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The friendship challenge!

God has so blessed me.

I have attached my devotion from today into this post; its too good not to share. Lysa TerKeurst, one of my newest favourite writers has given a message in this devotion that burns on my heart as well. I know her thoughts and wisdoms to be true because they exist in my life. God has given me a wonderful friend to be vulnerable, exposed and uncovered with. I’ll let you read Lysa’s thoughts and then I will continue with my post below that 🙂

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The Friendship Challenge
Lysa TerKeurst

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (NIV)

A woman becomes tender when she reveals her vulnerabilities.

A woman becomes transparent when she exposes her wounds.

A woman becomes authentic when she uncovers her insecurities.

And there aren’t many women who enjoy being revealed, exposed, and uncovered. But establishing real intimacy with another person requires pushing past the resistance—past the fear.

Friendship is risky.

To be known is to risk being hurt. But friendship can be beautiful, and worth the risk.

We can look to the Bible for examples of monumental friendships. In 1 Samuel 18 we learn about the special friendship between David and Jonathan, an example of a true bond. When Jonathan’s father, King Saul, threatened David with death, Jonathan risked his position in his father’s household and warned his friend.

Jonathan and David’s friendship lasted their lifetime, and because of Jonathan’s loyalty to David, the Lord blessed them both. David eventually became king, but by then Jonathan had died. David inquired, “‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?'” (2 Samuel 9:1b NIV).

Don’t miss this beauty: it was customary for the present king to put to death any of the former king’s family. However, because of his and Jonathan’s strong friendship, King David tenderly provided for Jonathan’s son. “I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table” (2 Samuel 9:7b NIV). “So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons” (2 Samuel 9:11b NIV).

Awesome. Inspiring. Friendship.

Yes, friendship is beautiful. The Lord gave it to us. He knew we would need each other to get through this life.

Think about a friend you can make an investment in.

Not the friend with whom you feel most comfortable. But rather one who might benefit from seeing a little more of your tenderness, transparency, and authenticity. Someone who might be worth a risk.

Someone in your sphere of influence is desperate to know someone else understands.

Might we take three steps and give ourselves a friendship challenge? Here are three things you can do to invest in a friend:

1) Have a conversation with her in which you honestly admit one of your vulnerabilities. Chances are she’ll reveal something to you as well. Then really commit to pray for her. Maybe wear a watch or bracelet and every time you’re distracted by it, use this as a prompt to carry her burden in your prayers.

2) Buy or make this friend a gift. Just because. It doesn’t have to cost much. But make an investment of time to think of something that would personally delight her.

3) Write your friend a note to attach to the gift. In the letter, tell her at least three things you admire about her and some way she’s made a difference in your life.

Then deliver this little “just because” gift and note to your friend. This friend who sometimes feels a little vulnerable. Wounded. Exposed in some way.

Your honesty and thoughtfulness will be such a sweet investment.

For her.

For you.

For your friendship.

Are you up for taking the friendship challenge?

Dear Lord, thank You for all of the friendships and beautiful blessings You have placed in my life. Help me to see this challenge as a sweet reminder to show Your love to those around me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Reflect and Respond:
Write down the name of the friend or friends you chose for the friendship challenge. Don’t wait until later. Your friend will thank you!

Power Verses:
Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times …” (NIV)

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God has so blessed me with an absolutely incredible friend. It’s funny, looking back I would have considered her a pretty good friend the whole time I’ve known her; but I believe God scheduled a divine appointment one day. He created a time for us to connect as sisters in Christ; to be vulnerable, exposed and uncovered with each other. That day, she became so much more than my good friend; she became my very best friend. My soul sister!

I thank God every day for Cindy. She has been such an amazing blessing in my life.

I ‘dare’ you to take Lysa’s challenge. Us ladies need another Godly woman in our lives to come along side of us and hold us up during the battles of this life; to offer a different perspective when we can’t see past our own ‘stuff’.

Thank you God SO much for Cindy! Your word describes a friend that ‘picks up’ the other when they fall down and I thank you for placing that very kind of friend in my life. A friend that loves like you do; who knows me…all of the good and all of the ugly…..and loves me anyway. A friend that is faithful and true. I thank you God for this blessing in my life and I pray specifically for those ladies out there that need a friend like I have found. Please bless them, Father. Show them that they do not need to battle alone! I ask this in your precious name, Amen!

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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Christian

 

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There is great purpose in ‘the wait’!

“Wait for The Lord; be strong and take heart and WAIT for The Lord!” Psalm 27:14

I start getting jittery when my school boy dilly dally’s at the door when it’s time to catch the bus, or when I’m doing research online and the Internet is slow, or when I ask my hubby to take out the garbage and its not done an hour later, or when I know a box from home has been sent in the mail and I know I have to wait a week to peek inside, or even when I have prayed for something and don’t hear an instant answer. I struggle with having patience….they don’t come easy for me!

In our hurry-up, need it, gotta-have-it-now culture, it’s so easy to think we should not have to wait. That way of thinking comes naturally as we are bombarded with short-cuts in all aspects of our every day life. Just take a moment and ponder our reality: in just a few moments I will click “publish” and thousands of you out there will instantly be free to read this post, in seconds we can know the weather anywhere around the globe because of Internet technology, by the click of a button we can pre-warm our vehicles while we scurry around the house getting ready for work, we can move dinner from the freezer to the table in 5 minutes thanks to microwaves, we can even eliminate a trip to the mall and shop from almost anything online! No wonder waiting is hard!!!

If we allow it, our waiting will bring us to an intimate knowledge of God that we would not have if ‘the wait’ was eliminated. Have you ever heard yourself asking “Why did God allow this to happen to me?!”

God does not ignore the cries of his children. King David cried out, begged and pleaded with God for help, intervention and defence throughout the psalms. God never let him down.

Our waiting has purpose.

What a great example King David’s life is for ‘waiting.’ Waiting is more comforting and less difficult when we allow God in to do his work during the waiting season. When we allow our guards down we will be more open to see how faithful he is to bring his plans for our lives into fullness.

I love the saying “If he will bring you to it, he will bring you through it.” I’ve seen very real examples of that in my ministry as well as many times throughout my own life. How faithful and true our God is!!!

Oh, God. Please help me with ‘the wait.’ Please remind me that there is divine purpose for this period of time that my flesh so wants to resist. I want to wait well. I want to be patient as you bring your plans for my life into fullness. I can’t do this life without you. In your name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Christian

 

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Identity Crisis?!

My sisters, listen up!!

As women we are uniquely wired with an abundance of emotions. We tend to take everything to heart and even base our identity on the intense emotions that we have flowing inside! Sometimes this very fact is quite detrimental to our ultimate goal of being more like Christ.

Situations take place in our lives on a daily basis. Situations with our spouse, with our children, with our family, with our friends, with our finances, with our health….etc, you get the picture.

I have some profound perspective for you….Don’t place the whole of your identity into the smallness of your situation.

In other words, don’t allow your emotions to take over. You risk allowing those emotions to cloud the very reason God has brought you to your situation.

Yes, he brought you to it. And if he brought you to it; he will bring you through it. Allow him to build your character through your situation.

“God lives fully in Christ. And you have been given fullness of Christ.”(Colossians 2:9-10)

Your situation (no matter what it is) is small from our great God’s perspective. Minuscule, in fact. He is waiting for you to give the whole of your identity over to him so he can fill you with the fullness of himself.

I have been given fullness. I am filled up by Christ. With acceptance. With love. With all the fullness of an identity that can’t be shaken.

I can place the wholeness of my identity in that reality … and see everything else as small in comparison. It’s not always easy; it’s actually pretty tough….but receiving the fullness of Christ and trusting him with my situations have been far more productive and worthwhile that trying to do things on my own.

My precious heavenly Father, I praise You for Your faithfulness to me in every situation. I don’t want to get hung up on the small things of this world. Please help me to place the wholeness of my identity in who You are and the everlasting acceptance that You provide. In Your Name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Christian

 

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A New Kinda Lov-er!

Romans 12:2b, “…let God transform you into a new person.”

Through many circumstances; bible studies, small groups, wise friendships, devotions, etc., this past year has been a year of Mandy’s changing heart. God has truly been teaching me a new way to love….

I, with my precious friend Cindy, am leading our youth girls in a book study called “When God writes your love story.” It’s a great book encouraging us to give God the pen to our romance….we trust God with lots of things…..Finances, health, careers, family, etc….but we often forget that God is the incredible author of romance as well. Why not trust him with our love life in addition to all those other things?

Throughout this year of many lessons on how to love my very best friend and husband Nathan….I have learned that real and true love boils down to this gold-trimmed lesson:

“Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, {I) should humbly be moved to treat {Nathan} as more important than {myself}. {That I} should be concerned not only about {my} own interests, but about the interests of {Nathan} as well.” Philippians 2:3-4 emphasis added.

I will admit I struggle with this! In fact I’ll also admit I’m TERRIBLE at it. It is an incredibly difficult battle with human nature (and our tendency to choose selfishness over selflessness) to put someone else’s needs before your own. It takes a great deal of vulnerability and compromise and most certainly the grace of our Lord! But it is absolutely what we are being asked to do.

Our culture does not support this way of loving. Culture instead implies that love is a feeling that is fleeting. You fall in, you fall out; and that’s ok. It’s not something that needs work- it should just ‘happen’. True God-ordained love is actually quite contrary to our culture’s belief on love:

First of all, love is not a feeling. It is a choice. Attraction is certainly a part of falling in love, chemistry between two people is absolutely the icing on the cake. But those things fade if we don’t have a foundation laid firmly to support and strengthen them. We must choose to love; an unconditional kind of love. A love that says ‘although sometimes you may hurt me, sometimes you may fail me, sometimes life might be a lot less than perfect but I will still choose to love you anyway.’
Isn’t that how Christ loves us? We sin against him every single day- yet his mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions do not fail. They are new every morning: great is his faithfulness.)
And doesn’t he ask us to love one another as he loves us? (John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”)

Second of all, people fall in and fall out because there is a complete disregard to that gold-trimmed lesson I mentioned above. You know…Philippians 2:3-4?! Remember that one? Putting your spouse before yourself?! It’s hard to do; I get that. But, if you want to make it work it’s absolutely necessary. Living life for yourself is no longer gratifying, it’s a hindrance.

And lastly love absolutely takes work. It certainly does not just happen! While dating we tend to go out of our way to love on that special guy/girl! We then expect marriage to take care of itself; we have already won the prize, what’s left to work for?
EVERYTHING!
Think about it, how different would it be for our marriages if we treated our married life like our dating life? I think we’d be quite surprised by the outcome! Dating shouldn’t cease where marriage begins…it’s something that should continue on for our lifetime…don’t you think?

I am so thankful that God is showing me how to love. I am a work in progress that is for sure, but my heart absolutely wants to honour God and I am enjoying learning how to do that.

Thank you God for bringing my wonderful husband Nathan into my life! Thank you that I have found a true friend in him, someone to trust and love and live life with. Help me to be so very mindful to put his interests, wants and needs above my own. I pray that you will help me to love him with a love that is unconditional; the very kind of love you love us with. Go before us and cancel all the enemies plans of de-railing this love that you have surely brought together. Please continue to bless and grow our marriage in a way that glorifies you. In Your name, Amen!!

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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Christian

 

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Hubby: Spiritual Leader!

I read this today and had to share! I believe one of our roles as Christian wives is to allow our husband room to grow as leader of our home. We may not agree with every decision, we may even feel we could do things ‘better’ however, I think we will be blessed by making the decision to allow our Heavenly Father to guide our husbands and giving them the space to grow into the spiritual leaders God has made them to be.

Read below- praying you feel blessed by this blog post!

Admittedly, I’m not the most decisive of women. There are many times, like when I was buying our washing machine, and I wished that my husband would just pick which one we should buy instead of letting me make the call.

You see, I’m happy to let him make the decision—as long as it’s one I’m happy with.

I believe that the role of a husband is to be a leader for his family, to be their shepherd guarding them in safety and guiding them to the best pasture. I believe this is the role that God has called husbands to and, in doing so, He will equip them to make the decisions necessary.

However, that all comes into question when my husband has the choice to say ‘No,’ when I am looking for ‘Yes.’ It’s in those times that I want to grab the shepherd’s hook from his hands and tell him, ‘Here, we’re going this way.’ Essentially, I can be afraid of what his decision might be.

It’s been a journey for me to learn to let go of the decision-making ropes and watch my husband flourish as he takes up the reins. It’s been a journey for me to take this step of faith—to trust our lives in his hands—and watch how beautifully they’ve all worked out.

When we were first married, I was keenly aware of this need to allow my husband to make decisions for us. I had to make the choice to step back and let him do this for us. One of the first decisions I handed over to him was that of our finances. It was not because I do not like numbers; in fact, the opposite is true. I have tracked my spending for years, always searched out the best interest rates, and got straight A’s in calculus and economics.

But I knew that for my husband to grow into his own as a leader for our family, I needed to start learning how to step out of the way. At first this was difficult, especially when I saw how much we were spending on eating out and other miscellaneous purchases. I wanted to put my foot down and say, ‘No, we are not spending money on that.’

Instead, I swallowed the words and waited. We kept a budget and soon, by his lead, we were reigning in our spending. Soon, we paid off all our debt. Then, we rejoiced when we saw that our eating out budget had hit $0 for the month.

I trusted him with those financial decisions and then watched as they blossomed—and continue to do so—under his care.

When we were deciding on a church to attend, I made the intentional choice to let him make the final call. We talked about our opinions, I told him which ones I definitely did not want to attend and then let him make the final decision between the two that remained.

Truth be told, I had a favorite. But I did not tell him because I did not want to bias his decision-making. Because this was a big decision for us spiritually, and because I believe that his role is to be our spiritual leader, I deferred to him. And then he picked the other church. For a time, I was really disappointed, but today I know that he did in fact make the right decision for us as we’ve really developed a family at our church and been able to dig deep roots there.

Each time that I’ve consciously stepped back and let my husband make a decision for us, my trust for him has grown tremendously. I’ve seen how submission can be beautiful and how the Lord has blessed his decision-making skills. I’ve seen firsthand how he really does take my needs, feelings and future into account—his love manifested in his leadership.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Christian

 

Today I give thanks….

“Every blessing you pour out I’ll, turn back to you…..”

211. Spending the weekend with one of our favorite couples, starting to shop for the people on our Christmas list! Such a fun weekend!

212. Our church family!! Such a wonderful group of people 🙂

213. Fresh fall air!

214. Days off with hubby and the kids! We may not do anything at all but stay home- so long as we spend it together!!

215. Hubby’s birthday and 30 candles! Those 30 candles represent some pretty eventful and successful years!! So proud of him!!

216. Celebrating hubby’s birthday with our wonderful friends enjoying cake ( fruit for me!) and lots of other treats!!!

217. An evening with another couple whom we dearly love including: dinner, church and some late cross-border shopping!!!

218. Answered prayers for a dear friend! So many things plaguing her at once- but she’s feeling better every day! So thankful for that!

219. Two beautiful kids that I just can’t get enough of! I am so blessed!!

220. For a lady that God has placed in my life that is such a great inspiration. She never complains. She never utters a negative word. She’s sweet. She’s kind. And she loves with her whole heart!!

221. For a Starbucks date with two of my favorite ladies!!! Tall pumpkin spice (skinny) latte- I’ve been soooo waiting for you!!

222. For will that I didn’t know I had in me while on this crazy diet!!…. And for friends that are going alongside of me and supporting me along the way!! Down 16.5 pounds to date!!! YAY!!

223. For a girls ministry vision that has captured a couple of our hearts and is very successfully being carried through!! Looking forward to the first night of our THIRD semester of “Girls Night Out!”

224. For games nights – finally – planned again!! 2 of our own babies and 1 of theirs may have set us off track for a couple of years but I’m back in the swing of things and am ready to compete!!!

225. In-laws upcoming visit! Really looking forward to having family here over thanksgiving!!!

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Christian, Uncategorized

 

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Blessings all mine…with 10,000 beside!!

There is always time to give a little gratitude! Even on the most miserable day all I need to do is step back and I’m reminded of how blessed I am!

“Blessings all mine…with 10,000 beside!!”

Great is HIS faithfulness 🙂

191. A day at cedar point going from ride to ride sharing laughs with some of my favorite people!

192. Wonderful friends who care for our children like family when hubby and I have appointments.

193. Trip home to Halifax!!

194. Holding new baby niece for the very first time! How tiny and sweet.

195. Ocean air! Absolutely nothing like it!!!

196. Baby dedication and special cake for the celebration!
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197. Apple picking with the family!

198. Movie night with the sister- and the laughs that followed!

199. Babysitting new baby niece and little nephew! So much fun. SO much chaos!…. But, so much fun!!

200. A hairdresser for a Mama!

201. Special morning out with my Nanny! Visit to the place where she grew up- lots of stories and laughs. Trip to Peggy’s Cove and then lunch at the Sou’ Wester overlooking the beautiful ocean! Such a special time!!

202. Afternoon shopping with my Mama and little girl!

203. Visiting my other Nanny with my little girl, Dad and Mama! Tasting her crunchy peanut butter cookies and wishing once again I could bake like her! (You should taste her pie- oh my!)

204. Safe arrival home to Essex and being greeted by hubby and the cutest little man in the world!!

205. Bright pink gerbera daisies from hubs and sweet little man to welcome little girl and I home!

206. Little boy learning SO much! (he loves to read and has memorized his second book!!!)

207. Friends getting together after being away!! Always so much fun and always lots of laughs.

208. Welcome home email from a girl who always knows how to make me smile!

209. Putting together a surprise for a couple we absolutely adore.

210. “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow….”

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2011 in Christian, Uncategorized

 

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