015 Corie was named the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year, an award given by Military Spouse magazine. In the fall of 2015, Corie was offered the chance of a lifetime: to attend a week-long tour with the US Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, to visit our troops serving overseas. It was the first time a military spouse was being invited to “have a firsthand glimpse into the active duty world” with deployed service members overseas. I am so thankful that Secretary Carter saw the need for a military spouse to have this experience and opportunity, and when you read Sacred Spaces I know you will be thankful too.

REVIEW

As I began Sacred Spaces, I enjoyed living vicariously through Corie’s experiences overseas. Her detailed narrative, sharing sights, sounds, and smells, enabled me to feel like I was invited on the tour too, gaining special access into a world that previously only belonged to my husband. As she describes her experiences and thoughts, as well as emails written by her husband to her, all of which enabled me to gain insight into my husband’s experiences and make sense of my own military marriage. My heart shouted, “Yes me too,” at nearly every turn of the page as Corie honestly confesses her feelings at various points in her military marriage journey, from PCS stresses, to deployments, to trying to connect with her spouse, and so on.

But Sacred Spaces is more than a narrative of a military spouse’s experiences being married to a deployed service member or her role reversal and experience overseas, as Corie writes, her “mission was to take back the lost ground between Matt [her husband] and me, ground we had surrendered to hurt, misunderstanding, loss—and to Afghanistan. Ultimately, this is the mission of every marriage: The pursuit of understanding a spouse’s wounded heart, the humility of forgiveness, and the journey from pain to restoration” – and that’s what the mission of Sacred Spaces is as well.

It’s about understanding what sacred spaces are, how they function in our lives, and how they affect our relationships / marriages when we have separate sacred spaces and shared sacred spaces.

Corie defines “sacred spaces” as “significant life-changing experiences” that can be either positive or negative, that take up significant space in our life stories, and are often multi-sensory, meaning that we can remember sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches associated with the experiences. 

Shared sacred spaces strengthen marriages while separate sacred spaces in marriage, that occur frequently in military marriages, have the chance of creating divisions in marriages as the couple changes individually, grows apart, and doesn’t know how to handle each other’s sacred spaces.

SACRED SPACES’ IMPACT ON ME AS AN ARMY WIFE

Within reading the first couple of chapters, this book met a need I didn’t know I had. The concept and phrase “sacred spaces” captured the heart of the issues in our military marriage (the nature of his military career that led to time apart, changes, stressors, struggling to understand each other and communicate, etc.). Some of the hardest moments in my military marriage have been when I have cried out to my husband, “I feel like we are two separate people, living two separate lives, and I can’t take it.” At one point Corie shares in an email to her husband, “I have no words…I just don’t understand, I can’t fathom your existence there –and I hate that – exactly what I feared. How will I ever know? How will I ever be what you need for me to be when I haven’t been there?”

Like many military marriages, my husband and I have had to learn and fought hard to figure it out, and Sacred Spaces seeks to help do that for military marriages. Prior to this book, we didn’t have a name to call it or identify it which made it harder to understand what exactly this “it,” this divide, this disconnect, this thing that was affecting us so greatly. We just tried to suck it up, tell ourselves it was part of military life, and just kept trying to do the best we could. But that’s exhausting. And Corie Weather’s knows this herself, sharing how military life left her feeling exhausted and emptied at points too. She knew there was a better way but like most of us military spouses, figuring out the how was harder.

When Corie shared about “sacred spaces” and explained its application in military marriage, she gave this “thing” a name. Having a name for it made me feel like we had identified it, could tackle it, could seek to understand it, and finally figure out that how part that we were so desperately fighting for. It was like an “ah ha” moment, like a weight lifted, like a missing puzzle piece had been found. Two simple words. Sacred spaces.

Sacred Spaces came at a time when my husband and I were walking on a path to draw closer together, heal the things driving us apart, become intentional in our time together, and working hard to communicate better, and it was as though her path met ours. Shared sacred spaces. That’s where my husband and I were headed. Her words and insights on shared sacred spaces in military marriages gave me encouragement and wisdom to pursue that in my marriage – which is ultimately the challenge (and Corie has a campaign for this you can join on her website here). And let me tell you, I have the entire last chapter, which is very application based and motivational, highlighted, and I would share it with you, but you truly need to take the journey and reach the destination for yourself.

REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Sacred Spaces had me hooked from the very beginning as I embarked on Corie Weather’s “journey to the heart of military marriage” through her sharing of her experience overseas with our deployed troops as well her and her husband’s military experiences when he was deployed. My fellow Army wives, military spouses, family members, and even my friends who are non-military seeking to better their marriages, you need to read this book. This book will have you experiencing the “cool factor” of our husbands’ jobs, your heart beating at the intensity with which our service members live and serve, you crying over honest vulnerability as her and her husband share heart-wrenching significant moments in their lives and marriage, and your heart and marriage starting to heal in places you may not even been exactly aware of that needed healing. You will finish the book feeling enlightened, encouraged, and hopeful for healing and strengthening your marriage. Because no matter how good of a marriage you have, we all know it takes time, work, and investment, and it can always always be made better.

And one last personal note, I went through a long season of resentment, and if you’re feeling resentment creeping up in your heart regarding your spouse’s career and its affects on your life or him or your marriage, read this now. I wish I had had this book back then to help me conquer that sooner before it brought other negativity into our family that I have spent years battling.

Also, I have more to share! Please keep an eye out for part 2 of how reading Sacred Spaces has affected a non-military part of my life.

I’m going to leave you with Corie Weather’s dedication to her husband, because after reading Sacred Spaces, I’m turning her words into my prayer for my husband and military marriages everywhere:

“May this book be the beginning of actions above words, grace in imperfection, and new sacred spaces we share together.”

You can buy your copy of Sacred Spaces TODAY! Order online here.