Monday, March 28, 2011

Happily Ever After?

How realistic is it that we would purposely pursue a relationship, feeling so strongly that this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, and actually do it; in sickness and health, in bad times and good times, in sad times and happy times?

As a woman who has walked through divorce and is now living "happily ever after", I am not approaching this subject lightly nor am I am coming at it with a judgmental finger pointing either. I recognize not everyone who is divorced, necessarily wanted a divorce, but their spouse did and thus the door was opened. There are also those who were not born again believers when they married, and they married for all the wrong reasons, and those reasons ended up being the end of their marriage. 

Today as christians (two believers who profess their faith in Jesus Christ and make a vow/promise to one another in marriage) we have allowed ourselves to become like the rest of the world. Sadly, many Christians have allowed what is felt as irreconcilable difference to dictate what the flesh wants. Believing the lie that the grass is greener on the other side.  No longer taking responsibility for choices and behaviors, refusing to seek proper help to overcome addictions or issues that have put a wedge between the one-ness that God created marriage for. Things or habits that were once tolerable are no longer tolerated.  It has become easier to not communicate needs or desires on the level required for true deep intimacy with your spouse. Some are so unhappy with themselves that they blame their spouse, when in fact its not about the spouse at all.  Somewhere along the line your marriage became a one sided relationship. You have allowed the past to dictate your future. Differences that once were areas where communication could create compromise, has now become solid walls. The heart felt desire to love, serve, and please your spouse is no longer a desire in your heart and mind. That part of the wedding vow no longer seems to apply, even though you meant it with all your heart at the time you said, "I do". 

Once you open the door to separation or divorce you begin to start all over again. Why? Because that is how you were created.  God created us for relationships. We crave the intimacy that marriage was created for. You will only find yourself in a similar pattern. The newness wears off and the same routines will begin to appear.  It wont happen overnight, but it will happen. With this in mind, wouldn't it be easier to face the problems in your marriage and open your heart to repairing the brokenness that is between you.  Reaching down to pull the root of an issue out is hard work and it can be intimidating, but the end result is wholeness and healing. Not just for your marriage but for yourself, as well. Getting to the root issue with your spouse in any area that has become a stumbling block towards intimacy between you, is going to take time, effort, and trust. You both must be on the same page, at the same time, with the same heart motive, to pull the root  completely out and repair the damage done by it.  Marriage is a relationship where two become one, but it's still a two sided relationship.

Marriage takes heart work from both spouses. You have to both be willing to be in it to win it.  Anyone who has been married longer than one year can tell you all of the things I said above, at some time or another, will begin to apply to your marriage, and my friends, this is where you need to begin to work hard.  This is the time when you need to keep your armor on.  Fight for your marriage.  Seek solid biblical counsel if you are struggling in an area within your marriage or individually.  Be willing to take your vows as seriously and as honestly as you did when you first said them out loud.

As believers, marriage shouldn't be the goal...staying married should be. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Treasure In Treasure Out

Lately my mind has been on the scripture in  Ephesians 6:10-18 where it talks about the importance of putting on your FULL armor of God, so that we can be ready to battle against the darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness. Then I turn over to Philippians 4:8 where it says to let our minds dwell on these things: whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, filled with excellence and worthy of praise. We can not keep our armor on if our minds, hearts, and bodies are drifting into all of the opposites of the above mentioned qualities. 

We need others to help us keep accountable with these scriptures. God did not create us to be a "lone wolf" we need others in our daily life.  We need to surround ourselves with those who can encourage and motivate us towards focusing on the things in life that are true, honorable, right, and pure (i.e. keeping our armor on). Especially when we are weak, we need those who are stronger to help hold us up (and accountable). 

Part of putting (and keeping) our armor on and staying focused is the need to stop settling for sin and shame...stop accepting the negative thoughts and feelings. The mind is a powerful thing.  If we constantly think we are a "loser" we will be a loser. If we think we are unworthy, we will be unworthy.  If we think we will fail, we will fail. If we think we have crossed the line one to many times, we begin to believe that lie. Every time we focus on a lie or negativity it hinders our relationship with God. It stops our spiritual growth.

Another part of putting on the full armor of God is taking those lies and negativity captive and replacing them, slowly but steadily with the truth.  Something you can choose to do to combat those lies (it’s a daily choice and a daily battle for every Christian) is to put specific scriptures or quotes on index cards and post them all over: on mirrors, in closets, in your car, inside your wallet, in drawers, wherever you will see them.  That old saying “garbage in-garbage out" the same goes for the opposite. What is the opposite of garbage? TREASURE, so "treasure in –treasure out". Ask yourself, who am I choosing to surround myself with?  What am I listening to on the radio or CD’s?  What am I watching on TV? What magazines or books am I reading? 

Ask yourself, is this pure?  Is this lovely? Is this of good repute? In all honesty, I may ask myself those questions after the fact but, then it moves me towards confession and repentance. We can not be afraid of a healthy balance of guilt.  We have to look at it as the Holy Spirit in us, moving us towards confession and repentance. Putting that “check” so to speak, in our hearts. We are always going to struggle because this is not Heaven (but remember even in our struggles we do have a choice).  God also knows we are never going to be 100% perfect. He knows our flaws and weakness, what He wants is for us to come to Him with them.

For any relationship to be meaningful you must spend time together. You get to know each other, your likes, dislikes, your habits, your passions, etc. That is also true with our relationship with God (part of the armor and focus).  God is not interested in a one sided relationship. Obviously we will never be equal with God, as He IS God and we are not but, He still wants a relationship with us. This is will keep your armor securely on. 

This week challenge yourself to stop allowing "garbage" in and remember...treasure in treasure out!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Have you ever enjoyed looking at your friends photos from a trip and while you can appreciate the photos and what they represent, you don't quite have a desire to go to that particular place?  That is how I felt about Israel.  I have always enjoyed hearing the stories and seeing the photos from friends who have gone, but I never had the desire to go myself.  That is until the fall of 2010. At that time I was looking through photos from friends who had been on a study program for two weeks in Israel.  Something happened inside of me while I was looking at the photos. Suddenly the words, Lazarus Tomb, Sea of Galilee, The Garden of Gethsemane, Wilderness of Judah where Jesus was tempted by Satan, Jacobs Well (where Jesus met the woman at the well), View of Valley of Elah, where David slew Goliath, from Socoh Hill. Israelite hill can be seen off in the distance...these words seemed to capture my heart.  I had such a strong feeling that I knew I needed to go.  It was an excitement I had never felt before.

As much as I felt the desire to go, it didn't seem like something that would "fit into" my life at the time but maybe in three-five years. I told even my husband, "I know I am going to go to Israel at some point in my life". I kept it in the back of  my mind but I certainly wasn't pursuing any information at this point. 

Fast forward months later and I was meeting with my Women's Ministry Director, talking about my ministry with the book and speaking opportunities when at the end of our conversation she said, "you should prayerfully consider joining the Israel 2011 Study Program.  It's an extensive in depth study program that goes from Old Testament, to the Inter Testmental period, to the New Testament. The study program culminates with two weeks of Biblical study in Israel".  As she was talking to me, my heart began to race with excitement, this was the same trip that I originally saw the photos from. We continued to talk about the program and I left our meeting feeling strongly in my heart I was going to participate and accept the invitation.  My mind raced with questions and thoughts as I drove the short distance home to ask my husband to pray with me. 

After several days of prayer, my husband and I had a peace and excitement for me to join the program. We still have a few details to work out and of course there is money to raise, but we both know that God will provide everything I need and work out all of the details. The trip is September 24-October 7, 2011

If you are interested in hearing more details or supporting me in prayer or through a financial donation please email me

I look forward to sharing more with you as the study program begins and I will post blogs and photos as well.

If you have been to Israel, I would to hear your story!