There’s No Place Like Home, But Where Is Home?

PicMonkey Collage Homes

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

God has a plan and purpose for our lives. It may not be our plan, but His plans are always for our benefit and His glory. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the Lord in Isaiah 55:8. Recently, I got upset when a monkey wrench was thrown into our smoothly running life and I found myself asking “Why God?” But no matter how the events take place, God will always use them to work em for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)

The beginning of May marked the longest stint we have lived in the same location. It’s exhausting and crazy to consider that we have moved over 10 times during our thirty years together.  In 2002 we sold our dream home to finance Jon’s company. What we anticipated being two years of renting extended into a seven-year period of no home ownership.  From August 2008 – May 2009 we move three times, in less than a year! So it was with excitement and gratitude that we celebrated the five years at our current residence.  My life was orderly and planned out for 2014-2015.

On Memorial Day (May 26th), Jon received a call from his new manager as the company was going through some changes that affected his team. Just when we finally had our feet under us a curveball was thrown.  This new manager thought highly of Jon’s innovative spirit and wanted him to open an office in San Francisco and for us to move there.  Back in 2009, 2011 and 2012 we had said no to moving to Portland because of various health issues I struggled with and we had experienced too many changes such as our eldest daughters flying the coop, loss of a parent, recent moves, etc.  So while I was excited about this job opportunity for Jon and his career, God’s timing confused me and sent me on a questioning spree. Why God would you allow us to finally feel settled?

It had taken years of pouring into the lives of others and finally we were seeing the fruit; marriages were growing, couples were getting help, and moms were connecting. I was able to use my gifts of hospitality and encouragement as I ministered to women in our home.  Jon and I are leading a couples’ group plus continuing to do premarital counseling in our home. We have incredible mentors pouring into Cayley’s life and the fruit is evident.  All of this is what we envisioned when we purchased our home in this part of town.  Why now God, as after three years of searching and finally saying yes to a church home and community?  Why now God, as I had Cayley’s 8th grade school year planned out and she has such sweet friends?  I asked these questions more in disbelief than seeking an answer. I’ve heard it said “If you ever want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”  Well He must be laughing.

While lying in bed on my birthday (May 30), I began pondering the prospect of moving to San Francisco.  I sensed God gently say, “Cherie, Austin is not your home, and, for that matter, neither is San Francisco.  Your home is in Heaven, with Me.” This truth is seen in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 and Philippians 3:20.  At that moment I surrendered and chose to trust God.  I have since been overwhelmed with peace by living in the present.  I am deeply grateful for the past five years we’ve had to make memories, be hospitable, and enjoy one place. I am also open to the adventure God has for us.

When faced with major decisions RELEASE control and let God be God.

  • Recall God’s past faithfulness. We keep track of major milestones that only God could have accomplished. Lamentations 3:21-23
  • Examine God’s Word as it is the lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalms 119:105)
  • List pros and cons.  Jon began investigating, evaluating and gathering practical and spiritual information.  He made a spreadsheet so when HR came to him with their first offer he was quickly able to give feedback with facts he had gathered.
  • Enlist wise counsel.  Jon spoke to several men he admired and who were further along in the journey.  He took advantage of their counsel and mistakes.  All agreed that while this opportunity would be disruptive for our family it would excel his career to position him for what he would want to do in the future. Proverbs 12:15; 11:14; 13:10; 19:20.
  • Agreement and unification on our part was necessary.  We had to examine how this decision would affect Jon’s career, our marriage, our children and our spiritual walk. We both felt peace saying yes but there were BIG hurdles that the company would need to meet to make this move possible proving God’s hand was in it.
  • Seek Him – Spending time in prayer and in His Word will help keep you grounded and prepared for any situation. Matthew 7:7-11
  • Exercise faith, make the decision (Hebrew 11:6).While we made a decision to trust God and relocate, there are still a myriad of details to be surfaced that will require continued faith.

As I write this we are in limbo not knowing if we are moving or staying but we trust God has what is best for us.

How will you respond when things don’t go the way that you would like or your plans fall apart?  Are you able to go with the flow and flex or are you completely thrown off when the plans that you laid out take a wrong turn?

Where do you consider home?

Never Stop Learning, As Life Never Stops Teaching

Today I am sharing over at I Take Joy on behalf of my mentor and friend. There is so much value and wisdom in learning from those older, wiser, and with life experience.

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Countless people have wrecked their lives by connecting with the wrong people. Thankfully, years ago (1998), God allowed my path to cross with Whole Heart Ministry, specifically the teachings of Clay and Sally Clarkson. Their grace filled messages appealed to my husband and I as we desired to leave a family legacy where we loved, accepted, and cared one another.

My relationship with the Clarkson family for many years was from afar; my life was impacted through their books, audio tapes, and yearly Mom Heart conferences. I have literally watched the Clarkson children grow up at the conferences and they are each authentic in their genuine love and passion for Christ.   Only in the last 7 years have I actually gotten to personally know Clay and Sally.  Luke 12:48 is says, ““From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” I’ve received so much from the teaching of WHM and desire for others to benefit from what they have to share.  

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I am thankful that I chose to surround myself with others who sought to leave behind a Godly legacy and with those who are worthy of emulation.  I trusted that the Godly characteristics I saw in the Clarkson’s lives would rub off on me and I would become better for it and I have.

Proverb 13:20 puts it this way, the one who associates with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

As I surround myself with the right people, I hear the right things, I receive the right influences, and I become the right person. In Proverbs Solomon said, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (27:17).  If you want to remain sharp, you must surround yourself with sharp people. I am thankful for those who have sharpened me and for Sally. Today I can read the I Take Joy blog for a daily dose of encouragement. I can reread books or listen to old audio cassettes/CD’s.  I always anticipate the yearly Mom Heart Conference and know I will be inspired, encouraged, and wiser because of my investment into growing.

If you are seeking encouragement and a clear vision for how to raise competent children who love Jesus and each other, I highly suggest that you join me by signing up for Sally’s upcoming e-conference.

Truly there is nothing more important in your life than how you love and serve God through the way you raise your children. Our greatest legacy will be our children who grow up, leave home and become the new church body.  While my husband and I have launched two Godly, grounded, giving, and gracious daughters, we are still in the thick of parenting our thirteen year old daughter and occasionally have differences with our adult children :)

Recently we went on a FAMILY vacation together as years ago we casted the vision that our family would do things together, no matter how big or how old we may get. This is written down in our below mission statement:

The Werner Family Mission Statement

The Werner Family Mission Statement

We truly love and adore one another relishing any time together especially now that our eldest daughters live in Detroit and San Diego.  When we gather together it is fun, memorable, and challenging.  Yes, I said it was challenging as we each have different personalities that can rub up against each other.  We have misunderstandings over what we will do, where we will eat, or who will clean up the messes. While I know the right thing to do, I often blow it. I still get angry and frustrated, stressed and impatient.  I say things I regret. Multiply that by 5 and there’s sure to be challenges as we are each so different and opinionated but at the end of the day we will each choose love as love is worth it and we are family.

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Relationships are difficult. Like most people, I want to have the best possible relationship with those that mean the most to me, my family; therefore I will continue to sharpen myself with wisdom and truth.  I will surround myself with those who have gone before me and have launched successful spiritual champions.

You’ve gotta love technology! If you can’t watch the conference on July 14th and 15th, once purchased it will be yours forever to watch whenever it’s convenient. Consider hosting a small group of friends to watch it together so you can be accountable to one another and encourage each other.

It is never to late to be who you might have been. – George Eliot

So remember it is never too late to learn and grow, no matter how old you get. You can always make a change for the better. So never stop learning, as life never stops teaching.

Opposites DO Attract – 10 Ways To Not Attack

Photo by Cherie Werner

Photo by Cherie Werner

For better or worse…. That’s what we agreed to.  I had no idea that many of Jon’s endearing and quirky differences I once appreciated while we were dating would become the same things that drive me crazy.  I’m sure he feels the same about me ;-)

Recently in preparation for the couples group we lead, Jon and I sat down to discuss and listed out some of the ways we are different.  Too often, differences can tear a marriage apart but sometimes they can actually bring couples closer together!  We’ve come to realize that while frustrating at time our differences are the very thing that keeps our marriage exciting and well balanced.

JON CHERIE
Optimistic Pessimist
Idealist Realist
Carefree Organized & Structured
Adventurous Cautious
Night Owl Early to bed
Lives to eat Eats to live
Avoids conflict More direct
OK not doing anything Looks for what needs to be done
Views movies as an escape & relaxation Movies are a waste of time
Get things done when they need to be done List maker and multi-tasker
Record keeping not as important Record keeping very important
Shops for what he likes = higher end items usually. Shops for bargains
Enjoys the snow & skiing. Not a big fan of sand. Enjoys the beach, sun & water sports. Not a fan of the cold.
Humorous & light hearted Much more serious
Reads for entertainment Reads to grow
He’s an ENFP – “An Inspirer” She’s an ESFJ – “A Caregiver”
Physical touch is his #1 primary love language. Physical touch is her lowest love language.
Appreciates nice, fast cars Appreciates safe, mom mini-vans
Risk taker Cautious

Etc…..

We are all probably familiar with the old concept and expression “opposites attract.” Research by Columbia University says, “couples who agree with each other all the time may find they are actually too close for comfort.”

After being together for almost thirty years we’ve come to realize that most marriages tend to go through stages in regards to differences.  Starting with the first date, then through engagement and being newly married, couples tend to be enchanted with one another.  However, after several years of togetherness, those same differences that were once admired in each other often became irritants that annoy.  Therefore, we must allow God to change us so we can see and appreciate the valuable traits we each bring to the marriage relationship.

If we see our differences as gifts verses hindrances, we are drawn towards greater acceptance of each other. As I reflected on many past upsets, I realized I was often judging Jon’s behavior as annoying, ridiculous, or a waste of time rather that trying to understand his perspective. I also know it’s not my job to change my husband; I’ve tried without much success.  I can only change myself and how I choose to view these annoying behaviors.  We’ve learned that it’s best to communicate annoyances so they don’t escalate.

So if you and your spouse are struggling because of annoying differences, here are 10 suggestions to stay on the same team:

  1. Focus on the irritating behavior and not your spouse as you can’t change people.
  2. Find time to communicate about the problem calmly rather than getting upset and stonewalling.  Change can’t take place without both of you sharing and listening.
  3. Carefully choose the best time to share.  I have learned that it’s best not to share in the moment especially if you are upset.  Once words are spoken they can’t be taken back.  Also consider what your spouse has going on.
  4. Sandwich your concerns by first finding something positive to share about your spouse. Then calmly explain the issue. Finish up on a positive note.
  5. Don’t use the words “always” or “never” as your spouse will probably feel attacked and get defensive and discount what you are sharing because of the one time your statement wasn’t true.
  6. Discuss ways to bring about change or share benefits of changing.
  7. Acknowledge any growth and cheer your spouse on.
  8. Be patient as change takes time.
  9. Find 2-3 positive traits to balance out each negative one.  Consider memorizing Philippians 4:8 then practice it.
  10. Pray for your spouse and ask God to give you grace to be more accepting.

Back in the 90′s Focus on the Family’s published the insightful video, Vive La Difference. Actors Paul and Nicole Johnson present a humorous yet poignant skit that illustrates a couple going through the metamorphosis of recognizing their differences. As you watch the video clip identify the various differences that annoy them.  Notice how she tries to get her husbands attention when she wants to talk. Notice how he chooses the wrong time to communicate.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER after watching the video.

  1. What are some of the differences that first attracted you to your spouse?  Why do you feel you were attracted to those qualities?
  2. How do you view these differences today? Are they still attractive or do many of them drive you crazy? Is you perspective helping or harming you relationship?
  3. The couple struggle in four areas: in-laws, finances, flexibility, and communication.  Which of these areas do you tend to struggle the most with?  Maybe there is another area of contention between you. If so, what is it?  How can you work through these issues?
  4. When there is a disagreement about an issue (family, finances, work) that each of you views as important, how do you find a compromise?
  5. As a couple, how do you handle conflicts when it comes to your differences?  Do you discuss them calmly, argue about them or ignore them? Which method do you think is the healthiest emotionally? Why?
  6. Read 1 Corinthians 12  What does the passage tell us? Do you think the same applies to our marriage relationships? We should work together; emphasizing the various gifts that each of has to contribute to the good of the marriage.  Has your goal as a couple been to find sameness or oneness?  How can you work to find oneness by allowing your differences to complement your relationship rather than destroy it?
  7. How about you?  Have you learned to allow God to change you by helping you to see and appreciate the valuable traits your spouse brings to the marriage?

Blessings