Dear Lonely Woman,

Dear Lonely Woman,

I see you.

I have some idea why you’re sorrow runs so deep.

Your sadness and your pain matter.

How you feel about what has happened in your life matters.

What you do and what you think matter too.

The things and people you try to grasp and hold onto are never going to fill that empty longing in your soul.
But I know a Guy who can.

Stop trying to get something from things or people who are NOT EVEN EQUIPPED to give it.
But I know a Guy who is.

You think nobody can possibly know the battles you’ve been faced with.
But I know a Guy who does.

So you can exhale.

Because He KNOWS you

AND

He ADORES you.

Only ONE promises AND can give you the Real fulfillment you’re dying to know.

He wants to spend every day with you.
He will never say you’re too clingy. He says, “Cling to ME!”

He will never say you are not enough to hold his attention. He says, “I laid down My life for you BECAUSE you matter more than anything.”

He will never say, “Go away,” with his words or his actions.
But instead He only says, “Come to ME.”

He wants to get one on One quality time with YOU.

Why do you think the circumstances of your life leave you feeling so lonely?

He is confident that HE is THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN fulfill your most intimate need to be wanted and to be loved.

HE will NEVER leave you.

Talk with Him.

And keep talking.

I’ll help you start.

“Dear God, thank You. Thank you for the emptiness so that I can find You.
You are MORE than enough for me.
Show me my value that is in You alone and please reveal my purpose ONLY You can give me. Please heal me because of what has happened in my life and remind me that my true value is found ONLY in You. Please forgive me for searching in a hundred other places for the True Love that ONLY You are capable of giving me. In Jesus’ Holy Name, I ask _______________…”

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Dear Christian Husband who is looking at pornography,

Your wife is lonely.  And I don’t just mean physically. She’s emotionally drained.

Your sin and secrecy are sucking the life out of her.

I see her grief and emptiness and while it’s true that Jesus is the only One who can truly fill her heart, if you’re not going to be there to serve her and really share your life with her, then why are you there?

The sin you’re hiding is killing your ability to love your bride like Jesus loves The Church, His bride.

She is worth more than the leftover attention and affection you give her.

Jesus is the only One who can break the chains of addiction that threaten to bury you in this grave forever.

The shame and guilt you carry are very, very heavy and you’re not meant to carry this alone.

When you give your life to Christ in baptism you die to sin just as He died and was raised and you are raised a new man in Him walking in HIS power.

You cannot keep looking at pornography while serving as a husband, (or future husband, or Christian man in any leadership role for that matter.)

God called you to stand taller, be the head of your home, and lead gently, following Him.

Other men are looking to YOU to lead also.

You CAN be free and you can also help free others from this hell on earth.

Jesus already took your sin and nailed it on the Cross.

Stop taking it back.

The stench is overwhelming and everyone smells it. Sin of any kind makes you grouchy and it affects everyone you are in contact with even for a moment.

GIVE THIS TO HIM IN PRAYER.

For the love of your wife, for the salvation of your soul, for the benefit of your children, for the man I know God called you to be, please give this to Him.

You are worth more. The people in the images are worth more. And your wife is worth more.

You can be the man you and I both know God created you to be.

I believe in you.

Sincerely, Brokenhearted For Your Marriage

 

 

Dear Christian Wife who is looking at pornography,

Your husband is lonely.  And I don’t just mean physically. He’s emotionally drained.

Your sin and secrecy are sucking the life out of him.

I see his grief and emptiness and while it’s true that Jesus is the only One who can truly fill his heart, if you’re not going to be there to serve him and really share your life with him, then why are you there?

The sin you’re hiding is killing your ability to love your husband like Jesus loves.

He is worth more than the leftover attention and affection you give him.

Jesus is the only One who can break the chains of addiction that threaten to bury you in this grave forever.

The shame and guilt you carry are very, very heavy and you’re not meant to carry this alone.

When you give your life to Christ in baptism you die to sin just as He died and was raised and you are raised a new woman in Him walking in HIS power.

You cannot keep looking at pornography while serving as a wife, (or future wife, or Christian woman in any leadership role for that matter.)

God called you to stand taller, be the heart of your home, bravely, following Him.

Other women are looking to YOU to lead also.

You CAN be free and you can also help free others from this hell on earth.

Jesus already took your sin and nailed it on the Cross.

Stop taking it back.

The stench is overwhelming and everyone smells it. Sin of any kind makes you grouchy and it affects everyone you are in contact with even for a moment.

GIVE THIS TO HIM IN PRAYER.

For the love of your husband, for the salvation of your soul, for the benefit of your children, for the woman I know God called you to be, please give this to Him.

You are worth more. The people in the images are worth more. And your husband is worth more.

You can be the woman you and I both know God created you to be.

I believe in you.

Sincerely, Brokenhearted For Your Marriage

 

Only God knows the inside of each marriage.

We saw a couple in a store one time. The wife started speaking louder and sounded pretty upset.

To my husband it seemed that she was upset without much reason. He didn’t see or hear anything before that so she probably was overreacting.

To me, it was obvious that she was exhausted from the broken communication between the two of them.

We neither one ever found out what was the reason for their argument that day several years ago.

But marriage has been under attack since Adam and Eve.

We want to blame.

That woman…

That snake…

Whatever has happened (and it looks different in each situation) HOW do you find the way to truly forgive and still live with someone who caused such damage?

The enemy wants to separate and isolate each of us and he does this in about a billion custom-designed, clever ways (including all those things we run to for imitation comfort.)

Here’s the best answer I can find.

 

“You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood.

But it’s not.

It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.

The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become.”

-the movie King’s Faith

 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. -Ephesians 6:12

 

Prayer. And The Incredible Power of The God behind the prayer!

 

God, ONLY YOU KNOW the inside of each marriage. Please heal broken lives and hearts. Please revive and make stronger what has been under attack for so very long.  Please let Your words be spoken and let us see each other with Your eyes. In Jesus’ Name, please God, Amen.

 

[P.S. I’ve found this helps with more than marriage. I try to remember this now when I’m upset with anyone or any situation. There’s probably ALWAYS more than we can see with our eyes.]

[Note:  Forgiveness and staying daily in a dangerous situation are NOT the same things (though there are those who disagree.) God gave us wisdom and I believe we should use it. I do not EVER hope for divorce though I’ve been through it and through abusive situations and I do and will ALWAYS pray for safety for everyone.]

 

 

You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

What if, instead of a one night stand, we call it what it really is?

Instead of a pick up line what if someone had to ask the “real” questions to the person he was hoping to hook up with?

Would this change anything?

“Hey, you’re cute. I’m feeling selfish. I know God gave you a beautiful gift and it’s not really for me but I’d like to take some of what He wants you to save for your husband (or wife, if a girl is asking a guy.)

Would you please lower your standards and let me tear off a piece of your beautiful wrapping paper? You could just lie to your future husband or act like nothing ever happened with me.

I’m lonely tonight and you don’t even know your husband yet so how about you give some of HIS treasure to ME?”

OR maybe it goes like this:

“Heeyy. What’s up? I’d like to give you some of what is supposed to be my wife’s some day.

I know you’re not my wife but since she’s not here yet, she probably won’t care. I’ll tell her she’s so special later, “blah blah blah…” but I’ll make it sound more meaningful than that, of course. (Honestly, you don’t mean enough to me to mention you to my future wife anyway.)

Right now, today, you’re the only one I want. But tomorrow, who knows?!

I’d like to steal from your husband and one day you’ll wish we didn’t do this (and I will too.)  So whatdaya think? Want to?!”

There is not enough cologne or make-up to make this be anything other than what it is.

What if we did think about this for what it really is?

I did NOT know I had value. I honestly did not understand that even though my innocence was stolen when I was 9, I STILL had value. Throughout my life, some stole from me and some I gave away; truly not having any understanding that I mattered. That old devil is clever and designs custom-made traps for each of us.

But I wouldn’t change my past because everything in my life has brought me to this place where I will spend the rest of my time telling you that YOU MATTER.

~~~> If people stole some of your beautiful gift OR even if you voluntarily gave it away, you are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile! <~~~

Check this out.

Recently we replaced the broken face on my husband’s phone. About 2 weeks later we noticed it was cracked again! We took it and paid for a new protective cover for the broken phone.

When the guy walked to the counter with the phone, it went like this, “We have never put a cover on an already cracked phone before.”

Just because the phone has a broken part does not mean we want to trash the rest of it.

~~> We want to cover it with protection so that it does not get more broken. <~~

Just like when we mess up, we don’t want to keep messing up and making bad choices.  We want to “cover” our lives in prayer and protection.

When we are in a car wreck and the bumper is crushed and the tire busted, we don’t smash out the windows and slash the other tires.

We don’t hope for another wreck.

We try to avoid more damage to the car.

Purity is beautiful. YOU are beautiful. All of your story matters. And God will take all the broken pieces and make them into something worth sharing. It’s called your testimony. And it’s important.

When you see people giving themselves away, it’s very possible they do not know their worth in Christ yet. Saying a prayer for God to show them their worth in Him can help change the world.

[Note: I wrote this as if a guy is speaking to a girl (or a girl to a guy) but if you’re having a sexual relationship with someone of the same gender, I’m here to tell you that you matter and you STILL are giving away (or people are stealing) something that does NOT belong to them. You don’t have to prove something.

Please don’t let people treat you as if you are less than the beautiful person you are.]

[Note 2: This story can be read as a woman speaking or a man speaking pick up lines.

The value is the same. It does not change. We ALL matter. And we are not supposed to be using each other because God has a better plan.

When we understand the reasons WHY to (or not to) do something, it makes a whole lot more sense than just telling someone to (or not to) do it.]

[Important: THIS is not FOR or AGAINST political stuff.

A sin is a sin. I’m not going to argue with people about what sin is. Our conscience shows us that. Usually when we are healthy we realize something is a sin and we hide it (like Adam and Eve hid in the Garden of Eden) or we may even become belligerent about it, trying to justify it to people. The Holy Spirit will convict our hearts to show us what is better for us and when He does this, we want Him to lead us more. When we know better, we do better.

God made sex. And He made it to be a beautiful part of a relationship. We messed it up.

But just because it’s been messed up, doesn’t mean to KEEP messing it up.

Purity is beautiful.]

You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

Everybody is broken.

Some people want you to believe that they are totally okay; that they have it all together.

(They don’t.)

Being broken isn’t a bad thing. God says He can use you when you’re broken.

EVERYBODY is broken in some way. God is the ONLY One who can repair the brokenness.

It would take a long time to understand why people react to stuff in life the way they do since each of us is broken in a different way.

Think about it.  If we were whole, with nothing at all ever wrong in our lives, we could always 100% of the time react in a healthy way.  But we’re just not always okay.  And so stress (even good stress) can affect our responses (even when we don’t really want it to.)

If you take time to look around you’ll see some of what it may look like in everyday life and a way you can help because you CAN help (whether you realize it or not.)

You can have a plan already in mind to be kind ~ ANYWAY.  Watch for moments because they’re sure to show themselves.

When your boss is moody – show a little more kindness and enthusiasm at work.

When your teacher is upset – turn in your assignment early if possible.

If mom is feeling overwhelmed – do a job or 2 that she didn’t even ask you to do.

If dad seems angry – take a few minutes to remind him how much you appreciate him.

When a student comes to school late or is disrupting class – use gentle, encouraging words (and remember she may not have heard any recently.)

If the checkout guy is slower than you’d like remember it may his first job (just like once upon a time it was your first job) – be more understanding and speak softer.

When your wife meets you with an icy look – be a little more gentle and help melt it.

When your husband grumbles – make him a snack and remind him of a specific thing you admire about him.

If your employee is having an off day – tell him you’re glad he’s there and he’s valuable (which may be perfect words to lift his energy.)

Even though God is the only One who can do the repairs, WE can STILL be people who help (INSTEAD of rolling eyes, stomping off, making a smartalecky comment, or all the other ways that are NOT helpful…)

Just because someone’s outsides look okay doesn’t mean the insides are okay.

If we’d quit trying to hide all the broken pieces, we’d begin to heal a lot quicker.  Jesus is The Answer. And everybody needs more kindness and love.

 

Are you living every day feeling like something is missing? Maybe it is.

Nobody but God can qualify you for the work He has for your life.

Nobody can take away your job but God. If you turn your back on Him He may let you have your way though. But remember His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. So what I know for certain is that if you walk away from your calling, you’re missing out on what you were created for which leaves you feeling pretty empty.

And as for people who do evil saying it’s in God’s name – all I can say is I’d hate to be standing in your place after this earthly life ends. I’m glad I won’t have to see what happens to you for claiming to be a Christian or using God’s name to steal, kill, and destroy.

Contrary to the way the world has taught us to believe, you do not need a thousand hours of college or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to do the job God’s got for your life.

A degree does not make you more valuable in God’s eyes.

You are valuable just because He created you.

I’m writing this because I know many people who feel held back and for many it’s because they didn’t finish college so their lives are passing them by because culture told them they were “less than” and they are believing that lie.

Believe it no more.

I’m not saying college isn’t important for some things. It is. Surely there are some good things about college but many times we’re just aimless young people who haven’t had people in our lives helping us discover our talents and guiding us in the path God has for us. (I do know many people who spend college years studying the art of partying more than other subjects. You can find anything you’re looking for in just about any situation whether it is sex, drugs, stuff, pain, or wonderful friendships and other healthy things.)

Do not write me a hundred pages saying I’m a college hater. I’m not.

I went to college.

I went to a Christian college.

That does not make me a Christian.

It does not make me better than someone.

It does not make me smarter than someone who did not go to college.

That means I can pay money to sit in classes and listen to teachers for many hours.

 

What I AM saying is that college did NOT qualify me for the calling God has put on my heart.

 

Your mom doesn’t qualify you for your calling.

Your dad doesn’t qualify you for your calling.

Of course they can encourage you (or, unfortunately, hold you back) but God qualifies you.

Teachers don’t qualify you.

Your best friend doesn’t qualify you.

Many times preachers or elders at church aren’t even realizing (or supporting) the talents you have or the calling God’s laid on your heart.

Your husband or wife can’t even qualify you but you can be supportive of each other as you serve God in the way He’s planned for both your lives.

Time and time again all through the Bible God does not call the “qualified” but He qualifies the called.

Are you living every day feeling like something is missing? Maybe it is. Ask God what’s missing. He is THE ONE to ask.

He restores what was stolen. In my life it was my innocence and my confidence one evening while playing hide and seek when I was 9 years old.

I did not even know my confidence had been stolen until He gave it back to me about one year ago. I lived about 35 years without my confidence. I know we can go through life missing stuff and not realize it. I’m living proof of this.

Ask God to restore what was taken from you. You may not even realize what is missing yet. He and only He can restore this for you.

There’s a great big world who needs you to do the job God created you to do. He will pick you up and give you a firm place to stand. He will give you all that is needed to do the job He’s called you to do and He opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open.

Is He calling you? You don’t have to wait for anyone else to validate you. Ask God what He wants you to do today. And keep asking every day. He will lead you.

 

 

Today my husband painted my toenails.

Our marriage has been under attack for years. We have been through so much with each other. There is one thing we can agree on 100%. God holds us together.

God has put a love in my heart for this stubborn man and He’s put a love in my husband’s heart for this impossible woman! If it wasn’t for God doing work in our lives, I wouldn’t even be writing here at all.

I shouted, “Let me in!” I cried, “Why do you have these walls built so high?” I tried to tell my husband for years what I needed.

I felt as if he never heard me.

My husband only was able to hear me when my spirit was finally quiet.

The problem with my spirit getting quieter was that part of me was giving up on believing we’d ever have a real, honest, deep relationship with each other.

Probably my favorite thing about my husband is that he asks God how to be the husband God wants him to be and that I need him to be. He prays about being the best daddy God would have him be for our kids’ individual needs. He’s always searching after what God would want.

And THAT is beautiful!

Today my husband painted my toenails.

This takes me being quiet and letting him love on me.

This takes me not correcting him when he’d miss the nail.

This takes me letting go of control and letting him brush side to side instead of how I’d do it.

This takes him listening to me when I tell him water on a paper towel may not take the paint off my skin as well and that a cotton ball and polish remover will work better.

This takes us both letting go of something and listening to each other to get somewhere better.

And I like it. I’d rather have this intimate time with him than perfectly painted toenails.  (And when I look at my toes, I smile about him.)

daddy-loves-mommy

I’m praying over your marriage today, also.

God, please touch marriages everywhere and make them into the healthy, beautiful relationships You intended them to be. Please help us let hurts go and be trustworthy for each other. Please help us be transparent; not hiding anything from each other. Please remind us how to show respect to each other and speak softer when we feel upset. God, I pray now for marriages that have yet to happen. Please guide us to be the best husbands and wives we can be. Please give us more moments of husbands painting toenails. Thank You for marriage. We love you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

This Little Light of Yours

This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it under a bushell? NO. I’m gonna let it shine.

Wait. What’s a bushel? (I think it’s a basket.)

 

Okay – now –  let’s try this in more modern words.

This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it at my kid’s ball game?

Hide it at the board meetings?

Hide it in P.T.A. meetings?

Hide it when I’m at the gym?

Hide it when that girl walks by?

Hide it when I disagree?

Hide it when they cut in line?

Hide it when my wife’s upset?

Hide it when my husband’s angry?

Hide it when no one’s watching me?

Hide it when my kids mess up?

Hide it when a wrong number calls?

Hide it when I go to school?

Hide it ’cause I just feel grouchy?

Hide it when the world’s on fire?

 

NO!!

 

–>This little light of yours. NOW is time to let it shine.<–

Let it shine ALL the time.   ALL THE TIME.

Today I Remember My Husband ~Guest Post by Stephanie Wagoner Cravens

When I was younger,

Memorial Day used to incite feelings of excitement and adventure.

When we were younger it meant the end of the school year,

the public pool opening for business

and the freedom of summer peeking its head around the corner.

Although, today I know and value the true meaning of this day of remembrance,

I secretly miss the innocence of Memorial Days past when all it meant was being one day closer in our chase for summer.

Enjoy the day off with your friends and family,

chase summer with your arms wide open

and make a million memories as you go.

But also take a moment to reflect and remember those who lost their chase for summer

and their freedom to make memories so you could.

Today I remember my husband.

A son,

a father,

a best friend,

and a Marine who loved his country fiercely.

In Honor of Jarod Cravens

My husband loves someone else more than he loves me.

I am not my husband’s first love or the first one he thinks about in the morning or the last one he thinks about falling asleep at night.

And that’s a good thing.

I support him and thank him for it.  I admire him for it.

Who is this First Love?  Jesus.  As long as my husband loves Jesus FIRST then loves me, I can have confidence and security that he is the best leader for our home.

As long as he puts God before me then whatever comes our way we will be okay.  My husband asks God how to be a better husband and father many times when he prays and that is probably the very sexiest thing about him.

I am not my husband’s first love.

My husband loves someone else more than he loves me.

And I wouldn’t want marriage any other way.

Mommy is a pole dancer for Daddy (and that is healthy)

I wanted to look sexier for myself and for my husband (even though he already likes the way I look and he’d never ask me to work out unless it was with him and for fun. He seems to have eyes that see me kinda the way God sees me. As beautiful.)

The best thing was to just tough it out and do regular work outs like regular people but working out is not one of my favorite things to do. Knowing I NEED to work out even though it’s torture

I chose to look for a more fun way to do it.

I found a pole dancing exercise place just for women. What a GREAT idea! I’d work out, feel sexier, look better, AND have a special private show for my husband.

Yes it really was a great idea but if I did this I knew I’d want to install poles in our bedroom so I could do my work outs at home for date nights also.

It may sound silly but this was heavy on my mind. I REALLY wanted to do this. But HOW could I install a pole in my bedroom when we have kids? WHAT would we tell them? Do I install two poles and say they are for support for our ceiling? Do we put a hammock hanging between them? “Oh kids, look at the metal trees.” Do we install one and say it’s a Maypole? (You know, those poles where children dance around it holding the ribbons.)

But we don’t lie to our kids. And some day they’ll eventually see a pole somewhere and they’ll know what the dancing is about and they may go into shock remembering

“that wedding anniversary when mommy and daddy installed the pole in their room.”

Lying on the counselor’s couch they’ll say, “So THAT’S what that was for! Say it isn‘t so!!”

I asked several girlfriends what they thought I should say to my kids about it. Nobody had the perfect answer that wouldn’t be dishonest. After a few months I gave up. I didn’t take the pole dancing class. I didn’t install a pole. I didn’t dance for my husband and I didn’t work out most of that year.

A while after that I was talking to my mother in law. She’s a preacher’s wife and a good, fun, God fearing mother and Grammy. She’s not afraid to give her opinion and we like that about her.

I told her it would be fun to take this class together if we lived closer to each other. I told her of the debating and agony I went through and that I’d want a pole in our bedroom if we did that exercise class.

I said THE reason I didn’t take the class is because I didn’t know what to tell her grandbabies about the pole. This sweet preacher’s wife had the best answer EVER. She said, “Well that’s easy. Tell them you had a REALLY FUN MARRIAGE!”

Time to sign up for that class!

We’re Married. Friends or Enemies?

What I believe happens is that satan throws stones at us. He throws one at my husband and whispers to him that I did it and throws one at me and tells me that my husband threw it. Then he sits back and watches, hoping what he’s done will cause damage and confusion.

We have power over this. We are given power by God. If we claim God as our Savior we have nothing to fear. Do not be afraid.

I tried to figure out WHY marriage would be this hard when I knew with all my heart that God had brought my husband to me and we were supposed to be together. How come we argued so much? I’ve had other relationships and they weren’t this difficult at all.

That’s when it hit me. Through my tears I realized that satan has done this. We were and are going to do great things for God and somehow we allowed the enemy to get a foothold and a stronghold.

Here’s what God showed me:

We’re sitting. I’m reading a book and he’s watching T.V. and I feel a hard hit to my head. I spin around in anger and say, “Why did you throw that at me?!” My husband, who has also received a rock to the head, fights back, saying, “Me? You threw this at me!” So satan stands back and keeps whispering to us all the negative things about each other and enjoys the confusion he’s created. Then we realize in a sudden moment of clarity what has happened. We drop the rocks, drop to our knees, and pray together. Then, oh my, is satan ever mad!  But we push him out the door together and he shrinks into a tiny puff of nothing.

God didn’t cause the confusion. He didn’t make us argue. We forgot that we love each other unconditionally for a moment…. or actually a few years. We are meant to be together and because we want be used together for God’s will, we are able to refocus and forgive.

Think about this.  The enemy doesn’t have a need to go after people he’s already got.  If you’re having a tough time it may be because you’re doing something right.

 

Single? That’s cool. Window shopping? Probably always. What’s on “The List?”

[Note: This is written EXPECTING that the man is a man of good character and not abusing his daughters in any way. And, yes, I do need to mention this. Also I am a mom of two girls so realize this is written from a mom of two girls. I don’t have sons so I’m not writing from that perspective.]

Our oldest daughter was talking about a boy she thought was cute. I asked her what she liked about him. My husband started asking questions too.

I stopped and listened. I just froze. That was so cool. I wondered what that feeling was. What WAS that? It was BEAUTIFUL. Oh, it’s called LOVE. Our girls FEEL valued because daddy CARES who they hang out with.

Dads SHOULD be involved. Dads need to SAY to a boy, “My daughter is so valuable and I am trusting you. I expect you to treat her like you want your mom or sister to be treated.”

Make that list. If you choose to be married what would you want in a husband? I mean the stuff that really matters.

Here’s a start of a list to inspire you. And you are never too young to make “The List.” (not in any particular order)

1. Honesty and integrity in ALL things.

2. Loves Jesus and is a spiritual leader for your home.

3. Faithful to you and only you as his wife. No pornography. Period.

4. He will have a healthy relationship with your kids.

5. Learns what makes you feel loved on and acts on it.

6. Listens to the Holy Spirit to guide him.

7. Supports you in things you know God is leading you to do.

8. OUR money is just that. OUR money. Not yours and mine. Make the budget together.

9. Wait. Wait for God to show you who your husband is. Don’t just marry anyone you think may work. What God brings together let nobody separate.

10. He does not use credit cards. Period. Stuff is not so urgent that you must buy it now and pay it off for years. You want to live debt free. Debt is slavery. Nobody wants to be a slave.

11. You’re worth waiting for.

12. (Keep thinking. Keep praying. I’ll be praying, too.)

___
My daughters gave their list about dating. (This stuff should continue after the wedding.)
~

1. Treat me with respect. I am a person and I have feelings.

2. Open the door for me sometimes.

3. Be a gentleman.

4. Listen to me and really hear what I have to say.

5. Do not act like I’m not there when your friends are around.

6. Don’t cheat on me.

7. Be nice to my friends.

8. Be nice to me.

9. Call me every once in a while.

10. Tell me (sweetly) when I’m annoying you.

___
I asked my husband for his input when it comes to boys who want to date our daughters.
~
Advice to the boys who consider dating my daughters:

1. Get out of your car and ring the doorbell. She is worth it. If you can’t get out of your car to get my daughter and to bring her back and make sure she gets in the house okay then you cannot date my daughter.

2. Before you leave with my daughter and when you bring her home, you will shake my hand and look me in the eyes.

3. Before you can have a relationship with my daughter you have to have a relationship with God.

4. You need a strong work ethic.

5. I want to see how you interact with your mom. Because if you don’t have respect for your mom then you’re not going to have respect for my daughter or me or my wife.

6. Bring her home on time. ALWAYS.

7. Our daughters are valuable and you will treat them as the treasures they are.

8. Whatever you do with my daughter imagine me doing that with you.

Where can we let off steam?

I’m not crazy. I’m a mom. And a wife and a leader and a servant and a taxi driver and a counselor and a nurse and a peacemaker and a teacher and a volunteer…

Where can we let off steam?

Where can we really say what’s bothering us? Where can we get support from someone and just be heard and not have someone call the authorities on us?
~
Church? Heavens no. Do we dare admit that we sometimes want to self medicate when they ask for prayers at church? (Or that we actually DO self medicate in whatever our favorite way is?) Oh dear. Not me! Right? I have to look like I’m on top of things. I have to look like I’ve got this all under control. My kids look perfect. My husband is presentable. My smile is on just right.

“Why, sure I can teach the 2 year olds and lead the women’s bible study and neighborhood prayer group.” “Of course I can make 300 cupcakes by Saturday and cut out 180 snowflakes this weekend.” “Yes, send me the documents so I can edit them for you by 3 o’clock today.”

Sometimes the answer needs to be “NO.” That is OKAY! When we take on so much and spread our love too thin we’re not that much help in anything we do.

~
School? Oh you must be talking about THAT mom who stood up for her kids when other students have been unkind for months and the teachers make sarcastic comments like, “Oh is she absent AGAIN? She’s sick ALL the time.” That does NOT help. That is NOT being a good teacher. I trust you daily to care for my child. Be someone I can trust who will speak to (and about) my child with respect the same way you want your kids to be treated.

THAT family where they’ve tried to help teach their child, “Ignore.” “Speak up.” “It’s better not to speak.” “Stand up.” “Be invisible.” “Stand out.” “Have courage.” “Jesus is with you.”

Then THAT family goes to the school for help and the school administration assures you, “That does NOT go on at THIS school!”

Either they are blatantly lying or are absolutely blind to the fact that it IS happening at THIS school. Kids are bullying other kids all the time. If my kid is part of the problem let’s talk about that. If not, then help me figure out a solution while she’s in your care.

Absolutely we [parents and school and church] should be teaching our kids HOW to stand up for themselves and that it is okay to fight back. Turning the other cheek does not mean let someone walk all over you and not stand up for yourself. Absolutely DO stand up for yourself and more importantly stand up for people around you who are being bullied.

What to do about it? I’m sure there is NOT just one answer for every case but maybe the first thing to do is just to admit there is a problem. Stop treating moms and dads like we do not know what is going on. Not everyone is going to try to sue the school if school admits they are not perfect.

~
Work? We go to work. We do our job. We take care of other people’s problems, possibly face a little sexual harassment, brush it off, stop by the grocery store to pick up spaghetti sauce for dinner, walk in the door to hear our kids say, “Hey, mom, I need $20 for the field trip by my first class in the morning.” “Here mom. Sign this please. The teacher said I’m going to need tutoring for a month or until I get this grade up or I’m out of sports.” And my sweet husband says, “Did you take the car to get the tires rotated today?” And I pretend NOT to notice him closing down something on the computer and wonder who he’s cheating on me with this time.

~
Home? What if we lose our temper at home? Mom’s gone crazy. She’s out of control. No. No she’s not.

Sometimes we don’t realize our kids ARE old enough to help at home (at just about every age.) Let them do dishes. Remember, if something accidentally gets dropped, to buy less fragile stuff next time. If a dish is more important than our kids learning service, responsibility and to take care of where they live (because they will ALWAYS need to take care of where they live) then maybe we should buy less breakable stuff from now on. Let them fold laundry. So what if it’s not folded the exact way we would fold it? Let them help. And praise them for it. It will build confidence.

Delegate a little of the housework to each person in the house, briefly teach them how to do it, and then LET them do it. Don’t step in. But DO tell them, “Hey I really appreciate your help. I love how you cleaned the sink.” “I’m having a tough time getting the floor clean in here. You have such great eyesight. Would you please clean to the edges when you clean the bathroom?”

~
Romance? Dates? Looking and feeling sexy as a woman? When do we have time for that?! I WANT that. I NEED that.

~
WHERE can we let off steam? Pretty much nowhere. NO WONDER we are under so much stress. I have seriously considered building a place where women can go and for a small fee they can take a baseball bat and smash stuff for 5 minutes.

On top of all that if we raise our voice to our families we feel like the biggest failure of the century.

THAT is a bad day. When I raise my voice to my family. Worst feeling EVER.

AAAUUGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! ENOUGH. I need a moment to breathe. I need a little silence. I need someone to realize that I am a person, too. I am very great at what I do and yes I can handle 217 thousand things at once and (yes, we all pretty much wear the title “super mom” but) just let me catch my breath.

~~> I need Jesus. He can fill me and give me energy and the strength I need to be the mom and wife I need to be. Ask God for energy and thank Him for it. He is THE answer. He doesn’t HAVE the answer. He IS the answer. <~~

~ And then we kiss the kids good night and do it all again tomorrow. ~

I want you to know that I am praying over your life. I am praying over your jobs, your marriage, your search for a husband, your decision to be single, your church, your education, your kids, your life in general, and your heart. Just know that somebody cares and in case nobody told you today… YOU MATTER.

Let Me Tell You About My Mom….

Let Me Tell You About My Mom….
Mother’s Day 2010

I remember my mom making sandwiches for the men who dad was working with on stormy nights at the electric company to restore electricity for the families whose houses were hit with lightning.

I remember the fun slumber parties my mom planned for my birthdays. She let me invite as many friends as I wanted to. Mom let us invite one friend our age to the other sister’s slumber parties, too. That was cool.

I remember the most beautiful birthday cakes ever made were the ones my mom made for us on our birthdays…. The kind someone would pay lots of money for, but my mom’s tasted better than ANY store could make.

I remember my mom making beautiful wedding cakes.

I remember telling lot of kids that I was going to have a party and to get off the bus at my house, and they did. My mom didn’t even get mad at me for that. I don’t remember how she got them all home.

I remember mom driving the camper and picking up ALL the friends I wanted to invite to Vacation Bible School, and never complaining about it or making me feel that it was an inconvenience.

Mom makes the very best grandma bread ever. Everyone loves her homemade bread.

My mom made sure we went to church, even on vacations, and that showed me how important church should be.

My mom chose the names for our streets on the corner where we built a house when I was a kid. That was pretty cool.

My mom makes the very best tasting food and makes it look very beautiful. Somehow my macaroni and cheese or deviled eggs just don’t measure up in taste or beauty.

I remember my mom giving up her bed to let company sleep there while mom and dad took a less comfortable place to sleep.

I remember knowing that if I told mom something, that I better expect that she’d tell dad because they had no secrets, and that felt secure.

I remember that mom let us play in the basement and color in coloring books.

My mom taught me hospitality. If someone needs a place to rest, clothes, food, my mom was there for them. I was hungry and… Matthew 25:34-36

Mother’s Day 2010
(From my sweet husband to my mom)
Why my mother-in-law is the greatest

My mother-in-law is the greatest because she is always helping others.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she makes the best bread in the whole world.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she always makes me feel welcome.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she gives the greatest Christmas gifts.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she has never judged me for my past.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she had and raised the perfect wife for me.

She is Somebody’s Daughter (Pornography)

My marriage was attacked by brokenness.

Women who pose in pornography films and magazines are broken inside. Period. If you could just see the pain inside the heart of the girl in the porn video or magazine, you’d ache for her with a different part of you. You’d want to help her find healing. You’d treat her like the Child of God that she really is. She just doesn’t believe it or know that she really is yet.

She is somebody’s daughter. She is someone’s niece, aunt, sister, mom, grandma, but most importantly she is WORTHY of so much more than the life she’s trapped in.

Pornography was holding my husband’s attention and we did not realize HOW much it was wrecking our marriage. After a few months in marriage counseling my husband and the best marriage counselor on the entire planet came to the same conclusion.

Pornography was the culprit and was destroying our marriage. There is just NO place for it anywhere. Anywhere.

But the problem is that even soft porn is EVERYWHERE. He has to “bounce” his eyes a lot. The sad thing is you cannot UNsee what you saw. Yes God CAN take the images out of your head but sometimes our brains hold onto stuff when we don’t even want it there anymore.

Even now, 4 years after he’s been able to break free from that trap, and it absolutely IS a TRAP, set on purpose to enslave you forever, there are many times that the residual effects crawl out of the corners of the darkness and claw at our marriage threatening to destroy it.

One thing we’ve noticed is that after we’d be together, he wouldn’t speak to me much for about 3 days. This was killing me. I felt like he didn’t care. He sure cared enough a few days ago. He didn’t even realize he was doing it. We figured out together that it was from the past of seeing pornography and then the shame from it just overwhelmed him. Well, if he’s feeling that shame, he may not want to talk to me because it hurt me and he knows it.

But this was our marriage and it was OKAY for him to be together with me. God designed sex for married people. It’s fun and healthy when there is never another person or any other living, breathing anything involved in any way. As long as you both consent, and it’s ONLY you, your spouse, and God, then pretty much your imagination is the limit.

But the trap that pornography IS does THIS kinda damage and lots of it. Sometimes we’re not even aware of as the cycle keeps on going;  Together. He ignores me for 3 days. I feel like I’m invisible.  And this is only ONE example of the damage pornography does.

If you are upset with me for writing about this I apologize. Our kids hear WAY yucky stuff from kids at school, online, and unfortunately we as parents and people at churches mostly don’t talk about healthy sexuality but we MUST talk to our kids. They WILL learn about stuff somewhere and aren’t YOU the very best person to talk to him or her about such important things? I believe that you are.

So I’m just putting this in here to say I’m very sorry if it offends someone to talk about pornography. It unfortunately is a bigger problem than lots of people realize and we just have to take off our blinders and masks and get down to the stuff satan uses to attack our families every day. It’s not easy to talk sometimes but we just gotta.

This may be a forever thing my husband has to work on and I am willing to be here for him and with him. He’s worked very hard to walk away from that.  In fact, he actually ONLY was able to break free because of God’s help.

I’m so proud of him learning to bounce his eyes and save ALL of his desire just for me, his wife.

There’s NO better way to tell a woman she’s beautiful than this very thing.

It’s been a really tough thing to do and with God’s help he was able to get out of that hell. He’s also a great man for other men to talk to about this subject and many have asked his advice and asked about what books have helped him on this journey of freedom.

~
My husband wanted to add to this story:
~
Well my awesome wife posted a story about some of our journey today. After reading what she had written I thought there were a few things that needed to be added so here it goes.

I’m a preacher’s kid and have been in and around church my whole life.

As some of you know we are moving to Alaska. We feel we are being led there. I won’t go in to all the details just now but there have been a lot of things happen and it seems God wants us to go to Alaska and these days I am all about faith. I have turned into a faith-junky-God-loving-Jesus-freak and I can’t see being any other way.

I guess my story starts off around 16 when someone gave me my first pornography video. From that point on life was all about sex.

Around age 21 I went to prison for armed robbery. Why would I get in to armed robbery? Well it all falls back to me not liking me and that is a story in itself. I’ll tell you that one later.

On my way out of prison I went to a work release. It’s a place where the city gives the state a place to put prisoners and in return the prisoners work for the state. My last job working there was for the city electric company and while I really learned a lot, the problem is that’s where my pornography problem picked back up.

The guys there found out I was good at fixing things like TVs and computers so they started bringing computers for me to fix and equipment for me to build new ones. Well guess what? When I went in – no internet. Now there is internet. For those of you who don’t remember, when the internet first came out if you did a search online and you spelled the word wrong it would pull up pornography websites. People who know me know I am the worst speller ever. By the time I got out of prison and was at this job my pornography problem was bigger than ever.

To shorten the story I will jump to me and Kerri getting married. Kerri and I knew each other as teenagers in different church youth groups.  We didn’t know who we were to each other back then.  I have always loved Kerri deeply but there is no way a wife can match up to a fantasy in any way. Through our marriage I worked on beating my addiction to porn and the longer I was married the more I saw the damage it was doing. I got to the point where I only stumbled every great once in a while.

The problem was the effects after watching it were not going away. I prayed and prayed for God to take it from me and to make me see my wife in a new way.

The strangest thing happened. Kerri and I started going to a new church and they were talking about doing a “mustard seed offering.” Up until this point we had given off and on when there was extra money to be given but we had never made a commitment.

The day they took up the mustard seed offering they gave everyone a packet of mustard seeds and they told everyone to write on the packet things that wanted God to do for them. My first two things on the list were a better relationship with God and a better relationship with my wife and kids. Since then we give out of every paycheck, bonus, and gift.

Lately my wife has been asking me what has gotten into me. Why am I liking her so much? Why am I doing things I have never done? And I told her it’s all because of God and my better relationship with Him.

So if you have something you are praying about and nothing seems to be happening maybe it’s your lack of faith that is stopping things from happening. Maybe you’re not being able to move on from a sin you’re struggling with because you’re not acting on faith or maybe you’re not letting go so God can take control.

So here’s my challenge to you; If there is something in your life you have not acted on because of some reason take a leap of faith, put it in God’s hands and see how wonderfully your life changes.

~
It’s sad when some people react to us like, “DUDE! Don’t they ‘know better’ than to say that kinda stuff?!” Our reaction is, “Dude, don’t you know YOU NEED to talk about that kinda stuff?! You NOT talking about it could be stopping someone God has put in your path who needs healing, but because you are afraid to speak, you are not helping them.”

I didn’t know I was trapped.

As he drove by he yelled out his car window to me, “How’s the stopping smoking going?”

I yelled excitedly, “I’m FREE!”

Wait.  That was a weird answer.  Free?  I didn’t know I was trapped.

When we started talking about the fact that we were struggling with smoking and my husband wanted to stop so he wanted me to stop with him, people (especially at church) were uncomfortable that we asked for prayers about it. It’s just not the sort of thing church folks talk about (unfortuntately.)

I didn’t know if I COULD stop. I didn’t even know if I WANTED to stop.

After we asked for prayers a guy told me his sister-in-law had a book she swears by.

She drove to meet me within the same hour after I finally had courage to call her and she brought it to me. I was so humbled and touched. I was sobbing uncontrollably and asked her WHY she would stop her day just for me and bring that book to me. She said because she knew how important this was.

She stood there telling me she knew she would never smoke again.

I wanted to be THERE.

How could she possibly know that she’d never smoke again?

If you smoke, you keep smoking AS you read the book.

Crazy, right?  I read 1/2 of the book and have stopped smoking forever.

THAT is freedom and I am SO glad I said I was having trouble.

That present from a stranger is and maybe will always be the very best present anyone ever gave me.  It was a simple thing, really.  But she knew the deep hell that smoking was.  She spoke love to me that day because she stopped what she was doing which showed me I was valuable in some way and gave me the key I desperately needed even though I wasn’t sure if I believed in it yet.

I’m convinced that this is what God means when He says we are to be His hands and feet.  She was an angel sent to me that day.  This I know for sure.

This book helps people who DON’T smoke understand more about WHY people smoke.  It also helps people who do NOT smoke be able to talk with people who DO smoke in a way we may listen better.

It’s NOT fun to talk about smoking especially to a non-smoker because they just don’t get it.  You know the looks people give that they are obviously “better than you are.”  Yeah, non-smoker dudes, THAT’S NOT gonna help.  So here’s the best tool I’ve found for just this kinda conversation. [The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr.]

Shoving pictures of dead lungs in our faces just doesn’t do anything.

You don’t get it.

It’s a TRAP!

A trap VERY cleverly designed with TONS of awful media, movies, ignorance, and tobacco companies supporting the chains and locks.

Showing a squirrel who is stuck in a trap a picture of a dead squirrel won’t help it get free.

My husband was able to stop with God and willpower.  That’s awesome!

Any way out is awesome.

I read a book.

HOW many people read a book and stop smoking?!  They do not advertise this book anywhere but word of mouth.  I am living testimony that it works.  It was the key to freedom for me. That was over 1 1/2 years ago now.  The funny thing is the book title. It’s easy to remember.

The book is called The EASY Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. This is the BEST book for stopping smoking and getting free from the stupid trap that smoking is.  Forever!

This author went from smoking 100 cigarettes a day to ZERO and then wrote this book.  He figured out the answers.  PRAISE GOD!!

It’s sad when some people react to us like, “DUDE! Don’t they ‘know better’ than to say that kinda stuff?!” Our reaction is, “DUDE, don’t you know YOU NEED to talk about that kinda stuff?! You NOT talking about it COULD be stopping someone God has put in your path who needs healing, but because you are afraid to speak, you are not helping them.”

40 Thing Pick Up

Make Jobs Fun
40 Thing Pick Up

Let’s face it. We’re gonna have to clean up and do the grocery shopping and laundry, whether we like it or not. So, my idea is to make it fun. As fun as possible, if you hate those things.

When we pick up toys, I may say, “Okay, let’s pick up everything that has red on it.” And when we are doing a pick up through the house, I say, “Let’s do a 40 thing pick up.” This is when we EACH pick up 40 things in each room, making each room look nicer than it did. Sometimes we do that just in one room. So, even though I don’t particularly like math, let’s do it. Four of us picking up 40 things in any room equals a whole bunch of things in that room. Now there probably aren’t many times when 928 things are out of place in any room at one time, so we make it fun by counting each shoe as one thing. Sometimes we count a PAIR of shoes as only one thing. If I tell my kids this detail before we start there’s not arguing. (If 24 crayons need picked up that’s not 24 things. Making this clear each time you do a 40 Thing Pick Up seems to help LOTS.)

Sometimes if there is a lot to put away when you look around the room it feels kinda overwhelming and you don’t know where to start.  I have found that my kids (and husband, too) do not mind as much when I ask them to help pick up quickly this way. They concentrate more on the number of things they’ve picked up instead of the mess the room is in. (And I get sweet attitude help!) And no, I don’t give prizes for cleaning up a room. Taking care of where you live is something we all have to do. It’s part of everyone’s job no matter what. (But more about this later: getting paid money for jobs vs. doing stuff you need to do just because you live there.)

Tiny mess. 25 Thing Pick Up. Works great for younger kids, too!