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.""

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