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.”

2.6.2015

A Wedding Prayer, a Marriage Prayer

Just recently, I came across the prayer Art’s dad prayed at our wedding. And it occurred to me this is much more than a wedding prayer. It’s a marriage prayer.

As I read back over this prayer, I am amazed at how God has answered so many of the requests intertwined in the words. This was being prayed over two broken, fragile, headstrong, needing-to-learn-a-lot individuals. Individuals who weren’t sure we were going to make it. But we did.

And so can you.

If you know someone who is about to get married, send them a link to this post. But I would also say it’s a great prayer to pray over your marriage now. Whether you’ve been married for 2 weeks or 32 years, take your spouse’s hand and either have someone read this prayer over you or read it together. Use it as a reminder and recommitment.

And if your marriage isn’t at a place where that is possible, pray this in the quiet shrine of your heart. As Psalm 34:15 tells us, God hears you. He knows. He loves you. He will show you the way.

Download a printable version of this prayer here.