When joy is elusive...

When joy is elusive...
When you're in a difficult season, it's so easy to feel defeated.

  • When your child is a prodigal.
  • When your marriage is falling apart.
  • When your doctor gives you a terrible diagnosis. 
  • When a loved one dies.
  • When you lose a home, a job, or a friendship.
  • When finances are tight, or non-existent.
It can be SO easy to think to yourself, "If only this would change, I could be happy. If only..."

What does God have to say about things like this?

First, we are to weep with others when they weep. When you find yourself in a season of weeping, you allow yourself to weep and work through those emotions, and you surround yourself with people who, like Job's friends, will just sit in the weeping with you.

Second, you lean into God as your source of comfort, of relief, and of your JOY.

Scripture tells us in Romans 18:18:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."
It's important to remember that nothing happening to us on earth can compare to the beauty and indescribable joy awaiting us in eternity. 

When we get there, nothing here will matter anymore. All that will matter is being in the presence of Jesus. 

Yes, it's painful to think about your child rejecting God and missing out on this glory. It's painful to walk through a divorce, or scary medical diagnosis, or a betrayal.

But when you feel as though you need your child's salvation, or your marriage to be a godly marriage, or you need to have all of your bills paid, in order to feel joy, then you have elevated those things ABOVE Jesus.

When you seek something other than Jesus for your joy, you've made that thing an idol.
Christ is sufficient for us. 

2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."
We have all sufficiency, in ALL things, at ALL times. And the reason for this is so that we can abound in every good work.

It's difficult to do good works when we're anxious, depressed, waiting on something else to bring us joy, isn't it?

Sweet friend, you don't have to wait to do good. You don't have to wait to find JOY.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Proverbs 10:28
The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
When we place our focus on Christ, and recognize His sufficiency and ability to BE our complete joy, we will have that joy in abundance - even when we aren't getting the earthly things we want or think we need.

Can you believe this today? 
Can you believe Christ alone is sufficiently able to bring you all joy and peace, regardless of your earthly circumstances?

Comment below and let me know how I can pray over you today.

Do you honor your husband above yourself?

Do you honor your husband above yourself?
Romans 12:10 says, 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
As wives, we have a tendency to pull out the verse that says, "Submit to one another" even though it's not in the context of marriage, but when it comes to other verses - like this one telling us to honor one another above ourselves - suddenly it doesn't apply to our husbands anymore.

Do you honor your husband above yourself?

  • When you're exhausted at the end of the day, do you consider how exhausted he might be as well?
  • When he has to work on Mother's Day, do you think about his frustration that he can't be home with his family, or are you focused on the fact that you aren't getting the day you wanted?
  • During a disagreement, do you consider his point of view and try to understand why he feels the way he does, or are you contemplating the next argument you'll make for your case?
It's so, so easy to fall into these human responses, and I will be the first to admit that I fall into them as well.

What God is looking for is a heart willing to recognize those as worldly responses, and willing to reject them for godly ones instead.

He offers us His strength, His love, His grace, His mercy, so that we can set out to accomplish what He's asked of us.

Honoring our husbands above ourselves isn't easy, but it's instructed of us for a reason. 

If we want to have a heavenly marriage, we have to be willing to live by heavenly commandments.

I'd love to hear ways that you honor your husband. Share in the comments!

5 Reasons Wives Should Make It A Priority To Respect Their Husbands

5 Reasons Wives Should Make It A Priority To Respect Their Husbands
Why is respect towards our husbands SO important?

Most women want to feel loved and cherished by their husbands in the same way that husbands want to be respected by their wives.

Over the years, I've learned many reasons wives should respect their husbands. Here are my top 5.
 
1️⃣ God commands it.
Ephesians 5:33 - "However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
 
2️⃣ Men thrive on respect.
If a man believes his wife respects him, he usually feels like he can take on the world. 
 
3️⃣ Men value respect over love.
Given the option between love and respect, most men would prefer to feel unloved rather than disrespected. It sounds harsh to us, because we thrive on love, but men value respect.
 
4️⃣ Respect communicates trust.
When you show your husband respect, it tells them you trust them to lead your family well. When you disrespect him, it tells him that you don't trust his ability to lead.
 
5️⃣ Men need respect to feel appreciated and valued.
In a marital conflict, most men would not say they feel unloved - they would say they feel disrespected. When wives show their husbands respect, they feel valued and appreciated.
 
What do you think? What other reasons would you add to this?

Do you think your husband would say that he feels respected by you?

4 Steps to Take Your Thoughts Captive

4 Steps to Take Your Thoughts Captive
Can you easily stop thinking negative thoughts?

If you're like most people, the answer is no. 

It's not easy - it's also not impossible.

Scripture instructs us to "take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5)

But how do I do that, and how can it help my marriage?

Here are some steps to take:

1. Recognize the negative thought.
Our feelings are a result of our thoughts. If you are feeling irritable, angry, hurt, or sad, notice what thoughts you've been thinking.

2. Once you've identified the thought, ask yourself, "Is this true? Is it factual? Is it possible that this is only my opinion or perception?"
Truth is something that would hold up in a court of law. If it's open to interpretation (e.g. obviously he doesn't care, he's lazy, he's self-absorbed), then it isn't truth. Sometimes we need to ask God for wisdom and discernment to recognize the lies, because the enemy can disguise these as truth.

3. Pray over the thought and release it to God. 
Thank Him for His willingness to take it from you, and for His mercy and forgiveness. Pray over your husband, or whomever else you had the negative thought. Praying for the person who hurt us can change our thoughts dramatically.

4. Replace the thought with something that is "pure, lovely, and praiseworthy" according to Philippians 4:8.
It's not enough to try and just stop thinking a negative thought. We have to replace it with a positive one. Pray over your husband, or whomever else you had the negative thought. Praying for the person who hurt us can change our thoughts dramatically. Consider their situation and view it from their point of view. Offer the same measure of grace you would offer yourself. Seek to assign positive motives for their behavior, such as they were truly trying to help, they really didn't mean to cause harm and just didn't recognize it, or they were so busy and could probably use some understanding and support.

When you change your thoughts, you change your feelings. When you feel more positive, you will treat your husband more positively. It sounds simple, but this can have such a profound effect on your marriage!

We hear all the time that we should take our thoughts captive, but the practical application and how-to are often missing. 

My prayer is that these four steps will be helpful in arming you to battle against negative, false, and harmful thoughts that do not serve you, or your marriage.

Sweet friend, how can I pray over you and your marriage today? Share in the comments or email me directly!

3 Things to Remember When You're in a Difficult or Painful Season

3 Things to Remember When You're in a Difficult or Painful Season
In the midst of the thickness, it can be very difficult to grab a hold of truth. We have to train our brains to take every thought captive and choose instead to focus on things that are "true, pure, lovely, and praise-worthy". 

Here are three truths for you to focus on in those times.

1. God is GOOD. 

It's important to remember this first, because everything else flows out of it. Everything God does is out of His goodness and love. He IS love. He created love, He created goodness, and He embodies them entirely. Every decision He makes, every situation He allows, is because He is GOOD. Just because you don't agree with what's happening, just because it might be painful, does not mean He isn't good. You can't possibly know what the alternatives were that the enemy was attempting to throw at you. Trust in God's goodness, that what He gives you and allows is so much better than any alternative.

2. God is WISE. 

We'd like to think we have all the answers and know what's best, but God knows better. He knows HOW to fix everything. Although sometimes it seems like He's not fixing things, or at least not at the speed we'd like, we have to look back at the first point - He is GOOD. Yes, He knows the WISE choice for every situation, and He knows the GOOD choice for every situation.

3. God is STRONG. 

Sometimes we can know that God is good, and we know He is wise, but we lack belief that He is strong enough to pull it off. Friend, God created strength. He IS pure strength! Not only is He wise enough and good enough to know what the best decisions are for us, but He is STRONG enough to carry out any task that is necessary. HE CAN DO IT.

If we can focus our hearts on these three things when we're struggling, our faith will grow and we will be able to watch miracle after miracle take place in our lives.


Friend, which of these three truths are you struggling with today? 
Which one is the easiest for you to believe?

Let me know how I can pray for you today!


 
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