Freedom & Forgiveness

My husband just wrote a really good post on guilt, God’s amazing grace, forgiveness, and freedom. Something we all need to hear as we daily battle the flesh within while still striving to live and walk in the Spirit. Check it out, be encouraged, and leave a comment.

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My “Straight A” Husband

dts-754138So today calls for me to brag on my husband a bit.

A little over two years ago, we moved to Dallas for Jeremiah to attend Dallas Theological Seminary to further his study in God’s word and to better prepare him for full-time ministry. This past semester, I worked part-time at Bluefish (still do) and put him through school so he could focus on his studies, internship at our church Watermark, and our apartment ministry without wanting to pull his teeth out.

I’m really proud to say that Jeremiah just got his grades back and he got 2 A+ and 2 A’s! So, straight A’s! All semester, he worked so hard in his reading, studying for tests, and writing papers while simultaneously propping up a bottle for John or studying with him on his lap.  DTS isn’t an easy school and it’s one of the best seminaries in the world. Some of our favorites have come out of there like Andy Stanley, Tommy Nelson, David Jeremiah, Tony Evans, and Dennis Rainey.

Jeremiah wasn’t concerned on getting the best grades necessarily but on learning the content. We’re still unsure of what God has for us ministry-wise in the future, but for now we’re trying to live in the present. We don’t really know what the upcoming semesters will look like work-wise and time wise, but we’re thankful for God getting us through this far.

[Photo: Campus of DTS]

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Finding Love in my Son

IMG_9289Last night, for the first time, John Samuel fell asleep on my chest. Typically, I nurse him before his bedtime and he falls asleep that way. But last night was so special. I rocked him while he was still awake, sucking on his green soothie. His big brown eyes just stared into mine. It was a moment for just the two of us- Mommy and son. He was calm and so content. Then eventually, his eyes just closed.

My eyes welled up with tears because of the joy that lie in my arms. And to think that God loves us the way a mother and father loves their own child. The love is so deep and profound that it’s difficult to handle.

God is our Abba father who tenderly guides and protects us in his arms. His love is so wide and so rich. I am just now starting to get a glimpse of that love through my son. I truly can’t imagine life without him and I’m so thankful for the gift of motherhood and how it reminds me so much of Christ’s love.

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Fancy Thoughts

14078172990280c4f4f0150hj3I tend to have all kinds of thoughts. Thoughts about today, tomorrow, the end of the week, next month, next year,  and so on. I think of great plans and how things will most likely turn out. I sometimes even tell God that I know He’s going to do what I ask.

Wow! Just writing that out proves that I’m pretty self-focused and think I have it all together. I’m so far from that though. I like to “think” I have it all together and that I’m in control. I love to control in my thought life.

But the reality is that God is in control. His sovereign hand is leading and guiding me regardless of my thoughts. And it’s when I realize that I’m not in control after all, I begin to surrender and life is actually more free.

Since college, I’ve always loved the verse: “In his heart, a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” I need this verse to be imprinted on my heart because I often forget that the steps are His.

How has God shown you over the years that He is the one leading and guiding you- not your own fancy thoughts?

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Who You are is Not What You Do

best_thingsUpon making the great move to Dallas a few years ago, experiencing the culture here is like nowhere else I’ve lived. What you wear, how you look, what you do, and what you drive is valued above who you are. In our downtown apartment community alone, I can count at least 30 Lexus’s, mercedes, bmw’s, hummers, and jaguars (all owned by twenty and thirty somethings). So yes, the kind of car you have is important.

It seems like in other places, you just don’t see this. At least that’s what our friends say when they come to visit. But why is it that we love to place our identity in what we do or in things?

Perhaps it’s a security for us. It’s easier to find identity and meaning in those things rather than in Someone we can’t see. But what if we stripped all those things away, what would we have? What if people saw us for who we really are? Not what we do or what we drive?

I think we’d all be in for a real shock- to realize that we’re all pretty much the same even if the outside appears pretty: we’re all Messy people on the inside in need of a holy and perfect God.

Though far from perfect, that’s what I’m striving for when it comes to my real identity.

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Susan, Max Lucado and Publishing

booksToday I had the opportunity to meet with Susan Ligon- she works alongside Max Lucado not as his literary agent but in the area of marketing and consulting the Max Lucado brand. She’s been involved in publishing for more than 10 years and helps make many of the decisions in what Max will or will not commit to in his publishing and writing career. Before our meeting, she got a text message from him as he’s in Ethiopia with Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson and a few others big names with World Vision. Max went there to experience what’s happening there with World Vision and for research on his upcoming book. Really exciting stuff.

Anyhow, the purpose of Susan and I meeting was to ask advice on a few things regarding publishing and writing and my ideas for an upcoming book for young women. She was extremely encouraging and really passed some wisdom on to me. She suggested that I start little by little with the book proposal, while also realizing I’m a new mom and need to focus on my marriage. It would be difficult to work on a proposal every night without something suffering. I figured if I worked little by little on it for the next  6-8 months that would be realistic. She encouraged me to then start sending it to agents and they will help in the process of getting it to publishers.  

Publishing is such a crazy world right now. Sales aren’t where they need to be and it’s pretty difficult to get a manuscript in to the hands of a publisher who will give it time. Publishers invest a lot of money in you as the author and in your book so they are taking a great risk. I had read this before, but it was good to hear it from Susan who’s fully immersed in that world.

She was also encouraging when it comes to who I’m writing for. She said to write as if I’m writing directly to my girlfriends (since that’s the primary audience for my potential book). And to let who I am just pour out on the pages.

While I know publishing my own book in the next few years may or may not happen, she was encouraging that other opportunities may come up in the mean time and she mentioned a potential one I could potentially be a part of so we’ll see what happens. My honest heart’s desire is to be faithful where I’m at and to use my gifts however God wants.

Towards the end of our time she said something that has stuck with me all day. She said in our culture we’re told we can have whatever we want, when we want it and it’s true. But it doesn’t mean we need to have it right away. We may need to wait for it and have it later. In a better season.

Nonetheless, I was really honored to have met with her and hear more about her work with Max and to hear from someone I truly respect.

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Musings on Being a New Mama

3113_618605228558_55713931_36595474_2109231_nMy first Mother’s Day was really special. My pastor Todd spoke on the role of women in the church (God’s created order for man to be above women- not in equality but in our roles) and how that applies to being a Mama on Mother’s Day. This couldn’t have been a more timely message as God has been teaching me a ton on this very topic and I wrote an article about it a few weeks ago for Ungrind.

The message focused around 1 Timothy 2: 11-15: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

I had never heard these verses explained the way Todd did. He said how this verse isn’t saying we shouldn’t “speak”- rather we should let men lead. This is the created order. It doesn’t mean we can’t lead other women or teach other women, but when it comes to teaching or being over men, the way God designed it is for men to have the authority- the assignment. To have it any other way is to jack with God’s word.

I am definitely okay with this. I would much rather let all the responsibilities be on a man’s shoulders and not my own. I’m much more comfortable following the way God has set it up. When it comes to marriage… God’s created order is for wives to submit to their husbands (Eph 5). This isn’t an oppressive, duty-filled submission but rather a natural response from the love our husbands display. But, it’s difficult to do and it has been since the fall. Because our husbands fail at times and we do too.

BUT, when we follow God’s created order, it’s beautiful. There is peace. We allow men to be men and the ship is sailing in the right direction.

This speaks volumes to me in being a new Mother. I never understood the verse that says, “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” In the role that God has given me to help shape and invest in the lives of my children, if I continue living as a godly wife and mother in faith, love, holiness, and propriety, there is an opportunity for me to be preserved today. So basically I have the opportunity to make or break my role as a woman, wife, and mother by choosing to walk in the Spirit or not.

I’ve been encouraged to allow God to use me to help shape and mold my son John into the man God wants him to be and to most of all, allow my husband to lead and thrive in the role God has established for him. This encourages me as a new Mama in that the investment I’m making in my son and Lord willing, future children is a great and significant one because of the God-given role I’ve been given.

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A Passion for Marriage

sex-was-gods-idea-01Recently, my friend Cheli challenged me with something simple and profound. She said what if I lived my whole life with a passion for my marriage? Just how different would my marriage look?

I haven’t run into too many people who say they want to have a lifelong passion for their marriage. I often hear of a passion for a career, a life-long goal, sport, hobby, or whatever but not necessarily for their marriage. If we were passionate about working hard at our marriage, I bet people would stay together. Any time we have a passion for something, we tend to invest tons of time into that one thing. We can’t go a day with out it. And our life just isn’t complete without.

I’m determined to begin viewing my marriage with more passion. It’s not that I haven’t before but I want to have the mindset that my marriage is the most important thing than anything else right after my relationship with Christ. In the end, I think my son’s life will be most impacted by the kind of relationship I have with my husband, even more than the relationship I have with him. Did I love and respect my husband well? Did I show my son truly how to love another person with passion?

I sure hope so.

What does it look like for you to have a passion for your marriage? If you’re single, what does it look like to start becoming passionate about having the kind of marriage you dream of and working hard towards that?

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Would you mind taking 5 minutes to answer this brief reader survey in order to help make my blog better? Your feedback will also be helpful to me as I’m working on a current book proposal and upcoming articles.

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