Songs for Labor: 1st Edition

Ok, so as I prepare for the marathon ahead of giving birth. I have decided to post some songs/verses/etc...of the things I am preparing to help encourage me through my labor. The following song I have heard numerous times but one day on my way to work this song made me cry tears of joy when I consider how faithful God is and how I can trust in his strength through this journey. I was moved by it in a way I had never been before. So this song is a definite at my birth. Here is the youtube video, and lyrics. Hope you enjoy.

Sweetly Broken - Jeremy Riddle

To the cross I look, to the cross I cling
Of it's suffering I do drink
Of it's work I do sing

For on it my Savior both bruised and crushed
Showed that God is love
And God is just

At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

What a priceless gift, undeserved life
Have I been given
Through Christ crucified

You’ve called me out of death
You’ve called me into life
And I was under Your wrath
Now through the cross I’m reconciled

In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your redeeming love and
How great is Your faithfulness



20 Lessons I have learned after 5 years of Marriage

Agree or Disagree these are some very valuable lessons that I have learned over the last 5 years of marriage. I may develop on some of these ideas in the future, on how I came to learn these things, but for now here are some things for you to think on. These are not in any particular order...certainly some should have a higher priority than others, but all are equally challenging and helpful for marriage.
  1.  Just don't fight
  2. Think of ways to serve my spouse, especially when I am pissed off at them, its crucial to try to do an act of service for them when I am irate with them.
  3. Schedule times to go to bed early during the week. For chatting and intimacy purposes. ;)
  4. Send love notes, texts, e-mails as often as I can think of it
  5. Pray for my spouse
  6. Ask my spouse tough questions to challenge them in love.
  7. Ask my spouse how can I serve you today
  8. Remember to tell each other "I love you and am on your side" during a disagreement, fight.
  9. If you can't resolve a disagreement before 10:00pm then agree to reconnect on during a scheduled time the next day.
  10. Don't spend over $20 without clearing it with my spouse. 
  11. Get a google or shared calendar...keep each other in the loop, don't forget to check with them before making plans...you don't belong to yourself anymore.
  12. Love God more then my spouse, make sure my relationship with God comes first so I can love my spouse the way God intended.
  13. God has always been faithful to provide for His children.God has blessed my marriage, through difficult situations and easy, never forget His faithfulness.
  14. Use your time together wisely, and enjoy each other as often as you can.
  15. May your marriage be a reflection of God to the world.
  16. Stay committed to and serve in your local church together
  17. Reassess your the vision/mission of your marriage often, talk about your dreams, and areas that need growth
  18. Trust one another, and be open and honest in all things...even sin struggles...give one another grace.
  19. Base your standard of beauty off of what your spouse looks like...in other words if he is tall, has curly hair, and a goatee then that is what I am into...that is my standard of physical beauty that everything must measure against.
  20. Verbally affirm each other often, Say I love you In ways your spouse will understand everyday...learn their love language if you don't know it in order to learn how to say I love you in ways they will understand.
I am sure there are more lessons I have learned, but these stick out in my mind as the most important, life, and marriage changing lessons I have learned in the last 5 years. Trust me these are things that I myself am still working on. What has marriage taught you? What are some things you and your spouse do to serve each other?


    If you don't have anything nice to say...

    So today, as I stated on my facebook page, I was thinking about the saying "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" and how more people should practice this. I would equate nice with the word loving..."If you don't have anything loving to say, don't say anything at all." When I think about this phrase as it relates to loving I am thinking about 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 specifically verse 14. How short a verse yet how per found and challenging. "Do Everything in Love." I can definitely think of times when I haven't said things in love. Even seemingly "good" things like an offer of helpful advice. At first I thought I was doing something to help the individual out, but later after reflection, I realized that it may have been better not to say anything at all, and simply encourage them with a hug, or a prayer, or quality time. I am often one who is quick to speak and slow to listen...I want to fix things, make things better. I am realizing that even though I may think my intentions are good, they may not actually be loving and can result in hurting someone. So this is something I am reflecting, praying, and working through. I challenge you with the same.

    Can you think of a time when you thought you were being helpful but realized in the end that it wasn't loving?
    What are some practical things you do to try to live out 1 Corinthians 16:14 in your life daily?



    I wanted to share some really great words from Elizabeth Eliot today. I have been making it a habit to read an excerpt from her book "Keep a Quiet Heart" each day and like usual I am challenged, inspired, or motivated to work through the various issues that are addressed. I often get asked by women about the word "submission" and how as a wife and such a strong willed women I am ok with the idea of submission. I often wish I could have the right words to explain the things I have learned over the years about how I have come to no longer think of the word "submission" as a degrading word but rather how I have come to embrace and love the idea of submission. However, don't get me wrong, submission is something I still struggle to do and is not always easy for me to embrace as it does often go against my own selfish desires. Therefore, I really think Elizabeth puts it simply, and I thought I would share this excerpt with you. I challenge you ladies to keep working through your struggle with the idea of submission, pray about it, truly seek God on it. Remembering the promises of Jeremiah 29:11 that God does have your best interests in mind, as He loves you so dearly.

    What Do You Mean By Submission?
    People are always asking me this. What is this business of "submission" you're always talking about? We're not really very comfortable with this. Seems kinds of negative. Sounds as though women are not worth as much as men. Aren't women supposed to exercise their gifts? Can't they ever open their mouths?

    I wouldn't be very comfortable with that kind of submission either. As a matter of fact, I'm not particularly comfortable with any kind, but since it was God's idea and not mine, I had better come to terms with what the Bible says about it and stop rejecting the whole thing just because it is so often misunderstood and wrongly defined. I came across a lucid example of what it means in 1 Chronicles 11:10, NEB: "Of David's heroes these were the chief, men who lent their full strength to his government and, with all Israel, joined in making him king." There it is. The recognition, first of all, of God-given authority. Recognizing it, accepting it, they then lent their full strength to it, and did everything in their power to make him--not them--king.

    Christians--both men and women--recognize first the authority of Christ. They pray "Thy will be done." They set about making an honest effort to cooperate with what He is doing, straightening out the kinks in their own lives according to His wishes. A Christian woman, then, in submission to God, recognizes the divinely assigned authority of her husband (he didn't earn it, remember, he received it by appointment!. She then sets about lending her full strength to helping him do what he's supposed to do, be what he's supposed to be--her head. She's not always trying to get her own way. She's trying to make it easier for him to do his job. She seeks to contribute to his purpose, not to scheme how to accomplish her own.

    If this sounds suspiciously like some worn-out traditionalist view, or (worse) like a typical Elisabeth Elliot opinion, test it with the straightedge of Scripture. What does submission to Christ mean? "Wives, submit yourself to your husbands, as to the Lord." Compare and connect.  ~Elizabeth Eliot; "Keep a Quiet Heart"

    What has God been teaching you about the word "submission?" What encourages you as you work on this character quality in your life?


    We're Expecting

    After a long anticipated wait we conceived naturally after 2 years of serious trying.  God is faithful to All his promises (Psalms 145:13) and has answered our fervent prayers.

    God's timing is perfect! He gave us our precious gift 6 days after closing on our first house. Quite the surprise! We found out we were pregnant on Easter, April 4th, 2010 and if everything goes as planned we will be celebrating Christmas with our new addition this year. 

    So how did we get here?
    All I can say is that I have learned that God truly is in control. Chris and I started looking at fertility options back in November 2009 and were supposed to start our first round of fertility drugs in April, but since we were soon to be closing on our house and moving we decided to put those options on hold until this summer so I could focus on moving. I also knew that fertility treatments would mean we would have to miss a lot of work to make appointments. Something we just did not have at the time. God however, had a different plan for us and despite all the obstacles that faced us. He once again chose to show us His faithfulness to us, and how much we could really trust in Him for the desires of our heart. God didn't bless us with a child because of anything we did to deserve it, but because He is good, because He is faithful, because He hears the cries of his children and cares. I don't think I will fully understand why God made us wait, for a child, but I do know that it was worth the waiting. That God had/has a purpose in it, that his timing is perfect and He knows what He is doing. One way God is speaking to me about the perfection in His timing is that, Chris and I had a house before we had the baby, although this isn't a necessary thing, it is a helpful thing as we have room to grow. Secondly, Chris and I found out we were pregnant on April 4th, and this day is so significant to us because it is the same day that Chris and I began courting in 2004, and Chris proposed in 2005. Finally, the baby is due during the Christmas season, and financially this is going to be a huge blessing come tax season. This too, God planned perfectly as He knew we would need this financial help with the blessing of a child. Things in my life have certainly not turned out how I expected or planned them, but one thing is certian; everything has turned out better then I could have ever planned or expected. I could not have asked for better, despite all the trials, God truly was preparing me for what lies ahead. Thank You Jesus! I can't wait to see what other things he has in store. 

    Here is our little peanut. 

    We are very Blessed

    The Harings


    Oh me, Oh my, how time does fly

    I can't believe I have been so lazy that I haven't been able to write a post since Christmas. That is really ridiculousness...you can feel free to chastise me for it later in the comment section of this post. Anyways in the meantime I will try to catch up all my many (one, mom you don't count) followers on the happenings and goings on in the Harings household. Well speaking of household that has been the recent most influential change in our life and I really would blame it on the fact that we bought a house that I haven't posted recently but that would be a lie since I really have been lazy.

    So Alas here is the new cottage. Chris and I have been looking for houses practically since we got married 4 1/2 years ago. We are so thankful that we didn't rush into this decision. When we were looking back in 2007 we had even put an offer on a house and thanks to the Lord we didn't get the bid. Later that year and in 2008 the market crashed and low and behold we were so very thankful for divine intervention....otherwise we would end up getting ourselves into a lot more trouble then we already do. So we put our house endeavors on hold for awhile to save up more money, get better paying jobs, and wait for the government to offer the $8000 tax credit. Ok, seriously we didn't see that coming either but we are sure glad we waited when that ended up happening.

    When we started re-looking fall of 2009 we weren't incredibly keen on the idea. We really did love renting, and I had become accustomed to our cute little town of Chaska. Its one of those small towns right on the outskirts of the big city where it still has a main street, a family grocery store, malt shop, and activities in the park. I honestly don't think people lock their doors in the city of Chaska...its a city trapped back in time. However with all the joys of backwards time travel comes a high price tag to go with it. Any house, even the crappiest, dumpiest, "shack" in Chaska was way out of our price range. Therefore we new we were going to have to make the move closer into the big city. Chris grew up a city kid so he didn't mind this as much but I grew up in the country so this is always a struggle for me. Don't get me wrong I love the city when I get there, but the country naturally feels like home. As a girl who moved more than 10+ times before the age of 18 I don't like moving and I don't like change. Thats when Chris comes in and says "for crying out loud woman get a control on yourself" ok just kidding he would never say that, instead its more like "I can't afford to keep up with your expensive tastes so wife were moving to the city" ok I tease he didn't say that either. Instead I pulled up my bootstrapes and did what any red blooded american girl with a slight touch of addictive behavior would do. I scoured Edina Realty and the MLS constantly, feverishly for the perfect house to meet our needs in the big city. Yes I admit it was quite the problem there for awhile. I spent hours and hours and days looking for that perfect house.

    Those of you who have ever bought a house in the last 2 years might know who challenging this actually is. Its not "oh cute house lets set up a showing and buy it" instead its "oh cute house, WHAT! its already sold?! Why is it still on the stupid MLS then?"  Not to mention you need a Realtor just to see the house. That's no big deal you say to yourself. "HA!" I say. If your a Harings it is a big deal. We went through at least 4 Realtors trying to find a house just in 2009. You would be surprised how many Realtors expect to get paid just for unlocking a door for you. One example of this is when we had a terrible experience with a Realtor from Remax Associates Plus so I would not recommend this company ever. I was not happy with their service...and I am a pretty forgiving push over of a person. Alas we did find an awesome Realtor which we would with out a doubt recommend to all of our friends and as we have went through a few when you find a gem you treasure it. His name is Mark Reimler and he works for Edina Realty in Shakopee, MN. Look him up for all your home buying/selling needs.

    So after we found our wonderful Realtor we had no problem finding a house. He was so on top of things, he helped me with my addictive house searching behaviors by beating me to the punch. He actually showed us houses I didn't find for him! What a novel idea, the Realtor finding houses for you. We finally stumbled across this delightful house and the second we were inside Chris and I knew this was the house that our dreams were made of. Well not really but this was the house our pocket book would allow our dreams to be made of.

    After aggressively negotiating with the sellers that we were the best buyers for the house and convincing them that they did want to leave the drapes they used to so eloquently stage the windows of our soon to be new house, we were able to move in on March 15th. Ok we didn't exactly do any aggressive negotiations that was actually all Mark, but we were up against some other buyers on the house. When Chris and I suddenly arrived to our closing after weeks of throwing money around and faxing, emailing, and mailing every ounce of our most precious personal information, sweat and grantee to our first born child if we didn't pay our mortgage we were set to go. No they don't really make you give up your first born, but just about. As Chris and I blissfully listened to the closer explain to us that we were not going to have to pay as much as we thought in closing cost but we would have to pay more for the actual cost of the house we completely freaked. "Opps she said I grabbed the wrong closing package." Good we weren't going to have to pay a mortgage of $3000 a month I was starting to think of all the things I would need to say to Chris about what he had gotten us into after the closing. Instead I turned to Chris and said "whew, she had me scared there for a sec." After she grabbed the correct closing package we proceeded to sign, sign, and continue to sign every page that was put in front of us. The closer basically told us how we were writing our personal rights away and that this is an "ok" thing. Ok we really didn't sign our rights away but we did say that we would pay our mortgage on time. A short half hour and 70 hand cramps later we finally got our keys to our new home!

    Chris and I are now completely moved in, loving our new neighborhood and neighbors. We love the convince of being closer to our Church family and two major freeways. It only takes a few minutes to get anywhere now. We are still working on unpacking and settling in but the house already feels like home. I finally have a place to park my van in the garage, and we have enough extra space that right now we have a renter. We don't need a renter but the beauty of having a house is that you can have one to help out a little if you want. One of the reasons we didn't like renting. Our renter is fantastic too, yet another blessing from the situation.

    As a daughter of Christ It is easy for me to get caught up in the worries and struggles of every day life. I worry tremendously. I think, what if this doesn't work out, or what if this happens. I can be quite the pessimist sometimes and let myself get depressed easily. This home buying situation is just one of the many ways that God is constantly showing me that He is in control of my life. I can make my plans, and even take steps to make things happen, but as Chris and I are always praying "God if its not your will for us, please don't let it happen." God constantly reveals how faithful He is and how much we can truly rely on him for our strength, wisdom, guidance, direction and peace. So I leave my story of what we ended up buy a house with this dear precious verse to me as it is a constant reminder of how good God is. May it encourage you today, and please come stop by our new house sometime.

    Psalm 40:5
    "O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them."

    ~Hugs from The Harings