August 3, 2014

My 100th Post: Stretching into Hope!

Hi my sweet readers! I haven't written here in awhile and I pray my return encourages ya! I had taken an intentional break to be met by the Lord. Things I didn't need to write on the web, but needed God to write {on my heart}. He has changing my life to breathe more hope. Yes hope! God's been working on building confidence in Him in me. The process has felt uncertain and unendurable, yet He is true and able.

In this stretching He's been leading me to new ways to connect with Him and with others, such as:

I've been singing songs to Him {in my car mostly if I'm being real} starting in 2013, in places my heart was formerly silent and cold as ice. I couldn't didn't praise Him for a long time, because I felt like I couldn't trust Him for a long time. But joy was birthed and I sang for Him. I did so, in slow and shaky travels as I learned to trust Him with each moment, each day. My heart became more free in Him. Through Him I was steady.

And then I felt called to sing in church worship. What, me? Who, me? Lord ask someone else. But He asked me still. And so with not a lot of confidence, I led worship again. And worried a lot about how I did. As if worship was measured by man. The next week He led in me that worship is not a show, it's a showing of heart. So I sang different, grounded and more still. I began to feel purposed singing for the honor of my King. Things are yet unknown again for how He'll call me to sing this fall, but I will trust.

I've also been stretched this year to look around. Yes simply to look around. In busy suburbs where people can go quickly and quietly unnoticed. Where in a minute you can find anyone looking for hope, looking for something to hang onto to. But you'll miss them if you're rushing by, caught up in this rat race. You'll see in the pausing that God's seeing us all, looking to fill the hearts of His kids. With goodness.

Finally, He's singing hope into the story. Hallelujah for this. When I'm broken over unmet dreams He's joining me in my tears. And so I let the pain fall into Him, for something He can use.

Joy awaits friends. Hope is blooming something here.

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April 1, 2014

How To Strengthen Your Marriage

Hey y'all, today's post is about caring for your marriage. I've really felt called this year to write about marriage, in an honest way. It's crazy I think that God would call me to this. Me, the girl who dreamed in color over romance. The one who obsessed over the idea of love and wanted marriage more than all else. The woman who just a few years later was ready to throw in the towel over the difficulty of her marriage.

Can I just say something here, maybe for you today? Marriage is hard. I don't think this is said (in a helpful way) enough in Christian community. Like it's said all the time about parenting, universally accepted. Marriage is hard too. Churches often offer pre-marital counseling, wedding ceremonies, and divorce care ministries, but what's being spoken about daily married life? Do you feel like you're being championed for your marriage? Do you know if God's word has anything on how to do this everyday love? You know, beyond 1st Corinthians?

I can say a stronger yes to these questions as Nate & I recently went to a Weekend To Remember event. It was a unique opportunity to be in a setting where Christian servant-leaders were actively seeking to guide and to restore marriage relationships. It was like the first time the larger Christian culture spoke the message that my marriage mattered & offered up some practical tools for real life. Through the generous pastor's scholarship offered to us we were able to attend the conference for free. Praise God for this because regular tickets were $300/couple for the conference not adding in meals/optional hotel room, which makes for quite an investment for most couple's financial status. So where can we look for a free marriage boost?

3 {free} ways to boost strong marriages:

1. Turn to God & God-breathed Truth {aka the Bible}

2 Timothy 3:16-17 & James 5:16 really backs this up. These might seem like the hardest or even the most predictable ways to find strength, but just throw some faith out to God & see what He will do.

2. Utilize Family-focused Ministries

This is the best if you're looking for perspective on something topical like "temptation in marriage" or "dealing with conflict". Some of my go-to sites are: Focus On The Family, Relevant, and Family Life. Both Focus on the Family & Relevant offer free/cheap print magazine subscriptions. Family Life puts on Weekend To Remember. If you are a military/ministry family you may qualify for an event scholarship.

3. Simply Be Real

Be real with your spouse. Learn to love in action and in truth. Be real with your friends, family, and church community. Paint a picture of the beauty and struggle of a real marriage, what life really looks life after the aisle. You never know when someone's watching you to see how marriage can be done. Let the world know you don't have it all together, that your marriage isn't perfect. Celebrate the realness of your marriage.

It's your turn friend, comment with where you find strength for marriage...

p.s. This post is not sponsored in any way. This is to encourage you in ways I've been encouraged.

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