i just read through this post, where Shauna is talking about our ability to give a gift to others even if we have no extra money or time or tangible goods... she challenges us to share our experiences. what we've learned, what advice we can give about certain things.
everyone's path is vastly different, made up of a million little moments and big moments that pile up to form a person. thankfully, our days have been ordained by God since before we were even born. God gives us trials and circumstances so that we can be equipped to love Him more, to serve others, and to offer insight or wisdom to someone found in the same situation... here's mine.
it is the single hardest, and single most rewarding thing i have ever had the opportunity to practice. pray constantly for patience, supernatural love, and purpose in raising your kids. the days are long and challenging but when you decide to see these children as gifts, you start to see your purpose in parenting them as extremely important. don't just "get by" each day. be intentional about every little moment you are given. it will make a difference, and you will end up loving the mundane and normal and monotonous of parenting.
[on running a handmade shop on etsy]:
this can apply to any other venue... just running a handmade type of business in general.
honestly, it appears really glamorous at first. you make cute stuff and people want to buy it. you start to get lots of orders and your business grows. you begin to come up with new designs and a brand begins to form. it really is incredible. being contacted by magazines and blogs and famous people who love your stuff... but then you realize that the entire burden lies on you. in the midst of your role as mother, wife, friend, family member, daughter of the King... your entire waking hours are poured into your business. staying up until 2 or 3 am, just to fulfill orders. sitting your child in front of the TV, all day, just to fulfill orders. neglecting the house and forfeiting precious time with God, just to get orders filled and get more people to think your designs are cute. that didn't work for me. closing up shop was one of the best decisions i have made in my adult life thus far [please know that some people are really good at this, but i don't have the personality or time management skills for it]
my insight is similar to what leslie shared here. your husband is not supposed to fulfill all your needs. don't build an altar with which to worship him. an idol is just a fancy word for anything in your life that takes the place of God. if you are looking to your husband to give you worth, you will feel empty. if you are expecting your husband to be perfect all. the. time, you will be let down frequently. he is human. he is sinful and fallen and totally messed up... just like you! allow him to be friend and partner and leader, but do not allow him to consume your life. do not allow your self-worth, value, your life's meaning and purpose to come from how he treats you today. because it will change, based on how he treats you tomorrow, won't it? take him off the pedestal that you put him up on.
this may be the most difficult endeavor that you embark upon in all of life. remember that when you recited your vows, you did not say "i promise to love... [as long as you love me back]. i promise to be faithful... [as long as you're faithful to me]." etc.
promises and covenants, they're unconditional. allow God to heal the parts that need healing in your marriage. don't give up. humans are hopelessly prone to wander and utterly flawed, by definition. a union between two humans can't be perfect either. it's a wonder that we think it should be? remember that your vows were not conditional. you said you would do those things "no matter what". when "what" manifests itself as completely unfair or downright evil. when it shocks you to your core, when you can't move, when you can't breathe, and when you feel like you have been destroyed... fight with everything you can muster to honor your vows, no matter what your spouse decides to do. pray constantly and ask God to work in your own life. be prepared to be completely floored and blown away by what He is able to do. God loves you and your spouse more than you could ever measure. claim God's promises over your husband as you claim them over yourself. He is for you, He is for your husband, and He is most definitely for your marriage.
whether you are the next american idol or can barely carry a tune, you worship God. it begins when you wake up in the morning and continues throughout the day in beautiful melodies and harmonies. but it's not really music. worship is not just a song sung. it is an attitude, a posture, a practice. offered from a pure heart and clean hands, to the Almighty God, the King of Glory...