3.31.2016

If You Bring The Happy, Your Day Will Be Beautiful

I never thought or dreamed in a million years that three of my kids would get married in the same year.

Our oldest daughter, Hope, wed in February with an elegant, formal, uptown wedding complete with the unexpected twist of playing corn hole in our formal gowns.







Ashley, our middle daughter, will get married in the Alabama countryside next month with market lights, vintage furniture, a pizza and hamburger reception, and her favorite popsicles and donuts instead of a cake.

And our son, Jackson, will say “I do” this fall in a lovely garden ceremony in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Three kids. Three completely unique weddings. Three different states. All in one year. Hello 2016, you are amazing.

So, needless to say, we have been knee deep in all things wedding over here at the TerKeurst home. Our sticky farm table that just yesterday was full of coloring books, Candyland game pieces, and Legos is now full of white invitations, pictures of possibility for every celebration detail, and a glue gun that might have burned off one of my fingerprints during a wedding craft situation.

But more than helping to plan the weddings, I want to prepare my kids for their marriages.

I’m especially wanting to prepare them for day one of their marriage. And I’m quickly learning that weddings are perfect for teaching young couples a crucial lesson:

The most happy couples are the ones who are most able to embrace imperfections.

Honestly, I’m still learning this lesson myself.

Whether you are the mother, the bride herself, or a hopeful soon-to-be-bride, can I take your hand and whisper a truth we all need?

No wedding is perfect.

The more we resist this reality, the less we’ll enjoy this most special day. But even more tragic for brides, the less you’ll enjoy your marriage.

There’s a little known secret about imperfections. What makes things most beautiful, most memorable, and most notable are the unexpected gifts wrapped in imperfections.

Do you want to know one of my favorite memories of my entire wedding? It’s the only detail brought up time and again at family gatherings. My youngest sister, who was only two years old at the time of my wedding, belted out the Happy Birthday song during the lighting of the unity candle. It was obviously unplanned, but became a completely delightful gift of imperfection.

Of course, some wedding day imperfections aren’t nearly as cute and are way more distracting than a two-year-old’s song. I get it. But I can’t change it. Not for my kids’ weddings and not for yours. The unexpected will happen.

But here’s the great news. Imperfections help others uncross their arms, relax, and giggle. People will love you even more when they see you display grace in a tough place.

At Hope’s wedding, we had a slightly alarming incident where one of the guest’s dresses caught on fire after it got too close to the candles that lined the aisle.

But when I asked Hope about how she felt the wedding went, quirks and all, she said: “Mom, you prepared me in the best of ways for my wedding day. You instilled in me the heart of happiness no matter what happened. Your constant reminder of, ‘if you bring your happy, your wedding will be beautiful’ rang in my head for all of our wedding weekend festivities. I could’ve easily focused on something that didn’t go ‘right’ and let that ruin the moment for me… instead I laughed off the imperfections and thought to myself, ‘this will be a great story one day.’”

So embrace the unexpected.

Smile at the crazy.

Laugh at the unplanned.

And relax.

If you bring the happy, your day will be beautiful.

(Thank you Brian Schindler for capturing these beautiful memories.)

1.28.2016

Lord, protect me from the world’s wonky view of love

I have a sign displayed in my home. It reminds me, redirects me, and protects me from the world’s wonky views of love.

Our love isn’t a romantic movie where I wake up in full makeup in a pristine house and nothing on my to-do list but for my husband and I to take a little canoe ride through a pond filled with swans.

Here’s the thing about love. It’s sometimes complicated. Sometimes blissful.

Some moments are incredible. Others incredibly difficult.

Love breaks us. It makes us. It shakes out all the good and bad.

It’s the most beautifully painful sacred surprise you could ever hope to grow through.

It’s a package deal. It’s a gift that doesn’t always feel like a gift. It’s the thing that makes me less selfish. And gracious, I need to be less selfish.

I want the best version of love. So I need to bring the best version of me to my love, my man, each day.

And choose to make our love a little less complicated.

A little more sweet.

A little more inviting for the best version of him to take my hand and whisper, “Hey babe, we can do this.”

Yes. Love is a choice. One we are still making. And as a visual statement of the vows we exchanged 23 years ago, we keep this simple reminder in a place where we constantly see it.

The “We Still Do” sign and frame are now available in the Proverbs 31 Ministries bookstore along with some of my other favorite marriage resources. Click here to find out more.

And if decorating your home with hints of your love story sounds painful because you’ve been begging God for a sign that He hears your prayers for your marriage, He does. I felt so strongly to share this with you today. He hears and He cares. I’d love to share a free 5-day devotional with you called Praying Boldly for Your Marriage. Sign up here.

4.18.2015

When Your Husband Has Given Up

I know the heart-ripping hopelessness of a relationship unraveling.

The silence. The rejection. The harsh words. The absence of intimacy. The questions. The lack of answers. The hurt feelings.

The first five years of my marriage were really hard. Two sinners coming together with loads of baggage, unrealistic expectations and extremely strong wills.

My heart aches for anyone in a marriage that’s struggling. Many of us have been there.

But I think the deepest hurt comes when one spouse resigns while the other is still trying. There is a panic that arises to somehow make the other person wake up, stop their resignation and help you fix this relationship.

A situation like this is much more complicated than simple answers I could offer here. But might I give you one stepping stone upon which to stand, to stop the panic and balance yourself?

Decide today that you are worthy.

Because you are. Worthy. You may not feel like it. But a quick glimpse at Psalm 139 assures me, you are.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)

You are fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God who cares for you. Who loves you. And I’d rather depend on the solid truth of God than the rollercoaster of fickle feelings.

You are beautiful and captivating and attractive and smart and capable. But if you are in a relationship full of unmet expectations, unresolved issues and frustrating communication, I suspect you feel a little less than all I’ve described.

Broken-down relationships can really break down a woman.

And if you’re anything like me, when you feel broken down, those around you get your worst. Then upon all the hurt and anxiety you layer regret, shame and the feeling that you’ve lost yourself. You’ve lost that girl inside who used to be so positive and happy and ready to take on the world.

Can I whisper a tender truth to you? The only way to recapture her is to come up for air and remember: You are worthy because the Creator of the Universe says you are.

Then you can act worthy.

And step aside from the emotional yuck to make some levelheaded decisions. Get a plan. Talk to wise people who love you, provide godly counsel and will walk this tough journey with you.

Draw some boundaries with your husband, if some are needed.

Pray like crazy for clear discernment. Because Jesus is the best source of help.

Honest cries for help, lifted up to Jesus, will not go unheard. He sees. He knows. He loves. And Jesus will direct you as long as you stick with Him.

Remember, you can’t control how your husband acts and reacts, but you can control how you act and react.

Reclaim who you are.

I pray your relationship survives. I pray it with every fiber of my being. But if it doesn’t, I pray most of all that the beautiful woman you are rises above all the yuck, still clinging tightly to the only opinion that matters — the One who forever calls you worthy.

If you’re in a hard place in your marriage, leave a prayer request or comment that says “please pray.” And then let’s rally around one another with prayer. My team and I will personally be praying for you. You aren’t alone.

I’d also love to help encourage you with a 5-day challenge I put together. Click here to sign up for “Praying Boldly For Your Marriage.”