July 1, 2014

Celebrating With God

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When my children were little and had good news to share, they all started with the same phrase. “Guess what, mom?”

Usually the exciting news happened at school. He or she would jump off the bus and run to the house as fast as their little legs would carry them. Then, I would hear the back door slam shut—BAM—as they called for me. “MOM! Guest what?”

With a sparkle in their eyes and a huge smile spread across their face, they would share their joy with me.

In those moments I’d tell them how proud I was of their accomplishment and we would cheer together followed by a big hug. Their joy became my joy for three reasons.

  1. They are my children
  2. I love them
  3. I long to share in their happiness and success

In the same manner, our heavenly Father loves to share in our joys too. We’re really good at coming to Him with our problems and pain. But how often do you run to Him calling out, “Guess what?” How many times have you climbed into His lap and rejoiced over good news, an achievement, or answered prayer?

Because you are His child and He loves you, and longs to share in your joy. Besides, the bible tells us in James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

If every good thing that occurs in our lives comes from His hand, it seems right He would be the first person we’d tell, throw confetti with, and offer a sincere “thank-you.”

What joy do you have today that you and God can celebrate together?

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June 4, 2014

When You’re Hanging By A Thread

I’m happy to annouce the winner of the devotional book and journal! The winner is…. Jeanie Benson busymominfo@yahoo.com   Congratulations, Jeanie!! 

When You’re Hanging By A Thread

I have a dear friend whose husband doesn’t want to be married anymore. Sure she knew there were problems in their relationship, but the devastating news of, “I want out,” blindsided her. As a sister in Christ, we’ve prayed together. She’s sought counseling and even invited her husband along. Still, no matter her attempts to save her marriage, it was falling apart.

I’ve never seen her so helpless, so troubled, so lost. And yet, I understood the darkness she was in. I know the weakness and heart-wrenching pain because I’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced some terrible news that took us by surprise and left us hanging by a thread.

Perhaps you’re there now. You may be experiencing a broken relationship. Maybe you need to be saved from some addiction or financial trouble. Whatever the case, you feel alone, scared and weak. You’re situation is hard, wrenching and painful. You’re losing your grip on faith.

I could tell that my friend was hanging on by a thread, slipping away from her spiritual foundation. Yet, sometimes in our despair all we’ve got is a thread between God and us. And that thread is more than enough to save us from destruction. Such was the case of Rahab, a prostitute that owned an Inn at the city gate of Jericho.

Rahab had heard about God’s greatness and has came to believe He was the one true God. So when the Israelites finally entered into the Promised Land, she hid the two spies that Joshua had sent into the city.

When the king of Jericho heard that the spies had been to Rahab’s home, he sent orders for her to turn them over. When the soldiers arrived, Rahab hid the spies on her roof. Then she lied to them about seeing the spies and sent them off in the opposite direction.

Then Rahab pleaded with the spies to save her and her household. She made a pack with them. She would keep silent about their mission, and they would spare her family when they invaded the city of Jericho. The spies told her to hang a scarlet cord from her window as a sign, so the Jews could find and protect her.

When the walls of Jericho fell, Joshua ordered that Rahab and her household be saved.

My favorite image from this story is the scarlet thread hung in the window of her home.  It reminds me of the lamb’s blood carefully placed on each door in Egypt.  The scarlet thread that Rahab hung carefully in her window would serve as a reminder that her home was to be spared from the destruction.  It was to be passed over.  Protected.

Each of us needs a scarlet thread in our window.  A reminder that just as Joshua saved Rahab and the Savior can save each of us. He may or may not change our circumstances, but he can save us from the falling rubble that surrounds us.

We don’t read about Rahab again until we come to the book of Hebrews. There she is listed in Faith Hall of Fame. She is not defined in the bible according to her profession or circumstances. She is defined by her faith. Because she put her trust in God, she and her household were saved.

God will also rescue us when we throw out a thin thread of faith. Even at our weakest point, a simple cry such as, “Lord, help me” invites the hand of God to take hold of our situation and save us.

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June 3, 2014

Nothing Is More Important Than God

The winner of the devotional and Journal will be announced on Wednesday. There is still time to enter to win by leaving a commit. If you missed yesterday’s devotion, Are You Devoted To God, click here.

Some of you shared your frustration when it comes to spending time with God. I understand. At first, I didn’t know where to begin even though I longed to be intimate with Him. I desired the Lord’s presence and power in my life, and I knew those things flow from a sweet and sincere relationship with Jesus.

Like you, my feet are running before they hit the floor on most mornings. Life is busy, stressful, and unpredictable. Which are all good reasons for starting our day with the One who already knows what the day holds. Let’s be honest. Nothing is more important than God and meeting with him each morning.

Once I’ve settle into my big, chocolate-brown chair, I start with adoration. First, I choose a passage of scripture that speaks of God’s marvelous wonders. Then, mediate on it. That means to think about what God is saying or what it’s saying about God. This will help you know God, love God, and adore God more than you thought you could.

Today, I chose Ps 145:3-7. “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. 4 One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. 5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. 6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. 7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”

It’s not always easy to understand God’s Word and grasp the full meaning. That’s why you and I must give it time for His words to sink into your heart and mind. Eventually, if you stay long enough, you become compelled to bow in great adoration before God—for the things He has done and for the things he is doing.

I hope this helps you in your time with God today. Now, go! He’s waiting for you.

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June 2, 2014

My Desire For God

The most worthwhile thing you and I can experience on earth is nothing less than God himself!

I confess with my lips this is true. However, my life says otherwise. As soon as my feet hit the floor, I’m giving myself to my kids, the laundry, and errands. This list is long. So my prayer life consist of reading a devotion and a quick prayer—or plea for God to HELP me get through the day.

I’ve discovered this kind of prayer life doesn’t work. It’s not that God doesn’t want to help me. He does. In fact, he’s already given me everything I need to succeed.

Did you know that when you became a believer in Christ, he deposits within you a portion of His divine power? He does! Yet many believers today are not experiencing the power within to deal with the power of the word that comes crashing in on us each day.

Why?

Devotion to God.

You and I were created to seek, know, and love God. Let’s be honest. It’s not going to happen if we only take 15 minutes a day to converse with him.

As glorious as God is, so is the glory that begins to work in the hearts and lives of those who give themselves to live for God. It a great step forward when you and I truly seek to know God—to adore God—to love God.

This is what God desires from you. It’s though prayer that he enables you, with divine power, for daily living.

It’s what you’re looking for and what your heart truly desires. Let’s make Ps 63:1 the beginning of our prayer every morning.

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirst for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Repeat these words of David until the Spirit makes them real in your heart. Then, wait. Wait on God until you realize what a great blessing it is to meet with him. As you do, you begin to grow in your devotion to God, and also come to expect his presence and power daily.

Dear Lord, I confess that I know little of you. I fail to seek you for Your sake first. Create in me a hunger and thirst for you. And help me to wait on your presence and power to live this day.

I’m giving away a journal today so that you can begin to seek God. Write your prayer in the journal, and then, add to it how God responds to you. This is a great practice for growing your relationship with God. Share your desire to know God, and enter to win!

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May 13, 2014

I Can’t, But God Can

If you’ve tried to visit over the past few days, I apologize. My site was down for updates. Ugh! It was frustrating for me and perhaps for you, too. Good news. Everything is back to nomal–whatever that is!

In case you missed it, my devotion, I Can’t, But God Can, was featured on Daily Devotions, by FaithGateway.com

However, this devotion isn’t just for Mother’s Day, but for every day as we need God’s power to help us live moment by moment. Without futher adieu…

I CAN’T, BUT GOD CAN!  

Doing laundry. Raising well-adjusted kids. Building a good relationship with my husband. Even answering the phone. So often I feel like the responsibility for everything in my life depends on me. And honestly, I doubt my ability to get it all done, and do it all well.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Who doesn’t feel the pressure of higher grocery bills and mouths to feed? What employee doesn’t carry the weight of doing a good job? What mother doesn’t fear her child will give in to peer pressure? These concerns and a thousand others tangle our thoughts into anxious knots. When we feel as if everything depends on us, we carry a heavy burden.

But we’re not alone or solely responsible for making things turn out fine.

When I feel alone, I’ve forgotten God is always with me. And when I feel incapable, it’s usually because I’ve forgotten to acknowledge God’s presence and power.

However, looking to God’s presence and power won’t help us if we don’t believe He is truly sovereign. We need to know and believe just how mighty God is. Otherwise, we’ll look at our limitations and feel like they limit Him. We’ll end up with a God who is only a little bigger, a little stronger, and a little wiser than us. That makes God small.

And when we have a small God, we feel like He depends on us to do a good job… just like everyone else does.

I felt this way when I became a parent. I thought if I read all the how-to books, I could do a good job. I believed the lie that happy, successful children depended on my efforts. Which made me feel very stressed and alone. It wasn’t until I started to “get” God and grasp the wisdom and guidance He provides that I learned to depend on His provision and direction. I no longer felt like I had to raise my kids based solely on my own knowledge and efforts.

God never intended for us to live under the pressure of everything depending on us. It’s when we lean on Him instead of ourselves that we experience supernatural strength and provision.

Reflect on the wisdom of Amos 4:13 and meditate on God’s greatness. If the Lord can do all this, surely He can equip us for whatever our daily tasks may be – from parenting challenges to project deadlines to folding mountains of laundry.

On the other hand, if we set out to make ourselves the measure of all things, we will never experience the full benefit of God’s greatness. It doesn’t have to be this way. Having the right understanding of God frees us from the weight of carrying our burdens alone and allows us to rest in His exceptional power and presence.

Dear Lord, set my sights on You and Your great attributes. Help me to live in Your presence, dependent on Your guidance each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Remember

God is bigger, stronger, and wiser than you are. You do not have to carry your burdens alone.

Respond

Whenever you feel frustrated, weak, and alone this week, reassure yourself of God’s promised presence. Apply these truths – “I can’t, God can” and “I’m going to let Him” – to every situation you face.

Power Verses

Ephesians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 12:9

Excerpted with permission from Encouragement for Today by The Proverbs 31 Team, copyright Zondervan 2013.

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Your Turn

In what ways have you envisioned God to be nothing more than a super-sized version of yourself? How can reflecting on His true attributes infuse you with strength? Practice today facing challenges saying, “I can’t, but God can!”

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May 8, 2014

5 Ways To Revive A So-So Marriage

Have you ever sat across from your spouse at a restaurant and didn’t have anything to say to one another? I have. It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. It makes your mind wonder, “Is he/she bored of our relationship? Have we grown apart? What’s happened to us?”

It may be that we’ve stopped giving our marriage the attention it needs.

I’ve learned one of the greatest hindrances to marriage is not paying attention to our partner. I don’t think we do this consciously.  It’s the demands of everyday life that steal our attention away from our partners — and paying attention to the other is crucial for happy relationships.

I bet you could name those demands in your marriage… work, children, bills, activities, T.V. etc…

Even if your relationship is in some sort of emotional limbo, the good news is you can revive the passion you once felt for one another.

Here are 5 ways to revive your marriage:

1. Pay attention to your spouse.

You may think you’re doing this, but how long has it been since you’ve asked your mate what they need from you? People grow and change. What worked years ago might not be what works today.

As I’ve shared before, without communication there is no relationship. When it comes to communicating, it takes two to tango. Communication is more about listening then it is about talking. For example, when one person is speaking the other must not interrupt. He/she must listen completely before responding. And when responding, it’s good to repeat what you just heard to verify that you heard the other person correctly. When things get heated at my house, this technique is a real gem!

2. Share new experiences together.

My husband and like to take hikes on the weekends. We use to do this before the children came along. Now that they’re grown, we’re back to the trails.

We’ve also taken ballroom dancing together. It was hysterical because we both had two-left feet. We still talk and laugh about it today.

Finding something you can do together not only brings you closer, opens up the lines of communicate, but it puts the spark back into your _______________. I’ll let you fill in the blank!

3. Act as if you’re in a new relationship.

For years we’ve heard, “Have a date night with your spouse once a week.” That’s good advice! But where do you begin?

Ask questions about your spouse. (You just might find something you both would love to do together!) Ask your mate what brings them joy? Or, if they could go anywhere in the world, where would he/she go? Then decorate the dinning room according to the culture and have a romantic dinner for two.

Think about what you did when you first dated…. Hold hands. Hold open the door. Say “please” and “thank-you.” Dating your spouse definitely keeps the magic going.

4. Be kind

When you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s easy to take each other for granted. Being kind to one another changes the tone.  For example, whenever I try to give my husband driving tips, he responds kindly.

“Thank you, honey, for being helpful today.” Yes, he’s being sarcastic, but I get his point and it didn’t offend me. Usually, I laugh at his statement. That’s important, too. Learn to laugh at yourself and with each other. (You did this when you were dating.)

If I were asked to share what has held my marriage together, I’d say two things. One, we laugh at ourselves instead of taking everything so seriously. Two, we choose to forgive each other no matter what.

5. Be affectionate

Studies have shown that touch goes a long way in communicating your feelings.  Try squeezing the hand, or a gentle touch on the face. A pat on the back or an arm around the shoulder is nice, too.

Let’s not forgive the emotional side of things. Complement your spouse for cooking dinner, or tell your husband how talented he is for fixing the car. Use words of endearment as often as you can. You might even call each other during the day just to say, “I love you.”

Most importantly, pray for one another. It’s impossible to fight when you’re in prayer.

Each of these things can do a lot for a so-so marriage. It will draw you back to the same page, have you dating again, and rekindle the passion!

I challenge you to apply this to your marriage and see for yourself what a difference it can make.

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May 5, 2014

An Untroubled Heart Ebook

 I’m excited to let you know that Vyrso, an ebook platform that reaches a Christian living audience,  has selected An Untroubled Heart to be part of a special ebook promotional bundle May 5–6.
Today, I’m guest posting on the Vyrso blog! Check it out by clicking on this link (http://blog.vyrso.com)

Now, here’s an excerpt from my book, An Untroubled Heart: Finding A Faith Stronger Than All My Fear

My oldest son and his friend, Jamie, had spent the afternoon at our house watching movies up until it was time for Mitch to go to work. It wasn’t ten minutes after they left the house that the phone rang.

 “Mom, I just wrecked my car. I’m okay, but Jamie is hurt. We’re just down the road from our house. Can you come?”

Can I come? What kind of question is that? I was already sitting in my car after he said the word “wrecked.” I just needed to know what direction to go in.

It’s one thing to hear that your child has been in a car accident, but it’s another to witness the scene. The first thing I saw when I arrived was his car upside down and smashed between two trees like a pancake. An ambulance and fire truck were already at the site. Cars lined the road on each side and people came out of their homes to view the accident. Once my mind was able to take it all in, I realized that Mitch and his friend were nowhere in sight.

“WHERE ARE THEY?” I began to shout as I turned in a circle scoping the area for any sign of them. A paramedic took me by the arm and led me toward the ambulance. I felt my body go numb from fear of what I might find inside.

The first person I saw was Mitch. Our eyes met, and without exchanging words, I could tell he was scared, but okay. Jamie, on the other hand, was strapped to a straight board with her back, neck, and head secured. Tears of concern filled my eyes.

“Jamie’s hurt badly,” Mitch said as if I could fix it. At that moment, if I couldn’t fix it, I was sure going to find someone who could. I bent down close to Jamie and took her hand in mine. “I’m here, Sweetie. It’s going to be okay,” I said trying to reassure us both. However, my motherly authority took over when Jamie shared her needs with me. I tried to relay them to the paramedic as calmly as I could.

“I can’t breathe,” Jamie whispered.

“SHE CAN’T BREATH!” I shouted to the paramedic.

“I’m in pain,” she begged.

“SHE’S IN PAIN!” I demanded. Suddenly, I felt as if I needed to lie down on the other side of the ambulance from the adrenalin rush surging through my body due to fear. Fortunately, we all survived the incident and arrived safely at the hospital. Mitch only received a few bumps and burses. Jamie dislocated a few ribs, but after several weeks she, too, was as good as new.

My son may not have been thinking about me before the accident occurred, but immediately afterward, he was aware of the person he needed most. That’s because children are bonded to their parents by a love relationship that they don’t necessarily think about, nor are they conscience of its existence. Yet, in times of trouble, worry, or fear the child instantly realizes the union. That’s because the unique parent/child relationship has all the resources they need for life. The same is true of our relationship with God. We should be eager to “cast our cares on Him because He cares for us” (1 Peter 5:7). And because in Him are all the resources we need for life.

I often take for granted the awesome privilege of being God’s child. As His children, we have the privilege of casting our worries on the Lord with strong confidence that He cares for us. Worry is unnecessary when our God is able and willing to bear our burdens for us. When you and I worry, we are denying the wisdom, love, and provision of God. Like my son, I should be quick to call out to my heavenly Father for help. I need to run to God for comfort and reassurance instead of worrying myself to death. Often I do the opposite. I try to be the adult instead of the child, but I truly want to do better. I want to become so aware of God’s abiding presence in my life that I fall asleep in His arms at night and awake to His presence in the morning.

When everything had settled after the accident, Mitch could no longer hold in his emotions of worry and fear. Burying his head in my chest, he burst into tears. It was his way of releasing his anxieties and casting them on me. Because I love my son, I gladly supported him in the midst of his pain.  Wrapping my arms around Mitch, I reassured him that he was safe.

In the same way, our fears and worries should drive us into the safety of God’s arms. Those who trust in him have tremendous security. We find support in God’s presence when we cast our cares on Him. No worry is too big for our Father to shoulder. Because of His great love for us, He gladly takes away our fears and quiets our hearts with peace. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). The Lord picks us up out of our wrecked lives while we are still scared and afraid and He comforts us. It’s in God’s loving care that our spirit is renewed and we know for certain there is no safer place on earth.

Don’t forget to check out how you can get my ebook on Vyrso! Tell your friends, too! 

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April 30, 2014

Your Purpose In God’s Time

Thank you for all your responses to Ginger’s post. I could say, “a-men” to all of them. In fact, I found comfort in knowing we all feel inadequate from time to time. This is a good reminder to be kind to oursleves and others.

THE WINNERS OF GUILTLESS LIVING ARE:

JUANITA @ ljhead93@yahoo.com

COURTNEY J @ courtney.d.jackson1@gmail.com

AMBER M @ txprincessamer@aol.com

Congratulations, ya’ll!!!

______________________________________________________________

Purpose. It’s a hot topic. Everybody is looking for his or her purpose in life. Some have found theirs, or they believe they have, others are still seeking. Wondering.  Praying.

I was the only child of my parents born without a talent. Or so it seemed. My brother was an all-star athlete, and my sister performed many musical plays in our living room. She also played the piano and sang in church as my parents looked on with pride. I burned with jealousy.

Although I was raised to believe God had a purpose for my life, and in His time would reveal it, I had the need to help God out. Anybody? Yet, anything you and I can do on our own is too small to be God’s purpose for our lives.

God makes us a promise such as, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord” (Jere 29:11). Our only job is to trust in that promise.  Instead, we seek ways to help God out—as if He needed our help. Basically, we’re impatient. We get annoyed when God doesn’t set His watch with ours. Eventually, we run ahead of Him. That’s exactly what I did.

Green with envy, I decided to follow in my brothers footsteps and try my hand at softball. At first, my career looked promising. When I signed up to play softball, the coaches fought over me. Well, they fought over my last name. They assumed I was as good of an athlete as my brother. Boy, were they wrong. When my coach realized I couldn’t catch, throw, or hit a ball, he tried to trade me to another team. Can you believe that? How RUDE!

When sports fell through, I begged my mom for piano lessons so I could play like my sister. I was on my second month of lessons when my piano teacher informed my mother that instead of improving I was regressing. I actually knew less about playing the piano than I did the week before. Now, that’s a gift!

By this time, I had decided that my older siblings had taken all the good genes leaving me deplete of any talent at all. When in fact, God was teaching me a lesson in trust.

When God makes me a promise, it’s not my responsibility to make it happen. It’s His. He only asks me to trust, wait, and believe. That’s so stinking hard! It’s tough because we fear He’ll forget about us, or something like that. But God never forgets. He’s always at work for our good.

I learned over time that God is working to provide all I need to fulfill His calling on my life. He uses good times, bad times, and everything in between.

I had just turned thirty when I felt God tugging at my heart. While I didn’t know where He was leading, I followed. I obeyed. I walked through open doors and took risks that scared the bee-gee-bees out of me. Before I knew it, people were saying things like, “You have a real gift when you speak.”

“I can feel the Presence of the Lord, when you’re teaching.”

“I was at the conference where you spoke last weekend, and my life was forever changed.”

Who Knew? God did. And he knows the plans He has for you as invisible as they seem now. That’s a promise! God has not forgotten you. He’s preparing you. And when it’s time, He’ll come get you. It’s worth the wait, my friend.

Today, ask yourself, “I’m I running ahead of God?” If so, why?

“Do I believe He has a purpose for me—a plan to give me a hope and a future?” If you do, then you can be certain God will make the invisible visible in His time.

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April 28, 2014

Guiltless Living GIVE A-WAY!

The winner of, Capture His/Her Heart,  is…. Amanda @ pcwoodworking@m33access.com Congratulations, Amanda!

If you didn’t win, don’t fret. Today, you could win a copy of Guiltess Living Read on…

I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend, Ginger Hubbard, today. I’ve known Ginger for 13 years. I love this girl! Our relationship started at Proverbs 31 Ministries where we both served on the Speaking Team. Although God’s call on her life took Ginger in a different direction, I still glean from her friendship and godly wisdom.

Ginger is serious about God’s Word and teaches it with humor, transparency, and conviction. If you want a real relationship with God, Ginger will take you there in her new book, Guiltless Living! That’s not all. She’s giving away 3 copies today!

Take it away, Ginger… 

For so long in my life, I struggled with trying to be a good Christian. Inevitably, I would blow it on a daily basis then proceed to beat myself up spiritually and emotionally.

In setting my standards high for being what I perceived the perfect wife and mom, I chose the woman described in Proverbs 31 as my role model. On one particular morning, I remember reading about her and making unfavorable comparisons. She got up before it was still dark. I had rolled out of bed around 8:30 am. She was well dressed in fine linen and purple. I was in a baggy, terrycloth robe with my hair pulled up in an orange chip clip. She held the distaff while grasping the spindle with her fingers (not sure what those things are, but I am certain they contributed to her noble character). I held the dust buster to the crumbs on my bed sheets while grasping the empty bag of Doritos. She provided good food for her family and was always on top of things. I offered a choice of Burger King or McDonalds and felt the weight of my unaccomplished to-do list crashing down on me.

In comparison, I did not measure up. I felt anxious, defeated and disappointed in myself.

I wanted to be the wife who was always cheerful, never irritable, and only said words that edified, encouraged and built up. I wanted to be the mom who never lost it and only spoke with kindness, wisdom and faithful instruction. But, as hard as I tried, I always wound up blowing it in some way.

I just could not achieve the “good Christian” status I desired.

Through prayer and studying God’s Word, I began to realize that no matter how hard I tried, I would never achieve being the perfect Christian. I learned that the battle of victorious Christian living could not be won by sheer willpower or by teeth-gritting determination, but by tucking myself underneath the full armor of God and trusting that God is not only fighting for me, but He has already won the battle.

In measuring our self-worth in accordance with our own performances, we not only become anxious, but we miss out on experiencing the peace and rest of who we truly are in Christ.

Our worth is not based on what we do or do not do. It is not based on our successes and failures. It is not even based on whether we sin a little or sin a lot.

Our worth is based solely on Christ and the atoning work He has done on our behalf. We are His children, purchased at a price, forgiven and fully redeemed.

Embracing this wonderful truth brings about freedom. It is the freedom to forget about ourselves and lay down our measuring rods of self-worth and ongoing scrutiny. It is the freedom to release the suffocating anxiety our weaknesses cause, and instead take hold of God’s grace given to us through the cross.

Join me today in letting go of performance-based worth and self-imposed expectations. May we purpose to rest in the victory Christ has already won and truly experience the rich and satisfying joy of Guiltless Living!

Give Away

Because I have struggled so much with the issue of performance-based self-worth, I have a great compassion for other struggling women. I can relate and understand the mental, spiritual and physical exhaustion that comes from this way of living. If you are one of these women, it is my deep desire that you lay down your measuring rod of self-worth and stop beating yourself up. I desire this so much that I’d like to give away three of my books in hopes that you might experience the freedom of Guiltless Living.

Thank you, Ginger!

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April 25, 2014

Learning To Communicate

“Are you listening to me?” I asked my husband who was driving the car.

“Sometimes I don’t believe you hear a word I say.” I added.  My husband’s response took me by surprise.

“I’m listening. I’m just not responding.” He explained. “I’m wondering why you want to talk about something that might cause an argument on the way to church.” He added.

He was right. My timing was bad and we probably would have ended up in a fight. I shut my mouth, but before doing so I made him promise we would talk later—no matter what!

Communication is hard in a marriage. Someone once said that communication is to a relationship as blood is to the human body. Communication is what nourishes and sustains a relationship. Without it you no longer have a relationship.

We don’t want to go there. So how do we build good communication skills?

We turn to God’s Word. The bible has much to say on the topic.

First, the Word teaches us: We Must Listen to Understand

“Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (Jas 1:19b).

To honor this truth, I’m learning to focus on what is being said rather than how I feel about what’s being said. That’s not all.

I’m trying to focus on the tone of voice and posture of the speaker instead of just his words.

Listening well also means clarifying valid points rather than making accusations and become defensive.

In other words, I should listen to understand; not judge.

Second, We Must Speak to be Understood———————————————-

When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Pro 10:19).

I’m learning it’s important to be deliberate with regard to what, how and when I choose to express myself to my spouse. These things really matter. Riding to church is not the best time to discuss a problem.

First, I must determine what I really want to express. Then, how do I want to say it?

  • With excitement?
  • With encouragement?
  • With conviction?
  • With disappointment? Expression helps clarify what we want to say.

It’s equally important to determine when to speak. It’s probably not best to discuss a problem after a long day at work, and definitely not in front of friends or family. Maybe it’s best to share your heart after a meal, recreation or before bedtime.

 WHAT KIND OF FIGHTER ARE YOU?————————————

Finally, Understand the Way You fight

(Taken from Denis Rainey’s “Preparing For Marriage Book.) 

Did you know that the way you fight is a communication style? It is. What style best describes you?

1.)  Are you a fight to win person? I am. I bring the knives, frying pan and the kitchen sink. I’m determined to win even if someone dies. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. But a person who fights to win says, “I’m right. You’re wrong.” You seek to dominate the other person. Does this sound like you or your spouse?

2.)  Are you a withdrawer? Do you seek to avoid conflict at all costs? You feel uncomfortable in a fight and you just want to get out. You rarely see any hope for resolving the problem so you give your mate the silent treatment.

3.)  Or are you a yielder? You assume it’s better to go along with the other’s person demands than start an argument. To you a safe feeling is more important than being close.

My husband and I took time to determine which best fit our fighting style. Once we identified how each other fights we better understood one another. I remember thinking, “Oh, that’s why he does that!” Plus, we were never again caught off guard by the others response. I highly recommend you discuss these with your mate.

What we want to achieve when fighting is a loving resolve. This takes a special attitude. In humility, both parties must commit to putting the relationship above the issue. Make your relationship a higher priority than the conflict at hand. Determine it’s not a win/lose situation. Both interest are equally valuable. Then discuss the problem as carefully and as sensitively as you can.

Resolving conflict requires forgiveness. This is the miracle of the Christian life—that we can heal our relationships as Christ healed our relationship with HIm through forgiveness.

ENTER TO WIN!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Because I care about you and your relationship, today I’m giving away Lysa Terkeurst’s books, Capture His Heart/Capture Her Heart!

 I love these pocket-sized books! My husband and I read our book separately. Then, we went out to eat one night each week to discuss all we learned. What Lysa taught strengthened our marriage and brought us closer together as a couple.

 To enter to win the bundle, leave a comment expressing one thing that spoke to you in this post.

Blessings!

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