6

Tricky, Beautiful Relationships

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red-leaves

Relationships can be a tricky thing. They can be difficult and messy. They can cause us heartache and pain.

If we’ve been hurt in ministry, we can tend to pull back from the church as a whole.

When friendships have caused us heartache, we often choose to retreat.

Family lets us down and we learn to keep those closest to us at arm’s length.

We retreat to our safe corners, we set our fists in a defensive stance, and we harden our hearts because the pain…?

Well, the truth is that it hurts.

Self-preservation and the avoidance of pain are natural responses. Healthy relationships and proper boundaries are a good thing. But we must also take great care to tread cautiously when it comes to putting up walls that are intended to keep the hard things at a distance.

You see, growth happens as a result of difficulties.

We will hurt others and others will hurt us. But it is in the working out of our misunderstandings that we learn from one another.

It is in the humility of an apology that we learn to consider the perspective of another, whether we agree with them or not.

It is in offering true forgiveness, deserved or not, that we live out the forgiveness of Christ on the cross.

Extending mercy, even when it is really, really hard, reminds us of how much mercy God has poured out on us through His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus is all about relationships.

He put himself out there no matter the cost. He was ridiculed and scorned. He was misunderstood and rejected. He hung on a cross and died, not because it was comfortable, but because it was necessary.

For love.

For you.

For me.

Friends, there is nothing wrong with using wisdom and discernment in relationships to protect ourselves from those that would cause us unnecessary harm. But, let us also remember that relationships are beautiful – even the really hard ones.

Let us protect our hearts but not harden them. 

Let us build healthy boundaries but not walls that keep others out.

Let us resolve not to keep others at an arm’s length because when we let them in, our hearts can be changed.

For our good.

For their benefit.

For His glory.

We will hurt others and they will hurt us. We will fail. We will fall.

The key is picking ourselves up out of the dirt, dusting off the hurt, and trying again.

Because it is in the trying that lives are touched. It is in the challenge that we are changed. It is in the loving that we find true love.

And we can’t love if we don’t let others into the depth of our hearts.

“You will know that you are my disciples when you love one another.”

-John 13:35

This post was shared on A Proverbs 31 Wife & the SDG Gathering.

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A Letter to the Daughter I Never Had

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While I have been blessed with two amazing young boys, I haven’t had the privilege of bringing a daughter into this world.

I have an unborn child in heaven and I’ve always thought that she is a girl, but I can’t be certain of that. If that baby was a girl born from my womb, this letter is a portion of the truths I would have taught her as she grew up.

Some of you reading this know that I love and care for you deeply as well as your daughter. This letter is full of the things that I want your daughter to know because she means so much to me.

Some of you are my nieces, my cousins, and my sisters. This letter contains truths that will help you to find joy and freedom in who (and whose) you are. I pray that you will let these words into your life and change you because you are dearly loved.

Most of you reading this, I will probably never meet on this side of heaven. Though I don’t know you, I care deeply for you and for your daughter. It is for this reason that I have written this letter and that I am sharing it with you today.

Perhaps you feel as though you have failed your daughter as a parent, but I am here to tell you that it is never too late. The only thing bigger than the mistakes we have made in the past is not living to correct them for the future.

To the mother who feels she hasn’t taught her daughter well, this letter is for you. God gave you the daughter He did for a reason. He doesn’t make mistakes. Let Him hold you up where you fall short.

To the mothers of daughters everywhere, ponder these truths in your own life. Live them out for her by your example. Teach them to her that her life might be blessed.

To the Daughter I Never Had (and to Yours),

I am honored to be guest posting in a series called 30 Days of Love from a Mother’s Heart.

You can finish reading this post at Kaylene Yoder’s blog. She is a dear blogging friend with a heart for encouraging women to pursue wisdom and grace. To continue reading this letter, click here.

This post was shared at Awed BodyCornerstone ConfessionsJennifer Dukes LeeEmbracing His WillSoul SurvivalWomen with IntentionA Little R&R, & A Look at the Book.

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Imperfect Me

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I wrote this poem a few years ago after watching Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ for the first time.

While I was moved more than I can even begin to express by the portrayal of Christ’s incredible sacrifice, I was also struck by Peter’s agony at the cross.

I cannot imagine how distraught he must have been to realize that even after Jesus warned him about what he would do, Peter still denied that he knew Christ. (See Mark 14:29-31 & Luke 22:54-62).

As you read the words below, consider them not only from Peter’s perspective but from ours as well. Continue reading →

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The Gift of Time

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When he takes the time to read your book because he’s your Pastor and he wants to encourage you in your ministry.

When he spends hours working on your blog even though he is trying to keep his business afloat because he’s your husband and he believes in your message and because he loves you.

When he flies across several states to visit you and your family even though it’s expensive and he has to take time off of work because he is your daddy and he loves you.

When he asks if you have time to play your favorite games with him because he is your teenage son and he still loves spending time with you because you’re his mom. Continue reading →

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How To Develop Family Unity Under God

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Today, I am deeply honored to have Jaime Buckley of Wanted Hero sharing his heart for God and family with us. He requires no introduction as his words of wisdom speak to his character. Please give him a very warm welcome and spend some time on his site. I promise you’ll be blessed.  ~Heather

 

I’d like to do something different today.

With your permission, I’d like to step away from popular blogging practice, from some of its etiquette…and speak straight from the heart.

I know it’s important to have subjects which are “evergreen,” so as to be timeless for readers, and this subject certainly is timeless…but I’d like to refrain from using “you” as my focus.

The reasoning for this is simply that the subject of faith and religion is a personal one. My heart is beating furiously as I type these words, because I feel this is an honor and a burden to share ‘just enough’ or ‘just the right’ views. To make sure I stay true to my own beliefs, while having great respect and tender love for your own.

It’s a very real emotional balance for me, because you—even though I have not met you—matter to me. Continue reading →

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A Letter To My Daddy On His Birthday

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Dear Daddy,

This birthday marks a milestone for you.

I’m sure you’re looking back over the years and taking stock of the life you’ve lived.

I imagine you thinking forward to what lies ahead of you.

But I hope you’ll take a moment to look at where you are. Right now.

To think about who you have allowed God to help you become. Because I really, really love that man, and I thank God each and every day for the work He’s done in your life.

Continue reading →

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The Heart Behind Our Words

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A Letter To The Lonely On Valentine’s Day

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snow-heartDear Lonely Heart,

I know this is the loneliest day of the year for you.

Your co-workers’ desks are littered with chocolate wrappers and every time a flower delivery comes through the door, your heart hurts just a little because you know that bouquet isn’t for you.

You know that you will spend the evening eating take-out with your only company being the latest sitcom and your lazy cat.

You dread going to work on Monday knowing that you will be regaled with tales of how the lovebirds in the office spent their romantic evenings.

While the rest of the world celebrates the loves of their lives, you feel so utterly alone. Continue reading →

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Walking In Love, Light, & Wisdom {The Walking Series – Part 3}

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Welcome to the 3rd installment of The Walking Series. If you’re just joining us, you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

So far, we have discussed the idea that we need to walk worthy of our calling. If we are to be salt and light in this world, we need to know what that looks like in a practical sense.

We have looked at the truths of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ with respect to our position with God and how we can impact the world for Christ as a result. (Ephesians Chapters 1-3)

We have considered putting off the old man, putting on the new man, renewing our minds, and my Pastor’s thoughts that “a new life demands a new lifestyle”.

We have examined Biblical behaviors such as kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness for the growth and edification of the body of Christ. (Ephesians Chapter 4)

Today, we continue walking through the book of Ephesians in Chapter 5 which begins with a reminder that we should be imitators of Christ by walking in love in the same way that He has “loved us and given Himself for us”. Continue reading →

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3 Things God Is Promising Us This Year

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snowy-road

“Things work best in our lives when they start with God and then we follow” –Louie Giglio

Every December 31 or January 1, my family and I watch Louie Giglio’s New Year.

We love being reminded each January that while a fresh New Year of opportunities and possibilities lies ahead, it would behoove us to begin from a place where God and His will are paramount in our plans. Continue reading →

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Attitude of Gratitude: Thankful for Singleness {Guest Post}

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Today I am pleased to share a Guest Post with you from Erin at It All Matters Mom. 

I had a plan.

It was a good one, too. I’d seen it work out so many other times, so I decided I was all in.

I was going to go to college, fall in love and then get married. Continue reading →

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Locks of Love…A Story of My Aunts & Uncles

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Today marks the 10th Anniversary of one of the most heartbreaking days of my life. My beautiful Aunt Sharon ended her two and a half year battle with cancer and entered the arms of her Savior. She was such an integral part of my life that not a day goes by that I don’t miss her still.

About a year after her passing, I was missing her so much I could hardly stand it. I wanted with all my heart to do something. I knew I couldn’t bring her back, but I felt that I didn’t know how to move on. Continue reading →

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Light Up The Sky

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star-field

As I stood in my kitchen the other night listening to this song, I fought back tears as I thanked God for the ways He has moved in my life.

Songs have an incredible way of bringing back memories don’t they? Though it has been a few years, I remember it like it was yesterday.

I can recall how my heart raced with fear as we heard the news. How we simultaneously cancelled plans and packed the car while trying to have faith and trust God. Continue reading →

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Shining Light In The Darkness – 31 Scripture Verses

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candles

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ~Psalm 119:105 

But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.~John. 3:21

And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~John 1:5

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” ~John 8:12 Continue reading →

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5 Ways To Show Your Children You Love Them

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hiking

As parents, we all want our children to know that we love them.

Here are my top 5 tips on how to do just that.

1. Listen to them.  

Look them in the eye as they speak to you. If they are little, get down on their level. Very often, my kids come to chat with me when I am busy at a task. Sometimes I remember to stop my busy hands, look up from what I am doing, and make eye contact with them.  It is important that we take the time to show our children respect in this way.

Today, I am honored to be sharing this Guest Post over at The Deliberate Mom where Jennifer blogs about faith, parenting, and homeschooling. I hope you’ll spend a little time there being blessed by her words. Not only is she an inspiration to me, but she has a kind heart and a warm personality.

To continue reading this post, click here…

Shared at Wonderful WednesdaysMom’s The WordWhat You Wish Wednesday, Tell His StoryEssential Thing DevotionsMessy MarriageGood Morning Mondays, & Laura Boggess.

Also at Coffee For Your HeartI Choose Joy!, The Pin It PartyCounting My BlessingsMom’s Morning CoffeeServing JoyfullyA Look at The BookA Little R&R, & Faith Filled Friday.

40

When All You Can Do Is Pray

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folded-hands

There are many times in life when those we love are hurting.

When we would do anything to ease their suffering, solve their dilemma, or just have the perfect words to comfort them.

Sometimes all we can do is pray.

Today I wonder if there is much more to that simple statement than meets the eye.

Recently I was listening to a sermon on prayer by Charles Price and this is what he said,

Prayer is not something we do for the work of God, prayer IS the work of God.”

This statement made me think about prayer and how often we underestimate its value in our walk with the Lord. Continue reading →

2

Messy Beautiful Love

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I just finished Darlene Schacht’s brand new book, Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages.

I am passionate about beautiful marriages and read as much as I can on the subject. This is one of the best books I have read on marriage.

“In an age when wives pride themselves on being right, Darlene shows the power of doing right. The timeless truth in this book will help any marriage.”                        ~Arlene Pellicane (author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife)

Using wit, personal examples, Scripture, and a very honest look at the pain that results from choosing less than God’s best for us, this book is an incredible encouragement to any married couple.

She reminds her readers that

Continue reading →

12

Love and Respect

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love-and-respect

I wrote a post recently called the good news about marriage (and a giveaway!)

Reading that book prompted me to write this post. You see, in her book, Shaunti Feldhahn discussed the idea that most unhappy marriages can be transformed by understanding the simple (but not always easy) concept of love and respect in a marriage. It should come as no surprise that this is a Biblical concept. That’s because it was God who instituted marriage, therefore He should be (and is) the ultimate authority of how this union is best cared for. Continue reading →

11

The Power Of Encouragement

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rooftop

Never underestimate the power of encouraging one another!

Yesterday, I shared about my experience of using Scripture to overcome a fearful situation. You can read that post by clicking here.

To recap, I was sharing about my fear and trepidation of climbing up a ladder and onto my roof so that my husband could shoot a photo for the cover of my ebook.

I shared a lesson that I learned about really believing God’s Word.

Today, I’d like to share the second lesson I learned. Back to the story… Continue reading →

4

Blogging For A Cause – An Update

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“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”                                        ~Matthew 25:35-36 (ESV)

Just after starting my blog, I posted about an idea of how this blog could be used to raise money for one of my favorite charities. If you’d like to read that post, click here. Go ahead, I’ll wait for ya.

Would you like to know how much you’ve helped me raise? Continue reading →

22

My Life Song – Live Like That

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live-like-thatSometimes I am so laser focused on the to-do lists that I let the daily tasks of life dominate my thoughts and actions.

And then I listen to the song Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets. The lyrics to that song inspire and encourage me in a way that causes me to zoom out and take a bird’s eye look at my life. From that view, I remember that I am a small part of something much greater.

Let’s consider the lyrics: Continue reading →

6

Conquering Faith

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“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” ~Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in the Book of First Samuel. It is the one about David and Goliath. I think everyone who knows the story is impressed by the fact that the “little guy” stood up against a giant (literally) and came out on top. We love these kinds of stories, don’t we? Movies have been made, books written, and songs sung about these conquerors in life. Continue reading →

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