Running Barefoot

Spring is trying to come to Wisconsin and I have already noticed those awful prickly weeds starting to grow in our backyard. Our backyard has been notorious for having those weeds that are extremely prickly and if you step on them those prickles get embedded in your feet. My desire for my backyard is for it to be weed free so that my kids would be able to run through the backyard barefoot. I want them to be able to enjoy the summer without a care in the world.

As I've looked at those weeds it has reminded me of marriage and how our marriages provide the "yard" in which our kids play, romp and learn about life.

Malachi 2:15
"Has not the LORD made them one?
In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one?
Because he was seeking godly offspring.
So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith
with the wife of your youth."

I am becoming more aware of the importance of marriage because of its relation to our children. This verse points out that God made us one flesh with our spouse because He desires godly offspring. Marriages provide a foundation for our kids, and it doesn't matter how young, or old they are, your marriage still provides a stability for their identity.

It is very easy for weeds to grow in our marriage "yards." We need to weed our "yards" on a regular basis so that our kids can run through life, enjoying and not worrying about getting hurt in their own yards.

Hebrews 12:14-16
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy;
without holiness no one will see the Lord.
See to it that no one misses the grace of God
and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

One weed that can begin to sneak into marriages is a root of bitterness. Bitterness starts out small and seems like not a big deal, just like those weeds. However, if bitterness is not dealt with, it will get deeply rooted and begin to spread. It might not seem to effect your kids because it is so small but as days and weeks go by it will continue to grow and spread and there will be a day your kids will stumble upon it and it will hurt them. When Mercea was 2 she was running in our backyard and her whole foot got filled with those prickles. It was not a pretty moment.

I don't know where you are in your marriage and whether you have younger or older kids but no matter what I would like to encourage you to do some spring weeding in your marriage "yards." If you need motivation then do it for the sake of your kids. None of us would purposely send our kids out in a yard full of prickly weeds to run around barefoot and get hurt. However, we often allow the weeds of our marriage to get out of control and we end up hurting our kids more than if they would have stepped on real weeds.

Here are some verses that deal with uprooting weeds in the spirit realm:

James 3:13-16
Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that
comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition
in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom"
does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder
and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy
and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Ephesians 4:30-32
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice.
Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Steps to keeping your marriage-yard weed free:
  • Recognize the importance of your marriage and the role it plays for your children's lives
  • Guard your spirit against marriage busters
  • Get rid of the behaviors that create weeds such as, bitterness, anger, envy and selfishness
  • Replace those behaviors with weed-killers: peacefulness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and kindness
My prayer for you and your marriage is that you, your children and your spouse can run barefoot through your "yards" this summer.

Living Somewhere in the Middle

In life, do you ever wish you knew the end of the story when you are somewhere in the middle? Do you think knowing the ending would change how you behave in the middle?

Last weekend was an absolutely crazy weekend for our family and now that it is over I wish I had known the ending somewhere in the middle.

9:00 am – I was having a nice breakfast with my two beautiful sisters. My cellphone rings and my husband informs me that his grandma had a stroke. At that time, it didn't sound good. Fear started rising up, especially since this is my mother-in-law's mom. April is approaching for our family, which will be one year since Nevaeh passed and the last thing we needed for all of our hearts right now was for grandma to take a turn for the worse. My beautiful sisters prayed for me.

12:00 pm – We decide to go to Milwaukee to visit Grandma in the hospital and to see what was going on since we still had no clue on her condition. We were planning on being in Milwaukee the next day to celebrate my husband's birthday so we decide to get a hotel room for the night. Priceline was very good to us and we get a $2 gift certificate for $25 from for dinner. It was at an Irish Pub but but my husband called and made sure kids can eat there. They say sure, at dinner time, no problem.

2:30 pm – We arrive at the hospital and rush inside. We find Grandma's room. Thankfully, she is awake and talking in an understandable way. It appears they caught the stroke very early on and that at this point in time, only her ability to find words was affected, but her speech is understandable and none of her physical movement was affected. We are very grateful.

5:00pm – We return to the car, grateful that it appears Grandma will be okay and ready to start our “vacation.” I go to the driver side door and go to get in. I realize that the window has been smashed out and our GPS was stolen. I tell my husband and a little shocked we proceed back into the hospital to head to security to report what took place.

5:15 I inform security of what happened, there immediate response “Those have been a hot item lately.” Arghhhhhh, it would be nice if you would place a sign letting people know!

5:30 I return to the car with security and my husband is there on his cell phone trying to talk to our insurance company. Just so you know (in case you aren't in insurance) your personal property is not covered by your car insurance it is covered by your homeowners ~ even when it is in your car.

5:30-8pm We spend the next 2.5 hours in a 40 degree parking ramp arguing with our insurance company as to why our car, which is full of glass is not drivable with 2 little kids and why we need a tow and a car to rent. Apparently, there is a storm out East which is not helping things, because we probably spent an hour of that time on hold. In the end, we decide to proceed at our own expense and we have our car towed back to Madison and rent a car. At this point in time, the $$$ signs are adding up in my mind and I realize we will be out $500. Of course, Living above our Circumstances, is ringing through my head throughout the whole day and I am trying to pray and trust God that "even in want," He has our back, even though I'm not feeling it right now.

10:30pm We finally arrive at our hotel and decide to walk down the street to our Irish Pub. It is Saint Patty's weekend, we don't drink, we are not Irish and we have our 2 kids ages 4 and 6 with us! We walk into the bar, with Irish music blasting full blast and ask if we can have our order to go. They say yes. We sit on some benches and wait. My son hops up on some benches and does is own version of a jig for our us. It's a beautiful moment and I am so thankful for my easy going kids.

12:00 am We are in bed for the night.

Monday we get the window fixed at our expense.

Tuesday, I spend 3 hours interviewing insurance companies now that I have experience and know what kind of questions to ask. I send a letter to the hospital to let them know about our experience. AAA wins our new service and we now got $20 for getting a quote from AAA, and we will be saving $100 dollars a year, plus having way better service. Things are beginning to settle a little.

Wednesday at 2:00pm I talk to the hospital and they inform me that if I send in the receipts they will be covering ALL our expenses from the break in. The grand total $497! The relief, priceless!

Thank you for reading our saga! Like I said, if I had known the end somewhere in the middle, some of my responses and attitudes may have been different. I wish I could say, I blew through the trial with flying colors but I didn't.

And Grandma, she came home on Thursday!!!!!!!!!!

Not all stories end with “happy endings” like mine did but what I am continuing to learn throughout it all is that I need to keep my eyes fixed on Him even in the storms, and that ultimately we do know the end, and it will be a happy ending.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Living Above your Circumstances

I currently am reading through the book of Acts and I find it to be an amazing book to read! This week I've been reading about Paul and all the trials he went through and one phrase has been standing out to me:

"after encouraging them he left."

This phrase showed up twice; both times after Paul had been persecuted. The first time it occured was in Acts 16. Paul and Silas had been taken as prisoners and had been beaten. They then had been put in prison and were singing songs of praise. Then God sent an earthquake and shook off their chains. They didn't walk out of prison and take "their rights to be free" rather they took the opportunity to minister to the prison guard and tell them the Good News. The next day after they were released from prison they went back to Lydia's house and they (Paul and Silas) encouraged the believers.

The second time it happened was in Acts 20. The phrase "he encouraged them" followed a time when Paul was being led away from a crowd that was trying to kill him. Once the soldiers knew he was a Roman citizen they released him and he went back to the believers and he encouraged them.

Both of these situations seem backwards to me and to what I've experienced in life. When I have gone through a tough circumstance, I'm the one who is looking to be encouraged. But Paul who went through the difficult circumstances was instead encouraging others. In other writings, we get some hints as to why he is able to do this:

In Acts 21 a prophecy was shared that Paul would be taken prisoner in Jerusalem and beaten. The believers were very upset by this but here is Paul's response:

Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem
for the name of the Lord Jesus. (21:20)

He lived in such a way that his life was not his own and he would be willing to do anything for the name of Jesus.

Then in Philippians 4:11b-13 he says,

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and
every situation, whether well fed or hungry,
whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Paul didn't let his circumstances define his faith, rather he let his faith define his attitude through any circumstance. He didn't get downhearted and discouraged and believe that God had abandoned Him. Instead, he lived in every circumstance THROUGH Him. Everyone knows "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" verse but did you know those verses preceded it? That we can be content in whatever circumstance we go
through because of Him? Often in my life, I think I will be content when .............. happens. Paul's example however has challenged me to reconsider how I walk through any and every circumstance. It has also shown me that Christ truly offers the opportunity to live in a place of contentment through Him with the strength that He provides.

PS Thanks Ms. Latina and Karen for also being part of the inspiration behind this post. Watching the 2 of you walking through your current circumstances have also taught me a thing or two:)

In Christ,

Review: Bibleman: Combatting the Commandment of Confusion

My family and I received a complimentary version of the DVD Bibleman: Combating the Commandment of Confusion: A Bibleman LIVE Adventure from Tommy Nelson Publishing. This was our first family experience with Bibleman.

This particular DVD provides a LIVE experience of Bibleman. It is showing a production they did as a performance for a live audience. The theme of the show was Ephesians 6 the full armor of God.

The kids gave the movie 2 thumbs up. The adults survived the movie! The acting is not spectacular by any means and the Enemy of Confusion was well, confusing. But the Biblical content is supreme and the way Bibleman uses the Scripture to fight the enemy is pretty incredible. If your kids like superheros and the Bible then you might want to try out Bibleman. Just expect 1980's acting and effects and you'll be fine!

Our favorite part of the DVD was the bonus features. They taught the kids an Armor Song where they put on the full armor of God. Also, they did fight training sequence. Here are 2 video clips that show that the video was worth it for us:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Daily Prayer

Disqus for For His Glory Alone


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