It takes a lot of work for her to stay encouraged herself. I don't think Ashley's family realizes the amount of self help it takes for her to be the mother and wife they see every day.
Ashley has to pray, fast, read the word, find contentment in most things she does every day, and pull encouragement from things like podcasts and quotes. It's a lot, but her family is important to her and so it is important for her to pour into herself so she can pour into them.
There has been times in her life, when she didn't take time out for herself. It could have literally destroyed her marriage, ruined her kid's life, and caused severe damage to everyone and everything around her too.
So, Ashley has learned to put Christ first. She encourages her husband and children to do the same.
Dear Wives, I love Christ, I love my husband, and I thank God for the awesome opportunity I have being his wife.
I've told others before that my husband and I have not always been perfect (No one is perfect, but in our world we come pretty close). I tell Facebook all the time about my married life and I try to provide encouraging quotes that are scenario's that have actually happened in my personal life. I want them to help you in your marriage journey and to also let you know you are not alone. At one point in time in my life, I thought I was alone and like no one would understand the issues that were going on in my marriage. These problems my husband and I were going through were not their's, but ours, so how could anyone ever understand. I found out later down the line I was wrong on so many levels.
That prompt me to want to share my marriage journey as my testimony. I realize that level of thinking I was on came from my childhood years and just continued on as I got older. My mom was very private. We really never had friends over and every bad thing I went through with my mom was always hush-hush. She never said we couldn't tell anyone what we were going through, but she made me feel like it was something I couldn't share with other people. So, I brought that level of thinking into my marriage and I never shared with anyone for the first 7 years what my husband and I were going through.
Around the seventh year, things had gotten so bad that they couldn't be hidden anymore. Our arguing and fighting was on a different level. It was so bad, that my mom and sister couldn't help, but to get involved.
Once, our problems started erupting out of the four walls of our home, things actually begin to get better. That's kind of crazy to say that, but it did.
We were introduced to a couple at church that literally took us under their wings and they helped us get through a lot of things we were battling with. From there my walk with Christ became bigger and it started a passion in my heart to desire more for my family.
Most of You Know
Marriage takes work. If you don't know then you will get to know. I don't say that to scare you, but to give you a warning a head of time. Things like family, losing a job, or having a baby unexpectedly just happens. And depending on how you look at them will determine if they make or break your marriage. It doesn't matter how long you have been together. My husband and I have been together 10 plus years and some of the same attacks we had while dating are the same attacks we have had in our marriage. I don't regret any of the things we have been through, but I wish I would have had a good warning, but even with a good warning we have found out that things just happen.
You need Christ in your Marriage
My life in 2009
One thing that changed in my life in 2009 was when I had my second son. I love him so much and I actually remember crying out to God for him.
Before, he was born I told my husband that I just need a little one to shake things up in our family. I needed someone to literally rock our worlds and literally a year later my younger son was born. And believe me when I tell you he is literally rocking our little world. He is everything I asked for.
In 2010 I re-dedicated my life to Christ
My marriage was a big part of that decision. I didn't think this would make a big impact on my boys and my marriage. I was actually looking for a change for myself. I knew if I could make an internal change, then the change would reflect in everything I was connected with. That included my family, my friends, my career, my thought pattern, and everything else going on in my life.
Going through that process I learned to depend on God's word to help me through everything in life. However, even though it's really easy to say those words right now, that process was not easy. I didn't get my break through over night. It really took some time and some soul searching. I was so hurt from my teen years by my experiences and I brought all that anger, depression, and anxiety into my marriage. Actually, the anger was there when I begin dating my husband in 2002.
As the years progressed on my attitude became worse and worse. I was so angry all the time. I didn't understand where the anger was coming from. Everything seemed like it became worse before getting better. God literally had to hold me sometimes to get me through those really difficult things I was going through at the time. I used to ask God all the time, why does He have me with this man? You know as I think back, He never ever answered me, but He always gave me strengthen to get through whatever we were going through.
What I want you to know is you're not alone. So, many times people get a divorce, because they have unresolved things that happen before they got with that person. And many of us are facing these unresolved things right now with the person we are with. I'm here to tell you, that it's actually okay that you are experiencing what you are, but in order for your life to move forward you have to deal with the issues straight on. You can not continue to put it on the back burner, hoping it will go away. You need to ask yourself what is the issue, how did it become an issue in your life, what steps I need to fix it (it's probably not going to be an overnight or quick fix), and if this issue ever comes up again, what do I need to do, so that it doesn't have the same impact as before.
I don't believe God brings people together who are perfect, who won't ever make a mistake together, who like each other one minute and the next they really don't like them. No, I believe He brings two people together who are evenly yoked. They are yoked in the image that God created them to be. That's why Christ should be the head of your marriage. He will direct your paths, he will take care of the anger issues in your marriage, He will make sure everything gets resolved, He will take care of you all. You are His and He is yours.
So, once I got myself together, I become a wife. My husband waited for me all this time. I can't tell you why or how, but he did. I just give God the glory! Sometimes, I tell myself he is crazy for staying around that long, but I know he really loves me.
As I began to work on myself, God started showing me ways to take care of my husband. He told me to pray for him, give him more of my time, and cook.
When you begin to have a relationship with God he will lead and guide you in marriage.
It's hard being a wife sometimes, because I forget to add myself in the equation of what makes a marriage. I usually make sure everyone else is taken care of and then I take care of myself. But I have learned in order to be the wife God created me to be for my husband, I have to take care of myself. So, I do things that make me happy. Shopping, watching reality television, studying the word, having a social life outside of the house, working, driving, cleaning, wearing make up, buying electronics, reading, and talking with my little sister are just a few of those things that bring happiness to my life.
And I truly feel, Many marriages would be better if the Husband and Wife clearly understood they are on the same side. Troubles are going to come into your lives, but look at them from a different perspective.
Many years ago, when I lost my job I worried, I stressed myself out, and I argued with my husband. And I didn't just lose my job once, but I lost it at least three times. And every time I would go back to the same thing which was stressing both of out, because I was worrying and causing a strain on our marriage, because I was confrontational.
Instead I should have been saying, this is happening for a reason. I been praying for open doors, a new car, more money, weekends off, and more time with my family so this is for a reason. These doors that have closed are opening up a new chapter in our marriage. And to be honest with you, those closed doors always did. Of course it brought a storm in our lives, but when we came out of the storm we always had more at the end of the storm than what we started with.
So, I want to leave you with a few encouraging things for you to do.
First let's pray
In all things give God thanks. Even for the ups and downs. Be sure to pray for your husband's work place safety and for his mind.
Second let's stay encourage
I shared with you what I do to keep myself encouraged. I don't do all of those things everyday, but I do so on a more monthly basis. Find something that will relax the hell out of you (when I say hell I mean the inside battles that you are dealing with, we all have them) and stick to it.
Third spice things up in your marriage
My favorite words for marriage is marriage is work, but so is everything else. If you want something to grow, then nurture it, take care of it, and provide it with the nutrients it needs to live.
So, in order to apply this method to your marriage you would first find what makes your spouse happy, feed the happiness and sooner or later your spouse will return the act of kindess, and continue to add to this happiness by spicing your lives up.
Remember to pray and stay encourage everyday, so when the storms of life come you will know how to handle them.