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I was listening to Dave Ramsey (the financial guru) on YouTube recently, and a young widow was telling her story of becoming debt free. Dave teared up, and whispered into the mic, “thank you, God, for work that matters.”

I guess that’s what I’ve been feeling this week as we talk about community here on To Love, Honor and Vacuum: Thank you, God, for work that matters.

I’ve said that prayer over and over again over the last few years. I especially say it after I speak, because I get to talk to people face to face who hear what I’m saying.

I don’t get that same feedback online, but as I’ve been conversing with commenters this week, I’ve learned a lot.

On Fridays I like to share a short, inspirational 400-word marriage thought to take you through the weekend, but this week, to cap off our community theme, I thought I’d share a thought from someone in our community, who sent this in to me. It’s important.

It’s all about how you think! She writes…

On Overcoming Fear--and Clinging to Your Marriage and to God. Dealing with fear in marriage by correcting negative thinking.

When I came across your blog, I had just started a new job, my little girl was about two years old and I was battling a crippling fear I had never experienced before.  I used to wake up during the night, absolutely paralysed with fear, with perspiration running down my face, neck and back.  I was too scared to move.  I felt so anxious I would literally get sick.  Every time I faced a meal, I would panic because the thought of swallowing and choking used to drive the fear in even deeper.

I was basically looking for a way out.  

Any and every thought that came into my head presented itself to me as truth.  The only other person I have come across who has experienced such anxiety is Virtuous Woman Exposed (Sheila says: another awesome Canadian blogger!).  So, when I logged onto your website, I was looking for a way out.

For 30 years plus, the only thing I ever heard my mom say was that marrying my dad was a mistake.  So, when I was going through such a rough time, I found myself thinking the same thing.  I thought that my marriage and my life was a mistake.  I was simply though repeating the rhetoric I had heard for 30 years.

Even just typing that brings a lump to my throat when I think that I logged onto google to find a way out. Instead I got to your The Vow Matters post.  I remember sitting at my desk and feeling like a brick had hit my chest with the fear at what I was about to embark on.  That post saved me.  Then I came across a post from Gary Thomas about loving our spouses not because they’re lovable, but in obedience to Christ.  Slowly, I started to make changes – the biggest change was to my thinking.

Did I really think that my God was so small as to allow me to make such a huge life altering mistake when I married?

Yes, I used to believe that – now I know that he is the Blessed Controller and is actively engaged in our lives – even when we don’t see it.  It is almost like God took me and said, “Right, we need to deal with your fear, your lack of trust, your attitude to your marriage, your sexuality and although these are all separate issues for you, they are all very distinctly connected.”  And that is exactly what He has done – by helping me daily to focus on renewing my mind.

I know there is a lot of “political correctness” when it comes to anxiety and depression, and I know I had to go onto antidepressants for a while (not once, but a few times in my life and I have battled anxiety and depression virtually my entire life), but I have very strongly come to believe that many people develop chemical imbalances because of negative thinking; they don’t just think negatively because there is a chemical imbalance.

I’m not a doctor, and I cannot prove this but I have seen time and time again people going onto antidepressants but their thinking hasn’t changed one bit.  I think very differently now than I did a few years ago – thanks to reading these amazing blogs and following the work of Dr Caroline Leaf and her 21 day brain detox programme (she is an amazing Christian and brings everything back to the word of God).

I know now that God is more in control that we realise, He is more actively engaged that we can give Him credit for and He loves us so passionately that He will use any and every situation for our good.  Our God is not a small God.

So, I became an avid reader of your blog and a few others and I am like a sponge just soaking up any and every bit of advice to grow my marriage.  The most important thing I have realised is that irrespective of my background or family history, I am important to God.  And my marriage is important to God. 

I still have fears, and I still feel anxious at times, but I have learnt (am learning) to trust God even in the midst of those fears.  And I have learnt that any thought that goes against God’s word is strictly from the evil one – God would never, ever guide us to go against His word.  Ever.

So, things are much better for me now, and much better in my marriage – and I have seen changes both in me and my husband that I could never have imagined.  In fact, when I started the antidepressants, I almost surrendered myself to the fact that I would probably be on these for the rest of my life and I wanted to learn how to compensate for my anxiety.  Yet, I have been off them for about two years now and I have not looked back.  I feel in awe that God would worry about little old me here in [she mentioned her small town] and worry about my marriage – but He does.

Who am I for Him to even know me?  And love me?

And yet, He does.  I still have a far way to go, the biggest of which is dealing with the fear of something happening to go back to that awful, fearful phase, but I know that my God is bigger than that and even if that did happen, I have walked that path before, I can walk it again.  It is like a dream come true to wake in the middle of the night and feel at peace and to lean over and feel a sense of fulfilment feeling my husband’s body next to mine.  I praise this amazing God for not allowing me to walk down that road – and I am so grateful for the blogs I have come across that continue to nurture me and challenge me so that I can grow to become more like Christ.  Thank you.

Friday Roundup on To Love, Honor and Vacuum

What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum This Week?

fb-seriously-awkward-sex-questionTalking about sex isn’t exactly easy for some people and because of this, people don’t always get the chance to ask questions or learn about what might make the experience everything they want it to be.  This week’s Tops have some great tips and are a great place to start if you have questions (and you can always send me your questions too!).

#1 Post on the Blog: Where Do I Turn For Answers To Really Awkward Sex Questions?
#1 on the Blog Overall: Top 10 Tips For Initiating Sex With Your Husband

#2 from Facebook: I Have To Speak About Sex…With My Mothers In The Audience!
#2 from Pinterest: Creating Christmas Traditions When You Don’t Have Kids 

Too funny on that last one! The Christmas stuff is starting to spread!

And here’s a way you all could do me a HUGE favour: Can you pin this post for me? Or just repin this pin? Thanks in advance!

So The Girl Talk in Belleville Last Week Went So Well!

Thanks for praying, everybody. I really was nervous.

But, yes, both my moms came and sat RIGHT IN THE FRONT ROW. I took a selfie in the middle of the event just to prove it:

selfie-girl-talk

It was just a really encouraging night. I think I was absolutely petrified that no one would come. After all, it’s my home town, and people know me as “just Sheila”. I helped run one of the youth groups. I used to run a praise team. I put on a Christmas pageant once with my best friend. I’m just a normal mom.

But pretty much everyone I knew came from so many different churches, and we had over 150 people there (which is good for a small town!). And Lisa, one of my best friends (I told you about her on Wednesday) took 1,138 photos for me. Which is awesome. Because I never get good photos of the events I’m at! Go check out all the pictures here, because she captured a whole lot of my expressions.

Here’s one the absolutely funniest ones. I HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS IS WHAT THIS LOOKED LIKE. At the time of the show, I’m actually telling the story of ordering a scallop in a 5-star restaurant (there’s a point to that story). But the photo looks like something completely different, considering it’s a sex talk.

girl-talk-funny

My Girls Are Coming Home!

I’m off to Ottawa to pick them up today, and they’ll be home for reading week. We’re off to Toronto as a family tomorrow to see the play Noises Off, which is one of my all time favourites. We’ve seen the movie so many times, and we always swore that if the play was anywhere within a 5-hour radius we’d all go, so here we are! Super excited.

And then next Saturday we’re having our 25th anniversary party. I’ll have lots to tell you about that next week!

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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