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Month: October 2014

The Gift of Marriage

The Gift of Marriage

MeandChadMy husband and I have been married now for just shy of ten years.

Those years have been the most adventurous years I have ever had!

The day we said, “I do” was the beginning of an incredible journey, one I am SO thankful to share with him!

When we say our wedding vows we never really know what the future holds, we just know that for as long as we both shall live we want to be side by side.

So what is the secret to a truly happy marriage?

God.

Does that sound clicheish?  Well, in my most honest opinion, it really is the truth!

A marriage built on physical appearance alone, let’s be honest, it isn’t going to last!  Our physical side changes every year, sometimes every month!  Little gray hairs have begun to sprout on my once very brunette head and I do my best to cover those babies up because I am just not ready to face to them yet 😉  Our physique changes.

If marriage is built on emotion and hormones, that relationship is going to crumble as well.  Let’s face it, ladies, our emotions change sometimes minute by minute!  Can I get a witness?  Not to mention, our hormones change as well.

A relationship built on money is going to fall flat.  A relationship built on selfishness is going to fade away.

Look around. Families are shattered everywhere we turn.  What is going wrong?

Many in my generation have given up on marriage all together because they don’t want to go through divorce so they simply live together with their significant other.  They play house but don’t want to be adult enough to be committed and believe the lies Satan feeds them that every marriage ends up in divorce anyway so why even marry?  Does that sound harsh?  I’m not trying to be ugly, but sometimes the truth spoken in love will still hurt.

There is no magical formula for living a happily ever after.  We ALL face trials and troubles.  We ALL face discouragement.  There really is no Cinderella story where once we marry the perfect mate for us we no longer face setbacks or trials.

However, the foundation to a truly joyful and lasting marriage must be founded on Christ.  As we each strive to draw closer to Him we find ourselves drawing closer to our husband/wife.  God is for marriage, marriage as defined in God’s Word, between one man and one woman for life.  What God is for, Satan is against, that is why we see Satan feeding lies, worming his way into marriages, working his way into the lives of young people and feeding them lies about not needing the commitment of marriage to make them happy.

When I stood before my husband in a beautiful white dress nervous as all get out and with tears choking me up, I had no idea that in our marriage we would face the twists and turns we have.  Yet, for as long as we both shall live, was a vow we made to each other and to God.  I stand before God in holy matrimony guilt free!  If I let my joy be found in Christ I in turn get to live in joy with my husband!  Marriage vows are serious business, but they are meant to last and they WILL last when the marriage is secure in Christ alone.

My husband cannot bring the contentment that Christ can.  My husband cannot give me the peace that God can.  My husband cannot fill my heart with joy like God can.  Do you know why?  Because he was not meant to fill a role in my life that only God can fill!  I adore my husband and I am so thankful to have him in my life and get to spend every day with him!  Yet, I cannot try to get from him something he was never meant to give me!  If my mind is stayed on Christ, if my heart is focused on Christ, if my life is founded on Christ, my marriage will be amazing!

I will enjoy the fruits of having a life centered on Christ!  A joyful marriage, a happy home!

This man I have the privilege of walking through life with is one amazing man!  He is so faithful, so consistent, so amazing and I count my blessings that he chose me to be his forever bride!  What an incredible gift God gave us when he gave us marriage!  A beautiful picture of Christ and His church.  We truly have so much to thank Him for!

Youandme

Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk

I’m about to bring up a controversial topic.  I know that I am opening myself up to face some opposition, but it’s something that is heavy on my heart and I just have to share it.

About a year ago the Lord really impressed upon my heart to begin volunteering at a local crisis pregnancy center. I knew that where we were living at the time we would not be there long because we were in between ministries.  So I promised the Lord that once we got settled somewhere I would begin volunteering.

Several months ago the Lord reminded me of that commitment I made to Him and He led me to our local crisis pregnancy center.  I was nervous.  Oh boy, it was putting me waaaay outside of my comfort zone but I was also excited!  What a ministry opportunity was before me!  To know that I could help expectant mama’s choose LIFE for their coming baby was a joy for sure!

So I called the clinic, filled out the paper work, went in for an interview and began my training.  The training was intense, the videos opened my eyes to a different perspective.  Some of these new mother’s were in really really tough spots and though I do not agree at all that abortion is right, sometimes they feel that it is their only option.  They are in need of someone to come along side them and share the love and encouragement of Christ with them.  They CAN have this baby and they can either raise the baby or give their baby to a family that would LOVE to have a baby of their own!

When I began my training I discovered that our clinic was actually in a real financial crisis.  They were bleeding money because not enough was coming in from supporters.  How sad is it that our crisis pregnancy centers are practically having to beg for financial support but planned parenthood has money flowing in?

Another thing I discovered is that many many of the volunteers are not of our same belief system.  The majority of volunteers come from the local Catholic church and it made my heart sad.  I am SO thankful that they are helping to save lives, but how sad that more people from local churches that I know follow the same beliefs I do are not volunteering.

It is easy to speak about how awful abortion is, but it is not so easy to actually put oneself outside of their comfort zone to get involved and try to help end this awful deed. It is easy to judge the young girls, the unwed expectant mothers who find themselves contemplating taking a life to make their own easier, but it is another to realize that our sins are just as heinous.

James 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

According to Scripture, if we lie, steal, covet we are guilty of breaking all of the commandments.  I know that we live in grace and are not bound by the law of the Old Testament, but sometimes I feel we use our grace as an excuse to do NOTHING.  Since our salvation is not by works, why do we need to get involved?

James 2:18, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

Our works will show that Christ is within us!  If we are right with Christ, if we are constantly growing in Christ then we will be actively involved in trying to reach out to the lost!  We will go out and try to bring them to Christ!  Not by judging them, but by showing them the same love that Christ has shown to us!

I am not saying “come as you are leave as you came” or that we should accept the sin, but that we are extending the same grace to them that Christ has showered on us.

Remember, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us! Romans 5:8

I challenge you, my readers, what are you doing to help save the lives of these innocent babies who are being bullied and tortured in the womb?  Should there not be even more Christians reaching out to these mother’s who are contemplating abortion and point them back to the One who can save both them and their baby?  There should be twice as many Christians reaching out to save the babies then there are the world that is trying to kill them.

Reaching out not in judgement, not filled with hate speech, but showering the love of Christ on them.

So I challenge you, think about what are you and I doing to reach out to these expectant mothers?  If you yourself cannot go and volunteer, then give of your finances!  Prayer is awesome, we need to pray that abortion ends, but sometimes God wants us to put feet to those prayers!  He wants us to get outside of our comfort zone, be a willing vessel and watch HIM work in and through us all for His glory!

The Mama considering abortion

The Mama considering abortion

The other night I was reading a few things on the internet when an article I came across caused my heart to break instantly.  I couldn’t even get passed the title, I turned the internet off and just cried.  Literally grieving over the story.

I shared with my husband the title of the article and asked him if he had heard about it.  He enjoys reading the news so he had already read it and I just shared with him as tears streamed down my face, “My heart is so broken, I cannot even imagine how grieved the heart of God is.”

As we talked I became more and more compelled to pray.

I’m sure most of you have read the article by now, a letter that an expectant mother wrote to her baby.  The article was entitled, “Sorry, Not Sorry” and her letter is all about how she is planning to abort her baby this coming week.

I do not understand the world we live in.

I eventually did go back and read the letter and with every word I read I was more grieved and more compelled to pray!  Pray like never before for this sweet innocent baby who has a death sentence given to him/her by the one who should love him/her the most on this earth!

I told my husband, “I cannot just sit here and do nothing!  I can pray and I am going to try and find her and reach out to her!”  So I did just that.  I hopped back online and searched.  Praying for wisdom as I did.  Praying, “God, please lead me to her!”

I found the origin of her letter and discovered I could not reach out to her without creating an account with the website she used.  So that is just what I did.  As soon as the account was set up I commented on her letter and sent an e-mail through the website to her.  Pleading with her to reconsider her decision and offering myself to take her unwanted baby in and love and raise this baby.  A huge step of faith, a huge opening of our family’s heart, but completely worth it!!   “Please, I plead with you, reconsider! Let my husband and I have a chance at giving this sweet baby a wonderful life!”

My heart is heavy but God can still intervene!  I know she is not certain she is doing the right thing because her screen name was “scaredthrowingaway”.

As I scrolled through some of the comments both on the website and the comments on other websites related to this article I was saddened on a few different levels.  I was saddened first of all at the acceptance of abortion.  This baby was not planned and because of that the world is showering this young mom with praise for doing what she feels is best for her and take the life of her child.  The weight of this deed is so heavy and yet I know that this has happened millions of times over again.  I only see a tiny corner of the world and it grieves me, imagine the heart of God!  He sees all of it!  The long-suffering and mercy of God overwhelms me.

I was also saddened because many commentators were bashing this woman.  What does hateful speech accomplish?  I am completely against the decision of this woman to take the life of her child, but really, hateful speech closes a door that may never be opened again.  This woman needs the Lord, she needs the love of Christ shown to her, even though she is considering this awful decision.

Children are such a gift.  I think of this baby being carefully knitted together in her mama’s womb at this very moment, a baby who has purpose!  A baby whose life needs to be spared!  What a treasure he/she is!

It is my prayer that the Lord works in this young mother’s heart.  I know I have an enemy against me, an enemy that will try and distract her from reading my letter to her, but God is so much bigger and so much more powerful!  He can still work a miracle!  Whether this mom reaches back to me or not, it is my prayer that someone around her reaches out to her with the love of Christ!  It is my prayer that a fellow believer in Christ can see past the decision she is contemplating so that the Lord has a chance to use them to minister to her and Lord willing change her heart.

Time is not in our favor, so pray!  Call out to God on behalf of this little life and his/her mama!  Both are important and valuable to God!

The easy thing to do with abortion is to bash the mother’s who contemplate and follow through with getting one.  The hard thing is to open our own hearts and be willing to help a mama contemplating this decision and help redirect her to God.  Our words are meaningless, but God’s Word’s are powerful!  God WANTS to answer our prayers!  So plead with Him on behalf of these little ones whose lives are in grave danger.  Get involved!  Find a pregnancy center and see how the Lord will work in and through you to reach out to these mother’s who are often scared and don’t know what to do.

It is my hope and prayer this mama reads my message to her.  My hope and prayer is that this baby’s life is spared.  Pray fellow believers, pray for this baby and the millions of  others whose lives are in jeopardy!  Help end abortion on your knees calling out to God and by supporting your local Crisis pregnancy center!

A Grateful Heart

A Grateful Heart

A few months before I was married, my soon to be husband and I were able to attend a seminar on the home.  I have always been eager to attend such conferences because I want to learn all I can on being a better Christian, woman, wife and mama!  I remember heading into the ladies session and as I looked around I realized I was surrounded by women twice my age or more.  I sat there feeling a bit out of my element but hungry to learn!

The speaker was a lady I greatly admired.  The wife of a Pastor who most would consider successful and she and her husband always seemed to be so in love and joyful!  They had been married for many years, were in the process of raising three almost grown boys and she had me feeding out of her hand!

As she began sharing what was on her heart I scribbled notes in a journal I had brought as quickly as my hand could write!  I did not want to miss one thing that she said.  There are a few things that have stuck with me since that conference and one in particular that the Lord has brought to mind many many times.

Our speaker warned the women in the room that Satan’s goal was to destroy their marriages.  Because God is for marriage obviously Satan is against it!  One of the ways marriages can be destroyed is choosing to not be thankful for the husband/wife God has given by letting the little things get to us.

She began sharing a story about how one day she was just tired of picking up after her husband. He was not a slob by any means, but somehow his socks managed to rarely find their way to the hamper.  Every day she would pick up his socks and put them in the hamper.  Why was it so hard for him to not put them there himself?  She was not throwing her husband under the bus, she was setting the stage to share what God was about to teach her.

Later in the week she had met up with a friend for lunch and she was sharing her frustration over her husband’s lack of care for placing his clothing in the hamper when her friend, a single woman, said quietly, “I would love to have the task of taking care of socks that belong to someone else because those socks would remind me that I had someone in my home to take care of.”

Not the exact response she was looking for, but the Lord used that moment to teach her about being thankful, even for dirty socks left on the floor.

Now I have yet to meet someone who is thrilled about picking up dirty laundry that belongs to someone else, but what a wonderful lesson this dear pastors wife shared with all of us.  We have so much to be thankful for!  Yes, even the dirty laundry.

Some days I get caught up in the frenzy of “the laundry is never caught up!” and I can get irritated that there are toys scattered on the floor, grass sprinkled throughout the house because of children forgetting to take their shoes off when they come in the door, dishes that can pile up quickly, sticky floors, closets that never seem to stay organized, drawings on the walls and floors, stickers clinging to things they should not be stuck to etc.  It is easy to become ungrateful isn’t it?

However, there is even MORE that we have to be thankful FOR!

Loads of dirty laundry mean I have a family to care for. Grass inside my house means I have children who are healthy and can run around outside!  Dirty dishes mean we have food to eat.  Sticky floors remind me yet again that the Lord has blessed our family with food to eat, apple juice to drink and melting Popsicles to enjoy!  Unorganized closets mean we have towels to use, tablecloths to grace our table with, clothing for winter, and decorations to put out each season!  Drawings on the walls and floors (though we are teaching our youngest that drawings are to be on paper) and Disney stickers all over mean we have a healthy and happy toddler who loves colors and pretty things and maybe will one day be an artist! 🙂

The truth is we have a choice to make each day.  To be thankful or ungrateful.

The will of God for us each and every day is this: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Personally, I think today is the perfect day to choose thankfulness!  Don’t let anything steal your heart of gratitude!  Look for things to be thankful for and your heart will certainly be blessed!

It’s Done!

It’s Done!

It is hard to believe that I can honestly write this but it’s true!  My first ever book is done!  Thousands of words typed out and hours upon hours eaten up on the computer, but Lord willing it will all be worth it!  Now I am sure that more edits will have to be made especially once I find a publisher but praise the Lord the story is written!

I truly desire to use this book as a means to help and encourage women especially those who have experienced loss.

Here is a tiny sneak peak at the first chapter!

“Learning to praise God through life’s trials can sometimes be nothing short of difficult!  It can be quite the challenge to praise the Lord for the trial we are enduring which He has allowed us to go through.  They are not something we enjoy, yet trials are certainly needful in our lives.   Most often during our hard times is when we have the opportunity to learn much more about our great and loving God we would not have otherwise learned!  When our faith is stretched we can be confident that the Lord is close by and will not abandon us in our time of need.

Choosing to praise the Lord through life’s trials is a choice God’s children have to make.  We are all faced with the decision to either allow God to use our difficulties to help refine us and draw us ever closer to His side or some choose to turn the opposite direction and run from His loving arms.  Philippians 4:4 admonishes us,
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”

For those that grew up in a Christian home this verse was probably one of the first Bible verses learned as a child.  It was even put to music and sung in Sunday school as a round!  A fun and peppy song to sing, but the truth is rejoicing in the Lord always, as the verse says, isn’t necessarily easy.  We have our own plans and dreams of what we want our life to be like and trials never seem to fit into the plans we make.

Though most of us would deny it, the majority of us want more than anything to have a fairytale life.  It starts from the time we are children.  As little girls we enjoyed dressing up in fancy dresses and when we looked in the mirror instead of seeing what we really looked like our imaginations ran wild.  We saw a beautiful princess in need of a prince!  Some of us were even lucky enough to have a brother we begged and pleaded with to play the role of our prince charming.  The only way we could convince him to play was if we promised never to tell a soul that he had been a part of such nonsense!

As we grew up those fancy dresses were packed away, we were too old to play with such childish things.  Instead we began teasing our hair and searching for just the right outfit and some were hopeful to catch the eye of the boy they were infatuated with for that week.  Just like our childhood though, before we knew it high school came and went and now we look back on those days with fond memories and laughter about all the drama that can accompany our teen years.  As we waved good-bye to our best of friends and said hello to college life, the dream to find prince charming was in the forefront of many young girls’ minds.

Back when I was sixteen I remember having a conversation with my mom about how I only wanted to date the guy I was going to marry.   Though I had a few dates at college I just had not met “Mr. Right” yet and when I would complain to my mom about the many dateless nights I had, she would remind me of the conversation we had back when I was in high school.  Instead of dating around I made some great girlfriends and we did most everything together!  I also kept adding entries into the journal I had started for my future husband along with praying fervently for him, whoever he was.

I met my prince charming my senior year of college.  Chad called me up one day out of the blue and asked me to meet him for dinner.  Though I tried with all my heart to play it cool, my heart was pounding so hard I was certain he could hear it through the phone.  Throughout the course of the next year and a half we became the best of friends and our love for each other grew immensely.  After one of our very first conversations I remember calling my mom and informing her that this man was “the one” for me.  There was such a peace in my heart and I just knew he was it for me for as long as we both shall live.”

Want to read more?  I’ll be sure to let you know when it comes out 😉

Writing my story

Writing my story

Sometimes the Lord asks us to go through difficult times doesn’t He?  Most often He doesn’t ask us, we simply find ourselves thrust in the midst of a trial and we have to come to a place where we are willing to go through it and still remain faithful to God.

The Lord has taken my husband and I through some difficult trials in our life together and  He has given me such a burden to share with others some of the lessons He has taught me.  About four years ago the Lord impressed on my heart to write a book.

A book?  Me?  The one who misspells words and commits grammatical murder because my fingers are trying to keep up with my brain but are unable to?  If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I am not an English teacher by any means 🙂

However, write is what I felt the Lord impressing on my heart.  So at that time I began to write about what was going on in our life right then.  A trial that I never thought I would have in the story of my life.  An event that changed my life forever.  It was a story to write that would be raw, and real.  It would share my struggles and victories through that trial and my constant need for God to carry me through that time.  A time when I knew no words to pray but God heard my heart.  Have you been there?

So write I did.  I have a book about 90% done but as I wrote I found the weight of my story becoming to heavy to keep writing.  I shared with the Lord I needed some more time before I finished it and He gave a peace to put down my writers pen for the time being.   I needed time for more healing, but all of the raw emotions were recorded and they would be waiting for me when I was ready once again.

Recently I felt the Lord urging me to finish this book.  So I have picked up my pen so to speak because really it is a computer keyboard….. but you get the idea.  I have been working on edits throughout my days and Lord willing it will be finished soon.

That is scary.

Am I ready for something so real, so raw, so honest about myself to be put out there for others to read?  Why would I do this to myself?  Why be so vulnerable?

I only have one answer.  God.

When He calls we simply obey.

Will this book be a #1 best seller?  Probably not.

Will this book make it into the hands of millions of readers?  Probably not, but that would be amazing!

Will this book make it into the hands of a hurting soul who needs to hear my story, the story that God has chosen to write for my life, because it will be just the encouragement they need to keep trusting the One who is writing their story?  I pray so!!

My goal for writing this blog and this book is simple really.  God has placed a desire in my heart to encourage!!  I long to encourage women to love the Lord more today than they did yesterday!  I long to encourage women to draw closer to Him, to lean heavily on Him, to glorify Him, to be more like Christ because that is what this life is all about!

I will never be able to travel to all of the places this blog can.  I will never be able to have a cup of hot cocoa with the many hurting women I long to help.  Yet, the Lord can use this blog and hopefully this upcoming book to do just that.

So pray with me will you?  I have never written a book before or tried to find a publisher or any of all the things that will need to get done.  I do know that the Lord wanted me to write this story though and He will take care of the details and continue to lead in the way He wants me to go.  Pray that this book will reflect only what Christ wants to be said and that He will be glorified through it all!  Pray that this book will find it’s way into just the hands that need it and that it will point the readers back to the Lord and encourage them to remain faithful to the One writing their story.

God is good all of the time and all of the time God is so good!