Saturday, October 20, 2012

"when you feel like an ocean being warmed by the sun"

So this is probably part one of many blog posts on this subject, but I've been stewing on some thoughts for a while, and it's about time I shared them. 

Forgiveness: the toughest thing in the world to do

Anthony and I have started going to church again, and it was there that I heard a sermon that brought me to tears-- sobby, nasty tears. I don't really cry in church. Moving topics "move" me but they don't move me to tears. This one did. Like I said, sobby, nasty tears. 

I've heard SO many lessons on the topic of forgiveness, but never have I heard one like this.

I'm a grudge carrier. I hoist grudges up on my shoulders; I raise them up on flag poles and wave them around. Sometimes, on my good days, I think that I've "forgiven" those that have wronged me. And I feel good about that. But sometimes.. when I'm alone and have the grand world of Facebook at my fingertips, I start stalking. It usually comes about through a friend of a friend of a friend that's still friends with an ex friend, but.. sometimes I just key in a few names into the search bar and have at it. Oh my, is this dangerous. It re-opens old wounds and prances around in them, reminding me of hurt, after hurt, after hurt. It's so not healthy.

But back to the sermon. Forgiveness: God's gift to us. Say whaa'? I thought it was God's/our gift to THEM. Nope, not so. God didn't want us carrying on to hurt and bitterness and all of the horrible things that go along with that. He wanted us to be able to let that go and be free from those entanglements. We do that through forgiveness. It's for us! It's not for them. It's for ME. So I can be free. So I can be happy. They don't have to know that they're forgiven. Forgiving them doesn't release them of judgment or repercussions... not at all. But it does release us from their stronghold. 

Forgiveness is something good we do for ourselves. It's not welcoming them back to the relationship we once had, and it's not restoration. 

There's more to this idea than my thoughts from a sermon I heard, but maybe it'll speak to someone else, too? I haven't forgiven everyone yet... In fact, I'm realizing every day someone else that has a tiny little grip on me. This is going to be a long, long process. But it's for ME, for my growth and freedom. Perhaps that will make it a little easier.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I'm about to crash your computer. Mawage, that bwessed awangement...

Hello! I am officially a Mrs., and I'm still cringing when people call me, 'Mrs. Bragg.' It's too weird.  I'm enjoying words like, 'hubby,' 'hus-bo,' and 'husby man.' Not in public though.

Anyway, things have been insane these last few months, but I've so missed blogging! I think I'm back. At least every now and then..

I've been learning a lot about relationships. I mean, I've been dating for longer than I'd care to admit, but nothing comes close to apparently all of the ins and outs of marriage. I mean, WOW. Anthony's dad gave us two books: Every Man's Marriage and Every Woman's Marriage. At first I was thinking about how little time and energy I was going to have to put into reading about marriage. But... we read them. S-L-O-W-L-Y. I'm a super fast reader, but this was waaaaaay too much information for me to handle. Who knew I was already doing things wrong?! But hey- we're also doing some things right! Like reading those books. Anthony's mom wrote, "Learn these lessons now and you won't have to later." Well, I'm trying to. It's going to be a constant thing, but I'm happy to learn with Anthony.

Church today was right up my alley, too. There was a sociologist who graduated from Cambridge. He began studying marriages because he wanted to find out what made them successful. He started out with studying the unhappy marriages so as to see what not to do. It didn't work. So... he began studying happy marriages instead. What he found was that the couples who described their marriages as "happy," had an unrealistic view of their spouse. The surveys that they filled out showed that individuals rated their spouse higher than they rated themselves in various areas.

Pastor said that there is a gap between our expectations and the behavior that follows it. The gap can be filled with finding the most generous explanation of the behavior and believing it, or assuming the worst. [[For example, Person A expects Person B to clean the house, have dinner ready, spend time with Person A. Person B instead becomes heavily involved in work and isn't around nearly as much, resulting in the house not getting cleaned as often and dinner not being as extravagant. Person A can view this in two ways: 1. Person A can take this personally. Person B isn't around because he/she doesn't love Person A as much as he/she used to. Person B doesn't want to cook/clean. Person B doesn't like to spend time with the family. OR 2. Person A can believe the best. Person B wants to do his/her job well. Person B wants to contribute financially. Person B is preparing for the future.

I didn't mean to rehash an entire sermon on here. It just really hit me, with us being newlyweds and all. I really, really, really want to start things out right, rather than find myself in habits I should never have gotten started with. I know it's going to be hard.. but better to start now, right?

I love Anthony, so cheers to a life of learning to love.

Oh, and here's some photos... :) :) :)

[this was right after I'd tried to put his ring on the wrong hand... SO embarrassing!!]

[The following photos are FAMILY photos. We have a huuuuge family!]

[The following two are of my birth family. I am so very blessed to have such great families.]

[Anthony has a huge family, too! Together we could take up an entire city.]

[I know this was supposed to be "for my eyes only" but I couldn't help it. This is priceless!!]

[I got to dance with my birthfather, too. Way cool.]

[My uncle is AWESOME and made this photo booth for us! I need to find a photo of the whole thing.]

Yeah, so... that was me narrowing down!! HA. I have several blogs planned out about the wedding/prep/whatever, so there will be more photos. I hope you care. But if not... just don't read these next few blogs because I'm all about the wedding for a while. :)

AND CAN YOU BELIEVE Amy did this all by herself?!??! She is amazing. I am so very happy with the photos! I have married into an awesome family.

Okay! That's it for now. Have a blessed week!