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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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The Eagle…

Do you know that when the ‘Eagle’ mates, it mates for Life?!

Do you know that the female eagle very carefully chooses said mate by testing several male eagles before actually settling on her life partner?

Girls, listen up! This is for you! A lot can be learned from the actions of a female eagle!

Guys, there is something for you to learn too! So don’t leave just yet! 🙂

First of all let me explain to you how the female eagle chooses her mate:

When it comes time for the female Eagle to choose her
mate, she prepares herself for many suitors. She looks them over quite well and
then picks one to fly with for awhile. If she likes
the way he flies she finds a small stick, picks it up
and flies high with it. At some point she will drop
the stick to see if the male can catch it. If he does,
then she finds a larger stick and flies with it much
higher this time. Each time the male catches the
sticks, she continues to pick up larger and larger
sticks. When she finds the largest, heaviest stick
that she herself can carry (the stick is at this point
almost the size of a small log, but she can still fly
very high with this large stick) she throws it down as the final part of this test. 
 At any time in this process, if the male fails to
catch the stick, she flies away from him as her signal
that the test is now over. She begins her search all
over again. And when she again finds a male she is
interested in, she starts testing him in the exact
same way. And she will continue this “testing” until
she finds the male Eagle who can catch all the sticks.

Another test she will do is during their courtship. The female will fly to the highest heights and then free-fall to the ground. The male will then swoop down and lock talons with her. She will fall as low as she possibly can to see if the male eagle will stay with her protecting her even from death. If he passes this test, he conveys a simple message: he is committed to her.

And when a male eagle does pass all her tests, she chooses him, and will mate with
him for life.

So, girls, what do you have to learn from the eagle?!…

Well, let’s start with this:  What qualities are you looking for in your future husband….?! Do you want a man that is committed to you, until death?! How well are you ‘testing’ your suitors before you give them a full time position in your life? (…and by testing I mean asking important questions…testing your ‘suitors’ loyalty to your friendship- if your ‘suitor’ isn’t loyal to you in friendship- chances are that he will not be loyal to you in love either.)

It is important to filter the men we allow into our lives. Most importantly, don’t do the filtering on your own. As you are doing your ‘testing’ remember this verse as you ‘free-fall’: “…but those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31” Put your full trust in God and the Holy Spirit will do all the guiding you will ever need!

And guys, what do you have to learn?

Likewise you need to filter which girls you allow in to your heart. Ask God to be your guide as well in choosing which female you will prove your greatest love to! Which female you will choose to pass all her tests, and which female you will lock talons with to prove to her you are her’s for life! When God directs you to which girl he has choosen for you- chase her like you are chasing after water in the desert!

To both guys and girls:

God has someone already picked out for each and every one of you. Someone that will love you, and cherish you until death parts you. Please, PLEASE, put your faith and trust in him to guide you to this person. Don’t let friends pressure you into thinking that you need to date dozens of people before settling down with the one he has for you. Do test your ‘suitors’ girls. Being friends with a guy is much, much different than giving your heart to him. And guys, when God does direct you to that special girl- make sure you declare your devotion to her and cherish her all the days of your life.

Mom’s and Dad’s: Pray for your kids and the decisions they will make in their furture days regarding love Pray for their spouses. Even if you have little one’s like Nathan and I, pray for their spouses. It is never too early or late to start!! 

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Christian

 

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When God wrote OUR love story…. (Part I)

A friend and fellow blogger, Joanne Rivest requested in a post she wrote a couple days ago, that us ladies share how God wrote our love stories. I’m kind of a sucker for romance and love…so I just couldn’t resist joining in the fun. So, here goes!

Our love story began on July 24, 2002….

He was 20 (almost 21) and I was 18! We had met before at my home church in Halifax, NS however this  particular days conversation was more special and sparked a little more interest….in both of us…

We met at a water park in lower sackville called “Atlantic Playland”. We were there with the youth group for a summer activity…and we somehow ended up chatting most of the afternoon/evening away. I thought he was an interesting person, someone that I might like to get to know a bit better.

I had written a christmas musical for the youth group that summer to be performed at christmas time- and needed Nathan’s help and support as he was the lay youth pastor beginning that September. He was very willing to help me with my endeavor. We realized through those months leading up to christmas that we shared a lot interests, three of which stuck out over the rest:

1) We both love God with all our hearts and desired to serve him with our lives.

2) We both LOVE and are passionate about music and the arts! There were many nights that we would find ourselves at the piano in my home church…Nathan playing wonderfully as he does and me singing along.

3) We were falling in love with each other.

We spent HOURS on the phone talking that fall. When I say hours… I do not exaggerate! I would wait ever so patiently for his call as soon as I returned home from my classes at Saint Mary’s University….and we would chat until 2, 3 sometimes 4 in the morning!! What did we talk about?!…I really don’t know how we came up with so many things to fill the hours we spent in conversation, but if you can believe it, there wasn’t a whole lot of dead air during our phone calls. We chatted about everything!

In those months we became the very best of friends.

In February of 2003- February 23 to be exact, Nathan was baptized in waters. Unfortunately due to a HUGE snowstorm that night my family was unable to make it in to church that night 😦 I have never felt more horrible about missing something in my whole life- the guy I was falling so in LOVE with was making this HUGE step in his walk with God and here I was missing it. I honestly didn’t think that anything would ever be able to cheer me up that night. Until he called….

Nathan called me as soon as he got home that night! He told me all about his wonderful night and how blessed he felt after making this step of faith. After we chatted for a while he asked me to be his girlfriend….I know, I know…sounds old fashioned, right?! But- I wouldn’t have it any other way. I believe it’s important for that declaration that “we’re a couple” not be something that was assumed over time. The day you become a couple needs to be marked by decision by both of the individuals involved. And our relationship was: He asked me to be his girlfriend. And I said YES! YES! YES! 🙂

February 23…. I still remember the butterflies I felt from my head to my toes when I went to bed that night. Nathan Hill aske ME to be HIS girlfriend!!! I remember telling Nathan over the phone that night that I needed to go to the washroom, putting the phone down and TEARING upstairs to announce to my parents that “HE ASKED ME! HE ASKED ME! HE ASKED ME!!!” At that point, it was a question we were all anticipating!

The first weekend in March we went to “Paradise, NS” with our young adult group The Pier. It was actually a really great weekend for us as a new couple. We had a session or two as just young adult ladies, and they had a couple sessions as just young adult men. We learned some important things about relationships….and we also saw some solid dating/married relationships exemplified that weekend which we still totally respect today! (To name a few: Mark & Pauline Peters; Dave & Marika Holmes; Phil & Doretta Zinck; and Pastor Jon & Jan Zinck!) 

At the end of the weekend, back in Halifax just before we said goodbye and before my parents picked me up to bring me back home…. we shared our first kiss. It was the first time in my whole life that I knew what ‘weak in the knees‘ felt like. That kiss was sweet and soft and left me anticipating our next date!

In the months that followed we courted, and enjoyed each others company as much as we could. He lived in the city and was in his 4th year at Dalhousie University while I lived outside the city and was a freshman at Saint Mary’s Uninversity. We would walk incredible amounts to see each other during the weekdays…I would skip miss the occasional class in order to meet him in between his labs and classes and he would do the same as time would allow. At the time, Nathan did not have a car so we made the most of our time together by seeing each other in between classes. Of course, we would see each other every Sunday at church as well and my parents would have him out to our house for dinner afterward.

Each moment we spent together solidified the love we were discovering we had for one another….

I was careful not to become too crazy in love. Nathan also did a good job of guarding his feelings and keeping them at an appropriate level. I was still very young… only 18….and the majority of the relationships I witnessed were high school relationships- careless and obsessive. Nathan was extremely special to me and I wanted to make sure that I kept my relationship with him mature.

The truth was I was falling more and more in love with him each time we spoke whether that was in person or over the phone. And, the more I got to know him- the more peace God gave me that Nathan was The One. So, it was a real challenge for me to keep my feelings at a mature level…because my heart felt like it was ready to burst and explode with love for him!!!

I would love to continue sharing our love story, however I promised a little boy that we would go outside to play in the backyard because it is such a beautiful sun-shiny day today! So, stay tuned for Part II.

I hope you all have a great day!!

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Christian

 

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God is in Control.

I’ve been listening to the “music” of a song that some friends have requested me to sing for them. It’s a familiar song…I have actually sung it a couple times before. But tonight- the music became automatic and the “lyrics” began to penetrate my soul.

They touched my heart so much that I just have to share them with you!

The song is called “God is in Control” by Twila Paris 🙂

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don’t lose the vision here
Carried away by emotion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control, oh God is in control

History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever

He has never let you down
Why start to worry now?
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father
Watching over you and me

watching over you..watching over me..
every little sparrow..every little thing…

Twila Paris

It is an amazing comfort to know that God is in control! Tough times happen…in fact some pretty down-right devastating times take place and yet– he has never let us down, so why should we start to worry now?!

Our human nature tells us that our first instict should be to worry and get upset when things don’t happen the way we think they ought to. Our human nature wants to take over and be in control, instead. Things like death, abuse, incurable illness, hurt, pain, suffering…are all incredibly hard to deal with. But, if we can just go through life knowing that God (the creator of ALL things) knows what is best for our life and trust him to make sure that only the BEST takes place….we will see very clearly that he is most certainly in control.

I think back to just a few days ago as I was painting my kitchen. I flipped on WMUZ, the local christian radio station, and heard one of the most amazing testimony’s I have ever heard….

 A lady by the name of Miranda told her life story. She was born to a drug addict mother, who delivered her on the streets and kept her there until police stepped in and brought her to the hospital where she was found to be in severe drug withdrawl. She was hospitalized for the first 7.5 months of her life where she was moved into foster care requiring a lot of medical assistance. She lived with several families, getting tossed around from home to home because they couldn’t keep up with her medical needs. Eventually a family did adopt her but her adoptive father beat her on an almost daily basis. After enduring hardship after hardship she went to Sunday School one morning when she was 9 and gave her heart to Christ. She prayed and believed with great faith that she would be rescued from the abuse and that the state would find her a home that she would really be loved in the way that God intended her to be loved. The way that he loved her. Long story short, her adoptive father was caught beating her by a neighbor and was sent to prison just 13 days after giving her hear to Christ. She was immedietly put back into foster care where she went to live with a family who cherished her exactly the way that she prayed. 2 years after being placed in that foster family’s home, she was offically legally adopted. Today she has a clean bill of health and she works as a counsellor at her local elementary school. She has helped thousands of children with issues exactly like hers because she has “been there”….  And this is the most amazing part- she THANKS God for her ‘misfortune’!!! She says she knows that beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was with her, protecting her, throughout her childhood. Sure, it was a little rougher than that of her friend’s childhoods however she knows that God was and is in control. And, through her life story he is saving SO many souls and lives today! WOW!!!

It’s hard to wrap your mind around this story!

God doesn’t stand back and “watch” bad things happen, friends! He is holding our hands, carrying us through each hard time! He was, is and always will be in control because he is an all powerful and amazing God! If you are going through a trial- be assured that he is taking good care of you. Know that during this time you are being held very high in his favor.

God is in Control. Period.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Christian, Uncategorized

 

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Saying Goodbye to “Aubrey”…

This isn’t going to be an easy post for me. However, please bear with me as I write because it will likely bring a little more healing to a very raw broken heart.
 
Nathan and I recently found out that we were expecting baby number 3. Our previous difficulty to conceive means that news like this is none other than ELATING! We were already making plans for this new little love. Considering baby room reno’s, tossing baby names around, wondering what Ben and Sophie would be like with another little baby in the mix…..
Bottom line: we fell head over heels in LOVE!
Saturday night we went out for dinner with a large group of friends. After dinner we went back to our friend Nancy’s house to have some dessert and continue our visiting. After returning home (in a crazy snowstorm), I noticed while getting ready for bed that some bleeding had started…. Long story short, after a legnthy stay in emergency overnight we were told the very worst news we have ever had to deal with as parents….we lost our precious baby.
This week has brought many emotions to the surface. While we never met our baby- we were already very, very attached. We mourn the reality that we will never hold her. We mourn the reality that her brother and sister will never get to know her. We mourn the reality that we will never watch her grow, see what she could have become, know what talents she would have posessed….
On the flip side, we have felt that God has certianly been our comfort these past couple of days and feel as though he is certianly giving us peace.
Whether that be through our many great friends and family and the many ways they have blessed us this week: (flowers, meals, treats, cards, encouraging emails/calls/mail, housecleaning, laundry, visits, and lots and lots of hugs!!!) ….or through scripture we’ve been seeking that gives us such hope. Either way, we feel his presence so much.
We are going through the process of grieving. We have given the baby the name “Aubrey” so that when explaining her short life to her brother and sister in the days to come, they will have a name to identify her by. I have collected up things such as pictures, pregnancy tests and cards to start a small scrapbook to keep her memory.  
We know that for some reason God knew she was needed in heaven more than here with us. We are comforted by the fact that her death is not final- that we will indeed meet her one day when we join her in heaven.
Revelation 21:4 says “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” We look forward to the day when there will be no more death, no more pain, no more crying…and we are so grateful that Jesus has given us this hope to hold on to 🙂
 

Our "cake" announcement 🙂

We aren’t angry. After having Sophie, we know better than to believe anything but “everything happens for a reason.” We just need some time to process our saddness. To grieve our loss. And…we are attempting to do that as healthily as we possibly can.

Please pray for us! And if you have been one of those people who have majorly blessed us this week (you know who you are)…THANK YOU! We pray you will be blessed double what you have blessed us!

Positive!!!

One final image that is truly healing my heart- 🙂

"Aubrey"

 She is resting in his hands! How wonderful 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in Christian

 

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