A Love Story You Will Want to Fall In Love With

This is a story of the unconditional love of one community that will encourage and inspire you to love bigger and better every single day.

Today I want to share a little love story with yall

But this is not your typical love story between two people, it’s about the love of an entire community. It’s a story that has both inspired me, and changed me. And I hope it will do the same for you.  [bctt tweet=”Take a break and join me to hear an inspiring story about the love of a community.”]

In the beginning…

This love story began on a Spring day in 2014. We were in the midst of a devastating storm in our family that felt as if our lives were unraveling all around us.  The path that God had sent us on had suddenly taken a drastic detour into what felt like it must have been the very pits of hell.

Some days were so bad, I could hardly breathe. We turned to the only place we knew to go, our church family. And they tried to help, in the best way they could.

They mentored us in a very personal and meaningful way. They led us when we needed leaders and they were our friends when we needed companionship. Because of them, we were able to put our lives back together and mend the broken pieces. Things were looking up, and feeling better than they had in a long time. We were excited for the future and were certain that our next year was going to be the best one yet.This is a story of the unconditional love of one community that will encourage and inspire you to love bigger and better every single day.

And then the orders came… unexpectedly

It was time to move again. To say the least, I was devastated. I had so many plans for the upcoming year and so many things left undone. The last thing I wanted to do at that time was move away.  Nonetheless, when the Army says “move”, you move.

So we made the best of it. We got everything in order, made plans, packed up our entire lives, said the saddest goodbyes ever, and headed south to a brand new season.

We got here on a Monday. Our rental house wasn’t ready because apparently there had been a mix up about the dates. There was no fence, which we had been told there would be, and the entire house was trashed, and full of spiders, and mice!

My MIL had come up to meet us and help with the move that day, so we ended up spending that first day in her tiny hotel room, waiting for our rental to “hopefully” get move-in ready.

We spent the rest of that week unloading, unpacking, organizing, and doing a lot of driving around to familiarize ourselves with this new place that we were now calling home. And for some reason, even with the bad start, we just really liked it. We couldn’t decide exactly why, but it just felt like home.

Our first Sunday, we headed off to church. We didn’t want to skip a beat, so we jumped right in. That day we got signed up to start volunteering, joined a lifegroup, and headed to an event to learn all about the church that very night. We liked the church, BUT it just didn’t seem to compare with the one we thought we had just been ripped away from.

I questioned God about that decision, a lot.

Our new church was nice and all, and it had a pretty awesome Pastor, but it just wasn’t the same church we knew and loved.

I wanted my church home back

I was also really upset that God had called us to enroll in Bible School the previous year, but then pulled us away right in the middle of it. I desperately desired that intimate training because I was missing it so badly and just couldn’t find it at our new church.

After a few months, I told my husband that I just wasn’t sure we were at the right place (even though we were already pretty active members by this point), and that we should try out another church that I had been researching online.

So, the following Sunday, we headed to the other church first thing in the morning, but by the end of that service, we couldn’t get to the parking lot fast enough!! We knew without a doubt that I had been wrong and this was not the place God was calling us to.

We loaded the kids into the car and immediately headed across town to the next service at the church that we had already been planted in, this time, knowing for sure it was where God wanted us to be.

Armed with that assurance, I really started to pursue God, asking Him what it was the we needed to learn about here, that we couldn’t learn anywhere else.

And I soon got my answer!

We decided to start our own lifegroup, so I went to a special worship night, hosted by the church, for lifegroup leaders. That night I felt God move in a brand new way (I know I say that a lot, lol, but its true!  These are some of my favorite moments in life!).

Something was different about that room of people, I didn’t just feel God’s love in that room, I felt the love from all of the people too.  Every.  Single.  One.  Of.  Them.  Most of these people were still complete strangers to me, but I just felt the most powerful love radiating in that room that night.

That night, one of our pastors told a sweet story about a young guy who had a cup of tea sitting on the floor by his chair.  During worship time, it accidentally got knocked over and tea flooded out, covering the floor of the next several rows in a sticky wet mess.  But before he could even do a thing, a whole team of volunteers were there ready and willing to clean up the mess.  And then, the best part was when this young man looked at them, horribly embarrassed and trying to apologize, the girl standing there happily handed him a fresh cup of tea and simply said, “Are you kidding me, we get to do this!”

Man, there’s something about that story gets my heart every single time…  “We get to do this!”  I just love that!

The rest of the night was filled with story after story just like the one I just shared.  I left that night with so much hope and an incredible vision from the Lord.

Up until this point, we had been so filled with the knowledge of God, but now it was time to be filled with the unconditional love of God

From then on, I couldn’t help but notice how people in our new church loved others on a whole different level than anything I had ever experienced.

Later that week, I remember standing in the lobby at church talking to one of the pastors about this new-found revelation of how great our church loves, when we both got to experience it first hand.  As we were talking, we saw a man walk in from the other side of the building, I don’t even remember what made us notice him at that moment, but the pastor began to tell me a little about him.  He said that this man comes in occasionally, usually when he’s feeling down, or having a hard time.  And then out of nowhere, another member of the church walked up to the pastor and said, “Hey, you see that man over there? (As he quietly points into the sea of people to the very man we had been speaking about.)  What more can we be doing for him?  We need to step up our game for him.”  And then he laid out an entire plan about what he wanted to do to help this man out, then just as quickly as he walked up, he walked away, directly to the man, to initiate the plan he had just laid out!

I was completely amazed!  I had never in my life seen something like that.  He wasn’t just talking, he was doing something, he was ready to make a change right then and there in that moment.

I looked right at my pastor and said, “See, point proven, who does that?  I mean it, who seriously loves like that?”  He just smiled as we looked around and continued to witness one act after another of over the top love right there in the lobby of our church.

The thing that really stood out to me was that this kind of behavior was nothing at all out of the ordinary, it’s just who these people are.  I am blown away time and time again watching these people live out unconditional love, but they never seem to understand what I have to be so blown away about, it’s just they way they do life.

I’ve seen so many acts of kindness, generosity, and love among these people.  And there’s just something about the heart behind it that takes it to a whole other level of humility and grace, simply for the sake of loving on people.

These people here, they have that saying, “we get to do this”, but it’s so much more than just something they say, it’s a way of life that they live out each and every day, not just at church, but in the community, and in their day-to-day lives.  That is what sets this community apart for me.

The love of God permeates everything here, there really is no escape.  And let me tell you, I am so HAPPY to get to be a small part of it!!

So I want to share with you some easy ways that you can be a beacon of love and face the world with an “I get to do this” attitude:

Always be willing to go the extra mile.  “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”  (Matthew 5:41)  If you really dig into that section of Scripture you will find that Jesus is talking about how to treat those who treat you poorly.  But I love this simple vision and how we can carry love over in every part of our lives; at home with our spouse or children, with our parents and siblings, with our boss and co-workers, with our fellow servants at church, with the barista at our favorite coffee shop, the checker at the grocery store, and the stranger on the street.  What if every time we did something for someone else, instead of doing the bare minimum, we gave 200% effort?  How would that change your heart?

Do every thing you do for God.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”  (Colossians 3:23)  Every thing you do, from the smallest most mundane tasks, to the biggest ones that have the potential to impact on the entire world, do it for God.  We shouldn’t show love others in order to satisfy people, we should do it because we love God.  We should do it because we are daily being transformed into the image of Christ, who lived only to do the will of His Father in Heaven.  Therefore, we live to do the will of God, to spread the hope of Jesus to the ends of the earth.  Every thing we do matters, and the love in which we do it will change the world, for better or for worse.

Remember that you are working for an eternal glory.  “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)  Don’t fix your eyes on your current situation and what you see before you, but instead fix your eyes on Jesus.  When we see the world through His perfect lens, we see with eyes of compassion, and we are filled with the unconditional love of Christ that we are then able to pour out onto those around us.  We don’t have to know all the answers or understand all the reasons why, we just need to know Jesus and trust that HE works all things for His glory.  And we get to be a part of that.

[bctt tweet=”Check out these tips for how you can live life with an ‘I get to do this’ outlook!”]

So let’s go love on people this week, because after all, if we haven’t got love, we have nothing

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”  ~1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Blessings and love,

Tiffany

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7 Promising Ways to Love People Better

Sometimes it can be really hard to love people, but with these promising truths you can be certain that you will enjoy a successful love walk every day.

Sometimes its hard to love people

Some people are easy to love…  And some people are really difficult to love!  So how do we show the same kind of love to different kinds of people?

In my most recent post, All About Marriage – 9 Lessons Learned in 9 Years, I mentioned that love is not a feeling, it’s an attitude.  Since I got a lot of good feedback from that comment, I wanted to expand on it a little here today.

So here we go…Sometimes it can be really hard to love people, but with these promising truths you can be certain that you will enjoy a successful love walk every day.

The Bible gives us a clear definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.  It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”

To love like that is most certainly not an easy task!  We all get angry, we all have moments of selfishness, and we all fail sometimes.  That’s why it’s so important to realize that to show love in the best way, we don’t follow what our heart is feeling, instead we should follow the truth of God’s Word and practice leading our hearts in an attitude of love. [bctt tweet=”Follow God’s Word and lead your heart in an attitude of #love”]

So for today, let’s just focus on the parts of this Scripture that tell us what love is and how we can best put them into practice.

To download and print two free bookmarks to help you remember how to love better, click here!

1.  Love is patient

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

To walk in love we have to practice patience in every situation; with our families, our friends, our co-workers, acquaintances, and even complete strangers.  When situations arise that try your patience, take the opportunity to make a wise choice.  Choose patience when you don’t feel like it.  Take a few deep breaths if you need to, count to 10, or 20, calmly walk away for a few moments.  Do whatever you can to remain calm and peaceable in the moment, remembering God’s promises for you if you will practice patience.

The Bible tells us not to become weary because God knew that we would, He knows that patience is not an easy thing for us to do, but He gives us hope and a promise that if we will not give up then we will reap a harvest of blessing.  That’s good enough for me!

2.  Love is kind

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.”  Luke 6:35

When we practice kindness then we are truly acting like God’s children!!  Yes!  That part alone makes me want to focus more on the kindness that I’m showing in my daily life.

I also love the end of this verse, “for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.”  Isn’t that a great example to follow?  It’s so easy to be kind to people who are kind to you, but God expects us to practice kindness all of the time, with everyone.  According to this verse, kindness is not putting on a fake smile and saying a few nice words, it’s about treating others really well, lending to others with pure motives, and being gracious even when others are not.  Kindness is definitely an attitude we have to choose to walk in because the world isn’t always a nice place and we won’t always feel like being nice in it.  But when we choose kindness, we can once again hold on to God’s great promise for us that our reward from Heaven will be great.

So, let kind words fill your thoughts and your mouth in every situation.  Find sincere ways to compliment others; if you like something they are wearing, tell them, if they did something well, tell them.  Be willing to lend a hand where help is needed.  Keep your eyes open for opportunities to become a blessing to someone else.

3.  Love rejoices with the truth

“It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  3 John 1:3-4

This one is so easy!  Be joyful and sincerely happy when others are walking in God’s truth!  In the small things and the big ones, be ready to celebrate victory, and stand together in trials.

God is love, so the absolute best way we can love is to be full of God and celebrate when others are too!  No victory is too small, and no trial is too big to find joy in its midst.  God’s truth is one of the greatest freedoms we have, so  rejoice my friends!  And spread the love of God when you do.  [bctt tweet=”No victory is too small, and no trial is too big to find #joy in the midst. #Rejoice”]

4.  Love always protects

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”  Proverbs 10:12

The original word in this verse for “protects” is stegei, which means “to cover”.  So, in order to really show the God kind of love, we must seek to cover our loved ones shortcomings instead of exposing them.  Follow me closely on this one, it does not say that we sweep them under the rug and ignore them all together.  It says to cover them, like a shield, to provide protection.

Let me just give you an example to illustrate this.  In the book of Philemon, Paul writes to his friend to ask a big favor.  His friend has had a slave run away, which was considered a serious crime, punishable by death.  But Paul met the slave while in prison, and the two of them became friends and the slave became a great help in Paul’s ministry.  So, Paul writes to his friend Philemon to ask him to accept this slave back without punishment, with his slate wiped clean.  Paul didn’t expose the slave for the deserter that he was, or for the crimes that he had committed, instead he took him in, shared the gospel, helped transform his life, and then helped to change the course of his future.

That’s how we need to protect others.  We don’t need to gossip about their lives.  We don’t need to take advantage of their weaknesses.  We don’t need to expose their vulnerabilities.  And we don’t need to complain to others about their faults or failures.  Instead we DO NEED TO show them love, by offering forgiveness, grace, and an opportunity to grow in truth.  We shield their vulnerability from a world bent to expose it, we strengthen them in their weaknesses, and we forgive them in their transgressions.

That’s how God protects us, he doesn’t expose us for the rotten things we have done or for our shortcomings.  Instead, He looks at us through a flawless lens, and quietly ministers truth to our hearts allowing us time to grow.

5.  Love always trusts

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”  Psalm 9:10

Trust can be a hard thing to offer, especially once its been broken.  I really struggled with this one for a long time with someone who I was really close to.  That person had broken my confidence so many times that I refused to offer trust anymore.  But really, all that did was cause tension and bad feelings in our relationship.  I always struggled because of how deeply I cared, I wanted to trust my friend, but everything the world had ever taught me said that trust had to be earned and this person had clearly not earned it.

But then, I got a hold of God’s truth and learned a lesson that changed everything:  trust isn’t earned, its freely given.

For me, it always helps to go back to the book of Matthew, when Jesus is talking about forgiveness.  Peter asks him how many times he should forgive someone, and he thinks he is being generous when he offers to forgive seven times.  But in true Jesus fashion, He responds, I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  

Seventy times seven…  that’s a lot!

I know that Scripture is about forgiveness, but it goes hand in hand with this idea of trust because when you forgive someone you aren’t holding anything against them.  When you offer forgiveness, you also offer trust.  So practice forgiveness and offer trust, even when others haven’t earned it.  In that you will be displaying God’s perfect love.

**If you really have trouble trusting in others, then simply trust in God.  Trust in the Scripture for this section (Psalm 9:10) that promises as you seek God, He will not abandon you.  If you find yourself hesitant to trust people for your own love walk, do it out of obedience to God and rest assured that no one who obeys God with a pure heart will ever be put to shame.

6.  Love always hopes

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  Hebrews 11:1

The Greek word for hope, elpidzo, means “to hope or wait for salvation with joy and full confidence.”  It’s not just wishing upon a star for some far off thing, it’s being fully confident of receiving the blessing of a promise that has not yet come to pass.  Just like we have full confidence in the Salvation we have received and we have full confidence in the physical return of our King, we need to also have full confidence in each other.  Believe for the best in people instead of waiting for the worst.

Walk out this virtue by being the forever optimist.  See the glass half full.  Give people the benefit of the doubt.  Offer grace.  Be a cheerleader.  Stand on the sidelines and root others on to victory when its appropriate.  Give others a chance to be great and help encourage them along the way.  Show them that you have full confidence in who God created them to be.

7.  Love always perseveres

 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:12

Here’s where we hit home the point.  Love is not a feeling, it’s an attitude.  To love with the God kind of unconditional, agape, love we have to choose it.  And we have to choose it every.  single.  day.  God’s love withstands everything.  It is always the same, in good times and bad, in poverty and in abundance, in sickness and in health, in happy times and in sad ones, when things are easy and when they’re hard.  Unconditional love means love without conditions!  There is nothing, not ONE SINGLE THING, you and I can ever do to make God stop loving us.

If we want to truly understand what it means to love others, we have to choose to walk in this kind of love.  Standing strong to the end of time, no matter our circumstances because we are pressing on towards a higher calling and we want to spill God’s love out onto a world that desperately needs it.  Press on my friends, because this is the best promise yet!  You are blessed!

Love is not weakness, in fact, it’s quite the opposite; it takes strength to choose the high road and walk in an attitude of love when you are faced with a challenge.  Love doesn’t make allowance for bad behavior, but it gently corrects and fiercely protects while offering grace.  Walking in love doesn’t make you a doormat to be stepped on and abused, it makes you stronger, and it multiplies your Kingdom reach farther than you can ever imagine.  One act of love can start a ripple that has the potential to spread to the ends of the earth.

Let’s get out there and love like crazy friends!

Don’t forget to grab your free bookmarks!

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”

1 John 4: 11-12

Blessings and love,

Tiffany

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9 Simple Secrets to Help You Build a Promising Marriage

Get a fun a fresh perspective from this husband/wife pair as they each share 9 things they have learned in 9 years to help build a promising marriage.

‘Tis the season to talk about Marriage

My husband and I just celebrated 9 years last week, so I thought it would be fun to share with all of yall some things we have learned after 9 years together that may help you to build a more promising marriage.  We are not marriage experts by any means.  But we are a couple of people who have dug in deep, shared good times and bad, grown up together, been stretched, been blessed, and have thrived where we are, together.

If you enjoyed Praying for Your Husband, then I think you will really enjoy today’s message.  My husband is making a special appearance today with his contribution, 9 things he has learned over the years.  I was completely blown away by what he had to say and I hope you will be too.Get a fun a fresh perspective from this husband/wife pair as they each share 9 things they have learned in 9 years to help build a promising marriage.

Get to know us a little

We met at a hole-in-the-wall country bar in a little bitty country town 10 years ago.  Our eyes met from across the room and we were instantly hooked on each other.  Literally from that second on we spent every moment possible together.  I was attending the University in that little town, he was just in town visiting friends for the weekend.  As it turned out, he was a Soldier, based in another state, getting ready to deploy to Iraq.  I remember about a week later telling a friend that if he thought I was going to wait on him while he was deployed he was crazy, lol.

Apparently, he wasn’t so crazy though, because that’s exactly what I did.  Our early relationship was  a whirlwind of insanely intense emotions.  We were together for 41 days (mostly long distance, since we lived in different states) and then, one of the worst days of my life happened.  I stood on a military airfield surrounded by strangers and watched this man I was head over heels for step onto a plane headed for a war zone, terrified that I would never see him again.  It was a heart-wrenching, gut twisting, awful day, as was the year that followed as I clung to letters and dropped everything and everyone in my life every single time my phone rang.

He was deployed for 11 months and 16 days.  We got married the day he came home at the closest JP we could find.  I suddenly went from care free college girl, to military wife, in a strange town, with only him that I knew.

marriage, lessons

The years after that were a barrage of craziness.

We have been through extreme highs and even more extreme lows, but we found God somewhere in the middle,thank goodness.  We have since been blessed with four beautiful children, and one angel baby whom we will meet on the other side of eternity.  We have moved 8 times in 9 years.  And we have grown up in ways that we never thought possible.

So, now that you know a little about us.  Let’s get on with today’s post!

 

Meet my husband

marriage, lessons

I asked him to share 9 things that he has learned over the last 9 years of our marriage, and his answers were incredible.  I hope you are as blessed by them as I am.

  1. COMMUNICATION – No matter how hard a day I might have had, I make it a point to listen to my wife and how her day went.  I have learned by doing this that my wife feels more connected to me, and I get to catch up on every little detail I missed that day.
  2. EMOTIONS VS FEELINGS – Sometimes my emotions get in the way of my feelings of love I have for my wife.  One key-note to always pay close attention to is the fact that my emotions do not make or express my true feelings of love that my wife craves.  I have learned to look at the reasons why I am so emotional and then turn those into affectionate feelings of love to my wife.
  3. BEING THE ENGINE RATHER THAN THE CABOOSE – As the husband, father, and head of my family I have the biblical responsibility to lead from the front, not from the rear.  I have learned how to take on the responsibility of being the leader of my family as God has intended, and my marriage has been strengthened because of that fact.
  4. DISLIKE VS HATE – For the first 3 years of marriage I used the “hate” word quite often, which brought extreme turmoil between my wife and me.  I have learned with “hate” in your vocabulary, then “love” does not exist.  I might not like all of the things my wife does or even says, but I make it a point to pray for a change in her where I am seeing or feeling discord, rather than speaking or thinking negative words into my marriage.
  5. ONE VS TWO – When I first married my wife I had a hard time with her knowing everything about me, crazy right!  I  have learned God brought her and I together and once we said our vows we were no longer two separate people, we were one, a team.  This has been a really fun concept once we both realized how our lives have changed and the things we gave up to become one!
  6. THE “M” WORD – I remember getting phone calls while at work from my unhappy wife to discuss where all of the money went.  I would immediately put up my guard and start snapping and yelling at her.  Not a cool way to handle a huge problem.  remember earlier when I mentioned me taking the responsibilities of a leader?  Well, I was spending every penny and not telling my wife where it was going, and just doing it because I felt like I needed it at the time.  This brought out many heated yelling matches, where neither of us won, we just left the situation in a bad way and tried for a long time to cover it up.  By doing this and not getting to the root of the problem (ie:  my spending being out of control), these situations left a big black hole in our marriage.  I have learned the best way to kick the bad habit of spending every last penny on me and my selfish needs, was to take over the finances.  Once I did this and was able to spend the money paying bills, my fix was satisfied.  I was able to see where all of the money was going and the feeling was great.  I fully 100% believe the financial budget should be organized and developed as a team, but the execution of that budget and the maintenance of the money should rest on the husband.  I have been able to earn my wife’s trust in the area of money, by simply over coming my selfish spending and ensuring we are financially sound.
  7. STAY AND LISTEN VS WALKING AWAY – This has to be the hardest lesson of them all;  respecting your spouse by staying and listening to their frustration, rather than walking away to pick up the conversation later.  Let’s face it, later is never a fix or a long-term solution.  I have learned to walk into that tunnel of chaos with my wife and come to a resolution, not just a quick fix like walking away.  When I walked away, things never got better, they got worse until eventually walls were built up and feelings were hurt.  Never let your emotions trap you into a situation that was never meant to be.  Talk it out, forgive, and forget.  [bctt tweet=”Never let your emotions trap you into a situation that was never meant to be. #TalkItOut #ForgiveAndForget”]
  8. SAME VISION – This is a key ingredient in any marriage.  By having the same vision as a team it keeps the devil out.  My wife and I have a vision for our children to be raised unlike either of us were raised.  We want to raise them to honor God, love Jesus, and to trust in the Holy Spirit by showing them, not just telling them.  I have learned that one of my tasks as the husband and father of my family is that it is my responsibility to carry the vision of reaching people for Christ to further build God’s heavenly kingdom, with my children watching.  This is an extremely important task and a great honor.
  9. SERVING VS OBLIGATION – Over the years I have learned the difference between obligation and serving.  Obligations stem from emotions, they are not grounded in truth and can be easily identified as fake.  Serving stems from the heart and has feeling behind it which brings great power.  I have learned to serve my wife, not just be there out of obligation.  I choose to love her when times are hard, and when times are amazing.  By humbling myself and knowing that acts of service go a long way with my wife, I make it a point to do things for her when she asks me to, and when she does not.  I do not serve out of obligation, I serve because I want to!

Weren’t those good lessons?

Now on to the 9 things I have learned from 9 years of marriage

  1. WITHOUT GOD, WE ARE NOTHING – There is no way we would be where we are today with out Him.  Our life together is completely and totally dependent on our individual relationships with our Savior.  God is the center of us, and that is what gives us the strength and power to thrive together.  [bctt tweet=”Our life together is dependent on our individual relationship with our Savior. #PutGodFirst”]
  2. LOVE IS NOT A FEELING, IT’S AN ATTITUDE – When you share your entire life with another human being, there are bound to be moments when you don’t “feel” very loving.  But the Bible doesn’t describe love as a feeling to follow, it describes it as an attitude to choose.  Learning to choose an attitude of love despite the present circumstances is a total game changer.  When you stop “following your heart” and instead, choose to lead it in truth, you experience victory in your relationship.
  3. BEING RIGHT IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING – Yeah, it may feel good to know you’re right, but it doesn’t really matter if your “victory” comes at your spouse’s expense.  What good does it do to insist on being right over trivial matters if it causes division in your relationship?  Trust me on this one, I have belligerently insisted on being right so many times and all that did was push us apart.  Instead, sometimes it really is better to  cordially agree to disagree.
  4. RESPECT HIM – Let me say that again…  Respect him!!!  Men are created to be the head of the house and we were created to be their helpmates.  This is huge!  Men don’t just desire to be respected, they need it.  They are hard-wired by God Himself to hold positions of authority and receive the honor that goes with it.  I used to believe that respect was something my husband had to earn, but that is so not true ladies!  We are commanded to respect our husbands in the Word.  It’s like that whole thing about love; respect is not something I just give when I feel like it, it’s something I give to him because of the position he holds in our family, and because it honors God.  Show him the respect that he deserves whether you think he has earned it or not.  Respect his authority, respect his abilities, respect his relationships, respect his job, respect him as a husband, a father, a disciple, a brother, and a son.  Respect him in every unique way that God has created him.
  5. GRACE IS EVERYTHING – We all make mistakes, and we all desperately need grace.  We need God’s grace every day and we also need grace from each other.  Be quick to pour out grace on your husband.  My husband has always been really good at handing out grace;  me, on the other hand… not so much.  But once I let God transform my heart, I learned how desperately we all just need grace, un-earned favor.  We just need someone in our corner, rooting for us, cheering us on, choosing to love us in all circumstances, and offering forgiveness even when we don’t deserve it.
  6. SPEAKING OF FORGIVENESS…  You will never have a marriage that thrives without forgiveness.  Face it, he’s going to mess up, and so are you.  Learn to forgive and learn to seek forgiveness.  Then, learn to forget it!  That’s how God forgives us, He cleanses our transgressions, removes them from us, and forgets them.  This is how we should forgive each other; don’t keep bringing up the past; resolve the issue, seek forgiveness, offer forgiveness, and move on!
  7. SUPPORT HIS IDEAS – This is a hard one for me!  I tend to have a very dominating personality and my husband is pretty laid back.  I can easily railroad right over his ideas without a second thought.  The problem with that is, men are problem solvers and passing off their input makes them feel unimportant and un-needed.  Over the years, when I have made an effort to support his ideas instead of shooting them down for one of my own, I have been pleasantly surprised at the outcome.  And I usually learn something new about him in the process.
  8. LET HIM LEAD – Hear me on this one girls… men are not going to lead the way you tell them too!  Ha.  I laugh now, but seriously, I remember hearing so many women tell me that my husband was the leader of the family and I was the help-mate.  And I remember how much I hated that!  So much so, that I just denied it altogether.  I was convinced that he wasn’t leading the right way so he didn’t deserve to lead, then I just forcibly enlisted myself as head of the family!  Crazy, right?  But I have to believe I can’t be the only one.  Just because he isn’t leading “your way” doesn’t mean its wrong.  Trust that God has placed him where he is and trust that God is leading him.
  9. MAKE TIME TO BE TOGETHER – Life can be busy and its easy to slip into a routine of come and go and go to bed.  If you’re not purposeful in carving out time together, before you know it, you become more like roommates than two people joined together to become one.  I’m not going to tell you that you must have a regular date night to have a good marriage.  Honestly, we don’t do date night regularly, ha, we aren’t really “date night” people.  But we do have time that’s just for us very regularly.  We put our kids to bed early and then spend almost every evening doing something together.  Sometimes we play games, sometimes we watch tv, sometimes we talk, or make plans for the future.  The point is, we are spending one on one time together.  We also like to drive when we really need to talk.  We often load the kids up and just drive until we work through everything.  In fact, driving is such a great way for us to connect to one another, that we actually purposefully went from 2 vehicles down to 1 for a year, just to spend more time together.  The kids and I would load up and take my husband to work every morning then pick him up every night.  It wasn’t always convenient or easy or practical, but it completely changed the way our entire family communicated with each other.  And we got to see a lot more of each other during a really busy season.

So there you have it.  I hope you have found something valuable here to take away with you.  

If you have any valuable marriage lessons please share them in the comments below, I would love to hear them!

Have a blessed week yall!

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.   Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”  This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  

~Ephesians 5:  21-33

Blessings and love,

Tiffany

You may also enjoy The Day I Realized I Was A Bad Wife

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Who Is Jesus Christ? 5 Things Everyone Needs to Know

spiritual growth, crazy faith, serve God, Jesus

who is Jesus Christ, spiritual growth, crazy faith

Do you ever wonder just exactly who is Jesus Christ?

Maybe you know Him as the Son of God…

Maybe you know Him as your Savior…

Maybe you know Him as your Teacher…

Maybe He’s your Healer…

Maybe He’s just some guy that lived a long time ago…

Whoever He is to you, your going to want to stick around and read this post!  Hopefully you will have a fresh perspective and renewed revelation about exactly who Jesus Christ is.  Let’s get going!

I always love reading through the book of Mark.

It’s such a fast paced book though, that sometimes I can get so caught up in the constant movement that I forget to stop and reflect on the lessons God is trying to teach me.  After reflecting on this particular passage for a while, I have been truly blessed by what I’ve learned.

God has completely renewed in me a love for who Jesus is and re-ignited my faith in Him.

Today I’m going to share these 5 things that everyone should know about Jesus with all of you.  I pray that you will be encouraged by it.

[bctt tweet=”Read about these 5 things everyone should know about Jesus!”]

Here’s the passage for today’s message:

Mark 1:40-45

“A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’  Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man.  ‘I am willing’ he said.  ‘Be clean!’  Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.  Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning.  ‘See that you don’t tell this to anyone.  But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing as a testimony to them.’  Instead, he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news.  As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.  Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.”

1.  Jesus always has compassion for hurting people

“A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’  Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man.  ‘I am willing’ he said.  ‘Be clean!’

Here is a man, most likely a social outcast because of his ailment, in desperate need of help.  Jesus is so filled with compassion for him, that He immediately takes action and heals him, no questions asked.

Jesus isn’t afraid to touch this diseased and contagious man, he just reaches right out and offers his help.  And then the man is instantly cured!  What a great picture of Jesus’ ministry.

He never judged people’s situation, He just offered them compassion and truth, which led them to victory. [bctt tweet=”Jesus never judged people’s situation; instead, He offered them compassion and truth.”]

Over and over in the Word it says that Jesus was “moved with compassion” because of His great love for people.

If Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, then just as He was moved with compassion for this man, He is also moved with compassion for you.  No matter what you have done in your past, no matter what you are burdened with, no matter how ugly you may appear to the world, He LOVES you!  And the instant you come to Him, He is moved with compassion for you and acts on your behalf.

[bctt tweet=”The instant you #ComeToHim, He is moved with compassion for you and acts on your behalf.”]

We serve a good God!

Who else in the world can ever have that kind of love for you or for me?  

No one, that’s who.

Only God can truly love us unconditionally.  And the good news about unconditional love is just that… its unconditional, without conditions!

There are no limits to God’s love!

He doesn’t just love you if you are acting right, he loves you through all of the wrongs.  He doesn’t just love you when you are clean and pure, he loves you in the dirtiest, messiest, mess.  He doesn’t just love you when you are humble and just, he loves you when you are selfish and cruel!

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from, He loves you right where you are! God doesn’t love you because of what you’ve done, He loves you because of who HE is!!!  He IS love.  And He is moved with compassion for you.

That’s good news!

2.  Jesus is our ultimate healer

After Jesus tells the man to be clean, it says “immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.”

Notice though, what it does not say.  It doesn’t say that all of the symptoms left him, it also does not say that he felt any different.

I don’t know if all of the visual or physical symptoms of leprosy instantly disappeared or not.  But the Scripture does say that the leprosy left him and he was cured.

I know from my own experience that healing can feel like a tricky thing.  There have been so many times when I have prayed for healing, and believed in my heart that I had received it…  but then I didn’t feel better.

So, I just wallowed in my sickness a little longer, speaking it over myself and accepting that I had it.

But if I accept the symptoms of sickness, then I’m not really believing in my heart that I am healed, am I?

The lesson here is that we live by faith, not by sight!  [bctt tweet=”We live by faith, not by sight.”]

Jesus said the man was clean and he believed it.  It doesn’t really matter  if his symptoms left him in that moment or not because he was healed, regardless of what he saw or felt.

Jesus said it, he believed it, period.

It is God’s will for us to be healed.  3 John 2 says, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”  The Bible tells of quite a few different ways healing comes, but the most important thing to understand is this…  It is His will!

And the Word says that if we pray according to His will, we know we have the petitions that we ask for.  Just like that!

I am not going to put my full faith and confidence in a doctor’s report or in the symptoms that may be displaying in my body.  I am going to put my faith in God’s Word that if we (who are filled with God’s Holy Spirit) lay our hands on the sick, they shall be healed (Mark 16:18).

That’s it.  Jesus said I’m healed and that’s what I believe.

Healing comes through many different avenues, but the point I’m making here is that we have to get in agreement with the Word.  He says I’m healed, so I say I’m healed! AMEN!

[bctt tweet=”We have to get into agreement with the Word #SpeakTruth”]

3.  Disobedience is still disobedience, no matter what your motive is

“Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning:  “See that you don’t tell this to anyone.  But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”  Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news.”

Jesus told this man not to tell anyone what had happened but instead to go show himself to the priests.

On the surface, this verse puzzles me.  Why wouldn’t Jesus want the man to tell of the miraculous healing God had given him?

Well, truthfully, I have no idea!  But I think that is precisely the point.

Maybe the man in this Scripture thought he was doing something good for Jesus by spreading his news?

Or maybe he just plain and simply didn’t care what God said now that he had received his healing.

Again, I really don’t know the reason.

But what I do know is this, Jesus gave him a direct command, and he disobeyed.  The reason why really doesn’t matter.

The Bible clearly says there is a way that seems right to man but in the end it leads to death.  DEATH!!!  That’s not just talking about death in your body, which happens to every living being; it’s so much worse than that.

It is talking about spiritual death which is eternal separation from God.  That’s the worst possible condition a man could suffer from.

I certainly don’t want to head down that path that seems right.  Instead, I want to travel down the straight and narrow path that I know is right.

Now don’t miss what I’m saying here.  I’m not talking about the mistakes we make.

We all fall short of the glory of God and that is why we need a Savior.

I’m talking about willful disobedience, knowing the right thing to do, and choosing not to do it. James 4:7 makes it plain and clear:

“Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

Craig Groeschel wrote a great book dealing with this called The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn’t Exist.  You should check it out!

Sometimes we are given commands in the Bible that are hard to understand and even harder to follow.  It can be really easy to “rationalize” the Word with human reasoning.

Its even easier to  just throw the Word right out the window in tough situations in exchange for a “feel good” alternative, courtesy of the internet.

But here’s the kicker, 1 Corinthians 3:19: “the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”  Never turn to the world for an answer God has already given you.  [bctt tweet=”Never turn to the world for an answer God has already given you.”]

The Bible is like our user manual for life.  Its full of wisdom from above and great promises of prosperity for our lives.

But we can’t just choose the things that make us feel good, and ignore the rest.

That’s just not the way it works with God.

With God, we choose all or nothing.

Jesus says in Revelation, “because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Gross!!!  If we only obey the Word when it suits us, or when its easy, or when it makes us feel good, then we are acting “lukewarm”.

And that makes Jesus want to vomit!

I NEVER want to act in a way so dishonoring to God that it makes Him want to vomit!!!

4.  Disobedience isolates Jesus

“As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.”

As a direct result of the man’s disobedience, the Scripture says “Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.”  That’s a pretty loaded verse containing a very sad, but very real result of disobedience toward the Lord.

Here’s some food for thought… as Christians, when we disobey by “loosely following God’s Word” we are actually pushing Jesus out of the places that need Him and isolating Him from communion with His people!

That’s a seriously sobering idea to me.

When I willingly choose to disobey God’s word for my own selfish fulfillment, I am pushing Him away from communing with me, and quite possibly pushing Him away from someone around me that desperately needs an encounter with Him.

God’s ways are mysterious and there is so much about His plan that our finite human minds just cannot comprehend.

I wonder how many times I have hindered myself because I isolated Jesus?

I wonder how many times I have stopped someone else from finding Jesus because I didn’t obey something that I knew I should have?

I wonder how many times I have directly stood in God’s way and have allowed myself to become a stumbling block to someone else?

Paul teaches that we should not cause someone who is weak to stumble because of our choices. (1 Corinthians 8:9).

And again, in Romans 14:13, he says, “make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”  

As Christians, we are called to a higher standard of living.  People around us are always watching us to see what we do.

Is that fair?

Not really, but that’s the way it is.

If others are constantly watching us, then we should live our lives in such a way that it makes them doubt their  unbelief.

[bctt tweet=”Live your life in such a way that it makes others doubt their unbelief in God.”]

5.  God’s plan will always make a way

Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.”

Willful disobedience is wrong.

It hurts us…

It isolates us from fellowship with Jesus…

It turns others who are lost and in need of an experience with their Savior away from Him.  

We can really mess things up by willfully disobeying the Word of God.

Thankfully, He is never surprised by our willful disobedience.

Hebrews 4:13 says, “nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

God has given us a wonderful (although, sometimes it doesn’t feel that way) gift called free will.

God will not control us.  He has given us His Word, our rule book for life, and now its our choice whether we learn it and obey it, or not.

So what is the good news of this lesson?

If my willful disobedience has pushed someone away from God, can they ever find their way back?

YES they can!!  The good news is that God always has a plan!  

In the Scripture in Mark, the man willfully disobeyed Jesus, causing Jesus to be isolated, yet people still came out of the woodwork to find Him!

God is always drawing us to Him in one way or another.

John 6:44 says “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,” and 2 Peter 3:9 says, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

He seeks all people out, He speaks to every one of us as that still small voice inside, then He waits so patiently for us to listen and respond to Him.

God reveals himself to the world through creation and He calls out to us constantly.

Even when we push him away, run from Him, deny Him, persecute Him…  He still pursues us!!

He knows we are going to mess up and yet He still calls us to Him!  

He knows we can never live up to His glory, but instead of just wiping us off the planet, He gave us a Savior.  

He knew we would never “get it” on our own, so He authored the greatest book ever written and freely gave it to us to navigate through this life!

God is GOOD!!!  

Be encouraged!

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:6-8

Blessings and love,

Tiffany

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