Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Would You Like To Blog Hop With Me?





Today my blog is part of something bigger than usual. Last week, Alecia Roberts invited me to be part of a blog hop called The Next Big Thing. I was not familiar with doing a blog hop, but I decided to try it because it is an opportunity for me to bless other authors.

The purpose is to help readers discover the next great book or author; i.e., the one they will be compelled to read or the author whose work they simply can’t put down.

Check out Alecia's latest book and blog: www.AleciaRoberts.com




Another part of this blog hop involves me answering ten questions about my book A Scarlet Cord of Hope...My Journey Through Guilt, Shame, and Fear to Hope

Ten Questions With Sheryl Griffin:

What is the title of your book? A Scarlet Cord of Hope...My Journey Through Guilt, Shame, and Fear to Hope

Where did the idea come from for the book? For a long time I felt as if I had a scarlet cord wrapped around my neck that seemed to label or identify who I was through the things I went through and choices I made in the past. In 2007, after my diagnosis of ptsd (post traumatic stress disorder) along with panic and anxiety I began my journey of hope and I wanted to share the hope that I found with others.

What genre does your book fall under? Memoir/Nonfiction/Inspirational

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Wow, I have never considered this before and its hard for me to even think of anyone. I asked my husband and he said, I should have Helen Hunt play my character (only because he likes her!) and his character would have to be George Clooney (only because he recently got his hair cut like his, although my husband is 6'6 so George would probably have to wear shoe lifts-lol)

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book? Struggling with guilt, shame, and fear since my childhood I have now found hope...hope for today, hope for tomorrow, and even hope from my past!

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency? Originally it was self-published through Published by Westview, and now as I am going through a revision process (adding more detail- much has happened since the end of my book and I am also adding a small group discussion question section that can be done in a small group or on your own) this revision will be published through WordCrafts Publishing

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Less than six months

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  There are a lot of memoir's that deal with certain aspects that my book does, however, I feel as though my book is unique because of the many areas that I share openly with readers: alcoholic parents, abortions, abuse, divorce, guilt, shame, and fear issues, all of this and more wrapped up in the end with the hope of God's mercy, grace, and forgiveness. I also have a section at the end of each chapter called What I Know Now which takes the reader through things I have learned, insights, facts, tools, scriptures, among other things. Also with the upcoming addition of Small Group Questions at the end of each chapter, this will  lead the reader into a deeper understanding of their patterns, behaviors, thoughts, or beliefs and ultimately towards the one true HOPE...Jesus Christ. 

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I never thought I would be a writer or a speaker, however, God has opened this door and I have obediently walked through it feeling like Moses...very under qualified.  My book came about from the journaling that my doctor suggested I do. I was trying to piece together why I made certain choices in my life and why I allowed others to dictate what I did or did not do. I wanted to get at the root of all of my guilt, shame, and fear issues.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? While not every reader will identify with my entire story there are elements in my book that everyone at some point in their life can relate to. We all have a past and some of us have allowed guilt, shame, or fear to keep us in bondage and  that hinders our walk with God, our relationship with our spouse or family, and makes us want to keep "the mask" on. I have boldly taken "the mask" off and my hearts desire is to share the HOPE that I have found! 

Next week take the opportunity to hop over to the blogs of the following authors. These authors have been a blessings to me and I am sure you will enjoy them as well.


Monica Schmelter is an author, speaker, and Christian Television Network Host


 

Jan Balzer an author, speaker, and life coach  http://jbjourneyoffaith.blogspot.com/
 














Beth Jones an author, speaker, and life coach  http://www.bethjones.net/ 

Glenn Garvin author, speaker, and vice president of camps at Royal Kids Camps  http://www.hopebroker.com/
  

   


One moment at a time, one day at a time, there is always HOPE!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Do You Have Faith Like Mary? The Top Five Lessons We Can Learn From Mary's Faith

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb  and bear a son and you shall name Him Jesus  ~Luke 1:30-31

In order to fully appreciate this scripture and what it meant to Mary, we need to dig a little deeper and look at the all of the surrounding circumstances of that time.  In Biblical times, Jewish authorities determined that marriages could take place when a boy was thirteen years old and a girl as young as twelve. Often parents arranged marriages and typically a boys parents would select  their sons bride, not just based on if they thought they would be compatible, but also how well they thought of her family.  This would hopefully ensure a successful marriage and family relationship.

Once the parents agreed on a marriage the young man and young girl would become betrothed.  A betrothal was stronger than what we now refer to as an engagement.  To break a betrothal you had to actually go through a divorce. A betrothal contract was as binding as a marriage.  To be granted a divorce (or to break your betrothal contract) the husband was the only one who could be granted that privilege.  If the husband (or the betrothed young man) died that was the only way a wife (or betrothed young girl) could be relieved of her legal marriage commitment.

Another fact was that the young girl had to be a virgin on the actual wedding night. A betrothal contract did not give permission for premarital sex. While there is nothing new under the sun and things that are going on today were certainly going on in Biblical times, there was more priority placed on waiting until marriage and the value of what the covenant of marriage meant between two people.

We know that Mary and Joseph's family must have agreed upon their betrothal and marriage.  And even though the Bible doesn't tell us the exact age of Mary and Joseph, we can assume that they were in the age range of twelve to thirteen, as was the custom in their day. 

We also know that Mary (according to Luke 1:38) was considered a bondslave of the Lord.  The Greek word for bondslave (doulous) speaks of one who serves with disregard of her own interests. We also know Mary was raised in a home that served God and her parents must have taught her scripture, because in Luke 1:46-56, Mary is quoting  fifteen discernible quotations from the Old Testament.  This could only be possible if she was familiar with Gods word. 

As we put these pieces together you begin to see the incredible faith Mary had to have when the angel told her she would become pregnant and have a son. The only question she asks is, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"  She never once argued with the angel, asking what will my family think of me?  What will Joseph or his family think?  According to that time frame and culture women who were pregnant before the marriage ceremony were shunned and considered an outcast by the town and even family members. The groom and the bride were looked down upon.  Mary also knew that Joesph would know it was impossible for him to be the father since they had not had sex. The consequence for a betrothed woman getting caught with another man or becoming pregnant by another man, the betrothed husband could have her stoned to death or give her a divorce.

Mary never seems to consider another option; she could have simply told everyone she was raped. The custom in those days was if a woman was raped and became pregnant the towns people, as well as family, would then come around and support her without question.  

Mary's faith was so strong and bold that when the angel answered her only question, saying that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called,  "the Son of God" and then  the angel  reminds Mary, that nothing is impossible with God,  Mary responds with an absolute acceptance saying, "If it's Gods will, may it be". 

Mary never wavers in her faith not even when Joseph, not wanting to have her stoned, considered discreetly divorcing her, that is until an angel appeared to him in a dream. The angel told him not to be afraid and to take Mary as his wife, and that the child within her was conceived through the Holy Spirit. After this, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him to do and he kept her as a virgin until she gave birth to Jesus.

Mary and Joseph's faith remained strong and they never wavered, questioned, or doubted God's purpose and plan for their life. I pray that I can attain the same faith as Mary, even within my day to day life and especially when I am faced with challenges or difficulties.

The top five lessons we can take away from Mary's  faith
  1. Live a life worthy of Christ (like a bondslave of God)
  2. If you were not (or are not) in a home that has given you a foundation of faith it's never too late to start today
  3. Make reading the Bible a priority in your life
  4. Believe with all your heart that God's word is truth
  5. Be willing to stand up and be bold for your faith even when everything around you seems to be in question

One day at a time, One moment at a time, There is always HOPE!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Answered Prayer...




Never give up praying and hoping for those you love! 

This past week God answered a prayer that has been on my heart for many years.  As you may know, several years ago, I was able to locate my older brother after not knowing what happened to him almost thirty years ago.  During our initial conversations we talked about the possibility of him coming to visit my family in Tennessee.  Neither of us knew if or when that may happen.

My prayer and hearts desire was answered last week!  My brother was able to spend four days with us!  It was an amazing time for me and my family.  We laughed, cried, reminisced, and filled in blanks for each other about our lives.  It was also a time of reconciliation and closure for him and another family member, for which I am grateful to have played a small part in.  He left Tennessee with his heart full and headed to one last stop before he goes back home to California.  His last stop was to visit another family member that he desired a heart felt connection with.  It appears that his hearts desires have come true!

I am amazed at how God has orchestrated this entire situation.  "For such a time as this,"...my heart is full and rejoicing at the reality of watching a redeemed situation unfold before my eyes and heart. It gives me courage to continue to live in hope.

One day at a time, one moment at a time, there is always HOPE!

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find ; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  1John 5:14

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy SpiritRomans 15:13



If you have a story about an answered prayer for a family member I would love to hear from you! 






 

Friday, November 23, 2012

But The Lord Was My Stay...

He sent from on high, He took me, He drew me from out of many waters.  He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay.  He brought me forth also into a broad place: He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
Psalm 18:16-19


As I read this Psalm I was intrigued with the concept of "the Lord was my stay".  I dug a little deeper and found that the word "stay" is meant as, my support, my protector, or my saviour.  

I can imagine as David wrote this psalm, he probably wasn't considering who might be reading his words thousands of years later, however, his words continue to bring hope, to all who choose to trust in God's plan and purpose for their life, just as much today, as when David originally wrote this Psalm.

I take comfort in the fact that David is referred to as a man after God's heart and yet his life and choices didn't always represent God's heart.  With choices come consequences, however, that doesn't over rule God's plan and purpose. God knew David's heart just as He knows yours and mine.

I love the imagery that these verses invoke...as if God Himself  reached down from Heaven and physically pulled David of the water and saved him from drowning (from his own choices and at other times the choices of others). 

Have you ever experienced "a day of calamity"? Calamity as defined by Dictionary.com is a disaster or misfortune, especially one causing extreme havoc, distress, or misery. As I consider this, I am humbled to read Davids words, that even in the midst of extreme havoc and distress, David knew in his heart that God would never leave nor forsake him, even in spite of his choices.  His faith always remained stead fast and firm. 

This verse is still applicable today, the Lord desires to be our "stay" just as He was for David. 

Will you allow God to be your "stay" today? 



Friday, August 31, 2012

Sea Glass



On a recent trip to Ohio with a friend and her three daughters we stayed at my friends family cottage on Lake Erie ( in area called Bernal Beach).  On our last day my friend and her girls took turns kayaking . I am a water lover from the knee down, so I decided to walk along the shore. It wasn't long before two of the girls joined me and the eldest asked if I wanted to look for sea glass.  I had not heard of sea glass before, so I asked her what it was.  She told me it's tiny pieces of glass that come from bottles, lamps, wind shields,anything made of glass that has somehow found it's way into the ocean. It takes years to break down into the tiny pieces that lay hidden within the sand.  They are completely smooth with not a hint of a jagged edge due to the constant friction and movement from the sand and water.

The two girls seemed to be pros at finding these tiny pieces of "treasure". It took me longer, however, once my eyes adjusted to what I was actually looking for and I took my time, I began to find tiny pieces. As I walked along the shore bending down to ruffle the sand and carefully dig around I saw the small pieces of sea glass as a metaphor for life.  Some of us feel discarded, abandoned, and unwanted. Some of us have been battered  like the glass by the sand a constant friction to our souls....by careless hurtful words, by neglect or physical abuse. Some of us can't imagine ever feeling beautiful or worthy again. It feels as if the years have taken a toll, a toll that is nonredeemable.

We need to open our eyes to the truth and stop believing the lies that we are trash carelessly tossed away...just like the glass that has found it's way into the water.  Once we find our way to Christ, He alone can take our jagged edges and smooth them out.  He alone can take the dull and dirty lens and make it clear and shiny. He alone can take something that someone else deemed unworthy and make it completely worthy and priceless. 

As I researched sea glass two things kept coming to mind.  Sea glass is rare and sea glass is expensive.  As daughters and sons of the King we are rare and the price that Christ paid for our life is expensive, so costly, in fact, there can never be a dollar amount put on it. 

If you have experienced the negative affects of feeling unwanted, unloved, unforgiven, and as if you have been battered down by those who are supposed to love, cherish, and care for you...THERE IS HOPE! 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

In Jesus we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.  Ephesians 1:7

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, says the Lord. Jeremiah 1:5

Jesus said, " Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your father (God). And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."  Matthew 10:29-31

Just like the tiny pieces of sea glass we may never be completely who we were before, however, with the hope of Christ we can begin one day at a time, one moment at a time and start new.  We can allow ourselves to become rare and priceless in the eyes of Jesus if we choose to draw near to Christ. 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you James 4:8 a

There is always HOPE!


*This blog is dedicated to Phyllis whom I met in the Maury County Jail August 2012.  Phyllis entered Heaven a week after I met her.  I believe she is now in the arms of our Lord and Saviour...and she finally sees her worth. While I didn't get to know her well, I know that she felt much like a piece of discarded unwanted glass tossed into the ocean without a second thought. Her choices in life reflected her lack of self worth and respect for herself. Patterns deeply ingrained within her for many many years. I pray for those who knew and cared about Phyllis that they will see we are not promised tomorrow and today is the day to see ourselves as beautiful sea glass. As long as there is breathe there is HOPE! 



Friday, August 10, 2012

Salt or Pepper



I have found myself in conflict lately.  I wanted to write a blog on the recent Chick Fil A controversy and have chosen to wait until now to post some thoughts, hoping not to stir the pot again.  When I posted a comment on my facebook wall, that I felt, stated my opinion peacefully and with no ill will towards anyone, I was shocked at a few of the responses I received.  I intentionally left the string of comments up mainly to show my heart motive.  I did delete one comment that I felt crossed my personal line (and I did it in a private message to that person telling them I did so and why).

I can handle differing opinions but when it gets to the point where you can "feel" the finger pointing and  "hear" the tone in someones written comment, that to me, is not worthy of anything. I am not about arguing. I expect others to treat me and my media outlets with the same respect I give.  It is obvious when you accept a friend request where they stand on certain values, what their priority's are, and if you are on the same page or not.  I love diversity and have many friends and "friends" (people I have never met but know them only on facebook or Twitter) and while I do not agree with everything each one of my friends (or "friends") believes in, participates in, or says, I have learned to either hide their wall, or simply ignore or "walk away" from there photo or comment etc, that may "bother" me at the moment. There have also been times that I sent someone a private message if I felt I needed to say something opposing them or expressing a thought or feeling.  After all, it's their wall and its not my place to say what they can or can't put on it.

Now to get to the real point of this blog. 

After all of the "hoop la" my family and I chose to go to lunch at our local Chick Fil A.  The lines were extremely long, winding outside and around the building.  The car lines were just as long.  People were pouring out to show their support.  After we waited about thirty minutes we ordered our food and were able to find a table.  After we ate, my husband and I parted at the door (my son and I met him as he came from work). There was a nice looking elderly man walking behind us.  He had a clean short sleeve button shirt tucked in with neatly pressed khaki pants and a belt, his grey hair comb neatly to the side. He and I made eye contact and he smiled and said, "Isn't this beautiful?" as he pointed to the line of people waiting to get in. I replied, "Yes, it is". As he went to the left and my son and I went towards the right, he said, "I hate those damn queers and fags, I hope they all get Aides and die".  I was so shocked that I couldn't even reply.  I looked back at him after he said this and while he looked like the same nice old man that I just made eye contact with the words that came out of his mouth had me expecting to see a rugged greasy mean looking man. (*wolves can come in sheep's clothing)

I wish I would have had the quick wit to say something to him.  Not something as mean and nasty but something that would have caused him to be shocked in a positive way, something that would have pushed him to ponder just for a moment the extreme hate that he allowed to come from his mouth.

I am a firm believer that hate never changes anything.  I also do not believe verballing assaulting someone with your views is a positive tactic. Neither is name calling. I have yet to meet anyone who has said they have accepted Christ as their saviour because someone was bold enough to shout at them and tell them how wicked and evil they are (while the said person has just as many faults and a past worthy of  tabloid news). I also don't know of anyone who changed their feelings or opinions by someone shouting obscenities and hate at them.

Do I wish everyone agreed with me and how I think and how I see things?  Of course I do!  However, I am not so naive to believe I have all the answers nor do I want that kind of responsibility.  My hearts prayer is that my actions and words will speak for my beliefs and values.  I am open to agree to disagree within boundaries. 

I have struggled with what it is that I really wanted to say on this topic for over a week.  I guess my point is to ask others to be mindful of your words, opinions, tones, and feelings.  It's not always about you (nor me). The world we live in is so diverse and full of many beliefs and values that we will never 100% agree on everything, especially the "hot topics".

While I may not agree with your standards and values I will not judge you. I am not God (and I am glad I am not!). The world is broken and people are ready to fight for what they believe is right or their interpretation of a law or commandments.  Please take a moment and consider what your purpose is before you allow hate in your heart as it will seep out one way or another. 

I still believe in HOPE and I pray that the elderly man who spewed hate from his heart comes to a place in his life before his last breath and is able to find peace within his soul, as well as grace, mercy, and forgivness from the Father above. 

As a christian we are called to be salt and light not pepper and darkness.




   

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Are You a Proverbs 31 Woman?

In my speaking topic; Turning Hopelessness into Hope, there is a section that I talk about having a balance of healthy pride and self esteem.  An example of this is the woman in Proverbs 31. While we should strive to be like her, at times it will be impossible, and I am sure if this woman really existed, it would have been impossible for her to be this perfect all the time as well. This chapter actually serves as a reminder to the integrity, strength, and heart motives that wives and mothers should strive towards.

 A side note that I also share with this topic is that my husband has tried for years to get me to believe there is a Proverbs 32 woman who likes to rub her husbands feet and massage his back every night. I have yet to find proof of this chapter, and if I ever do, I am sure there will also be a Proverbs 33 husband chapter that is filled with how much this husband loves to hand over his credit cards and never questions his wife's purchases, and wants her to get her hair and nails done regularly, along with providing a maid service, and personal chef for his busy wife.  :)

On a more serious note, as I consider the Proverbs 31 woman, I will break it down verse by verse (italic words are my interpretation)

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels (valuable and precious).

The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life (she is trust worthy and dependable).

She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight (she is not lazy).

She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens (she takes care of her family's needs).

She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard (she is wise with her money).

She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong (she takes care of herself).

She senses that her gain is good; her lamp does not go out at night (she is confident).

She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle (she uses her time wisely).

She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy (she has compassion).

She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet (she makes sure she and her family are prepared for each season).

She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple (she is not frumpy or sloppy).

Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land (her husband is respected within the community -he is not intimidating- he is a man of integrity).

She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen (she uses her skills and talents).

Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future (she has confidence in who she is as a woman and is not afraid of growing old gracefully).

She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (she is wise and speaks to others with kindness and truth). 

She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness (she takes pride in taking care of her family and has found the balance of taking care of herself, her family, and her home).

Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: "Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all" (her husband and children love and respect her).

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised (she is a woman who puts God first in all she does).

Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates (the way she lives her life speaks to her character, she is a woman of honor and integrity. Her life is centered on God and her family).

I encourage you if you do not measure up consistently to the Proverbs 31 woman, do not be discouraged, take it one day at a time and focus on one attribute, beginning with centering your life on God's will and be willing to make your relationship with Christ a priority.

There is always HOPE!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What Do Weeds and Sin Have in Common?





Tennessee is experiencing a heat wave along with several other states. Our temperatures are record breaking for the month of June. We are not currently on water ration, however, if we don't get some rain soon we will be. I have watered my lawn and plants each night and while the plants seem to be doing ok with a few brown leaves here and there, the lawn is a different story. Our lawn is actually more weeds than grass and someday I hope to remedy that, however, for the time being, I try to do what I can to keep the lawn mowed, edged, and neat looking. During this heat wave any resemblance of a blade of actual green grass seems to have disappeared, even with my (brief) nightly watering’s. I have noticed that the weeds seem to be thriving. Not uniformly, but sporadic here and there just enough to be noticed.

As I watered last night I was thinking how sin is like the weeds in my yard. It doesn’t take much for a weed to live. Weeds grow in every season here except winter, they lay dormant, however, with the first sign of spring they are ready to push out from the dirt and stand tall. People go to extremes to get rid of them, whether it's pulling them out from the root, putting weed killer on them, or covering the area with mulch. These measures are all temporary covers because they will continually reinvent themselves and try to choke the life from your plants or grass. Weeds are greedy as they steal the water you add to keep your plant or grass alive. It doesn’t take long for weed to multiply and get deeply rooted. They can also grow in small cracks and crevices.

Sin is similar. Sin wants to choke the life from you especially your spiritual life. Sin can easily become deeply rooted and multiply. Sin is present in every season of our life. Sin can be masked with temporary covers; however too effectually get rid of a sin area in our life it takes more than a "cover". Sin knows no boundary and sin never gives up. Sin can become dormant just long enough to make you feel as if you have finally mastered it, and then when you least expect it, it rears its head, as if it never left you. Sin can also manifest itself in the smallest of cracks, cracks that you may consider to be too small to worry about, however, that is all it takes.

The best way to defeat a sin area is to never let your guard down. Don't allow yourself to feel as if you have finally mastered it and then move on. We must remain vigilant in our measures to prevent sin from mastering us. It's a day by day, minute by minute challenge; however, if you remain steady with your relationship with God (which includes prayer, reading your Bible, fellowshipping with other believers, and growing spiritually) you will be one step ahead instead of behind. It's never too late to start.

There is always HOPE!
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.   1Peter 5:8-10


Monday, May 7, 2012

Ways to Love, Honor, & Serve Your Spouse

Welcome to Blog number two for our Marriage Series.  

Love, Honor, and Serve Your Spouse

Whether you have been married for ten years, thirty years, or maybe you're a newlywed, the desire to love, honor, and serve your spouse is a choice that you make daily.  When we take the focus off of these actions we allow the enemy a foot hold into our marriage.  It opens the door for anger or hurtful words to cover the love we vowed to share.  It desensitizes us to what honoring our spouse actually means. It allows us to serve our selfish desires over serving the one we promised to love,  til death do us part.

We have to be intentional about choosing to love, honor, and serve one another. If we're not purposeful to the one we vowed before God with, then rest assured the enemy's job to destroy marriages (especially christian marriages) will only be that much easier. Life has a way of getting in the way sometimes, and it becomes easy to fool ourselves that we have fallen out of love or it's better to end our commitment now while we can still be friends....oh my heart grieves for the friends I have who have bought that lie

I realize no one gets married to face divorce, however, we must be willing to fight for our marriage.  We must be open to loving, serving, and honoring our spouse daily.  If both spouses are truly on the same page and their hearts are bound in this commitment towards one another, there is no way your marriage will fail.  Sure you may face hard times, temptations, and selfish desires, it's all in how you choose to face those situations. Marriage is not a one way street. Marriage is a gift and to be enjoyed as the gift that it is takes commitment and work from both spouses.

One tool that I highly recommend is knowing each others love language (CLICK HERE for The Five Love Languages.  Once you understand how you each hear and feel love, you can build on that and strengthen your commitment to love, honor, and serve one another in your marriage.  

Suggestions to love, honor, and serve your spouse:
 
Love 

1. Speak your spouse's Love Language
2. Leave a "love" note (in their lunch, on the mirror, or in a drawer, etc) 
3. Text 143 to your spouse (143 = I Love You)
 Hatred starts fights, but love pulls a quilt over the bickering Proverbs 10:12


Honor

1. Be a man/woman of integrity (let your yes be yes and your no be no)
2. Compliment and thank your spouse
3. Encourage and support your spouse
 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin Hebrews 3:13
 

Serve

1. Do something unexpected for your spouse (refilling an empty glass, helping with yard work, order take out, or anything big or small that is unexpected and helpful) 
2. Have a servant heart attitude (SMILE with your mouth and your heart) 
3.Do something that speaks your spouses love language (actions speak louder than words)
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another Galatians 5:13

 Let's continue to say, "I do",  to our spouses and keep the HOPE of marriage alive!



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Marriage Series: Healthy Boundaries

I recently wrote a speaking topic on The Season's and Value of Friendship.  A small segment included the topic of friendship with the opposite gender.  This is apparently a hot topic and I felt it would be appropriate to share my thoughts with you on the first blog in the  Marriage Series

(*If you are interested to hear an interview I did with 94FM The Fish- Doug and Jaci Velsaquez -on this topic CLICK HERE )

There are two areas we will look at:  
1.  If you're married and you have a friendship with the opposite gender
2.  If you're single and you have a friendship with a married opposite gender

I know some will have to agree to disagree, while some will wholeheartedly agree.  That being said, I want to convey this is only me sharing my thoughts and values on the subject. I am not here to say if you're not doing it my way, you're wrong.  It's up to you and your spouse to ultimately decide if boundaries need to be in place or not and what they may look like. 

There is nothing wrong with having a friend who is the opposite gender, however, very clear and secure boundaries need to be in place. If you're married it is my opinion that your best friend should be of the same gender.  Men and women think differently. Women are much more emotional and men are more physical. 

I believe the key to having healthy boundaries in an opposite gender relationship, if you're married, is to include your spouse.  Because of my husbands job, I have been very fortunate to gain valuable friendships with women that I may not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.  I would encourage if your spouse has an opposite gender friend or close co-worker that you offer to have coffee or lunch with that person and get to know them. After all if your spouse seems to enjoy spending time with them, the likelihood is that you will as well.

There should be nothing discussed with your (opposite gender) friend that you don't share with your spouse. Your spouse should totally support and approve of your (opposite gender) friendship.  If he/she does not, that is a red flag and you both need to address it.

Some other red flags you need to be aware of if you're married and have a friend of the opposite gender OR if you're single and have a married opposite gender friend:

1. You meet alone with your friend
2. You meet with your friend without telling your spouse
3. You discuss intimate details of your life with your friend
4. You speak negatively about your spouse to your friend
5. Your friend meets needs that your spouse does not
6. You are physically and or emotionally attracted to your friend 

My husband and I have opposite gender friends but we also have boundaries.  We call this our Billy Graham Philosophy. We have agreed to never be alone in a car or go to an event or a restaurant with an opposite gender friend, unless, there is a third party involved. It has created some interesting dynamics personally and at the work place, however, once we explain this is our agreement it eases the awkwardness.  Bottom line for us is that we value our relationship and the trust factor that is between us. Neither one of us wants to put our self or the other in an uncomfortable situation. We do not hide any communication from opposite gender friends.  We are respectful when the other may feel uncomfortable.  We desire a strong marriage and to have a strong marriage means open communication and living above reproach in all areas.  It's about keeping our armor on. 

No one that I know  has ever gone to lunch with a opposite gender friend and had intentions of any inappropriate behavior, just like an alcoholic never takes his/her first drink, with the intention of becoming a raging alcoholic who destroys their family or career.  We become desensitized and it starts as a slow fade.

If you're single or married and have a friendship with a married opposite gender you need to make sure your boundaries are firm. It's imperative that you do not use the habit of using physical touch (i.e neck rubs, back rubs, lingering fingers on an arm).  It's also important to be aware of compliments. This doesn't mean you can't compliment someone, but, you need to check your motive and not be overly complimentary. Remember this is a married person and they need to hear those comments from their spouse. You may not mean it in the way it may end up being taken. You may also not be aware of how your actions or comments are affecting your friends spouse and possibly your own spouse as well (if your married). It's best to keep the boundaries healthy and clear so there are no misunderstandings. 

Again, it's about living above reproach. Living with honor and integrity in all areas of your life whether you're married or single.

In this day with the divorce rate as high as it is (especially within christian families) we need to be willing to fight for our marriages and protect them from the slow fades of the world!

There is always HOPE!





Friday, April 27, 2012

Marraige Series: What to Look For....



I am excited to announce I am going to write a Marriage Series Blog over the next several weeks!  

Areas I am planning to write about:

1. Boundaries with the opposite gender friendships (I will include a link with  my recent time with Doug and Jaci- Your Family Friendly Morning Show, on The Fish)
2. Way's to love, honor, and serve your spouse

3. Communication in marriage (including forgiveness)

4. God's desire for marriage

5. Spiritual growth in marriage

6. Remembering our vows and  taking them serious

I am open to any other topic ideas you may have or need.  Please send suggestions and or information you would like to share to Sheryl@SherylGriffin.com 

I look forward to sharing my heart with you and hearing from you regarding marriage!

There is always hope!



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Redeeming Memories



We recently went on our first Spring Break vacation.  A huge shout out and thank you to the Henry family for inviting us to join them at their family beach house in Gulf Shores.  We had an amazing time.  It was filled with lots of rest, relaxation, reading, good food, laughter, and specifically for me; a healing and redeeming moment.

As a teen and young adult, living in California, I loved going to Santa Cruz Beach Board Walk, however, three specific memories had stolen my love of the beach and ocean.  One memory had to do with heart break and two had to do with fear (deeply ingrained fear situations).  Living in Tennessee for the past fourteen years I had not realized my lost love of the beach until we were invited to join our friends.  When we realized all of the necessary details would work out for us to join them, I suddenly felt conflicted.  I wanted to go and enjoy time with the Henry family, but there seemed to be something I couldn't move past; a negative feeling. 

Within a few days of being at the beach I found myself alone one afternoon.  I brought a book to read and as I began to read I felt myself feeling a bit restless. I was unable to focus on the book so I decided to take a walk along the ocean.  I began to think about the three memories as clearly as if they had just happened (these situations occurred about twenty five years ago...this shows you the power of the mind and the depth of the situations). I sat down on the waters edge and allowed the waves to gently roll over my legs.  I felt a deep sadness and heaviness when suddenly I felt the Lord telling me, "Albagor!" (which I learned in Israel means no fear in the Hebrew language).  As I recalled the memories, it was as if God was saying, "No more fear!  I am the One who created the beach, the ocean, and all that is in it, this is My creation!"  I knew in my heart God was redeeming the memories that still held power over me, power I didn't even realize until that day. As I sat on the oceans edge I began to cry and let go of the memories that haunted me for so long. 

One of the memories involved recalling myself in a moment of desperation writing, HELP ME JESUS, in the sand with my toe.  I knew in an instant I needed to write,  There is always HOPE!, with my toe to reclaim the fear involved in that particular memory.  When I did this I felt a sudden release and peace. 

The next day as our families were settling in for the night to watch a movie, I felt the need to go outside. I had every intention of staying on the porch and listening to the waves crash onto the shore.  Before I knew it, I was walking down the stairs and heading towards the beach.  This is very unlike me. I do not like walking in the dark, especially in a area that I am not that familiar with.  It was as if a magnet was pulling me towards the ocean.  I began to walk faster.  Once I arrived I went straight for the water.  I took off my shoes and let the waves splash my bare legs and feet. I felt the Lord say again, "No fear!"  I felt peace and contentment as I looked up in the sky at the stars and the moon and heard the waves gently crashing on the shore all around me.

After a few minutes I realized I should go back to the house,  I never said I was leaving, I only told them I was going to the porch.  As I walked back with continued peace, I saw my husband on the porch and he was worried about where I had gone. I apologized for worrying him and  told him I felt I needed to face the ocean alone...just me and God.  I needed to walk in the dark towards the water. I needed to feel the water.  I needed to trust God and have, no more fear.  My husband hugged me and asked if I wanted to walk back to the beach with him and I said, "yes".  We walked along the ocean for almost two hours. As we walked back to the house I knew in my heart that not only had the Lord redeemed my old memories but He gave me a new one in it's place.

God is a God of redeeming qualities and He has a desire to bring healing to all of our past to help move us closer to Him! There is nothing to big, to old, or to scary for God!