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, bible verse, Birthday, Death, Depression, family, Fertility, friendship, god, happiness, healing, health, Infertility, jesus, Life, Marriage, Ministry, prayer, Uncategorized

…but God

This has been a…hard year.

A year of a lot of loss but also a lot of prayers answered.

We’ve lost loved ones.

We’ve lost dreams. I lost a very personal dream but also was delivered from cancer, pain, and gained…a lot of weight 🥴 from that lost dream.

Milestones were not forgotten but … prioritized, often not in the order we wished but in the order which was right.

A dear friend found she had cancer….but God and she fight.

She still fights today.

We celebrated 50 years of God-focused marriage between my parents.

We finally found our Church home after nearly a decade of praying and seeking, going through different seasons, and being used at various places.

So, while we have seen loss and experienced hurt…we rejoice – I rejoice – because though we prayed and often felt like He didn’t hear us, He knew what was down the road and where our specific brand of love and talents were needed most. He saw us through fear. He delivered us from slings and arrows.

While my flesh wants to cling to the loss, the hysterectomy, the pain, the fear, the weight gain, the heartbreak… my spirit cries out in joy and appreciation for the hope of Heaven, no cancer, loving and being loved again in a Church family, and my family’s every need being met.

What do YOU choose to thank Christ for, today?

America, Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Christmas, Church, Death, Depression, family, god, happiness, healing, health, Holy Spirit, insecurity, jesus, Life, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Ministry, Uncategorized, verse

I choose peace

Tonight, I am emotionally exhausted. I am not emotionally exhausted in a conversational way. I am emotionally exhausted in the clinical way. As I had that thought on the forefront of my mind, I ran across this picture posted here.

I thought to myself how true it is… but God. You see, if you look up all of the signs of emotional exhaustion you will find that I actually only meet maybe one or two of the criteria. That is not because I’m not experiencing emotional exhaustion. That is because…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:6-8)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

And, I could go on because His Word goes on. I’m not going to worry tonight. I might worry on another day… when I’m stronger of body yet not being diligent about being spiritually focused on God‘s promises that day.

Tonight, though, I’m not going to worry about losing another loved one. I’m not going to worry about having enough money for repairs and gifts. I am not going to worry about whether I am the best mother or not, the best daughter or not, the best sister or not, the best friend or not.

I’m not going to worry because I have given my exhaustion to the Lord and He has turned it into peace. He is Jehovah Jireh. He is the provider of promises, needs, and even emotional balance and health. I could focus on my exhaustion and say that it is there because of all of the turbulence around me; but, instead, I am recognizing that God is using it to force me into a state of awareness of the peace that is simply waiting for me to fall back into. And… I choose to fall back into His peace and His promises tonight.

http://youtu.be/BgaHaioAjyg

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!

Bible, bible verse, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, health, Holy Spirit, jesus, Life, Marriage, Parenting, Uncategorized, verse

Don’t Give Up

A lot of people quote Matthew 6:1-4 when speaking about good deeds.

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Matthew‬ ‭6:1-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Tonight, I would quote Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

So many times (because it’s in our fleshly nature) people only remember, talk, dwell, focus on past mistakes.

They define you in their own minds by what they hear or by that moment.

I feel like someone needs to hear this, “Don’t give up doing what’s right!”

There’s a very important word in the passage from Galatians – the word “if.” IF we do not give up, then in our due season we will reap.

Many times we’re beaten up… for just doing the best we knew how through Christ; and, so often, we get abused and blamed when we may actually be the injured party.

In those moments, we have to not speak – for it’s God that promotes us – not us. Anything that we do for ourselves can just as easily be taken away. Anything God gives us, however, cannot be taken from us but by Him and His permission.

I praise God that in those times, God remembers what I did. He’s my daddy and I know, in that moment, HE was proud of me – IS proud of me. I hope you’ll remember this too.

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!

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Even so…

In the NKJV of the Bible the term “even so” is used 36 times. Do you know what “even so” means? It means “in spite of that.” It means “nevertheless.”

It’s a term that, when inserted, can flip the script on any situation in your life!

Watch this: “I see no end to this financial strain we’re under…EVEN SO my God is Jehoveh Jireh and has provided for me so far. I’ve never gone hungry.”

How about this: “My husband left me and my child, and I haven’t got a clue what tomorrow brings…EVEN SO my God has brought me safe thus far and He will take me forward, never leaving nor forsaking me!”

“This world seems like it’s going straight to hell. Sin is widely accepted as the norm. The value of life is no longer a consideration. EVEN SO nothing catches my God by surprise and His word has revealed to us that all of these things would come to pass; so, we WILL be diligent. We WILL soldier on. We WILL change lives. We WILL be about our Father’s business!”

I encourage you to add “even so” to your vocabulary today. I challenge you that every time you catch yourself, or someone else, worrying or complaining say, “Even so…” and watch how God can turn around lives right before your eyes. For we are a sinful lot that would be lost, EVEN SO…

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Review & Giveaway: Always Enough Never Too Much

I received this book for my honest opinion, no monetary gain, and my honest opinion you will get. 

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“We’ve all been there. We know that sneaking, small voice in our heads all too well—you’re too loud. Too quiet. Too young. Too old. Too unimportant. Too ugly. Too silly. Too serious. You’re not as successful as she is—look at her perfect family, look at her high-powered job, look at her great hair and size 4 skinny jeans. Why can’t you be more like her—be more in general? Why do you expect so much from everyone? Why can’t you take up less space? Ask for less? Be less? The lies track well-worn paths in our minds and our hearts, wearing us down and making us question our role in God’s kingdom.
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Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, bestselling authors of Wild and Free will help you replace those lies with God’s truth. This devotional flip-book is designed for you, the woman who feels like she can be both too much and not enough—sometimes in the same day. When you  banish lies and insecurities and find your identity in Jesus, you can embrace these truths: You are always enough. You are never too much.”

 

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I think it’s appropriate that this is called a “flip book.” I’ll tell you why: because sometimes you need to FLIP the script on your life!

This past year has been a year of “too much” and “never enough” for me. This book is what I’d call an “on time” book for me. In a world that has programmed us to instinctively compare ourselves to one another and judge ourselves against litmus tests that God never set forth – other than His Word – it is refreshing to find a book that is truly edifying. It is refreshing to know that I’m reading words that are inspired by the Word of God in order that I might get back on the rails that I derailed from and remember who I am in God’s eyes. It’s nice to know I’m about to “flip” things back to the way God intended.

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You might notice that this book has two titles… kind of. I’ll explain it perfectly (and give you a sneak preview) in this short video:

Now that I have my own copy, I know exactly who I’m going to gift one of these to. It’s a pastor’s wife. It would amaze you the pressure that is on women that we look at as if they have it all together and we wish we were them. You may find that the very same insecurities that plague you are plaguing the very people you think have it all. So… don’t just keep this book to yourself – when you’re done, gift it to someone else. If you want to keep yours forever, then consider someone else who may feel the same way and gift them a copy. It may be the very think that helps them to become who they are truly meant to be in Christ simply by empowering them!

Now, after you get your Prime on and and grab your copy of Always Enough Never Too Much, you may find you want to get another copy for someone close to you:

Win 1 of 5 Copies of God Loves Mommy & Me