Guest-Writers, Marnie's Posts

{Marriage Week} Choose Love.

Written By: Marnie Pouget

This is truth.

  
When you get past the “falling in love” feeling.  When one of you has morning breath bad enough to knock out your favourite pet.  When fever and vomiting hit hard.  When the bathroom smells like a rodent died in there.  When the sense of humour you thought was hilarious when you dated is just plain old…..and annoying.

When the sarcasm and wit hit too close to home and cut to the core.  When liking each other seems impossible.

Choose to love.

A young woman told me that she only wanted to marry someone with whom she would have those “in love” feelings forever.  If she “fell out of love”, she would leave.

I was saddened by this.  She would not hear my reasoning.  She has set herself up for a lifetime of disappointment and relationships that don’t last.

The reality is that love is a choice.

When he is at his worst, I choose to love my husband.  I choose to be attracted to him.  I choose to keep my desires for him.  I choose to respond with kind words and compassion.  I choose to keep lines of communication open (and since I am a selfish human being – sometimes I don’t and boy, are those times lousy and not worth the lack of investment – time filled with regret that needs to be followed by repentance and renewal).

How thankful I am that my beloved does the same for me.  Believe it or not, there are days that I am not very lovable.  I am critical and unkind.  I am thoughtless and self-centred.  I have lazy days when I fail to shower and I am sure I do not always smell like roses.  I know in those moments that he is not instinctively thinking about how amazingly beautiful I am and how lucky he is to have captured my attention and won my heart.

But he chooses to think these things.

Love isn’t about how you feel.  It is a commitment to put another as a priority in your life, to care for and to prefer.  1 Corinthians 13 gives a wonderful description of perfect love.  We can strive for this and we will never love perfectly.  But we can love.  We can choose love.  We can grow in love.  Deep, lasting, enduring love.

We can also choose to feel love – the fluttery, starry eyed sweetness of new, “young” love.

I have an enduring friendship with my husband.  We have weathered storms and our love is deeper and stronger than it was the day we married.  Even still, I choose to react to him with the same thrill that I had when we began.

He still makes my eyes shine, I feel warm and safe when he holds my hand and my heart still quickens at his kiss.

I choose to love and to “be in love” and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

About Marnie: 

Marnie has had a desire to be a positive influence in the lives young women. Discipleship is an important aspect of the Great Commission that is often overlooked. There were women throughout Marnie’s life that took time to invest in her spiritual growth, teaching and encouraging her. She now follows their example by intentionally investing in the lives of other young women.

Marnie is a mom of five children and has been married to her best friend for almost 20 years. She has a love for reading and photography and is passionate about the ministry of Bair Lake Bible Camp. She blogs irregularly at http://thelittlehilllife.blogspot.ca/.

Marnie's Posts, {Love}

{Love} Love “Mom.”

WrittenBy: Marnie Pouget

As a second “mom” and mentor to many young men and women over the years, I often find myself faced with having to speak this message with as much compassion as I can. They can be hard words to hear, even harder to act on. They are difficult to speak but necessary.

Here is a letter similar to one that I wrote to one of my dear “kids”:

I love you and so, I am going to speak to you like I do my own kids.

Honey, he seems like a nice boy, and I am sure he must be or you wouldn’t like him however, he isn’t a Christian and you have no business being in a serious committed relationship with him.

God is clear when he tells us not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) It is for our protection and quite frankly I see it as protection for the other person also.

At some point you are going to decide to either go further in this relationship or end it. The likelihood of you marrying someone you dated in your teens is slim however, let’s say that your relationship does last that long- you will be in the situation of marrying an unbeliever. You can talk to anyone who has been there or talk to a child of parents in that situation and they will tell you THAT life is more than difficult.

Suppose he does become a Christian – will it be for himself and because of the conviction of the  Holy Spirit or simply because he likes/loves you and wants to be with you? You won’t really know. Generally, the latter is the case. In fact I don’t know of any situation where the non-christian partner was led to Christ and continued to walk with the Lord even after the relationship ended. Unfortunately, I speak from lots of experience in this area.

So, let’s say you do break up – what will be the picture of Christ and Christians that he has? Most likely it will be that Christians are hypocrites and Christ is not about love because the person he loved left him because of God and His rules. You run the risk of turning him away from ever loving God or accepting His son’s death and the salvation He so freely offers..

Dearest, the reality is that God loves him a bazillion times more than you do and He desperately wants to pursue him and win his heart but you are, quite frankly, standing in the way. If you truly love him, I am guessing you want more than anything his salvation. Don’t rob him of this!!! Preach Christ to him through your actions and words. Don’t allow yourself to go further in this relationship and distract him from the Lord.

When you first became friends, I was quite excited that he could meet other Christians who could love him as a friend and speak truth to him through their testimonies and their lives. I was so excited to see how God was going to move through this friendship. I would still love to see Him move in this boy’s life but fear that He is being stifled because of your relationship.

Please listen to my words and consider them prayerfully.

I love you so much and don’t want to ever see you hurt. Just considering it tears me up inside.

Love “mom”

Until Next Time,

~Marnie

Guest-Writers, Marnie's Posts

{Miracle’s Week} Wilson’s Story.

Miracles WEEK image

Written By: Marnie Pouget

Wil’s story begins about 5 years prior to his birth. About a year after our 4th child was born, I had a dream. I don’t put tons of stock into my dreams but this was different. It was like God spoke to me. I woke with a deep knowing.

I wish I could explain it better but that is what it was. The message was clear – I was going to have another child and I was going to be older. I didn’t know what “older” meant.

Since we had wanted our children 2-3 years apart and we wanted to be “done” by the time I was 40, I assumed that older was something different than our “plans”. I prayed about this message, not quite trusting my feelings or my thoughts, but the “knowing” became stronger….. somehow. I figured I should probably share this with my husband. So I told him “God told me we are going to have another baby and I am going to be older. So, don’t be surprised if I turn 50 and announce that I am pregnant.” He responded, “I hope you are not going to be 50!” I agreed but since I didn’t know what “older” meant, I couldn’t assume.

In the years that followed, we were regularly asked, “Are you done [having children]? My husband would inevitably respond “We are DONE!” and I would say “I don’t know. God told me we were going to have another child and I would be older. I don’t know what that means.”This became a mantra whenever the question was posed or the topic was discussed.

Until one day. In December 2010, out of the blue, my husband quietly shared “ya know, if God gave us another baby, we’d be perfectly fine.” Uh oh. There it was. Confirmation. I was going to have another baby. I knew and yet when it happened so quickly I stayed in denial for a number of weeks. When I finally embraced the circumstance, we were excited. All of us. (Well except for our eldest. For him this was nothing new – he had three younger siblings so this was kind of the “same old, same old”.)

I began to plan a wonderful birth. A home birth surrounded by my friends and family….. and a full snack table….. more of a birth….. “party”. Finishing my child bearing with a bang! On September 22nd, I met with my midwife for a checkup. She expressed some concern that I was measuring larger than normal and asked me to have an ultrasound done the next morning, “just to be sure”. The ultrasound technician assured us that we were growing a happy, healthy baby. No reason to be concerned. I left that appointment and headed on my way to a weekend Women’s Retreat …The speaker was Lisa Van Ryn. The message that Saturday night led us to a time of reflection on what you are holding back from God.

Acknowledged by writing it on a paper. A willingness to surrender.

Symbolized by throwing the paper in a campfire outside of the chapel. I remember being the last one at chapel that night. I knew that I was holding tightly to MY birth plans and MY baby but it took me time to own it by writing it down. In haste, I scribbled these words. The birth and this baby. I wrote them down but I wasn’t going to throw them in the fire. I made my way outside the chapel and to the fire, to at least make a semblance of participation.

I stared in the fire as I turned the paper over in my pocket. A dear friend gently let me know she was waiting for me and without further thought I pulled out the paper and threw it into the fire. I didn’t turn back. I returned to work Monday feeling tired but I was shocked awake to my water breaking in the early Tuesday morning hours.

wilson pouget miracles week 03

Five weeks early. No home birth. My plans quickly flew out the window. We headed to the hospital. We arrived before 8 in the morning. Wil made his entrance an hour and a half later, into a room full of witnesses. He was quickly checked by the NICU team and I was allowed to hold him briefly and after a quick kiss, he was whisked to the NICU. I wouldn’t see him again until after 6 that evening. When I was finally able to see him, I was told he was a very sick baby. I was told I could not hold him. I couldn’t nurse him. I could touch his hand but I could not rub. He needed darkness and quiet. No stimulation. They even moved every other baby out of his pod area for the first few days so he was isolated as much as possible.

I quietly watched and prayed for this little man. He was the largest baby in the NICU at 8lbs. 4oz. I had a hard time comprehending how sick he was because, aside from the monitors and tubes everywhere, he looked like a normal, healthy new born. It wasn’t until later that week that I was told that he had PPHN . PPHN is a life threatening disease that affects about 1 in 500-1500 babies each year. My simplified explanation is this: When a child is in the womb, the heart beats and the blood flows away from the lungs. The blood is oxygenated by the mom and circulated through the umbilical cord. During birth there is a transition that occurs. The heart switches to sending the blood towards the lungs to get oxygenated.

Wil’s heart didn’t switch. I spent my days at the hospital and came home to sleep as there was no where I could stay in the hospital. I frantically read scripture searching for a life verse for Wil, as I had chosen a verse for all of my other children.

A few days in, while eating lunch, I found it! I returned to his bedside elated. His nurse that day noticed the change in my demeanour and asked. I explained that I had found HIS verse. She asked me to share, so I did:

wilson pouget miracles week 01
Photo Credit: Amy Lenhart Photography

Psalm 18:1-2

“I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Wow. She responded that is a very powerful verse. She then suggested that I print the verse and tape it to his isolette. She then offered to join me in praying for Wil, his life verse, each time she was his nurse. We prayed and had many people praying for Wil.

One day, a couple of weeks later, I was feeling sorry for myself and was very teary. This same nurse approached me to see how I was doing. I bemoaned the story of throwing the paper in the fire. I said “Maybe if I hadn’t surrendered then we wouldn’t be here!” She gently confronted me and said “I don’t think that’s how it works but when are you going to start?” I looked at her quizzically and she said “You are here but you are fighting being here. You say you’ve surrendered your birth and your baby but you are still holding on tight. When are you really going to let go?”

In speaking with others who had experience with PPHN, I learned that 20 years ago, most babies with PPHN died soon after birth and those that didn’t experienced severe disabilities from a lack of oxygen. I needed to understand that babies still die of PPHN. Babies still have disabilities from the effects of PPHN or the high oxygen treatment used to combat this disease. Babies with PPHN can be hospitalized for months. I needed to surrender to whatever was to come. We continued to pray.

I prayed over him and when he no longer required no stimulation, I would sing to him. This song became a regular anthem sung quietly by his bedside. With all of my children, their life verse and “song” were focused on who God was calling them to be and how they were to live. With Wil, I felt very strongly that his life was to bring praise to God. A life of worship. This song, was the prayer of my heart for my son.

wilson pouget 04

During our time in the NICU I watched Wil’s health improve and then he would fall back a bit. We battled with weaning him off of high levels of oxygen and feeding. He struggled to gain weight. However, we continued to be encouraged when the neonatologist asked “Are you praying? You must be praying”. I told him we had a lot of people praying. He said “I can tell, he shouldn’t be getting better as quickly as he is. It is a miracle how fast he is healing.”

Having resigned ourselves to the long haul, we were surprised to be pulled into a private meeting with another of the neonatologist’s who told us that Wil was ready to leave. He still had feeding issues and his progress would be followed until he turned 5 years of age. We were reminded that his lungs would take until his 10th or 11th year to fully heal, and so we were to remain under the care of one of the doctors from the NICU team, that understood his heath history. We were told to expect Wil to have breathing issues when he had a cold.

wilson pouget miracles week 02

After 28 days in the NICU, we were able to bring our little man home. We battled with weaning him off of high levels of oxygen and we struggled to get him feeding without a tube, we slowly overcame even that issue. We have been faithful in all of the follow up care to ensure that Wil receives care for any issues that may arise. At his 3 year checkup the NICU released him from further care. He had surpassed his milestones. At his regular checkups with his pediatrician, the neonatologist that has been with Wil from the very beginning, we are reminded of how far he has come from his beginnings as a very sick little baby. The appointment always ends with the doctor reminding us that Wil is a miracle.

There is so much more that I would love to tell you. But I will save that for another day. Be blessed dear friend.


About Marnie:

IMG_4089Ever since her teenaged years, Marnie has had a desire to be a positive influence in the lives young women. Discipleship is an important aspect of the Great Commission that is often overlooked. There were women throughout Marnie’s life that took time to invest in her spiritual growth, teaching and encouraging her. She now follows their example by intentionally investing in the lives of other young women.

Marnie is a mom of five children and has been married to her best friend for almost 20 years. She has a love for reading and photography and is passionate about the ministry of Bair Lake Bible Camp. She blogs irregularly at her blog: The Little Hill Life
Marnie's Posts, {Love}

{Love} Me Alone.

Written By : Marnie Pouget

Once upon a time, in a town not so far away, an idea for a book was born. “Diary of an Old Maid” was the first title

I chose for it– I was twenty-four years old.

I am sure that sounds quite ridiculous, twenty-four seems a bit young to be labelled as such but at that time, I felt old.

My friends were finding “the one” and walking down the aisle before me. Regular questions of “Do you have a boyfriend?” or “Any men in your life?” peppered every conversation, or so it seemed, and I felt somehow that when I answered “no”

I came up lacking…

To be honest, my single state was certainly not my plan.

I recall in ninth grade being vocal that I wanted to be married and have a dozen children. In grade thirteen, my Art History teacher asked the class to share their life goals, mine was to be a wife and mother.

Through high school and beyond I was on the hunt for

“the one”. My other half. The person who would meet all my needs. That special someone that would complete me.

In my later teen years my plan was to be married by the age of twenty and have all of my children by the time I was twenty-five (clearly my desire for a dozen children had changed somewhere in there, likely through the influence of one of the boys on whom I had set my sights).

For various reasons, the dream of an early marriage was unfulfilled and I continued to question my value. I had searched for significance and found myself wanting. Like many, I believed that my worth was dependent on the wavering attentions of the opposite sex.

I desired love and approval and wholeness.

I began a journey that would take three years to begin.

A journey of identification and acceptance…

One of the first lessons I needed to learn was that I am “worth it”. Me. Alone. Without anyone else. I have intrinsic value. I am created in the image of the Almighty God. He knit me together in my mother’s womb and I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:13,14). I love the visual of knitting – it is a two handed process with intention.

I have the handprints of God all over me.

Value is determined by the price for which one is willing to pay. I was bought with a price (1 Cor 7:23). The precious blood of the spotless lamb of God, Jesus (Jn 1:29).

A dearer price could not have been paid.

My value is immeasurable.

I am HIS. His because He made me. His because He paid for me. I am wanted and valued. ME. Alone.

What a thrill it was to embrace that truth and to accept that, with Him, I am complete. Lacking nothing. Complete in Christ. I stopped looking for my “soul mate”, my “other half” and became content just me and Jesus. (I recall saying out loud to God “I will get married one day if you dump a guy in my lap with a sign over his head that says “marry him” otherwise, I am good – just You and me.”).

I recently learned the history of this theory of the “soul mate”. In Greek Mythology (though we call them myths, the ancient people really did live by these beliefs) it is said that humans were born with four arms and legs, two heads etc.

Humans began to think they could become gods which angered the reigning gods, so Zeus split each human in half and they spent the rest of their days roaming earth searching for their other half. What a far cry from the beautiful love story that we have romanticized the “soul mate” to be.

How sidetracked I was through the years searching for my missing half. How much time I wasted being discontent and wallowing in my “incompleteness”.

I know I am not alone. Over the ages we have missed the full message of the Gospel. We often end our understanding at recognizing we are a sinner, in need of a Saviour. We accept Christ’s death as payment for our sins and rejoice that He rose again and is preparing a place for us. Our past is dealt with and our future is sealed but our present somehow lacks the vibrancy of a life redeemed unless we recognize our completeness in Christ and walk in it.

We need to be less concerned with how and when we find “the one” and more concerned with pursuing THE One. The lover of our souls. The author and perfecter of our faith. (Heb. 12:2).

 “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” 

~Maya Angelou

How thankful I am that my journey began with three years of singleness. A time of tremendous growth and reflection. Though I wasn’t always content at the beginning, I wouldn’t trade those years. When I embraced my wholeness in Christ, I found purpose and contentment. Me. Alone.

Marnie's Posts, {Beauty}

{Beauty} Fading Flowers.

Written by: Marnie Pouget

Can I be honest with you? You may be young and your skin beautiful and dewy, your hair thick and

glossy and your body toned and healthy but you are aging. It may not feel like it but it is true.

We live in bodies that are growing and changing but aging from the minute we are born.

I really don’t mean for this to be discouraging but it is a reality we all must face.

“For, all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the

flowers fall,” 1 Peter 1:24

Our glory, our beauty will fade and fall. Our skin loses elasticity and gets saggy and wrinkly. Our eye sight

fades and we squint at pages we once read with ease. Our hair begins to take on new shades that

demand to be noticed (and dreaded).

It is easy to take for granted your youthfulness until a sweet child brushes through your hair and

declares in drawn out enthusiasm that you have “be..YOU…ti…ful white highlights” and the more she

brushes the more she finds. It helps that in her innocence she believes she is honouring you with a great

compliment.

Or in the arms of a precious toddler snuggling close and sighing in contentment over the soft pillow of

your body; which sends you frantically into ridiculous amounts of abdominal exercises to gain a  6 pack

or thereabouts.

We can try to fight the process but it is a losing battle.

Even the fit women will find their skin sagging and wrinkling. The sun exposure that creates golden

healthy tans in youth produce premature wrinkles with age.

The truth may be hidden, but underneath the dye the hair is still turning white and grey. One only has to

look at the roots which all too quickly divulge the secret. And one day a glance in the mirror reveals an

old woman with a ridiculously fake hair colour that is anything but flattering.

For those who can afford the extreme, there are tucks of all kinds available for the right price.

Now, I am not saying that using hair colour and make up is wrong. Nor is keeping fit or even, if you are

so inclined, to make permanent changes to your appearance. Enhancing, reducing, tucking. Fight the

aging process full force, if you like.

We can spend a lot of time and money in an attempt to keep our bodies looking young and vibrant.

Though, with observation I would say that it is a poor investment with a less that satisfactory return.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing

of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a

gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

I admit that I hope my husband finds me attractive but I don’t want that tied to what I wear or how I

have done my hair and makeup. When the makeup has been washed off, my hair has been brushed out

and I have donned my comfy clothes, I want to know that he still thinks I am beautiful.

As women, we want to be beautiful. Not temporarily pretty but with an enduring beauty.

So what is an eternal beauty? “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”.

I have struggled with the inference of this image in the past. Quite frankly, I am not sure anyone who

knows me would describe me as gentle or quiet, in fact at one time I was shocked to be described as

blunt.

When I picture a woman with “a gentle and quiet spirit”, I think of my Sunday School Teacher, Arielle.

That was really her name. But unlike the stubborn, rebellious redhead under the sea, this Arielle was the

precious, patient mother of three boys. They were true, rough and tumble boys. Arielle was neither thin

nor heavy. She had a soft warmth about her. When she smiled, her eyes lit up and her face shone. She

was calm and patient (until that one day when she was pushed too far- I wouldn’t want you to think she

was perfectly perfect but she was real). Her hair was neatly piled with soft grey tendrils. She had a

gentle and quiet spirit and she was beautiful.

That is not me. I can be loud and bossy. I am passionate and exuberant. I am certain that I must

embarrass my children on a regular basis with my abundant personality. But gentle and quiet?

To be honest I have felt like a failure reading this verse. One day a lovely friend pointed out that it would

be a boring world if we were all quiet and gentle all the time but this verse wasn’t referring to

personality but spirit. I didn’t have to tame and subdue the vibrant personality I was given.

Her encouragement didn’t stop there but went on to explain that she saw my quiet and gentle spirit. My

daily walk and trust in God. My faith lived out through difficult times. The fruit of the Spirit growing and

overflowing in my life.

As I live in communion with God….

“…but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person

is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not

wither—whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:2-4

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and

enduring word of God. For, all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the

grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1Peter 1:23-24

The grass may wither and the flower may fall but a tree planted by the water, the word of the Lord, is

vibrant. Full of life and fruit. An eternal beauty. Definitely worth the investment.

Until Next Time,

~Marnie

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{Special Video} The UYM Project.

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We are so thrilled to share this sweet video put together by a precious friend, Lauren Rivest for our ministry. Thank you Lauren, for assisting us in the creation of this beautiful master piece.

Another HUGE Thank you, to the hundreds of readers in whom were also so highly involved in the creation of this video. UYM wouldn’t be where it is today without you all!

             Special UYM Project video.

Marnie's Posts, UYM

{Worth} Doubly HIS.

Written By: Marnie Pouget

I remember the first day that my mom gave me a “clothing allowance”. I had received an allowance growing up but this was different. I received $60.00 each month with which to buy clothes, shoes, school supplies, gifts, as well as the occasional lunch at school. The idea was to teach me to budget and plan my finances to meet present requirements and anticipate future needs.

One of my first clothes shopping trips by myself, I had such a difficult time spending my money. I was a bit afraid to buy the “wrong” thing. Eventually after wasting about three hours debating with myself,  I bit the bullet, made a decision, and left the mall with three new shirts with which to start my grade nine year. I remember these shirts like it was yesterday. That moment was significant in my purchasing history.

They were special. I paid for them and they were mine.

Since that day long ago, I have made some other purchases that gave me stress in the purchasing. My first used car. A blue hatchback. I got a second job, waitressing, to pay my mom back. I signed every pay cheque over to her and kept records of the decrease of my debt. What a wonderful day it was when that car was truly mine. Paid in full.

My first new car…. and my first bank loan to pay for the car. A raspberry red 1991 Dodge Shadow, standard transmission with no air conditioning, roll down windows and no radio. If you drove in my car during the summer you had to sing loud because the windows were open and we HAD to have music. It wasn’t perfect but it was mine. My name was on the ownership because I paid for it (or was paying for it).

Then the largest thing I have ever owned in my life…. with the largest debt I have ever had. I recall the day we signed the papers for our mortgage. I think I was about to have a panic attack. My fiancé at the time (now my dear husband), had to calm me down and remind me that the Bank wouldn’t lend us the money if they didn’t think we could pay the mortgage. As I settled down with this thought, I also settled into home ownership. My house is mine and I have paid dearly for this privilege.

“You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a

“You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.” 1 Corinthians 7:23

I was bought with a price. I am not my own. As one who has accepted the death of Jesus for the penalty of my sin, I have been paid for by the blood of the Lamb. The cost of my salvation. Of your salvation. Death.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

The death of the Son of God, Jesus. The spotless “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. John 1:29

The payment for my sin. HIS death. He made me (remember the two handed process with a purpose?) Click here to read.

He paid for me so I am not my own. I am DOUBLY HIS.

 Until Next Time,
~Marnie