Posted in For My Book, Inspiration, My Testimony

Friendships with History

Tonight, Nathan and I were able to enjoy an evening of dinner and chatting with an old friend. It reminded me that there is something to be said about friends that know your history. I am so thankful for so many of these friends in my life.

I am thankful for those friends that know where I have been, for those that have walked through the good times and bad with me, for those that have prayed for me and with me, for those with whom I can reminisce and for all that these friendships have taught me along my journey. I am certain that God orchestrated these friendships in my life to keep me grounded. Some of them keep me laughing, some of them remind me that I need to shut my mouth more and listen, and others keep me accountable in my walk with God without even knowing it.

My girlfriends and I often talk about the “opposite peer pressure” we faced within our group, and man oh man, I am very thankful for that peer pressure even to this day. I am so humbled by these special friendships. I’m not sure why God chose this path of friendship for me, perhaps because He knew that I need them in my life to keep me serving Him, but it is one of those gifts from Him that I truly treasure.

It is also one of those gifts that I pray He shares with my children as He also gives me discernment to know which friendships to support and which ones to shield them from along their journeys. I truly believe that in many situations, friendships make or break your relationship with God. For me, my friendships through my girlfriends and my youth group were friendships that kept me longing to serve my Heavenly Father. Without those relationships, I don’t know that my journey would have been about serving the Lord.

All of this rambling to say, cherish your friendships and invest in them. I read somewhere recently that a friendship will last forever if it makes it 7 years – I don’t know if that has any truth in it, but it reigns true in my life to date. While some of my friendships have far surpassed that mark, I have others in my life now that I know will go beyond that seven year mark and flourish. I always know a good friendship has evolved in my life when I can say dumb things and not have to apologize because she already knows my heart. I know a good friendship for me is not talking for 6 months and being able to pick right up where we left off. I know a good friendship for me is a friend that will set me straight and love me through my craziness. A good friend for me is one that forgives me over and over again, one that prays with me and for me, one that loves me for me.

 

Posted in Advice to "Love" By

7 Words That Will Change Our Marriages

This article is so real for all of us. I think this blog is a “must follow” for husbands and dads!

ApParent Stuff

We spend billions each year on our appearance. Gym memberships, dieting programs that may or may not work, new clothes and more. Don’t get me wrong, we should care how we look. But, what do our marriages look like? More importantly, where does our marital health rank on the list of To-Do’s? Instead of our bodies and physical appearance being top priorities, what if we put that focus on our marriages instead?

The hardest part of parenting, that no one seems to want to warn you about, is the strain children have on your marriage. Children can come between you and your spouse. For us, it’s quite literal. I can’t seem to hug my wife without my 4-year-old butting in between us to make a “sandwich.”

As the years go by, the children naturally become our focus, making it easy to lose sight of each other. We don’t take the…

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Posted in Inspiration, Proverbs 31 Wife

Instilling a Love Relationship

The thing that I want more than anything else in life is for my children to have a love relationship with our Heavenly Father. I pray daily for my children to receive salvation at a young age and live a life serving God. I pray for them, pray with them, we attend church, we listen to K Love (please don’t be dismayed, I don’t pray enough, we miss services here and there and we enjoy our share of secular music – we totally do not have it together) and we talk about God’s love often, but are these the things that will lead my children into a personal relationship with Christ? Maybe, maybe not. I do believe that building a love relationship with anyone takes intentional and consistent effort. We must be intentional with our spouses. We must be intentional in serving God. We must be intentional in raising our children to love God. We can’t make them love God, but we can create an environment that makes them want to love God.

I look at our family. Nate, our youngest child and only son, will more than likely grow up to be a University of Louisville Cardinals fan because my husband is a Cardinal fan. He will even be content to receive ridicule as he cheers for the team that many Kentuckians cheer against. He will live in this manner because he will desire to follow in the footsteps of his dad.

In this same way, our children will seek a relationship with God that is modeled after that of their parents. Our children will want to follow in our footsteps – are we leaving good footprints? This doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. Praise God!! This means we need to be real with our children. We need to serve God. We need to spend time in His Word. We need to ask for forgiveness when we lose it with them or our spouses. We need to have a true love relationship with God that includes us digging into the Word, praying, praising and serving. If we don’t have a personal love relationship with Christ, our children will not be compelled to love God in our homes. Yes, they may come into a saving relationship with God through church, friends or youth group, but our homes need to be that place in which they learn how to make that relationship grow by watching their parents love God with a fervor that is desirable. If they don’t find that in our homes, they will seek mentors outside of our homes. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m a little selfish, I want to hold that role for my children and let others simply enhance my role.

Posted in Inspiration, Proverbs 31 Wife, The Crazy Life

In His Time

God will work in His time. His timing is perfect. Trust Him. Everything will happen in God’s perfect time.

So many of us know these truths, but it is so difficult to have faith in these truths. Today, I was reminded that God’s timing is perfect. I know this. I’ve read it a thousand times, I’ve heard it from the pulpit a hundred times and I have talked about it more times than I can count . . . but I still need to be reminded of the truth. His timing truly is knit together in a way that brings the most benefit to His children. He knows what we need, when we need it and how we need what we need. Wow. He knows our innermost beings, our hearts and our souls, and He created us for His purposes. I know these things, but it takes seeing Him work firsthand for me to be reminded about the awesomeness of our Heavenly Father.

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are  called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28

Yesterday morning, I was thrilled to open up my email and see a birth announcement from a fellow teacher. She and I don’t know each other real well, but from the time I have gotten to spend with her, I love that I always see Christ in her sweet spirit. She and her husband have recently become foster parents, and in getting to know how they came to this journey, I had heard from a few other teachers that at one point they were actually trying for a third child and after realizing that was not in the plan at the time, they felt led to foster. They were blessed with a precious baby boy in December and found out they were pregnant two days later.

While I would have probably been a complete basket case questioning God’s timing, I was reminded this morning through her email that God’s timing is perfect. In her email, she praised God for His perfect plan, that even though it was different than their plan, it is His perfect plan.

As I journey through this upcoming year, I pray that I will embrace God’s time and let go of my plans to see His plan, His amazingly perfect plan.

Posted in Inspiration, My Testimony, Proverbs 31 Wife, The Crazy Life

Walking with God in the Midst of Busy Lives

I always admire Courtney Joseph and her willingness to be so real in her blog, so when I happened upon a post by her on another one of my favorite sites, I had to read it. I’m so glad I did.

I used to do these very things when I was in high school and college, but for some reason, I have steered away from hiding God’s Word in my heart and taking it with me throughout my days. I remember this being such an encouragement for me as a teen and young adult, so I am excited about this reminder to get back into God’s Word and take it with me all day long. I challenge you to get your index cards ready for scripture that will encourage you this week.

Click here to see the article or just read it below:

While God’s word sits on our shelves waiting for us to get a slow moment, the world bids us to keep busy. Get those kids signed up for soccer, piano, gymnastics, basketball, football, and the list keeps going. You just name it, everybody else is doing it.

The world tells us to get our calendars full and stay on the move. If you don’t, your kids might miss out, or they won’t be cool, or they won’t learn important life lessons, or they won’t be socialized, or they won’t, won’t, won’t. “Get busy and keep busy” is how the unspoken mantra goes.

The world says this chaotic running around is what the good moms do.

But the truth is that we need slow moments.

It’s in the slow moments that God speaks to us through his word and we speak to him in prayer. This is when we step away from all the busyness in order to fellowship with our heavenly Father. This is when we come to his word for the precious purpose of drinking from the living well — Jesus Christ.

Here is a simple guide for busy moms who want to build more of these slow moments into their everyday — moments to stop and drink deeply from the living well.

1. Choose one passage of Scripture for the week. My favorite passages for meditating on come from Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels, and the Epistles.

2. Write the passage on a note card, and slip it in your pocket or beside your computer. Pull it out periodically, and read over it. Keep it in your purse all week long, and pull it out at convenient times and read through it.

3.  Read the passage first thing in the morning. Read the passage as soon as you get out of bed, so it’s the first thing on your mind that morning.

4. Open your Bible to that passage, and place it on the kitchen counter. All day long, when you walk through the kitchen, pause, read the passage, and then move on.

5. Read the passage out loud. Read it to yourself, and read it to your children during mealtime and at bedtime.

6. Reread the passage before you go to bed at night. Bookend your days with the reading of this passage of Scripture.

7. Write the passage at the top of your to-do list. This way, every time you look over your to-do list, you can review the Scripture passage.

Posted in Inspiration

God is Leading . . . Why the Stress?

Why oh why do I stress and stress over what others will think and feel when God is leading me in a particular direction?

At times in my life, I could care less about the thoughts of others and then, in other moments, I stress over upsetting others. Those “others” that I worry so much about are usually fellow Christians. As fellow Christ lovers, I shouldn’t have to worry about them thinking I’m crazy for following God, so why do I worry? I have no idea! I think it is my constant second guessing, my constant feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy that make me fear the thoughts of others.

This week, I came upon an article from Crosswalk that I had bookmarked years ago – two points really stood out to me as I read it:

  1. Keep your motives in check. When you think you sense God leading you to serve in a specific way, check your motives by asking who it will help, who will receive glory, and why you believe you should do it. Then spend some time studying the Bible to see if your desires line up with what God’s Word says about God’s love compelling you to serve others. Afterward, if you feel at peace, move forward boldly to use your influence and initiate positive change.
  2. Fear only God. You don’t need to fear anything or anyone except for God Himself. Fearing God means having a healthy respect for His awesome power, and doing your best to honor and obey God in everything you do and say. When you fear God, He will give you the peace you need to overcome any lesser fear, so you can keep stepping out in faith as the Holy Spirit leads you to change the world for the better.

Whatever you do,

work at it

with

ALL YOUR HEART

as working for the LORD,

not for man. – Colossians 3:23

 

Posted in Advice to "Love" By, Proverbs 31 Wife

Marriage is Hard. It’s Worth it.

It seems like I have had lots of talks with my husband and girlfriends about marriage lately, and with each conversation, I believe that we leave always knowing two things:

    1. Marriage is hard.
    2. Marriage is worth it.

For those of us that are married, we know these things. For those of you that aren’t married yet, please know these two facts before you enter into marriage. I am so thankful that I had amazing Christian couples that not only showed me the blessing and joy of marriage, but they were also real with me about the toughness of marriage. I am so thankful that I knew things weren’t going to be roses every day and the story would probably not unfold like a fairytale.

Nathan and I have quite a few hard times. We have had those seasons in which we are frustrated with one another. Thankfully, we also have seasons of joy. I am most thankful that we have commitment. From the day that we were married, I know that God ordained us for one another, and because of that, I know that if we fully give our marriage to Him, it will be more beautiful than we can even imagine.

Sometimes we may wonder if this beauty in marriage is possible. I had a pastor friend tell me that he is certain there are many marriages entered into between two partners that are not exactly the partners that God had prepared, but once the marriage occurs, that marriage is an ordained work of God and through a contract like marriage, God can and wants to do mighty works.

Listening is so hard.

Nathan and I still struggle at this whole listening thing after 8 years of marriage and 5 years of dating. A lot of times, I think I’m listening, but I fail to act upon that listening. I really think it is essential for me to listen to Nathan’s passions and dreams and frustrations so that I can make sure to work at fulfilling his needs positively. As a woman and a mom, I so often get tied up in thinking my way is the right way.

Time together is worth it.

With 3 children (ages 5,4,3) and two full time jobs outside of the home, taking time together for just the two of us does not take as much of a priority as it should in our marriage. I have really been thinking about this a lot lately. We were blessed to participate in a marriage retreat led by Pepper Pratt in April 2013, and I will never forget him saying that we need to get Symsonia, Kentucky (our home), in our rear view mirror every other month. (I really think that he should provide childcare since he challenged us, but hey, I guess I’ll cut him some slack on that one.) I remember sitting in the pew thinking that would be amazing, but impossible. We have made that happen once since he encouraged us, and while that probably isn’t enough, it was a fabulous time together. I truly felt like we were reliving just a few days of our honeymoon.

Time together has been weighing so heavily on my heart lately that I have marked our date nights on our calendar for 2014. Please pray that we will stick to spending time together, and I will pray that you will be able to find time with your sweetie pie, as well. If you aren’t really liking that “sweetie pie” lately, I think spending time together is even more crucial!! Maybe we will only have time for a Redbox in the “man cave”, but surely that will be better than just passing in the kitchen.

When we do spend time together, another thing that has really been on me lately is that we need to not only spend time together, we need to do something fun! I don’t have to just be a married, grown-up mom. I get to live with my best friend, and he is pretty darn hot! I fell in love with him when we were young and dumb and acted silly – maybe we need to recreate those silly times watching dumb movies, playing basketball, shopping, etc. Maybe your fun will be dancing in the rain, holding hands on a roller coaster or playing hide and seek – whatever it is, we need to have some FUN!!!! I will never forget in our marriage counseling that one of the things our husbands need most is for us to share in things they enjoy, i.e. basketball, video games, golfing, monopoly, bike riding, etc. We actually added that in our vows, so I better keep my end of the deal.

Our fairytale must be written – they don’t just unfold.

Don’t we all want a fairytale love story that is always red hot passionate love? Don’t we always want our heart to skip a beat when we see our spouse? Don’t we want butterflies when we kiss? We do! But, is that reality all the time? Nope.

If we want this fairytale, we have to be active participants in our marriages. I can’t just sit back and expect Nathan to sweep me off of my feet every day, and I will never be everything Nathan needs. My best girlfriend always reminds me that Jesus is the only one that can meet all of our needs.

Think of fairytales that you do know. For a fairytale to evolve, the characters have to overcome real difficulty in order to develop and achieve the ending they desire. If we want a fairytale, we have to embrace our hard days, weeks, years so that we can bask in the pleasure of our “happily ever after” as we give our marriages and our spouses and ourselves to God for Him to bless us with a fairytale.

Men and women speak a different language, but our heavenly Father knows them both – only He can translate our needs for us to live that fairytale.

 

Posted in Inspiration, Proverbs 31 Wife, The Crazy Life

My Journey in 2014 . . . His Journey for 2014

I am never one that makes a lot of New Year Resolutions. I may think about things that I need to change, need to add or need to remove, but as far as actually acting on them for more than one day, I’m not sure that I have ever made it to day two of a resolution at the beginning of a New Year.

This year (all 2 days of it), I keep pondering what I need to do differently. I even sent Nathan an email today asking him if he wants to make some resolutions with me. Like a normal guy, I think he probably thought to himself that this is just another one of my crazy ideas to get us healthier and to make us all love one another more as we share another year together. And, perhaps that is what it is, but I pray that the me in 2014 will be a different me.

I pray that me in 2014 will be me serving God in the journey He has created for me. I am excited to enter this year knowing that I am finally serving God in my profession in a way that I know for sure He wants to use me. With this excitement, also continues a sense of fear that my family has endured since I left my much higher paying job in September 2012. There are times, even today, that I ask myself why I did this to my family? Why did I create a situation that makes us have to watch our pennies instead of make more? Why when those around me are doing more, making more, advancing higher, why did I decide to go backward?

And then, in that same moment, I am reminded –

My Journey is His Journey.

His Passion shall be my Passion.

His Love is to flow through Me.

And this journey . . . is amazing because I am getting to be involved in His work just exactly the way He has planned it for me. And for this, I am in awe. I am so thankful. I am so delighted. (And, sometimes, I even begin to feel sorry for those people that don’t get to feel the joy that I get to feel each day.)

I need reminders like these to know that it’s okay for my New Year resolutions to be big or small, silly or serious. I don’t have to be at the gym every single day. I don’t have to start the Paleo diet tomorrow. I don’t have to have a clean laundry room each night (though my husband would probably love me a lot more). I don’t have to pack an organic lunch for each of my children. I don’t have to do any of these things, but I do have to do these things if God has called me to lead this journey in 2014. Oh dear Lord, I’m praying for an easier journey!!

All of this to say, I get so caught up in making changes to be like others, to be like the success of the world, to lead the journey that the world sees as delightful. But, I am not here to serve this world, I am here to serve God. I am here to delight in my Heavenly Father – my 2014 New Year’s Resolution is to “delight myself in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4). I pray that I will humbly come before His throne daily to ask Him how I may serve him in His journey.

My silly resolution is to blog actively . . . it keeps me going, it keeps me accountable.

Posted in The Crazy Life

Even When I’m Crazy

It has been a while since I have spent time posting regularly, and I really need to get back on track. Back on track, for me, not for you the readers because I’m pretty certain that I’m not what keeps you going each day. (At least, I hope not being that I have been terrible at this whole blog thing!) I need to get back on track in so many areas – my quiet time, my prayer time, myfitnesspal, my house cleaning, my rising early to prepare myself and my family for the day. There is a lot to work on in my life.

But, does this mean that God is going to wait for me to take control of my life before He desires to use me? Does this mean that I have to have it all together before God leads me into a new journey? Not at all. This isn’t the case for any of us.

As God is working in my life, I am nervous as to what He has in store for me and my family.

One of the big things that is worrying me is the beginning of school life just around the corner for our children. Our oldest little girl will begin Kindergarten in the Fall. I pray that we are leading her in a journey that points her to Christ. I pray that she is surrounded with friends that pressure her to live for Christ and not for the world. (I thank God daily for surrounding me with such friends from a young age.) I pray (with her even now) that God prepares a husband for her that is simply spectacular in his love for her and his love for God (and his love for his mother-in-law).

God has taken such special care of our family since I made a career change – even when I haven’t had it all together. I know that He intended this step of faith for me.

I’m anxious to see the next steps unfold. And, I’m praying that in the midst of His plan, I will focus on getting back on track in the life I lead as a child of God, a wife, a mother and a friend.

Our God is faithful. Our God is awesome. What a blessing to know that I am in His plan even when I’m sorta crazy!!

Posted in Advice to "Love" By, Around the House, D.I.Y., Dave Ramsey says . . ., For My Book, Inspiration, My Testimony, Proverbs 31 Wife, Recipes, The Crazy Life

Seeing as Christ Sees

It has been a while since my last post, but in this new year, I am vowing to get in shape both physically and spiritually in my relationship with God. And, as I commit to make the most out of 2013, in my quiet time this morning, I came across a quote from Marcel Proust, a French novelist –

The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes.

The contentment in our journeys is truly not about seeking earthly happiness, the peace and joy of our journeys truly comes from seeing our days through new eyes, the eyes of Christ.

For some of us this may mean that today, we simply ask God to reopen our eyes to Him, to His ways. For others, this may mean that we need to take the first step into a relationship with Christ.

No matter the case, we cannot find true contentment and peace without looking with Christ-like eyes.