Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Are You Signed Up?

On Friday, I'll send my December newsletter with subscribers--and share a BIG announcement about my writing journey. :)


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Thanks for sharing in my joy!

Monday, November 20, 2017

As if unto the Lord

When I’m writing on marriage, I often talk about the conscious effort that must be put into it to have a great marriage. They don’t just happen. I always call this the best work, and it’s rewarding because I put the effort in, but so does Laura.

For some reading this, though, it feels like your efforts aren’t paying off. You’re doing the right things, you’re really trying, but your spouse just isn’t responding or putting the same effort in. You’re loving, respecting, and honoring, and they aren’t. It can be frustrating, and you might even feel that it isn’t worth it after a while. Let me tell you, though, it is worth it because it’s the right thing to do. We serve a big God, and He does work miracles. Sometimes, His timing is just different than our timing.

Ephesians 5 instructs both spouses in how to love and respect one another. It doesn’t say to do this if your spouse does that. In this passage, Paul instructs husbands to love wives as Christ loved the church and wives to respect husbands. These are ways to live, whether we see a response or not. However, I believe if you give it long enough, you’ll see a response. It may be small at first, but God will do a work through you to change your spouse. It doesn’t happen quickly every time, but where there is basic goodwill, change can happen.

Don’t you want to live every area of life as He has called us to? We read our bibles, and we try to live by the principles it teaches. Marriage is an area, like any other, where we can see a huge impact in our lives and the lives of our closest loved one by living out the principles taught by the Word. Marriage, as unto the Lord.

I encourage you who are feeling down, those of you who are honoring and loving your spouse, but haven’t seen those things reciprocated: Hang in there. Keep doing what is right. Keep loving, keep respecting. You got married for a reason, and you can still have a great marriage. I pray that God does a work in your marriage today!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Swinging Pendulum

Sometimes I feel like my life can be described in two modes—dieting or not dieting.

Do y’all know what I mean?

I’ll start a diet and count all the numbers and say No to all the yummy things, and then I’ll get down to a weight—maybe not my goal weight, but I start to feel good about myself, and those jeans aren’t so tight now, and so what would it hurt to throw in a cookie with my salad. I was healthy. I deserve a little treat, right?

And then BAM. Let the backsliding begin.

A little treat becomes a lot of treats. They’re oh so good. And my jeans still fit, so what’s the harm?

But before I know it, I’m back to that weight, the number that’s like my attention-getter, and I hunker down into serious mode, and everyone around me knows—okay, folks, it’s time to diet again.

No, sorry, I can’t eat your delicious dessert. I’m dieting.

Sorry, I’m not eating bread. Thanks.

And I tell myself, when I start to get back to that “Yeah, this is good” weight I will keep eating like this. It’ll be a lifestyle. Because I feel so much better when I eat the good-for-me food. And so of course, I’m going to stick with it this time.

But then we get invited for Mexican food. And yeah, I should order the taco salad, but man, there’s queso and those enchiladas…..

And voilĂ . The cycle repeats. It’s like Dr.Eggerichs’ crazy cycle but instead of love and respect, it’s salad or lasagna.

So, can I be vulnerable, friends? (Yeah, more vulnerable than just confessing what my nutritional cycle looks like on an annual basis. Ha!)

This journey with infertility feels a little like my diet cycle.

Although instead of ‘dieting’ or ‘not dieting,’ it sometimes feels like faith or fear.

I’m full of faith, completely believing that God has good things for us, that we’ve heard His Word on this, that I’m healed and whole and completely capable of bearing children.

And then there’s one little slip up. Like that cookie I eat with my salad.

Maybe I really thought I’d be pregnant one month, but I wasn’t. And instead of running to my good Father with my heart, I protect it. Just a little.

Then a small lie creeps in, a quiet voice that tells me it’s my fault. If I’d had more faith. If I’d done this or that (or not eaten all. the. bread.), then maybe we would’ve gotten pregnant this month.

And then that little lie blossoms into more fear, more doubt.

Before I know it, I’m not just protecting my heart, I’m full-blown hiding it, avoiding the topic, the prayers, the declarations of faith altogether.

But it’s harvest season again. This time of year does something to my heart. I told you last fall how inspired I felt by the neighboring farm, ripe with cotton to harvest.

Our farmers plant seeds, in faith, and expect to see the fruits. They hope for what they cannot see. But they believe—

That God provides.

That God is good.

That God creates and sustains all things.

So here I am—driving by bolls of white cotton every day—and I’m reminded of the faith that He deposited in me, of the promise He’s given me, over and over and over again.

“He makes the barren woman to be the joyful mother of children.”

Dr. Eggerichs talks about how the crazy cycle in marriage is not something we ever stay off of completely, even in the best of marriages (can you tell we’re leading this marriage life group, and I’ve got Love and Respect on the brain?). He says the goal is how quickly you can recognize that you’re ON the crazy cycle and get off it.

Maybe that’s the application here, too. It’s probably unrealistic to think that I’ll be full of faith all the time. Never doubting. Never struggling to believe. Never weary.

But when I get in that place, I’ve got recognize it and get off the cycle quicker.

How about you, my friends?

Maybe it’s not about fertility for you, but is there something you’re believing God for? Is there a dream He’s placed in your heart? Do you battle with fear and doubt?

Let’s recognize when we’re headed down the path of lies and speak truth to our hearts once again.

Monday, November 6, 2017

My Happily Ever After

From the time I was in junior high (and maybe earlier), my dad has taken my sister and me on daddy/daughter dates and later daddy/daughter weekends. He instilled in us at an early age to wait for the man whose heart followed God and who would adore us. He spoiled us on those weekends and told us that our future husbands should love us the same way.

Some people might think my dad set the bar too high or that he set us up for failure by putting unrealistic expectations in our heart. And I’m not saying that young wives and young women don’t sometimes have unrealistic expectations going into marriage. (I’ve blogged before about mine.)

But sometimes it hits me so hard when I look at Howell: This is my happily ever after.

Last night when I went to bed, Howell was warming my side. He does this regularly once the temperature drops. All winter, he’ll think of me when he gets in bed, and while I go through my routine of brushing my teeth and washing my face, he’ll be warming my spot.

The same guy who buys fresh flowers for the table. Who unloads the dishwasher. Who builds me fires and holds my hand while we watch T.V.

It’s not a fairy tale, y’all. It’s real life.

Sure, Howell and I argue sometimes. We disagree. Our feelings get hurt.

But he loves me as my dad prayed a man would. He spoils me, and not just with birthdays and anniversaries, but always. He listen to the Lord and obeys, even when it’s a hard choice.

If you’re single, my friends, I implore you as my dad once did: wait for the man whose heart follows God and who will adore you.

He is out there, and it’ll be worth the wait.