Wednesday, December 30, 2009

12/30/09 - Blog

So I am thinking of making some changes to my blog.

Any suggestions?

I'm a bit stump at what to do, maybe I don't need to do anything...but I've had this look for over two years.

Help!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

12/29/09 - Revelation

I just finished the book of Revelation last night. As I read it was a reminder to me how we are to keep our eternal "glasses" on.

Often I find myself just thinking of the here and now, the years on this earth. But I must not be discouraged! One day, for all eternity, I will be in a place where there is no need for light because Jesus will illuminate everything.

When we look around at our culture, the sin, the depravity of it all, we know the final outcome, and in this we rest!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

12/26/09 - My single friends

Dear Single Friends,

I think of you often during this holiday season.

Two Christmas' before I got married, I came home after a beautiful Christmas Eve service and just cried. I longed for my own family, for a husband and children, to have my own traditions with. Little did I know that it would just be 18 months later that I got married.

It all felt so painful, ya know watching others have families and being single, having this longing go unfulfilled. But I knew I knew the One who knew...so in that I rested.

The holidays are tough, but rest in the safe arms of our Lord, whose birth we celebrate. Know that you are in His timing and not your own.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and pray that as you ring in the New Year you keep your eyes on Him and not on your unmet desires!

Love,
Heather

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12/15/09 - New Year's Resolution

So in the coming weeks a lot of people will make a New Year's Resolution. I have a challenge for you, if you have yet to plan yours.

Do you want to become sensitive to what in impure, unlovely, godless? Then I challenge you to cut your TV watching to one show per week and not watch one rated R movie in 2010!

In the ministry I worked in after college I signed a form that stated I would not watch rated R movies the entire year. After the year was up I did eventually see a rated R movie and it hit me that I had become re-senstitized to what is pure, lovely, holy, and of good repute. Since then I have seen very few rated R movie.

Not only that but that year I had very limited TV. Again, I had become re-senstitized.

So if you want a challenge this coming year, turn off the TV, and avoid rated R movies. By 2011 you'll be shocked at what you were desensitized to!

Monday, December 14, 2009

12/14/09 - Feasting vs. Nibbling

Do you feast on God's Word or do you nibble?

Before marriage (and kids) I had a great deal of time to myself. I am thankful that I spent time feasting on God's Word. There would be days I'd read, fast, and pray. Those days were very meaningful in cultivating a relationship with God.

The demands of my life don't allow for that time. So I do a lot of nibbling on God's Word. I have cards hanging above my kitchen sink of verses that I am working on memorizing. I have God's Word always available for those few moments I am able to read. I pray throughout the day...as I fold clothes I pray for who's clothes I am folding, or when I am holding one of my boys.

When singles ask me for some words of encouragement I normally say, "Spend your single years feasting on God's Word. You have hours upon hours you can spent fasting and praying, reading and worshiping. Fall in love with God and His Word."

So this is my encouragement to you! Feast my friend, there is a banquet of exquisite Food waiting for you!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12/13/09 - Comments

If you'd like me to post your comment, it must be in English. I am assuming if you can read then and wish to comment then you can write in English.

Okay...this is for the reader who keeps posting a comment in Chinese. ;-)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

12/12/09 - Reading the Bible

Often when someone shares about a struggle they are going through I often ask, "Are you reading the bible these days?"

The normal response is, "Well, not really."

When I find myself in times of discontentment or I am lacking peace over a situation I notice my quite times have slipped off. The longer in between times of reading my bible, the more I lose my grounding. Being in God's Word every day keeps my compass pointed in the correct direction

When I am not in God's Word every day it's almost as if I find myself in a tail wind, spinning out of control. I get more easily frustrated, lose my patience, turn to other vices for comfort, and over all feel blah!

99% of the time when I am going through some struggle, if I don't stay in the Word, the struggle intensify. Then as soon as I open God's Word I see clearly. I put on that eternal perspective. The perspective that brings me to a place of peace.

Are you going through a rough season right now? Are you staying in God's Word every day?

I am praying for you. For all of you who are struggling and are not in God's Word. My heart pleads with you to go right now, open His Word, and FEAST on it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

12/09/09 - Skype conference

A couple of weeks ago I skyped (video conference) with a group of young ladies who used my book in their book club. It was so much fun for me to talk to them, field questions, and see their faces.

If you would like to skype with me, let me know. We'll arrange a time and I can take your questions and "meet" you!

My skype name is: JohnHeatherPate

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

12/08/09 - To my guy readers

Lately God has been impressing on my heart the importance of a young man knowing how powerful an influence a woman has in his life.

I've been praying for my future daughter-in-laws because I know that they can build up or tear down my sons. I pray that God will be equipping her to be the godly influence he will need in his life.

How about you? Are you aware of the influence of a woman in your life? Don't play with fire, don't even entertain the idea of dating a girl who isn't completely in love with the Lord, you will get burned!

Remember you should strive to marry a Proverbs 31 woman, not a Proverbs 5 woman!

Monday, December 7, 2009

12/07/09 - Life Verse

Do you have a life verse? Something in scripture that speaks to your goals and hopes for your spiritual life?

When I was single my life verse was: 1 Corinthians 7:34b -35:
34.... An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

After I got married this verse no longer spoke to my spiritual goals, so I asked the Lord to give me a new verse. After prayer and reading He lead me to Colossians 3:1-18:

1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him--
11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

How about you...do you have a life verse?

Monday, November 30, 2009

11/30/09 - Phew

That's how I feel, phew! Do you ever just want to take a huge sigh? Well, that's my sigh.

What a week, what a month, what a year...on to December tomorrow.

This year has been marked by a series of "issues", starting with two months of morning sickness, to work related stress, then on to family health issues, to baby issues, ending with family conflicts...but how do I deal with all this stuff through God's perspective?

Lately I am reminded of the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Actually, I've been repeating them over and over in my thoughts. This is how I am to deal with these issues, in grace and love, demonstrating these fruits.

Through all of this I ask God to show me my own sin, to revel my own ugliness. Why go through tough times if we take nothing from them? That seems fruitless to me!

I am excited for this holiday. To celebrate the birth of Jesus. It's not about eating a lot of food, shopping, opening gifts, baking treats, or holiday parties, it's about realizing our need, our deep need, for a Savior. To know, not just in our head, but our heart, that Christ bore our sin upon the cross. He took God's wrath for us and through that act of selfless love God views us. Praise be to Him!

Maybe it's been a tough year for you? Maybe not, either way, ask God to shape you more into His image through it all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

11/24/09 - Test Results

My sister got some news. The baby doesn't have Down Syndrome, Trisomy 13 or 18 and they found out it's a boy, so that rules out Turner's Syndrome. We are praising God. More tests to follow!

11/24/09 - Quotes

I've seen these quotes a few different places and I don't know who said them, but they are powerful!

"When you judge others, you are revealing your own fears, insecurities, and prejudices..."

"...Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others..."

Monday, November 23, 2009

11/23/09 - My Sister

My sister posted this on facebook and I wanted to share:

Last Wednesday I went in for a routine 1st trimester ultrasound. I have been thinking that twins was a possibility so I really wanted the ultrasound to know if there were one or two in there. We found out there was only one, but that they may be something wrong with the baby.

My Dr., said that he found a cystic hygroma on the baby, a thickening on the back of the babies neck. He said that this can be caused from a chromosone problem, such as Turner's syndrome, possibly Down's. So, we scheduled an appointment at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee at thier fetal care center. Today we went in for that appointment. During the ultrasound we saw the Cystic Hygroma, it was very visible on the ultrasound. Basically, it went from the babies neck all the way down it's body. This made it all very real, becasue I was hoping that what my Dr. saw wasn't really there. It was very emotional for me to see my cute little baby squirming around on the screen, but thinking there could be something wrong wtih its health.

The cystic hygroma measured 10 mm, anything over 3 is considered abnormal. A 10 is very large. Now this could mean a couple of different things. One is that the cyst could go away and never return, they don't know what causes this or why it would appear or dissapear. Or it could mean chromosone problems. We decided to have a test done to see if it is a chromosone issue and will find out more tomorrow and the next week. Whether it is a chromosone issue or not and it doesn't dissapear then it could grow, this growing could cause heart problems and thier would be a high chance of either a late term (21-25 weeks) misscarriage, or the baby needing surgery when born.

Right now, we know there is nothing we can do, it is totally in God's hands. We love this baby, whether it has health issues or not. If it does have any issues, we know God will give us the strength to deal with whatever comes our way.

We would appreciate any prayers for healing for the baby and strength & comfort for us.
Lesli

11/23/08 - New Moon

I feel way out of the loop with the Twilight Series, but I know that there are lots of Facebook status up-dates sharing about going to see this movie.

I read this post about the movie on True Woman and wanted to share!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

11/21/09 - Prayer

The past couple of weeks have been stressful and unsettling. I will explain more later, but I ask for your prayers for my family...my extended family.

My husband and I are doing great, our boys are healthy, we have much to be thankful for...however life is full of conflict and concerns.

I am reminded daily of God's great care and concern in my life. For the details He shows off through. I cling to His word, His love, and His never ending grace!

Monday, November 16, 2009

11/16/09 - Unforgiveness

I heard this quote...don't know who said it, if you do please let me know... it's powerful:

"Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

11/12/09 - Noise

This post may be silly, but it's how my brain works.

At night we run an air filter as white noise in our bedroom. As I was trying to fall asleep I heard this noise coming from the air filter. It was a low humming noise that was rhythmic in nature. All I could hear was that noise. It began to drive me batty.

I got so focused on that humming noise that I could not even fall asleep. I was so tired and just wanted to drift off to visit the sand man, but I couldn't.

As I laid there I began to think about how in life we focus on something that prohibits us from getting other things done. We stay so fixed on this little annoyance we miss out on other things.

After about 20 minutes I was able to fall asleep...but not after realizing I have to stay fixed on what matters most and set aside anything that doesn't really need or deserve my attention!

Friday, November 6, 2009

11/06/09 - Forgiveness

If someone has asked for your forgiveness, walk in that forgiveness! Don't treat them as if that conversation didn't take place.

The only way you can truly walk in joy, is to walk in forgiveness with others, it's the cornerstone to obedience!

Monday, November 2, 2009

11/02/09 - Gospel of Grace

Without the gospel of grace we'd all be eternally condemned! The gospel of grace doesn't give us licence to sin or to tolerate sin! There should be a perfect blend of grace and truth.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

10/31/09 - God's Temple

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (emphasis added)

Let those words soak in: you are not your own!

Lately that truth has stuck me in a new way. So often we feel the need to fight for our rights. But in Christ we have no rights. We are His servants, His very temple in which we are to glorify Him. We don't have the right to sin (although we all sin and fall short of His glory).

What does it mean to honor God with our bodies? It encompasses anything we do with our body: what we wear, how we present ourselves, what we eat, how active we are, what we think, and how we keep ourselves pure.

What does this verse mean to you?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

10/25/09 - Warts and Pimples

We all have warts and pimples. I don't mean physical warts and pimples, but we're all filled with imperfections.

Life is filled with warts and pimples and matters of they heart are never cut and dry. As you navigate through your own issues remember no one is perfect and no one is asking you to have all the answers to sticky heart issues!

If you are tempted to judge someone, just remember your own warts and pimples!

Monday, October 19, 2009

10/19/09 - Joy

I've rediscovered the pure joy of totally obedience in our Lord. When you totally surrender to God, when you give in fully to what He wants for you...there is PURE JOY!

Sin puts such a wall up between to you and God. Between me and God! I hate it! God is patient, gentle, kind, and loves us.

I love when I feel God working through a new level of trust in my own heart. I am so thankful that He is so faithful! I love that He peels away my selfishness and greed! All for His glory!

We have power over sin through Christ Jesus! Sin is not our master, Jesus is!

Friday, October 16, 2009

10/16/09 - Grace and Truth

Yesterday, my post about the t-shirt for the little girl that read: available, received a comment that said: (we) must BE the church. I totally agree! We must not just say we are the church, but we must demonstrate God's love and BE the church to the world around us.

My next thought was about grace and truth.

If we have do not have a beautiful blend of grace and truth we end up lopsided!

If we have all grace and no truth we are ineffective to change and almost become just like the world around us.

If we have all truth and no grace we pour out condemnation that doesn't show God's love.

So grace and truth! Jesus said it best when he was talking to the woman who was caught in adultery. No one would throw a stone at her, so Jesus said, "Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin."

Truth and grace, two essential characteristics we must have when we are the church to the world around us!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

10/15/09 - Forget it!

Isaiah 43:18

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

Do you dwell on your past mistakes? Do you say, "Boy, I wish I would have know this years ago."? Does looking back prevent you from moving forward?

Well, here we read to forget it! Don't dwell on the past! You've grown, you've learned, and God's changed you! He's doing something new, so let Him have His way!

What new thing is He doing in your life?

Friday, October 9, 2009

10/09/09 - Pigs or Jesus

In Matthew 8 we read:

28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.
29 And behold, they cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?"
30Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them.
31 And the demons begged him, saying, "If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs." 32 And he said to them, "Go." So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters.
33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men.
34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region. (italics added)

Why did they beg him to leave? What did Jesus do that cause the town people to "implore" (NASB) him to go?

Was it healing the two men or was it killing the pigs? Where they more concerned with their livestock, their lively hood, or being with Jesus?

Don't we do the same thing!?! All too often we have our short term glasses on and not an eternal perspective of what Jesus is doing!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

10/06/09 - Light and Darkness

Darkness will never win over light.

If you are in a pitch black room it can not overcome a candle. The room will have light. Just think about that, light always wins!

So it is with our faith....satan can not win, Jesus will always overcome!

Check out this great video...it's a true story!

Monday, October 5, 2009

10/05/09 - A guy's testimony

I received this e-mail over the weekend and was greatly encouraged! I asked for permission to share this with my readers.

Here's a young man striving for emotional integrity with the young women of his church. For my young women readers, be encouraged that there are men out there with who desire emotional purity in their life!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I just finished reading your book after it was recommended to me by a friend. She recommended I pass it along to the guys in my church group because, we are mostly in our early to mid-20's, dating is approaching fast for many of them and with it being a guys and girls group it can be easy for emotional relationships to happen.

God has put this on my heart only a few months ago. Just over 2 years ago I started coming to the church group I currently attend after turning away from God. He has done a rapid change in my life and the new season I am in God is hammering home the point of emotional purity. Ever since I started "crushing" on girls, in 6th grade, my mind has always easily gone to planning dates and even to marriage, in my mind.

Growing up with those thoughts continually, without ever thinking about them as wrong or damaging it has continued all the way up to now, being 24, and really wanting to date a specific girl in my church group. One of the reasons why I started coming to the church group was because of her and I somewhat used that to get closer to her and get to know her. As I became more serious for God I felt it as more of a burden, distraction, and something that would cause my emotions to become a roller coaster from infatuation to hurt to frustration to jealousy.

I finally got the go-ahead after a dream I had to tell her how I felt. I had never done that before and was really nervous as to what to say or do but I felt God's grace covering me and I knew it was absolutely blessed. After I told her, I felt immediate relief and that I could go forward in whatever God's will was for my life and really get serious for Him without that major distraction.
I still never really understood laying it down until I read your book and now I pray many times a day that God helps me become "emotionally single" where my thoughts don't go to dating her in my mind, talks we would have, dates we could go on, how I would propose etc. (Growing up listening to R'n'B and watching too much romantic T.V. shows has brought this out in me, but I know God has given me so much love to give as well and I am so grateful for that)

Also, realizing that saving my money and not spending frivolously is a key to being ready for a relationship and marriage. I feel extremely challenged, but also so excited and motivated seeing where God has placed me in my life and how He is sculpting me for marriage. I have never felt such joy and peace in my life just noticing how He is working.

Although I have crossed lines of thought with this girl in my mind where I have given way too much time to it and parts of me that I am struggling to get back I know God is doing things in my life, revealing things and teaching me different lessons daily to help me grow.

I know you probably have a majority of girls reading your book and responding but I just wanted you to know that I am very grateful for the words God has spoken through you. I have a new perspective on what my role is a brother in Christ as well as what my role will be as a husband. I am so motivated to put these things into practice now with my family and friends, share this with them and make sure I am a strong brother to my sisters making sure no one, especially myself is crossing any lines and stealing anything from them and their future husbands.

Friday, October 2, 2009

10/02/09 - Available

Today I went to the thrift store (got some great deals by the way!) and I saw a shirt that was for a girl about 7 or 8. On the front of the pink shirt read: Available.

Are you serious!?!?

You mean someone designed a shirt, with a young girl in mind, that would be an advertisement for her relationship status.

Appalling!

Monday, September 28, 2009

09/28/09 - Missions Week

This is our missions week at our church. Convocation is a chance to hear from our mission partners all over the world, from South Africa to Indonesia.

You may never be called to Africa or China, but you are called to share the good news right where God has you.

It may be at school with your classmates, or it may be with those people you work with, or it may be raising the family God has given you...where ever you are, you are a missionary!

What are ways you feel your a missionary right where you are now?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

09/27/09 - Busyness

Are you super busy? When your friends ask you how you're doing do you normally say, "Busy!"?

Why are so many of us busy all the time? Why do we avoid margins in our life?

I believe busyness is one of satan's tools on us. When we're so busy doing things: work, school, ministry, church, family, friends, and hobbies, it can keep us from sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus.

This season of my life (being a mom of two preschoolers and a baby) I have realized I have to keep plenty of margins in my life. So my commitments outside of my home, are very limited. This allows peace to flow from me and within my home.

If your so busy you have no time for the Lord, then re-evaluate what you can "let go of" to make that most important time with God.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

09/24/09 - Testimony

I asked a young lady I know to share her testimony with my readers. I hope it helps you as you walk along the path of having a heart fully devoted to the Lord!

Once upon a time a tall, handsome, Christian young man walked into my life. This was a very pleasant, much anticipated surprise. For years, I had purposed in my heart to save myself for just the right one and now here he was!

In my mind, he appeared like a prince in shining armor! This was the moment that I had dreamed of - the moment that I had longed for! I had eagerly looked forward to the day that the Lord would bring someone into my life that I could love and plan a future with. The Lord sent this young man into my life and with the blessing and approval of my parents, we befriended each other and enjoyed getting to know more about each other.

As time progressed, my heart was anticipating all that the Lord was going to do in our relationship. I openly talked with my parents about him and prayed that if the Lord saw fit to bring us together for life, He alone would make it happen. Joy flooded my heart every day as I was given a vision of a hopeful future and felt God’s leading and peace. All throughout our long-distance friendship, our hearts were being knit in spirit and werejoiced in our love for the Lord and our compatibility with each other.

We Purposed to do Things Right

After a seven-month friendship, with his family’s blessing and mine, he asked to court me. He wanted to take our relationship to the next level. I was overjoyed and ecstatic! To think of giving my heart to a man in preparation for marriage was more than a dream come true!

We both marvelled at the goodness of God and saw that He had blessed us with the desires of our heart. As youth, we both had given our futures to the Lord and had purposed to save ourselves for our future mates and now the day had come to enter into a life-long relationship. We began sharing more openly, reading and memorizing Scripture, dreaming about a future together, and appreciating each other more fully and deeply. It was four months of sheer bliss!

This young man was more than I could have ever dreamed of. I was swept off my feet and totally romanticized. It was a joy sending sweet notes to each other, taking walks and sharing heart-to-heart, being surprised receiving flowers, calling each other pet names, and so many special things! Life was wonderful—at least that’s what it seemed like. My parents were thrilled for me. This courtship was like a breath of fresh air; a perfect and good gift from God.

Four months of utter happiness transpired and then one day I found myself as an engaged young lady—totally head over heels in love with a man that I knew I was going to marry, be committed to, and spend the rest of my life with! Everything seemed so perfect. I had never been so happy in my entire life. This is what I had dreamed of for so many years: I had desired for so long to become a wife to a man who was my best friend; I desired to be a helpmeet and fulfill God’s vision that He imparted to him; I desired to raise children for the glory of the Lord; I desired to be a wife who would love self-sacrificially and make her man feel like the king of the mountain.

I Gave My Heart to Him

As we continued correspondence, visits, fellowship, chats, and sharing of dreams and hopes, we began to give each other the most precious gift of all—our hearts. My emotions and mind began to be consumed with this young man, and I realized that my purpose in life had changed from loving the Lord whole-heartedly and seeking to please Him alone.

I now had begun living for my fiancé and wanted to do all within my power to make him happy and pleased with me in every area. Every thought was consumed with him, every passion and desire was towards him, and all that I wanted for a future I found in him. I looked to him to love me just the way I needed; I looked to him to bring me happiness; I looked to him to fulfill my needs; I looked to him to provide the security that I desired. Over the process of time, I had unknowingly allowed my fiance to take a seat on the throne of my heart, replacing my Lord and Saviour.

A Few Chinks in His Armor

As blissful and sweet as our relationship was, I began to have little checks in my spirit about some things I noticed in our relationship and that pertained to our future. Small fears arose in my heart and even my parent’s hearts as our relationship continued. They seemed small in comparison and I admitted that I was willing to take the chance of dealing with those issues if need be just because I wanted to marry him so badly and felt he was perfect for me.

I determined to deal with everything to prove my unconditional love to him. I pushed all worries, fears, and hesitations aside in my heart from time to time. Eventually, a few very important issues rose up in our relationship that my parents and I felt needed to be addressed. I brought them to my fiancé’s attention and because of this, he was hurt and disillusioned instead of feeling honored and respected by me.

But we worked through these hard times and proceeded through our relationship loving each other. We had been engaged for almost five months and now six weeks before our wedding day, we had a very important meeting with both sides of the family to discuss some of these fears. We wanted to bring things out into the open and find resolve. At this point, my fiancé expressed that he had been having concerns about me for quite some time (unknown to me), and now he and his family thought that the wedding should be postponed. I was completely blown away in shock.

How could he have withheld all of his concerns from me when I thought everything was so perfect? How could he have complained about me to his family? I felt mistreated and betrayed. Emotions raged during that meeting and it ended in a sour way. Before he left though, he told me to look into his eyes and he then promised whole-heartedly that he was going to marry me but just wanted to pray about a postponement.

My World Came Crashing Down

When my fiance left, I was in absolute despair and dismay and became very angry. It was a difficult night. Upon arriving home the following day, my fiance telephoned my dad and called off the wedding. I was heart-broken and in utter grief, more than I had ever been in my life. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the thought that I was going to have to live without him—after all, he became my purpose in life, my existence in living. How could I survive without him?

My entire heart and soul was given to him and now I had been rejected and my heart was shattered in a billion pieces. Even after it ended, I couldn’t let go. I did all I could to restore the relationship but I was roughly turned down, emotionally abused through accusations, and told to leave him and their family alone. It seemed like his love for me had quickly turned into a hatred.

My life and future changed so very quickly and I was devastated. For two weeks, I couldn’t cope and just cried constantly. Life had no purpose anymore. I couldn’t eat and had no desire to live.
If something so wonderful started out as God’s will, how could it have so quickly changed, I wondered? How could something start out to be so glorious and full of happiness and yet end in bitterness, anger, and even resentment? How could a lover go from thinking someone was so perfect in the beginning to pointing out all their flaws and shortcomings and choosing to harshly remove them from their life? Where was unconditional love?

I wondered about all these things for weeks as I cried, prayed, and sank into hopelessness, fear, and rejection. I wanted to give up; I wanted to die because all that I had come to love and anticipate was ripped away from me.

A New Beginning With a New Perspective

After two weeks of immense emotional pain and trying to cope with a broken heart, the Lord blessed me in such an amazing way which allowed me to see that God still loved and cared for me. I was offered an invitation to come and help in the ministry at the IBLP Headquarters located in Illinois. This ministry opportunity was an answer to my prayers as I was already begging God to lead and direct me in this state that I now found myself in. I needed a change and a new vision. This opportunity was an evidence to me that God had a purpose and plan for my life. He hadn’t forsaken me. My Lord knew exactly how I felt and was touched with the feeling of my infirmities. He saw my tears and was storing them up in his bottle.

Through this open door for ministry, my future looked bright and I was given a vision and purpose. I was overcome with gratitude to the Lord and left in breathless amazement! For many months, I’ve received teaching and counseling, and have enjoyed deep times of studying and reading the Word of God. The more I drew closer to my Saviour, the more I began to understand why God had allowed all of that heartbreak in my life and what blessings I have and continue to receive from it.

A Discovery of Why the Friendship Did Not Work

God has shown me that through the time of courtship and engagement, I had made an idol out of marriage, and I had made an idol out of my fiancé. I expected him to fulfill all my needs and be everything to me when, in reality, only God could be my source of everything. In my mind, I imagined that my fiance’ was perfect in all ways and then when I saw flaws I became worried and fearful. I began to seek out ways to please him more than my Saviour which even led to compromises in my life.

By giving my entire heart and soul to this man, I was left with a divided heart and a heart cannot have two masters - “for either ye will love the one and hate the other or hold to the one and despise the other”. My fiancé started to be a competing affection with my Lord and Saviour, and I had made him a god in my life. I had been loving him on my own merit instead of giving myself over to the Lord for Him to love through me. As a result, I could not be a channel of holy, agape love, thereby encouraging my fiancé in the way of Christ-likeness. I’ve come to understand why it is so vitally important that I give my whole heart to God and then allow Him to love other people through me. In that way, I do not have a divided heart and divided loyalty.

You see, because of my lack of passion to please and love my Saviour, I had lost my ardent desire to seek His face, and my love for Him had grown lukewarm. In my relationship with this young man, I began to love for my pleasure and my benefit. What started out as a Godly, pure love had turned into a fleshly love. As this selfish love grew, I began to appreciate fleshly traits rather than spiritual traits, which caused me to have a lack of trust in this young man as well as my Saviour. Over the process of time, I had slowly become an idolater.

A New Understanding of Idolatry

You see, one does not need to bow down to a graven image to be guilty of having other gods besides the One True God. I had set up an idol in my heart and in the most secret cavities of my imagination. There was now someone else sitting on the throne of my heart. I looked to my idol to fulfill my longings, meet my needs, promise me happiness, understand me, provide in areas where I lacked, and love me in such a way that I felt secure and satisfied. I looked to this young man to erase all fears and calm all inhibitions when I should have looked to the All-Sufficient One, Jesus Christ. So, why would God have allowed something so perfect to end so tragically? Because my God is a Jealous God. Because God wanted to use this situation in my life to lead me to Christ-likeness and to help me learn more of Him. I have been bought and redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and I belong fully to Him for His service. I was created for His pleasure. He is righteously jealous of my love and devotion to Him as my Lover. I regretfully made an idol out of a good gift that He gave me instead of using it for His honor and glory.

Because of my divided heart, there was a barrier between me and my Lord, which made it easy for me to put down my guard and give in to my fleshly desires and wants. I took advantage of the joy and blessedness that accompany preparing for marital life and I failed to trust the Lord completely and depend solely on Him.

The Step of Freedom and Joy

Realizing all of this one evening, I got down on my knees and asked the Lord to forgive me for giving place to idolatry. I asked Him to cleanse me and purify me and to heal my heart and restore my soul (mind, will, and emotions). After feeling so overcome with grief and heaviness, my spirit was lifted and a certain freedom swept through me! I was now able to pray that the Lord would bless this young man and his family despite the hurt and rejection I had felt and received. I was able to thank God for loving me so very much that He used this situation in my life to help me learn to love Him supremely with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I recognized that He was going to use this situation as a tool for me to be able to help and comfort others if He so pleased, and I knew that He was going to use this situation for good as a means for me to have a dynamic testimony only for His glory.

There is freedom, peace, and unspeakable joy in being able to love Jesus with my everything and to keep my heart with all diligence being careful to not allow any affections to compete with His love for me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

09/16/09 - Self

Currently I am going through Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt. Actually 110 women from my church are going through it together!

Last week the reading was powerful and I just wanted to share this quote:

"A four-letter word causes us enormous problems: self. Our self-inclination will send us reeling unless we have settled that core issue: what is our life-purpose? Once God's glory is our purpose, then we have a center point to which we can relate each decision and each situation." (pg 32)

When we have God's glory as our number one goal in life we never ask: what's in it for me? Instead we ask: how can I glorify God through this?

Also that center point keeps our emotions in line and in check! Something all of us could use, right?!?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

09/15/09 - Divided Hearts

What captures your attention? What do you think about? What do you worry about? What do you feel like you deserve?

Taking time to really answer these questions and you'll discover what divides your heart.

Monday, September 14, 2009

09/14/09 - Back in the swing of things!

Today is dawning a new season for me!

I have felt a bit out of it for the last 10 months. This last pregnancy was tough on me. Physically in the beginning with morning sickness, and physically draining at the end as I was chasing two preschoolers around and being big pregnant.

But today, as I said, is a new season for me.

Today I will begin the journey of homeschooling my two boys preschool and not only that, but I've gotten back into the swing of life. I've created a schedule for myself and in doing this I know that I will be back into blogging more.

I desire to use this blog to 1) glorify the Lord and 2) encourage you! May God give me the grace to see those two things happen!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

09/12/09 - Same ol' thing

Lately I've been thinking about the phrase: You can't do the same thing and expect a different outcome.

It's so true!

If you're tired of finding yourself in relationships where you "fall" for your friends, then you may have to change what you do to have a different outcome.

I was the type of young woman who was always falling for my guy friends and it wasn't until I made some radical changes that I stopped the pattern that was so present in my life.

Now "falling" for my guy friends isn't a problem for me now, but I have other areas in my life that I want to see some changes in. In order to see change, I have to make some adjustments in my behavior. If I keep doing the same ol' thing, I'll get the same ol' outcome! Every time...guaranteed!

Are there things in your life you want to see changes in? Are you willing to do the work it takes to make those changes?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

09/02/09 - Teachable

Are you teachable? Do you have a teachable heart?

One of the qualities my dad told me to look for in a mate is a man who is teachable.

The older I get, the more I see the beauty of a teachable heart. The willingness to look for advice, input, and other people's guidance in life has blessed me in so many ways. I am thankful for the people in my life who teach me so many thing.

Last night was the first night of a 12 week bible study with over 90 women who attend my church. The bible study is based on Titus 2 and the goal is to connect older women and younger women in mentoring relationships.

One of the points that came up during our small group was being teachable. As a younger woman I must be teachable to older women's advice. I am excited about what the Lord will do in this bible study.

How about you: how important is fostering a teachable heart in your own life?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

08/20/09 - Being Bold

I was reading 2 Timothy today (yes, all three boys were napping together and gave me a good hour or so of quiet time!) and I was reminded about our need for boldness with the gospel.

In our community a "dungeon of doom" is opening this fall. Christians have banned together to try to stop the opening of this dungeon, but were unsuccessful...at least if you were using a temporal perspective.

But as I read 2 Timothy I was reminded of our boldness! We win in the end! Evil can never win against good! God wins!

I am praying for there to be a movement of people in our community who will share in my boldness and pray openly and boldly for this dudgeon to fail in an eternal perspective!

Friday, August 14, 2009

08/14/09 - Jeremiah 8:12a

As I was reading through Jeremiah this week, this verse struck me as a verse that applies to our culture today:

8:12a
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.

Have we become like this? Are we desensitised to our own abominations against the Lord? Do we see sin as shameful? Do we remember how to blush at things that should not be spoken about in certain settings?

If we're not careful, we can easily become calloused to those things that should make us blush.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

08/12/09 - 39 weeks

Today I am 39 weeks pregnant. I've never been this pregnant before. Both my other two came early! It's been a bit tough to wait, but I know that Clark will come out soon!

I ask that you pray for me, for Clark, for my delivery, and for my patience!

Thanks!

If you'd like to follow more closely, you can click on my facebook link on the side of the blog and request my friendship. I'll be posting there when he makes his grand entrance into the world!

Monday, August 3, 2009

08/03/09 - Correction

How do you like when someone corrects you?

How we respond to correction will show us if we are wise or foolish.

Josh Harris preached on this yesterday and I recommend listening to his message on Proverbs 9.

Much of what he says has been on my heart lately, but he puts it much better than I'd say it!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

07/31/09 - The Air I Breath

Someone recently said that we breath the culture in and we don't even realize it. It's true, for all of us...we can't help but breath it in and be effected.

Then today this song came to me: This is the Air I Breath

Here are part of the lyrics:

"This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm I'm lost without you"

I want to breath in God's pure air. I want His Word to be my daily bread, to not look for anything else to satisfy me! I want His presences in my life! I want to be desperate for Him!

Anyone else want to be desperate for nothing but Him? Lord, cause this to be reality in the lives of your children!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

07/28/09 - I'm here

Yes, I am around these days. Still pregnant and as of tomorrow, officially full term (37 weeks). We had a nice vacation, but it's taken me awhile to get back into the swing of things!

Lately, I've been reading through Proverbs for my read through the bible this year. There are so many things I could have blogged about...wisdom, seeking good Godly counsel, a warning against the Proverbs 5 woman, and so on, but I never knew where to start.

I've also been so frustrated lately with our culture effecting our church, the body of Christ. I don't even want to get start because it will be a rant and I don't like to use my blog as a rant.

My husband and I have begged God to show us how the culture has effected us. We've asked that He revel any dark spots in our own hearts that displease Him.

It's not just about looking at others...which is so easy to do, but asking God to show us, show me, what needs to be purged out.

I don't "put on a spiritual/Christian show" to just put on a show. It has nothing to do with an unauthentic walk with my Savior and Lord. I know my light is to shine for God. I know my life is to be radically impacted by my relationship with Christ. Every aspect of my life should be fully impacted by knowing the Lord.

I am His ambassador, I carry His name, therefore what I do, what I say, what I think, how I treat others...all reflects the fact that I am His!

Anyway, these have been my rambled thoughts lately!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

07/21/09 - What are we letting in?

Lately I've pondered those things we let in our life that keep us from walking in a way that pleases God.

This line of thinking was started when I heard Beth Moore talking about keeping our gates as strong as iron and making sure we are aware of the things we are letting into our hearts, minds, and lives.

The culture is all around us. It's impossible to escape. We breath it in and the church has become so influenced by the culture that I feel we don't take time to really process what we are watching, reading, talking about, and doing.

I believe we are to be in the world...so we must be actively engaging the culture, but we are not to be of the world...we are not to be doing the same thing as someone whose life has not been radically altered by a saving relationship with the Lord.

As I process this thought, I am thankful for God's grace and guidance in this matter!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

07/15/09 - Preparing For Marriage (part 6)

I hope you've been enjoy this series on Preparing for Marriage. My prayer is that it's given you some "meaty" thoughts to chew on as your think and prepare for marriage. We prepare for so many other things in our lives, why not take some real time and prepare for marriage?

We talked in Part Five about saving yourself physically and some of the benefits and today I want to share about why I think saving yourself emotionally is just as important.

When I spoke at a woman's retreat about six years ago I polled all the women about their first loves. (Most of the women were married.)

I asked:
Do you have a special place in your heart for your first love?
Do you think about your first love?
Did you marry your first love?

When I asked that third question, the room took a collective GASP!

Why...after the women turned in their answers I found that about 80% of the women have a special place in their heart for their first love, think about their first love, BUT DID NOT marry their first love.

This is the heart of emotional purity, saving that "first love" for the person you marry, so that when you think about and have a special place for that person, that first love, it's your mate!

When you've emotionally attached yourself to another person that you do not married, that person (potentially) will always have a special place in your heart. Once married you may find yourself up to your eyeballs in diapers, bills, conflicts, issues...life...and it may be easy to compare that first love with your husband.

"Bobby from high school, well he always 'got me'. We could talk for hours and hours and he knew how to relate to me. My husband hardly takes time to say 'hi' to me after work."

"I wonder what it would have been like to marry Jimmy from college. He was an amazing protector and he cared about me. We never had the worries about live that I have with my husband."

"It was so easy with Jack. He was just fun, easy going, and had a free spirit. My husband is boggged down with life and just doesn't know how to 'let his hair down'!"

Maybe your thoughts: thoughts of comparison, thoughts of doubt as to why you married the man you're married to and not your high school boyfriend, these thoughts can can lead you down a place in your mind that you ought not go as a married women.

Being emotionally content in your marriage will start with being emotionally content before you are married. Know that God's in control, that He is the one who satisfies you emotionally (sometimes He uses another human, sometimes He wants you to rely on Him and Him alone) will aid in a richly satisfying marriage!

(I'll be back from vacation today, then back to new posts!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

07/14/09 - Preparing For Marriage (part 5)

Keep oneself physically pure will aid in a richly satisfying marriage!

Before I go on, let me say that I know that God is a God of GRACE! He forgives, He heals, He restores, He extends grace! So if you've "messed up" in this area already know that He can heal you. You must be willing to work through the issues that may arise from stepping ahead of His perfect timing in this area, but know it can be worked through! You can have restoration!

We all hear, "Don't have sex till your married! God tells you not to and I tell you not to!" Sometimes this is all we hear!

Well, I want to share why, not just because God says so, but why, what difference it will make and blessings you will have in your marriage, if you wait.

John and I were virgins on our wedding night. We know that we're in a growing minority of people who actually remain virgins till their wedding. After we were married, especially that first year, we'd say to each other, "Thank you for waiting. I can't even imagining knowing that you've done this with someone else." This greatly helps trusting that one will remain faithful within the marriage commitment. It was wonderful to know that neither one of us had a "past". We were so thankful for the purity we had and thanked God fully for His grace in keeping us pure!

Contrast that with other people I've talked to about this issue.

One person told me, "I know that certain issues in our marriage are there because we didn't wait. I always wonder what it would be like if would have waited? Would this issue be here if we had waited?"Another person told me, "We knew in order to have a real relationship with our kids we'd have to be completely honest in answering all their questions, which did include them asking us if we 'waited' till we were married. That was one of the saddest days of my life when I had to look my own kids in the eye and tell them of our sin."

I also heard another woman explain that she's always had a hard time fully respecting her husband because of their sin of premarital sex. She said she felt he didn't respect her enough to wait and that has stuck with her throughout their marriage.

The bible tells you to wait, your parents tell you to wait and for good reason because the consequence of sin can be long lasting. It can effect your marriage and your relationship with your kids (Especially if you decide you don't want to tell them. If you choose to not share with your kids your past sins it will be hard to not build a wall between you and them. You may find yourself as a "Stuffer" family.)

When you are in a relationship that heading towards marriage, maybe engagement, it's easy to "do" more and more because you are so committed to marriage. But, let me say that the more you save for marriage, the more you will be richly satisfied in this area of your marriage!

Saving yourself physically for marriage may be difficult at times, but well worth the wait!

Monday, July 13, 2009

07/13/09 - Preparing For Marriage (part 4)

Julie posted this comment in the orginal series on Preparing for Marriage: "Domestic chores and responsibilities would be a major area for a couple to discuss their expectations about before marriage, I think. That seems to be why so many non-Christian couples move in together before making a more serious commitment."

Domestic chores and responsibilities: laundry, taking out the trash, pick up, taking care of kids, pet care, lawn care, paying bills, bringing in income, scrubbing toilets, grocery shopping, running errands, meal planning, cooking, dishes, home organizing, home maintenance, making the bed, vacuuming, dusting, changing diapers, and planning the household schedule are just some of those things.

Friday, I talked about expectations and these would be some of those issues to know what your expectations are, however today I wanted to talk about selfless service.

To be richly satisfied in your marriage one would have to be willing to serve selflessly!

Although it's important to know what you expect, doing things for each other shouldn't be a check list of "This is what you do and this is what I do and in order to have a happy marriage you must do your to-do-list!"The attitude should be: "It would be a joy to willing to do "your" chore without complaining about it or expecting praise."

This is selfless service!

As a single person you have plenty of opportunities to practice selfless service.

Ask yourself:
Am I looking for ways to help around the house, or do I still expect, mom, dad, roommate, brother, sister to do it instead of me?
When I see a candy wrapper in the hallway of my church, do I stop to pick it up, or do I expect the guy behind me will do it?
When I have a glass or plate in the livingroom, do I gladly take it to the kitchen, or do I let mom do that?
Do I help in the kitchen when I can or do I leave all cooking and cleaning up to mom?
Do I only do bare minimum around the house, just what I am asked to do, or do I go beyond my own personal list and help others?
When I see dad outside doing a project, I willing help him or wait till he asks and then grunt and moan that he's taking me away from my video game?
Do I look for ways to help out or pretend to not notice that a certain chore (taking out the trash for example) needs to be done?

These are just a handful of questions to ask yourself. But if you are practicing selfless service before marriage, once married it will come more naturally. You'll be looking for ways to serve and not to be served. And this will be RICHLY SATISFYING!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

07/12/09 - Happy 6th Anniversary!

I am going to take a break in the middle of this series and wish my sweetheart a Happy 6th Anniversary! So much has happened in these 6 years, I look forward to many, many more!

Before vacation I wrote a tribute to my husband on my family blog: My Husband!

Yes, we're still on vacation and I'll continue the "Preparing for Marriage" series tomorrow!

Friday, July 10, 2009

07/10/09 - Preparing For Marriage (part 3)

When I examine my own mindset before marriage I realized I had a lot of expectations. I expected things to run in such a way, looks this way, act this way, think this way...etc.

Expectations can be as little as how you squeeze the toothpaste to who leads family devotionals.

You may expect things to operate like they did in your family.

This may sound silly, but this is one of those expectations I had in marriage: for John to check the locks at night before we went to bed. My dad always did a check of the house, every door was checked and every light was turned off. I just expected it to operate this way in my marriage.

When we got married, John didn't do the night time check of the house. It may me feel like he didn't care for my safety, which couldn't be farther from the truth. I expressed to him this silly expectation and he worked on making a point to check the house at night before bed.

Realistic expectations would be on my list of things to examine as you prepare for marriage. What can and should a marriage look like? What do you expect your marriage to look like? What things have your parents modeled that you expect in your marriage?

I believe that if you know what are your expectations of your mate before you enter in to marriage and if you are able to express these expectations to him or her, it provides a better spring board to that first year of adjustment in marriage.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

07/09/09 - Preparing For Marriage (part 2)

A while back I blogged about Authentic Communication and it was this post that made my mind start swirling with other areas singles can work on as they prepare for marriage. I want to share a bit more on this area.

We've all grown up with different families. I have found, in general that there are two types of communication styles within families.There is the family that openly talkers about things. Your parents share and talk, you confront issues, and no topic is off limits. Actually conversations can easily get heated because of the open style of communication. I'll call these the "Talkers".

Or the other family is one that brushes issues and confrontations under the rug. Everyone is nice to each other, but past hurts and pains are always under the surface. Conflicts never really get resolved because of the unwritten family code that says to just forget it and move on, without ever speaking about the conflict. I'll call these the "Stuffers".

Do you relate to the Talkers or the Stuffers?

If you're family resembles the Talkers, you may be too quick to jump into conversations and topics that should be reserved for later. It may upset you to not have all the issues out on the table. You want to get to the bottom of each matter and not allow time or the Spirit to bring issues to the surface.

If you're family resembles the Stuffers, conflicts may scare you because you're not used to them, so you really avoid those deep, serious issues that need to be talked about. You do know what you really are thinking, but have not learned or just don't want to fully express yourself.

Learning to authentically communicate can be uncharted waters.

I have found there should be somewhat of a balance between the Talkers and Stuffers. My family is the Talkers. We cover all issues and no topic of off limit, but I've seen the beauty of letting certain, non-essential topics just sit and not get talked about. I've seen how waiting to talk about something can change my thoughts (mostly because emotionally I've calmed down). I thank John for teaching me things.

In my own experience I have seen that the Stuffers are Stuffers because there are things they wish to not discuss. Past sin, secrets, shame, and guilt keep certain topics buried deep. To avoid these issues Stuffers stuff everything and tend to avoid conflict.

Examine your own personal style of communication. Being aware of it as you enter into a relationship heading towards marriage, will greatly enhance that process and your marriage.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

07/08/09 - Preparing For Marriage

I am on vacation! I've set my blog to post my "Preparing For Marraige" six part series. If you've already read it, sorry, no new blogs this week! If not, enjoy!

Part One:

The next few days I will share with you my thoughts on preparing for richly satisfying marriage. I am no expert, I am not a perfect wife, I am not a licensed pre-marriage counselor...I am just Heather, a woman who is richly satisfied in her marriage. So, take my advice and thoughts as you wish. Take what applies, leave what doesn't!

As I began to think through these ideas about preparing for marriage, the first and most important thing I believe one must do to prepare for a richly satisfying marriage, is to practice complete and total selflessness!

Marriage requires each partner to lay aside their wants and seek to please their mate.

Although Paul is speaking to the church of Phillipi in the book of Philippians, I believe 2:3-4 apply to each of us as we walk through our lives in relationship with other sinners:

"3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. "

Learning selflessness will be an ongoing process but, in your season of singleness, practicing selflessness will be such a blessing to your mate.

How do you know when you are being selfish?

Ask yourself:

Would I be upset if things don't go my way?
Will I be annoyed if my plans for my day get interrupted?
Do I feel that I can justify my complaining because I'm having a bad day?
Do I deserve things (job promotion, position, applause, recognition, praise, sleep, money, time off, time to myself) just because I do?

Of course there are more questions you can ask yourself, but really in your heart of heart do you look to please yourself, rather than those around you.

Maybe you live with roommates, are you respectful of them, looking for ways to bless them? Do you just have days you say, "I'm having a bad day, so back 0ff" instead of closing your bedroom door and praying for a better attitude with those you are in relationship with? Do you expect them to thank you for cleaning the kitchen or taking out the trash when it wasn't your week?

Maybe you are at home with your family, are you looking for way to bless your younger brother or parents? Do you complain at the meal your mom made because you don't like it, or do you just thank her and have a snack later? Do you get annoyed when "your" time is interrupted by a need that arises in your family? Are you late to a family function because getting "your" thing done was more important than keeping a commitment?

As you go about your day keep in mind the concept of being selfless. It's easy (I remember because it wasn't that long ago) when your single to just not be in tune to other people's needs, schedule, and desires. It's easy to become totally inward focused.

As a wife and mom God has brought selfishness to light. There's just no room for it in a marriage! I know that the more I look to bless John, do what he wants, make him happy...the more I am blessed and I get things that make me happy!

We agreed, when we first started dating, that we'd strive to please the other person over our own needs. When you have two people who are looking for ways to bless each other it is richly satisfying!

When you are trying to live a me-centered life, you will only find yourself annoyed, irritable, unpleasant, and unhappy!

Monday, July 6, 2009

07/06/09 - Vacation

We leave tomorrow for eight days of vacation. I've set my blog to run some posts while I am gone. If you post a comment I won't be able to approve it till I get home, so don't think I am ignoring you!

If you have questions on the post, ask away and I'll get to them when I get home!

Have a great week!

Friday, July 3, 2009

07/03/09 - What a week!

This week started with a phone call from my mom at 4:15 am Sunday morning telling my that my oldest sister Colleen had a baby boy! Wendell Frederick was born at home Sunday morning weighing in at 10 pounds, 22 inches!

Tuesday started with a phone call from my other sister Lesli that her father-in-law had been taking to the hospital and was having emergency quadruple bypass surgery in less than 2 hours.

Wednesday I got a call from my Aunt Ruth telling me that my grandma was in the hospital. By Thursday we had no idea what the outcome of her symptoms were going to be. Today she is doing better, but will be moving to a nursing home, then assisted living after she's strong enough. She will never be going back to the home that my dad was raised in.

What a week!

As I was pondering this week, I thought of the song: Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow

Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's "all as it should be"
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Thursday, July 2, 2009

07/02/09 - To be read in court

Somewhere along the lines I heard or read that you shouldn't put anything on the Internet you wouldn't want to be read in a courthouse.

That has stuck with me and when I blog or Facebook I think, "Would I want this to be read or seen in court?"

Many in our society blog or spend time on Facebook/Twitter and I wonder at times, "If that was to be read in a court, with a judge and jury, what would be the fate of that person."

We have an open society where people think the Internet is a place to be honest and free, but we as believers have a "court" of people watching. They are looking at your life and wonder if being a Christian really makes a difference.

So often you can't tell the difference between the status up-date of a Christian or a non-Christian. Or the pictures posted would not show a life set apart.

We are to be in the world and not of the world!

My friend and fellow author Shannon Primicero is in the middle of a series of posts on technology and I love her definition of a "naked Facebooker". Read her blog post here: What is a Naked Facebooker.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

07/01/09 - Repeat

I was reading through some old posts and came across this one:

"My 2 1/2 year old son, Miles, has realized that he can ask to come and find us in the morning. This last week I've heard each morning, "Mommy, can I come find you?!?"

To my delight I say, "Yes!"

He comes running to our bedroom, jumps in our bed, and proclaims that it is morning.

I just have grown to love that sweet time with Miles in the morning. Of course, Luke yells from his crib to come get him as well! It's been fun family time before the day gets started.

It reminds me of how our Heavenly Father must feel when we take time in the morning to come and find Him. "Lord, can I come find You?!?"

"Of course, come and find me, seek me, and you will find the joy, peace and love you're looking for.""

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are we taking time to greet our Lord each morning? I am sure He's wait for us!

Friday, June 26, 2009

06/26/09 - It's always right...

...to do the right thing!

I heard this often: It's always right to do the right thing.

No matter what others do, you do the right thing. No matter how someone hurts you, it's up to you to do the right thing.

This has always been a motto of my life...it's not always easy, but when you can have a clear conscience before God and man...that my friend is pure peace!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

06/24/09 - Waiting

We all have to wait! Wait to graduate high school, wait to get married, wait for babies, wait...wait...wait!

We sang "Everlasting God" on Sunday and it's been on my mind all week!

Enjoy this video as you wait upon the Lord!

Everlasting God by Chris Tomlin

Monday, June 22, 2009

06/22/09 - Leaglism

I was reading a friends' blog about the freedom's we experience in Christ. Christ came so we'd be free.

After reading her blog I posted this comment:"Being free in Christ can look sinful to those looking with legalistic glasses on!"

I don't believe that we flaunt our freedom, but have you ever looked at something someone was doing and been judgemental. I have! It's easy to think our way is the right way, but how do we know that God not granted that person freedom in that area.

I firmly believe that we are not to give the appearance of evil in anything we do or say. However there are those areas that we can each be called to a different levels. We are called to extend grace to each other.

A couple can be out one on one and totally maintaining emotional purity with each other (although I would not suggest you spend tons of one on one time because it can be easy to cross lines that don't need to be crossed).

Then there can be another couple out in a big group of people who are not guarding their hearts.

It's not the form of what someone is doing, but it's the spirit. If someone has the spirit of purity, their lives will follow what their heart believes.

I don't believe in a list of rules for people when it comes to courtship or dating, yet when people have a desire to remain pure their actions will follow. It happens with any area of our life.

Monday, June 15, 2009

06/15/09 - Psalms

Yesterday, in my cover to cover reading of the bible, I started the Psalms.

Psalms 1 has to be one of my favorite Psalms. It's just a great way to start this wonderful book of the bible.

Psalms 1:1-2:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and nights.

Do you see the progression of sin here?

First, he doesn't walk in the advice of the wicked.
Second. he doesn't stand in the way of sinners.
Finally, he doesn't sit with scoffers.

Walk, stand, and sit!

With sin you may just walk past, see what's going on. But then it may peak your interest enough to stand and watch. Finally, it can grab your attention enough to sit down.

We have to be on guard of sins trap and how do we do that? We take pure joy in knowing, reading, and meditating on God's Word!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

06/09/09 - Your Kids

If you're in your late teens, yearly twenties, you may not be thinking about your kids but, chances are most of you reading this will become a parent some day.

My dad always used to say, "If, down the road, you want a good relationship with your own kids, make sure you only do things you're willing to share with them." In other words, if I decided to make poor choices, then I should be willing to tell my own kids my mistakes.

I thought of this often in my late teens and early twenties. I'd think, "Do I, someday, want to sit my own children down and look them in the eyes and tell them some of the things I did?"

I am so thankful that my own parents weren't afraid of sharing their mistakes with me. It made them human, it made them real, it made them accessible. It also made me very aware of how their transparency devolved a deep, meaningful relationship with them, the kind I want with my own kids.

So if you desire to have a good relationship with your own kids some day, make sure the things you do now, you'd be willing to share with them someday.

Monday, June 8, 2009

06/08/09 - College Bound

Many of you are starting a new season of your life! You've just graduated high school and now you're looking forward to this new time of your life.

What an amazing time of life! It all goes by so fast! (I realized this weekend that I've been out of high school for 17 years and it has flown by!)

Yesterday at our church all the high school grads were called forward to receive special recognition. When they stood up there I began to think of all the worldly pulls they are going to feel if they go to college.

The winds of the world are so strong. They want to pull you off the path, away from God. Satan can be subtle, he can use seemly innocent things to begin to shift your focus.

Just a small shift in focus will, down the road, lead to a large gap between you and God.

If you are one of the many who have just graduated high school and are looking forward to college, my only piece of advice is be very aware of who your friends are. Find a group (Campus Crusade, Intervarsity) of companions that will help you stay focused as the winds pull you away from the Lord.

There are 100's of choices you will make in the next few years that will radically alter your life path. Keep your future in mind and not look to satisfy just the here and now.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

06/04/09 - Married Women

Okay married women this one is for you!

My heart is growing weary hearing story after story of married women who have found themselves emotionally attached to a man on the Internet. These are Christian moms and wives, who find themselves in emotional distant marriages looking for support on line and they turn to the wrong place!

Ladies, when we vow to our husbands to remain faithful, it doesn't just mean physically. Our whole heart and our whole bodies belong to him all the days of our life. This is the commitment we enter into when we marry!

When we start looking for emotional support outside of our husbands (I don't mean the type of support you receive from girlfriends, but emotional support for another man) we are cheating on our husbands.

Am I saying that all marriages are the perfect place to foster emotional closeness, of course not. I know some of you are struggling with husbands who don't talk, they bury themselves with work, the TV or Wii is their nightly companion, and he seems to do nothing to keep your emotional tank full. None of his behaviors are an excuse to look outside of him for emotional support.

Do I have all the answers on how to repair years of emotional distance in your marriage? Not really, but what I do know is that looking outside of marriage or the vows you spoke to be emotional satisfied is against God's perfect plan for marriage.

Monday, June 1, 2009

06/01/09 - Cutting Corners

Are you a "corner cutter"? Always looking for the easiest path, the short cut, the way that would require the least amount of energy?

How do you think reflects to a watching world?

I believe when we go the extra mile, finish what we start, complete a task to the best of our ability, it reflects God's grace, love, and joy in our life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

05/26/09 - Doing God's Work

My church has been reading the bible cover to cover this year. It's been so amazing to know that my church family is reading the same pages of scripture I am reading. We have our Sunday School time to dig deeper and then a sermon each Sunday on the scripture we've read. It's been a great encouragement to me and many I know who've been following along.

This week we are in Nehemiah. As God's children began doing His work of rebuilding the wall, they came up against opposition. There were some who were down right mad they were working on rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem.

It says in Nehemiah 4:17, " each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other."

Just make a mental picture of this. Here they are trying to rebuild a wall. Remember they didn't have the tools or technology we have and I am sure the work was not easy, but it was God's work, so they worked! With their free hand they had to hold protection from the enemies.

Isn't that how it is still today? God calls us to do His work: a ministry, the mission field, evangelizing to our classmates or co-workers, showing Christ's love and light to those around us, and yet we must be on guard of our enemy. We must carry our weapon, the Word of God, to fight off the opposition.

God may call you to do something, but it doesn't mean it will be easy or conflict-free!

What has God been calling you to do?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

05/23/09 - Wedding Vows

These vows are framed hanging up. They serve as a reminder of what we committed to each other. Writing our vows was my favorite aspect of preparing for our wedding! We memorized our vows for our wedding. We didn't share what we wrote with each other till about a week before the wedding.


JOHN'S VOWS:

Heather Arnel Paulsen, it is a great privilege and honor to stand here with you today to become your husband.

Heather, you are a gift from God and you are my soul mate and I am truly blessed to have your love and devotion.

I, John Timothy Patenaude, commit to you Heather, before God and these witnesses to be the spiritual leader of our household by faithfully seeking God's will for our lives.

I commit to give you my full devotion, loyalty, and respect and to never take you for granted.

I commit to care for your needs: spiritually, emotionally, and physically and to provide a loving household in which you can openly share your innermost feelings.

I commit to join to my heart to yours and share with you our desires, needs, joy, sorrow.

I commit to protect you, to love you, to provide for you, and to stand beside you all the days of my life.

I love you, I need you, and I thank God for you.

HEATHER VOWS:

I, Heather Arnel Paulsen, am honored and humbled to stand before you, John and God today to become your wife. To join our hearts, our lives, and our families.

You, John Timothy Patenaude, are the love of my life. The man that God created for me to love from this day until the day we are parted by death.

I commit before you, God, and these witnesses that I will remain faithful to God, seeking His will and guidance for my relationship with Him and for our marriage.

I commit to willing submit to your leadership as the the church does to Christ. Trusting you to faithfully seek God for His will.

I commit to be honest with you even if it may cause pain. To be your support, comfort, and companion through life's trials and to be faithful to you no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

I commit that with God as my guide I will strive to be a blessing in your life as I seek to develop a quiet and gentle spirit and a heart that puts you and our family first.

I commit that with God's grace I will make our home a safe place of refuge for you. A home filled with laughter, joy, peace, and unconditional love and acceptance.

My whole heart and all my devotion belongs to you John and you will have it the rest of our lives.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

05/21/09 - Question

I received this question in my last post: How can an unmarried christian woman prepare to be a "love maker" as you said? How did you prepare yourself for this, before getting married?

Thanks for the questions!

It got me thinking and here are a few things I did before I got married to fulfill this vision I had once married.

1) I asked God to give me a heart that would have a desire to make my home this safe haven. To reveal to me any bitterness, anger, hurt, or pain that would stand in the way of fully giving myself to my husband and children in this manner.

2) When given the chance to provide a loving atmosphere in my home, I practiced being the "love maker". Maybe I'd try to do something special for my sisters (who were my roommates till I got married). Or when we'd have company over, I'd work towards serving them in such a way that they felt the warmth and love I desired them to feel.

3) I didn't know that remaining emotional pure would aid in this, but keeping my heart for my husband alone helped me fully give my heart to him. Because he alone has my heart, a whole heart, it was easy to want to "spoil" him and provide a safe haven for him.

4) I kept an according folder of "household ideas". If I saw something in a magazine or newspaper article, I'd cut it out and put it in my folder. I had sections such as: Holiday, decorations, party ideas, kids crafts...etc. I have used this folder a few times since we got married.

5) When I'd observe something that a wife/mom did that I admired I wrote it down in a journal. This way I would not forget some of the things I wanted to incorporate into my own home.

6) Finally, I committed to John, in our marriage vows, that I would strive to make our home a safe place for him and our children. (We wrote our own marriage vows...maybe I'll post them tomorrow.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

05/20/09 - "Love Makers"

No this is not a post about physical intimacy! Just wanted to clarify from the get go!

I believe that God has given women a unique ability to provide an emotional atmosphere in our homes. This is bring the love into the home, thus women are the "love makers" of their homes.

Our homes should be a safe haven, a place of complete rest, a place to "let our hair down", and a place one can grow both emotionally and spiritually.

As a wife and mom it's been my goal to provide this level of unconditional love and acceptance in my home. To have a home that is restful, safe, and joyful.

This goal was something I began working on long before I met John. It was a vision I had before I got married and I asked God to prepare me for this task.

Do I believe men provide emotional support and love? Yes, but again I believe that women were created with a different set of emotions that lend them self to being the "love maker" of their homes.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

05/19/09 - Positive or Negative

Every once in awhile my husband will ask me, "Do you think so and so is a positive person or a negative person?"

Not in a judgemental fashion, just a question: Does the things that come out of that persons mouth show them to be positive or negative?

Then to turn the question to myself. If someone spent any length of time with me, would they say I am positive or negative?

It's easy to get caught up in complaining or being negative...far too easy. But I am reminded by my son's Sunday School verse: Do everything without complaining or arguing.

I hope to be a positive person!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

05/13/09 - Older Women/Younger Women

Younger women: How often are we intentional about interacting with older women?

Older women: Do you feel that younger women are interested in getting to know you and take advice from someone who has walk through life's trials?

Lately this has been an ongoing discussion with an older woman in my life. Are the generations mixing within the church? Or do we basically keep to our own peers?

Paul told Titus that older women are to teach the younger women (Titus 2). Therefore, the generations should be mixing, but sadly I think we as a church are falling short of this.

I've heard older women who claim they've given all they have and now this time of life is "their time". They've paid their dues and are done with ministry, as they pursue their own interests.

Also, younger women can look at older women as "out of touch" with what life is like in this culture. They have a subtle distrust of older women.

It is my firm conviction that older women and younger women need to be mixing their lives, being authentic with each other, and share a biblical perspective of womanhood with one another.

I am blessed to have two older women in my life who I can turn to for advice, to bounce ideas off of, to seek counsel from, and to have as friends. They have helped me see through my cloud of crazy hormones, motherhood frustration, and relationship issues. Their advice is always straight forward and godly.

How about you? Do you have an older woman you can turn to? Or are you an older woman who has made yourself available to younger women to help them through some of those tough stages you've walked through? What do you think is the greatest hindrance in making this happen?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

05/06/09 - Emotional Affairs

It seems like everyone is talking about emotional affairs. Check out this article: 12 Ways to Break Free from an Emotional Affair. (It's not written from a Christian perspective.)

Emotional affairs are tearing families apart. It starts with a seed of discontentment in your marriage or with your mate. It starts with thinking you deserve something you're not getting. It starts with comparing your marriage with others. It starts with a pattern of emotional highs and lows before your married.

Finding emotional purity before you're married, I believe, will lead to emotional contentment once your married.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

05/05/09 - Christian Etiquette

When I was a waitress in college at Cracker Barrel the waitresses thought very little of Christians. Why, you ask? Well, it was known that if a family prayed before a meal that you'd get a little tip (10% or less).

I would cringe inside when other waitress would bemoan having a "Christian table".

What would make it worse is when they'd pray and then be demanding, complaining, and down right annoying (trust me I had my fair share of these tables) then they'd leave a small tip with a track on how to become a believer.

It would make me want to run out to their car and tell them I was indeed a believer and a world is watching...so have better etiquette!

Do we take into account how we are speaking LOUDLY our beliefs with our actions? We, as Christians, need to be different! Sure, there are bad waitresses out there who give bad service, but how we handle it can be honoring to Christ.

Think about all the people who are "watching" us....waitresses, check-out clerks, bank tellers, over the phone sales people, receptionists, guest relationships staff and medical personal. What impression do you want to leave? Do you want to leave people with an taste of experiencing Christ?

Friday, May 1, 2009

05/01/09 - Guy/Girl Friendships

Ah, the age old question: Can a guy and a girl be just friends?

In short, yes!

Many come to my blog or read my book have been in some type of confusing guy/girl friendship. But can there be a friendship that is "confusion free"!

The confusion generally begins to take place when one of the person's involves begins to "read into" the actions of the other person. For example, a girl begins to believe that the simple hug after youth group or the text message reminding her about an upcoming event, means that the guy involved likes her and want to take the relationship to the next level.

(Actually normally a small action from a guy like that would produces a week or more worth of: What did he mean by that? Asking other girlfriends, "Do you think he likes me because he did this or that?" Thinking and rethinking about what the tone of his voice was, how long the hug lasted, the exclamation point at the end of the "hope to see you there" text message, and on and on and on till we've thought ourselves into a tizzy!)

Sure, I'll admit that there are things a guy can do that are confusing, but unless he has said, "I like you, I want to date you, and I am treating you this way because my feelings for you are growing." You have no business reading into his actions. (By the way guys, you have no business treating a girl different than other girls unless you've stated your intentions to her!)

It tough not to have expectations, but if you want to simply enjoying a guy/girl friendship we have to have NO expectations of the other person.

I had a conversation with a young woman who was struggling with an on-line friendship. The guy "blew" her off of an instant message date they had set up and she was upset. She didn't know if she should confront him on this or just let it go.

I asked her, "How would you feel if this was a girlfriend? Would you confront the girlfriend or would you just think to yourself, 'Something must have come up'?"

In order to have a guy/girl friendship it's important to keep your own expectations and thoughts in check. Don't read into the actions of your friend, just enjoy the friendship.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

04/30/09 - God's Healing Balm

As we travel down the path of life, our hearts will become hurt. There's no doubt about it! We live in a fallen and sinful world. We all are agents and victims of sin, thus pain will occur.

It's how we choose to respond that makes all the difference.

We can choose bitterness, unforgiveness, anger. We can throw up walls that we think "protect" us. We can ignore, sweep it under the rug, and pretend it never happened. We can turn to food, unhealthy relationships, gossip, slander, back biting. We can demand justice and take the matter into our own hands. We never feel settled, we never have peace, and we never have quiet in our lives.

We can also choose God's healing balm. We can seek out His healing touch. We can reach for forgiveness, pray against a root of bitterness. We can trust God, even if it is down right scary. We can talk it out with Godly counsel and come to a place of peace. We can choose to let God defend us. With this path we will feel and have peace and quiet in our lives.

As young women you may have experienced hurt already. Hurt from a boy or hurt from a girlfriend. They can come in all shapes and sizes. But you have a choice. You can choose to give it over to the Lord and let your life be free of the entanglements that come with anger and hurt.

I believe the older you get, the harder it gets to choose the second path. The more weary you become. The less trustworthy you are and the more likely you are to not seek God's healing touch.

Young ladies, don't let this happen! When women in the body of Christ have dissension, the body of Christ suffers. We have to let our selfish pride GO! We have to let God defend. We have to allow God to heal us!

My heart hurts for women who walk around with heart wounds gashed open, yet they don't seek the one place where they can find healing.

I pray that God will use this post to impact your future!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

04/29/09 - Words

This morning I finished listening to a message from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She gave this message 10 years ago, right after the Columbine shootings.

I just wanted to share this quote:

"Ladies, we're in trouble when terms like these become part of our everyday vocabulary, terms like: divorce, incest, date rape, anorexia, homosexuality, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, Prozac, sexually transmitted diseases. Every young person knows those words today, but the problem is that we have little or no comprehension of such concepts as chastity, modesty, discretion, virtue, responsibility, fidelity, integrity."

I recommend the whole talk, but how sad this statement is of our culture...even our Christian culture!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

04/28/09 - Issues

We all deal with "issues". Issues of unforgiveness, doubt, fear, and a host of other emotions that keep us from experiencing freedom and peace that Christ came to bring. Often these issues keep our minds locked up in self-focus and turmoil.

I've been asked over the years how to let go of these issues and although I am no expert on this, I do recommend this simple formula. It has helped me and others I've shared it with.

First, search scripture and find specific scriptures that relate to your issue. Put these verses on note cards and post them around your house, carry them with you, and memorize them. Get them in your brain!

Second, when your issue comes up in, repeat those verses, pull out your cards, and read them, say them over and over to yourself. Use scripture to combat whatever issue you have.

After a car accident in 2000, I struggled with panic attacks. I can't tell you how often I'd say, "Fear not for I am with you." It always helped me through those panic attacks and eventually I stopped having them.

Finally, pray and ask God to make you sensitive to when you are struggling with the issue and ask that He gives you a heart to fully let go.

I hope this helps!

Friday, April 24, 2009

04/24/09 - Emotions

I am currently reading a book called: Marriage A Taste of Heaven; Volume I: God's People Appreciate Marriage. It's a book my mom read when she was first married (back in the early 70's...so yes, it's an oldie, but a goodie) and this fall, my mom, sisters, and I are going to be using it as a bible study.

Chapter three is titled: The Plight of Silly Old Women and the author spends time talking about the emotions that God has given women that differs from men.

I just want to share a couple of quotes and let them speak for themselves:

"While God gave women this sixth sense to make them better suited for serving Him and others, God never intended for women to think with their emotions." (pg 67)

"At the same time, women also possess a single-mindedness that prevents them from overlooking problems." (pg 67)

"Trouble enters the picture, however, when women cease to focus their emotional antenna on others. Instead, they turn their sensitivities inward to create and to magnify their own unhappiness as they allow their emotions to rule their intellect." (pg 68)

Can anyone relate!?!