Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Spring, and Fret ~ Grace and Truth Week 7

The Grace and Truth link-up was full of great reads last week, so much so that I had an unusually difficult time choosing just one to feature. So, I’m slightly bending the rules today to include at least a couple of the posts that were meaningful to me. 🙂

I really enjoyed this upbeat and hope-filled post from Cathy at Thoughts on Books about waiting for Spring. It’s full of beautiful photos and edifying scriptures.

One other post I just had to feature is Arabah Joy’s What You Really Need to Fast From This Lent. She breaks down a simple but powerful verse and wrings every bit of truth from the pieces!

I hope you take time to stop by the blogs above and be encouraged by the words there!

Jen 🙂

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

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2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

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Who Controls Your Eating? ~ Grace and Truth Week 6

A few weeks ago my husband shared an illustration in one of his sermons that struck me in a new way, even though I had heard it before (based on My Heart, Christ’s Home by Robert Mounger).  He tells the story of Christ’s visit to a home. In the story, Jesus is shown from room to room, making various comments and pointing out sin and needs. But when He asks for a peak inside of the odorous hall closet, He’s denied.

We all have those closeted-off spaces in our hearts, areas we wish to keep to ourselves. Perhaps we feel the closet is too disgusting for Christ’s redemption. Perhaps we wish to maintain control over that area. Perhaps we simply don’t want to be told what to do with it.

When I heard the illustration told again, I recognized two areas that I’ve been unwilling to let the Lord have control of until recent years. Sure, I’ve given him bits and pieces here and there, but not the full access He is asking for.  One of these areas is my health, specifically my eating habits.

Lately, the Father has been teaching me how often sin comes into play in my eating. He’s making me call it what it is – sin.  He’s not letting me “off the hook” any longer.  He desires to free me from this slavery, and I’m beginning to yearn for that freedom myself!

So, I really appreciated Sarah Knepper’s post this week about emotional eating.  She was even brave enough to start a video diary and confess this problem face to face (well, digitally)!  I can relate to so much of what she wrote and said, so I’m happy to share it with you all.

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You can also find Sarah on facebook,twitter, and pinterest.

Thanks for the encouragement, Sarah!

Jen 🙂

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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Arabah Joy
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A Divine Encounter
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Busy Being Blessed
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1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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How We Love ~ Grace and Truth Week 5

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. How we love our husbands, how we love our children, how we love neighbors and friends and even the church. The agape love we are called to is a mighty force when we see it in action. It’s a beautiful, awe-inspiring thing!  Unfortunately, we often miss opportunities to demonstrate such sacrificial love in our homes, our communities, and our churches.

At the end of last week, I wrote about loving even when marriage is difficult. So, of course, the title of Christy’s (from Faith Like Dirty Diapers) post immediately intrigued me, and I wasn’t disappointed!  This is one of my favorite lines from what she wrote: “What I built in my sinful flesh has to be dismantled by “divine power.” I CANNOT do this alone. I need the Spirit of God to intervene in a mighty way.”

Amen, sister!  I’m realizing that over the last decade or so, the Lord has been tearing down the human constructs in my marriage and rebuilding new ones based on Christ!  Be sure to stop by and read the post for yourself. You can also catch Christy on facebook.

I pray that as we go into Valentine’s weekend, we’ll be overwhelmed by the Father’s love, which will overflow in agape love towards all of the people in our lives!

Jen 🙂

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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Arabah Joy
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Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

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6 Ways to Stir Up Love in a Difficult Marriage

A few days ago, I shared just part of my struggling marriage story and how difficult Valentine’s Day is when you don’t feel like celebrating love. If you didn’t catch that first part, please go back and read For the Wife Who Doesn’t Feel Like Celebrating Love before you read any further here so that you can get the whole picture. 🙂

I’m happy to say that our marriage is in a much stronger place now than it was then, although not without its problems. So, this Valentine’s Day will be easier than the one I previously described.

However, I know so many of you wives out there are hurting, too. How do I know? Because the number one searched word that leads people to this blog is the word “unloved” from a post I wrote way back in 2013.  I’ve been contacted by so many Christian wives who truly desire to walk in obedience to the Lord even in the midst of marriage problems, but they just aren’t sure how. I have been that wife myself!

So, if you find yourself in a marriage that just plain stinks this Valentine’s Day – if you believe you can’t show love because you feel so unloved – I have some advice for you that comes from my personal experience as a struggling wife.

6 Ways to Stir Up Love in a Difficult Marriage

1. Remember who you are in Christ. This has been key for me in overcoming lies from the Enemy about my marriage. In Christ, I am completely and perfectly fulfilled. I am perfectly loved. I am wanted. I am cherished. I am chosen.  Any loving that I do, has to flow from that place of understanding who I am as a Daughter of the King and Christ’s Bride.  When I find my identity in Christ instead of in my marriage, then I can survive the tough times.

2. Pray. Pray without ceasing that the Lord will give you His unfailing love for your man. I can’t tell you how often I’ve begged this of our Father over the years. That agape love comes not from us, my sisters in Christ. Rather, it is an overflow of abiding in the One who IS perfect Love. Pray for your man, as well. The Lord can effect changes in his heart that you can never hope to make!

6-ways-to-stir-up-love-in-a-difficult-marriage, helping a hurting marriage, struggling wife, difficult marriage, how to feel love, how to fall in love again, how to love a difficult spouse

3. Seek counsel. My husband and I might face the effects of PTSD on our marriage for the rest of our lives. I pray not, but it could be so.  We’ve found a few godly friends who really “get” us and even more importantly, “get” our marriage dynamic.  They understand because they’ve been there, too.  However, I highly recommend seeking out a godly Christian counselor.  We’ve been through several over our nearly 16 years of marriage.

Our current counselor is by far my favorite. He doesn’t downplay the reality of PTSD as some do, neither does he downplay the power of Christ. He brings scripture into our sessions and ends each one with a prayer that brings encouragement to our hearts.  My sisters in Christ, there is an indescribable comfort in realizing that your marriage problems are not unique. Others have faced them and overcome them before!  You are not alone as the Enemy would have you believe. Seek help! And if your man won’t go with you, please don’t use that as an excuse not to get help for yourself.

4. Make a list. Sometimes when I’m really struggling to love my husband, I make a list. I take note of all the things I admire about him – all the reasons for loving who he is as a person.  This really helps me to turn my focus from the negative, things I dislike, to the positive, things I like.  It also helps me to look back and see the ways in which he has grown over the years. After all, he is a work-in-progress, just as I am. Remembering that fact helps me to show him more grace and love.

5. Read your old journals or love notes. Every once in a great while, I pull out my memory box and look through pictures or keepsakes from the early years. I read the notes my husband wrote to me. It’s easier to love someone when I remember that he loves me, too! The memory box also helps me to remember how marriage can be easy between us.  It doesn’t always have to be a struggle (that’s another lie straight from the Enemy, sisters!). Good years will return as long as we both continue to follow the Lord and pursue each other.

6. Pursue your man.  Okay, honestly, I still fight this one so hard at times – it’s a pride issue for me and an area the Lord is still working in.  However, I’m learning that when I obediently reach out to my husband instead of waiting for him to reach out to me, he responds and we both gain. Pursuing him might be as simple as stopping what I’m doing and looking him in the eyes when he speaks to me, or choosing to sit next to him on the couch and hold his hand even if he sat way over there in the first place.;)

6-Ways-to-Stir-Up-Love-In-a-Difficult-Marriage, how to love when you feel unloved, bringing back the feeling of love to a struggling marriage, loving someone who isn't loving you, loving as God loves us

I know how difficult the above advice is to hear when you’re so broken-hearted, so wounded, so unloved.

Yes, I know it is.

But I have faith in the God who works out the impossible! I’ve seen it in my own marriage in places where He has torn down our shabby constructs of love in order to build up newer, stronger foundations that rest on Him alone. I believe Him when he says I can do ALL things through His strength – even loving someone whom I might believe to be undeserving of my love. I can love someone who doesn’t love me in return, perhaps even someone who truly despises me at the moment, because of the power of Christ in me. And you can do it, too!

You can celebrate Valentine’s Day without glossing over that fact that your marriage is hurting. You can be honest with your spouse. You can choose to act lovingly toward him even if he is not reciprocating. You can cling to the hope that Christ redeems us, and He redeems our marriages, too!

You can, my sisters in Christ.

Father, when we feel discouraged in our marriages, when we struggle to speak even a few loving words to our husbands, help us to remember that our marriages are works-in-progress, too.  Show us the progress, Lord!  Give us agape love for our husbands so that they might be drawn to us and drawn to You.  Remind us to pray for them. Remind us to pursue them. Show us every small way in which we can encourage and uplift them because of Your strength in us. And when we’re feeling so unloved ourselves, help us to turn to You, the Author of perfect Love. Teach us to be satisfied in You.  Especially on this Valentine’s Day, I ask you to bind up the brokenhearted and give them Hope!  Because of Your one and only Son’s death on our behalf….

Amen!

Jen 🙂

Related Articles:

For the Wife Who Doesn’t Feel Like Celebrating Love

How to Love When You Feel Unloved

Through My Grace-colored Glasses

It Was Ugly

For more encouraging articles on marriage, check out the Celebrating Marriage pinterest board!

Sharing this post with:

Making Your Home Sing Monday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Wedded Wednesday, Tell His Story, Wholehearted Home

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A Lost Coin and Marriage ~ Grace and Truth Week 4

Yesterday I talked about the tough times in marriage here on the blog. So, today I’m pleased to feature another blogger’s unique take on losing things and marriage. Her post is a little more light-hearted, yet contains important truths!  Be sure to visit Aimee at a Work of Grace for more truth-filled reading.  and of course, take a look at the featured post below. Thanks, Aimee for the great read! 🙂

marriage, working on marriage, celebrating marriage, maintaining marriage, What Have You Lost?

You can also find Aimee on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

Now, on to this week’s link-up!

Jen 🙂

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
BLOG
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Kaylene Yoder
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The Brown Tribe
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Arabah Joy
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A Divine Encounter
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Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

6.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week.

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

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For the Wife Who Doesn’t Feel Like Celebrating Love

It’s no secret to those who know me well that my marriage isn’t perfect. Whose is, really? 🙂

So maybe you’ve spent time there lately, in that part of the marriage vows that we all like to ignore – the “for worse?” And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, your pain is magnified because while everyone else is celebrating love, you’re left wondering where the love has gone. Perhaps you don’t even want to celebrate Valentine’s Day at all?

You’re not alone. I’ve been to that place, too.

Early on in our marriage, my husband revealed a secret about past trauma that he had kept hidden for years. He had survived things as a child that nearly made me vomit when I heard them, yet never spoke a word!  That revelation (and other difficult circumstances) led to a really dark time in our marriage.

After talking with some trusted friends, we finally sought professional help, but it was years later before we learned that my husband really struggled with PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). Yes, the kind that soldiers get when they’ve been to war.

At some point, I began to wonder – who is this man that I married? Followed by the thought – this isn’t what I signed up for.

We continued to struggle in our marriage, partially because of his own personal fight with demons from the past and partially because I was believing lies from the Enemy about myself, about him, and about us.  I worried a lot about whether we would make it.

Sometimes I even longed for the release and relief of a separation. Wouldn’t it be so much easier on my own? But I knew that divorce was a sin. I also knew I didn’t want that life for my children, and I knew that part of me still loved my husband in spite of not feeling the love at the moment, so ultimately we decided to stick it out. But it wasn’t easy.

And then came Valentine’s Day, a day for celebrating love and marriage.

The problem was that I didn’t feel “in love” anymore. In fact, at times I didn’t even like my husband, and I don’t think he liked me very much either.  I didn’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day at all.

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So, how can you buy a Valentine’s Day card for your husband when it feels like a lie to even say a simple, “I love you” or “You’re wonderful?”  There are no Valentine’s Day cards that talk about staying committed even though marriage really stinks right now.  There are no Valentine’s Day cards that talk about how you weep at night, yet you hold onto hope for better days.  No, those cards don’t exist.

What could I do?  To buy a sentimental card felt like a lie; it would be dishonest.  Finally, I settled on a more general card, then added my own note to it.

I wrote about how hard life had been lately for both of us. I wrote how sorry I was for my own failures as a wife. I wrote about what I saw in him when we first fell in love. Most importantly, I wrote how I planned to stick by him, for better or for worse, even though marriage seemed so much more than “worse” at the moment.

In so many words, I told him I believed in us and I believed in our God.

My husband still keeps those cards, even the ones from the rough years (yes, years). They mean something to him. They mean something to me, too.

We survived that rough Valentine’s Day and some rough anniversaries, too. Although I’d love to tell you we never visited the dark times again in these last 15 years, it would be a lie.  We have. Every marriage has its ups and downs. That’s just normal. 🙂

So, this Valentine’s Day, my heart goes out to you, the wife who doesn’t feel like celebrating, the wife who feels so unloved and maybe even trapped. I know that Valentine’s Day shines a great big spotlight on your source of pain. I know you feel alone in this. I know the loving feelings just aren’t there at the moment, as much as you wish them to be.

Take heart, lonely wife. The Father has not forgotten you!

Psalm 34:17-18

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
     The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

This is just part of my story of surviving Valentine’s Day when you feel unloved… and unloving.  I hope you’ll join us for Part 2 (only two days away!) in which I share six practical tips for stirring up love when marriage just plain stinks.

Until then,

Jen 🙂

Related articles:

6 Ways to Stir Up Love in a Difficult Marriage

How to Love When You Feel Unloved

Through My Grace-colored Glasses

It Was Ugly

The Day I Saw Red

Because We’ve Been Falsely Accused

Sharing this post with: Tell His Story, Wedded Wednesay, Wifey Wednesdays, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth, Unite, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Making Your Home Sing Monday, The Homemaking Party

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Help for “Waist Watchers” ~ #GraceTruth Week 3

As soon as I saw the title of this post from Sarah Ann in the link-up last week, I knew I had to read it. I’m ever so glad I did because her words and the verses she shared encouraged me as I persevere in my health goals! Of course, after reading her post, I knew it had to be my feature for this week because it fits right in with the work the Lord is doing in my life lately. I think all women could benefit from what she has shared here, so be sure to stop by and visit Sarah Ann at Faith Along the Way this week.

 

Yesterday, I wrote about a setback I had in regards to my workout regimen. I’ve been slowly regaining strength and endurance, for which I am very thankful. I know the Lord is teaching me to persevere, my word for the year, even in this area – especially since my track record has not been great. As soon as I hit a road-bump in working out or weight loss, I tend to get frustrated and give up. By the grace of God, not this year!

I hope you all will join us for the link-up below and receive some encouragement. Next week we’ll announce the winner of our fabulous giveaway!

Jen 🙂

 

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

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Satisfaction Through Christ
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4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

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5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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A New Perspective on Setbacks

Yesterday, as I was coming home from a good workout, I was feeling so thankful for some progress in regaining strength after my extended illness over Christmas Break. I was also proud of myself for getting exercise in every day this week so far.  I felt joy and hope like I haven’t felt for weeks!  Victory was mine!

Just as I reached our back door, I slipped on some ice, fell forward, and banged my knees on the cement step.  Fear gripped my heart as I relived the tail-bone-breaking incident of what we now call Buttkill Falls.  I feared a setback.

I picked myself up and took a few tentative steps. My right knee hurt the worst, but I could still walk.  It was scraped and already bruising. As I limped into the house, the internal monologue began… just like Adam and Eve, the original sinners, I wanted someone to blame, and my husband was the first victim. “I can’t believe he didn’t clear off this walk all the way!  Doesn’t he know that’s not safe?! What if one of the kids fell….” Yes, my poor husband. 🙂

But I didn’t stop there. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, free from the wrath of Egypt yet still not content, I began to question the Lord Himself. “Why, Lord? Are you really going to allow me to be injured again just when I’ve found a good rhythm with my health goals?  Why am I being punished for doing what is right? I’ve worked so hard. Why didn’t you help me, keep me from falling?”

Exodus 17:2-3

So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (empahsis mine)

As soon as the prideful thoughts entered my mind, I knew I was wrong – wrong to blame my husband, even more so, wrong to blame my Father God.  And wrong to think that my “good efforts” excused me from any sort of pain or suffering.

You see, fear took over for a few moments. I was afraid that another injury would keep me from meeting my health goals. I was afraid that another setback might discourage me to the point of giving up – a pattern that has repeated itself over and over again where my health is concerned. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid I would not be able to persevere!

Conviction stung my heart for my sinful thoughts, for my desire to lash out at someone else in my frustration.  “I just want God to help me,” I tried to reason within myself.

But maybe He already had…

Maybe His best help was to allow me to fall.

Yes, I mean it, truly. While it’s not wrong to be excited about the progress I saw, the Father gently showed me that, once again,  I was beginning to rely on self alone and not Him.  Perhaps I needed that fall to remind me that I will only conquer this battle with health and weight by His power and strength. I cannot do it on my own. Without even realizing it, I had slowly slipped back into my “can-do” attitude.

I can do it.

I’ve got this.

I don’t need You right now…

Does it sound familiar, friends?  How many times a day do I catch myself relying on my own efforts instead of Him? How many times do we deny the power of Christ in us, in favor of our own human strength? How often do we place our trust in self alone?

You think I would have learned the lesson by now. He’s only been trying to teach me for the last thirty-plus years! 🙂  It’s that work-in-progress that I’m always talking about – aiming toward progress, not perfection.

I’ll make mistakes.

You’ll make mistakes, too.

Sometimes the setback is a wake-up call to our own sin. And often the best help our Father God can offer is letting us fall, just as we have to allow our own children to fall at times.  It’s one of the most difficult, yet most loving things we can do as parents, yes?

A New Perspective on Setbacks, setbacks to your goals when you face a setback, dealing with setbacks

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

He lets us fall, so that we might see Him, so that we might throw off self and run to His arms instead!

He lets us fall because He loves us too much not to.

It’s the best help He can give –

helping us turn from self to Savior!

Jen 🙂

Side note: My knees seem to be okay, Praise the Lord! One is a little swollen and bruised, but so far only injured externally, from what I can tell. I’m incredibly thankful for His mercy.

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

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On “Wrestling with the Small Things” ~ #GraceTruth Week 2

What a great beginning we had last week for the Grace and Truth Link-up! One of my favorite jobs as a co-host is to read through some of the encouraging posts you all left for us. It’s a lift to my soul! And let me tell you, I had a hard time choosing a favorite to feature this week.

However, this post from Donna about wrestling with the small things really resonated with me (and with several others, too, from what I saw). It’s my must-read for the day!

wrestling with the Lord, struggles, trials, encouragement

Her honesty about having “survived” worse, yet still struggling, reminded me a lot of my disappointment over my one word for the year.  We grow weary of suffering, of lesson-learning sometimes.  Yet, as Donna mentioned in closing, our God never gives up. He is faithful!

I also really enjoyed the word picture that Tammy painted in regards to lilypads. You simply must read it for yourselves, as well.

I look forward to what you all have to share with us this week!

Jen 🙂

Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

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Satisfaction Through Christ
BLOG
| FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER |G+

Kaylene Yoder
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

The Brown Tribe
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A Virtuous Woman
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Arabah Joy
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A Divine Encounter
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Leah Adams
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Being Confident of This
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Busy Being Blessed
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Sharing Redemption’s Stories
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Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

6.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week.

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

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Don’t forget there is still onne week left to enter this amazing giveaway!

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Finally, join the link-up below!

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One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals

I’ll admit, I tend to resist goals.

My perfectionist nature resists setting a standard for fear that I might fail. It’s one of the reasons I had such a hard time finding my “one word.”

I don’t like to be wrong.

I don’t like to fall short.

But the flip side of that is never stretching myself, never reaching for something more, never giving myself a chance to succeed.

It’s not that I don’t have any goals for myself at all for; it’s just that I don’t often claim them, don’t voice them aloud, don’t share them with others, don’t hold myself accountable.  I’m guilty of keeping my goals general rather than specific because that makes them easier to meet.

However, this year I recognize the need to risk a little more, step out in faith while trusting in the God who is at work in us and promises to complete that work (Phil. 1:6).  I recognize the need to put some of the goals I hold in my mind and heart into actual words and to share them here with you all.

So, here goes – goals for 2015. 🙂

One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals, setting goals for 2015, goals for the year, how to meet your goals

One of my goals for the year is to do my part in restoring my health. I need more sleep. I need more exercise. I need to eat more balanced meals and to take in less sugar. This past month or so of illness has been eye-opening. I need to do these things in order to be healthy, but more importantly to honor the Father with my body, to walk in obedience with Him.

I’m not sure how to make those goals specific other than to say I aim to eat the recommended daily values of fruits and veggies and to also limit myself to those daily values in other areas where I tend to eat as I wish. I started using My Fitness Pal to help me keep track of both my activity and my eating habits.  I also aim to be in bed by 11 p.m. at the latest! Pray for me, sisters!

one simple way to meet your goals, goal setting, goals for 2015, how to meet your goals for the New Year, resolutions

Another goal for the year is to use my time more wisely through better planning.  Time management affects so many areas of my life, but to be specific, I plan to spend at least two mornings a week writing and working on this blog. Previously, I’ve squeezed writing in here and there, but I’m finding lately that if I don’t plan time to write, it just doesn’t happen. And then I lay awake at night with all of these great ideas and phrases and sometimes whole sentences or paragraphs swirling around in my mind. Anyone else? 🙂

I want to obey the Lord in best using this gift of writing. I don’t want to put that on hold unless He asks that of me, and lately He seems to be asking more in this area. So, I want to be faithful even if it means saying a firm “no” to other things that occupy my time.

Women everywhere understand this pull to be involved in ALL of the good things, but often in our attempts to do so, we miss out on the best things. Especially as a pastor’s wife, I’m learning that over-scheduling is rampant in our world and creates unnecessary stress. If I want the best for me and for my family, I have to learn to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and not man’s wisdom. I make it my goal to please Christ.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Gal. 1:10

A final goal is to love my husband as Christ does.  It’s been a really tough year for both of us. The trials have been nearly constant and there is always the temptation to withdraw into oneself in order to survive the refining fires. But we cannot! For the sake of our marriage and our family, we must learn to suffer together, to support one another even when we already feel the weight of our own burdens. I see already how the Father is working that understanding into us, teaching us a better way. I know He will be faithful to complete the work in our marriage, as well.

he makes all things beautiful verse, goals in marriage, setting goals for the year

One practical way I can love my husband better is to consistently reach out to him, whether through words or actions or touch. I can hug and kiss him when he leaves for the day and when he comes home. I can look at him and ask him how his day was even if I’m busy when he comes in the door. My goal is to intentionally seek connection with him, to encourage him, and to help him feel loved – every day.

Whew!

When I read all of the words above, I am easily overwhelmed!  I see all of the flaws, the areas that need work. There are so many and I…I am only one. Do you feel that same lacking, sisters?  That same inadequacy?

However, the Father reminds me that I can accomplish these goals by doing one simple thing: abide in Him.

It’s true! If I focus on abiding in Him, I will be sensitive to His leading and these other areas of life will fall into place so much easier than if I try to work towards these goals all on my own.  If I get up with this long list of “must do’s” each day, I’ll be worn out and discouraged before lunchtime. But if I get up with the goal of abiding in Him and following His leading, I can be at peace. You can too!

It comes back to that work-in-progress truth, my sisters in Christ.

He promises.

And I believe Him.

Jen 🙂

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