I’m Breaking Up With Perfect

Have you ever been in a relationship you knew was bad but didn’t know how to end it? Whether it is a friend who betrayed us, a boyfriend who ignored us, or a coworker who undermined us, unhealthy relationships are bad for the soul. But there is one relationship that steals potential from all of our ther relationships—including our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with God. It’s our relationship with Perfect.

Perfect is a bad friend. No matter what we do or say or give or take or create…it’s never enough. Perfect always demands more, but it’s never satisfied. Never.

My friend Amy Carroll has written a new book I just love!! And she’s on a mission to help us all break up once and for all with our unfaithful friend: Perfection! And today she stopped by to share her heart and her book with us on my blog – plus she’s giving away a copy too

AmyC“As I rummaged through the damaged store, I hurried toward a colorful decoration that caught my eye. A hurricane had ravaged the seaside store’s merchandise, but there were a few treasures left.

My prize that day was a papier-mâché figure of Santa Clause directing a band of animal musicians. Since my husband was a band director, seeing Jolly Old Saint Nick with his conductor’s baton poised made my heart sing even though it was a balmy North Carolina summer outside.

I carefully carried the figurines to the cash register and made them mine.

Nearly skipping with joy down the sidewalk, suddenly I tripped and dropped my fragile treasures. My face fell with dismay as I peeked inside the bag only to see pieces of Santa and his friends lying jagged and free-floating at the bottom.

When I got home, I gently removed the pieces and lay them out on a table. One by one, I drew a thin line of glue on the narrow edges and began to put them back together.

The results weren’t altogether terrible.

Santa’s pedestal is webbed with cracks and the beaver is missing a leg, but unless guests get too close, they’ll never know the trauma Kris Kringle endured. He’s broken but still beautiful, and a smile stretches across my face each Christmas as I unpack him from his protective box.

Why do I struggle to believe that others could see me the same way?

All of us have a level of brokenness from our own sin nature or from sin leveled against us. We all have cracks of insecurity, shards of sin, and flaws of failure, but for most of my life I’ve wanted to hide mine. I’ve wanted to glaze over my brokenness with a façade of perfection.

If I had found only a perfect Santa acceptable, I would have either tossed him after his fall, or I would have hidden him away in the box with the other outdated, worn-out ornaments.

That’s ok with an object, but we’d never do that to an imperfect person. We’re all in the same boat! So why are we afraid others will do it to us? That maybe God will too?

So we keep others at arm’s length, never allowing anyone to get too close, or we hide behind our walls of shame or false perfection. We try to earn acceptance and love with our just-right words and our thought-out actions, feeling more and more lonely all the time, when in truth…

Authenticity is the antidote for isolation.

Jesus doesn’t despise us in our brokenness, tossing us away or hiding the fact that He loves us. He gently takes our pieces and glues them back together with His grace, compassion, and forgiveness. If we’ll only lay down our masks of perfection and surrender to His perfecting work, Jesus lovingly sets us out for the world to see and claims us as His own.

I’ve been on a journey to break up with perfect, and I’m finding my relationships with others are deeper than ever when I’m real about my flaws. In the process, I’m able to point to Jesus as the Perfect One, our ultimate hero, and I’m resting in the lavish love I’m finding in Him.” ~ Amy Carroll, from her new boo: “Breaking Up With Perfect”

BUWP-CoverENTER TO WIN
To celebrate the release of her new book “Breaking Up with Perfect” Amy Carroll is giving a copy away!

ARE YOU READY to BREAK UP with PERFECT? If so, leave a comment below this post where entries will be gathered and a winner will be chosen. Please CLICK HERE if you’re reading via email. All comments must be shared on my blog to be entered. THANKS!!

 

Finding Spiritual Whitespace {guest post & book giveaway}

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Do you ever wish you could just slow down and discover who you’d be if your life wasn’t filled with so much rush? 

The other day my friend told me she felt lost: lost in the hurry of carpool and kids, deadlines and dirty laundry… and she was tired, and I shared with her some things I’ve been learning through my friend Bonne Gray’s beautiful book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest.

In, Bonnie shares how “underneath all of the stress and expectations we put on ourselves, and the ones that others put on us, our souls long for space to breathe.” Bonnie calls it “soul rest: a place where we can rest, not in what we could be or what we should be, but just as we are. Jesus invites us to come to Him when we’re struggling and carrying heavy loads, so He can give us rest.”

bonnie-grayToday I’ve invited, Bonnie to share a peek into her heart and inside the pages of her beautiful book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

“I once felt lost and tired.

Even though no one could tell.  By looking at my life from the outside.

But, deep inside, in my secret heart of hearts, I’ve always wanted something I could never quite keep a hold of — not long enough to make it my everyday home.  For my soul and for the me that wanted to be free.

I’ve always wanted to know who I really could be — if I was free to rest.

Do you ever wish life could be different? That somehow you could just rest?

Underneath all the stress, the expectations we put on ourselves and the ones others put on us, we all long for space.

Space to breathe.

Space to just be me.

Where we can be real.

To take care of our hearts, with the grace and kindness we often pour out to others.

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We don’t want to be numb anymore.

Just doing.  Coping.  Surviving.

All the while, there is a part of us that longs to come alive.

The part of us who longs for beauty, even though the daily road feels rough.  Or even broken.

The part of us who remembers what it’s like to have desires is hungering for quiet. For rest.

Who wants to feel more intimately connected with God.

To our dreams.

To our stories.

To who we really are deep inside.

Who doesn’t want to hide.

Who longs to be known.

With others.

A Deeper Part

There’s a deeper part of us who longs to uncover the stories we’re living in our everyday lives — hidden — so that they can be shared.

We don’t want to journey alone.

We don’t have to.

What we all long for is deeper rest.

Refreshment.

Comfort.

Real conversation.

Encouragement.

Peace.

Beauty.

As is.

What we all long for is soul rest.

Soul rest is a kind of rest we can savor — not as we should be. Nor as we ought to be.

We can enjoy rest for our souls — as we are.

This ache for soul rest is something Jesus longs to touch.

It is an ache that Jesus himself must have also felt as He journeyed in-the-the-skin through the realities of daily life.

Jesus invites us to experience this rest — by offering us an invitation.

If we dare to take the journey.

“Are you tired? Worn out?

Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.

For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Jesus’s invitation, Matthew 11:28-30

Will you dare to rest? Will you d
are to be real?

To whisper —

I am tired.

But, I still carry dreams. Desires. A story.

I want to be happy.

I miss the quiet.

I want to feel.

I want to let go of who I’ve been — so I can discover who I can be — when I take the time to rest.

I want to be present.

I want to love. And be loved.

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Jesus invites us on a new journey.

To pause.

To draw close.

To come into an intimate special space.

The rest we all long for really can be found.

Dare to take a new journey.

Create space in your life.

Feed your soul.

So you can care for what’s tender.

Because behind your most tired moments lie the deepest parts of who God made you — longing to be known and restored.

You’re loved.

You’re cherished.

You’re worth it.

The real you.

If you dared to rest — to uncover the real you God made — what would you want more of? What would you want less of? What can feed your soul today?”

FindingWhitespace_alt3DHow many of us find ourselves running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, and no time for God?  Bonnie Gray knows what that’s like. On the brink of fulfilling a lifelong dream, she saw her plans shatter into a journey through painful memories and anxiety. In her search for answers, she made an important discovery: we all need spiritual whitespace

Infused with biblical encouragement and thought-provoking prompts, Finding Spiritual Whitespace shows us how to create space in the everyday for God, refreshment, and faithright in the midst of our stress-frayed lives. And it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time in my life personally. I’ve loved reading this book {more than once}, and I know you will too!
Order a copy here.

Enter to WIN:
What is one way you could carve out time for whitespace and rest this summer? Let’s take time this summer to let our souls be breathe. Click “share your thoughts” and leave a comment under this blog post to enter. Two winners will be selected and announced next week. {if you are reading this via email, please click here to participate in the giveaway on my blog!}

 

Bonnie-familyBonnie Gray is contributor at Crosswalk.com, Relevant Magazine, and DaySpring (in)courage. A UCLA graduate, Bonnie has been missionary, ministry entrepreneur and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. Bonnie blogs at FaithBarista.com in Northern California with her husband Eric and their two sons.

How God Answered A Not-So-Small Prayer In A Really Big Way { + a GIVEAWAY}

When Laura Sobiech and I planned time to talk about her memoir, “Fly a Little Higher,”
we had no idea God had already connected our lives in the most unexpected way.

What unfolded just two days before our interview left us both in tears and in awe of God. 

If you’re reading this via email CLICK HERE to watch a short video that will give your heart a huge dose of HOPE and encouragement! I promise, you do not want to miss it!!

It’s been two weeks since Laura, Andrew and I talked via SKYPE and
I’m still undone by God’s grace, mercy, kindness and sovereignty.  

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FALH Target edition cover TARGET Holiday Book Club Pick: Laura’s memoir, FLY A LITTLE HIGHER: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way” is the Target Holiday Book Club Pick! And it is the perfect gift for your self and those you love! This exclusive edition created for Target is signed by Laura and includes special bonus materials: an in-depth Q&A with Laura, discussion questions for readers, small groups and families, and really powerful devotionals in the back!

ORDER a copy for yourself and a few friends for Christmas.

DOWNLOAD  Chapter One for FREE

ENTER TO WIN
What part of today’s videos impacted you most? CLICK “Share Your Thoughts” and do just that. Each comment will be entered to win one of the 5 copies of “Fly A Little Higher.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.59.52 PM SUBSCRIBE to MY YouTube CHANNEL and you’ll  be the first to know when the rest of Andrew’s conversation with Laura is ready for viewing. PLUS I’ve made all of Laura’s interview segments really easy to find in their own section on my front page.  After her Q&A with Andrew, I got to ask Laura how she balanced her own loss and grief while guiding and supporting Zach through his cancer journey. She was also planning a wedding for her oldest daughter and loving on her other children and husband. I’ve never met anyone like Laura. Her faith and courage are rare. Her insights come from a humble, wise heart that has been broken and made whole by the love of Christ. Be sure you don’t miss the next segments coming up.

SUBSCRIBE for eMAIL UPDATES
 Don’t miss my next post, a big announcement and more giveaways!!
Sign up {in my top sidebar}.

Fly a Little Higher: a life changing story {+ Book GiveAway}

“Okay, Lord, you can have him. But if he must die, I want it to be for something big.
I want someone’s life to be changed forever.”

This is what Laura Sobiech prayed when she found out her seventeen-year-old son, Zach, had only one year to live. With this desperate prayer, she released her child to God’s will and God answered her prayers in a big way.

One of the things Zach decided to do was write songs as a way to say “goodbye” to his family and friends. And what God did next is indescribable {watch Zach’s video below}

 

Last week Laura and I talked via SKYPE, and I recorded our conversation to share with you so YOUR life to be as impacted as mine has been. Laura’s faith is rare, her wisdom, grace and her poignant perspective will rearrange your heart with hope and comfort. Her’s is an amazing story of a mother’s honest struggle to trust God with her child’s life and a teenage boy’s determination to live his final days with unending purpose and joy!

In my next post, Laura shares what she prayed and how God moved in big ways – in her heart and soul, in Zach’s life and perspective, in her whole family and in millions of lives across the world!! 

God had bigger plans than they could fathom.
In May 2013 a documentary called “My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech” was released on the Soul Pancake YouTube channel and went viral – reaching over 12.3 million people within months of its release. During the week of Zach’s death, on May 20, 2013, his song “Clouds” reached #1 on iTunes and made its way up Billboard’s Top 100 chart, debuting at #26, and topping the Rock Digital Downloads at #1.

FALH Target edition coverTARGET Holiday Book Club Pick:
We’re so excited to share the big news that Laura’s memoir, FLY A LITTLE HIGHER: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way” is the Target Holiday Book Club Pick!!

Just released this week, this exclusive edition created for Target is signed by Laura, and has special bonus materials including an in-depth Q&A with Laura, discussion questions for readers, small groups and families, and really powerful devotionals in the back!

Will you join us in praying this message will reach people who don’t know Jesus; hearts who desperately need His grace and love!!

 

FamilyCmasENTER TO WIN
Share your thoughts in the comments about Zach and Laura’s story, and why you’d like to win Fly A Little Higher  or who you’ll give a copy to this Christmas!!

Our family has been so impacted by this book, and Zach’s story, we’re giving it away as our Christmas gift to friends, extended family, co-workers, the kids’ teachers, and whoever else God puts on our heart.

MORE TO COME
I’ll share more of the amazing story behind Fly A Little Higher tomorrow, and a chance to WIN the book and a beautiful “Clouds” necklace. Plus a huge thing God did that connects our lives in a way we didn’t know about. It all unfolded in a way only God could orchestrate.

SUBSCRIBE for EMAIL UPDATE {in my top sidebar}
so you don’t miss the next part of our interview and more giveaways.

 

Your Life Still Counts {guest post & giveaway}

God has a plan for your life and a purpose for your future.

No matter what you’ve been through or what’s been done to you, if you’re still breathing God isn’t finished with you yet!  Sometimes we just need to be reminded. Other times we need to be persuaded to believe it’s true.

In her new book, Your Life Still Counts, my friend and author, Tracie Miles shares how she convinced herself that God couldn’t use her. There were too many things she had done wrong. But over time as Tracie came to know Christ she realized she was the perfect candidate for His transforming power. Through her brokenness Jesus could show off His grace and goodness. The very things Tracie believed  “disqualified” her from ministry are now some of the most impactful parts of her life’s mission and message. Today, I invited Tracie to share some encouragement I think all of our hearts need to hear:

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“Have you ever felt like you had nothing special to offer God? Like maybe He doled out the spiritual gifts to everyone else and forgot to give any to you? If so, I want to challenge you to think again.

God has divinely designed a unique purpose for your life. And, you are the only one gifted to fulfill it! 

But, before we can discover and embrace what God has gifted us to do, we need to do a little looking back instead of just looking forward. The reality is that God has equipped us to minister to others through the experiences of our past.

But most of us don’t want to look back. We want the past to be the past, and keep trudging ahead. We don’t think about mistakes or hurts. We’d rather bury them in our hearts than talk about them with God, much less anyone else.

But when we do that we prevent our faith from fully blossoming, and we get caught up in trying to figure out how our skills and talents might serve God. What if instead, we look back and discover how our life can serve as a shining testament of His power?

We need is more than gift-assessment; we need a life-assessment to help us discover how our journey has equipped us for God’s divine purposes.

With each situation you have experienced or endured, you have been equipped to serve God.

Your experiences have been used by Christ to strengthen you and your faith. And now He is calling you to be an example of what He is capable of doing. Not just a witness for Christ, but a witness of His power in your life. Because your life matters to God, you do have something of great significance to offer Him – and it’s you.

No one can tell your story of healing, redemption, and purpose like you can.

Even if your experience is similar to someone else’s story, your perspective of what happened and your witness to the power of God’s intervention will be different and unique.

Second Corinthians 1:4 says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” Your experiences do not nullify your purpose in life; they prepare you for the purpose God destined you for. They do not void you from being able to participate in ministry, but instead they equip you for it.

Your life-change, healing, faith walk, and journey of transformation could be the story that reaches the broken heart of someone who has lost hope; someone who feels like their life doesn’t matter; someone who has never believed there is a God.

No one is equipped, trained, or qualified to share your story and your faith journey except you.

You are unique. Your experiences are unique. Your story is unlike any other.

Only you can glorify God through your one-of-a-kind design by bringing comfort to others as you allow your past to become the foundation of your personal ministry. When surrendered to Christ, your past experiences will become your most profound equipping and training.

As we gather with people this Thanksgiving and Christmas, let’s look for opportunities to love on them, share our hearts and our stories, and be open to how God wants to us for His divine purpose to bring hope, comfort and love to those around us. And let’s make our lives count for Christ!

YOUR LIFE STILL COUNTS 

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Enter to Win

We are giving away 4 copies of  Your Life Still Counts! Two of you will win two copies (one to keep and one to give away)! To enter to win, simply share your thoughts about today’s post and let us know who you would give the second copy to! [If you’re reading this via email, please click here to enter to win! All entries must be on my blog under this post.]

 

You Were Made for Guiltless Living {guest post & giveaway}

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 Can we have an honest conversation about guilt? Everywhere I go, women are wrestling with feeling guilty all.the.time. And I understand. It’s something I struggle with, too. 

If you are familiar with the heavy weight of guilt, pull up a chair and lean in. I’ve invited my friend Ginger Hubbard to share with us some powerful truths she’s learning to hold onto – truths that point her back to God’s grace again again again.  Truths she writes about in her book, Guiltless Living.”

For so long in my life, I struggled with trying to be a good Christian.

Inevitably, I would blow it on a daily basis then proceed to beat myself up spiritually and emotionally.

In setting my standards high for being what I perceived the perfect wife and mom, I chose the woman described in Proverbs 31 as my role model. On one particular morning, I remember reading about her and making unfavorable comparisons.

She got up before it was still dark. I had rolled out of bed around 8:30 am.

She was well dressed in fine linen and purple. I was in a baggy, terrycloth robe with my hair pulled up in an orange chip clip.

She held the distaff while grasping the spindle with her fingers (not sure what those things are, but I am certain they contributed to her noble character). I held the dust buster to the crumbs on my bed sheets while grasping the empty bag of Doritos.

She provided good food for her family and was always on top of things. I offered a choice of Burger King or McDonalds and felt the weight of my unaccomplished to-do list crashing down on me.

In comparison, I did not measure up. I felt anxious, defeated and disappointed in myself.

I wanted to be the wife who was always cheerful, never irritable, and only said words that edified, encouraged and built up. I wanted to be the mom who never lost it and only spoke with kindness, wisdom and faithful instruction. But, as hard as I tried, I always wound up blowing it in some way.

I just could not achieve the “good Christian” status I desired.

Through prayer and studying God’s Word, I began to realize that no matter how hard I tried, I would never achieve being the perfect Christian. I learned that the battle of victorious Christian living could not be won by sheer willpower or by teeth-gritting determination, but by tucking myself underneath the full armor of God and trusting that God is not only fighting for me, but He has already won the battle.

In measuring our self-worth in accordance with our own performances, we not only become anxious, but we miss out on experiencing the peace and rest of who we truly are in Christ.

Our worth is not based on what we do or do not do. It is not based on our successes and failures. It is not even based on whether we sin a little or sin a lot.

Our worth is based solely on Christ and the atoning work He has done on our behalf. We are His children, purchased at a price, forgiven and fully redeemed.

Embracing this wonderful truth brings about freedom. It is the freedom to forget about ourselves and lay down our measuring rods of self-worth and ongoing scrutiny. It is the freedom to release the suffocating anxiety our weaknesses cause, and instead take hold of God’s grace given to us through the cross.

Join me today in letting go of performance-based worth and self-imposed expectations. May we purpose to rest in the victory Christ has already won and truly experience the rich and satisfying joy of guiltless living!

gingerhubbardbookcoverENTER TO WIN {book giveaway}
Because Ginger has struggled so much with the issue of performance-based self-worth, she has a deep compassion for other struggling women. Se can relate and understand the mental, spiritual and physical exhaustion that comes from this way of living. If you are one of these women, Ginger’s deep desire that you will lay down your measuring rod of self-worth and stop beating yourself up so you can take hold of God’s grace and embrace guiltless living! Today, Ginger is giving away 3 copies of her new book, Guiltless Living! 

Click “Share Your Thoughts” below this post to leave a comment and ENTER TO WIN. 

His Banner Over You is Love {guest post & giveaway}

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Ever longed for other’s approval? Does the spin cycle of affirmation-seeking sometimes leave your heart wrung out?  Today, I’ve invited my beautiful friend, Jennifer Lee Dukes, author of Love Idol, to sit with us for a while and share how we can live free from our need for approval – knowing we are already preapproved:

My 10-year-old daughter decided a few weeks ago to cut ten inches off of her hair and donate it to an organization that makes children’s wigs.

She didn’t tell me her plan until we were a few minutes away from the hair salon. I had assumed she would be asking for a half-inch trim.

It seemed like a rash decision to me, but Anna assured me that she’d thought it through.

“I’ve had this in mind all summer,” she said resolutely from the back seat of our car. “I want to donate my hair. Because it would mean a lot to me if I lost my hair and someone donated theirs to me.”

But what Anna didn’t tell me was this: She was secretly afraid that she’d hate her new hairstyle. She didn’t share that piece of information with me until after the ten inches had been snipped.

Despite her fears, she went through it. Because, inside her small self, she apparently knew this truth about a life of faith:

if you never risk the scary thing to do the right thing, you’ll miss the chance to be a part of the God Things.

In the end, she told me, she actually does love her new haircut. (And I do, too.) But that wasn’t the point. That was never the point.

The truth is:

Doing the right thing isn’t always the beautiful thing, and it might not be the popular thing. But if we set out in our life, only to be liked or applauded in this life, we will compromise anything, and thus, achieve nothing.

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I don’t write these words as a way to publicly pat my daughter on the back.

I tell you this story because her actions have something to teach any of us who have been scared to say “yes” when God calls us to do something that feels scary.

I’m not proud to say that there have been times when I have said “no,” out of fear.

That happened a few months ago, when someone from a large Christian women’s conference asked me to speak at an event. I felt in my spirit that God might be telling me to say “yes,” but I was too terrified to follow through. I had never spoken to a crowd that large before.

So I told the conference organizer, “no.” Out of fear.

You want to know what made my “no” even more absurd? I had written a book called Love Idol a few months earlier, encouraging women to give God their yeses, even when they’re scared!

With my “no,” I had contradicted my own advice.

Thanks be to God, He gently guided me back to the truth. And a few weeks later, I gave my “yes” to another conference planner, despite my trembling heart over whether people would approve of me.

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Most days, I know the truth about who I am. I know that I have nothing to prove and that in Christ I am already approved – pre-approved!

When I remember that, I can say yes with more “God-fidence” despite my fears.

Those yeses are important. Because the moment we stop fussing over how it will all turn out, is the moment we start actually living for God. Only then can we fearlessly love our neighbors, lead a Bible study, talk into a microphone, pray out loud, stand up for our beliefs, fight for the underdog, speak truth in love, write a book, or take audacious risks for the Kingdom.

We can give our voice, our story, our love. Our yes!

Even our hair.

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His Banner Over You is Love.

The value of your yes isn’t adequately measured by the response of those who are watching. Worth isn’t measured by virality or Facebook shares. It is measured by a God who declares us incalculably worthwhile, and immeasurably loved.

When we know who we really are — approved and loved by Christ — we are no longer held back. We are free. Because we know we are His.

Not because we are viral. Or invited. Or magazine-cover-beautiful. Or applauded at the annual meeting.

But because we are His.

His banner over you doesn’t say, “Prove yourself” or “Try Harder” or “Go Viral.” His banner over you isn’t a sales report or a Facebook share.

His banner over you is simply this –

LOVE.

You don’t have to earn anyone’s love anymore. Believe this: That you are already God’s beloved.


Enter to Win

DSC_1042What resonated with your heart as you read Jennifer’s thoughts about being preapproved?

Share Your Thoughts and ENTER to WIN a signed copy Jennifer’s book, Love Idol, and a custom PreApproved necklace. Jennifer is giving away three book & necklace gift sets.

 

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Jennifer Dukes Lee is a storyteller and grace dweller. She is author of Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need For Approval—and Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. She and her husband are raising crops, pigs and two humans on a farm in Iowa. Read more at JenniferDukesLee.com.

 

 

 

A Video To Encourage You

 

 

 

Messy Beautiful Love

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A guest post from my friend, ~Darlene Schacht, The Time-Warp Wife

Darkness enveloped the sky drawing its curtain around us, while the rumble of thunder composed a symphony of sound that was carried by on the wings of the wind.

It was only 8 pm, but Michael was fast asleep. Stretched out on his recliner by the window, he dozed off while two little puppies wrestled under his chair.

The steady tip-tapping of rain made me want to curl up beside him and fall asleep too, but I had some dishes that needed to be cleared away and some laundry to do for the morning.

I wasn’t surprised to see him sleeping like that. I knew he’d be exhausted after the crazy week he just had. Working overtime every night, he was struggling to catch up at work.

And the weekend? It wasn’t much better. Since he’s been at the shop so much lately, the honey-do list was long and he was determined to get it all done.

He’s a hard worker, there’s no doubt about that. And weeks like this remind me of just how hard he pushes himself when the going gets tough.

There’s a lot of weight on that man’s shoulders. In fact, I can say that about most husbands I know. Even when they aren’t facing deadlines at work, they are dealing with the spiritual and financial responsibilities that come with leading a family.

While many of them appear to have everything under control, most of our husbands would not only appreciate encouragement from us, they would benefit from it.

Any mom who cares for a growing child knows the importance of praise in their children’s life. Not only does it help to build a healthy sense of self-esteem, it also reminds a child that he or she is loved.

In the same way, any wife who cares for her husband will also know the importance of praise in a marriage. It’s vital to a growing relationship.

Matthew L. Jacobson once wrote, “We need your affirmation – we have to have it and, oh, how we thrive with it. Typically, men are quiet about these things but that doesn’t mean we need and enjoy our wife’s affirmation any less. And every man feels it: When his woman is behind him, he can slay dragons.”

Do you realize that there are four verses in Proverbs alone that talk about nagging wives? They are referred to as quarrelsome, fretful, and a continual dripping. If you have ever experienced a leaky roof, you’ll know how annoying that is. We experienced one about 20 years ago in our back porch, and regardless of how many times I emptied the pail it would only fill up again.

That’s the danger with nagging. It becomes a never-ending habit if left unchecked, and unfortunately it festers resentment. Praise on the other hand has the reverse affect. It builds the bond of marriage and draws a couple closer together.

That’s only two of the benefits, but there are so many more. Let’s look at five of them:

  1. When you affirm him, you are affirming your love for him. Knowing that someone loves you deeply strengthens the bond of marriage. Think of it this way: we form the strongest friendships with those that we deeply trust.
  2. When you praise him for the little things he does, it’s more likely that he’ll be encouraged to repeat them in the future.
  3. When I praise my husband, whether it be in his presence or in his absence, we bear witness of our marriage covenant. Keeping in mind that marriage reflects the covenant between Jesus Christ and the church it’s important to honor our vows in the best way we know how.
  4. Kindness is an attractive quality. There’s no possible way a wife can be attractive when she’s constantly nagging her husband. Sure, you can put the pretty on, but unless you’re also attractive it wears thin. There’s nothing appealing about a critical spirit.
  5. He’ll be glad to come home. Let’s face it, the world is tough place. Many of our husbands are dealing with difficult situations at work and need a sense of relief when they walk through the door. Unfortunately, some other husbands are working with women who are building them up outside of the home. If we want a husband who is glad to come home to his wife, we can make him feel welcome by letting him know that we appreciate him, that we respect him, and that we’re glad he is with us.

You are loved by an almighty God,

~Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

Check out Darlene Schacht’s newest book, Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages

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Messy Beautiful Love delivers an incredible testimony of grace that offers hope for today’s marriages and a spark for rekindling love.

Love gets messy.

Financial problems, sickness, aging parents, a chronically unhappy spouse . . . trials will inevitably come that threaten your marriage. No matter how long you’ve been married or how strong your relationship is, sooner or later you are going to have a mess to clean up.

Messy Beautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God’s way, exchanging your ideas for His, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage has to offer.

When you surrender your relationship to God, then and only then will you experience the blessing of marriage as He intended. This is the blessing of obedience.

Messy Beautiful Love is an invitation to that obedience. The cynical world says marriages don’t last, but God knows better. Tune out the world and tune in to Him. When you do that, a beautiful marriage is not only possible, it’s inevitable.

Want to win a copy?

We’re giving away two copies of Darlene’s book, Messy Beautiful Love. Enter to WIN a copy by clicking “Share Your Thoughts” below this post, and leave us a comment telling us something you love about your husband. We’ll randomly choose two winners. {If you’re reading this via email, click here to ENTER TO WIN by leaving a comment on my blog}