Wednesday, February 25, 2009


As I type I am listening to a new Cd by a group called, VOTA. (You can check it out here - copy & paste into your URL: My absolute favorite song on this cd is called "Honestly." I should warn you that all of the songs are on the "rocky" side except for my favorite song, so if contemporary music isn't your thing, you may want to only listen to "Honestly."

Living authentically.

What do those two words mean to you?

I think many times it is easier for people to "place their best foot forward" instead of being authentic. I am going to post more about what it means to me in another post soon. I will be speaking on the topic coming up and wanted to get your feedback. It would mean a lot to me if you'd take a few minutes and share your thoughts. If you'd rather share annonymously or send me an e-mail; feel free.

I pray God would touch and bless each of you who read this post today! He loves you and longs to fill you with His peace, grace and joy.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday - Serving Others


Here we are at another
Titus 2 Tuesday! It is easy to join in-just answer the question below:

What have learned from another woman this week? (or ever)

Enter your link below and link back to this post!

Today I am choosing to honor my friend, Linda. She loves the Lord and is such a walking testimony of Christ's love for others. One of my first memories of Linda was her telling a friend that she was in the grocery store and couldn't decide what brand to buy of something so she prayed about it. Asking God to show her and help her to choose wisely. I knew I needed to get to know her! I love how she seeks God's face in EVERYTHING - big or small. It is such a wonderful example and reminder to me.

I was blessed to have her as my own group leader last year in MOPS. (Mothers of Preschoolers) Her heart for our group of women was huge. We had no doubt that she loved us, prayed for us, and would go out of her way to bless us.

This past week a mutual friend of ours, who has been extremely sick lately, told several of us that she was overwhelmed and behind in housework, laundry, etc. You know that feeling when life has just completely overwhelmed you and you simply don't know where to begin? She was there. Linda went out of her way and went with her to the laundry mat so she could get all of her laundry done at one time. Going to the laundry mat alone is no fun; but add a girlfriend who will talk and laugh with you while the clothes are being washed and dried and then fold them all with you...amazing. Memorable even. What a huge step in helping our mutual friend to regain momentum and get back into life.

I am continuously amazed at how you allow the Lord to lead you Linda. His love is evident and overflowing and I am blessed to call you my friend!

Click the links below to read about more things others have learned from Titus 2 Women in their lives:

Marital Moments Issue 23 - Husband's Panel

We held a "Husband's Panel" at our MOPS (Mother's of Pre-Schoolers) group this past Friday. Six men braved the group of 65+ women and answered a compilation of questions on marriage and parenting. The one theme that seemed to run throughout the Q & A time was the importance of open and respectful communication between husband and wife. Here is a list of the top ten things that we were able to "take away" from the panel:

1. Question: Please list the following in order of importance to you upon arriving home from work: 1) Wife and kids greet you at the door, 2) Nice meal prepared, or 3) Clean house

Answers: It was unanimously agreed that the most important would be to be greeted warmly by their wife and children upon arrival. Some mentioned that it didn't necessarily have to be "at the door;" but within a few minutes of them getting home.

The husbands agreed that it was very helpful to have at least one clean and organized space when they get home from work. It helps to leave the "stress" from their day. Some mentioned the kitchen counter, a room, etc. *Talk with your husband to see if this may be something he is hoping for and which space would be most helpful to him if it were cleaned.

Nice meal was also unanimously their last choice of the three.

2. Question: How do you think the responsibilities/roles in the house should be delegated?

Answer: "Role/Task Defining" lists. Make a list of all that "needs to be done" around the house. Husband and wife each has a copy of the list, split up, and separately write down who they felt was responsible for each item: ie. Trash taken out - Husband; Dishes - Wife. This can be an eye opener for both of what the expectations of one another actually are. Take some time to communicate about any changes that may need to be made.

3. Question: What is most important in keeping communication open? & How can I get my husband to listen to me? (These 2 questions ended up coming up together)

Set apart time and cultivate good communication with your spouse. Allow the other to tell you that "this isn't a good time" to talk and schedule time if needed. Some felt it was helpful if we would give them a "heads up" that we wanted to talk to them about something and allow them some time to process the issue before discussing it.

If you communicate in a way that is respectful; it is easier for them to want to be loving and communicative. Nothing shuts done communication faster than an anger or bitter approach.

4. Question: How can I get my husband to help out more?

Answers: It was mentioned that it is ESSENTIAL how you ask your husband for assistance. The tone of voice, approach, etc.
*Also VERY effective to point out that you would have more time and energy for intimacy if they helped out with ___________.

*The guys said it is needed for us to ask for help specifically. "Could you unload the dishwasher or could you please help ____ clean their room?"

5. Question: What would your perfect date be?

Most of the men mentioned that they just enjoy blocks of time with their wife and enjoy seeing her in different and new situations.

"Dinners After 8:00pm" One husband and his wife often do special "dinners" after the kids have been tucked in so they can have uninterrupted time with one another.

The last 5 "take home tips" that either came up in the guys "closing comments" or throughout the panel:

6. The value of knowing your spouse's "Love Language." Gary Chapman has an awesome book, "The Five Love Languages" which would be a wonderful resource for you to read together as a couple. You can also go to to take a 30 second assessment and get more information about what the "Love Languages" are all about.

7. They don't want to be treated like "one of the kids."

8. When we leave our husbands with the kids; the guys mentioned that they appreciated when we left things pre-prepared for them: Bottles pre-measured, meals planned, etc.

9. Remember that you chose to marry your husband. He may never change. YOU are the only person that you have control over, so begin with yourself on trying to make things better within your relationship.

10. God is the only person who truly "completes us." He is our source of all wisdom, love, and grace. When we humbly seek Him, He will reveal to our hearts what we should do for ourselves, our husbands, and our children.

I pray that this post will provide you will insight, ideas and encourage you to open the communication lines with your own spouse!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

That's Where The Power Is

My two year old is starting to say things about being afraid of the dark. Because he was an "unexpected blessing" and the other two are a little older, I was reflecting back to what we did when the other two went through this time frame of fearing the dark, monsters under the bed, etc.

We tried EVERYTHING we could think of with my daughter when she was almost 3. The happy stories and songs before bed, praying together, checking the room/closet before getting into bed, nightlights, music playing, flashlights, "God is Bigger Than the Boogieman" by Veggie Tales, you name it; you can bet we owned it or had tried it. One day it dawned on me that there was one thing we hadn't tried...

The Bible is clear that we are in Spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

That the enemy of our souls seeks to kill, steal and destroy (even women & children...) I Peter 5:8 "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

I decided to teach my daughter how to "fight." (In the Spirit.)

Now, I didn't pull out the Bible and show her all of the verses about spiritual warfare; I simply explained to her that God loves us, sent His son to pay the price for our sin (in VERY basic terms - He took your consequence for your behavior) and because He is our Savior; there is power in Jesus's name. (Philippians 2:10 "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth"; even demons fear Him - Mark 5:10, Mark 9:39)

I simply told her the next time she was afraid that there was a monster under her bed, footsteps walking into her room, etc. She should say out loud, "Go away in Jesus Name!!" Even monsters have to obey God. That night, my husband and I were laying there in bed and heard her yell, "Go away in Jesus's Name!" Then silence. She didn't cry, didn't come get us, didn't want to come sleep in our bed. In fact, after that night, her nighttime fears all but stopped.

It worked wonderfully until one day we went over to a friend's house (who had a VERY LARGE dog...) Can you guess what my daughter yelled at the top of her lungs at the dog? ;) Thankfully, it was a friend of mine who was a sister in the Lord so we were able to have a good laugh over it.

Our middle child (Gentle Strength) also did this when he was little. In fact, the other night after we had read a chapter of "The Swiss Family Robinson" where the father and sons encounter a boa constrictor, (great right before bed reading...) He hugged me and we were about to pray when he said, "Mom, I know that there isn't really a snake under my bed; but I'm just a little do I pray about that again?" "The power is in the name and blood of Jesus Christ, Buddy, pray in Jesus' name..."

It's not just children who deal with fear though is it? There are times when my husband is traveling where I will literally leave my Bible open on the nightstand. Times when we are in a situation where there is viable reason to be fearful in our surroundings. Imagined or real; the truth is still the same. There is power in the name and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is one of my favorite Scriptures dealing with fear:

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Peace to you today!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday - Contentment


Here we are at another Titus 2 Tuesday! It is easy to join in-just answer the question below:

What have learned from another woman this week? (or ever)

Enter your link below and link back to this post!

Today I am choosing to honor my friend, Susan. She is a beautiful and true friend who I can learn many things from; but the thing that she is modeling so amazingly to me right now is true contentment and genuine faith in God's provision. Her husband is a wonderful, hard working man. Who, like many, does not have a lot of work right now. She is pregnant with their fourth precious child.

It has been such a blessing to watch her stay at peace amidst challenging times. There are two verses that have taken on a richer meaning to me as I watch Susan:

Philippians 4:12 "
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (NIV)

Isaiah 43:10 "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (KJV)

Susan, you are a beautiful and generous woman and I am blessed to have you in my life.

Who would you like to honor today? Simply write a Titus 2 Post including a link back here so your readers can enjoy other amazing Titus 2 Women and enter your link below!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Marital Moments Issue 22 - 100th Post!

It is timely that my 100th post is on a Marital Moment day. I began this blog awhile ago because I felt God prompting me to start one. Honestly, I barely knew what a blog was and didn't know if I wanted to put my thoughts and heart out here on the internet for anyone to read. I have been through a lot in my life. I have learned so much along the way and God has opened my eyes and heart to see Him in the everyday, ordinary parts of my life.

A huge part of why I enjoy blogging is because I have a passion for people reaching their God given potential in life and marriage. Those passions have been birthed out of pain, loss, suffering, love, joy and peace in my own life. I am writing this blog because it is a part of my own purpose in Christ.

I fear that occasionally when people read, they may think I am trying to sound like I have it all together; that is not the case. I am learning every day. Often, the things I post about are things that God is at work on in my own heart. I fail. (often) My husband fails. My kids fail. Even our cat doesn't have it all together! But our character is being shaped (in our teachable moments), our love for each other grows (even when we have days where we don't "like" each other very much), and our God is faithful always -even when we are not.

God has been at work in my heart in the area of respect and submission lately. The new sermon series at church is on the topic, we just had a devotional on it in our MOPS group (Mothers of Preschoolers), and it is something that does not necessarily come easily to me. It is easier to believe that someone has to earn my respect on a daily basis rather than for me to respect someone's position and to automatically submit because of that role or position.

Growing up we had relatives who we jokingly referred to as "The Bickersons." As children, we would count the minutes until we could leave when we went to their house. Although they chose to marry one another; it was as if they were not willing to allow themselves to be a reflection of one another. They would often sarcastically put each other down so they could be the one who was "right," more informed, and approved of. They were so insecure in who they each were as individuals and yet convinced that they were each somehow better than the other. It was draining to be around.

Most of us have heard the Scriptures about wives submitting to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22; 5:24 & Colossians 3:18) However; the Scriptures that have really been jumping out to me are ones that happen as a result of proper submission.

"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." (Proverbs 31:11-12) "Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land." (Proverbs 31:23) "

Now the Proverbs 31 woman is one that I think we all kind of look at with a bit of disdain sometimes. It seems overwhelming to do all that is in this passage of Scripture; but one area we can and should work on is building the confidence of our husbands, bringing them good, and respecting them in front of others so that they, in turn, will also respect our men.

This truth hit me as I was praying over my son the other night. Each night before bed we pray together and I was praying for his future wife. I heard myself say (do you ever do that or am I the only one?) "Please bless him with a wife who will love and respect him unconditionally. As soon as the words were out of my mouth it was as if the Holy Spirit was asking me, "Do you love and respect your husband unconditionally?" The bitter truth is that there are days when I want him to earn my respect. My prayer for my son's wife turned into my prayer for myself.

"Dear Lord, please help me to love and respect my husband unconditionally. Allow him to have confidence in me. Allow me to bring him good all the days of my life. I pray that my husband would be respected by others because they can see the respect that I have for him."

One other powerful Scripture on submission for any of you who have a spouse who does not know the Lord:

"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your 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." (I Peter 3:1)

Thank you to each of you who read my blog. Your comments and friendships are truly a blessing and encouragement to me! I pray that God is blessing you and working in your hearts!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Love Doctor

It is almost Valentines Day. I wanted to encourage you to do something inexpensive and meaningful for someone that you care about. Instead of waiting to see if anyone does anything for you; I challenge you to be creative and do something for someone else that you love.

Here are a couple of inexpensive ideas that I have done in the past & I would LOVE to hear some of yours~

"The Love Doctor"

Take an empty medicine bottle (washed out & label removed.) Make up a fun label that says something like:

"For Emotional Health, please take one tablet daily or as needed for encouragement."

Put your own name as the prescribing doctor. You can make it as "official" looking as you choose - including your "prescription refill" number & phone number, etc.

Inside you will put one line (typed and cut out) reasons that you love the person, what makes them unique or special, funny things that you love about them or things they say often, etc. Then simply roll up the slip of paper tightly and put a small amount of tape on to seal the edge. (making it look like a pill.) Make sure to compliment more than their physical or exterior strengths.

Some examples to get you started:

For a Spouse - "You do a wonderful job providing for our family even during difficult financial times." "I love the way that you encourage the kids if they have had a bad day." "It secretly makes me smile every time you wear those ripped jeans that I always tell you to throw out." "I love it when you share a Scripture Verse that has stood out to you."

For a Child - "I love your hugs!" "You are such an amazing big brother!" "I'm so proud of how you play Basketball." "It makes my heart smile when you pray for your friends." "You rock at math!"

You can use colored paper or use colored ink if you choose. Try to think of 20-30 things so they have a full month's supply. It is easy to do this for a parent, grandparent, friend, etc. You can also just write out encouraging Scripture verses as well.

"Coupon Books"

This is a very well known idea; but I challenge you to put in a few things that might take a little more effort on your part.

Basic ideas - "Redeem this coupon for _______ " (favorite meal, back rub, down time, chores you will do in their place, etc)

More Challenging ideas - These will take more effort on your part and you may want to include a little "fine print" to help these be more successful.

"Redeem this coupon to 'get out of the dog house for free'" *To redeem this coupon; you may simply bring the coupon to me and say, "I'm sorry." You must then give me 15 minutes of alone time.

-During that 15 minutes of alone time, you breathe deep and choose to let go of the offense. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail (or a close friend) to give you a couple of Scriptures or to be praying for you!!! In order for this one to be effective; you will need to let go of the offense - surrender it to the Lord and not pick it back up. **You may only want to put one of these into your booklet if you know it will be a challenge for you** Keep in mind that if they are willing to come to say "I'm sorry" and bring you the coupon that they are not wanting to be at odds with you and are reaching out to be at peace!

"Redeem this coupon for a three hour block of uninterrupted sports watching (gaming, etc)!" *To redeem this coupon; it must be presented to me 24 hours in advance of the sporting event you wish to watch and must not conflict with a previously scheduled event.*

-You will have 24 hrs notice here so plan accordingly. If there are children at the house; either take them out or plan activities to keep them busy during the sports time. You can really bless them by going out of your way to provide their favorite snacks as well. *If this is done effectively; you can begin to open communication lines between you & your spouse by helping them to understand that with a little notice and consideration there can be much more peace.

I'd love to hear some of your inexpensive Valentine ideas!!! (Especially because I've already used the above mentioned ones!)

In Christ's Love,


And The Winner Is...

I went to bed last night longing to be able to give all of you this book! As I have been praying for each of you & your marriages God is giving me such a heart for you. I could not decide on my own. My daughter saw my internal frustration and said, "We'll help you mom!" So I wrote out each of your names and placed them in this basket. We shook it all up, and...

The winner of the book, "The Love Dare" by Stephen Kendrick is...

Littlest one was not being cooperative for a photo moment this morning; so I decided to throw in one of my latest favorite pictures of him. He has most definitely been a part of the process too! He is carrying the basket around right now pulling out names and saying, "Yeah!" for each one.

Although all of you could not win the book; I am and will continue to pray daily for your marriages through Valentines Day and as you come to mind after that time frame. Today I am praying specifically for woundings of the heart to be healed as only God can do. Some of you have large seeping wounds right now. Others may have small scratches that just haven't healed and are possibly on the verge of infection. Unnoticed daily, but occasionally "give you trouble" as my husband's Bubbi used to say. Here are a few of the Scriptures the Lord has led me to today as I pray for each of your marriages: (bolding emphasis mine)

Psalm 103 (NIV)

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

John 10: 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (NKJ)

Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. (NIV)

Standing with you as you pursue your marriages!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Last Day to Enter "The Love Dare" Give Away

The give away that I posted on Monday with my Marital Moments closes tonight at midnight.(Eastern time) Click here to jump back to that post to enter.

We had AWESOME Titus 2 Tuesday links yesterday!! If you haven't had a chance to check them all out, I encourage you to take a few minutes to do it! You will be blessed.

I am praying individually for each of the marriages of those who have already left comments on Monday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday - My Name Is Pride


Here we are at another Titus 2 Tuesday! It is easy to join in-just answer the question below:

What have learned from another woman this week? (or ever)

This is an opportunity to honor women in your life and to share wonderful tips and lessons with all of us! We can learn so much from each other! Feel free to honor the same women more than once as you continue to learn from them and their lives!

Simply write your post including a short sentence inviting readers back here to read more Titus 2 Tuesday posts and enter your link into Mr. Linky below!

Thank you to all of you who commented yesterday - I am praying for each of your marriages!

Here is my post for today:

Pride has a way of rearing it's ugly head in our lives doesn't it? It affects our marriage, our relationship with our children, friends, just about everyone we come in contact with really. A girlfriend of mine, who I love dearly because we can always be completely real with one another through the good and the bad; shared this poem with me the other day as we were delving into lessons the Lord is speaking into our lives. I got goosebumps as she read it to me. God had given it to her the week before and He gave it to me through her a few days ago.

Thanks Julie, I honor your influence upon my life girl!

My Name is Pride
by: Beth Moore

My name is Pride.
I am a cheater.

I cheat you of your God-given destiny,
because you demand your own way.

I cheat you out of contentment,
because you, "deserve better than this."

I cheat you out of knowledge,
because you already know it all.

I cheat you out of healing,
because you are too full of "me" to forgive.

I cheat you out of holiness,
because you refuse to admit when you're wrong.

I cheat you out of vision,
because you'd rather look in the mirror than out a window.

I cheat you out of genuine friendship,
because nobody's going to know the real you.

I cheat you out of love,
because real love demands sacrifice.

I cheat you out of greatness in heaven,
because you refuse to wash another's feet on earth.

I cheat you of God's glory,
because I convince you to seek your own.

My name is pride.
I am a cheater.

You like me because you think I"m always looking out for you...untrue.
I am looking to make a fool of you.

God has so much for you. I admit, but don't worry,
you stick with me, you'll never know.

As Beth Moore often says, "Anyone else?" (while raising my hand...)

Thank you, Julie, for being a friend who helps me to grow and for being an example of someone willing to face the negative aspects in our lives head on.

Write your own Titus 2 Tuesday Post and join in!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Marital Moments Issue 21 - The Love Dare

February is the "month of love." You see hearts, chocolates, and classic romance movies in many store displays. Ironically, it is seeing these very symbols of love that stir up dissatisfaction with love within many of our hearts. "My husband won't be buying that for me..." "I wish I had that kind of a love story..." I truly believe the enemy of our soul works overtime around Holidays to discourage us. Click here to read a previous post on "Great Expectations."

If you have not yet seen the movie, Fireproof, I strongly encourage you to rent it. The book, "The Love Dare" was used as part of the movie and is now also available for purchase. It is a 40 day challenge of practical things you can do to work on your marriage.

Today I am giving away a free copy of, "The Love Dare" by Stephen Kendrick to one of my readers who respond to this post.

This is what you need to do to win:

1. Leave a comment under this post telling me why you would like to win it.

2. Make sure I can either link to your blog to let you know if you have won or leave an e-mail address for me to contact you at if you are the winner.

**I will leave this give away open until Wednesday, the 11th.**

**I will commit to pray for every marriage of those who leave comments every day from now until Valentines Day (and after as I am led to. Just to be clear; the power is not in my praying; but in the power of Jesus Christ working in your lives.)**

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Photo Friday

We have had some unusually cold weather here in VA; last week we had TWO snow days as a result of the dusting of snow that we received. Having grown up in the frozen tundra of MI; it still cracks me up that they close school at the first snowflake here; but I am also thrilled. If they didn't, our children would never have a chance to play in the snow!

We didn't have enough to make a "real" snowman; so my daughter and I created this miniature snowman in one of their play houses. Littlest one, of course, wanted to "check it out..." You can see what was left after he did...

I would LOVE to hear the caption you all would give this set of photos!!

Snowy days often make me think about the reference to God's "storehouses of snow" mentioned in the book of Job when God is answering Job's complaints. Check it out! Job 38:22. The whole chapter is a reminder of who we are as man and who He is as our creator...

Stay warm!!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Giving & Receiving

Everyone knows of someone going through a difficult time right now. While that may always be the case; it seems somehow escalated to me right now. I hear of large needs every day. Not just a sprained ankle or a root canal (which aren't easy themselves) but large life altering difficulties.

I have experienced my share of receiving in life. Especially with my husbands seasons of poor health. When he had his second surgery, it ended up being an emergency surgery 9 days after the birth of our second child. I was overwhelmed. People would ask me what I needed and I remember my mind literally going blank in the moment. I honestly couldn't think of what I needed. Later, when I would realize specific things that I needed help with, it was difficult to pick up the phone to call and ask someone to help. Honestly, many times I didn't. I didn't want to inconvenience anyone. I was embarrassed to ask for help. I wanted to be able to handle it all - after all, people kept telling me that, "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." I knew people genuinely cared, but I didn't understand how to receive and I almost had a nervous breakdown trying to hold my life together.

Now, several years later and a few more seasons of serious health issues with my husband; I have learned so much about giving and receiving as well as God's grace and goodness. There is always more to learn; but I wanted to take a few minutes and share some specific lessons that I have learned about both, "Giving" and "Receiving."

The Gift of Giving.

1. Prayer is one of the easiest and most powerful things that we can give. I encourage you to allow prayer to be your first step in giving. Pray specifically about how God might want for you to give. I have been blessed to be the recipient of many a creative and timely effort laid upon someone's heart after they have asked the Lord what they should do. (Examples to come at the end.)

2. Meals & Childcare - In most cases, these two items are extremely helpful. There are two websites (free) that I have found to be wonderful with the organization of both (You will need to copy and paste the web addresses into your URL) :

*You are able to enter in dietary restrictions and directions, dates needed, and all you do is e-mail the link out to those who you believe would want to help out. (If those helping are not computer savvy, you can enter in their meal dates, etc for them.) The recipient can see the meal and childcare schedule, know who is bringing what food, etc.

*Bring food in dishes that can be disposed and do not need to be returned (and say so when you drop off) or clearly label your dishes if they do need to be returned - it makes life MUCH easier for those trying to return them.

*Provide a few frozen meals that can be defrosted and heated for the time period after the initial stress but for days when they may be emotionally taxed later on. Write with a marker onto the Ziplocks or freezer containers how to heat later on (defrost for 3 hrs and then bake at 350 for an hr and 1/2 etc.)

3. Just Do It - Some will not know how to ask or receive. If you feel led to bring a meal, drop off cash, groceries, or something fun to bless and encourage; just do it. In my own experience; it was often much easier to receive this way. You can do it anonymously if you think it will embarrass them.

4. Set Boundaries in Giving - If you are giving to the extent that it is causing your own family stress or financial issues, it is too much. You cannot and do not have to give in tangible ways to every need. If you are on a ministry of meals team at your church and you have been called every week; it is o.k. to be honest with the person in charge that it is too much. If you are that person in charge; it may be time to recruit and add to your team.

5. Give from the Heart - Give without expecting (or waiting for) a thank you. Many times it takes awhile for someone receiving to have the presence of mind to write thank you cards. I have actually received a thank you card from someone who brought me a meal with the meal. They thanked me for giving them the opportunity to give and stated that it was the only thank you card that was necessary for the exchange - they released me from needing to write a thank you note to them. Being someone who was raised to write thank you notes -it was an added blessing.

6. Be Discreet - If someone has shared a need with you that is of a private nature; tell those who need to know in order for the need to be met, but do not send out a mass e-mail telling everyone or print it in the church bulletin.

The Gift of Receiving:

1. Remember that God created the "body" of the church for a reason. It is o.k. to be the recipient of other people's giving. God designed the church to function this way and meet the needs of each other.

2. Make a List - Like I mentioned earlier, in the moment when someone is asking what they can do to help it is often difficult to list off 2 or 3 things that you need. Set aside a notebook (or sheet of paper) that as you go through your day you can jot down things as they come to mind.

3. Be willing to be humble - Receiving can be difficult. You have to admit that you cannot do everything on your own and allow others to do for you. Embarrassed and humble are two different things. Be real with yourself about where you are in the moment. Realize that it is only a moment in time and that you are in the position of receiving for a reason. One of my pastor's actually talked with me about this concept of receiving during a difficult season. He very gently explained that we have to be "in a position" to receive from others and also from the Lord. He opened up my hands and lifted my arms up - palms out. I cannot tell you how uncomfortable that felt to me in the moment or how much I have embraced that and actually now often pray - palms open lifted high in expectancy of God's filling.

4. Be Grateful - You never realize just how differently others do things than you until they are "doing for you." Food will taste different. You may be brought a different brand of diaper or other item than you normally use. Focus on gratitude. Be willing to try new things. Be willing to learn from the way others do things. You may still despise "Shepherds Pie" in the end; but be grateful in the moment!

5. Be Open with Those Who You Can - We have gone through times when we have had financial need. There is nothing more humbling to me than admitting that you need money. I'm sure it is different things for different people; but the concept is the same. Be open with those who you can be comfortable telling. Allow them to share your need with those who could help but you may not be as comfortable sharing with. Do not tell your closest friends "Our mortgage isn't being paid; but DON'T tell anyone!!" You have to be willing to let go of some of your "private matters" with those you trust.

6. Keep a List of Blessings Received - I began doing this somewhere along the way. I set aside a notebook or sheet of paper that I wrote down every meal that was brought, every time that someone watched my children, when people gave us items, etc. It encourages you in the moment to see the list grow AND it is such a blessing in hindsight. It can also be a great list to write thank you notes afterward.

A few ideas of ways people have blessed us in the past:

"Fun Boxes" for my kids - we had to travel back and forth to the hospital (about an hr 1/2 - 2 hrs each way.) They put in coloring books, crayons, doodle pads, snacks, drink boxes, a small toy for each, etc. *It was a huge blessing to me & to the kids!

Cash taped to our door - with all of our medical expenses, we have needed help financially in the past. A couple people (at different times) have taped cash (in an envelope wrapped in a piece of paper) to our front door. Anonymously. I cannot tell you what a blessing it was in the moment of need.

Extra Booster Seats - A girlfriend bought two extra booster seats for me to leave at other people's houses when they watched my kids. It saved the hassle of taking mine in and out - it seemed a little hassle until I didn't have to do it - amazing how eliminating small stresses can be a blessing.

Gas Cards - ordered on line and mailed to us. Some we knew who they were from; others were anonymous. With all of the driving I had to do; it was such a help!

Photos of my Children - We literally cannot remember most of my second child's life from those first few months. My husband was touch and go and I was so completely exhausted that I burst out into tears when a friend gave me an album that she had made of his first three months. I didn't even know that she had been taking pictures. I am tearing up now just remembering the moment.

There are many more I could share, but this is getting long. I want to leave you with a wonderful quote by Renee Swain:

Prayer isn't about putting burdens on others. It's about inviting them into our conversations with God. It's about letting those we love walk down a path with us that we were never intended to walk alone.

Blessings & Peace to you!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday - Build up Your Spouse


Here we are at another Titus 2 Tuesday! It is easy to join in-just answer the question below:

What have learned from another woman this week? (or ever)

This is an opportunity to honor women in your life and to share wonderful tips and lessons with all of us! We can learn so much from each other! Feel free to honor the same women more than once as you continue to learn from them and their lives!

Simply write your post including a short sentence inviting readers back here to read more Titus 2 Tuesday posts and enter your link into Mr. Linky below!

Today I am honoring my wonderful friend, Jennifer, who is so much like me at the core of who we each are that it is almost unbelievable at times!

My husband and I have had the privilege of watching some close friends of ours go through a major job change recently. He was a contract worker. His contract was set to be up. There was no chance that his current contract would be renewed. These are tough times. He went on a few job interviews. Some were promising; others not as much.

The cool thing about it to me though as we watched from the perspective of those who care, but are not directly involved, was seeing how they have been drawn close during this time of stress rather than be torn apart with worry or fear for the future. Each had moments of anxiety-some probably almost overwhelming-but they truly encouraged and supported one anther in those moments.

I watched as
Jennifer spoke life into her husband. Built him up. Answered those questions of worth and qualification born out of moments of fear and insecurity. He did not have to wonder if she would stand with him if they had to make major life changes. She allowed him the opportunity to consider the dreams of his heart. To step out in faith to begin his own consulting company.

And she prayed for him. Prayed that God would clearly open and close doors and that the doors that would close would be done in a way that would not tear down her husband. I have never witnessed doors closing more graciously and clearly.
It is not an easy thing to go through change without fear. Financial stress can easily create issues between husband and wife - especially when they have 4 children!

Jennifer, I honor you today. For trusting in God and in your husband during difficult times. You have been such a wonderful example to so many!

I'm looking forward to reading all of your Titus 2 Tuesday Posts!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Marital Moments Issue 20 - Affairs of the Heart

If you are joining me from Proverbs 31 Magazine; Welcome! It's so nice to have you here.

For those of you who normally join me, if you have never checked out Proverbs 31 Magazine, it is wonderful! It is truly a privilege for me to occasionally share the written page with some of these amazing, Godly women who are a part of this ministry. You can click here to read my article on, "Renewing Your Marriage." You can click here to check out the ministry of Proverbs 31 and to order their magazine.

On to today's post!

A few months ago, my husband woke me up by holding me tightly. More than just a normal snuggle. He was holding me with resolve. When I asked him what was going on, he told me of a very vivid dream that he had just woken from where I was lured away from he and the kids by a popular movie star. He said it was all so illogical and in the dream he just couldn't understand why I had left. He said the heartbreak was so real and vivid. When he woke up he knew that it wasn't real and that I was totally committed to both he and our children. That I love them all deeply and wouldn't do anything to jeopardize our family. Although he logically knew that, he was having difficulty shaking those raw emotions of rejection and loss.

He is normally a person who jokes his way out of stressful and difficult situations. There was no joking around that morning. He didn't even want me to say the celebrity's a way, I have to say it was refreshing to me
. To know how much it would affect him to actually lose me made me know how much he loved me, needed me, and wanted me. We spent some time praying together that God would allow our marriage to always be healthy and strong, centered in and around Him.

Now before some of you check out and say that your husband wouldn't have responded that way, wouldn't have been so moved or concerned; and definitely wouldn't have prayed with you about having a strong need to know that we did not always have a strong marriage either. (You can read my article above to see that.)

My husband and I both know Jesus as our personal savior; but that in no way makes either of us perfect. Our marriage has had it's ups and downs like most others. During the "downs," it has taken one of us humbling ourselves enough to cast our desires, wants, and rights at Jesus's feet and to pursue the other in Christ's love. I can testify to the fact that if you are praying for God to do a work in your marriage and you are willing to be still and listen humbly to what it is the Lord is speaking to your heart; amazing things will happen.

It isn't always a quick fix. You may not end up in a fairy tale romance. But if you are truly seeking the face of God and His heart; you will find so much more than a simple human romance. You will find the lover of your soul. He will heal you. He will transform your thoughts. He will change your desires of your heart and make them pure and right. That is attractive...even to spouses who do not have a relationship with the Lord. I have witnessed spouses coming to know the Lord because of heart changes that they have watched transform before their very eyes. Do not lose hope sweet sisters! (and brothers!)

James 4 :10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (NIV)

John 17:23 ...May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (NIV)

I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV)

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (NIV; emphasis mine)

Others of you may be in a wonderful place in your marriages where God is present and at work in your lives. Perhaps this post was meant to serve as a reminder to be the one who is pursuing your marriage relationship today.

I believe marriage is something that is always in perpetual motion...two people moving through this life together. I'd love to hear your thoughts on marriage! And as always,
I would be honored to pray for you and for your marriage. You can leave a comment under this post or e-mail me at

Blessings & Peace to you!

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior already and are choosing to seek God's face today in a deeper way but don't know where to begin, I want to encourage you to simply get on your knees and pour out your heart to Him. Here is a sample beginning prayer, but I encourage you to take it and make it your own.

"Dear God, I don't know where to begin. I want to know you more. I want you to change my life. I give you my heart completely. Please take it, heal it, and show me how to give and receive your love. Please heal my marriage. Please heal ________ (my spouse). Please remove the anger, bitterness, and selfishness and replace it with hope, joy, and true love. Thank you for loving me. I surrender my marriage to you. Please show me what to do...In Jesus name, Amen."

Then get into His word, and He will. Proverbs is a very practical book with much wisdom - an easy place to begin. You could read the book of Proverbs that corresponds to the calendar day of the month.