The Big Day by Kenika

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little over three months ago I got engaged to my husband to be.  It was so exciting for my family, my friends, and me as I was seemingly thrust into a season that I had only dreamed of. We decided on a short engagement, which means an upcoming wedding in the month of May! There I was just minding my business in life and experiencing the highs and lows of a standard boyfriend girlfriend relationship, when all of a sudden I became a “bride to be.” Nothing super spiritual to offer up here, but the gravity of it all sunk in pretty quickly as different elements became so vital. The ring on my hand secured itself as becoming the most important piece of jewelry I had ever owned. Not just the most important ring, but the most important, valuable and sentimental of every piece in my possession.   As I was picking out my dress I thought, “Whoa, this is the most important dress purchase I’ve ever made.”  The same emotions were present while planning the honeymoon trip, every accessory that will be worn on the day and so on.

My background is in event management. I’ve organized and led countless events, conferences and concerts all over the world, literally, during the course of my life.  I’ve also helped to coordinate and assist at weddings of close friends but again, no event will come to be as important to me as our own wedding day.  The most important venue, caterer, dessert, tablecloths, and centerpieces you name it.  All of that is taken care of and my mind and my prayers have gone to the vows and commitment I will make to who is now the most important man in my life, outside of Jesus of course.  I’m preparing my heart and my mind to speak the most crucial words and promises I’ve ever made.  Promises that I will profess and fully intend to never break.  Outside of the prayer of salvation, there hasn’t been a declaration from my lips that has carried so much weight.  To love, cherish, obey, in sickness and in health until death separate us. That is pretty heavy stuff!

As the checklist dwindles I am more ready now than ever to say, “I do.”  At the beginning the exterior elements got me thinking of their importance, but as the day draws near I’ve shifted to the importance of the interior elements as well. I’m not only ready because I’m a decent planner with event details, but I’m also ready because God has lovingly been preparing me for this extremely important day for a long time.   We are in the home stretch to becoming man and wife; please pray for us during this significant time!

Photo Credit:ID 85433172 © Dimabl | Dreamstime.com

Esteeming Your Teen by Bombi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are well into 2018 and here I am at the doorstep of 40. My kids are no longer babies and life is just rushing by. I’m starting to notice that I’m telling them some of the same things my parents told me when I was their age. Oh life.

Recently my husband and I had a long talk with our 15 year old. Lately (no matter the topic) the main message we end up giving our girl is the self-esteem talk. What makes this topic unique for the Christian parent is that it’s more than telling your kids to be confident in themselves. It’s guiding them to find their confidence in who they are in Christ and seeing themselves the way God intended them to be.

You see we can have ideas and plans for our daughter. We can envision things for her that would no doubt bring happy tears to our eyes. We can build her up with words about our hopes, dreams, and aspirations for her, but no matter what we think, it’s what God thinks that matters. It’s His will we want for her and our son.

Not to mention, I don’t want my kids to live to please me and end up picking professions I wanted them to pick, I want them to do what God has led them to do. I want to raise God pleasers, not people pleasers. When I say people pleasers I mean the “self-pleasing” inside of their sinful nature as well. This world and everything about it tells our kids to do what feels right.  If you have an opinion you should immediately shout it out on the mountaintops, rally the troops, start a new hashtag, go stand in front of Congress and fight for what you think is right and hurry, do it NOW!

But not everything our kids think is right is right. If you don’t want to tell it, I will tell it. The message of confidently and publicly pleasing, expressing, and finding oneself by any means outside of God’s word can be dangerous and yet sometimes hard to recognize when it’s wrapped up in a cute Instagram handle or a cool hashtag. But it’s conforming to the world and we’re not of this world.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to silence and suppress our kids. What I am saying, or more importantly asking, is the same question my parents asked, and probably their parents asked them, but it’s the darn truth. It’s the food for thought question, “If everyone goes and jumps off a cliff, will you too?” Adding to that, just because everyone is “doing it” doesn’t mean you need to. What should our kids be doing then? How will they develop and find their true selves and the important self-esteem they need for this harsh world? That my friend is a huge part of the faith journey our kids embark upon with God. As we prayerfully guide them and as they start their faith walk with God, they will discover their worth, their true voice, and God’s will for their life.

Romans 12:2 (ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

Photo Credit:ID 91128484 © Alexsokolov | Dreamstime.com

Fresh Beginnings by Sonya

As spring approaches I am looking at my life and the fresh beginnings God is showing me in this new season.

A fresh beginning for me is starting back to work as a substitute teacher at my kid’s school. It is such a weird feeling that I can’t explain since I have been a stay home mom for almost 13 years and haven’t had a job since before my kids were born. I am so thankful for that season in life but now God is showing me a new season and taking me on a new chapter. I have volunteered a lot and kept busy when I was at home, but this is so different actually clocking in and being under someone’s authority other than me being the main authority and in control of my day. There were so many mixed emotions. It was like coming out of college and trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and then going into my first job and being so nervous to make a good impression.  There are a lot of feelings that come with new beginnings in life and I love that God is in the business of fresh starts and second chances.

Do you feel like God has given you a fresh start too? Not only has God shown be a new beginning on my identity as far as a new job and being more than a mom, but also with my marriage. My husband and I went to a marriage conference this month and it was just refreshing to hear things we already knew but in a new way. I felt like we were dating all over again after we implemented some things we learned like connecting more throughout our day and focusing on each other and not just talking about the kids. Also they gave us a crayon to use to write messages in our bathroom mirrors to one another and reminds us how valued we are. This has been such an encouragement in our marriage to get notes and reminds us when we would write paper notes and letters to each other when we were dating. It gives us a new appreciation for each other and telling the other person all the great things we love about them. This shows fresh beginnings in our marriage and deepens our connection.

Also for me it reminds me when I read the bible in one season of my life, and then read it in another season, and it brings a whole new meaning and draws me closer to God. But in order to move into a new beginning we can’t hang onto the past. I like how Isaiah 43:18-19 puts it, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Therefore God is telling us He is doing a new thing in us. This fresh beginning is a great thing even if we don’t see it. God is making a new way in the wilderness and cares that much for us to give us fresh starts.  The last part of the verse says He is giving us streams of living water in those wastelands or trials in our life. What an amazing God we have where He doesn’t want to keep us where we are and allow us to stay the same person, but wants to take us to new levels in our faith and give us a fresh look at Him and who God is. So thankful God loves us so much that He doesn’t want to leave us where we are. We don’t have to be defined by our past but God has rescued us from that. Are you ready for a fresh beginning? Stop holding onto the past and step out today and see what God has in store! Taste His living water and let it refresh you in this season or new beginning in life!

Be Present With Your Love by Sonya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The upcoming Valentine’s Day has me thinking about how I can better love my spouse. God put it on my heart to be more present.  We have a busy life with four kids and carving out time to go on dates can be hard. However, being present is key in the way we interact with our spouses. I look at all aspects of our relationship and I’m more aware that connecting with my husband will allow him to feel more loved by me. It is in the little things like when he calls me.  Am I focused on the conversation or am I distracted? My husband knows when I am not fully listening to him on and off the phone. In order to affirm that I am listening on the phone, I ask questions or repeat what he just said to make sure I understand.   Eye contact is the key in person and truly giving him your attention by turning off the television and phone, or going in another room where your kids can’t distract you. Giving of your time and listening well allows you to be present in the moment with your love/valentine. Our spouses deserve to be loved well and if we can’t give them our time and focus, then we are missing out on a deeper relationship that we can have with them! My husband does a great job at loving me well.  For Valentine’s Day he makes a homemade dinner and we stay at home and just be together. He shows me he is present by making himself available and carving that time out. It is not complex, but a simple gesture to just spend time with your sweetie and it doesn’t have to cost to be present with your love. I challenge you this Valentine’s Day to take a break from the busyness and spend time with the ones you love.  You will never regret being present in their lives!

Photo Credit:  ID 82818616 © Viacheslav Iacobchuk | Dreamstime.com