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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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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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75 Date Night Questions for Couples

Today’s guest post comes from Ashley from Faithfully Planted.

Find the original post here!

What are date night questions?

Date night questions for couples are specific, intentional questions that you ask one another in order to stimulate deep, connecting conversation. These are questions that bring up important topics for couples to discuss that may not come up organically. Their intent is to help foster connection and intimacy and to help couples continue to be students of their spouses.

You likely speak to and communicate with your spouse regularly, but often the topics are practical and mundane. We rarely start discussing our deepest fears or desires without first being prompted. But these things are so important for us to continue to discuss with our spouses.

Date night questions help us to keep a gauge on our relationships, how we’re loving one another well and what is going on in the deepest parts of our hearts. This is what keeps the connection deep and strong in marriage.

You cannot have a connection without vulnerability and exposure.

RELATED: How to Have a Meaningful Date Night

So, how do you use these date night questions for couples?

That is entirely up to you! You can do just one per date night or plow through 10-20 if you want to.

Personally, my husband and I go through about 5-ish questions on any given date night.

With each question, one person asks the other, lets them talk and then you both follow the conversation that flows from the answer. Once that line of conversation ends, you reverse and the other person asks you the same question. We are intentional about making sure each person gets to answer, even if we get off on a tangent.

We mark our place and continue with the list on our next date. The conversations that stem from these questions allow us to learn about the other person’s heart, to laugh and to feel the same excitement & intimacy we felt when we were dating.

Date night questions are a simple way to take your conversations to the next level and connect deeply as a couple.

So, here is your list of questions to encourage your relationship and help you to connect with one another!

Book with flowers with text overlay

75 Date Night Questions for Couples

  1. What is one thing I did that made you feel loved this week?
  2. What do you envision our life looking like in 10 years?
  3. If we had unlimited funds for 1 vacation, where would we go?
  4. What is one odd thing about me that you find endearing?
  5. What is your favorite memory from the beginning of our relation-
    ship?
  6. What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
  7. If you could eat only one treat forever that wouldn’t affect your health, what would it be?
  8. What is your favorite memory from our wedding day?
  9. What is one thing your parents taught you that you really appreciate now?
  10. If you had a whole day of no work and no responsibilities, what would that ideal day look like?
  11. What is your favorite thing about your job?
  12. What is something you’ve learned during your quiet time this week?
  13. How did you know you wanted to marry me?
  14. When did you first realize you loved me?
  15. Who is someone who inspired you as a kid or teenager?
  16. What is one area of your life that you would like to grow in?
  17. What Is one area that you have seen me grow in since we have been
    together?
  18. What is one activity or date we’ve been on that you really enjoyed?
  19. Do you remember our first kiss? What details can you recall?
  20. What do you view as my greatest strength?
  21. What is something you really miss about your childhood?
  22. When was the last time you were moved to tears?
  23. What do you think our greatest strength as a couple is?
  24. What is your favorite season and why?
  25. What is your favorite place that you have visited or traveled to?
  26. Do you believe in soulmates? Why or why not?
  27. What were some of your favorite childhood TV shows?
  28. What is a book you’ve read that really impacted your life?
  29. If you didn’t have to work for money, how would you spend your time?
  30. What is your earliest vivid memory?
  31. What is one positive thing you learned about marriage & relationships from your parents?
  32. What is one thing about me that you’ve chosen to accept instead of fighting me on?
  33. What is your favorite way for me to show you I love you?
  34. What is one skill you don’t have no but have always wanted to learn?
  35. Do you see any areas w/ family relationships that we need to create boundaries in?
  36. How do you want to celebrate important dates in our relationship, such as anniversaries, birthdays, etc.?
  37. What is one thing I can do to help you be in the mood to be intimate? How would you like me to initiate sex?
  38. Is there anything about how we currently handle our money that you would like to change or improve?
  39. If/when I make you angry or upset, how would you like me to approach you? 
  40. What is one way we could improve our conflict resolution skills? 
  41. How would you like me to show you that I am paying attention to you?
  42. If you could only pick 5 words to describe me to someone who has never met me, what would they be?
  43. What is one unpopular opinion that you have?
  44. What was your favorite class or classes in college? What did you love about them?
  45. What is one of the best gifts you’ve ever been given?
  46. If you could pick an actor/actress to play you in a  movie about your life, who would it be?
  47. What are the 3 happiest moments of your life?
  48. What is something I do that makes you feel respected?
  49. Did your family have any traditions that you want to continue in our family?
  50. If you could start a foundation to combat one cause, what would it be?
  51. What is one thing you’d like to change or overcome this year? If you already started on a goal, have you made any progress?
  52. Identify a good marriage you’ve seen in your life. What made it a good marriage?
  53. If you could choose any era or time period to have lived in, which would it be and why?
  54. In what circumstances do you feel closest to me?
  55. Describe a life lesson you’ve learned because of a mistake you made. 
  56. What are your expectations about how our life will look if we choose to have children?
  57. What is a dream or recurring dream you remember very vividly?
  58. How do you expect me to act when we are with groups of people? How much attention do you expect from me?
  59. If you could be famous for something, what would you want it to be?
  60. What dating experience before ours had the biggest impact on how you view relationships?
  61. Are there traits you have that you wish you could change about yourself?
  62. If I could read your mind, is there anything you’d be worried or anxious for me to hear?
  63. What area or areas of your life do you feel not understood or heard? 
  64. Describe a time you overcame an anxiety or fear and had a wonderful experience because of it. 
  65. What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
  66. When was the last time you tried something new?
  67. What is one thing about our future together that you are really looking forward to?
  68. Think about the Patronuses from Harry Potter: what memory do you believe would be strong enough to produce yours?
  69. Love aside, what is your favorite part about being married/having a life partner? 
  70. What do you value most in your friendships?
  71. What pieces of advice would you give to your teenage self? 
  72. What is one thing you want us to do more of together?
  73. If you could be immediately great at an Olympic sport, what would it be?
  74. When browsing a bookstore, what section do you gravitate to?
  75. What is the most dangerous situation that you have survived?

Phew! That’s a lot of questions. But my husband and I use these all the time and I wanted to get as many of them into your hands as I could. I know they will bless your marriage as well.

Friend, I am praying these date night questions bring connection, depth and some laughter to your relationship.

With love, Ashley

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

50 Magical Date Night Ideas!

Today’s guest post comes from Minding the Kings.

Find the original post here.

You know, sometimes Mr. King and I just need a date night. A time to ourselves where we can set our responsibilities aside and enjoy each  other’s company. It’s so important to spend that time together and cultivate a strong relationship. A strong marriage relationship sets the foundation for a strong family! But after a while it can be hard to come up with date ideas. We want to mix it up! We want to try something new! Going to the same couple restaurants every time gets boring, and when we just go to a movie we aren’t really engaging with each other. So I sat down and came up with a list of ideas we could try. Then I thought, we can’t be the only ones looking for new ideas! So, I’m sharing the magic with all of you!

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to learn more**

50 Magical Date Night Ideas

  1.  Go for a bike ride
  2. Create sidewalk chalk murals all over town
  3. Take selfies together with random strangers, then create a photo book of your adventure
  4. Go out and do random acts of kindness together
  5. Go Fishing
  6. Look up workout videos from the 80’s and have fun working out and making fun of them together!
  7. Taste test candy or snacks from other countries
  8. Put together a 1000+ piece puzzle
  9. Visit an art museum, take notepads and pens in with you, and pretend to be art critics!
  10. Build sandcastles and look for shells at the beach
  11. Go canoeing
  12. Do an escape room
  13. Go ice skating or roller skating
  14. Go shopping together and pick out clothes for each other to try on
  15. Make music videos by recording yourselves singing and dancing to your favorite songs
  16. Do a craft together, like making a tie blanket, a stepping stone for your garden, or painting flower pots
  17. Rent a movie that’s in a foreign language, then make up the dialogue for it while you watch
  18. Have a water balloon fight, then relax together in a kiddie pool
  19. Do a color run or mud run together
  20. Go Bowling
  21. Take a class together (painting, cooking, etc)
  22. Explore a nearby  town you’ve never been to before
  23. Go Horseback Riding
  24. Play Frisbee and have a picnic at the park
  25. Do a progressive dinner restaurant tour: Have an appetizer at one restaurant, split an entree at 2 other places, and finish with dessert somewhere else!
  26. Read together
  27. Go Geocaching, or play similar types of games, like Pokemon Go, Draconius Go, or Zombies, Run!
  28. Go riding quads, dirt bikes, a side-by-side, or other recreational vehicles together
  29. Volunteer together
  30. Look up a new recipe, go shopping for the ingredients, and make it together (maybe try this one!)
  31. Go Swimming
  32. Create a vision board together
  33.  Look up massage techniques and try them out on each other
  34. Taste test and rate different brands of cola, different flavors of M&M’s, or other foods and drinks!
  35. Play strip poker
  36. Set up hammocks, then watch the sun set and stargaze together
  37. Do a couple’s photo shoot
  38. Go camping. REAL camping!
  39. Play video games together. Multiplayer ones, so you are both playing!
  40. Get to know each other even better by doing a questionnaire or asking “would you rather” questions
  41. Go on a scavenger hunt
  42. Work together on a scrap book of your favorite memories
  43. Borrow I Spy or Where’s Waldo books from the library and spend time together doing them
  44. Have a Nerf war or a Nerf sharpshooter competition
  45. Stay in a hotel room with a Jacuzzi and pamper yourselves
  46. Have a game night playing your favorite board, dice and card games
  47. Do a fast food taste test: Gather 1 each of the same item from different fast food restaurants (chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, etc). Then one person wears a blindfold while the other feeds them the foods from each place one at a time. The blindfolded one has to guess where each item they try is from!
  48. Build something together. Doesn’t matter if its from IKEA or made from scratch.
  49. Go out and play Pool together
  50. Do a $10 date: Each person gets $10 to shop with. The objective is to find 2 things to buy for your other half, 1 thing they would like and 1 gag gift!

For 15 more fun ideas, head over to My Cup Runs Overand check out her list!

As rare as our date nights are, this list will last my husband and I a LONG time! I hope you find some ideas you can use to make your next date night magical! Let me know in the comments what your favorite ideas are!

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.

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

Don’t Give Up

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

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

Matthew‬ ‭6:1-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bible, bible verse, Children, family, friendship, god, Holy Spirit, jesus, Life, Love, Marriage, Parenting, Uncategorized

What 50 Years of Marriage Looks Like Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://youtu.be/jhRmtpZbC60

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

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

Finally: legacy.

Their daughter spoke of God.

Their granddaughter honored them by singing beautifully.

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

Praise God His promises are Yes! and Amen!

family, Fertility, god, health, Holy Spirit, Infertility, jesus, Life, Marriage, Miscarriage, Parenting, Reproductive Health, Uncategorized

Adenomyosis: A Diagnosis w/a Side Order of Miracle

🗣WARNING⚠️ : This is not my usual type of posts. Other than peripheral mentions of God, because He’s always a part of my life, this posting pertains to a diagnosis that is still not well-known and I would like to get the word out. This is not what I would call a Bible posting. Also, this is about female reproductive health. Unless you’re concerned about problems your wife is having or you are a woman, you may not be interested in this post. This will not become a habit of mine. It’s simply something I feel like needs to be out there so more people know.

Adenomyosis. What the heck is that? That was my first thought. I mean…being 39, at this point, I feel like most of us have heard of endometriosis. But…adenomyosis?

After having horrible cycles since I was 11 that included them being both embarrassingly heavy and unbelievably painful,

I had no idea until about a year ago that something was wrong. I just thought that I had it worse than others. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Every year, since its inception, my cycle has become progressively worse in every respect. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I was a single mom but on birth control to help with the aforementioned problems. Still, once a month, I would be nearly debilitated for at least one day. So, I couldn’t fathom what my life would be like if I were not on the pills. At one point my doctor eliminated the diagnosis of endometriosis. At that point, I sort of reserved myself to the fact that this was simply my lot in life – to have an excruciatingly painful cycle. I would go to work and sit at my desk with a heating pad on my belly, , a heating pad on my back, and taking hydrocodone for at least two days every month.

I should add here that I actually have an extremely high threshold for pain. I had my daughter naturally. After her birth, of course, many told me that my cycle would get better.

As you can tell, that clearly was not the case. And having a lot of medical providers in my family – everyone from surgeons to EMTs – I understand the pain scale better than most. With that many medical providers in my family, I don’t have the luxury of being overdramatic.

I generally operated between a 6 and a 7 at least one or two days every month.

Then my body went through a lot when I was remarried and we ventured out into trying to get pregnant. I immediately came off the pill and knew that all signs pointed to both of us being healthy. Yet… Even though I was 28, 29 years old, I couldn’t get pregnant. This went on for several years. I had a miscarriage. I was taking hormones. My husband was administering injections.

Long story short – because that’s for another post – I knew that God had promised me a son. So, in the midst of raging hormones and feeling defeated, I came off of everything. I stopped taking hormones, injections. I fell to my knees and prayed Hannah’s prayer and then told God that I was letting it go and leaving it with him. I went to work on a film and several months later realized I was pregnant. It was evident to all of us that God wanted me to know that it was Him and not the work of any kind of medication or medical assistance that gave my beautiful son to me. We will circle back around to this.

But…God gave me my son in the midst of this.

Again, I was told that my cycle would probably settle down a little bit after now having two children. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

My cycle proceeded to get worse and worse until I was operating between levels 7 and 9 two days every month. Hydrocodone, Tramadol, because, heating pads, the works.

After my mother witnessed this several times, and my husband became increasingly more concerned, my husband scheduled me for an appointment with the doctor who delivered my son – one of the best OB/GYN’s in the Southeast.

Shoutout!

Yes, they found that I had some fibroids. Yes, they determined that some cysts had burst. Beyond all of this, though, she looked at me contemplatively and simply stated, “I believe you have adenomyosis.”

My response, of course, was “What the heck is that?” Thankfully, she went on to explain it.

I could never do justice to explaining it as well as she can. I will try to do my best here with the help of websites. The one thing that I should point out, though, (allow me to just throw this spoiler out there) is that the only “cure” to this disease at this time is a hysterectomy.

Mayo Clinic says, “Adenomyosis occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — thickening, breaking down and bleeding — during each menstrual cycle. An enlarged uterus and painful, heavy periods can result.”

The cause is invasive tissue growth. Imagine the endometrial tissue is kudzu or English ivy (depending on where you live, respectfully) and it’s taking over. Every place a vine or leaf extends will still die and slough off every month…no matter…where…it’s shoved itself.

Instead of the endometrial tissue tucking up into the ovarian tubes as would happen would endometriosis, it’s invaded the actual muscle that forms the uterine walls.

If that doesn’t give you a picture in your mind of the climbing, excruciating, pain that I and many women have endured monthly… I’m not sure what will. When you add to that the muscle spasms and back pain that already a company just monthly curse, it’s not uncommon to be completely debilitated.

Unfortunately, there’s another couple of nasty side effects to adenomyosis that is not stuck within a timeframe. Those are anemia and pain. I have a rather constant dull ache all the time. It seems to be worse on my left side but it’s not something that only comes for a few days a month and then it goes away and I get to breathe easy. Also, I’m constantly battling anemia. If you’re not sure what anemia is, the easiest way to put it is that it is low iron and you feel like crap all the time. You are too tired to do laundry, you are winded from getting the mail, and you overall just feel like garbage all the time. For this, you obviously take an iron supplement and hope for the best. At worst, you get a blood transfusion.

So, (and believe me when I say I’m leaving out a lot to make this post more readable) if the pill or an IUD doesn’t work to help you bear it long enough to wait for menopause, you’re only option for a normal life is a hysterectomy at this point.

So…I’m scheduled for one. Now, I could leave this article right here. I could leave it with the emotional ups and downs that I’m going through knowing that my baby-maker will be closed for business…for good. I could tell you about the tears that I’ve cried, the frustration that I’ve endured because I have no control over this situation. I won’t though. I’m going to leave you with this:

Remember when I said, “We will circle back around to this”? Consider yourself circled back around.

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As Attain Fertility puts it, “About 1 in 100 women will have adenomyosis in their lifetime. Women in their 30s and 40s who have had one or more children are most at risk for adenomyosis and infertility…your uterus may become two or three times larger than normal. In addition, adenomyosis can cause problems with infertility. ”

IVF1 spells it out like this, “There are several reasons to suspect that adenomyosis could be a cause for infertility. The first has to do with uterine contractions. Some uterine contractions are good. There are uterus and fallopian tube contractions that help sperm to reach the egg in the fallopian tube. It seems that adenomyosis disrupts these good contraction. Later, at the time of embryo implantation, too many uterine contractions are bad. Adenomyosis may actually increase these bad contractions. The final reason is very complex. Whatever factors are responsible for the development of adenomyosis may simply make the uterus less able to allow embryos to implant.”

So, guess what? I discovered, through all of this, that my “miracle child” is even more of a miracle than I had ever imagined. Not only did God follow through on His promise to give me a son, not only did He wait until my body was cleared out of all medical intervention and medicine, but my body was literally creating a minefield environment that would never be considered even fallow at best – a body that would deter an egg from coming forth and adhering…. BUT GOD!

God said, “I will send you a husband and father to your daughter.”

God said, “Your daughter will have a brother.”

God said, “I will give you a son so prepare.”

Two people in my church cane to me and told me that they dreamt that I had a son.

I finally let go, prayed Hannah’s prayer

…and let it be. I stopped tugging on my Father’s coattails demanding, “Right now!”

My body fought it, my heart tried to whither, my mind tried to reject it, but my Spirit would not cave.

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And God came through! As He always does! Yes, I may be about to have a hysterectomy; BUT GOD made a way when there was no way without medical intervention! He said, “Let there be life!” and my son was conceived in a hostile environment that would have otherwise rejected him. God said it and that settled it!

And now, as promised by God and prophesied by man though the cards were dealt firmly against me (just the way God likes it), here he is…