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A Love Revolution {Spoken Word}

Vile speech, aggressive action, violence and calamity. Our world groans in agony.  Yet there is a cure.

 

LOVE

 

So in light of National Poetry Month, here’s my ode to love.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Grace & Truth

The 5 People You Need In Your Tribe

“Long as I got King Jesus, I don’t need nobody else”.

 

So goes a line from an old gospel song. We all got a good chuckle in church yesterday as our Pastor sang and danced to the song. While the dance was cute, he was making a profound point. He was uncovering the flawed theology in the song. Indeed Jesus is MORE than enough for any need we have. Jesus did not design us to walk the journey of life alone. We are wired to do life together. Click To Tweet It just makes the going a little easier.

 

So who’s on your squad?

 

These are 5 people we need in our tribe.

 

Oldie But Goodie

This is your faithful friend. An old crony, running partner, tried and true blue friend. Even if they haven’t been your friends for a long number of years, it feels like they’ve been around always. The total opposite of fair weather friend, they are there in time good and bad. They are familiar and comfortable like your favorite old robe. You don’t have to explain to them what you’re feeling and why, they just already know.

 

Tell It Like It Is

We appreciate our friend who agrees with us and takes our side. But we NEED the friend who will tell us like it is. She will check us. She will point out when we have erred. Without bias, she will carefully assess a situation and present it to us. Argh! She may rub you the wrong way from time to time but you need that. The sandpaper of tell it like it is, is what makes you smooth.

 

Zena Warrior Princess

Ok, back in the day this would have been the friend ready to fight for you on the playground. She would have been quick to stop gossip and slander about you. Today, she’s the first one on her knees interceding on your behalf. She’s willing to go Peter slicing ears off for you. Fortunately she knows how to channel all that fire into prayer. Even right now she may be found interceding for you.

 

Party Girl

You know the fun girl. The witty friend. The self-deprecating one that brings a smile to your face. Sometimes I can be WAY to serious. I’ve never learned how to tell jokes (my timing is off and I can never recall all the details of the story). For me doing life mostly means “handling business” so I desperately need this friend to lighten me up, to help get my drawers out of a bunch, to simply be silly and laugh.

 

The Coach

Who’s challenging you to grow? Who encourages you to go to bed early and to rise early? Who’s on the sideline cheering you on? Who’s holding you accountable? Yup, we all need that coach friend. Your sister friend who will not only remind you of your goals, but the one who is right there as the dream is fulfilled.

 

So who’s in your tribe?

 

For you these may actually be 5 different chicas. For some this may but that one special treasured friend. If you don’t have these sisters represented in your starting lineup, I’m praying God brings the right people into your circle and I pray your heart is open to receive them. One way God expresses his love to us is directly through our relationships so I pray you are blessed with true sisterhood. Friendship and sisterhood are critical to our emotional well being and personally near and dear to my heart. You can find me sharing more on the topic here:

~Sisterhood

~Friendship

 

We’ve been called to:

~Love one another

~Bear one another’s burdens

~Pray for one another

~Comfort one another
~give preference to one another

~Forgive one another

~Be kind to one another

~Serve one another

~Speak truth to one another

~Encourage one another

 

It is my prayer that you’ve got people in your tribe that will love you, encourage you and serve you. We all need a squad who will speak truth to us, bear our burdens and give us comfort. Take confidence in knowing you’ve got me on your squad, holding it down in prayer.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Grace and Truth

Sisterhood: Soul Therapy

Tears of joy.

 

Smiles a plenty.

 

Hearts wide open.

 

 

All found in the uninhibited exchange between sisters.

 

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I’ve heard it said, “I don’t ‘do’ women.” What that screams is, I’ve been hurt, I’ve been wounded, I am afraid. Women are wired to be in relationship with one another. There is safety, comfort and joy found in sisterhood. From styling one another’s hair to delivering babies, from sharing the deepest secrets to holding bridezilla while she has a meltdown, women are designed to nurture one another.

 

The soul is nourished when the heart is embraced in sisterhood. Click To Tweet

 

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I met a woman once who confided in me that she didn’t have a female in her life that she considered a trusted friend. I was deeply moved by that and my heart went out to her. Wouldn’t you know, 4 years later, we are friends. She is lively, funny, loyal and giving, a good recipe for being a great friend. Yet my sweet friend had spent time without the beauty of sisterhood.

 

Soul therapy is found in the sacred space of sisterhood. Click To Tweet

 

Careers, schedules, children, husbands, fears, and just daily living can have us trapped in silos. Our ability to nurture meaningful relationships becomes subject to the captivity of solitary confinement UNLESS we intentionally fill our prescription of soul therapy and demand our RELEASE.

 

I’ve always treasured friendship and I’ve been blessed beyond measure to do life with some amazing women. They teach me, challenge me, love me, help me, and flat out make me smile. I’ve also been hurt by a few but my heart remains open. For what is life without love? What is life without hurt? Is a life truly lived if it isn’t felt?

 

Recently I shared hearts, laughs and tears with a sweet friend. She literally radiates sunshine. We filled our prescription of soul therapy over a mutual love, COFFEE. You can find her talking about all things coffee over at EspressoTrips

 

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For my birthday I was blessed to share excellent food, great conversation, hopes and dreams with two of my favorite gals.

 

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As a homemaker, the nature of the job can have me riding solo often. Then add in being a wife and mama to 6, my time for nurturing meaningful relationships with my sisters can be hampered. So I have to be purposeful and intentional in my connections. Relationships are dear to the heart of God. I think He illustrates this so beautifully through relationships in the bible, from David and Jonathan to Jesus and the beloved disciple, that we’ve been called to do life together. And if relationships are meaningful to Him then they should be meaningful to us and we should cultivate them.

 

I pray you find love, encouragement, safety and acceptance in the sacred space of sisterhood. If you are carrying the hurt of having been wounded by a sister, I pray that your heart be mended,  and if necessary that you find forgiveness. I pray you open your heart once again to the possibility of true sisterhood.

 

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What are you doing to ensure your sisterhood soul therapy?

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with others sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, #LifeGivingLinkup,Purposeful  Faith

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Lift Up Your Head

As I was driving the other day, I saw a man walking with His head slung so low, he looked like the headless horseman. It immediately made me think, “LIFT UP YOUR HEAD!”

 

 

Lift up your heads, O you gates!

And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!

And the King of glory shall come in.

Psalm 24:7

 

Then I began thinking about various trials I have faced this year; things that could have caused me to hang my head low, things that could have caused me to believe that the King of Glory was nowhere in the vicinity.

 

But God! Through it all He was indeed the lifter of my head.

 

Lift up your heads, O you gates!

Lift up, you everlasting doors!

And the King of glory shall come in.

Psalm 24:9

 

Mentioned twice nearly back to back in this chapter so God wants you to get this. These verses were most likely sung by the choir as the ark was carried into the temple.

 

Let it be your song too friend. Do not be disheartened. Do not be dismayed. While the trials you face may be difficult, while we see our world being ravaged by darkness, death and destruction, be of good cheer. The kingdom of God is at hand. Lift up your head.

 

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Luke 21:25-28

 

Just as the gates were lifted and flung open to receive the King of Glory, lift your head, and open your heart to receive ALL that Jesus brings when he comes into your midst.

 

When Jesus comes into the atmosphere He brings:

 

Hope

Healing

Deliverance

Liberty

Favor

Blessing

Love

Joy

Peace

Security

 

Friends it is not enough to just welcome Him into the door of your home but you’ve also got to… Click To Tweet Allow Him to walk through every crack, crevice and recessed corner of your heart. Even the Pharisee welcomed Jesus into their home, but a true disciple welcomes Him into their heart.

 

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Revelation 3:20

 

So lift up your heads and open your hearts, for the King of Glory stands at the gate, ready to enter.

 

Will you receive Him today?

 

As always, I pray that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

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Family

When I sat to write on the subject of family, I thought elegant prose would flow freely from my fingertips. Instead, there is a delay, a pregnant pause of sorts. I am deeply disturbed by this hesitation to flow on a subject that is so meaningful to me.

 

When I think of my immediate household, my immediate family brings a smile to may face. I chuckle when I visualize a picture of us thinking, “Wow, that sure is a lot of people”. There are seven of us, my husband, our five children and myself. Never did I imagine having such a large family. They are quite entertaining and the source of endless laughs as my husband and I sit back and observe them interacting with one another. Even now as I type in the wee hours of the morning, the 3 boys are already up, playing with Legos, going on wild Star Wars adventures.

 

I think of my dad who is one of my best buddies. He is not only father but also friend.

 

I think of my closest girlfriends who are not merely friends but are family. I treasure these relationships and thank God for the extension of family.

 

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24

 

And I can’t leave out my in-laws with whom I felt instantly connected.

 

But there’s a deep gnawing, a raw pain that also comes when I think of family. I miss my sisters who are hundreds of miles away. I long to be knit closer to them in distance and tied closer in heart. I miss my aunts and older cousins some of whom are hundreds or thousands of miles away. And then there’s that place that carved out little niche, that empty space labeled MOM. A space nobody but Jesus can fill since this gal’s mamma has long since passed away. This void that cries out with a hollow echo. This place that has been patched over, stuffed then excavated again. This space I thought was mended but is still quite fractured.

 

FAMILY.

 

The thought of family brings joy. The thought of family brings tears. I give thanks for ties that bind. I pray my children will always remain close to each other. I see myself growing old and gray with my sweetie, my husband. We know that family is close to the heart of God as He Himself came to earth through the context of family. I pray for love, joy, peace and unity in families across the globe. Thank you Lord for the sacred institution of family.

 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1 Click To Tweet

 

What immediately comes to mind when you thinking of family?

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with Five Minute Friday  & #DanceWithJesus on the topic of Family

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Into The Thick Of It

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness in and health, to love, cherish and to honor til death do us part.

 

It’s easy to hold when your sex drive is high and your spouse is giving it up daily.

 

Everyone is happy when times are better, bills are paid and food is plentiful.

 

Richer days are appreciated when two incomes are flowing and income is steady.

 

When both parties are in good health, the world is theirs for the taking.

 

What then becomes of the marriage when the storms of life hit?

 

How do you feel about your spouse when you are into the thick of it?

 

The most immediate, fleshly reaction is to probably resist your spouse instead of fiercely clinging to them.

 

It’s difficult to hold when you know a spouse has been unfaithful.

 

It’s challenging when being married delivers more worse days than best and you are like two ships passing in the night.

 

The tension is palatable when accounts are overdrawn and credit cards are to their limits.

 

How do you cope with a spouse that is sick? The drug addicted or pornography addict spouse? The mental ill or the physical ill spouse?

 

When these times occur feelings of love can turn to hate and some may even consider to death do us part by their own hand.

 

If you’ve ever felt that way, can I get an amen?! If you feel this way right now just stick with me for a few more lines.

 

I would venture to say your spouse has probably had to deal with some of YOUR mess too.

 

Maturity in marriage calls for one to relent. For another to repent. For one to say, “I’m sorry”. Click To Tweet

 

For one to determine not to walk away. For one to forgive.

 

Thank GOD….

 

Our agape love for Christ enables us to do virtually the impossible.

 

When HIS love floods our hearts we are able to love those who have mistreated us, betrayed us, and berated us including our spouses.

 

I give thanks for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, teaching, direction and the power that supersedes the flesh. My husband works MOST of the time. He works 2 jobs, 7 days a week and has done so for 12 years now. Over the years I’ve prayed for family time today. Well last week he was off work so I had that family time that I so diligently prayed for….BUT….his presence interrupts “MY” flow. He asked the children to do tasks in the middle of homework time, he let them play video games on a school night (cringe), he’s made us leave out later in the morning, though we were still on time for school.

 

Yes I was all up in my feelings. Again, but GOD! The Holy Spirit bought my own prayers for family time back to my remembrance. So the flesh had to bow down while the spirit rejoiced and gave thanks for answered prayers.

 

When your prayers are answered, be ready to receive them.

 

This weekend I was in Marshall’s with my husband and children. At the checkout we had laughs with the cashier as she tried to understand how all these shabby chic wall collage items were going into a man cave. My husband left before me to load the children in the car and the cashier asked me,

 

“You really love him don’t you?”

 

To which I replied,

 

“Mmm, yes. That’s my MAN. I love him. I do. I do indeed”

 

My marriage has faced many days of the worse and it seemed that better wasn’t even on the horizon. With no examples of marriage, we came into our union reckless and unprepared. Based on what we’d seen growing up, our solution was to battle it out. We were two rams with locked horns. But we had to learn marriage and self-centeredness are incompatible.

 

True love is not self-seeking. It gives and gives and gives some more. Click To Tweet

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

Happy to be running into the thick of it securely tied to MY MAN as we run life’s two legged race together.

 

There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good… Click To Tweet

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Life Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News #LifeGivingLinkup, Purposeful Faith, #Grace&Truth, #DanceWithJesus

The Blessing of Motherhood

Do you nurture? Are you responsible for the social, emotional, mental, physical and spiritual care of another? Then you my friend are a Mother. Even if you have not birthed any children from your womb, you are a Mother. Mother Teresa bore no children of her own, yet she was a mother to poor, needy and orphaned children, serving them for over 45 years.

 

There is a terrible hunger for love. 

We all experience that in our lives – the pain, the loneliness. 

We must have the courage to recognize it.
The poor you may have right in your own family.
Find them.
Love them.

~Mother Teresa

 

 Kiss Baby

Our culture today does not esteem the role of motherhood. In fact, that role has been demonized. We’ve even gone so far as to indoctrinate children through many popular animated films that the role of mother is unnecessary. Mother has systematically been erased from these films or is represented as an evil figure.

 

But God validates YOU Mother. He sees you right where you are. Just as El-Roi saw Hagar and opened her eyes and led her to the well, He sees you. Just as He led her to the water, He is leading us, Mothers, to Him and His word, the river of living waters.

 

Mother, do you see how vital you are to LIFE? You carry life, you give life, and you speak life. And you provide the most basic yet essential human need of life, LOVE.

 

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Mother You:

 

Nurture

~The bible says that Sarah, Hannah, Jochebed nursed their babies. Their children were held close as Mother provided life-sustaining nourishment.

 

Protect

~Jochebed, Moses’ mother hid him (Exodus 2:2). Mothers we have a responsibility to hide our children under shadow of the Almighty. When Herod was on the warpath killing all the little boys, Mary and Joseph fled to hide Jesus Mother, in what ways are you protecting your children from the evils of this world?

 

Provide

~Every year Hannah would return with a new robe for her son Samuel. Eunice and Lois provided spiritual training for Timothy. How are you providing for the spiritual, physical and emotional growth of your children?

 

Guide

~ When she could no longer hide him, Jochebed put Moses in a carefully constructed vessel and placed her daughter in position to look over him. She guided him along a stream of living water. To guide is to lead or facilitate, but not necessarily to do everything for. Are there some areas Mother where you need to remove your hands and just guide?

 

Pray

~Hannah was a woman of prayer (1 Samuel 1:11, 2:1-10). Mary was woman of prayer (Luke 1:46-55). Aaron, the first High Priest wore the names of the children of Israel on his breastplate. And when he would go to minister before the Lord, he bore their names on his chest. How are you bringing your children before the Lord in prayer?

 

Stand

~Elizabeth said NO to the naysayers and spoke up as to what the Lord told her about the child’s name. She knew people wouldn’t understand, but she didn’t let that intimidate her (Luke 1:60). So when the Lord makes a promise to you about one of your children, later for the naysayers, listen and follow the Lord.

~Mary told the angel let it be to me as you have stated even though she’d risk persecution from the community and rejection from Joseph. Mothers, be on guard, stand watch.

 

Beware

Do not fall into the mothering traps of:

~Sarah’s interfering in God’s plans by manufacturing your children’s lives (Genesis 18:12-15)

~Rebekah’s manipulation and lying (Genesis 27:5-17)

~Salome’s trying to manage the day-to-day affairs of her adult children’s lives (Matthew 20:20-21)

 

And because of your faithfulness, Mother you shall be blessed.

 

Blessings

~Mothers are visited by the Most High or His representatives (Mary, Elizabeth, Hannah, Shunammite Woman)

~Kings of peoples shall be from you (Genesis 17:16)

~The Lord will do for you what He promised (Genesis 21:1)

~Salvation (2 Timothy 2:15)

~Your children will take care of you (Jesus to John, behold your mother)

~Directly impact kingdom building by influencing generations of believers, even those yet to be born

 

Her children arise and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women do noble things,

but you surpass them all.”

Proverbs 31:28-29

 

So Mother, as I reflect post Mother’s Day, I honor you. I celebrate you. Let us rejoice together at the blessing of motherhood.

 

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

 

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has been mindful

of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

for the Mighty One has done great things for me—

holy is his name.

His mercy extends to those who fear him,

from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones

but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things

but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,

remembering to be merciful

to Abraham and his descendants forever,

just as he promised our ancestors.”

Luke 1:46-55

 

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Women's Conference

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Mommy of 5

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

Feature Image Photo Credit
Happy to connect with friends @ #DanceWithJesus and Fellowship Friday’s

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A Father’s Love

Riding bikes together from Roxbury to Harvard Square and back.

Whatchamacallits, Smartfood Popcorn and Sicilian pizza.

Deep conversation, identifying strengths, creating opportunities and unending support. These are just some of the ways my earthly father invested in me and showed me his love.

 

This Easter weekend I reflected on the ultimate sacrifice of God’s love for us in sending His Son to die for our sins. My heart was filled with gratitude to be on the receiving end of this love. Yet I know I’ve only begun to scratch the surface on understanding and accepting the immensity of The Father’s love for me. The magnitude of it is such that I can’t wrap my head around it.

 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1

 

When I think about my relationship with my earthly father, it brings a smile to my face. My father is one of my best friends. He is fun loving, brilliant and reassuring. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loves me.

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I also see a great example of fatherhood in my husband. He teaches our children history and practical life lessons. While I tend to be very structured with the children, he creates room in the routines to have fun with the children the “Daddy Way”. Beyond a shadow of a doubt I know he loves his children.

 

A Father's Love

 

And while these two examples exemplify Fatherhood, there exists an even more complete portrait a father’s love.

 

In a far-off land the Lord will manifest himself to them. He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.’ Jeremiah 31:3

 

We are loved by The Father who:

 

~Covers you so you are not ashamed
~Forgives your disobedience
~Loves you enough to correct you
~Staying in contact with you
~Rejoices when you return home
~Surrenders His absolute best for your benefit

 

And these are but small glimpses of the depth of The Father’s love for us. It is His desire to saturate us in His love but we have to prepare ourselves to receive it. Our images and perceptions of God directly impact our ability to receive His love.

 

Do you perceive Him as a loving, doting father?

 

Do you perceive him as a harsh disciplinarian?

 

Your perceptions of The Father can box in His love for you. We can put human limitations on a Father whose love is immeasurable and everlasting. I pray that we eradicate any limitations, barriers or hindrances that stand in the way of us experiencing the width, depth, breadth and height of The Father’s love for us. I pray that our hearts are open to receive the fullness of His love for us.

 

In his book Love Beyond Reason John Ortberg says, “Attention is so valuable we don’t just give it, we pay attention. This is how God loves us. He pays attention to us.”

 

The Word declares that your Heavenly Father pays you attention in that He:

 

~Thinks you’re the apple of His eye
~Loves you with an everlasting love
~Is a father to the fatherless
~Knows what you have need of even before you ask
~Has compassion for you
~Calls you His child

 

This is but peek at the totality of A Father’s Love, The Father’s Love. Oh friends be assured of His complete, utter, absolute love for you and receive it today. Join me in prayer…

 

Abba Father, most loving gracious God what a joy it is to stand in your presence. You are so full of love and light. Your glory saturates the atmosphere and fills this place and fills me. Lord I ask that you create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me. Whatever barriers stand in the way of me receiving the fullness of your love for me, I ask you to remove them. Lord, I thank you that you bless and keep me, that you make your face shine upon me, you are gracious to me, you lift the light of your countenance upon me and you give me your peace. Abba manifest your love for me in a real and tangible way. Amen.

 

Receive His love today.

 

In the song I Receive, Israel Houghton sings,

 

“Behold all things have been made new

My past has gone, my shame removed

You gave Your Son Your love for me

Now at the cross I am made free

I receive Your love, I receive Your love for me

I receive Your love, I know I am accepted”

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with friends at Purposeful Faith Monday’s Musings Fellowship Fridays Dance With Jesus Grace and Truth

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Lost That Loving Feeling?

Flowers wilting, balloons losing air, candy’s been eaten and stores have Valentine’s items on clearance. Is your marriage reflective of the post-Valentine’s current situation?

What do you do when your marriage has lost that loving feeling, now it’s gone, gone, gone, whoo ooh?

 

Well, first grant yourself some grace and know that you are not alone. The happily ever after romanticized love we see on TV and in movies is just that…a fairy tale. Rest assured, the feeling of being ‘in love’ will wax and wane. I think many people come into marriage believing that the amorous feeling of being ‘in love’ will last always and when those feelings are gone, they think they can walk out of their marriages. I think married people, counselors, friends, pastors, whomever is giving advice needs to paint a more accurate picture of the cycles and rhythms of the marital union.

 

This is not to say that I am not madly in love with my husband. He is my hubs, my boo, my sunshine. The dude still brings a smile to my face when I think of him. He is fun, flirty, humorous, lively, and seeks to make me happy. I often visualize us at 70, walking hand and hand in white linen on the beaches of Bora Bora and Tahiti. In fact, today I love him far deeper than I did when we first got married. But there are days….I tell you, Mmm, when the lovely dovey feelings aren’t there. Maybe he’s gotten on my nerves or made a decision I don’t agree with. What do I do on those days? How do you believe in the union when you aren’t feeling it?

 

Well, I recognize that the loving feeling is a chemical reaction. Over time you get used to it and it dulls. Recent studies show that when people are falling in love the brain releases a cocktail of chemicals including dopamine and serotonin that stimulate the brain’s pleasure center. That same research also indicates that period is just a phase and generally lasts from one to three years. When that phase is over, then what? When Eros, romantic love ebbs, here is where we have an opportunity to demonstrate agape, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. For more on agape love click here and here.

 

It makes me think of these lyrics by Earth, Wind and Fire, “Something happened along the way, what used to be happy is sad.”

 

Eros can come and go but agape is here to stay.

 

When Eros ebbs, don’t anguish over it. Remember that it is indeed just a feeling. But TRUE LOVE runs deeper than feeling. TRUE LOVE is action, not just feeling. TRUE LOVE demands honesty, forgiveness, selflessness, maturity, compassion, trust, understanding, empathy and the yielding of rights.

 

Let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

 

Marriage is something that is living and breathing and needs to be fed and watered daily. What happens to a plant when it is denied sunlight and water? It shrivels and dies. Even if the plant has sufficient sunlight and water, salt, fungus and bacteria can leech in and impact its health. When the issues of life: money, children, extended family, trust, hobbies and other issues distract or detract from the marriage, how do you keep it healthy and vibrant?

 

Brick by brick you erect a love that is built to last.

 

Intimacy

And I’m not just talking about physical intimacy here. Intimate face to face dialogue. Truly caring about what has happened throughout their day. By the time my husband gets home from work I am truly spent but I try to stay up and listen attentively as he shares what’s happened in his day. We also have short phone conversations and text throughout the day.  Physical touch is impact for us too. I find that it increases my amorous feelings for my husband. He is better at initiating this than I am. When I am cooking at the stove, he slow comes up behind me and places one arm around my waist. It is a small gesture but is filled with love and tenderness.

 

Personality

It is so vitally important to understand how your mate is wired. You need to KNOW what makes them tick, why they say the things they do and make the decisions they make. You can have a better grasp on this by knowing their personality type. For more on personalities, please visit Personality Expert, Karen Ward by clicking here.

 

Communication

Keep the lines open. Lend a listening ear. Create an environment safe for sharing by not making judgements, being critical and  doing half as much talking. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. This is one area I have to be diligent in practicing as I am prone to JUMP IN when my husband is speaking. This principle is articulated so well in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Seek first to understand then to be understood.

 

Love Language

I stated earlier that love is action. Dr. Gary Chapman has identified 5 ways in which we feel the love: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. My love language is acts of service. Run an errand for me, help me with the laundry, and I feel the love. Yet my husband likes to give me gifts. One time in fact, he was so happy to have purchased me a really nice gift.  He called and said, “Ooo, I got you something very special.”  I responded, “I hope you didn’t buy me something stupid like a Coach bag.”  Well, that was exactly what he had purchased.  OUCH!  It turned into a big argument.  He was just trying to make me happy and I had snatched all the wind out of his sail.  We’ve had to learn from each other and adapt in this area. It was a growing process but after 15 years of marriage, I think we’ve hit our stride there. For more on the 5 Love Languages, click here.

 

Commitment

You have to be resolved to go the distance. My husband has helped me to embrace this truth. I used to think marriage was filled with only blissful days (ok, I generally walk around with rose colored lenses). My husband would tell me, there are going to be hard times and when they come we will weather them together. And sure enough the hard days came. My first thought was, “Uh un, I don’t have to deal with this.” But my husband reminded me, I told you this was coming. He said, ” We are going to deal with it. You aren’t going anywhere. Now let’s figure it out together.” Praise God for his resolve.

 

Trustworthy

Are you sowing seeds of trust or distrust in your marriage? Are you lending even the slightest appearance of sketchy behavior? If something even gives the appearance of being shady, remove it. Have a baseline that’s agreed upon by both of you for what is healthy and permissible i.e. who should befriend/not friend on social media.

 

Forgiveness

You will both make mistakes. Do not deadbolt the door of your heart. Open it to forgive. Love forgives.

 

Maturity

Some days you may just want to have a temper tantrum. They did this, so I have a right to act like a brat. Waa-waa-waa. Not fair. Ok now! At least one of you has to take the high road of maturity. Feel like you are always the one taking the high road? Well you may be. That’s why you are with that one, because God knew you were capable of taking the high road. Someone has to do it. Why not you?

 

Surrender Your Rights

Love demands that you yield your rights; your right to be right, your right to have what you want, to say what you want, to do what you want. Even if you are indeed correct about a situation, there are times you will need to give up your right to BE RIGHT. True love is not puffed up so remove some leaven, be humble and back off your need to show that you are right.

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

I pray that you make decisions on purpose that will positively contribute to the health and vitality of your marriage.  For my singles, carefully consider these sayings of mine and save them in the event you too join the ranks of us married folk.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

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What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?

In the 1966 hit record, What Becomes of The Brokenhearted, Jimmy Ruffin sings:

The fruits of love grow all around

But for me they come a tumblin’ down

Every day heartaches grow a little stronger

I can’t stand this pain much longer

I walk in shadows

Searching for light

Cold and alone

No comfort in sight

Hoping and praying for someone to care

Always moving and goin’ to where

 

Jesus was sent to heal the brokenhearted. He opened the scroll and read of himself saying:

 

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,

Because the Lord has anointed Me

To preach good tidings to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted” Isaiah 61:1

 

Jesus doesn’t want you living the above lyrics to the song. He gave his life that you might do the opposite. He wants you to be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that give fruit and are prosperous. He’s come to heal your heartache. He wants you to come out of the shadows and into his marvelous light. He is a comforter. He cares for you and wants you to cast your cares on him. He wants to lead you in paths of righteousness for his namesake. Line for line, Jesus is the answer to what becomes of the brokenhearted.

 

What becomes of the brokenhearted?

 

When their hearts are opened, they are healed.

 

I had a gaping whole in my heart. A space carved out with my mother’s name on it. I tried to fill that space with many things but they never quite seemed to fit: too big, too small, wide angles, sharp corners. They just didn’t fit. But thanks be to God he is a father to the fatherless and a mother to the motherless.

 

What does he want you to do in order to heal your broken heart?

 

RECEIVE

 

Open the door to your heart so that you can be healed, whole and loved.

 

Walking into a grocery store with my 4 year old was torture as the Valentine’s ‘eye noise’ was unbearable. He asked me, “Mommy why do they have Valentine’s Day everything? Mommy it’s too much cookies and candy and balloons.” I told him he was right that I love him and his siblings and his daddy so much everyday that we didn’t need to buy pink cookies to let them know we love them.

 

And the Father loves you more than that. He doesn’t have to dangle trinkets in front of your face that you’ll eventually discard. But every day he sees you, chooses you, knows you and calls you. Today, respond to him. He’s wooing you. His love is magnetic; it just draws you in. Don’t try to repel it, but like the strength of a neodymium magnet, be drawn in and fused together.

 

If you are brokenhearted for whatever reason, it will hamper your ability to love unconditionally. For more on agape love click here. Your capacity to love agape is only unleashed when you’ve 1st received from Him who loved you 1st. You cannot give that which you do not have. So Jesus is simply waiting for you to say yes. Perhaps you’ve said yes to let Him be your savior but have you said yes to receive his unconditional love for you? He is down, on bended knee. Imagine him as he was when he washed the disciples’ feet. He was modeling for us humility, servant hood and above all love.

 

If we are to experience the fullness of his resurrection power in our lives, we must accept that we are loved by him. We have been crucified with him yes. Now we have new life all because he loved us and freely gave himself for us.

 

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

 

If you receive his love for you, won’t you tell him today. Below in the comments you can write your response to receiving his love. If you have challenges receiving his love, you can share that too so I can pray for you. If all the Valentine’s hoopla causes you more pain than joy, share that too so I can pray for you. In fact, right now I reach out to you with a big virtual hug. Can you feel it? The Lord’s got a hug waiting for you too.

 

 

In The Secrets of the Secret Place, Bob Sorge says this of our communion with the Lord:

He initiates, we respond

He gives, we receive

He impregnates, we bring to birth

He leads, we follow

He loves, we reciprocate

He rules, we reign with Him

 

Lord, I say yes. I open the door to my heart. I come running to you. I love you Lord.

 

To God be the glory for all that he has done.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

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