New Article: I Love You, But How Do I Like You?

0035This week, I’m over at Start Marriage Right sharing some practical thoughts on loving your spouse for the long haul.

After my husband asked me out on our first date, we were inseparable. We couldn’t get enough of each other’s company. Our dating days were filled with joy, delight, anticipation, passion, and little conflict. But after we got married, into the newlywed years and beyond we started to grow familiar with each other… 

Read the rest on Start Marriage Right

Conflict Resolution: The Need for Face Time

0019I’m not writing anywhere specific today but someone I know who is really awesome and amazing is! My husband! Today Jeremiah is writing his first article for  StartMarriageRight.com, helping us discern how much we should share digitally verse face to face communication in our relationships.

He gives practical wisdom on what to do when you sense a conflict arising over any form of digital communication- email, texting, social media, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and how you can handle it biblically.

I think he did a great job and I really enjoyed editing the article. We would love to hear your thoughts or any wisdom you’ve gained over the years on this topic:

“We’ve all been there. We’ve either witnessed it or have personally shared the anxiety of working through conflict using digital communication. With life running at the pace of email, texting, Facebook and Twitter, solving conflict on these mediums has become almost as natural as breathing. But is this always the best way to go?”

Read the rest on Start Marriage Right

Devotional: Taste His Goodness (Day 2)

1223429_16136294Day 2 of 7 Devotionals I wrote for the Spring 2013 Issue of Heart Magazine. Click here for Day 1.

Day 2

Taste His Goodness

Psalm 34:8-14

You’ve probably heard stories in the news about people waiting in line for the latest gadget or toy on Black Friday and all of the sudden a fight breaks out. Anger, impatience and the desire for more strips away any good that is present. And it doesn’t take long to realize that within our culture and within our own hearts apart from Christ, we’re always left wanting. We are never truly satisfied.

The good news is that in Christ, we who follow and fear him lack nothing (vs. 9). We have everything we need because we know that he is good. We have experienced his goodness in our lives and know that there is nothing else better in life than knowing God alone. But following him and fearing him is by no means an arrival. It’s a process throughout our faith journey.

Fearing the Lord and tasting his goodness requires humility and trusting his teaching and discipline in our lives. It requires submission to his spirit and a willingness to sit at the feet of the Good Shepherd and learn. While you may have trouble finding peace in other people or your own heart, you will always find righteousness, peace, and goodness in our God.

Depend on his goodness in times of discord. Turn from evil and pursue righteousness in your life.

Article: Kitchen Wars

* Today I’m writing for StartMarriageRight.com on conflict, love, and the power of the gospel in your marriage. *

After a long day of traveling home from this particular summer vacation, my husband Jeremiah and I got into a big argument. We were over-tired and not thinking straight. Words flew carelessly in the air and we threw verbal punches at each other.

Shortly after the conflict, I reflected back on one of the evenings during our vacation that Jeremiah watched the kids so I could hear Christian songwriter Sara Groves in concert where we were staying.

In between songs Sara told usContinue Reading over on StartMarriageRight.com

New Article: The First Argument on StartMarriageRight.com

Our honeymoon had been perfect so far. My husband of four days had blown me away with his romantic surprises. We were giddy about being on the breathtaking Hawaiian island, Kauai, and it seemed like every minute we were relishing in our new love together. But suddenly as we walked along the shore near our cabana, the tides in our relationship changed…

Continue reading over on Start Marriage Right & feel free to chime in with your thoughts.

When World War III Comes to Your Kitchen (& other marriage thoughts)

A few nights ago, my husband and I got into a big argument. We had just gotten home from a long day of flying. We were over-tired and not thinking straight. Words flew carelessly in the air and we threw verbal punches at each other, back and forth.

It was one of those moments where you would be ashamed if anyone took a peep through your door.

While we were on vacation, award-winning Christian song-writer Sara Groves was in concert where we were staying and before one of her songs, she told us she wasn’t going to be ashamed to expose any “dirty laundry” and that she wanted to be transparent with us. She talked about the fights her and her husband have had before.

I resonated with her words and appreciated her brutal honesty. I had thought: Wow, she struggles too? Sara talked a little more and began playing the keys. Here’s what she sang:

We just had a World War III here in our kitchen – We both thought the meanest things

And then we both said them – We shot at each other till we lost amunition

This is how I know our love – This is when I feel it’s power

Here in the absence of it – This is my darkest hour

When both of us are hunkered down – And waiting for the truce

All the complicated wars – They end pretty simple

Here when the lights go down – We roll to the middle

No matter how my pride resists – No matter how this wall feels true

No matter how I can’t be sure – That you’re gonna roll in too

No matter what, no matter what – I’m going to reach for you

(song: “Roll to the Middle”)

I was reminded of our arguments in the past, and how there were sure to be more in the future but how I’ve experienced that our love is always stronger. After Jeremiah and I were finished taking jabs, we came to our senses. We agreed to go to bed and talk in the morning and that we were way overtired.

That morning, I confessed my pride and how I wasn’t even making sense. Jeremiah confessed where he was wrong and we forgave each other. I was reminded of Sara’s song and how true it was in our marriage.

with Sara Groves and my little girl, Rebekah

It didn’t matter what we were arguing about, the truth was that we are for each other. We are on the same team and our love is bigger than any of our petty conflicts. The foundation of our love is Christ.

We were also reminded that on our vacation God blessed us with an incredible, life-changing time, free of any conflicts, and how it would be foolish to allow that disagreement to close out an amazing trip.

Pride turned into humility and that night we rolled to the middle, at peace in our relationship.

Cleaving: What Does It Mean in Marriage Anyway?

On my way home from the store, in a shopping center just a block from our apartment building, I saw a man and a woman lying down on the ground in a corner holding one another tightly, trying to keep warm.

Their bags were beside them and I couldn’t believe what I was watching as I had never seen both a man and a woman together who were homeless.

I had no idea if they were married or boyfriend and girlfriend but that beautiful, heart-breaking image of that man and woman holding on to each other triggered something in my heart reminding me of my relationship to my husband Jeremiah.

Throughout our almost six years of marriage now, the wind and the rain and the hurricanes have swept through our marriage at times, testing our faith in God and our trust in each other, and we have learned to cleave.

But the truth is that I didn’t know how to cleave before I said “I do.” I mean I got the point of it all and I understood God’s word on leaving and cleaving, but I had to experience it first to really get it. And I’m still trying to get it.

But cleaving to Jeremiah has meant that I’m submissive to his leadership. That I honor, respect, and serve him with a willing heart. That I’m patient in his mistakes as he is with me and that I lift him up, not tear him down. That I praise him and build his self-esteem. That I continue to show him that I’m his #1 fan.

Cleaving to Jeremiah has meant that I put up boundaries in our relationship and keep it protected from harm and future trouble. And when there is conflict, that I’m quick to admit my faults and work through our differences in a godly way.

Cleaving has meant that our children come second, even as they demand most of our time right now. Our unity and oneness cannot be forfeited and our relationship is #1.

To cleave has meant that we are now one. We’re no longer two individuals with our separate agendas and plans. Everything we do affects one another, somehow and some way. We’re now our own family, distinct from the families we grew up in.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24

God is using all of our experiences, joyful and difficult, to teach me to hold fast to Jeremiah. To work hard and be disciplined in the areas I struggle in so that when the winds and the rain and the storms of life come again, as they will, I’ll continue to cleave.

And to do nothing more because Jeremiah is God’s provision for me.

Marriage: Built to Last #2

marriageI used to think I was perfect- until I got married. Okay so not perfect, but maybe close to perfect.

And it’s hard to believe in December we’ll be celebrating four years of marriage. It’s truly a gift from God and today, I respect and love my husband more than on the day I committed my life to his. He’s my best friend and soul-mate, and I couldn’t live with without him. But I’d be lying if I told you that our marriage isn’t hard work. And that it doesn’t require living intentionally and loving biblically.

Well for a while now, at Bluefish TV, we’ve been working on a small group bible study series called Marriage: Built to Last that I wrote about a few posts ago. We got the kit back from the manufacturer last week and I’m blown away by how well the stories, teaching, and spots have come together.

What I love most about what we’ve produced is the stories from real-life couples. They are transparent to the core and share about real life issues like expectations, communication, conflict, and sex and intimacy. I also say “to the core,” meaning that these couples get down to the dirty, ugly details of their marriage. Some of them expose their pride, anger, pornography, past baggage, affairs, control issues, spending habits, unhappiness and more.

I’ve never really seen such brutal honesty. But it’s so neat to see that through that authenticity, God can really work and it’s evident He has in their marriages. He can replace that pain and brokenness with joy and life and put couples on the path that leads to a marriage built to last.

Head on over to Bluefish TV and watch the trailer to get a sneak peak into the series. Thank you also to my friends Zech and Kim Lumpkin and Chase and Elizabeth Hammon for sharing your stories with couples across the country.

When We Blow It

I go through times when I really blow it. Either I’m angry, selfish, frustrated, impatient, hateful, and just a real jerk. (Am I the only one here with this problem?) In marriage, I see these moments of “blowing it” come out the most because my husband sees every speck of dirt in my life- that others may not see. But he also sees the gems and the moments when I am obedient to God’s Spirit and there is harmony.

It is in these times of screwing up, that I sense God’s unfathomable grace more and more. Grace is something I am only touching the surface of. Why does he love a sinner like me? He came to die on the cross for my sins way before I was born and had the chance to steal candy from the drug store- when I was four years old. He died for the wretchedness that is in me and he now calls me to live for righteousness instead. What a divine rescuing!

The grace He has for all of us when we blow it, is truly a gift and is precious- it really is Amazing Grace. At any time God could pour his wrath out upon us, but he chooses instead to withhold it. He beckons us to come near to Him and choose LIFE…not death. It is always when we look at ourselves and what we can do on our own that we fail. It is when we surrender and give our life to Him that we find our life. These truths are hard to even describe.

Does anyone else resonate with this?

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