He sings…

 

pexels-photo-586415.jpegI recently came across this powerful quote by Oswald Chambers, which I have held onto over the past three weeks.  The quote is this:

“He does not give us overcoming life.

He gives us life to overcome.”

 Two of the past three weeks have been spent at the Hillcrest Hospital.  Our two-year-old Layah had viral meningitis, and last week Mila, who is six years old, was in hospital with a bacterial infection known as “chlamydia pneumonia”.  Please don’t be alarmed.  This form of pneumonia is by no means linked to the sexually transmitted disease.  Please don’t go and google this either…  I warned you. 

Anyway, Dylan has been sick for over a month and I was then bitten by a spider last week! But, the Cherry on the top, is that little Samuel has an enormous red boil… on his little four year old BUM!

Ok, I am aware that this was a complete “overshare”.  Sorry Mila and Samuel, hopefully they will never find out that I shared this information.  But the honest truth is that I have been going through a winter season- a season of stretching, a season of warfare against the enemy, a season of learning to overcome.

I was asked to speak at a woman’s conference at Rec Road Church in Toti on Saturday and as a result of the place I have been in lately, I prepared a message for these women that was more of a call for us to be strong, resilient “Warrior Women”.  I envisioned sharing about how we are called to grip tightly onto the sword of the spirit and thrust the word of God against the onslaught of the enemy, who the bible says is “like a thief that comes to rob, steel kill and destroy, a roaring Lion who constantly seeks whom he will devour.”

But on Friday evening, the first night of the conference, something incredible happened during our worship.  As we repeatedly sang about the “Beautiful Name of Jesus,” I realised that as our praises rose, something powerful was happening in the heavenly realm.

It became so clear to me that as we were singing about His Beautiful Name, He began to respond with songs about ours…

 In Zephaniah 3:17 it says this…
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

On Friday night, as our voices merged with the voices of angels, declaring the magnificent beauty of our Jesus’ name, He responded with songs of delight.  Songs that echoed each one of our names.   Our Mighty Warrior triumphed our battles as He sung our names repeatedly.  He sang our names and rejoiced in the love we poured out to Him.  The Lord was pleased with His daughters, His chosen, beautiful ones.

Then as I drove home this scripture from Song of Songs 4:7 began to resound in my head.  The scripture reads:

“All beautiful you are my love, there is no flaw in you.”

As my Warrior King sang my name on Friday night, He sang the names of every woman in that room.  He sang songs of approval, songs calling us to more. He sang songs of destiny, songs of deliverance. He sang the words “all beautiful you are my darling, there is NO Flaw you.”

And so my message to these ladies changed completely. I sat up until 2am on Friday night, preparing a new message, a word derived from the song that I believe our Father sings over every one of us.  The song He is singing, day after day, month after month, year after year, struggle after struggle, victory after victory.

I have not written a blog post for over a year now, but as this revelation burned on my heart, I felt very strongly that this was something I needed to share.  I really believe that God wants us to become aware of the incredible depths of His love that make up the lyrics of His songs which He is singing over you and me.

I believe there are many types of songs that God sings over us, but there are three that I think are important for us to be aware of right now. 

He sings songs of approval

He sings your name

He sings songs that commission

  1. He sings songs of approval…

In John 15: 16 it says: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

I believe that the song on Gods heart for you at the moment is a song of approval.  So often we are driven by an unspoken need for the approval of man. Instagram is testament to this vain pursuit.  Farcical lives portrayed on the screen of a mobile device, lives that hanker after comments and likes that are no reflection of authenticity.  Man’s approval is a lie and cannot and will not ever sustain the soul. 

Social media aside, what about the way we were brought up?  What about the approval we sought to receive from our parents and teachers that altered the career decisions we made?  What about the approval you long for from your spouse, your children, your employers, your friends?  The approval of man is a vain pursuit.

God has a master plan for our lives and as we “double-tap” OUT of the need for human acceptance and stay still for a moment to hear the sound that resounds from heaven, you will hear the lyrics of a song He sings that say, “you are enough”. 

I remember hearing a story by Kayle Mumby about when he went into nature to wait on and hear God.  God spoke to Kayle about the call on his life and was beckoning him to make a commitment to a life of uncomfortable sacrifice, specifically when it came to his incredible prophetic gift.  Kayle believed God say to him that He would confirm His words to Kayle “like no man ever could”.  At that moment, an enormous owl flew out of nowhere and perched itself on Kayle’s head.  He completely freaked out and eventually the owl flew off. 

The next day, Kayle was speaking to a friend and he relayed the story.  In complete awe, the friend went silent and then began to explain to Kayle how his dad, a pastor at their church, had been preparing to speak that Sunday on how the owl is a sign of the next generation of prophets.

I believe God approves of us and that although we may not all have an angelic or owl encounter, God wants us to listen to the sound of heaven that resounds with the words “I have chosen you, you are enough”.  Press into God and be bold enough to ask him to give you an assurance of His approval through His word, through signs, wonders and spiritual gifts. 

In Galatians, it speaks about how our Faith is credited to us as righteousness, and so we have to believe that God approves of us, even when we don’t approve of ourselves. The reality is that God doesn’t need us to approve of ourselves in order for Him to approve of us.  We don’t influence God’s approval of us.  Your negative self-esteem does not stop Him approving.

But if you want change to happen and you desire to walk into the fullness of what God has called you to, your approval of yourself needs to align with His.  You need to see yourself the way He sees you. 

“All beautiful you are my darling, there is no flaw in you.”

He sings2. He sings your name…

I also believe that God sings your name, in Isaiah 45:2-3 it says:

“He will give you treasures hidden in the darkness- secret riches. He will do this so you may know that He is the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”

When I was pregnant with Layah, before I knew that she was a girl, I prayed for God to tell me exactly what her name ought to be. I knew that He had her destiny marked out for her and that His plans for her would be far greater than what I could ever begin to imagine. Therefore, I did not want us to be the ones to name her. Dylan and I had no name, but we knew Her creator God had one. I was pondering this in the shower one evening and in my mind, I pictured the word “Layah” (I saw this exact spelling) and was intrigued, as I had never seen or heard this name before. I launched out of the shower, simultaneously grabbing my towel and phone so that I could Google the meaning of the name. The name meant “the first flowers of spring”. What was even more awesome was that the very next day was the 1st of September, the day that marks the beginning of Spring. My heart leapt with excitement, I was convinced I was pregnant with a girl. We discovered a few weeks later that she was a girl and so she was immediately named “Layah Joy”.

When Layah was born a friend of my mom’s told me that the ALMOND TREE in the Bible would always produce “the first flowers of spring”. The almond tree produces magnificent blossoms in winter, just before Spring comes and the leaves form. The flowers are white with a delicate pink tinge, soft and fragrant, they break through the bark and cut through a thick wooded seal. In the face of adversity, they break barriers, they push through… they bloom. When I think of this picture I smile, as only an awe-inspiring God, who formed this child in my womb and dreamed about how He wanted her character to be, before time began, knew that she would need to be a boundary breaker! And she is just that… even at the tender age of 2! She is our fire 🔥, our strong-willed child, our fierce one that puts the little boys to shame. She is called to be a flower that breaks through the bark of this world and blooms in a way that is tender, soft and graceful yet undeniably strong.

japanese-cherry-trees-flowers-spring-japanese-flowering-cherry-54630.jpeg

God knows your name.

God sings your name.

God loves your name.

Do you know the meaning of your name?

If the meaning of your name is not a positive meaning, then don’t you worry… your name is not yours anyway. You see, if you have given your life to Jesus He adopts you as His own.  You belong to Him and therefore you are given a new name.  That name is “Christian” which means: “Little Christ”, “anointed one”.  Your name is His name.  His name is yours.  Your name is a beautiful name, there is no flaw in it.

3. He sings songs that commission…

I believe that God sings songs that commission us. In Isaiah 42:6-7 he says:

“I am the LORD; I have called youb in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
7to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.

As you close your eyes, hear the sound of heaven erupt as the Father sings songs that call and commission you to a life that is beyond yourself.  To a life that sings songs of deliverance over the depressed. To a life that shines bright as it sings of freedom-  not only personal freedom but freedom for the people you will set free as you walk in forgiveness. It is time to join with heaven and sing songs of deliverance over those that are unaware of the song God is singing over them.

It is time to sing songs on behalf of those that have lost their voices or who have not yet found them.  For the orphans, little children, the destitute, the broken.  May your life song respond to the song of God that declares that “there is no flaw in you” and commissions to catch the wind of his Holy Spirit and drive freedom and breakthrough for others. 

You may be full of flaws, riddled with self-esteem issues as a result of past hurts and lies believed by the enemy?  Maybe your emotional state is like the Cherry family’s past physical state?  Or maybe you are addicted to the dopamine high of social media, on a permanent Instagram search for mans approval?  Maybe it isn’t Instagram, maybe it’s the lengths you will go to be noticed by a man, or a woman, or your boss?  Maybe you have allowed self-hate or even pride to seep in like a meningeal virus or a chlamydia pneumonia?  Or you are holding onto offence; offences that are sitting like a boil on your bum and it’s hard to sit.

No matter what the state of your life and heart is today, God does not look at your mess. Your sickness. Your boils.  When he looks on you he sees the sacrifice of Jesus and His blood shed on the cross to cleanse us from the mess.  He sees the finished work of Jesus Christ that makes you pure and blameless, flawless and beautiful, before the lover of your soul.

Song of Songs 4: 9 & 10 go onto say the following…

9You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes.
10How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!

 

Four ways to make a difference

10441913_10152655687011402_7458267213405799139_n
Pic by my late friend Andy Carrie (someone who helped inspire my vision).

 2017 is the year to shine, a year for taking no prisoners.  This is your year!

We are notoriously accustomed to entering January charged up and rearing to go.  Our resolutions and goals are noted and our dreams are alive – we intend to change but our plans often remain just that, good plans.  Our lack of “know how”, our feelings of inadequacy or our habits of comparing ourselves to others slowly start to erode our good intentions.  We are left with a sense of disillusionment when we look back, suddenly aware that four months have passed and we’ve become caught in the web of busyness, not having actually achieved much at all.

As a working mom of three little children (with one that still wakes up through the night to be breastfed. Don’t worry, it will stop soon, just haven’t had the strength to wean her!) this feeling is all too familiar.  But this year it is going to be different.

This year I am stirred with not only a dream but a vision.  Inspiring author, Andy Stanley, says: “Dreamers dream about things being different.  Visionaries envision themselves making a difference.” 

This statement for me was a catalyst for change.

The light was turned on when I realised the significance of a vision. The difference between who you are and what you want to be, is what you do, and a vision guides that “what you do”.  What you do to make a difference to not only your own life but the lives of those around you, is the very essence of what will put you in the place you dream of being. My mom has a beautiful saying that she truly lives by – she says “there is nothing more therapeutic to the human soul than to do something for someone else.” (Quote by Nadine Wright)

  1. Find out what dissatisfies you the most. Let this stir you from deep within.

I believe that a vision comes from a place of angst.  It may be injustice, people with unrealised potential, inequality, poor service in your industry, bad creative content, stupid ideas or over-complicated processes.  Whatever it is that dissatisfies you the most – herein lies the key to the vision that will cause you to rise up.

  1. Have a strategy, a detailed plan and a set of goals.

I believe that the recipe to achieving your vision is a combination of a clear strategy (which is a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim), great faith, great connections and a whole lot of passionate prayer.  If you don’t pray, maybe you should try!  Wonderful things always happen when I pray detailed and specific prayers.

  1. Fan your flame of passion

When one is fuelled by passion and driven by a clearly defined strategy one can walk confident, unperturbed by what others around might say.  Passion fuels perseverance, courage and character and these qualities are what you will need when life throws curve balls.

How does one stir up passion?

Surround yourself with passionate people.  Read passionate books.

My good friend of mine says “find ways to do what makes you come alive and make time to do these things, not only on the weekend or when on holiday, but every day.”

  1. Be generous with YOUR gifts

There is a scripture in the bible (Proverb 18v16) that says “a gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”

Use the gifts you have been given as these are the very tools to unlock the God-given purposes in you.

If you are an accountant don’t dream of being an artist (unless you are gifted at both art and accounting – there are some of those).  Don’t compare and wish for the gifts of another, walk boldly in the talents and abilities that were given to you.

If you don’t know what these are then ask those closest to you to help identify them.  We all have gifts and they are meant to be “given”, not stored up but generously displayed for the world to see.

I think it’s time. Let’s change the world together…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnant with swine flu, pneumonia and an insurmountable work-load…

IMG_0768

This was the state I was in two months ago, I was “knocked up” and down (both at the same time)!  This is the reason it has been two months since I have had the strength and capacity to write.

It’s incredible what being so sick, never mind pregnant and unable to medicate myself with anything other than panado (does nothing), can do to ones energy and frame of mind.  It’s taken me over a month to recover but I’m pleased to say that I’m back!  I would like to share my thoughts on what my “winter season” has taught me and hopefully inspire you acknowledge the season you are in without allowing your physical and emotional state to govern your actions and life-decisions.

At this time I felt weak, emotional, self-absorbed and downright pitiful, in spite of the fact that I had just received the most incredible news of a miracle growing inside of me.  I began to question where I was at in terms of running my business as well as my capacity as a mother who longed for rest.  I felt overwhelmed with the responsibilities I had to face with a husband who is not around at the moment (studying an MBA).  I was on the brink of complete burn out when all I needed to do was lift my eyes to heaven and “weather the storm”.

Four things I learnt that I should and should not do in “winter”:

1.  I should avoid making life-altering decisions that could drastically change my coarse- the fog of my emotions can lead me off course.

2. Avoid “venting” and complaining, it causes distress and confusion for myself and those around me.

3. Cover myself in a blanket of prayer.

4. I should make time for rest (something I am terrible at doing), after all it’s great to “sleep in” when the wind is howling outside.

As I look back I am reminded of Psalm 84: 5-6 that speaks about “passing through the Valley of Baka”.  The Valley of Baka is the valley of tears.  It’s the valley we go through that is characterised by fear, doubt, depression and weakness, this scripture gives a new perspective on what we should do when in this place.

5What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD,

who have set their minds on a journey with God.

6When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,b

it will become a place of refreshing springs.

The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

7They will continue to grow stronger,

and each of them will appear before God.

In John 16:33 it says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  

The reality for me is that when I look to myself as apposed to God I become disillusioned, I lose perspective and all contentment disappears in my futile striving for something “better”.  It’s in these seasons that we see people let go of their marriages, start adopting self-destructive habits in attempt to gain momentary pleasure, let go of God-given gifts and talents as well as opportunities.  It’s when we allow the winter season to overcome us that we live for the now without the understanding that “this too shall pass” and that summer will come.  We attempt to take control, to “fix the problem” rather that merely surrender to a God who loves us and longs to take us by the hand and reassure us that He overcame it all for us.

There’s a story in Matthew 8:26 that applies to this very state we get ourselves into: verse 23 “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping (what the heck?). 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”(I can relate to this fear of drowning) 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid ?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  (Jesus is the one who made it calm)

Im pleased to say that my winter has now passed and life is good.  I have a protruding belly and bum (they get really big the third time around), a holiday booked in December, a great business, a loving marriage and two beautiful children.  I have never felt so full of contentment and vigour.  When I close my eyes and think of Jesus, I see his smile.  The storm did pass and I am stronger for it.

May your valley’s become a refreshing spring and may you be strong.

He is good.

Peace…

 

A love letter to my daughter

Dear Mila

Four years ago at 5h10am, after 27 hours of labour and a failed epidural, I gave birth to a miracle- that miracle was you.

My heart almost stopped beating when your limp and tired body was taken from mine.  The nurse was instructed by the doctor to rub you in order to get you to cry.  Hot tears flowed down my cheeks as they suctioned your nose to get you to breath.  When they handed you back to me, your naked skin on mine, I knew my life was changed forever.

You are the delight of my heart.  Each moment I look into your flawless face and dark brown eyes, I stand in awe of a God that is a God of purpose, of intention.  He searched you and he knew you even before you were conceived.  He knew that one day He would create a child that was so full of passion and desire to love and be loved.  A sensitive soul with an inquiring mind.  A creative genius who would one day think up ideas others never had, a child who would hear the whispers of Heaven and follow their trail toward greatness.  His eyes saw your unformed body and he mapped out your days in His book, even before any of them came about.

Then, in a secret place, when the time was perfect He began His work, His masterpiece.  He had planned everything to perfection.  He knew exactly what to do.  He knitted you together in my womb and spoke words of life, blessing and praise as He pondered over the joy you would one day bring, immeasurable, unquenchable joy to all around you.  He saw His work and beamed with pride at how wonderful you are, how fearfully and wonderfully you had been created.  He then spoke and said, “Her name must be Mila Grace, which means favoured one, covered by the unmerited favour of God.”  He then made a declaration over you that could never be broken and it was this:

” I have searched you Mila, and I know you, I will know when you sit and when you rise, I perceive all of your thoughts from afar.  I discern your going out and your lying down; I will be familiar with all of your ways.  Before a word is on your tongue, I will know it completely. I will draw you into me on every side and I will always have my hand upon you.  You can’t run away from my Spirit, my thoughts for you outnumber the grains of sand in all the universe.  I will search your heart and know you, I will create in you a pure heart and I will renew a steadfast spirit within you.  You are mine, I will never leave you.  Look to me, my radiant one and your face will never be covered with shame.  You will have choices to make.  I will set before you blessing and curses to choose, but CHOOSE LIFE.  As you make me your delight I will give you all the desires of your heart.  Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.  Anything you ask of me, according to my will will be granted.  The price has been paid in full, you are free.  I have called you for such a time as this so go, run free.  I will make your feet like the feet of a deer so that you may reach the very heights of all that I have to offer you.  Do not hold back, Be BOLD and very courageous. Do not be afraid, remember I am with you and I will never leave you nor forsake you.  My plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, they are yo give you a hope and a future.  You are mine.   Adventure with me Mila on this journey called life.  It will be wild it will be good.”

We love you more than words could ever express and we praise God for giving us the privilege of raising you as our daughter.  It is a job we do not take lightly.  We have dedicated you to Him and pray that you would always choose to run free in the paths of His commands, the paths that lead to a life of fullness and joy.

I will love you forever, unconditionally, immeasurably much.

Love Mom

The words of promise from God to us, are taken form the following scripture references: 

Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29:11, Deuteronomy 30:19, Psalm 37:4, Matthew 7:8, Acts 1:8, Psalm 2:8, Galatians 5:1, Esther 4:14, Psalm 18:33, Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6
281955_10150261369157044_5187004_n 283455_10150261370542044_3109936_n 282102_10150261370857044_3397101_n
265151_10150261369577044_3114849_n 265030_10150261371052044_1413164_n

283413_10150261369447044_6535479_n 282782_10150261370007044_2703831_n 271192_10150261371287044_6498295_n 268368_10150261370082044_3060183_n 269669_10150261371387044_245411_n 270447_10150261370427044_6164798_n 281712_10150261370712044_4235969_n

Mila at only a few days old.  Pic’s taken by my beautiful friend Kristy Carlson.

Lemon cake and the love language of quality time.

I am sure you have all heard of Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages”, if not, I can highly recommend this read for anyone wishing to love with intention, in a way that speaks to the unique make-up of the individual you love.  Chapman’s book outlines five ways to express and experience love: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch.  Chapman uses the metaphor of a ‘love tank’ to explain peoples’ need to be loved.  To discover ones unique love language, one must observe the way your loved one expresses love to others, people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love.

Whilst I completely agree with Gary Chapman’s theory I truly believe that every child speaks or yearns to be spoken to in the love language of “quality time”.  I have noticed how Mila’s good behaviour diminishes when I am stressed and preoccupied.  When I am rushing from one meeting and task to the next and have not taken the time to engage with her, to talk and play with her, to look into her eyes and care for her emotional needs.  I am reminded of the saying, “if the devil cannot make you bad, he will make you busy”.  I have noticed that when I am too busy my tolerance levels toward my children become depleated.  It’s as if they call out through the whirlwind of life to be noticed, to be embraced.  Baking with a child is a time for imparting knowledge, giving affection and talking about life lessons.  Baking can be a time for thinking, breathing and being at peace.

So last Sunday we decided to bake a delicious LEMON CAKE.  This VERY simple and delicious recipe was passed on to me from my friend Janine Day who I am sure also received it from a friend, who received it from another friend.  It’s one of those recipe’s people will ask you to send to them.  The cake is so easy to make, its extremely moist and light.  Please feel free to share it with others as I share it with you today.  I hope you have as much fun baking it with your loved ones as I did.  This Sunday is my sister Chan’s birthday lunch and so we will be making a birthday cake on Saturday to eat on Sunday.

Here it goes…

LEMON CAKE

Ingredients:

-110 grams of Butter (room temperature)

-1 Cup of Castor Sugar

-2 Large Eggs (room temperature)

-1 and 1/2 cups of self raising flour

-1/2 cup of milk

-1/4 tsp salt

-Rind of Large Lemon

Method:

Cream butter and sugar and beat eggs in one at a time.

Beat well.  Sift flour and salt and add alternately with milk, add the lemon rind.

Pour into greased loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a plate.  Pour over the juice.

The Juice:

1/2 Cup of castor sugar and 1/2 a cup of lemon juice.

Stir over heat to dissolve the sugar.

Pour over the hot cake and leave it to cool.

IMG_8843

IMG_8877

IMG_8875

IMG_8878

5 ways to pass the “Seven Year Itch”.

So yesterday was our eight year wedding anniversary.  We survived the “seven year itch”.  This is a term used by psychologists and portrayed in the 1955 romantic comedy, “The Seven Year Itch”, featuring Marilyn Monroe and Richard Sherman.  The movie contains one of the most iconic images of the 20th century – Monroe standing on a subway grate as her white dress is blown by a passing train. The phrase, refers to a declining interest in a monogamous relationship after seven years of marriage.

As I think back over the past eight years, I believe it is choices that have led us to where we are today.  My marriage is by no means perfect (especially whilst Dylan is studying his MBA aka “the divorce coarse”) but one thing I do know is that being in love with my man is a daily decision.   Perhaps you are a newly wed, or you are going onto seven years of marriage, maybe you are divorced or aren’t yet married at all?  Wherever you find yourself on your journey toward love, my hope is that these words might inspire you to keep going, to hold on, to choose love, to choose life…together.

1. My mind- a war zone of fantasy

The power of the mind is immeasurable.  It’s like a war zone.  Unless you are armed and ready for the thoughts that come to ambush you, you will more than likely be defeated.  The result is dwindling pleasure and mutual fulfilment within marriage or worst case scenario, divorce .

Many of us have had past romances.  Relationships with people whether long term or short, have a lasting impact on us whether we like it or not.  We cannot help but carry pieces of our past into the future- call it what you will but this is “baggage”.  My constant challenge to myself is to choose life in the area of my thoughts, to choose to let go of the past especially in those moments when marriage is tough and “the love flame” is more a soldering wick than a burning flame.  When “thoughts of doubt”, or “wondering thoughts” regarding past relationships or even people that showed an interest come to plague- take these thoughts captive and destroy them immediately.

I choose to stare decieving thoughts in the face and then smash them down!  They must GO because if I indulge them I will go on a destructive journey toward brokenness in my marriage.

I believe that an adulterous affair started with a mere thought that became a fantasy, that then progressed into an “itch” and then an action.  The result: utter brokenness.

2.  “Love is not a feeling it’s an act of your will, it’s devotion not emotion”- MIC (a popular Christian rap band in the 90’s)

Love is a choice.  I believe that the term “soul mate” is a false reality.  There is not only one person one can fall in love with.  We choose love.  Love is a verb, it’s patient, its kind, love chooses not to be envious, it chooses not to boast, love chooses not to be proud or rude or to become easily angered.  Love does not  enjoy lies but searches for truth and meaning, for purpose.  Love always trusts, always hopes, it chooses to persevere against all odds.  Love chooses not to fail but to win  (my version of 1 Corinthians 13).  Yes, of coarse we fail to match up to these love qualities on a regular basis but when we slip up, love chooses to fail forward, to dust oneself off and try again.

3.   Be grateful- it’s all about perspective.

I think we often get caught up with ourselves.  Entangled in self pity and constrained by habits of comparing ourselves with others.  My very wise sister in law once said these words, “COMPARE AND DIE”.  This is a statement I have always held onto.  Comparisons kill us on the inside.  I know that I battle to be truly grateful for what I have when I compare my possessions and my husbands qualities and actions with the possessions and husband’s of others.

We are all filled with flaws and so I believe that in marriage we need to choose not to look at eachothers others faults but to rather focus on the good.

“All beautiful you are my darling, there is no flaw in you” needs to be the anthem of our hearts- even though our partner farts in bed sometimes and in seasons of stress may fail to pay us the attention we so long for.  It’s all about choice.

4.  Love and Respect

The bible speaks about how wives are to respect their husbands and husbands are to love their wives.  See it as a circle of “what goes around comes around”.  If a wife affirms and respects her husband (even in moments when he is undeserving of it) he will automatically respond with love and she will then give more respect.  Men and woman have been wired this way and believe me, I have tried this, it works well!  When we as woman nag and complain, bicker and shout- the love tanks we so desperately long for our men to fill will remain empty.

5. Forgive and Forget

Growing up my mom would always say “un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”.  We have to choose to forgive ourselves and to forgive others.  Sometimes we have every right to be bitter but “bitter waters defile many”.  Streams of bitterness will flow from the depths of your heart and muddy the pools of the lives that are closest to you -i.e. your husband, your children and the lives that they will one day impact.

I hope that my thoughts will ring true to you and in some way or form help with you never succumb to any “itching”.

Here are a few pics from our wedding day eight years ago.  It was a very happy day, a day filled with promise and purpose.

DSCF2239 copy 2

DSCF2306 c1

DSCF2320 copy

DSCF2439 copy

DSCF0023 copy

DSCF0020 c1