As you may know I started The Love Dare on the 15th. I set it up in a way to encourage others to join me in this challenge. We started a small group on Facebook to help encourage each other and pray for each other. If you are still interested in joining you may at any time even if you start later or are on a different day! I also wanted to share my journey on here as well. I’m going to open up and truly share my heart. I’m not going to go into full details about each day’s “Dare” because it’s something you truly need to read for yourself in its entirety as well as the devotional that goes along with it and seriously consider the questions asked at the end of each day and write down your answers! It was neat for me because this isn’t the first time I’m reading The Love Dare. The first time I read it I was approaching it from a different aspect – desperation. Our marriage was stressed and I NEEDED to do something to change that! Praise God He was faithful to strengthen our marriage and set us back on the right path while seeking Him. It’s very interesting reading what I had written at the end of each day knowing it was a very different season in our life and our marriage. I’m not saying the challenges are extremely easy this time around – just different. I’m glad I took the time to write down what I was feeling then because I can look back on it and praise God for where we are now – and remind myself of that time so as to not repeat it! So I encourage you to write down whatever God puts on your heart during the 40 days! Maybe even keep a separate journal to write down revelations you have that may not necessarily be linked to that day’s challenge but relates to it. The Love Dare isn’t only for those who are struggling in their marriage – it’s great for anyone who wants to look at their marriage from God’s perspective! I think we ALL need to do that from time to time! Kids, pets, household chores, jobs, businesses, etc. – “life” – gets in the way sometimes, and we don’t always take the time to think about our marriage. Sometimes we even become complacent, which is why it’s necessary to revisit the topic of marriage and focus on our spouse more often!
In order to truly share my heart there are a few things I need to share about myself. Although I share fairly openly on this site about our children’s special needs, parenting challenges, etc. I try to keep certain things more to my private blog or for friends and family. This site is definitely NOT my share all, vent all, etc. blog, but I do still share from my heart! One thing I’m going to be open about, though, I believe is necessary in understanding why some of the topics covered in “The Love Dare” are challenging for me. I have Borderline Personality Disorder. More about BPD HERE. I’m not going to go into extreme details on my Disorder, but I will definitely say it affects me differently today than it did 10 years ago. (If you’ve only met me within the last 10 years you may even find it hard to believe I struggle with this.) It is something I struggle with as a Christian because I often feel negatively about myself when I know I shouldn’t because I’m a child of God! I only recently got this diagnosis, which was actually a breath of fresh air because I could finally understand what I had been experiencing since I was a teenager! I will continue to pray for God’s guidance and healing as I work through it. The main “challenge” I have in regards to doing The Love Dare for the next 40 days is my defense mechanism – I get defensive and offended easily. I also take things out of context. A good example is “Do you have plans for dinner?” To me that means “Aren’t you going to make dinner?!” I know it seems silly – it even does to me when I look at it “from the outside!” You can see, though, how that might make things a little challenging – not just during “The Love Dare,” but just in general! I am so amazingly blessed with such an awesome husband who actually tries very hard to understand my “different” thought process and emotions! OK, now that I have opened up so you can understand why the challenges may be a little different I will continue to my summaries! I plan to video blog some during this challenge, though I’m trying to find the best time, place, media device, etc. to do so! I can do so from my phone, iPad, or iMac, but picking a location where there will not be kids in the background and such is the challenge! I’ll keep brainstorming on this one! 🙂
Day 1 was more challenging than I expected. (Opening up again) Over the past couple of weeks we found out my dad has cancer, that it’s serious, and he will need many surgeries and radiation. The experience with my husband having cancer does not make it easier in anyway as the cancers are different types, different treatments, and well, it’s never “easy” to find out a loved one has cancer. I don’t think you ever get immune to that heart dropping feeling when you hear that diagnosis. I came into Day 1 already “emotionally distracted.” I hadn’t been sleeping well and stayed up late preparing for a little business Vendor Blender (like a small scale expo) the next day (on Day 1). Well, I woke up with a sore throat and feeling run down and just downright exhausted. I wasn’t even able to go to the Vendor Blender, so I was also feeling stressed because of that. Regardless, I knew I was going to give it my best effort. In short (because again, I encourage you to read the whole thing and the devotional yourself) I was not to say anything negative to my husband that day. So I’m feeling tired, sick, stressed, emotionally and physically taxed, and I’m supposed to not say anything negative? Oh boy, I thought for sure if there was a day I’d REALLY mess up it would be this one! I prayed for the strength to “hold my tongue.” There were a couple of the moments I described above where I took what was said as a totally different meaning, and I almost replied with a defensive remark (OK, more than a couple). Wouldn’t you know, though, I truly CAN hold my tongue when I’m am more aware of the need to! It made me look at every other day and wonder why DO I make snarky remarks when clearly I can choose to say nothing? Even if it’s something I take the wrong way, I can gather my thoughts and explain how it sounded to me and ask him to clarify what he REALLY means. Not that surprisingly, he rarely (if ever) meant his comments in the way I “heard” them! It’s amazing how much less you argue over silly things when you aren’t quick to say something defensive! Overall, my stress level came down, too, because there weren’t unnecessary little arguments during the day!
Day 2 I was to continue not to say anything negative as well as do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness. This was one of the days I looked back on what I had written a little over a year ago and could read my heartbreak in my words. It was SO HARD for me to express an act of kindness when I was feeling so unappreciated and unloved. If you are in that place I encourage you to get on your knees and pray! I know what it feels like. I know it hurts and it’s hard to push forward, but do it anyway! God will reward you greatly! So, hear I am in a much different place feeling loved and appreciated and find it much easier to express an act of kindness. Do you know the revelation that gave me?! Why don’t I do it more often?! Why did it take my reading The Love Dare again to offer that? From such a desperate place when it was so hard I HAD to do it – I HAD to push forward, and what happened when things got better? I stopped. This made me realize this isn’t just a “when you feel good” or “when things are bad” gesture. This is necessary all the time. If you’re having struggles with your marriage I know it is hard, but you will be rewarded. Love is kind. If you’re not having struggles, you still need to do this! Don’t take advantage of your spouse. Here we are it’s now Father’s Day, and my husband is such an amazing father to our kids, so why don’t I show them EVERY DAY that I love and appreciate their father and show them that love is kind? It definitely got me thinking, and I pray that I never fall into that complacency again but rather continue to offer at least one kind, unexpected (or unrequested) gesture each day!