Friday, July 30, 2010

How He Loves Us

This has been the song resonating in my heart for several weeks now. I really wanted to share it with you. Feel free to pull it up on YouTube and listen to it. But meditate on the words...God loves us so much. We cannot grasp the depth nor imagine the height of His love.
He is jealous for me.
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree.
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.
And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us so. Oh, how He loves us.
How He loves us all. Yes, He loves us.
We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes.
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.
So heaven meets earth with a sloppy wet kiss.
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest.
I don't have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way....How He loves us.
Oh how He loves us. Oh how He loves us. How He loves us all.

Feel loved today. Our God loves us so. Praise Him for the redemption in His eyes, for His glory, for loving us like a intensely that we bend beneath His wind and mercy. I hope your heart turns violently inside of your chest as you think about the way He loves you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dare 13

"If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand." Mark 3:25
Love fights fair. Oh, but individuals do not! When I first started reading this love dare, I knew I was going to get put in my place. I'm scrappy. I'm learning Zane's buttons, and he's learning mine--and sometimes we like to push them. But to step back and look at our attitudes in arguments, we would do well to be more graceful. Listen intently. Gracefully bend. If my attitude is to be the same as that of Christ Jesus, I have some practice to do!
"When (Zane and I) tied the knot as bride and groom, (we) joined not only our hopes and dreams but also our hurts, fears, imperfections, and emotional baggage" (Kendrick). But weaving our inner most secrets together, we are bound to rub together on a few rough spots like sand paper. Not agree entirely. Get uncomfortable. But while sanding down the edges, we can become smooth, and work together in a more beautiful way. In The Love Dare, Kendrick points out that the deepest, most heartbreaking damage you'll ever do to your marriage will most likely occur in the thick of conflict. I can attest to that. There have been many times, unfortunately, that I have opened up my mouth and immediately known I needed a 'rewind' button. The things we say when we fight are painful...because it is when our pride is strongest, our anger is hottest, and when we are the most selfish and judgemental.
But love reminds you that "your marriage is too valuable to allow it to self-destruct, and that your love for your spouse is more important than whatever you're fighting about. Love helps you install air bags and to set up guardrails in your relationship."
This chapter reminded me of a great song that was kind of my theme leading up to marriage. Not because Zane and I were fighting constantly...we weren't...but I knew that one day arguments would come, and I wanted my heart to resonate on love.
Love is not a place where we can go on as we please
It's a house we enter in, and then commit to never leave
So lock the door behind you. Throw away the key.
Work it out together, let it bring you to your knees.
To some, love is a word that they can fall into
But when they're falling out, keeping that word is hard to do.
Love will come to save us. If we only call.
He will ask nothing from us, but demand we give our all.
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of war
And if we try to leave may God send angels to guard the door
Cause love is not a fight, but it's something worth fighting for.
So, this dare is to fight for. Zane and I got together and made a list of "we" rules to fight fair, and "I" rules to fight for. I won't share his, but our "we" rules are: never mention divorce; don't bring up unrelated past events; call time-out if things get too heated; don't go to bed angry; don't have your mind made up before the discussion even begins; never argue in public...and when we have kids, not in front of the kids.
"I" rules for myself: I won't raise my voice; don't give up and shut Zane out (become withdrawn); listen first; pray during the argument, continually, for God to give me wisdom, strength, and calm.
I know that these rules may not always be followed, but their boundaries worth setting, and attempting to keep. Because my love for Zane is not a fight, but something worth fighting for.
Dare 13: Fight fair.
Dare 12: Let the other win.
Dare 11: Cherish each other.
Dare 10: Love unconditionally.
Dare 9: Greet well.
Dare 8: Don't be jealous.
Dare 7: Believe the best.
Dare 6: Don't be irritable.
Dare 5: Don't be rude.
Dare 4: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.

--Inspired by, "The Love Dare."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dare 12

"Do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interests of others." --Philippians 2:4
Having studied political science in college, when I hear the word 'interests,' I immediately think of countries. I remember that after declaring my concentration in International Studies, I was upset when I grasped how many countries stand idle while another nation is seeking help. It tears me apart that people argue against countries lending hands to one another unless they have a vested interest in the outcome. For me, I would hope that if someone needs my help, my first reaction would be to lend immediate aid...and the furthest thing from my mind to be the question, 'what can I get out of this?'
Unfortunately, looking out for our own personal interests far too often is the cry in marriage. Probably because stubbornness is a standard feature on--humans. The opposite of stubbornness is a word I've talked/learned about quite a lot during my love dares. "That word is 'willing.' It's an attitude and spirit of cooperation that should permeate our conversations. It's like a palm tree by the ocean that endures the greatest winds because it knows how to gracefully bend."
I love how Kendrick describes the word 'willing.' Gracefully bending. It is beautiful, and that type of bending is something I lack. The most difficult thing for me in marriage is learning that my desires, my needs, my money, etc...these are no longer 'mine.' In a marriage, they are 'ours.' I constantly try to argue my way, or force my way upon Zane...especially when I don't understand why something can be such a big deal. But Christ teaches the opposite. He urges us to have an "attitude of willingness, flexibility, and humble submission. It means laying down for the good of others what you have the right to claim for yourself."
One way to practice a willing attitude is to stop arguing. The argument cannot continue unless both Zane and I are 'in it to win it.' The wise thing for me to do is stop insisting on my way. Consider Zane's preference as a way of valuing him. "Instead of treating your wife or husband like an enemy or someone to be guarded against, start by treating them as your closest, most honored friend. Give their words full weight...choose to honor the one you love. It will be both good for you and good for your marriage."
Dare 12: Willingly choose to give in to an area of disagreement between you and your spouse. I completed this dare by letting my husband cancel an appointment I had to get a tattoo. I have been wanting so badly to get another tattoo...script that would be a love song to my King. But, my body is Zane's body...and if he doesn't want me to have ink on my skin, I shouldn't force him to see it...(hard, VERY had to gracefully bend on this...)
Dare 11: Cherish your spouse.
Dare 10: Love unconditionally.
Dare 9: Greet well.
Dare 8: Don't be jealous.
Dare 7: Believe the best.
Dare 6: Don't be irritable.
Dare 5: Don't be rude.
Dare 4: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.

--Inspired by "The Love Dare"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Our Bridegrrom sometimes leads us to difficult places, but we can trust Him to have purpose in our stay and never to forsake us.--Moore
Praise God for that! He will never leave or forsake us. A couple of days ago I wrote Nonforsaken, and my heart just swells up thinking of all the times I have turned my face from God...and He has just waited for me to turn back around. Never leaving. Always loving me, unconditionally. Longing to embrace me again. Longing for me to ask Him to make me whole.
I believe a Christian life is always growing. Never merely existing, and never staying the same. If we love Jesus, and have a relationship with the Son of God, we should feel compelled to learn more about Him. To spend more time with Him. To talk to Him more. Just like a bride-to-be is excited to spend the rest of her life growing closer to the man she loves, and learning everything about him, joining her life to him, as a part of the church, the Bride of Christ...I should not hesitate to learn as much as I can about Jesus, and join my life to Him.
In my vows to Zane, I said that our strengths mixed with each other's weaknesses would only allow us to grow stronger as a couple, and enable us to glorify God more. I believe it is the same in my Christian walk. My over abundant weaknesses, mixed with Christ's amazing strengths, only allow Him to be glorified more, as I lean on His will. His guidance. How I wish I could be better at stepping aside and letting God move, rather than me trying to do everything on my own!
You say to me, Lord, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Your power may rest on me (2 Cor. 12:9).
Never will You forsake me (Heb. 13:5). You are the only absolute guarantee I have in all of life. Help me cling to the one thing I can never lose.

--Inspired by "Praying God's Word."

Dare 11

"Husbands outght also to love their own wives as their own bodies." --Eph. 5:28
Far too often, when husbands and wives get tired of each other, they replace one another like you would a used car. A man might go around trying to find a 'newer model,' or a woman may search for something that fits her needs 'more comfortably.' The truth is, in marriage you become part of one another. You would never cutt off your hand if it was injured but would pay whatever you could afford for the best medical treatment possible. Because your hand is priceless to you. It is part of who you are. And your spouse should be priceless to you as well.
Ephesians goes on to say in verse 29, "he who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it." We all feel so special when the one we love goes out of their way to meet our needs--to ensure we know that we are cherished. Notice that the verse clearly points out that when we show love to our spouse, we are showing love to ourself as well. Which also means, when you mistreat your spouse, you mistreat yourself.
"It's time to let love change your thinking. It's time for you to realize that your spouse is as much a part of you as your hand, your eye, or your heart. She, too, needs to be loved and cherished. And if she has issues causing pain or frustration, then you should care for these with the same love and tenderness as you would a bodily injury. if he is wounded in some way, you should think of yourself as an instrument that helps bring healing to his life (Kendrick).
When you look at your mate, you're looking at a part of you. So, treat her well. Speak highly of him. Nourish and cherish the love of your life--Kendrick.
Dare 11: Choose a gesture that says, 'I cherish you' and do it with a smile. I was illdisposed the day we did this love dare...I was in the hospital all day. However, Zane was beautiful and cherished me the whole time. Taking care of my needs, making me laugh with an IV in my arm, keeping a cool wet handcloth on my forehead--cherishing me.
Dare 10: Love unconditionally.
Dare 9: Greet well.
Dare 8: Don't be jealous.
Dare 7: Believe the best.
Dare 6: Don't be irritable.
Dare 5: Don't be rude.
Dare 4: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.

--Inspired by "The Love Dare."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tossed in the Waves

Have you ever grown weary in doing good? Become exhausted while trying to seek God's will because...well, we can never do enough? I have felt that way far too often lately. I've wrestled with having enough to do at my job...Am I really blessing God's kingdom by planning events? I've wrestled with my role in the church...Am I doing enough when it comes to mission planning? Even with this blog...there are plenty of inspirational blogs out there. Plenty of people trying to share what God is teaching them. I've wrestled with money--which organizations to give I choosing the right ones? Or should our resources be given else where? Friends, I think that anyone could suffer from fatigue when we let our minds get so consumed with questions like these. I need to be reminded more often that God is going to get things done; with or without me; but any work I do for His glory isn't in vain. I may not see how my actions ripple throughout lives in this life...but God does, and He is to do whatever He wants to with them.
So yesterday, when I read my devotional, I knew God was right there with me. Speaking to me. Giving me peace. I usually pick out different pieces of my devotional, but since it is short, I would like to share with you the whole thing..."Praying God's Word," Beth Moore:
"God's word does not say that we will have peace like a pond, but peace like a river, righteousness like the waves of the sea. Lord, I come to You in prayer, and I ask You now to let Your peace, God, which transcends all understanding, guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7). Help me not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time I will reap a harvest if I do not give up (Gal. 6:9). Lord, when You bring this captive completely back to You, I will be like those who dream! My mouth will be filled with laughter and my tongue with songs of joy! The Lord has done great things for me, and I am filled with joy! (Ps. 126:1-3). You, O Lord, have filled my heart with greater joy than when my grain and new wine abound (Ps. 4:7)."

I hope you find time to pray those words to our beautiful Saviour, thanking Him for promising to not only give us peace, but to reap a harvest with our hands if we do not grow weary in doing good. May God give me the strength to praise Him more, and serve Him more.
Have a beautiful evening!

Dare 10

"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
Good afternoon! I apologize for slacking in the blog department. I spent all of yesterday in the hospital, which kept me from updating you on my dares, as well as my devotionals. (I actually did this dare on Saturday and never posted!) Don't worry, everything is okay...but I intend on resting as much as possible:)
So, love is unconditional. This is one of the hardest concepts to wrap my mind around. Loving someone in spite of their flaws. In spite of how they hurt you. In spite of them changing the longer you are with them. Sometimes I take for granted God's unconditional love. Almost thinking that because He is God, loving unconditionally should be easy for Him. I probably couldn't be more wrong. It must be incredibly painful to watch His children repeatedly make mistakes that harm our lives and those around us more than we will ever know. But He still has His arms open wide to embrace us when we come to Him in repentance.
God is love. The ultimate example of love. And He is always choosing to love us. Not because we deserve it, but because He chooses to. "The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love" (Kendrick). The Bible says, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" 1 John 4:10.
When your enjoyment of your spouse, of each other, as best friends and lovers is based on unwavering commitment, you will experience an intimacy that cannot be achieved any other way. So whether or not Zane makes me crepes every morning, or sends me flowers to work, or even, God forbid, he stop communicating with me or tending to my needs, I need to be committed to him, and love him unconditionally. Make sure he knows his heart is always safe with me, even if mine doesn't feel safe with him.
Love that "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor 13:7) does not come from within. It can only come from God. 'The Scriptures say that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39). This is God's kind of love. And thankfully-by your choice-it can become your kind of love.' But I will never learn to love unconditionally unless I leave myself open for God to teach me, and to show me how.
Dare 10: Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse--something that proves that your love is based on your choise and nothing else. So what did I do, you may ask? I watched Harry Potter with my husband...with a smile on my face. I might detest the movies, but if Zane wants to watch them, I can be unconditionally loving for 2 1/2 hours!
Dare 9: Greet lovingly.
Dare 8: Love is not jealous.
Dare 7: Believe the best.
Dare 6: Don't be irritable.
Dare 5: Don't be rude.
Dare 4: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.

--Inspired by "The Love Dare."

Saturday, July 24, 2010


"God never forsakes us. He is the only one who is not repelled by the depth and length of our needs."
Profound, isn't it? At first upon reading that, I was slightly offended. Do my needs really offend everyone except God? I suppose that if I were truly honest, despite me trying to keep my life as an open book, I don't go around declaring my fears, insecurities, and desires to everyone I run into. If I were to do that...well, I'd run from myself if I saw Emmie coming! Haha. But God really does know us; He is the only one who fully knows us. Before I realize my need for love, affection, trust, loyalty, kindness, fulfillment, etc., He knows that I need them. He formed me. He made me. I possess the fingerprints of God all throughout my life. Because He is so fully aware of the depth and length of my needs, He is the only one who can fulfill me. And despite knowing how dirty and weak I am, He promises to never forsake me. He promises to be with me. To be loving and faithful. Always.
"My Lord and Redeemer, when I did not know You, I was a slave to those who by nature are not gods (Gal. 4:8-9)...Father, Your word promises that the one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction, but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:8). Teach me and help me to sow to please the Spirit. By faith I eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which I hope (Gal. 5:5)."
While it is an indescribable blessing to have God's love and strength within us, it is important that we don't take His promises for granted. As a Christian, I must constantly ask my Father in heaven to grant me wisdom against the evil one, so that I may sow to please the Spirit, and further the kingdom, and not harm Christ's reputation, rather than sow for my own fleshly desires, which by nature are evil.
I hope you have a blessed weekend, and find ways to sow seeds for His kingdom.

--Inspired by "Praying God's Word," Beth Moore.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dare 9

Alright, after much waiting and anticipating, I am finally to dare 9! I started back over in "The Love Dare" so that my husband and I could walk the journey together. We have successfully made it through the first 8 dares and are looking forward to the challenges ahead...
"Greet one another with a kiss of love." -1 Peter. 5:14
You can tell a lot about a person's relationship with another by how they greet. If I'm happy to see someone, I give them a big hug and tell them how glad I am that we were able to get together. Back when Zane and I first started dating, we greeted each other with such excitement. The smile he had on his was beautiful! I always knew how much he wanted to be around me, and how much he loved me, by that Harrison Ford smile--you know the one...almost a half smile, curled up on one edge. Check out any Harrison Ford movie and you will see the smile I'm talking about:)
Zane had that same unbelievable smile when he arrived back from his business trip and saw me waiting for him at the airport. It assured me of his longing for me, that I was of such value, and that he had missed me terribly.
I don't know if there is anything in particular that Zane appreciated about me when I would see him for the first time. However, I did ask him how I could greet him 'better,' assuring him of my love and how much I value him being here. He said he would love it if I would give him a big hug when I see him, and huge smile.
Greetings go a long way. Much further than you'd think! Unfortunately, during the routine of our lives we forget to give each other that smile and gentle reassurance of our affections. I suppose we may think it isn't really that important...maybe we don't think about it at all: the first thing you say to him or to her when you wake up in the morning, the look on your face when you get in the car, the energy in your voice when you speak on the telephone. But here's something else you probably don't stop to consider--the difference it would make in your spouse's day if everything about you expressed the fact that you were really, really glad to see them.
"When someone communicates that they are glad to see you, your personal sense of self-worth increases. You feel more important and valued. That's because a good greeting sets the stage for positive and healthy interaction. Like love, it puts wind in your sails."
I almost wish our first dare had been on this. It is something that I think will improve any and all marriages. So yesterday, when I went to pick up Zane from work, I was all set to get out of the car and give him a big hug. My phone is a friend whose family member just passed away. At that moment, Zane gets to the car with a big smile on his face...successfully completing the dare. I smile real big back, but am unable to get out and give him a hug before he got in the car. So today, I will try again!
This is the greeting I long for my Father in heaven to give me one day: "While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." --Luke 15:20
Dare 9: Think of a specific way you'd like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and with enthusiasm. Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.
Dare 8: Celebrate your spouse's achievements and qualities.
Dare 7: Pick a positive trait in your spouse and thank them for it. (Believe the best!)
Dare 6: Don't be irritable.
Dare 5: Don't be rude.
Dare 4: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.

--Inspired by "The Love Dare."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Consequences are His

"Wait on Him to bring victory, knowing that the consequences of your obedience are His problem and not yours." --Moore
Good morning! I hope you are having a great week, and looking forward to the weekend ahead. The above quote struck me this morning. I actually had to re-read it just to assure myself that I hadn't misunderstood. I've often heard people say in a heated discussion: "that's your problem." I have never thought about saying that to God! After taking a moment to process what the quote is saying, I calmed down, realizing it wasn't worded in a rude tone. Beth Moore is simply stating that our obedience is not conditional upon what the consequences may be. Far too often our faith is lacking, and we sometimes forget that God knows what He is doing. I have caught myself on many occassions questioning if God is aware of the whole situation...and if so, is He aware of how it may turn out if I move forward. Silly, I know--questioning God is ludicrous! Of course He knows what He is doing. He can see my every action before I act, and He sees how far those actions will ripple, long before I was formed in my mother's womb. If God were to tell my husband and I to quit our jobs, in these economic times, I need to obey. By the consequences of my obedience being in His hands, and knowing they are in His hands, I am having faith that His plans will far better me than my current situation.
God does not wish for His children to suffer; He wishes to show gracy, mercy, and good will towards us. That doesn't mean that our suffering cannot bring us joy in the midst of pain, and that walking through the valley cannot cause us to grow and be better rounded--realizing on a deeper level our need of Him.
My mother said something today that perfectly ties in with this blog. Her sister, my Aunt, is in her 3rd marriage. After her first fell apart, she remarried an evil man. He was incredibly abusive, even threatening her middle-school aged son (my cousin). Every time she would save up a little money and make plans to leave, he would find out, and put her in the hospital. At one point, my mother took pictures of her injuries--proof, so that if anything happened to her, we could nail this man in court.
By God's grace, a man who worked with her was able to help her out financially. He gave her money so that she could get out of her situation, and be safe...far away from her husband. Her husband, after years, finally signed the divorce papers, and the gentlemen who had helped her out financially, her knight in shining armor, fell in love with her and married her. Last night, my mother and her two sisters got together to celebrate a birthday. This morning I asked my mom how it had been, and I asked how Lisa was doing in her new marriage. My mom responded, "She is grateful for the sadness in her life and the sweet blessing of now being with Ken."
It is not easy to look back on pain, especially the kind my dear Aunt went through, but how she must appreciate her blessings all the more now!
"Lord, according to Your Word, even when five sparrows were sold for two pennies, not one of them was forgotten by You. Indeed, the very hairs of my head are all numbered. Help me never to be afraid; I am worth far more to You than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7) Your anger lasts only a moment, Lord, but Your favor lasts a lifetime; weeping my remain for a night, but how I thank You that rejoicing comes in the morning." (Ps. 30:5)
It has been a few weeks since I posted a song, but the lyrics (I know, I say this all the time) are perfect for this blog. And they are words of encouragement for anyone going through trials.
"Do you wonder why you have to feel the things that hurt you,
If there's a God who loves you, where is He now?
Or maybe there are things you can't see, and all the things that are happening,
Will bring a better ending. Someday, somehow you'll see, you'll see.
Hold on, there's good for those who love God. And life is not a snapshot,
It might take a little time, but you'll see the bigger picture.
Once you feel the weight of glory, all your pain will fade to memory.
Would you dare, would you dare to believe, that you still have a reason to sing?
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming!
And hold on, you've gotta wait for the light, press on and just fight the good fight,
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
Is just the hurt before the healing
Just the dark before the morning
It can't compare to the joy that's coming." --Josh Wilson
I pray that my Aunt can be a testament to that. Praise God for promising us joy in the morning!
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18

--Inspired by, "Praying God's Word," Beth Moore.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Be slow to speak.
We hear that throughout scripture. Words of wisdom guiding us to holding our tongue. I wish that Christians could practice that more often. We are too quick to condemn, whether by words said, or protesters at rallies saying, "You're going to hell." Once the hateful words roll of our tongues, the damage it does to a nonchristian is immeasurable. I do not have statistics on this, but I firmly believe that nonchristians are so hateful towards our faith not because of Jesus Christ and the bible, but because of the actions of those who say they follow Him. We are to live like Christ. Die to ourselves, live for Him, and love with every action. When people see our loving Father shining through us, they are captured with intrigue and drawn into wanting more. I once said 'christianity is not a debate. It is a demonstration.' May God give us grace to demonstrate Christ.
"Frivolous arguments can dilute spiritual truths into human logic. We are not called to debate faith but to do it."--Beth Moore
Based of 3 John 3, I want God to have the great joy of hearing others talk about my faithfulness to the truth and how I continue to walk in the truth...meaning I must be transformed by the renewel of my mind, in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I am loving my birthday present, "Praying God's Word." The short devotionals are the perfect length to read multiple times throughout the day...really engraving God's word on to my heart. I'm just going to jump right into this. "If we wish to go forward from here, God must empower us to roll the boulder of pride off our road to liberty." -Moore
I believe that any and all sins are rolled up into pride. After all, pride holds us captive in a way nothing else can. We may not seek help to get out of bondage, because we want to be strong enough on our own. Pride. We may not ask for prayer when we lose a job, or are struggling in marriage, or doing less-than-desirable financially, because we don't want others to feel sorry for us, to see us fail, to see us as less than self-sufficient. Pride. Addictions, whether sex or drug related, or emotional pain that is fixed by 'cutting' or 'purging,' are all rooted in pride. The sense of entitlement to be better, look better, feel better grows from pride.
The truth is, pride stands in the way of love. Loving others and ourselves. Pride takes away from the pure joy we can have in Christ. It can lead us to be discouraging of one another's successes, when someone has succeeded where we have failed. Pride can lead us to open our mouth before thinking, and that rarely, if ever, ends well.
Read through Ephesians 4:2, then continue.
"You've warned me that when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom (Prov. 11:2). You instruct Your people to listen carefully and heed Your instruction because pride can cause the Lord's flock to be taken captive (Jer. 13:17). But You promise to guide the humble in what is right and teach them Your way (Ps. 25:9). Give me a humble heart so I will follow You in what is right and learn Your way" (Moore).
Pride has no business in the Kingdom of God. Either we learn to seek His will and trust that His is better than our own, or we follow our will and forfeit intimacy with Him. I know that giving up our will is never easy. I constantly make my own plans and hope that they are realized, but I also have come to believe that when my plans fall through, it truly is for my own good. God is bigger than the air I breathe and this world that I'll leave. He sees more than my imagination could ever think up. And He says, "I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." -Jer. 29:11
Do I trust Him when He says that? Do you? If we do, we have to let go of our pride, and trust His good and perfect plan.

--Inspired by "Praying God's Word," Beth Moore.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Good Monday morning! It is a quiet day after the chaos this morning...poor husband got pulled over:( We had just finished reading our 'Love Dare' for the day (if you recall, I did 8 love dares, and then started all over so that Zane and I could do them together). Today's love dare was focused on irritability, encouraging us to be more patient with our spouse and not to be so easily frustrated. (Refer back to Dare 6 in the blog for more on this Love Dare.)
Well, we were in the HOV lane, excellerating onto I-85 from 316, when a State Trooper motioned in front of us, then pointed to the side. It looked as if he was pointing at the motorcycle that was driving in front of us to pull over, so Zane was unsure if the State Trooper was motioning to us or the motorcycle. Now, there were several cars behind us going the same speed, so when we saw the blue lights come on and the State Trooper pull onto the road, we couldn't just slam on our breaks. We eased over to the shoulder and looked at each other with confusion. Sure, we may have been going faster than 55, but we were excellerating onto I-85, and going the same speed as everyone around us. (Maybe since our car 'looks' fast the State Trooper felt the need to slow us down??) The first words out of his mouth were, "Why did it take you so long to pull over?" Zane asked the officer to repeat himself, and the Trooper said, "My radar clocked you at 73, which you see as the top number." He turned his radar gun towards us so that we could see it. "The bottom number is how far you drove before you pulled over."
That caught Zane off guard, and he wasn't sure what to say, so I responded to the State Trooper: "Officer, we weren't sure you were pulling us over. When you pointed, it looked like you were telling the motorcyclist to pull over, which is why we kept driving."
Needless to say, we got a ticket and Zane must appear in court in September. Isn't it so aggravating when you get pulled over? Especially when everyone around you was going the same speed...and somehow you get caught? In all fairness though, we were speeding. That ticket was written deservedly. Doesn't mean I have to like it.
Much like we don't have to like the consequences for our actions. But we still deserve whatever discipline is handed down. However, our dear Father showers us with more grace and mercy than we could ever imagine, saving us from serving the sentence we rightfully deserve. Christ paid it all...He gave His life, and now we can freely confess our sins to our Father, come before His throne, lay our burdens, our addictions, at His feet, and ask Him to make us new.
It wouldn't have done Zane any good to say, "I'm sorry, I won't speed again." The State Trooper still would have given him a ticket. And when we come to Jesus and say, "I'm sorry. I won't _______ again," Jesus knows better. We are not strong enough in and of ourselves to make promises we are too weak to keep. But Jesus loves us despite our flaws, and His mercy is new every morning. "Don't confess your sin by telling God how you're going to do better. Just run to the Father and rest in Him...Father, thank You for helping me to understand that the access I have gained into Your grace in which I now stand has come to me by faith. Help me to rejoice in the hope of Your glory!" (Prayer based on Rom. 5:2)

--Inspired by "Praying God's Word," Beth Moore...and the State Trooper.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Welcome! I hope you are having a great weekend. It has gone by so fast! Yesterday, I had the honor of being in a wedding, and watching two young people commit to love and cherish each other for the rest of the lives. They are both runners, and were encouraged to view marriage as endurance running. Not a sprint. To remember times during a race when their side may hurt, and they want to give up--not knowing if the finish line is even worth it. Why had they signed up for this?!...But then, their body kicks into gear and realizes that it can finish, and as their teammates are running with them, the sound of their feet thud together, as if one person, rather than a group of runners. How beautiful that is...and how worth it?! Just like there will be times in their marriage that they will not want to finish, and wonder what they have gotten themselves into...but as they endure it, and begin running together, they will learn how to be one voice, and grow in love of each other more and more. I thought the pastor did an incredible job tying in his message with who the bride and groom are.
Yesterday's prayer went perfectly with marriage, and how easy it can be to lose sight of the needs of your spouse... and to lose sight of the perfect love, our Saviour. "We can be led astray by the cords of an evil yoke, or we can be led to victory by the cords of divine love." (Moore) I choose divine love! I once did a study on how a christian can be trapped in sin, how easy it is to get tangled in Satan's webs. I don't know if you have ever experienced a time when you were so trapped you didn't know if you could ever get yourself out. That is one of the hardest places to be. And in my life, when I completely lost myself to the ways of the world, I got to a point of total surrender. Finally realizing that I can do nothing without Christ. And I didn't want to. I wanted Him with me, walking every step with me. Guiding me.
So, here is a little of yesterday's prayer, and one that we as Christians would do well to pray daily: "Who is my God, except for You, Lord? And who is my Rock except for my God? It is You, God, who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. You make my feet like the feet of a deer; You enable me to stand on the heights. You train my hands for battle."
Spend some time reading God's promises. Psalm 18:31-36, and 18: 39-40. Have a beautiful evening.

--Inspired by "Praying God's Word," Beth Moore.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Freedom In Jesus' Name

Yesterday, my facebook status was 1 Peter 2: 16. "Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God."
I had no idea that my status would tie so perfectly into today's devotional. Yesterday, I felt so burdened for a friend, so overwhelmed, that I started skimming through scripture for any passage I had previously underlined that would put my heart at ease. Have you ever done that? I do that often. Flipping through the pages and remembering what God was doing in my life when I underlined specific passages. His word is so alive today, and inflicts my heart in such a profound way. I can honestly say that there are times when I feel my soul rising up within me, calling out to my Saviour. When we sing songs in church that claim our soul sings, or our soul waits, or our soul longs....I know what those words mean! Have you ever experienced your soul so powerfully aware of Jesus Christ, that you could barely contain yourself? Maybe I just sound crazy...
When 1 Peter 2:16 came across my eyes, I was struck by the final clause. Servants of God. That is what I am; and while I may feel overwhelmed, and afraid to speak truth for how it comes across, am I speaking truth for my own praise, or for God's glory? At some point I must stop being bashful, and ignore the fleshly desires to be loved by all, and respected...and seek to be a servant of God.
The thing I love most about my devotional is praying God's word. (Coincidence that being the title? I think not!) Praying God's word allows me to be reminded of His loving scriptures, His true word, and His sometimes hard-to-listen-to discipline. My hope is that His word can be so engrained in me that I begin pouring out His word through my mouth rather than my own. That the Holy Spirit will really use my tongue as a vessel for His glory.
I'm going to share today's devotional. I believe it is one that as a believer we need to be reminded of. No matter how hard, or how beautiful His word is, as a Christian, we must be rooted in Truth.
"Until we choose to withhold no part of our lives from His authority, we will not experience full freedom." (It is so obscure to experience freedom while being a servant...only God can create such an oximoron and make it perfectly beautiful...perfectly perfect.) "Lord God, I know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. I choose to be deceived no longer: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And I have been some of those things...but, I have now been washed. I have been sanctified, I have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of my God (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Lord God, guard my course and protect my way as I pursue a righteous, victorious life in You (Prov. 2:8)."
I praise God for sending His son and making a way for me to know Him, to come before His throne and ask Him to protect my way. I serve a loving God. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. And no matter how impossible the situation may seem, He has provided a way to come before Him and lay my burdens down. Christ died, and He rose. And He is coming again with a vengeance to collect His bride, the church, and when He does, "Every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:10-11)

--Devotional from "Praying God's Word," Beth Moore.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


"A powerful motivation for believing God in our present is intentionally remembering how He's worked in our past." --Beth Moore
Good morning! The rain has moved out for a day, and I'm seeing nothing but blue skies:) I hope you are having a shiny day too! Moore's quote above is so true. I far too seldom dwell on the faithfulness of God. How He has always been there for me, planning my life when I'm ready to call it quits. I am definitely going to spend today thinking of times when God has been working behind the scenes and shown me His unfailing love.
In 2005, I spent my summer in Romania. Raising support took off in the beginning, but then came to a halt. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to raise enough and kept asking God why He would get me so far to have my feet come to a stop. My church had not yet provided me with support, and since they were the ones sending me, I was under the impression they would give the minimum amount that they give all members going on a 'short-term' trip. (I know...don't ever make assumptions.)
The day before I left I began panicking and seriously questioned whether God wanted me in Romania, or if my desire was so huge that I had become blind to His plan. That was when my church gave me a call. They had no idea how much money had been raised...they had no way of knowing what I needed. When the mission's director told me the amount they had chosen to support me with, I was speechless. They gave enough to put me over what was needed for my summer. God had known all along I had nothing to worry about...I needed to have a little faith.
What about you? Have there been times when your life is heading at 90 mph in one direction, and then seems to stop, or be put in reverse? How has God revealed Himself to you? Maybe you are going through a 'questioning' time right now. Are you trusting in Him or trying to take matters into your own hands?
"For You who said 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made Your light shine in my heart to give me the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). I am a chosen person, part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to You, God, that I may declare the praises of You who called me out of darkness into Your wonderful light" (1 Pet. 2:9).

--Inspired by "Praying God's Word," Beth Moore.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Repaying Evil

It has been a very long day. Full of data entry, reading small print....and zero relaxation. Until now. I am finally sitting down on my couch, ignoring the rantings of the dogs begging me to play with them (really! Moxie is picking up her pink toy and throwing it at me). Praise our wonderful Lord for moments to just breathe!
In today's devotional, I was led to pray that my heart would be more willing to be at peace. Peace with those I may not get along with, including my enemies. "Lord, help me to obey You and not repay anyone evil for evil. Help me to be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on me, I want to live at peace with everyone."
I have often heard people debate that...'live at peace with everyone.' Often times, people take that to the extreme of being tolerant, and turning a blind eye to those sinning against God, in order to not become confrontational. If I may offer a view point of mine: Jesus was offensive, and to the lost of today, He most certainly still is. Scripture tells us that His word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit (Heb. 4:12). He was and is in no way 'tolerant.' And if we as Christians are called to live as Christ, we are not to be tolerant either, and never turn a blind eye to a believer fooling with sin. But there is a way to love others, to live peaceably with them, without condoning their activities. I pray that I learn that...that we all as children of God learn that. The way we show Christ to the world influences whether or not people want to know Him. And we have got to learn to love people as Christ loved them...or we will not only hurt the reputation of believers, but of Christ Himself.
James 4:4 asks "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." Anyone who is an enemy of my Saviour is an enemy of mine as well. Fortunately, Jesus has already fought the battle, and won the victory. His blood, mercy, and unfailing grace is the reason I can come before God's throne and pray, "Help me not to take revenge but leave room for Your wrath, for You have written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay. on the contrary: if my enemy is hungry, help me to feed him; if he is thirsty, help me to give him something to drink. In doing this, I will heap burning coals on his head (Rom. 12:17-20). O Father, please cause the love of Christ to compel me to do what is right in any challenging situation (2 Cor. 5:14)."

--Inspired by "Praying God's Word," Beth Moore.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I can see that God is working through this new devotional of mine. It is interesting how something written at a different time can relate so much to someone else. I have just started reading "Praying God's Word," and yesterday's reading was a perfect devotional/prayer of how I want to start off my 25th year. And today's, while such a great reminder to me, was a source of encouragement for a friend of mine.
Have you ever been longing to find the right words to say to a friend who is hurting, and you just aren't able? Maybe your mind goes blank, or you actually say what is on your heart and it ends up hurting your friend more. Praise God when He holds our tongues to our own words and allows us to share His word. One of my friends has been going through a rough several months as her mother has been in and out of the hospital. Soon her mom will need brain surgery, and months of out-patient therapy. Needless to say, it is all wearing on my friend. She is tired, weary, and just...burnt out. Every time her phone rings she has to wonder if it is another call to pick up her mother from the hospital, or to take her to the hospital. The level of stress she is constantly feeling is something I cannot relate to. While her faith is strong, she still asks God where He is right now and what He is doing.
So today, I shared with her my devotional, in hopes that it would bring encouragement. "Help me, Lord God, to know beyond a shadow of doubt that in all things You work for the good of those who love You, those who have been called according to Your purpose (Rom. 8:28). Please help me to see the condition in that promise. You are not obligated to work all things together for good for those who neither love You nor are called according to Your purpose. You obligate Yourself to this awesome promise when I offer You my aching heart and commit myself and my suffering to Your good purposes. If I do, You will do more with my life than I could ever conceive (1 Cor. 2:9)."
I thank God for the moment of this day that He allowed me to share this with my friend and bring her encouraging words and a time of peace. God does work everything for good, for those of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He is with her every step of this trial. And He is with each of us during our trials too. I praise Him for that!
I pray that I learn more and more how to pray His word as I seek intimacy with my Saviour. Be blessed today, and thank you for sharing this with me!

--Inspired by "Praying God's Word," Beth Moore.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Year

Good afternoon, friends! Today is my 25th birthday, and I am enjoying it with the husband while taking a holiday from work. We have already had a good morning together and I look forward to whatever else the hubby has in store for me.
Several blogs ago, I mentioned my desire to learn to pray. Not that I don't already pray, but I have it placed on my heart to be a prayer warrior. To learn what God means when He calls us to pray without ceasing. I had run across a Bible several weeks ago...a Prayer Bible...which is filled with devotionals throughout its pages and teaches how the people of the Bible prayed. However, since the day I came across that Bible, I have yet to find it again! I don't want just any Prayer Bible...that particular one was just calling out to me. I should have purchased it then, but I had it in my head that since my birthday was coming up, Zane could get it for me. Bless his heart, he has looked for it, and I have looked for it, and we just cannot find it again. So, while the searching continues, Zane got me two other books. The first is from my favorite women's biblestudy teacher: Beth Moore. Zane came across her book and knew I would love it--> "Praying God's Word." It is a year devotional...365 days of prayer, enveloping different facets of our life. I am so excited to begin this one, and of course, will include you in what I'm praying for.
The second book is written by Sarah Young: "Dear Jesus." It is focused on bringing everything before the throne of God. Young is the author of "Jesus Calling," which I have also been longing to buy, but it was a bit more expensive, and the hubs and I are trying to stay within a budget.
So, while I know Resolutions usually begin on January 1 of each year, I would like to start a resolution for my birthday. Each day, (I will continue blogging about the Love Dares as well...don't worry), for the next 365 days, I will blog about where my heart is being led to pray in my life.
"All that time I thought God was counting my sins, and He was counting my faith as righteousness instead."--Moore
If you were reading my blogs when I was going through 'So Long, Insecurity,' you already knew that I have struggled with the thought of perhaps wasting opportunities God has given me to witness; perhaps wasted so much that He will no longer grant me those moments to spread His name. Today I will focus on God's mercy and unending grace. He is no longer counting my sins against me, but longing for me to have more faith in Him. There are so many things on my heart that I have been praying for. I want to have the kind of faith that once God answers my prayers, my first thought will be to give Him the glory, knowing that only He can make things I like to say: "There are no coincidences; only divine intervention."
Have a very blessed evening! Thank you for joining me:)

Friday, July 9, 2010


Happy Friday morning! I am so thankful it is the weekend. I still have not caught up on rest from traveling about this past weekend, and plan to relax as much as possible this evening through Sunday.
Is it as hot in your state as it is here in Georgia? If so, join me in Operation Cool-Down. The radio station I listen to, 104.7 the Fish, challenged its listeners yesterday to take popsicles, icey lemonade, bottled water, etc. to those who despite the heat, must do their job away from air conditioning: Construction workers, landscape workers, mail men, trash men...the list could go on. Would you like to join me in doing this?
We have to halt in our Love Dare extravaganza. I decided that I really wanted to go through 'The Love Dare' with Zane, and originally we had discussed doing just yesterday afternoon I confessed to Zane that I had already been reading through the book. (He knews something had been up, with me buying him a Harry Potter book.)
On our way to work we began Dare 1 together: Be patient. I will check in with you tomorrow and let you know how that goes. Perhaps our patience with each other will be tried and we can hold our tongue...let's see. As far as yesterday's dare goes, I did complete Dare 8 before confessing. Since he works at a job that doesn't allow him to really talk on the phone, I texted him, stating "I'm so proud of u! U do all u can to make a good life for us. Thank u for being loyal to our marriage and loving me so much." His response was short and sweet: "And thank u for being a good wife." I'd say we are doing pretty good loving each other--but I am looking forward to learning how to love him more!
On a side note, I have started a new journey in my life. I am too hesitant to say what it is...I want to see how well it pans out first. I would love for you to be praying for me though, as I walk down this new and exciting path! Once I feel comfortable revealing this crazy ordeal, I will let you in on it!
Have a wonderful day, and don't forget Operation Cool-Down!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dare 8

I have my green tea in hand! It is a beautiful morning so far!
Yesterday's dare was for me to make a list of all the positive and negative attributes in Zane. Is it wrong that I was a little upset at how short the negative list was? Don't get me is great having such a wonderful husband! But--I had to think really hard to come up with anything negative. Haha...I should have made that list after a fight. Not when I'm bubbly from seeing him. But in all seriousness. I am so thankful that my 'positive' list was longer, as well as easy to write. Praise God that He blessed me with someone so much better than I deserve!
"Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire." Song of Solomon 8:6
Love is not jealous. Have you heard that before? If I did not have a relationship with Christ, I would call that a bluff. The truth is, in this world, 'love' far too often seems jealous. And 'love' acts out its jealousy in very painful ways. But, Kendrick clarifies that there are actually two forms: a legitimate jealousy based upon love, and an illegitimate jealousy based upon envy. Legitimate jealousy is you longing to have what is rightfully yours. God's jealousy ('the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God' Deut. 4:24) is legitimate because He longs for us to keep Him as our first love. He knows what is best for us and His jealousy comes from His perfect plan to see us prosper.
Illegitimate jealousy is moved by envy. Being jealous that someone got the promotion at work that you were seeking, or envying a friend's popularity. Notice that this jealousy is longing for something that is not yours...but you want it, and do not want someone else to get it. "Jealousy slithers like a viper into your heart and strikes your motivations and relationships. It can poison you from living the life of love God intended...according to James 3:16, 4:1-2, envy leads to fighting, quarreling, and every evil thing."
When I first started reading this chapter, I was slow to see how jealousy can infect a marriage. And then a blatant example came to mind. Zane is now half-way done with his internship for the summer. After his first year of graduate school ended in May, he had two weeks off before his internship started. Well, I didn't have those two weeks off. I was working. And for the first week, every day I came home to the house looking just like it did when I had left in the morning, the laundry was piling up, the kitchen was increasing with dirty dishes...and I finally lost it. I accused Zane of being lazy and taking me for granted. In reality, I was jealous that he had two weeks of pure relaxation, while every day I had to wake up early and make my hour drive to the office. However, as soon as Zane realized how his vacation was making me feel, he was the sweet husband that he always has been and worked around the house each day--which then made me feel even worse! He shouldn't need to work on his time off. He should relax. What a ridiculous cycle I put myself in!
"When you were married, you were given the role of becoming your spouse's biggest cheerleader and the captain of his or her fan club...because love is not selfish and puts others first, it refuses to let jealousy in. It leads you to celebrate the successes of your spouse rather than resenting them. A loving husband doesn't mind his wife being better at something, having more fun, or getting more applause. He sees her as completing him, not competing with him...a loving wife will be the first to cheer for her man when he wins. She does not compare her weaknesses to his strengths. She throws a celebration, not a pity party.
"Let love, humility, and gratefulness destroy any jealousy that springs up in your heart. Let your mate's successes draw you closer together and give you greater opportunities to show genuine love."
Today's Dare: Determine to become your spouse's biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy. Take yesterday's list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it. Then, share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.
Yesterday's Dare: Believe the best.
Dare 6: Don't be irritable.
Dare 5: Don't be rude.
Dare 4: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.

--Inspired by 'The Love Dare' by Kendrick.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dare 7

Hello, hello! It is so nice to tell you about my dares...and how I'm doing. I must admit, Zane came up with a third trait that annoys him: "Give me a number." I say that often to him in an attempt to purchase something big, like plane tickets, or a grand piano, or a harp (my latest big purchase desire because I have grown this interest to learn how to play). It drives Zane insane, because he knows deep down that if I want to fly to Colorado, and he says it will be too expensive, I will say, "Give me a number," and no matter what the number is that he gives me, I will find tickets for less. I pressure him so much. I don't stop long enough to read between the lines. What he is probably saying is, "We are so busy here, and I would like for us to save that money for a down payment on a house one day. Why don't we wait to take a trip to Colorado." You see, Zane never (at least to my knowledge) says 'no' for the sake of being mean. He always has some underlying reason. But me in my stubborness wants when I want, the way I want. Don't we all have a little bit (at least a little) of that in us? Not an attractive trait, so definitely one I will struggle through, and hopefully rid myself of.
"Love believes all things, hopes all things." 1 Corinthians 13:7
In today's love dare, Kendrick is focusing on two separate rooms that we have stored in our hearts. One room where we put all of our positive attributes that we find in our spouse. What we really appreciate about them. The second room is where we store all of our fights, our spouse's weaknesses, failures, what we 'depreciate.'
The 'appreciation room' for Zane is written with words like: kind, brilliant, romantic, great cook, provider, protector, lover, defender, noble, grateful, loyal, and honest. The more time I spend in this room, the more appreciative I am of him.
The 'depreciation room' for Zane may be written with words like: inconsiderate, selfish, discouraging. But, "everyone fails and has areas that need growth. Everyone has unresolved issues, hurts, and personal knows about the Depreciation Room and does not live in denial that it exists. But love chooses not to live there."
If you look at the words listed in the separate room, they kind of contradict each other. The appreciation room is definitely more honest regarding Zane's true character and why I love him so much. The depreciation room is where I store words when I may not get my way, or we get into an argument. Words that are written out of frustration. Not love.
But, my love for Zane should compel me to believe the best about him. Focus on the positive. Love should lead my thoughts and my actions. The only reason why I should ever think about any negativity in Zane is so that I can pray for him. And, "the only reason (I) should ever go in the Depreciation Room is to write "covered in love" in huge letters across the walls."
"Your spouse is a living, breathing, endless book to be read. Dreams and hopes have yet to be realized. Talents and abilities may be discovered like hidden treasure. But the choice to explore them starts with a decision by you."
I am excited about today's dare! I like being positive, so today, I will focus on all the things I truly love about the world's greatest husband, my Zane.
Today's Dare: Get two sheets of paper. On the first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse. Then do the same with negative things on the second sheet. Place both sheets in a secret place for another be used at a later time.
Yesterday's Dare: Don't be irritable.
Dare 5: Don't be rude.
Dare 4: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.

--Inspired by 'The Love Dare,' by Kendrick.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dare 6

Good morning, friends! I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day! I had a wonderful time with family celebrating freedom, independence, and our indisputable rights. However, because I was with Zane the whole weekend, and he has yet to find out that I am going through "The Love Dare," I was unable to break away and keep you posted on each dare. So, after 2 days to consciously reject rudeness, I am ready to inform you of what I do that aggravates Zane.
I know I was supposed to find out 3 things about me that annoy my dear husband, but he was simply too kind to tell me. It took me annoying him for him to finally confess some nuisances he has. And, I only got 2. So, 1) He does not appreciate it when he asks me to do something and then I don't do it. I suppose I could take that as being more submissive...which I most definitely can be more (part of honoring my husband is doing what he will have me do), but Zane did not mean that in a "I'm master, You're slave" sort of way. He told me this characteristic annoys him because Frisbee (our little dog) was on the bed, he was telling her to get down, and I was trying to get her to stay. The whole time we were laughing, letting me know he wasn't serious about the previous annoyance; however, I am going to honor him more by obeying the first time...and working with him, not against him. 2)He doesn't like it when I sing bad on purpose. Sometimes, I purposely start singing several octaves higher than the song calls for, in an operatic voice, and change the words of the song a bit in an effort to make fun of the lyrics. I do that too often in the car, and when I do, he is with is rather loud and obnoxious. I suppose looking back on times when I do that--it IS pretty annoying! I'm surprised I don't get on my own nerves singing like that. So, I will stop:)
So, for Dare 6:
"He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city." Proverbs 16:32
Love is not irritable. This Dare is a little difficult for me to grasp. I understand that the deeper I love, the slower to anger I will be, the more kind I will be, and yes, less irritable because I will understand things from Zane's perspective, instead of only my own. However, I think that no matter how much I love Zane, or how much he loves me, at some point, we will irritate each other. Hopefully this dare will make me more aware of my actions enabling me to think ahead and ask myself, "could this be irritable," and if the answer is yes, choose a different action.
I'm going to pull out a few quotes from the book for me and you to be able to read, and re-read if need be. Hopefully, this will help us all to be less irritable, and more loving.
"A loving wife is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercises emotional self-control. She chooses to be a flower among the thorns and respond pleasantly during prickly situations...Two key reasons cause irritability. 1) Stress weighs you down and invites you to be is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow down and balance, prioritize, and pace yourself...Let love guide your relationships...maintain a "Sabbath," a day of worship and rest...recharge, refocus, and add breathing room. 2)Selfishness--when you're irritable, it is a problem of the heart...being easily angered is an indicator that a hidden area of selfishness or insecurity is present where love is supposed to rule...when love enters your heart, it calms you down and inspires you to quit focusing on yourself."
While it is really difficult, and perhaps painful, I invite you to look into your own lives, as I will look into mine, and find ways that you are irritable--less than pleasant to be around. Let's focus on being a calming breeze rather than a storm waiting to happen.
Today's Dare: React in tough circumstances in loving ways instead of iritations.
Yesterday's Dare: Don't be rude.
Dare 4: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.

--Inspired by The Love Dare, by Kendrick.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dare 5

Good morning! Happy 4th of July! I am so thankful this morning for the freedom I have been so blessed with by the soldiers who unselfishly give up their lives so that my family and I can be safe. I am even more thankful that I get to celebrate with my family in Knoxville. Zane and I rarely get to come up to K-town to spend time with my parents and brothers, so this is a fantastic blessing as well. I made fruit pizza last night...cookie dough crust, cream cheese spread covering the dough, and then strawberries and, white, and blue. I am proud to be an American:)
"Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing." Proverbs 27:14
Genuine love minds its manners. One of the most aggravating traits for a person to have is rudeness. I do not enjoy being around rude people...the ones that are boisterous just for the sake of getting a reaction and being the center of attention. Don't get me wrong...I believe we are all boisterous at some point, but there is a difference in being boisterous for a moment at a party, and being that person that talks loudly during a movie.
Have you ever noticed that the people who gain your respect are usually kind and considerate? "People who practice good etiquette tend to raise the respect level of the environment around them." They typically are not ignorant or selfish--common traits of the rude person. I have already been dared to be selfless, kind, patient, and thoughtful. If I apply all of these traits to my personality, being conscious of my actions towards my husband, I will gain his respect, and a healthier marriage. I respect my husband more than words can say; and I can honestly say he already possesses all of these character traits. "If you don't let love motivate you to make needed changes in your behavior, the quality of your marriage relationship will suffer for it."
Love should lift you to a higher standard. So dare to be delightful!
Today's Dare: Ask Zane to tell me three things that cause him to be uncomfortable or irritated with me. I can't attack or try and justify my behavior. This is from his perspective only.
Yesterday's Dare: Be thoughtful.
Dare 3: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dare 4

Good morning! I am on my last packet of Blueberry Green Tea. It is a sad day to see that go. So delicious. I will have to find more at some point!
Have you been taking any of the dares? Yesterday, I did the most selfless thing I believe I've ever done in my life! All for the sake of love:0 If you have met me in person, you know that I despise Harry Potter. I really do not understand what the big deal is. I don't get it. The lack of interest I have for Harry Potter can not be topped for your lack of interest in anything. Really. Zane insists that one day, when we have kids, we will read them Harry Potter. No thanks, hubby! Let's read them The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and the Beatrix Potter books. But Harry Potter?? Well, upon reading my love dare for yesterday, I knew exactly what I needed to do. Zane has read all the books, but he doesn't own any. So...I bought him Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Then, I wanted to be extra nice and bought him The Hobbit by Tolkien. (He has never read it and has really been wanting it is at his fingertips.) So what do you think? Did I pass the dare with flying colors? Despite my dislike for the Harry Potter obsession in the world, buying the book was well worth the smile on Zane's face, the hug, and the kiss. I guess he was surprised and incredibly thankful.
"How precious are Your thoughts to me; how vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand." Psalm 139:17-18a.
Today is all about being thoughtful towards your spouse. Love thinks. It is so easy to think of ways to be kind, considerate, and thoughtful when you are in love. When 'falling in love,' our thoughts are completely consumed with who we love. We can't focus on anything else! We think love before we act love. So many marriages fall apart these days...I wonder how many people would admit that they stopped thinking about their spouse? That they just didn't care? Kendrick sums up the lack of thought in love like this: "for most couples, things begin to change after marriage. The wife finally has her man; the husband has his trophy. The hunt is over and the pursuing done. Sparks of romance slowly burn into grey embers, and the motivation for thoughtfulness cools. You drift into focusing on your job, your friends, your problems, your personal desires, yourself. After a while, you unintentionally begin to ignore the needs of your mate."
Wow. While that makes perfect sense (I mean, I can see how that happens) is so sad to think how often that occurs. What it must be like when someone starts sensing that they are no longer thought of...that they are being breaks my heart. While I couldn't ever see Zane losing thought of me, I definitely want to be aware of his needs and make sure he knows that one of my greatest motivations is loving him more. "Thoughtlessness is a silent enemy to a loving relationship!"
But friends, let's be honest...most of the time we hint at ways for our husband to be thoughtful and expect him to figure out the clues so he can meet our needs. But men think so differently! (Frustrating to learn as a newly wed...but Zane let me know before we got married that I need to spell things out for him...still, I hint. I can think back on so many times my mom hinted at my dad...that didn't turn out well either. Men are not very good detectives of words!) Zane makes it easy on me, though. He says what he means. He is literal. But for women..."A woman deeply longs for her husband to be thoughtful. It is a key to helping her feel loved. When she speaks, a wise man will listen like a detective to discover the unspoken needs and desires her words imply. If, however, she always has to put the pieces together for him, it steals the opportunity for him to demonstrate that he loves her."
I must confess, sometimes I try so hard to leave obvious clues to my needs that if Zane doesn't read between the lines, I punish him for not caring enough. I guess I need to better learn how to communicate it isn't so hard for him to demonstrate love. While Zane needs to listen..not just hear, but listen to me...I need to not say one thing while meaning another.
"The thoughtful nature of love teaches you to engage your mind before engaging your lips. Love thinks before speaking. It filters words through a grid of truth and kindness."

Today's Dare: During the day, have no agenda other than asking Zane how he is doing and if there is anything I can do for him.
Yesterday's Dare: Be selfless.
Dare 2: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.

Inspired by The Love Dare.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dare 3

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; outdo one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10
Good afternoon! How are you doing today? I have had a wonderful day, still smiling from last night's viewing of 'Eclipse.' Okay, I won't push the Twilight Saga on you, but if you have read the books, you understand why I enjoy them. Also, if anyone happens to have a recipe for Pad Woon Sen, please send it my way. My husband and I love Thai food, and I just couldn't keep myself from endulging in a little 'deliciousness' today for lunch. But now, I need to learn how to make will be much more cost effective:)
Alright, yesterday my love dare was to be kind. Friends, while I didn't do any unexpected gesture of kindness, I hope I did not fail at my dare. I was consciously kind and pleasant towards Zane. I love my husband immensely. And he didn't say or do anything yesterday that tested my patience or kindness, so I didn't really have the opportunity to 'outdo' him in gentleness and sweetness. Perhaps I should manipulate him into being cruel so that I can speak gently and kindly!
So for today, I'm hit square in the face with something I know I struggle with. Love is not selfish. Selfishness is the exact opposite of love. I cannot show my love for Zane by being selfish....yet, unfortunately I far too often let him show his love for me allowing myself to be selfish (almost justifying my selfishness). Zane is the type of man that wants to take care of me. He loves me so much. He shows me daily. I love when people say you can see how much he loves me. It makes my heart so warm. But the excuse to 'feel loved' is not a reason to ask Zane to get me some water, or take the dogs out, or feed them, or sleep an extra 30 minutes longer than he, knowing he will iron my clothes if I'm pushed for time. All of those things I just mentioned, I do almost on a daily basis. Oh that is so embarrassing! I am a selfish person. There is no way around it. I see in my actions that I am truly least when it comes to my marriage. Which is the most important earthly relationship! I say I love my husband, but based on my actions...well, I need a 'love' adjustment I'd say. 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love does not seek its own. So, I am excited to consciously become unselfish!
"One ironic aspect of selfishness is that even generous actions can be selfish if the motive is to gain bragging rights or receive a reward...the bottom line is that you either make decisions out of love for others or love for yourself...choosing to love your mate will cause you to say 'no' to what you want so you can say 'yes' to what they doesn't mean you can never experience happiness, but you don't negate the happiness of your spouse so you can enjoy it yourself...when you prioritize the well-being of your mate, there is a resulting fulfillment that cannot be duplicated by selfish actions...lose yourself to the greater purpose of marriage" (Kendrick).
The truth is, I have a reputation in the eyes of Zane. And I want it to be the reputation of a servant, not a self-server.
"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves." Phillipians 2:3
Today's Dare: Buy Zane something that says "I am thinking of you today."
Yesterday's Dare: Be kind.
Dare 1: Be patient.
Which means, today I am to be patient, kind, and selfless. If I make it through these dares, I truly will lose myself to the greater purpose of marriage...and by God's grace our marriage will grow closer to representing Christ and the church.
Inspired by The Love Dare.