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Chonda Pierce: Unashamed

Chonda Pierce: Unashamed at select Cinemas May 7 & 9

This Mother’s Day week, May 7 & 9 at 7:00pm., you and your friends can enjoy a night of laughter and  truth as only top selling female comedian, Chonda Pierce, can deliver.  Chonda will make you laugh and think as she boldly proclaims the truth of the Gospel to a hurting world.  Chonda takes a journey into the hearts of the faithful as she engages some of the boldest believers in America. Mike Huckabee, Danny Gokey, the Benham Brothers and others tell their stories of speaking truth to our culture…no matter the consequences. Don’t forget to bring your moms, grandmas and every mother in your church for a night to remember!

Only Chonda can communicate deep and meaningful truth and make you laugh at the same time.  Chonda is unchained, unrestrained and UNASHAMED!

I watched this film before it was available to the public. As I write this, I am both laughing and crying. Every single woman that is a believer should watch this film for… a smile, encouragement, and simply the knowledge that you’re not alone. More than that, I am walking away reminded that I have a purpose and this world doesn’t get to judge whether my purpose is small or whether it’s large because my purpose – no matter the size – is important to God.

I have a purpose and this world doesn’t get to judge whether my purpose is small or whether it’s large because my purpose no matter the size is important to God.

It’s okay for me to believe in the One that has always believed in me.

It’s okay for me to live for the One that died for me.

And…I can do it all with love, humility, and grace because His love does not have to conform to this world’s definition of it.

Ladies, grab your mom, sister’s, and friends. Reserve this time of encouragement that you will never regret.

 

Giveaway ends May 6 and winner will be selected by May 15th.  Prizes are physical items that will be mailed.

Bible, Life, Love, Marriage, Ministry, Parenting, prayer, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, verse, women

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.

Bible, bible verse, Church, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, healing, jesus, Life, Love, Marriage, Parenting, prayer, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, verse, women

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

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

When Love Changes

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

Find the original post here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love is more of a choice than a feeling.

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

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

And I’ve chosen him.

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

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

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

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

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

To the Single Girl Still Waiting

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

Find the original post here!

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

To the single girl still waiting

 

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

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

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

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

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

Be the wife of noble character.

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

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

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

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

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

Beware of the “nice guy.”

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

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

Learn to embrace rejection.

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

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

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

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

Ready for it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And above all, seek Him first!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find the original post here!

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

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

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

 

The Stakes Were High

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

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

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

Starting to Fall

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What’s your story?

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

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.

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

The Nasty, Notorious, Infamous Case of the Mondays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here is my question for you…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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