Sharing Life….Sharing Recipes

Recently I was tagged in a Facebook post from a precious young woman who has attended several of my Tasting Grace sessions. Her message about a recipe I had taught the women to make blessed my heart so much. Here it is:

So I made the banana pudding for Thanksgiving lunch at work today. One person told me it was the best he ever had. And another said that it was the star of the meal…the best thing there. Thanks for teaching me!! I plan on making it again next week for family Thanksgiving!

She came to my fall Tasting Grace session where I taught the ladies to make two desserts: banana pudding and pumpkin bread. I can’t help it, y’all. I love to bake, but I also just love to cook. Equally important is that I love to eat. You too? Which one or all three…bake, cook, eat?

 

Sharing Life, Sharing Recipes Banana Pudding

Do you know about my Tasting Grace events? Oooooo, let me tell you about them, then I am going to share the recipe for the Banana Pudding.

A few years ago the Lord turned on a lightbulb in my brain after seeing my friend and co-author, Jan, post on Facebook about something she was doing in her home church. Once a quarter she brought women, old and young, into their church kitchen and taught them how to make homemade dishes from tried and true recipes. In the post that brought about my epiphany the group had made homemade biscuits.

I thought, well shoot, I can make homemade biscuits and I bet there are a few women in my area who might like to learn how to make them. So, I tossed out an invite on Facebook and lo, and behold, I had a handful of women who wanted to learn how to make biscuits. It was a tasty success and the rest is history. I try to host Tasting Grace once a month, but it doesn’t always happen.

I charge a small fee for each class…just enough to cover the costs of ingredients. I begin each session with a short devotion time, then we wash our hands, don our aprons, and begin cooking. We laugh and share life while we cook, then we taste our creations. Each woman goes home with a copy of the recipe we made so she can reproduce it in her own kitchen.

I really believe this is what Paul had in mind when he instructed Titus to have the older women teach the younger women. So many young women (and some older ones) did not have stay-at-home moms. Consequently, they never had the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with their mom while she cooked. They likely never learned how to make many of the homemade dishes that are staples in the southern diet.

The Tasting Grace sessions have been such a blessing to me as I share my knowledge of cooking and baking, as well as a bit of Jesus and general life knowledge.

Even though my Tasting Grace Bible study published two years ago, I have not said much about it recently. So, I thought now might be a good time. The Tasting Grace Bible study is a 4 week study focusing on mentoring. It also tells how you can start your own Tasting Grace ministry in your church or home. We included lots of devotions, recipes, and instructions for starting Tasting Grace. Try pouring into the lives of the women in your circle by teaching them something you know….it might be cooking or it might be a craft. See if you don’t find so much satisfaction in touching those lives.

So, now for the Banana Pudding Recipe. This is made from scratch…no boxed pudding in this recipe. I must preface this by saying my family does not like meringue, or as my Daddy called it, “calf-slobber”. Because of that I make a homemade whipped cream for the topping on the pudding. The recipe for this is included below. There is also a download that will let you print the recipe. Mmmmm, mmmmm. This dessert is so good you will make it over and over.

 

Leah's Banana Pudding

 

Leah’s Banana Pudding Recipe        

Pudding:

1 ½ cups sugar

⅓ cup cornstarch

4 cups half and half

8 egg yolks

6 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring

4-6 bananas, sliced

1 box vanilla wafers

 

Whipped Cream Topping:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla flavoring

 

To make pudding: In medium saucepan mix sugar and cornstarch. Add half and half and egg yolks and whisk until well combined. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla.

Place ½ of pudding in bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover with layers of vanilla wafers and bananas. Repeat using remainder of pudding, bananas and wafers.

Topping: In a mixing bowl beat whipping cream at high speed. Gradually add sugar and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over pudding. Serve warm or chilled.

SDG/FCA!!

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A Fresh Perspective on Joy

Has God ever given you a fresh perspective on an issue that you have struggled with for, oh, decades? That is exactly what He has done for me in the past few weeks with the issue of joy, and I thought someone else might need to hear about it.

I’ve written before about my struggle with JOY. I simply do not always feel joy in my heart. I’m not talking about happiness, which is very fickle emotion. No, I’m talking about joy, which is not dependent on circumstances. You know, the-JOY-of-the-Lord-is-my-strength kind of joy. I just have not always felt it very often.

 

Fresh Perspective on Joy

 

 

This past month I have been reading the newest book by Max Lucado (see link below) entitled, Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World. The book uses Philippians 4:4-8 as its anchor verses. We all know these verses. I’ve read them a million times in my almost 54 years, yet I have seen them with fresh eyes and a new perspective. May I give them to you and ask you to read them as if you had never read them before?

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

I would like to share two lessons with you that I have tucked deeply into my heart from my time in this Lucado book. The first is the crucial importance of thanksgiving. Paul admonishes us to present our requests to God by prayer and supplication, AND with THANKSGIVING. Y’all, I am so guilty of rushing to the asking part of prayer without first attending to the thanksgiving portion. If being thankful to God was not crucial to this issue of anxiety and peace, Paul would not have put it in.

So, how has being reminded of this changed me? Thanks for asking. Now when I pray I begin with thankfulness. And, before I voice any request, I begin with something pertaining to that request for which I am thankful. It might sound like this: Lord, I thank you that you have sustained my friend who is going through chemo thus far, and I ask you to continue to give him strength and encouragement. It’s really that easy and it has given me a shot of joy that I did not have previously.

The second lesson the Lord has taught me is perspective. In the book, Lucado talks about Paul and all that he endured in his life. Y’all, Paul did not have an easy life, yet Paul wrote the classic treatise on joy (the book of Philippians) from a dark, dank, critter infested hole in Roman ground. God pretty much smacked me upside the head and said, “Leah, if Paul could have joy in the midst of and after all he endured, surely you can find joy in the midst of your easy life.”

Well, what do you say to that? It is hard to continue to whine about a lack of joy when God puts it like that, isn’t it?

Anytime I share what the Lord is doing in my heart, it is in hope that you will find encouragement for your journey, as well. God will never leave His child like they are. His goal is to change us to look more and more CHRIST-LIKE. This is one way He is doing just that AND working out my OneWord2018 in my heart.

I hope you have a great day, friend. Oh, and I hope you are praying about attending the Come Away {retreat} 2018. Excitement is building and I am praying that God prompts the hearts of 9 beautiful, amazing women to attend Come Away. Are you one of those women? Click HERE to read how Come Away changed the life of one woman.

SDG/FCA!!!

 

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Are You Living in Not Enough -land?

 

 

Y’all! I found out during my quiet time with Jesus this morning that I have a brother, or should I say, another brother.

I’ve long said that I am the prodigal son’s sister. Truly, I earned that sisterhood years ago. I made some stupid character and lifestyle choices in my 20s that earned me more than one trip to God’s woodshed. Because of the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus and the forgiveness He offers, my sinful choices have been forgiven, and yours can be too, if you know Jesus. I feel no shame or guilt over those choices because Jesus has taken my messes and made them my message!

 

Are You living in Not-Enoughland

 

This morning I was reading in Exodus 3. This is the chapter where Moses happens upon a burning bush that doesn’t burn. Take a gander at verses 5-14 (NKJV).

 

5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”

6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

7 And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.

8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.

9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.

10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

 

Moses, who works for his father-in-law, Jethro, is out wrangling sheep on the backside of the desert. Notice he was not just on the edge of the desert, but he was on the backside of the desert. Lord have mercy, how many times does life seem to kick us to the backside of the desert? Moses was hot, dusty, dodging sheep poop every step, maybe hungry, missing his wife, and just alone with a bunch of smelly sheep. Shew—eeee!!!

May I tell you that the backside of the desert is probably the very place where God will show up in your life and mine? He seems to have a strange affinity for the desert.

Moses happens upon a bush that appears to be burning, but, wait! It is not burning UP. That’s southern for ‘the bush was not disappearing in a heap of ashes’. Suddenly, the bush talks to Moses. Actually, the angel of the Lord was doing the talking from the bus. The Lord proceeds to tell Moses that He (God) has seen the distress and captivity of the Israelites, and it is time to do something about it, and ‘You’re my guy, Moses!’.

This is the point at which I realized that Moses and I are related. Take look at verse 11 again. God is calling Moses to join Him in leading the Israelites out of captivity, and what does Moses say?

“Me? Not me. Although you are G-O-D and have never made a mistake before, there is always a first and this is it. I don’t talk very well. I would not know what to say. I’m not ENOUGH.”  

I don’t know about you, friend, but all too often my words, actions, and thoughts are those of ‘NOT ENOUGH’. I lived in Not Enough-land for so much of my life, yet recently I made a conscious decision to leave that place. I am ENOUGH in Jesus. He would not have died for me had I not been enough. His Spirit living within me makes me worthy and valuable and ENOUGH.

Maybe you have never lived in ‘Not Enough-land’, but I bet some of you have, and you are so weary of always feeling like you are not enough. Would you allow me to whisper something into your heart today?

I AM says that YOU are ENOUGH.

You were important ENOUGH for Him to send His only Son to die for your sin.

If you are a Jesus-follower, you are beautiful ENOUGH because you have His Spirit living inside you.

You are MORE. THAN. ENOUGH.

Now, walk that out in faith and when Satan tries to tell you you are NOT ENOUGH, tell Him that Jesus says you are MORE THAN ENOUGH. Tell Him that you are the bride of Christ, a daughter {or son} of the King, a chosen one, a royal priesthood. Tell Satan that you are called, loved, chosen, adopted, and redeemed by the God of Heaven.

Because of Jesus, YOU ARE ENOUGH! If God wants to use you or me or Moses to do something spectacular, then let’s stop this ridiculousness about not being good/smart/thin/talented/rich/popular or whatever kind of ‘enough’ you routinely use to fill in the blank. You are enough!

Friend, do you live in Not Enough-land? I would love to pray for you. Leave me a comment or send me an email to info@leahadams.org. It would be my privilege to pray for you as you learn to walk in your identity in Christ as one who is more than enough.

SDG/FCA!!

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Authentic Christianity: Each Day, 1 Blessing

I have had a long struggle with JOY.

There…I admit it. Joy and I have had a tenuous relationship over the years. I know it is not the sort of thing a Christian is supposed to admit, but I am done with Sunday school Christianity. I want to be real and transparent before you and those who circle my life. Although it has been a long while since I wrote a post for the Authentic Christianity series, today’s post is definitely a great fit for that series.

 

Authentic Christianity Each Day 1 Blessing

 

I know all the Bible verses about joy….all 150 or so of them, according to my Bible study tools app:

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ~~ Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

 

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. ~~ John 15:11 (NKJV)

This one makes me wonder if my joy-bucket has holes in the bottom of it!!

 

Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. ~~ John 16:24 (NKJV)

 

And then there is this gem…..

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, etc.. ~~ Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)

My ‘joy’ tree is sparse on fruit sometimes, let me tell you.

I look at people who are always ‘up’ and bubbly-happy and all ‘it’s a great day to be alive’ and think “I’m not sure what drugs you are taking, but I need a dose”. It’s not that I am chronically depressed, it’s just that I sometimes (okay, well maybe, often) see the world and the glass as half empty. I lean toward the pessimistic side of things, although I will usually tell you that I am more of a realist.

So, with that spilled out all over you, I want to tell you about something I have been doing all year in 2018 to encourage joy in my heart. I will confess that I have waited almost 4 months to share this to make sure it was going to be something that I made into a habit.

I use a Passion Planner for my calendaring needs. Late in 2017 (like, December 31st) the Lord gave me the idea of writing down at least one blessing that came my way every day…..kinda like a blessing journal. I called it “Each Day, 1 Blessing” and decided to write the blessing on my planner. So, at the end of each day I choose one thing from that day that was a blessing or joy to me and write it on the bottom of that day’s calendar page. Some days are easier than others. Some days a blessing or joy jumps right out of my heart and onto the page, while other days, honestly, I have to mine pretty deeply into the events of the day to find something that blessed me.

 

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Here are pictures of some of my entries.

 

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This exercise forces me to intentional about looking for blessing and joy in my life. The things I enter are sometimes BIG things like helping to find sponsors for children in poverty, but other times they are ordinary occurrences in my day like a beautiful sunset. Each entry is a reminder of God’s goodness in my life. This is one of the ways that I am being intentional about CHOOSING to grasp joy for my heart.

How do you encourage joy in your heart?

Do you struggle with joy or some other fruit? I would love to hear from you about your struggle and how you navigate it. Leave me a comment or email me at info@leahadams.org.

 

SDG/FCA!

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When God Changes Your Ministry ‘Want-to’

Hello there!

I know it has been a few weeks since I posted here, but honestly, I have not been sure how to assign words to what I have been feeling and experiencing. What the Lord has been doing in my heart and ministry literally has me slack-jawed. So, today I want to attempt to tap out my heart.

 

When God Changes Your Ministry Want-to

 

 

As you might know from THIS post and THIS post I have the privilege and joy of serving as an Ambassador for Compassion International. In that role I share the mission and vision of Compassion and encourage people like you and me to sponsor children and release them from poverty in the name of our Jesus. My dear friend, Karen, who is employed by Compassion International, invited me to be part of her Ambassador speaker team in December and it took me about a half a second to say “YES” to that invitation.

In December I set a goal of finding 25 sponsors for 25 children in poverty over the course of 6 months. I realized that if I was able to accomplish that goal it would be because the Lord worked in the hearts of people, not because of anything I would say or do. Sometimes, I believe the Lord just looks at a situation and says, “Step back and watch me work.”

I have shared Compassion at five different events over the past two months. Some events had 5 people at them, while others, like Compassion Sunday at my church, had 300 in attendance. At each event I had the privilege to speak and tell about the children I sponsor through Compassion and what a blessing sponsorship is to me, as well as the ins and outs of sponsorship in general. I am so excited to share that over 30 children have been sponsored in two months. Thirty lives changed. Thirty families given new hope. Thank you to each new sponsor!!

When a child is sponsored they gain access to education and medical care that they would not have been privy to otherwise. They are taught a work skill that can help them earn money to support themselves and their families. So many children in poverty are preyed upon by those who bind them up in sex trafficking and child labor. So for a child to have a usable skill with which to make money is HUUUUUGE! A sponsored child is connected with a local evangelical church in their community where they hear about Jesus and are engaged in Christian mentoring. AMAZING!!!!

Y’all, I am nearly face to the floor over the fact that I get to play a small part in changing the life of children who live in hopelessness and poverty….AND, I get to do it by functioning in my ‘sweet spot’ which is public speaking.

It has been quite a while since I spoke publicly in ministry, and honestly, I thought perhaps those days were behind me. I love doing small group ministry via Tasting Grace and would be content if that were where the Lord had me for the rest of my useful days. Yet, He is graciously giving me the opportunity to speak again.

You know what else? I’m in such a good place because for the first time in the 10 years I have been in ministry I have zero desire to strive for a bigger platform for myself. The constant grasping for more friends, followers, comments, tweets, and pins is draining on the soul, and I am done with it. Please know that I’m not casting dispersions at other who do it. I’m just saying it isn’t for me any longer. My heart is so satisfied with mentoring via Tasting Grace and the Come Away Retreat, as well as sharing the message of Compassion children and the opportunity that sponsorship gives them to meet Jesus and be released from poverty. God has truly changed my ‘ministry want-to’, and I couldn’t be happier and more content with the whole thing!

With that said, if God sees fit to plop this Georgia red-neck on a big stage to share about Compassion, I will not say ‘no’, but it has to be His doing, not mine. This whole Compassion gig is His doing, start to finish. So thank you, Lord, for trusting me with your work. I’m humbled. I’m honored, and I’m as excited as a teenager with her first prom invitation from the cutest guy in the school.

 

It would be the delight of my day to come share Compassion with your church or group. There is no cost to your group for me to come and I provide everything that is needed. Email me at info@leahadams.org for more info.

Are you feeling the nudge from the Lord to sponsor a child? If so, go HERE to see some precious faces who are eagerly waiting for a sponsor.

Is there an area of your life where God has changed your want-to? Tell me about it.

Marriage Wisdom: #TillDeathDoUsPart

I have been in ministry for ten solid years, and in that time I have written about a lot of topics. There is one topic, however, about which I rarely write because, quite honestly, I do not feel that I have enough wisdom to offer in that arena. That topic is marriage. After 23 years of marriage, I still do not have it all figured out and I am far, far, far from the perfect wife to Greg. Yet, today, I believe that I have stumbled upon a treasure trove of marriage wisdom that I want to offer to you.

Let me give you the back story.

Our family has experienced the joy of seeing two young men choose beautiful young women as their future wives. In 2018, our nephew, Kalem, will marry his fiancee’ Erika in May. Then, in June, Greg and I will be blessed to gain a daughter-in-love when our son, Charlie, marries Morgan.

All of this wedding chatter and planning prompted me to think about when I got married and how I wish there had been a ‘marriage mentor’ to walk alongside me and pour into me. Of course, I had my parents, but there is something different and special about having someone come alongside and pour into your heart in a specific way. Someone just a few steps ahead of you in the journey who is willing to share, and yes, even to call you out when you step off the path of truth. Now, that all assumes that I would have been willing to L-I-S-T-E-N!

 

Marriage Wisdom: #TillDeathDoUsPart

 

 

Last week, the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart that there is a ton of godly wisdom on the topic of marriage within my circle of friends, and that perhaps our kids, and maybe others, would benefit from hearing some real-life wisdom born of trial and error and experience. To that end, I tossed a question out on my Facebook page, and HELLO!!!! wisdom poured onto the page. Today I want to share some of that with you because it is toooooooo good to let it get buried on my Facebook feed.

So, here is the question I asked:

Our family will be blessed to witness two weddings this year: our son, Charlie and his fiancee, Morgan, AND our nephew, Kalem, and his fiancee, Erika. We will also be blessed to have young friends who are getting married in 2018. What marriage and relationship advice would you give a young couple as they say “I Do”?

One major theme of many of the responses was the importance of good communication between a husband and wife. Check them out:

 

Cindy said: Do not bottle things up, talk, talk and talk some more until it’s all worked out!

Teresa M said: Keep talking with God, each other, and as needed, reliable Christian counsel.

Shelley offered: Don’t be too proud to apologize – and make it heartfelt. There will be times when you will feel out of sync, and that’s okay, it will pass. But, if you are uncomfortable with it, just ask your spouse, “Are we okay?” Then talk about it. Girls AND guys need to feel connected

This wisdom from Kathy speaks loudly: My biggie is healthy communication and determining to work completely through an issue to a healthy resolution. You may come to an impasse at times, so call a time-out and go to neutral spaces but DETERMINE to come back to it when the dust and emotions have settled. That may be 30 minutes, 2 weeks or 30 days BUT come back to it and “finish” resolution of the issue to a healthy place, and then lay it down and learn from that process. I believe one of the biggest problems is that, with most couples, nothing ever gets fully resolved but rather just pushed aside to remain alive and festering, sure to rear its ugly head again some time….

Cathy gave us four rules of communication.

1 be honest

2 keep current

3 attack the problem not the person

4 act don’t react

And this from Larry: The men need to learn 3 phrases – 9 words: 1.) I was wrong. 2.) I am sorry. 3.) Please forgive me.

And all God’s women said, “Amen!”

 

Another theme that emerged was conflict resolution in marriage. Kathy’s comment from above was on this theme, as were these:

Gloria reminded us that: You don’t always have to be right… it’s okay to admit that you are wrong. And fight fair.

Karen said: Tell on your spouse to God and not to others. Always do this. God is the only way for change either in you or your spouse.

Once again, Kathy added a wealth of wisdom with this: Make it your daily practice to try to “out-serve” each other…and i think that speaks for itself. Can you imagine how many things would never even make our “grumble lists” if, as couples, we were trying to serve the other the most while they have that same goal?!?!?!? About the only thing we’d have to fuss about would be being served and loved TOO much!

 

A third major theme of finances emerged. This one is huge because research shows that the NUMBER ONE thing couples fight about is M-O-N-E-Y. Let’s take a look at some of the comments on finances:

I said: Since money is the number one issue about which couples argue, do not get into debt (the borrower is slave to the lender).

Teresa T said: Start a nest egg for retirement as soon as you get married. Don’t buy everything you want and see, save your money and pay cash and you might realize it wasn’t needed, after all. Follow the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace rules. Stay away from credit cards! Have a joint checking account and decide together what you will spend your money on.

Beth echoed Teresa with this: No separate checking accounts. Full disclosure in finances will keep everyone accountable.

 

The issue of romance and dating your spouse also garnered a couple of comments:

Kathy T said: Keep dating. Even after children, time with your spouse is crucial.

Anna, who is celebrating 50 years of marriage this year said: Marry someone you like first and then fall in love with… enjoy doing things together but also have your own time for hobbies.

Lori offered: Know and understand your spouse’s Love Language. Learn to “speak it” if you don’t have the same one. (See Amazon link below to Chapman’s book, ‘The 5 Love Languages’)

Alysa said:  I cannot express how important it is to keep dating… Having a child throws a huge curve ball however, we are closer now than ever because we still date!!!

 

Another topic that elicited some wonderful feedback was the issue of praying for your spouse:

Natasha said: Fight for your marriage daily. We each keep a prayer journal and every day we pray together and separately and I pray to be the best help mate for my spouse and to help mold me into being a better wife and mom. For so long I prayed for change of him, when really it was me who needed changing!

Martha gave some incredible wisdom in her comment: Many many years ago as a teenager, my Pastor’s Wife taught us to begin to pray for our future husbands. I began to pray for him very specifically. I prayed he would learn the things that would prepare him to care for me and our children. I ask God to build my husband and equip him long before I ever met him. Now I recognize the Holy Spirit was preparing me to accept and respect who He was assembling for me. When trials and hardships come as they often do. This truth has been a constant encouragement to me. When my son was in the second grade I began to specifically pray for his wife in the same fashion. I cannot began to tell you how this has impacted our relationship. Now I pray in this manner for my grandchildren. I expect great things from my God because I have invested Great Confidence in Him in prayer. The most amazing thing to me, is for almost 40 years He has been Absolutely Faithful to every prayer I’ve ever prayed.

I want to leave you with a comment from Paula that blessed and challenged me so much as a wife. I hope it will bless and challenge you, too.

 

Recently I did an online study on the book “YOU & ME FOREVER, Marriage in Light of Eternity” by Francis and Lisa Chan (see Amazon link below). It was soooo good and so eye opening! The main thing I took from it, is we have to remember, God joined us together in marriage as an illustration to the world the love of Christ for His bride. How I treat my husband and vice versa is SUPPOSED to reflect the love, grace and forgiveness that Christ gives His Church.

It has completely changed my perspective in many ways. Now, if I feel like John isn’t acting in a way toward me that I like, for instance maybe he’s had a bad day and is being hateful. It may be quite irritating to me because I know it’s not my fault. But rather than get mad or pout, now, my first thought is…how many times have I acted this way toward God? And how many times has His grace and mercy loved on me through my bad attitude? So how then can I be Jesus to my husband, and extend grace and mercy to him and love him through this like Christ loves me?
To me, this just changes everything!

Then secondly I ask myself, as the world watches how I respond to my husband when he isn’t really my favorite person, or when I feel like he has treated me wrongly, am I showing the love of Christ to the world? Do they see grace, mercy, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE (this is a concept that too many people only attribute to what God has for us, but we are called to love others this way, and we even VOWED before God to love our spouse this way)? Does my marriage reflect the image of the Gospel of Christ? Am I willing to serve my husband when he doesn’t deserve it? Am I willing to always put His needs first, even if I feel my needs may have been neglected (because that’s what unconditional love is… giving and loving as a choice, not because it’s earned and not as a reward to them for meeting your needs)? Am I being Christ like to my spouse?

These are hard questions, but, if we put our focus on the Gospel, and realize the world is watching us and the message of the Gospel is at stake based on how we act, then our marriages will be changed, and our lives will be changed. And most importantly, we will bring glory and honor to God in the process.

I hope this post has been a blessing to you…or maybe if you are like me, it has been a bit uncomfortable because it shines a light on areas in our marriages that could stand a little, or a lot, of tweaking. Whatever the case, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to mold and shape us in to husbands and wives that look more like Jesus.

What marriage advice do you have for young couples? Share it in the comments. 

Have a great week!

SDG/FCA!!

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