Bible, bible verse, Friends, friendship, girls, god, happiness, jesus, Life, Love, millennials, prayer, single, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

9 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SINGLE

Today’s guest post comes from Tosin of My Beautiful Ugly.

Find the original post here!

9 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SINGLE

More and more I’m realizing how much I love my single years. I wish I didn’t waste 3 years of it on “randoms” as Heather Lindsey calls them. Unfortunately, the church and the world both wrongfully place a taboo on those that are single. I fell for the pressure to be married by a certain age and now not having that pressure is really relaxing. I’m back on my grind and focused on what is most important: Me!!!

9thingstodowhensingle

travelWell for starters, it’s cheaper to travel as a single than a family of 4. And now is the best time to explore the world. When I was younger my goal was to visit each country in the world. That, of course, was before I understood how much money it took to travel. So you may not be able to visit every country but try to travel to a continent you’ve never been before. Asia is at the top of my list! Even if you don’t have the funds or ability to travel outside of your country find places within your state that you’ve never visited and explore! There’s always something to do. Traveling is a great way to open up your mind to new things and meet new people.

findyourselfYou would be surprised how many married women I’ve spoken to who said they didn’t know who they were when they got married. That is such a dangerous place to be because they now have no identity outside of their husband. Even though marriage makes you one you still need to be an individual. If you don’t know who you are you shouldn’t even be considering marriage or even a relationship. You need to have a strong understand of self. Know who you are, what you like and what you dislike. Being strong in who you are also helps you know what you will and will not accept in a relationship. There’s a saying that says if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.

findhobbyIs there something that you’ve always wanted to try? Now is the time! Over the summer I realized that I enjoy golf! Crazy right? Who would’ve known. Now is the time to try new things. It’s all a part of finding yourself. Now when my future kids drive me crazy at least I know I can head to the golf course for some “me time”. Lol! Find something that is just for you. Something that you enjoy. All of this helps you have an identity outside of your spouse.

diveintoministryMarried people always love to tell single folks that “God will bring your spouse when you’re focused on His work”. While this may or may not be true, that’s no reason to focus on ministry. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard singles say “But I’m in ministry, why isn’t my husband finding me”. I know I’ve been guilty of saying that too. That is definitely the wrong motivation for ministry. Dive into ministry because you have the time and the desire to please God–not because you are hoping for a return on your investment. Even Paul said the best time to serve God is when you’re single. Take advantage of this time.

giveThe Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. There’s a good feeling that comes from giving. As singles, we should have a bit more time and resources that giving should be a primary focus for us. And I’m not just talking about money. Give of your time. Give of your knowledge. Give of yourself. Bless those around you anyway you can and God in turn will take care of you.

growrelationshipwithgodThis is a big one. One thing I know is that when my husband finds me I want him to find me in Christ. I want him to see that my relationship with God is my number one priority and that if he wants me he needs to follow suit. The only way to be in Christ is to develop a strong relationship with Him. Stay in your word. Pray without ceasing. Surround yourself with like-minded believers. Worship always. Make God your priority and #1 desire. If we ran after God the way we ran after marriage, we probably wouldn’t even want marriage anymore. LOL! Seriously, God is just that good. If a relationship with him is not your priority right now it’s time to change that.

getridofdebtOkay, so God and I have already had a talk about my husband being a finance guru because I’m really terrible with money. No really, I’m terrible. I know what to do and I’ve helped many friends with their budget but when it comes to my own finances I just can’t get it together. I’ll get there in Jesus name :). Bringing debt into marriage is not a healthy start. Unfortunately money is one of the top reasons for divorce. Yes, many of us have college loans that we couldn’t avoid but what about those credit card debts that accumulated because you just needed the latest designer bag? Get rid of those. Pay those off as quickly as possible. I’d say outside of student loans (which I see more as an investment), try the best you can not to start your marriage with debt.

learnhowtomaintainhomeLadies, please do yourself a favor and learn how to take care of the home. Please!!! I know so many woman who don’t know how to cook and clean and they think it’s okay because that’s not what their man is looking for. Yes, granted many men these days say that they aren’t looking for that–they prefer the career woman over the home maker. But don’t be fooled, at the core of every man is still the desire to be taken care of. Get on youtube. Learn from your mother or other women around you. Keep your room clean (I’m talking to myself now lol). Create a clean lifestyle that you will bring into your home. It’s important.

surroundwithmarriedYou need married men and women in your life. If you’re only hanging out with singles who is going to teach you about marriage? Surround yourself with newlyweds and women who have been married for many years. They have wisdom that you can glean from. One thing I will say is that while it’s important to surround yourself with married men (they can see things in your potential spouse that a woman might not see), it is imperative to also befriend his wife. Just use wisdom and protect yourself. Bottom Line: Make sure you have both singles and married individuals in your circle of influence.

Well that’s my list! What do you think I should add? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
9thingstodowhensingle

Bible, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, jesus, Life, Love, Marriage, prayer, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

When Love Changes

Today’s guest post comes from Amy at Forever Beloved.

Find the original post here!

I am no stranger to storybook romance.  Marrying at twenty to the sweetest man, I am blessed to be familiar with love – love as a falling and a pursuit and a passion.  We were introduced for the first time on a cold February evening, bundled up as we stood outside while snow gently fell around us.  We stood there with our cherry-red noses, enamored with each other.

I am also no stranger to going against the grain and doing life differently than others.  One month later we were engaged.  We were married three months after that, with vows breathed in the little country church I was born into.

We both entered marriage in love with being in love.  I adored the romance, comfort and support a spouse offered.  I loved waking up beside him each morning and laying down beside him each night.  I loved that he was my best friend and knew me better than anyone.  We had our own unwritten language and could share a look or a word that no one else would understand but WE knew what it meant.  I loved how he could make me laugh more than anyone else.

Falling in love is the most blissful feeling.  With each new discovery in your relationship, you feel yourself falling more and more in love.  You just know, in your heart of hearts, that you’ve found the right person to spend the rest of your life with.  Your days are filled with dreams of getting married, writing their last name after your first name, having a family and sitting on the porch swing holding hands while watching your grandkids play in the yard.  You are certain these feelings will last forever.  But they didn’t.

Eventually the laundry piles up, the kids are hanging on your leg screaming, you’re both sleep deprived from the new baby, the house looks like a tornado went through and the bills are more than your income.  In that moment you feel your happily ever after wearing off.

You begin to wonder if you even married the right person.   It seems everything he does gets on your nerves, from the way he leaves his socks on the stairs to the way he chews his food.  The person you are married to isn’t the same person you fell in love with.  You begin to doubt your choice.  You look at other couples around you, so happily in love, and you wonder why you don’t have that.  You feel life isn’t fair, at least yours isn’t.  Before long, you can feel your heart slowly drifting away from his.

Throughout the years, I’ve collected every card and love letter my husband has written me.  I have them all safely tucked away but on occasion will pull an old one out and pour over the words.  It’s in that moment, between the lines, I can see this love of ours has, without a doubt, changed over time.

It isn’t because it’s any less.  It isn’t because we’re walking through a valley.  It isn’t because the laundry is piled sky high and the bills are mounting.  It is something different.

Love is more of a choice than a feeling.

Throughout the past twenty-one years we’ve made a conscious choice to daily say that we still do, even now.  Especially now.

He has continued to choose me, even on days I wear sweat pants and a messy bun.  He has continued to choose me, throughout every sickness and surgery.  He has continued to choose me, even when I’m undeserving.

And I’ve chosen him.

Love is strung together choices.  The feelings, undoubtedly, will rise and fall.  Being in love with love will fade as the toughness of life becomes a reality.  As life goes on we all change, we grow, we mature, and life changes us.  But marriage is not meant to be a lifetime commitment to fairy tale love alone.  Marriage is designed to be a repetitive I do, a daily commitment of choosing us over me.  You choose to love who they are at each point in life, not only who they used to be.

Marriage was designed specifically by God to mirror the relationship between Christ and His church.  In marriage, we are acting out a living parable to help our children and others around us grasp what God is like in a more concrete way.

Over the years God has softened and shaped my heart.  He has shown me that I need to love my husband without unreal, fairy tale expectations.  He has shown me that marriage means intentionally looking for love.  It’s in those moments I am flooded with displays of love right in front of me.  Love is the endless miles he’s driven me to doctor appointments.  Love is the hug, kiss and butt slap I get when he walks in the door.  Love is the laundry he does.  Love is his understanding that somehow 8 backyard chickens suddenly became 50.  Love is his support of all my crazy Pinterest ideas.  It’s in these ways and thousands of others that he shows me, he tells me, he loves me.

I am so thankful our love story has so many chapters left to be written in it.  As your love story is written by the ultimate Author of love, you might just be surprised at the romance you find.  And just how much your husband does, in fact, resemble prince charming.  No matter what the situation, or what mess it may hold, he’s still my hero and I’m still his girl.

Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, Life, Love, Marriage, single, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

To the Single Girl Still Waiting

Today’s guest blogger is Sarah from Pretty Simple Ideas – Live Simply.

Find the original post here!

To the single girl still waiting: I know your pain. I know your joy and the ups and downs and the rollercoaster of emotions you experience. I experience them too.

To the single girl still waiting

 

I know that there are days when you absolutely adore your freedom. If you want to hit the road and visit a friend who lives a couple hours away, you can. If the church needs volunteers on a weeknight or all day Saturday, you’re available. And if you want to eat take-out and watch 90’s chick flicks in bed, who’s gonna stop you?

I also know that there are days when you feel unbelievably lonely. You feel forgotten, invisible, and left out, and all you want to do is cry. In those moments, please remember that you don’t have to sit and wait idly. There are things you can be doing now to prepare for your future.

To the Single Girl Who's Still WaitingFight for your husband on your knees.

Dear single sisters, I know it’s easy to sit around with our single girlfriends and come up with a list of complaints about singleness (“I have no one to Netflix binge with, I have no one to dance with at weddings, blah blah blah”). It’s also really easy to just keep asking God to send our husbands (in His timing–but SOON). But a friend reminded me recently that we need to do battle for our husbands on our knees.

I’m talking about spiritual warfare, friends. You may not know who your husband is, but God does. And God knows what’s delaying him, too. I’m calling us to fight for our men. I’ve committed to pray for my husband–for his mind, his soul, his body, his character, and his walk with God. I pray for unhealthy relationships to be broken and healthy ones to be built up–friendships of accountability and spiritual growth and that any destructive or unhealthy habits will be broken, and habits of health and spiritual growth will take place. I pray that he will fight to keep his mind pure and stay in step with the Lord and that he will grow closer and closer to God every day.

Be the wife of noble character.

Just because we’re praying for our husbands’ unhealthy habits and relationships doesn’t mean we don’t have some of our own. Proverbs 31:10-12 says, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

I encourage you to read and study the “Wife of Noble Character” verses in Proverbs 31:10-31. Are you becoming that woman? How about spending time with the Lord and letting His character saturate yours? Are you renewing your mind daily with His truths (see Romans 12:2)? As difficult as waiting can be, don’t let this time go to waste. Use it to walk closely in step with God and let Him ready you and prepare your heart for what’s to come.

It’s okay to have bad days, but don’t stay there.

The single life, when you desire to be married, is a rollercoaster of emotions. I know this full well. And it’s okay to have a day every so often when all you want to do is cry. That’s normal. That makes you a human. But please, sister, don’t stay there. Don’t stay in a perpetual state of sadness. The single life can be full of fun and adventure and laughter and friendship and ministry and travel and coffee and late-night movie nights with friends–if you let yourself enjoy it.

So when you’re having a bad day, pray. Get outside and walk and talk to God or fall face down on your carpet and talk to God or hide under your covers and talk to God. Whatever your preferred method is, pray. If you need to, call a trusted, encouraging friend who will point you to God. Open your Bible and soak up the Word. But determine to root yourself in God’s truths. Let hope be an anchor for your soul (see Hebrews 6:19).

Beware of the “nice guy.”

For many years, I’ve been praying that God will not just protect me from the “wrong” guys, but from the “nice” guys. You know the type: the solid, Christian guy who is sweet and nice and involved in his church… but you just don’t have feelings for him. If he asked you out, it would be hard to say no to such an upstanding young man of character who loves the Lord. People around you may be attempting to convince you to date him. On the outside there may be no logical reason to turn him down. But the problem is, he’s not the one God has for you. And you know it.

That’s the kind of guy I want God to protect me from. That’s the kind of guy who could easily pull me off-track from my destiny. There’s nothing really wrong with him… But as a friend of mine says, he’s the silver and not the gold. He is, however, someone else’s gold. So do both of you a favor and don’t fall for the “nice guy”.

Learn to embrace rejection.

You know the old cliché saying, “When one door closes another one opens.” I don’t necessarily believe that’s true that another door will immediately open when one closes. But I do know that when you’re praying for God to show you His will, and He closes a door, let it stay closed.

After praying for many years that God would protect my heart from all the “nice guys,” and asking Him not to let me go through any more major breakups, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I felt invisible to men. While other girls were going on dates and having several short relationships, I was thinking “Hey, does anybody see me? Does anyone notice me? Will anyone ever want me?”

Then I remembered that I asked God to protect me from the unnecessary heartache of relationships with the wrong guys. And when I have gone on a date or two with a guy, and it ends unceremoniously or for no apparent reason, I count it as a blessing that it ended quickly and not after a year of dating unnecessarily.

So what to do when you feel lonely, rejected, and invisible? God taught me a mantra that I believe will help you, too.

Ready for it?

“It’s not rejection; it’s protection.”

That’s it. Read it again. Let it soak in.

When a guy rejects you for no reason, or a guy you like only wants to be friends, or a guy stops talking to you after you tell him which presidential candidate you voted for (yup, that happened to me), remind yourself that it is not rejection, but God’s protection!

There’s one caveat to this method, however. You need to be willing to ask God to protect you from the “wrong guys” and the “nice guys”. That doesn’t mean you don’t date. It means that when you do date, you’re praying for God’s will in the situation. You’re praying before each date and phone call and texting marathon that if this is not the man for you, that God will show you.

This may cause you to feel some things: rejection, loneliness, sadness, and frustration, for example. But that’s nothing compared to the joy you’ll feel when you meet the man God has for you, and you know that it’s part of God’s plan for your life.

It’s not rejection; it’s protection. Repeat that to yourself as often as necessary.

Ladies, I know this single season can be unbelievably painful. I know it can be incredibly wonderful. But I also know that regardless of how we’re feeling on any particular day, we need to keep growing, keep seeking God, and keep moving on the path that God has for us.

Sisters, hang in there, and never stop enjoying the journey.

And above all, seek Him first!

“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Bible, Life, Love, Marriage, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

The Jump from Friend Zone to Love – Her side of the story

Today’s guest blogger is Jennifer Love from Intentional Traditions. I chose this post because it reminds me so much of the way David and I became one – we were friends for many months before he decided to fly from Hawaii to Georgia.

Find the original post here!

The day of our first date was an uncomfortable one. I had spent the afternoon making small talk, finding it hard to make eye contact. I had scratched at the peeling edge of the café table and sweated, shifting around in my chair and anxiously sipping my coffee. There were words dying to be said but they just couldn’t pass through my head to my lips. I had stalled all day at telling my best friend that I think I had agreed to a date that night with one of our “friends” and I wasn’t sure how she was going to take it.

For some reason this seemed almost as nerve-wracking as the actual first date. We had always been a group of buddies and secretly I had thought that was an okay status to change between he and I but didn’t want to admit to it yet. To me, it almost seemed long overdue, and at the same time impossible. To her, was this crazy or obvious or weird? For some reason, I just could not say it.

Finally, when coffee mugs were dry and it was time to leave after hours of lingering, I blurted out, “I think Donnie asked me out for tonight. Like on a date.” She smiled and was encouraging. She could see how this was good. She knew the deep friendship that was there and didn’t find this announcement earth-shaking. She laughed that this had taken me all day to say. I had been silly.

 

The Stakes Were High

So, from there I got to move on to my second concern. There was a weight to this decision to let him take me out to dinner because: we were both pretty serious people; it was nearing the end of my senior year of college; we had known each other for almost 4 years; and we weren’t the type to date people we didn’t respect enough to at least consider marrying. This could potentially be a step out of the friend zone with no return, other than to mess things up with a really good friend. That’s a scary step.

I wasn’t even really sure what I had agree to. We always hung out as part of the same crowd and often shared dinner together. He had called and left a goofy, macho message about meat and potatoes and eating on February 14 to which I said I had plans with my girl friends to go out and laughed it off.

When he called the next day with the same question I assumed he needed more than a ride down to the cafeteria. It’s really strange how awkward and nervous you could morph to feel around some you had pranked, tripped, picked on, argued with and flirted with in front of others for years. Suddenly I had no idea what to wear for someone I had sat beside at lunch a hundred times and who had seen me in sweaty, grubby clothes doing service work.

Starting to Fall

He did pick me up, for a change, in his little brown pick-up truck and drove about 3 minutes away from campus to a local restaurant I had only been to a few times for special birthday parties with friends. The ceiling of the restaurant was painted black but dotted with tiny lights to mirror the night sky. He was being gentlemanly and sweet but it didn’t seem to hard to receive.

Any tension quickly dissipated as we fell into our old habit of cutting right to intense, honest, challenging conversation. For two hours we relived childhood memories, detailed dreams for our individual futures, poured out convictions, beliefs and expectations for life after graduation. It was easy. It was comfortable. Much of our dreams were very similar. But we already knew that.

I remember leaning back in my chair thinking, This is how conversation should be with a guy. Easy, comfortable, understood. I felt respected, admired and encouraged in who I was and my ideals. And I knew in many ways I was an odd one. He made me feel like that was a great attribute.

 

I do not remember at all what we ate. But long after the plates had been cleared by the waiter, we were still sitting there talking and unhurried to move on. He then pulled out a deck of cards, which embarrassed me slightly but I agreed to see his magic trick.

Without disclosing a magician’s secrets, it was one of those decks that looked normal when you spanned it one way but blank when you spanned them the other. What had looked typical really wasn’t, like the underlying potential in our friendship.

Maybe I hadn’t noticed what had been there all along, huh? Slick.

Maybe I should consider him since we know each other so well and see where it goes?

Ironically, that speedbump I expected from “friends” to “dating” seemed to be easily passed. Like miraculously. We walked out of that restaurant moving into the future we had spent the evening expressing that we wanted, not knowing that each other would play the main character from then on out.

Every moment of every year since then may not have been perfectly easy, but the foundation of our friendship – knowing his good (but intense) heart, trusting his passionate (but stubborn) decisions, appreciating his spontaneous (but sometimes careless) will, and now even more, his desire to chase the Lord despite any costs – that foundation made all the difference in riding out any tough spots. We knew what was at the core of each other and trust in that could not be given up on. Any opportunity that has come up since then we’ve said, Yep, let’s do it. Together. And our life has been incredibly blessed. And interesting.

Fifteen years have quickly passed by and I’m so glad I made the brave choice to date my “friend”.

Here’s to February 15, 2001! Thanks for asking me twice.

So, now I am the one meeting with college students and helping them navigate similar relationships. I have to answer that question of, “Why should your husband be your friend first?”

I am so thankful that we had such a firm foundation of friendship heading into marriage. We had seen each other work hard and mess up. We had seen each other’s leadership and ability to serve. We had even seen each other’s character through other relationships and their long track record of following the Lord.

In an age when it seems easy to quit early or trade up, we had looked through the window of the soul into what is most important and what will remain. That is what you want marriage based upon.

Honestly, much of grown-up life can be mundane. Paying bills, making lists, doing yard and house work, grocery shopping. Why not choose to be with someone who knows and loves you for who you are, who can make you laugh, and can make those potentially mundane moments enjoyable?

That level of friendship and love is what I want to have to model and pass down to my kids. What I’d love to hear (someday) from my boys is, “I want to marry my best friend, like my dad did.”

 

What’s your story?

You can read here His Side of the Story… and what we plan to teach our boys about friendship and dating.

Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Depression, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, healing, health, jesus, Life, Love, Marriage, Mental Illness, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

Thank you, Sweetheart

Today’s guest blogger is Samantha Moss from My Medical Musings. This post struck a particular chord with me because I have someone very near and dear to me that suffers from chronic illness and she depends on her husband greatly. This could bring great stress upon a marriage; or, you can go through it all with God and your marriage can be stronger than ever. #testimony

Find the original Post here!

Behind every great man is a great woman, or so the saying goes.

Let’s flip that on it’s head a little. Behind this chronically ill wife is an amazing husband. A husband who has become a full-time carer. A husband who has gone beyond the call of duty. A husband who has become my legs, my cleaner, my cook, my shopper, my gardener, my driver, my nurse.

A husband who holds my hand when I’m writhing in pain. A husband who heats wheat packs in the middle of the night or makes me a cup of tea in the early hours of the morning, when sleep is completely disturbed by pain.

My husband is nothing short of amazing and I don’t know how, I don’t even want to think about how, my life would be without him by my side.

We share this chronic illness journey, warts and all. He knows me better than anyone else. He can tell when I’m exhausted even before I can. He never complains at this life that has been landed in his lap.

He never gets annoyed at me for my limitations. If anything he gets annoyed at me when I try to do things beyond my limitations. That’s when I frustrate him.

It’s a frustration born out of love though. It’s because he knows how much pain I will endure for stretching my limits. He speaks to me of hating what my body is doing to me and how he feels so helpless. That breaks my heart to hear him say that 😢

A World Of Our Own

Somehow we have managed to create a world of our own that works for us. While it is an extremely limited life, it is also a full and an ever expanding life. Most of it is spent in the four walls of our home but we are together and we create our own adventures on a daily basis.

We laugh and cry together, we read together, we pray together, we watch our favourite TV shows,  we sit in our garden and chat as if on a beautiful date. We share the jobs around the house and keep our environment a place where we want to be.

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We also have our alone time during the day. I have my online support forum and writing commitments and my husband always has a project on the go that he potters with in his “man cave”.

Although we usually only spend 2 or 3 hours apart each day that time is precious and important, particularly for a carer.

Where Would I Be Without Him?

I was recently asked to write on the topic of  “Partners – Where would we be without our partners?”

I have a very simple answer to that question.  Lost, lonely and in a permanent residential care facility.

Thank you Sweetheart, for all you do, your devotion, care, acceptance of our situation and your unfailing love.

Words really can’t express my love for you but I hope this blog post will always remind you that I think you are amazing and I love you so much ❤️❤️

Thank you Sweetheart

Sam xx❤️❤️

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13 v 4 – 7

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

Bible, Death, family, Life, Love, Uncategorized

When I die…

I am feeling some sort of way this evening due to the passing of our Grampa Woody. Most often I give allowances for everyone’s feelings but my own. So, if you’re reading this, forgive me and allow me a moment in time to -for once – allow my own.

When I die I pray that I will have left a legacy of love, grace, patience, understanding, and above all a blanket of God’s love. I pray that the people that are a part of my life will forgive my every fault, because there are many. I pray that people will sit around a table and think of me fondly. I hope that, while I may not have many friends, I will have friends of great substance that will miss me and miss that something that I was always able to give them.

I hope that, whether they are friends or family, the people in my life will not just be able to but will choose to not reflect upon the ways that I failed them. This may sound like a selfish thing to hope for; but, this piece of hope is held for them and not myself. After all, I will be in heaven with my Father. I will surely have failed some. I will surely have disappointed many. I say this because I have failed myself and disappointed myself more times than I can count. Yet, for my loved ones’ sakes, I pray that their hearts are not heavy and their minds are not burdened by my past or some thing I heaped upon them; but, rather their hearts and minds would be set upon the Lord.

Of course, I pray that I live a life that is free of all of this and full of a multitude of things that would make God proud of me and subsequently the people around me. But my mind keeps going back to the people that Christ loved. He loved the tax collector. He loved the filthy beggar. He even loved the woman of ill repute that many looked upon as if she were a dog. I can strive for perfection everyday (and I will); yet, there has been only one faultless Man who walked this earth and it is not I.

I have been the black sheep all of my life, as far back as I can remember. A lot of that was probably my own doing. I certainly don’t blame anyone for it. I have disappointed many people and, sadly, proven many right on occasion. I am also not the same person that I was 10 years ago, 20 years ago.

I pray that the people in my life will love me now, in the end, and after the end as Jesus would love me… not for me but for them. I pray that their hearts and minds will be devoid of any negativity so that they would know the peace that passes all understanding, the true miracle that forgiveness truly is, and the love of God that comes only from the Father.

If I am truly lucky… abundantly blessed, those that I leave behind will celebrate my homecoming with praise and worship that lifts up into the heavenlies and grabs God’s attention for just a moment; and, He is pleased.

Bible, bible verse, Birthday, Children, Christmas, Church, family, Friends, gifts, girls, Giveaway, god, Graduation, happiness, Holiday, Holy Spirit, jesus, Kid's Fun, kids, Life, Love, Marriage, Ministry, review, teenagers, Uncategorized, verse, women

Review and Giveaway: Artsy Olive

I was given a product by Artsy Olive for my honest opinion. No money was exchanged and I am not an affiliate.

Artsy Olive is a cute online boutique for all of those Etsy prints you’ve seen but can’t afford. Artsy Olive makes them not only affordable but a downright steal!

Check out these cuties…

The prices? Around $15 or $20…FRAMED! Crazy, right?!

Well, I ordered myself one as a gift to my husband. It will remind him of God’s great restoration of our family.

And the checkout was quick and easy! Don’t believe me? Watch this:

https://youtu.be/StXm9ZBpKSE

When I got it in the mail, it came quick and I was siked!

Artsy Olive is able to keep your cost down in many ways – one of them being no glass, another by having reusable frames that can switch out prints easily!

I like the way Artsy Olive puts it…

“We believe that giving an Artsy Olive™ sign is valued so much more than a greeting card because of the longevity of the gift and the thoughtfulness it conveys.”

I like and agree with their statement because, quite frankly, I’m not really a card person. I know there’s a 99% chance you’re just going to throw it away and they’re around $5! That’s crazy.

https://youtu.be/ThQftk_FELc

The quality of the print is incomparable to something you could do at home no matter how great your printer. The frame is durable and the hardware sturdy.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised at my experience and plan on giving Artsy Olive rather than cards in the future!

⭐️EXCLUSIVE READER DISCOUNT:

The Headcase Christian readers who visit Artsy Olive may use the promo code “blog15” and get a 15% discount on their order. It is good Dec 1-30 for unlimited use!

America, Apologetics, Bible, bible verse, Birthday, Book, books, Church, gifts, girls, Giveaway, Holy Spirit, jesus, Life, Love, Ministry, review, Uncategorized, verse, women, Worship

Bible Review & Giveaway: (in) courage Devotional Bible

*I received this book for an honest review and that’s what you’ll get. No money was exchanged.

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I was asked to review the new (in) courage Devotional Bible by Holman Bibles, written in the Christian Standard Bible translation. For those of you unfamiliar with CSB (Christian Standard Bible), don’t feel bad. It’s still fairly new. “It is a modern English Bible translation of the Christian Bible. Work on the translation was completed in June 2016, with the first full edition released in March 2017.”**

“The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is a major revision of the 2009 edition of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). The CSB incorporates advances in biblical scholarship to improve upon translation decisions, word choice, and style. It also removes some of the novel features[which?] of the HCSB, based on feedback from Bible scholars, pastors, and readers.
The HCSB was translated by an international team of 100 scholars from 17 denominations. The HCSB New Testament was released in 1999, and the entire translation was released in 2004.
Work on the CSB revision was undertaken by the Translation and Review Team, a trans-denominational group of 21 conservative Evangelical Christian biblical scholars. Backgrounds represented include Southern Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, conservative Anglican, and non-denominational Evangelical churches.”[4]

To put it short, Holman Bibles has taken the Bible and tried to make it easily readable without leaving out or discounting the Word Itself. My personal opinion is that this is a great starter translation. I have a 16 year old little cousin that is receiving one of the CSB Bibles from me as a gift soon. I truly believe this is a great translation for those who find it hard – for whatever reason – to sit down and delve into God’s Word.

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I often say this to people: I don’t care which translation you read so long as you start reading. A lot of people freak out when I say that but here’s my philosophy: if you’re really hungry for God’s Word, you’re going to want to know more and delve deeper. People can experience a church and walk away. People can experience Christians and walk away. A person doesn’t experience the true text of God, with a hungry heart, and merely walk away. They don’t have a true encounter with God and walk away. I’ve yet to meet one. So, my belief is that most Christians that hunger for God and His word will do as I did – they will evolve as their relationship with Him does. I didn’t start reading KJV.

I know. That’s shocking for many of you. Settle down. The fact is that when I was 16 it wasn’t doing it for me. The first Bible I actually read was The Precious Moments Bible. Know what translation that was? NKJV. That’s right – New King James Version; and, I really didn’t start delving into until I was around 15 or 16. If I had access to something like CSB, I would’ve delved much sooner.

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The beauty behind (in) courage Devotional Bible is that in this era of creative Bible journaling, Bible distributors are beginning to realize that many of us want to make notes and do devotionals within the one book. In a sync-my-phone-with-my-laptop-and-ipad world, we seek to simplify. Honestly, I like this because seeking God and reading about Him should be simple. Life is complicated, seeking Jesus shouldn’t be. 9781535924955.in01 (1)

The CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible invites every woman to find her story within the greatest story ever told—God’s story of redemption.

As you study God’s Word, 122 women from the (in)courage community come alongside you with 312 devotions, sharing stories of how God’s story has changed their lives. Because of His grace, they have found beauty in the brokenness and hope in the hard. With each devotion, they sing the praise of the One who has authored their story.”

Some of the features that are included in the (in) courage Devotional Bible are:

  • 312 devotions by 122 (in) courage community writers – women just like you and I
  • 10 distinct thematic reading plans
  • 66 book introductions connecting each book of the Bible to the whole biblical narrative
  • stories of courage from 50 women of the Bible
  • journaling space
  • topical index
  • two-column text
  • them verses
  • specialized presentation page

Not sure you want it just yet? Easy, you can actually download a sample!

If you are not quite sure if this is for you, I want to encourage you to consider picking a woman in your church – maybe a young woman or a new-to-Christ woman – and gift them this Bible. That’s what I’ve decided to do with my copy. The Lamb’s Book of Life has recently acquired a new name within it and I want to gift her this to show her how loved she is and to give her a stepping stone closer to Christ.

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**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Standard_Bible
[4]“Holman Christian Standard Bible: Original Translation Team and Translation and Review Team” (PDF)A PDF document containing the full list of original translators of the HCSB, and translators of the CSB.
Bible, bible verse, Children, family, friendship, god, Holy Spirit, jesus, Life, Love, Marriage, Parenting, Uncategorized

What 50 Years of Marriage Looks Like Today

Many people asked that I share what I said at my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary party. It was truly an amazing evening. The awe and happiness had nothing to do with the decorations nor the food. Most all of us were simply in awe of all that my parents had accomplished through Christ and inspired that we can, too!

First, the following is the speech I wrote and recited.

I understand that many of you won’t read this much (“It’s too long!” I said it faster than you’ll probably read it! 😂🏃🏾‍♀️); but, I also understand that there are many among us that need to hear the words within this and know that all things are possible with Christ who strengthens us!

…For those of you still getting to know me, you’re about to find out how – using my parents – God took me from a single mom of a 2 year old at 20 to a woman married to the man God made specifically for her for 12 years.

I could go into great detail but instead I’m going to take this opportunity to tell you some of the principles that I learned through my parents marriage that allowed me to recognize when my future husband found me and that he was indeed my future husband.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 talks about the value of a friend:

9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.

10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.

11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Possibly only those of us who have been married for at least a decade know why I would bring up friendship at a wedding anniversary party. You see, marriage…true GODLY marriage is built upon God, trust, and love. With those three principles amongst them how could two people not be or become the very best of friends. My parents have always had many friends such as many of those here this evening. No friend, though, has ever surpassed the title of “best friend” with either of my parents except for the spouse sitting alongside of them. My parents taught both my brother and I at an early age that there was simply no pitting one against the other – they were and are a team. Two are certainly better than one. “For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.” I was not a witness to many incidents of either of my parents falling. I don’t believe this is because they haven’t fallen because being 40, myself, I know that realistically that’s simply not possible that they did not fall. No…I truly believe that my parents simply caught one another before the other ever hit the ground. They were just that in tune with one another.

I have seen my parents go through the struggle of losing friends, the struggle of losing parents yet to Heaven, the struggles of Satan‘s attacks against their family. I’ve seen my parents go through the journey that is parenthood. I have seen the stresses of bills, air conditioning units going out, cars breaking down, their church breaking apart, and even a child running away.

Yet through it all, they were and are a threefold cord just as in Ecclesiastes 4:12. My mom is a strong piece of twine. My dad is an equally strong piece of twine. But until we all recognize that it is taking those two pieces of twine and wrapping them around that third piece, we will never truly attain what is God seeks for us to attain in our marriages. Because it is most definitely God that is the third of that threefold cord. And, every time my dad could be heard praying in the den… every time my mom could be heard on her knees in her bedroom… There was never any doubt in my mind that they were and are a threefold cord wrapped around God.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is a passage we all know so well. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”

I want to talk about “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” You see, God will truly never give you more than he is prepared to equip you for and, man, did He equip my parents. One of their children was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at a time when no one had a clue what Tourette Syndrome was. Their other child was diagnosed with severe clinical depression at the young age of 16 which disrupted not only that child but the entire family. I can tell you that there are many adjustments, many battles, many hurdles. Yet, I will say that Love (that is God) bore it all. He bore all of the things. Love caused my mom to believe when she prayed and her prayers availed much. Their love hoped for all things – even the complete restoration of our family of which God provided. Love surely endured all things during that season. Love covered a multitude of things like words that can’t be taken back, actions that had consequences. And lastly, that love never ended – even to this day. That love has only grown stronger. Only the love of Jesus, the authentic love that is God, can do that.

1 John 4:16 says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” and Colossians 3:14 says, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” My mom and dad showed me that God is love and if we would simply “put on love” and abide in Him – everything would come together in perfect harmony. That principle has been a strong one that has bound my husband and I together in the very toughest of times. It is a principle that has taken four individuals and turned them into an unbreakable family unit. No matter what the family went through….my parents always abided in Him as will David and I, as will Jocelyn and Elijah.

For just a moment I want to give you a little piece of insight into who Charles and Valree Miller are:

Song of Solomon 8:7 says, “Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised.” If you asked my parents what they would go back and change, they would say nothing. There is no thing on earth that can quench their love nor is there a thing that can drown it because it is a perfect love forged in the fires that this world has forced them through and – just as the Bible references many times – their love has been refined and come out gold.

Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” The day my dad set his sight on my mom (or rather her legs as he would tell it) that day at the phone company so many years ago, he didn’t know to what extent but even then he knew he had found a good thing. Since then, He – as well as the rest of us – have obtained favor from the Lord because of her. Whether it has been her never questioning my dad anytime that he said God had spoken to him, whether it was any time my mother needed to speak confidence into my brother or I, whether it was the need of any family member that my mother would race to meet… Because of her we have obtained favor.

John 15:12-13 says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.” That verse reminds me of the time that my father told me that He had God’s ear. He had obtained an honest-to-goodness audience with God Almighty and God asked him what he wanted. Did my dad ask for the bills to always be paid? For a promotion? No. He said he wanted my mother to have her promotion. He asked that she have His blessing on her career in Home Interiors and my mother received it that same day. My mom went on to earn everything from grandfather clocks to diamonds all because she was walking in the favor of God that my dad had asked for her. Her customers not only respected her but they loved her and many still treat her as family. What greater love is this?

When I was a single mother I quickly went to God and said, “You have to be everything now! You have to be my best friend, my Father, my Helper, my daughter’s Father,….everything!” Why? How did I know to run to Him immediately? Because my parents had taught me Psalm 143:8 through their own actions so very early on in life: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Their lives are a testament that if you so choose to entrust your life to God, He will never fail you and you will reach heights you never imagined.

So, (to my mother and father) “Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. And may we all follow in your footsteps.

Second, I kept hearing the same word all night – sweet.

I want to make sure I say that because if you look in God’s Word you’ll find two things: good things are like a sweet aroma to Him and He likes sweet incense; and there are many, many, things of God that are sweet.

What a wonderful testament to hear, and feel, throughout the evening – that my parents were “so sweet!” I imagine God found them very pleasing, especially on this particular evening.

https://youtu.be/jhRmtpZbC60

*The topper on that cake was from my mom’s mom and dad’s 50th anniversary!*

I want to encourage you today to always choose the sweet way.

Finally: legacy.

Their daughter spoke of God.

Their granddaughter honored them by singing beautifully.

Their six-year-old grandson recited John 3:14-19 by memory.

Praise God His promises are Yes! and Amen!

America, Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Children, Depression, family, god, health, Holy Spirit, insecurity, jesus, kids, Life, Love, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Ministry, Parenting, Praise & Worship, social media, Uncategorized, verse, women

The Nasty, Notorious, Infamous Case of the Mondays

It’s so sinister. It’s so dreaded that you actually begin showing signs of its impending approach on Sunday, before it’s even arrived! You don’t think, you know, everything will be miserable. After all, it’s Monday!

The alarm didn’t wake you. The coffee maker breaks. The kids – ALL OF THEM – can suddenly not find any matching shoes. You had to go BACK home because you forgot all of their backpacks. WHY CAN’T THEY REMEMBER THEIR OWN BACKPACKS STILL?! Dunkin Donuts line is too long but you sit through it anyways because their coffee is your nectar and you’ll just have to live with the guilt that you gave the kids donuts for breakfast instead of a sausage and egg Hot Pocket this morning (because let’s be honest who actually stops and cooks eggs, sausage, toast, and the works for their children every morning?!).

But…why? Why is Monday seemingly always like this? Well, I think if we were really honest with ourselves we would look back and say that that kind of Monday only happens rarely. Still, though, no matter if everything falls apart or if there’s no traffic at all, Monday still feels like Monday!

The Telegraph shared the findings of a scientific study done by Marmite that indicate that “many people don’t smile on Mondays until 11:16 am, and that half of us won’t turn up to work on time, either. Mondays also tend to be fairly unproductive, with only about three and a half hours of actual work getting done. And those in the 45 to 54 year-old demographic will moan for about 12 minutes on Mondays, making them the most susceptible to the suck that is Monday.

Experts indicate that the reason behind our hatred of Mondays is a result of humans being governed by deep-rooted tribal habitsand that we prefer to ease into the week rather than tackle it head-on first thing Monday morning. In fact, those that do the latter may end up burning themselves out before Friday hits.“*

Even this blog 😂 I’m writing it at 2:30 P…M…on Monday and scheduling it to post next Monday! I witnessed my best friend experiencing a true case of the Mondays and simply could not sit idly by and allow her to fall victim to it! 😐😂❤️

The fact is this: life expectancy is 79.3 in the United States. Now, don’t freak out – it’s just a number, an average number, and an estimation at that. But if we take that number and we calculate how many days we’ll have in 79.3 years we will get 28,963.73 days. If you then deduct the weekends, you get 20,688.3785 days. That is 71% of your life (5 days out of 7) that you’re ALLOWING YOURSELF to live in misery.

That’s right. 🤷🏻‍♀️Sorry to tell you this but Monday is just a day – like any other. Though the world would have you think otherwise, Monday has nothing against you nor has it waged war on you.

So here is my question for you…

Well, I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’m going to continue to waste 71% of my life complaining and allowing a day to turn me into its doormat.

Why do you think we often begin to dread Monday before it’s even arrived? I think it may have something to do with this…

Now, I’m not going to sidetrack and begin to talk about which day is the Sabbath – whether it’s Saturday or Sunday. I’m also not going to berate or guilt you if you are in the ministry and can’t seem to find your day of rest. I am going to remind you, however that God called us to have a day of rest. If you’re constantly going, then Monday is going to be a reminder that your hamster wheel is never stopping. That’s why – then – Saturdays and vacations become your goal.

That brings me to goals! Is your goal to be miserable every day of your life? If so, this world has got a great deal for you! This world has figured out how to keep you worried, overspent, in debt, stressed to the nines, and seeing death long before you ever should and all for the low, low, price of your happiness and often a lot…lot more!

That’s right! All of that stress is there for the taking!

Now, if you’ve decided that this world’s idea of success, and the stress that comes with it, isn’t for you, then how about let’s look at the alternative. Shall we?

It starts in your mind. That’s right – your head! It doesn’t start with breathing exercises. It doesn’t start with post-it notes and scheduling. Nor does it even start at the beach. It starts in your mind.

Once you begin focusing on God, you can no longer focus on all of the calamity around you.

Did you know that one of the very first things a runner is taught is to never look behind them? They are trained to never look behind but to always keep their eyes ahead of them looking at their goal – the finish line. It has been proven that if they turn around they will slow down and it will affect their race. Those that keep their eyes on the finish line always arrive faster than if they are distracted.

Now, Romans 12:2 tells us that we are to be “transformed.” How? Well, John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

You see, He’s already given it (peace) to us. Just like his salvation, it’s right there simply waiting for us to receive it! Quick question: when your mom or your dad told you as a child, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.” Did you question whether they would take care of it? I bet you didn’t. How much more does your heavenly father want to take care of your problems?

I hear you, right now: BUT HOW?! Relax. Geez. You act like it’s Monda… never mind. I won’t leave you hanging.

Proverbs 16 says, ““The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established. The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.”

Now, in the NLT, it says it a little more clearly for the average Joe…

You see, if you will go to God, “The Lord gives the right answer.”; and if you “commit your actions to the Lord,” “your plans will succeed!”

So, instead of repeating the mantra in your head that “Mondays suck!” begin talking to God, aloud, whether in song or in prayer. Who cares what your kids think? I’ve got news for you: they think you’re crazy anyways. So just run with that. As they get older, they will remember the days that mom or dad would talk to God and they will follow in your footsteps.

Begin giving God your problems whether it be your eyeliner breaking and smudging all the way across your face or your coffee maker no longer coming to life. Begin thanking him for the fact that He woke you up this morning which means he must have some sort of plan for you still. Then, really top it off by asking God what it is that He has for you to do today!

Instead of dreading the upcoming week, begin looking at it as five days of opportunity to fix what you broke last week, begin the thing you’d never began but intended to, and talk to the person you know you should’ve talked to already!

You may not turn your Monday into Funday but you will change your life into a life of purpose; and purpose makes us want to get out of bed. Achieving purpose gives us a sense of accomplishment and pride; and it drives us to continue on.

So, I want to leave with you one last passage from the Bible where Paul says something that is extremely poignant:

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Https://thenextweb.com/shareables/2011/07/25/scientific-study-confirms-that-mondays-suck/?amp=1