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Are your Expectations Ruining the Real Joy in Life?

Today’s guest blog post comes from Jennifer at Heaven Not Harvard and can be originally found here!

Expectations are sneaky buggers. We often don't realize we even have them until we find ourselves disappointed in our reality. Maybe we need to shift our focus.
Expectations are sneaky buggers. They are often so engrained into our ideas of normal that we forget we have them at all.

We walk into daily situations, especially holidays, with subconscious champagne and roses expectations thanks to Hallmark movies, and miss the better gifts reality can offer.

One year, I almost ruined my own birthday with my expectations. In the years since, I have seen how God has walked with me through feeling disappointed and invisible and reminds me He is the God who sees me.

In the weeks surrounding holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentines Day, I often see so many struggling relationships because they weren’t celebrated in the way they wanted to be. And hurting women let disappointment turn into a burr between themselves and their families.

I sadly remember all the Valentine’s Days, birthdays, trips, and anniversaries that turned into balls of hurt in my house because of my wrong expectations that didn’t offer any grace to the love of my life.

Somehow, I expected my husband to say the words that would make all the late nights, emotional exhaustion and struggles of being a wife and mother worth it. I wanted him to find the gift or flowers that would make me feel for just ONE day that he truly sees and appreciates me.

I was putting the pressure of my expectations on him instead of taking them to the Lord.

And with all the weight I was giving these particular calendar days, nothing was ever going to satisfy.

Now, I can see all the ways he shows me how much he appreciates me everyday. But I was missing it because I was so focused on my emotional needs.

The year I almost ruined my birthday changed everything. The day had been pretty low-key, a fine day, but I couldn’t get over my disappointment at not receiving any kind of gift.

After feeling a bit dejected and debating with myself about telling him how I felt, I decided not to say anything and be grateful for all the blessings I had.

Five minutes later, he came out from the bedroom with a jewelry set he had purchased months earlier. It was special hypoallergenic gold due to my bizarre metal allergy. I felt like such a jerk. My unmet expectations almost ruined his thoughtful surprise.

I almost missed a real expression of his love for me because I wanted to dictate what it should look like.

Most Mother’s Days, I don’t wake up to a perfect bouquet or breakfast in bed. But my days have been just right.

Why? What changed? Me.

First, I stopped placing my value and worth as a mother in the hands of my husband. I would love a moment of recognition from him, but I don’t need it.

My identity as a woman, mother, even wife is in Christ and the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . . and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

I have learned to let God’s love fill me so that I overflow with His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Even though I still do those things imperfectly, I recognize I am growing in grace as I grow in Him.

So I set my expectations for holidays now on what I want for myself. On Mother’s Day, I want a day of being the mom I really want to be everyday: fun, patient, kind, joyful.

I don’t want to use this holiday as a weapon. Expectations ruin reality. Don’t miss the real joy God has for us. CLICK TO TWEET

Does it really measure my worth or his love if he doesn’t roll out the red carpet and ticker tape parade on this one calendar day?

When I quit having expectations, I got to see more fully who my husband is, appreciating and loving the whole of him, and experiencing the joy of the day as it unfolds.

My first Mother’s Day of letting go of expectations, my husband didn’t make me breakfast in bed, because he wanted to wait to ask me what I would like to have. He didn’t buy me a gift, but researched a special place for me to choose exactly what I wanted. He spent his afternoon cleaning out the pool so I could have the first swim of the year.

His quiet thoughtfulness was more precious to me than any gift.

For years, I missed the real gifts because of my wrong expectations.

Sometimes we feel invisible and ignored. No one sees us up at midnight, straightening the living room or washing dishes. Laundry magically folds itself and finds its way back into drawers, or maybe you magically earn the paycheck that keeps your house from belonging to the bank.

One or two days a year doesn’t change who you are and won’t heal days you were taken for granted or ignored. But rest assured, God sees you. He sees your every moment.

The work and struggle of being a wife, mother, friend, sister is not invisible to Him. And I find so much joy when I remember that I’m serving Him through my earthly service.

Matthew 5:14 ESV “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Don’t let the darkness steal true joy from your grasp. Even on this side of heaven, jewelry and flowers pale in comparison to the joy of the Lord in the ministry where He has placed you.

2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Focus on the eternal blessings, and you might find greater joy than you expected in the first place.

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Love Nudge (Review and Giveaway!)

Love Nudge is a new app developed by Moody Publishers, the publishers of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.

If you’re unfamiliar with Gary Chapman, he is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree in anthropology from Wheaton College and from Wake Forest University. He also received Master of Religious Education and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The 5 Love Languages is a book that since 1992 has sold over 11 million copies. The premise is that everyone has their own “love language,” the way they primarily communicate their love to others. According to his theory and research, each person has one primary and one secondary love language.

By doing a thorough quiz (there are some more simplified ones out there but they’re for sure not as meticulous), you can discover your love language. The idea is that, through this, your spouse will know how to “talk” to you in your own language – and vice versa – and you’ll communicate better than ever.

Based on the book sales – but more importantly the testimonies – that have come out of this ministry, it’s clear to see why this book and its message have moved into the 21st century by becoming more accessible as an app.

Now, I’m going to be completely honest with you:

As a person who read the original book, this app is great but it really should accompany the book. The book will give you a greater understanding of your game plan and it will motivate you greatly. It’s actually a really easy read, too.

Now on to the app and my opinion of it…

The app is FREE right now. I dont know how long that will last, maybe forever. The 5 Love Languages has always been an affordable book so I can’t really see them suddenly making this a $5 app – though its worth it.

http://youtu.be/9iVxDY0ihOo

The app is easily downloadable and easy to walk through. It walks you through basic information, quizzing you to determine your love language, and allowing you to invite your spouse or future spouse to join in the app with you.

It really is like a fitness app but for your relationship health. Instead of you marking that you met your goal of running a mile (inset me laughing hysterically here), you’re checking off that you used some words of affirmation for your spouse today. “Today I told him how much I appreciate all he does around the house. Check!” Every goal met help each of you to fill up your love tank. 😉

This app actually came at a great time for my husband and I. Every relationship goes through their seasons and we’ve certainly seen our share of them. This app reminded my husband that his words have great power in regard to me while holding me accountable to do my part in our relationship rather than my being part of the problem or being bitter.

Sometimes we can forget who we were…who we are. We only think about the thing that interrupted who we are. But God wants to restore us to what we were meant to be.

I dont know about you but I don’t want to become that bitter old couple that stay married but fight everyday as if they hate each other. I want to mourn when we are separated and celebrate when we’re reunited. God wants that for us too.

So, all in all, I really like it. My husband likes it. I sent the link to my 22 year old daughter and her boyfriend of four years. I mean if you have a nail that needs to be driven in… and there’s a hammer right there, wouldn’t you use the hammer that was given to you? This is a free tool to help make your relationship easier and a greater success. I would think everyone would take advantage of it. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Love Nudge for Couples will help you put the concepts of The 5 Love Languages into action in ways that are easy, obvious, and satisfying.

1. LEARN YOUR LOVE LANGUAGETake the official 5 Love Languages quiz to discover your preferred Love Language.

2. CONNECT WITH YOUR PARTNERUse the app individually or invite your partner to download, take the quiz, and link profiles.

3. SET YOUR GOALSSet goals to regularly take on activities that align with your partner’s Love Language.

4. NUDGEStart nudging! Send your partner a playful nudge to suggest activities or to find out how full their Love Tank is.

Download the LoveNudge App and be entered to win Dr. Gary Chapman’s #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages®, The 5 Love Languages® for Men, AND The Love Languages Devotional Bible (hardback)! Click below to enter and for more details.

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7 Beautiful Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

Today’s guest blog post is by Sara Benny from A Virtuous Home and can be originally found here!

As the children of God, we need to look to the scriptures for the answers and seek His help alone. You can breathe life into your empty marriage life through prayer, scripture, and trusting our Lord, Jesus. So, what are the seven beautiful ways to strengthen your marriage?

Ways to strengthen your marriage -1

Rebuilding intimacy in marriage

I want to quote the words of the author of the book Alchemist, Paulo Coelho, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” There was a time in my life when I thought my marriage would be like a fairy tale and never knew the investments it needs to flourish.

And when the reality hit me, I knew it needed a lot more work than I expected. All I did was look to the Lord in prayer. It was my sincere desire to rebuild the intimacy in marriage, strengthen the marriage, and get the divine guidance.

How to bring back intimacy in a marriage?

Building intimacy in a marriage is important in strengthening marriage.

Put God first in your marriage.

Marriage is the most beautiful relationship where two people are driven by love towards each other. And it can only be beautiful when there is love between the two persons.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

So, I am rephrasing the above sentence to be- Marriage is the most beautiful relationship where two people are driven by God towards each other. And it can only be beautiful when there is God between the two persons.

Hope you got the key point :).

Companionship in marriage

Be your husband’s favorite companion whom he loves to spend his time together.

This is not an easy task, so let’s take encouragement from the scripture.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Mathew 7:12)

  • Be gentle and cheerful always

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

A right companion always knows the right time to talk. You can spoil both of your moods by simply bombarding your husband with your frustrations or pessimistic talks, or you can warmly greet him when he comes home and save your discussions for later. This makes a huge difference!

  • Spend time together

I should say that my husband loves to watch classic movies and I hate watching it. All I do is force myself to watch with him because my interests are completely different.

There was a time when I tried to resist him, but now I decide to focus on the relevant and to ignore the irrelevant.

The good news is, now I love watching such movies with him as I am sitting beside him enjoying time together.

  • Listen to Him

Are you a good listener? Have you ever neglected when your husband talks to you or when he shows you some exciting news?

Try to take a conscious step to pause whatever you are doing, and listen to him for that little time. He will love it!

  • Put on a smile

My husband loves when I smile at him, or when I am cheerful. It reminded me that the habit of being pleasant and optimistic makes me lovable and attractive.

So, why not take a step to always talk to him in a friendly, pleasant manner to get his attention!

  • Try new recipes

Men love delicious foods prepared with love :).

Physical Intimacy in marriage

A strong physical relationship is built on emotional intimacy and companionship. If you desire to have good physical intimacy, it is important to address the emotional needs of the partner.

Being a submissive wife

Is submission important in marriage life? Do I have to be a submissive wife to strengthen my marriage?

As we see there are thousands of ideas on the internet about this topic alone. Some think being submissive is neglecting one’s freedom, or even as slavery.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:21- 27)

Marriage is never a one-sided relationship. As husbands and wives, we need to respect and appreciate each other’s efforts out of reverence for Christ.

As wives, we should let our husbands have the lead role in our family, and help him to be the man God desire about him. For that, we need to be renewed in our minds and be filled with the spirit of Christ to be the wife glorifying God through our lives.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5)

But, what if your husband hardly cares about your needs, or barely shows affection or appreciate your efforts. In that case, I urge you to walk an extra mile with Jesus who can save your marriage.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (1 Peter 3:1-2)

Give thanks to God for everything

How can I strengthen my marriage by giving thanks to God?

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Always give thanks to the Lord in everything, whether you are doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning, organizing, and in the tiniest of things you do in your house- do it with thanksgiving and prayer.

Even the most vibrant marriage can turn dull one day if you fail to see the purpose of doing those mundane things. But if you do everything with thanksgiving and prayer, your heart will be filled with God’s peace and your home will be a beautiful reflection of Christ and the church.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Let us have the same mindset as Christ Jesus!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)

Effective communication in marriage

Communication is crucial in marriage relationships, and it is essential in strengthening marriage.

So, does this mean we can communicate all the silly things that are revolving in our mind? Or to constantly complain about the things which are pending to complete or undone?

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue (Proverbs 31:26).

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).

As Christian wives, we should communicate with our husbands in a way pleasing to the Lord. This might be against our nature, but when we are ready to be renewed in our minds (Ephesians 2:21-24) and seek the wisdom of Christ in our lives, He will help us.

Be intentional in spending time with each other without any external distractions for at least half an hour.

Express opinions, or any negative feelings in a gentle way.

It is okay to be specific when asking something as men are not good mind readers. 

Avoid responding when you are angry. Resume the conversation only once you are calm down.

Try to avoid reminding him of the pending “to do lists”.

Now, let us check some things that can aid us in the effective communication process.

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife (Proverbs 21:19).

The best way to effectively communicate with your husband is to know the best way to show your love towards him.

So, let’s check some ideas to get his attention.

Appreciate and affirm him for all his efforts to build your family.

Ask Jesus, and Jesus will fill you with the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Being attentive of every single need of the family- cooking, cleaning, organizing, children, dressing up, etc.

Listening to him whenever he initiates a conversation.

More than anyone, your husband deserves your best. So, give him the best of you in everything.

Involve and show enjoyment in his interests too.

Try speaking in a soft voice.

Cook his favorite food.

Prayer for marriage protection

There was a time when I took this less significant in my marriage life. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t pray at all. I surely did, but I didn’t use this powerful weapon to strengthen my marriage wisely.  We can always cover our husband in prayer, building an invisible wall of protection on him through the power of prayer.

It is true that we often become vexed when situations turn unfavorable, but prayer is the most powerful weapon to protect the love of your life from all the snares of the enemy.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Pray for your husband in all the walks of his life- in everything give thanks to the Lord in faith, believing that your prayer is heard.

When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom. (Job 1:5)

Bible tells the love and reverence Job had for God. He was rich, blessed in everything, and even in that abundance he was mindful of praying for his children on a single thought- perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.

Be ready with the armor of God, and fight for your family!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 10:12)

Forgiveness in marriage

Forgiveness in marriage is essential to strengthen marriage and to keep it secure. We all easily feel whenever our emotions are hurt, sometimes may not express it soon but hide it till the right moment to vent it out. We try to forget it but fails to forgive.

Am not an expert in this, and I often struggle in this aspect of my marriage. Then I found a way to overcome this issue without accumulating much in my heart.

Love your husband in the way he is, and accept him for who is.

Always pause from talking when you are hurt.

Tell God your hurt feelings and then openly share it with your husband when you both are in a good mood.

There is no secret formula for forgiveness in marriage except “forgive as Christ forgave you” and “love as Christ loved you”.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Download your free printable here!

Hi, if you enjoyed reading this, please comment so that I may know someone has been encouraged reading this and that would make me glad in the Lord. So, please share your heart.

Blessings,

Sara Benny

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Blinders

I want you to imagine a horse with blinders on. Blinders are used to keep the horse focused on what is in front of it. Since the horse can’t see everything in it’s peripheral vision, it keeps the horse from becoming distracted or scared.

The horse looks towards the end of the row – it’s goal. So, for instance, if a dog runs up from the house, the horse will hear it; but, the horse will stay the course. If a snake should come into its path… it will tread on and over it; because, the horse’s goal is in sight – nothing else.

I would like to encourage you to first ground yourself in God’s word, assuring that you are walking as Christ did (1 John 2:6).

Then know this, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20)

Don’t take the time to rejoice in your authority. Stay the course, focusing on God. Keep your blinders on. Once your with our Heavenly Father, look back and witness the trail you took in life and how it’s littered with snakes and scorpions that you were never even aware of; because, you were too focused on your goal, the end of your row, your God.

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What I’ve Learnt After 3 Years of Marriage

Today’s guest post by izzabelle.co can be originally found here!

On 20 December 2014, V and I exchanged our marriage vows on a lovely little yacht somewhere on the open sea, surrounded by our dearest family and friends.

I still remember how it was raining incessantly that month, but on that day, the sun broke through. And that’s just one small example of God’s goodness and mercy in our journey as husband and wife.

We crossed the third-year mark while on a road trip to California last month. I must say that whoever thought marriage would equate to living “happily ever after” certainly never tried it! Still, we’ve had a fulfilling few years together filled with memories that I’ll cherish forever.

But before I got married, I struggled a lot with the very concept of marriage and what it would entail. I thought it would be boring. I thought I would feel “trapped” and lose some degree of freedom (okay, all of it, really).

I’m happy to report that I have shaken these thoughts off, though it took me a long while to do so. And by God’s grace, I have come to enjoy being a wife.


what I've learnt after 3 years of marriage

HERE ARE 6 THINGS I’VE LEARNT ABOUT MARRIAGE:

1. Being married doesn’t make me any less of a woman.

Once you tie the knot, one of the first questions people around you will inevitably ask is whether you’re having kids. I know they mean well, but I don’t just want to be regarded as a baby-making machine from this day forward. I am still a woman who has dreams to realise and goals to achieve.

2. Mundane moments are plentiful – but they’re also what has helped me grow. 

Recently, I did an enneagram test and discovered that my personality type is a 7. According to the test results, I “approach life with curiosity, optimism and a sense of adventure”. That also explains why I abhor mundanity and repetition (because they aren’t fun or exciting, duh). But that kinda is what marriage looks like once you get settled into a comfortable “flow”. You probably already have certain couple habits; well, life’s pretty much the same old, same old when you get hitched.

These ordinary moments of life together test me the most – and grow me the most. Cooking, washing the dishes and doing the laundry are things I honestly do not enjoy doing, but I recognise that they are ways in which I am learning to serve and be selfless (my husband will be SO happy to read this!).

3. Problem areas won’t disappear; they will be magnified. 

Most articles on marriage will tell you this – and it’s true. I get sooo irked by V’s loud chewing, while he gets upset when I fail to follow his system for doing the dishes, or when I install the toilet paper roll the “wrong way”. When we were dating, these were small things we never thought would surface as issues, but they have.

Of course, there are other deeper issues that have revealed themselves throughout the course of our marriage. And I truly appreciate that my husband has served as a faithful friend in that aspect, by making me take a hard look at certain areas of my life that I needed to seek forgiveness from God in, or stop holding onto too tightly.

God created marriage to unfold beauty, depth, strength, and love that could never be discovered in a land of “easy.” God created marriage to help us enter into the world of what real love looks like. If we are able to look past daily irritation, inconvenience, and selfish resentments to get a glimpse of the real thing, it will bring us to our knees in worship. Not of our marriage, but of God, himself. God created marriage to show us what his love for us looks like. 

— ADRIEN SEGAL, DESIRING GOD

4. You will have to give some things up.

Since I’ve gotten married, I think the biggest change in my lifestyle is that my schedule has been less filled with spontaneous meet-ups or late-night hangs with friends. To be frank, it’s still a struggle for me to relinquish certain things. This is definitely a work in progress.

5. Personal space is important. 

I absolutely need – no, crave – time for myself. It’s been integral to my sense of well-being when I was unmarried, and it remains so today. My alone time helps me to recharge, reflect, and gives me room to indulge in activities I enjoy. I’m glad that my husband respects this need, and has never given me any grief about it (ok, the fact that he’s a total introvert who also needs personal space has helped!).

What I’ve found useful is to physically demarcate an area in your home that is 100% yours. In our Vancouver apartment, my table is in our bedroom, while V has a separate study table outside. We didn’t do this in our Singapore home, and it’s definitely something I want to continue practicing when we go back.

6. Your influence and giftings will expand. 

The wonderful thing about big life transitions like marriage is that you’ll have so many stories to tell, and so many insights to share, with those who are about to take those same steps, or even to those who aren’t on this path yet.

My husband has also encouraged me to pursue things I never would’ve had the gumption to do on my own. Case in point: This blog. I’ve been writing for most of my adult life, but writing for myself (and not for the company I work for) is pretty unfamiliar territory. But it’s been a fun ride so far – and I can’t wait to see how God is going to use me and this space for His glory.


If you’ve made it this far along in the post, I wanna say a huge THANK YOU for reading. And if you are married, I would love to hear your own thoughts and lessons on what it has taught you – just leave a comment below!

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.
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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

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