Me? Are you sure?

10 Dec

I’m barely on this blog anymore, and I barely have time to read the blogs I love.  I’ve been so busy, and somehow, even though I kinda hate Facebook – I’m still on there; and even though I LOVE my blog, I’m not on here.

The irony?  God is still using this blog even when I am not.

I’ve answered some random comments on really old posts and God also brought a new friend into my life who has needed some help walking through a rough situation in her marriage.  Three people have crossed my path in the last few weeks who are all walking the same road.  They are desperately fighting for their marriages while their husbands are walking away, namely after an emotional affair.

God…. I’m really no expert in this.  I’m really unsure how to counsel anyone.  I’m really still a failure in my own marriage that I’ve got no business giving any wisdom to anyone.

me? Me? ME????  Are you sure God because I don’t think I can do this… at least not well.

Maybe you’ve been where I am?  Suddenly, you’re very aware of your short-comings, lack of experience, and past failures while at the same time being in such a place that you can do nothing but let God work through you in awe that He’d even consider a failure like yourself.

Moses, hey Moses — let’s be friends.  That burning bush is scorching my face and well, I may not stutter but I sure stumble. Me and you, we’re one in the same and I like your style.

These people that I’ve chatted with and counseled…. they think I’m helping them.  Truth?  They’re helping me.  I’ve never been more aware that I know more about what I should be doing than what I’m actually doing as when it comes out of my mouth in advice while I know my own actions are not or have not reflected my own words.

It just occurred to me: God chooses us sometimes not just to show His power by picking those who couldn’t do what they are doing without Him, but also because the vessel He chooses to use is immediately changed with a refiners fire like no other when God is working through them.

Practical Application:  Praise God almighty that He’s refining me intently while giving me wisdom and words to speak to those who need a Word from Him.

I’m so thankful He loves me so much that He’d keep working on me in such a real and powerful way, even while I’m still such a sinner.  Who else can love like that?

Still wanting to change him.

17 Oct

You know that stereotype right?

The one where the good girl loves the bad boy and she thinks she’s gonna change him.


It could be a bad girl and a good guy,

a good guy and good girl

a bad girl and a bad guy….

or any weird variation in between and chances are…. she’s going to try to change him (or at least wish she could).

That’s looked different on me over the years. As I’ve changed, what I’ve wanted to change about him has changed.

Once he changes something, I  immediately focus on something else I am determined for him to change.

I’ve backed off a lot you know.  If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you know I’ve been learning, growing and working hard on unconditional respect.

I’m gaining ground.  Even though some days, I’m sure he’d tell you I’m not doing so hot.

But I’m still stuck on wishing I could change him to be just like me.

Instead of being thankful for the complementary relationship we have as man and woman, I can grow frustrated, jealous or annoyed with the difference between the genders.

Instead of being challenged and focused on learning to speak his love language fluently, I’m discouraged and lonely wishing I was married to someone who could easily and naturally speak my love languages and appreciated the ways I love so easily.

Instead of being appreciate of introverts, I’m tempted to think that extroverts are right and introverts are wrong.

Instead of being patient with how God is choosing to work in his life and focused on my own sins and struggles, I can get wrapped up in secretly trying to help the Holy Spirit do His job for Him.

At the end of the day, even if I don’t say it out loud, I am still secretly wanting him to change…. just because I’m still learning to die to myself.

Practical Application:

Sometimes you just have to be honest with yourself.

Not so you can excuse your behavior, but so you can confess it, see it for what it is, and stop ignoring your own sin.

Confirm the good.

17 Sep

My little sister called me yesterday and we had a good talk about a new guy she’s dating.

She was telling me about all his good qualities, but… I could tell there were bad ones (or at least, ones she wasn’t attracted to in her eyes.)

She was carrying around a lot of guilt.  “Why am I knit-picking him?  He’s a good guy.  I’ve talked to him a little about these things that bug me, but… I just can’t help it, I’m not attracted to _____ behavior.”

I listened to her and thought deeply about what she was saying.

And then I responded.

“Sis, don’t talk to him about the things you don’t like.  Try ignoring them for now unless something is a major sin.  When he does them, pay them no attention.  I don’t mean go off in the corner and pout so he has to ask what’s wrong. Literally ignore the behavior.  And THEN, look deep and hard CONSTANTLY for all the things he does that you ARE attracted to and stop immediately and compliment him on those things when he does them. Say ‘You look so attractive when you…  I find that incredibly masculine and brave when you…..  That really fills my love tank when you…..’  Make sure he knows how you feel right when you feel it.   This will do two things.

1.) Give him a goal to strive for.  Everyone (but especially men) are motivated by compliments and positive reactions.  The more he sees you smile and hears you doting on him… the more he’ll strive for that reaction.  If you tell him a list of “you need to stop doing” he’ll just feel depressed and not good enough.

2.) This takes your mind off making a list of negative things and intently puts it on making a list of positives.  You’re being very active to take your thoughts captive and meditate on what is good and right.

She said “Ok – I’m going to give it a try.”

I really hope this works out for her because I’d like to see her happy.

And then on my drive home from Walmart it hit me… “don’t merely be hearers of the words and so deceive yourself “

I can talk the talk… but can I walk the walk?

I think I need to get a little preachy at myself.  I can easily get distracted and start adding stuff to the wrong list in my marriage.  And that always comes through in my words and actions.

Time to zone in on the list I want tattooed on my heart.

Practical Application:

Have you ever tried just ignoring a habit you didn’t like and making sure your spouse knew fully how much you loved certain qualities and habits in them? Might be something worth trying.

The silence is deafening.

16 Sep


Sometimes it says everything.

It can scream uncontrollably everything you already know, but secretly hoped wasn’t true.

Confirm fears you prayed you’d never face.

Reinforce loneliness and call to light the truth of being unloved.

Silence isn’t always calm and peaceful. It can be loud and waging war. Fueling pride. Wounding hearts. Inflicting pain.

At times, you hear more than you ever imagined you’d hear in what was suppose to be, silence.

There are times when the only sound that actually makes an audible noise, are tears.

Practical application:

If you relate to this today, just don’t cry alone. The last thing silence needs is solitude.

What direction are you moving?

14 Sep

We went to a Sanctus Real concert Saturday night and it was oh so good.

I’ve been a fan since they became a band in the 90’s.  They’re from Toledo, Ohio and I grew up fairly close to there. I’ve

been to quite a few concerts and still have their very first cd.

I think I fell in love with their music right away because it’s real. (Ha, just realized the accidental pun there.)

Honestly though, the lyrics of their songs are the true feelings we battle in our souls and need the right words to get out. Or rather, might be afraid to let out.

They sang one of my favorite songs last night, and I wasn’t expecting it to hit so hard because I’ve heard it a million times and yet, I was fighting back the tears.

Matt sings:

Can I lose my need to impress?  If you want the truth, I need to confess.

I’m not alright, I’m broken inside. Broken inside.  All I go through, leads me to You, leads me to You.

Have a listen here…

Cause that’s the truth.  I’m just not alright right now.  But every situation is an opportunity to move closer to Christ.

It’s just a matter of picking a direction and moving.

Practical Application:

When was the last time someone asked you “how are you?” and you told them the truth?

Well… I’m asking. How are you? I care.

Whoever you are, wherever you are —someone sees you tonight and cares.

What direction are you moving?

12 things you learn in 12 years of marriage.

6 Aug

On Sunday, we’ll celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary.

You know the drill – it feels like forever and yesterday all at the same time.

I’ve been reflecting on my marriage a lot lately.  We’ve had some really incredible highs, and some really dark lows.  We’ve faced some smooth sailing waters and some rough drowning storms.  We’ve laughed until we cried and cried until we laughed.  We’ve wounded each other deeply and healed wounds no one else on earth ever could.  We’ve lived selfishly and also entirely selfless when it mattered most.

We’ve been human.  We’ve been married.  And thank God almightly, we’re both redeemed.

I thought I’d share with you the twelve things I think are most important to learn (hopefully before twelve years of marriage)

1.) Sometimes, you won’t have butterflies.

I’m not on the bandwagon that says Love is never a feeling – Love is just a choice.  Because I think choosing to love someone makes you feel emotions you’ve never felt before.

But sometimes, life is hard, your spouse sins against you, or you’re in a low point yourself and you just don’t feel giddy and silly like you did when you were dating.

That’s not a sign of a failing marriage.  That’s a sign that you need a date night.

2.) Speaking of date night – don’t ever stop dating.

Plan time for just the two of you – even if you have four kids and hundreds of things on the calendar.

When funds are low, play it simple and pick a free activity.  Just never use the excuse that funds are always low and never invest in your marriage.  Your marriage is worth $100 every once in awhile to pay for a sitter and go out to dinner.  It’s not about the money, it’s about getting away together to connect, laugh, hold hands, look in each other’s eyes, share memories, dream about the future, and  HAVE FUN!!

3.) There’s something about your vows you might not have realized before and that some never realize, but I’ll let you in on the truth…..  That phrase “In sickness & In Health”  — that’s a lot bigger than physical illness.

I wrote an entire post on this one truth before right here, so I’m not going to elaborate too in depth but if you polled ALL the divorce cases in the entire world, less than 1% happen because someone’s spouse got cancer, Parkinson’s or another illness.

However, SPIRITUAL health & sickness are relevant to all of us.  Sometimes our spouses are spiritually sick.  They are unsaved (which is spiritual death, the ultimate sickness)  they are caught in addiction, they are full of pride, they are in a low spot and not investing in their relationship with the Lord…..and sometimes, we’re the ones who are spiritually sick.

And the divorce courts are FILLED with those reasons – adultery, addictions, debt, etc.

When your spouse is spiritually sick, it’s time to carry them to the Lord.  Be on your knees in prayer, hold their hand anyway, draw near to Christ yourself so being close to you helps them be close to Christ.  Let the Holy Spirit shake out their heart through the power of your love standing firm on your vows instead of taking it in your own hands to convict and accuse.

4.) Oil & Water.

Some personalities really are oil & water.

We can let that divide us or let it refine us.  What can I learn from my spouse that I naturally don’t experience with my personality?  What challenges can I take to step out of my comfort zone and grow?  What qualities can I follow as ones I naturally lack in?

5.) Marriage is meant to make us Holy.

Without God, the union of marriage is lacking.  God is the author and orchestrator of marriage. It was His good and perfect plan for man (resembling some qualities of God) and woman (resembling the other qualities of God) to become ONE FLESH and complement each other completely giving us the full picture of God.

The marriage resembles Christ and His bride (the church) loving selflessly, unconditionally and laying His life down, while the Bride responds with admiration, praise, loyalty and acceptance.

While marriage God’s way brings about unspeakable joy — the goal is not joy, the goal is holiness.

6.) Nothing will reveal your sin faster than marriage.

When you’re angry at your spouse, chances are — there’s some sin present (and not just in their life.)

Pride, Idolatry, Selfishness, Unforgiveness, Bitterness, Impatience, and a Lack of Self Control are messy sins that hide behind our blaming words.

I use to have my husband as an idol thinking he should be like Christ and fill every part of me, including making me happy at every turn. There was a HUGE plank in my eye yet all I cared about was the speck in his.

7.) The husband is the head of the family.

This is where the curse of the fall hits many of us women in the gut!!  We’re very proud.  We can sometimes be very certain we know how to do everything, and do it better than our husbands. We expect our husbands to do what we say, when we say it and we treat them like children.

We become the mother of our kids and of our husbands, belittling and joking about them in “bashing circles.”

There is no faster way to destroy the marriage than for the woman to take her husbands role from him.  He will become weak, complacent, reserved and protect himself from her at all costs.

And she will become proud, bitter and burdened carrying the weight she was never designed to carry.

The best way for the husband to lead his family is just how God designed.

He loves his wife and his children unconditionally and is willing to lay himself down for them.

And the wife RESPECTS him unconditionally (not asking him to earn it like the world has sabotaged us into believing) by trusting him, building him up, speaking gently, honoring her marriage publicly and privately, coming along side to help.

When this is working well in a marriage, the wife will be able to share all her concerns and ideas and the husband will do everything in his power to make all her dreams come true according to what God allows.  If a husband knows his wife will love, cherish and respect him even if he has to make a decision that is a little different than what she was thinking would work, He’ll do it with grace and the union will grow closer.

8.) Speaking of growing closer, Sex is a gift from God.

Despite what the world leads us to believe, sex is not for everyone recreationally, NOR is sex in marriage for just the man’s benefit.

Sex is a gift for marriage.  It bonds the man and woman like nothing else can.  It should be cherished, explored, discussed, given freely and with each passing day- the two should become experts in each others bodies.

Far too many couples buy into lies and neglect to discover how sex truly oils the marriage to keep it functionally flawlessly.

When people argue, it’s the first thing to go.  This should not be. Sex is not a weapon, it’s a gift.


We all sin.  We all hurt each other.  It happens in marriage, in parenting, in friendships, in church….  it happens period.

When my spouse sins against me, I’ve learned to forgive quickly by remembering times that I’VE sinned against him and he’s forgiven me.

Instead of making a mental list and ADDING his current mistake to the list of all his other mistakes and holding them all under lock and key…. I chose not to keep a record of wrongs.

Instead, I reflect on how gracious he’s been to me for my sins and I extend the same mercy and forgiveness back.

10.) Speaking each others love language is a must.

No, it will not come natural if your love language is different than your spouse.

Again, marriage is meant to refine us and make us holy.  What better way to selflessly love your spouse than to do what does not come natural to love them in the way they feel it deepest.

If you don’t know your spouse’s love language — Google “the five love languages” together and figure it out!

11.) Become best friends.

Don’t just say you are because that’s what people say, truly become best friends.

When you love and respect unconditionally, the safety increases IMMENSELY and the real heart of a person in marriage can shine through.

Take an interest in something your spouse likes.  Or if you really truly can’t get behind their most favorite activity, find a special activity, club, game ANYTHING the two of you love and make that something you can talk about, do and explore together.

Tell each other your secrets, fears, dreams and goals.  Never squash the other persons words.  Cherish them, praise them, and cheer them on!

12.) When it is time to confront sin, the WAY you say something makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE between whether or not it can be heard.

There is a time and place to say “That really hurt me, or we need to talk about this.”

But if you take a tone, attitude, parental stance, condemning approach or anything that says you’re about to face my wrath or judgment, you won’t find resolution and you’ll likely argue for days or weeks or worse yet, months because it gets brought back up later!

We all sin.  But when you feel like your spouse sins against you, go to them humbly and without judgment and condemnation and just share your heart.

It’s much more likely that they’ll hear you and you’ll be able to come to a resolution.



Of course, I could go on and on with tips, ideas and truths about marriage but I’m out of time to sit at the computer this morning!

So — here’s my practical application:

Go back through that list of twelve and reflect today on the two that grab you the most.

Ask yourself the tough questions, confess any sin and pray today for your marriage.

Satan would love more than anything to divide you and your spouse and chalk it up on the board as another failed marriage — don’t let him.


Fifty Shades.

26 Jul

Kayla Gulick:

Well….. I originally wrote this post in September of 2012….and now that the trailer is actually released, looks like it’s time for a repost. I’m so sad over this reality. And my heart hurts for the number of my friends sharing the trailer on Facebook.

Originally posted on Lessons Of Mercy:

I first heard about the books “Fifty Shades of Grey” back at the end of June.  I was concerned immediately when I heard about them, but given that I hadn’t actually read them, it seemed pretty unfair to make a snap comment or rash judgement.  Shortly after, I saw a Christian review and was relieved that my initial response did carry justification for what I originally thought.  I have prayed about these books, researched on-line, read many reviews, but still have not actually held one of the books in my hand, or read a single word.  And I won’t.  I’m going to share with you why I’m convicted to stay away.

I wasn’t sure I was going to ever blog about this topic.  Mostly because I know what I’m going to share will NOT make me popular in the world.  In fact, I’m discovering more and more rapidly, it isn’t even going…

View original 1,131 more words


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