He Is Now My Lord

"Hear this, daughter; pay close attention to what I am about to say; you must forget your people and even your father's house. Because the king yearns for your beauty, humble yourself before him, for he is now your lord."

-Psalm 45:10-11 | the Voice

 

You know when you've read a verse multiple times and you pass it off as "heard and understood"? This verse is one of those for me. Reality is, much of the Psalms are that way for me, which is why my mind has been exploding morning after morning since January when I began diving into a new translation. We have a way of carrying our old stuff with us, even when it's good stuff, and that can potentially keep us from something new and wonderful. 

The above statement is also true in relationships and our "life labels" (the things we've identified ourselves by, whether given by ourselves or others, that shape the way we receive and perceive events around us).  This morning, as I sat back down after interruption #37 of my time with the Lord, I forced my eyes to linger a little bit over these words. You see, I tend to get distracted by the purposed audience of scripture, which then keeps me from seeing a possible alternative meaning to God's words. In literal terms, I read that the author wanted to talk to some girl because the king (I'm guessing David??) thinks she's fly and wants her to leave all she knows and be with him. Truth is, there's something here for this daughter too.

I'm your textbook holder-on-er.

What is that, you ask?

I'm the one with the memories that blare like an obnoxious television and a photographic memory that seems to favor the bad snapshots. Much to my husband's dismay, I can't seem to let things go, but rather I find myself longing to understand why they stay where they do. Why do I keep these memories locked up tight and pull them out at the first chance I get? What treasures lay within them that will, in turn, make me a freer Daughter of my King?

As I read the words of Psalm 45 again, straining with every ounce of attention I had in me amidst the clanging of "guys" and the screams of a little voice learning to find itself, I heard it.

Laura, My daughter, will you pay attention now to what I am saying. Forget your "people"--the culture that you live in that calls you to look this way and that, straining to measure up and fit the part. Forget the norms that come with being "wife, mother, daughter, woman, friend, Christian"; both the lifestyles of these things but also the struggles. Is it normal to believe that "you aren't enough because you can't do it all, so why try to feel anything but less-than?", therefore dismissing any effort towards something better? Forget that. You must choose to lay down and leave behind the things that are "normal" in your world with your people. You also need to leave behind your father's house. What does that mean for you? That means putting down and leaving behind the things that hurt you there--the labels you continue to put on yourself because one time, long before you knew Me, they might've fit. It's time to leave your father's house in that the value of the opinions of those found there are no longer the ones of highest value. It's time to take the last of your things and head out of the place you once needed but no longer do. It's time to do these things because I've been waiting and yearning to see you walk out in the beauty that I placed in you long ago. I yearn to see you walk in the way I created you to walk, exercising and enjoying the gifts I fashioned in you. I yearn to see you walk secure in your King and full of hope, love and joy. Be humble before me, admit your feelings and struggles because I am not offended by a single one of them, and remember Who you belong to. I am your Lord and I am now the one that you live for.

When you hear a message like that, you can't help but sit up a little straighter. In the flash of a moment, I was set straight in the most loving of ways--fully reminded of the place in which I stand. The place of obedience and adoration to my mighty and gracious King. I can learn from the memories that linger, but I must know when it's time to close up the boxes and leave them at His feet. I can bring them before Him, asking Him to show me what they mean for me today, but I cannot do that at the expense of forgetting who I belong to. My honor must always go to my King and never to my people or to my past.

"Hear this, daughter; pay close attention to what I am about to say; you must forget your people and even your father's house. Because the king yearns for your beauty, humble yourself before him, for he is now your lord."

-Psalm 45:10-11 | the Voice

Is it time for you to forget your people and your old home in order to take up permanent residence with the King who adores you? It is for me, too. May we be a people who find our complete adoration spent on God and God alone. 

 

Exile

Hey. It's been awhile. Life has been crazy, a little bit disjointed at times, and not-surprisingly covered in the goodness of God. His plan is always so far beyond my realm of understanding and He is so patient with me. I'm so thankful for that. I'm also thankful that He chooses not to let me in on His plans too far in advance. I enjoy being surprised in life, and I also don't have the capacity to not freak when I don't understand where He is going with me.

So it's good.

While I haven't been blogging as much, and I haven't been keeping up with my year of freedom, I've been digging deep into His Word and finding freedoms I didn't know I was in need of. If you aren't aware, I've been contributing over at Brooke Boon's blog and have had the privilege of working more with the ministry of Holy Yoga. There's been a whole lot of busy and it's been really, really good--even if some days I feel I'm not enough for the task. He says I am and for me, that's more than good enough.

I have, however, been feeling the tug to share more of what He's been opening up to me in our time together. So today, that is what I intend to do. While it feels a lot like describing to you each individual piece of gold in a giant treasure cove, it's a task I am more than willing and honored to take on.

So let's get going.

If you know a bit of our story you know that we have had our fair share of tumultuous seasons. Somewhere in my little mind I thought that once we were done with the military we would be done with our problems--at least for awhile. The trouble with circumstantial thinking like that is that we place blame where it doesn't belong, or we look at the problem as just that--a problem--instead of seeing it as a season of refinement or maybe even a saving grace from something that would have left us worse off. T and I are so guilty of blaming everything on the army. And I mean ev-er-y-thing. In hindsight I see God keeping us from things, preparing us for things and sometimes just outright leaving us to our own false gods.

Today I was reading in Jeremiah and came across a slightly (and I mean slightly) paralleled story of the people of Israel and Judah being exiled to Babylon. The land was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar and the people were forced to leave their homeland.  But they did not leave without a promise from their High King.

"'The days are coming', declares the Lord, 'when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,' says the Lord."-Jeremiah 30:3 [NIV]

Before we entered into the hard season of military life we knew the promises of our High King. We just chose not to keep them ever on our hearts and minds. We let circumstances take the place of truth and our emotions and understanding followed suit.

Ferguson-57
Ferguson-57

Before we entered into the hard season of loss we knew the promises of our merciful Father. As we wrestled with the loss of our baby we knew that He was still good. That He was still loving. And that He had a better plan somehow, even if it meant we would suffer for a time. Choosing to keep this at the forefront of our minds and hearts carried us through deep grief and physical pain. But hear me when I say that it did not make the "bad" feelings go away. They still came, along with questions and words cried out in anger. So many times I longed for "home"--the place where things felt right and the pain ceased. At the end of each of those days, or even each feeling as it came, was the choice to believe God for His Word. To choose to believe Him instead of our circumstance. To know that "home" was coming.

As I entered into a very difficult season of revelation of sin in my marriage I had a choice:

Mercy or Anger.

Love or Fear.

Jesus or sin.

While this was not a circumstance I would have ever chosen for myself, it was a necessary one. It was necessary for the depth of pain caused by sin to be revealed to my husband. For him to see firsthand what the poison of darkness can do to a marriage--to his marriage. Friends, I clung to the promises of my God like I've never clung before. And you know what? He never let me down. Not once. And He never let my husband down. And because of that He has done a good and miraculous work that will, in turn, never let our children down. We have, by the mercy and grace of God, been taken from that place of exile and my deepest hearts-cry is to never go back.

We can live by our circumstances or we can live by His word.

“‘So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant;do not be dismayed, Israel,’declares the Lord.‘I will surely save you out of a distant place,your descendants from the land of their exile.Jacob will again have peace and security,and no one will make him afraid.I am with you and will save you,’declares the Lord." -Jeremiah 30:10-11 [NIV]

The truth is that our home, the place where we don't need to make the choice between circumstance and Jesus, is awaiting us. He promises that we will return to where He always intended us to be. Our exile is for a time and for His purposes. But it is not our reality--our reality is Jesus and in Jesus is full life, even if our circumstances and our sin say otherwise. We don't deserve this home He has created for us. The stench of our sin in pungent and the affect is widespread. But just as He promised Israel and Judah thousands of years ago, He too promises us, and because of Jesus these promises are ours to take hold of today:

He is with you and will save you.

Peace and security is yours.

He will bring you back home.

If you are in a place of exile today, friend, don't let go of His promise to you. Keep your eyes locked on His. Let your knuckles be white by the strength of your hold on Him. Home is coming. He is the One you worship--not your circumstances.

Walking with you,

laura b
laura b

#freedomin15--His Unique Creation

One of the best things about being with other believers is the (hoped for) grace usually given by all. It's March 16th and this month's freedom post is just now posted. Grace. February was a shorter month anyways, so I'm not as off track as the calendar says. How are you? Where is the Lord taking you in your freedom journey? How far off were you in your assumption of how this would go down? I was way off. Like, waaaaaay off. And I can only assume I'm still way off, even knowing what I do 2 months in. Grace again, right?


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The Lord has brought Psalm 139 to the forefront of my mind this month. Several times it has been referenced in various places, and has come across in my own study time. For me it's one of the many verses that I sort of skim over because, well, I know all about it (insert finger quotations).

I'm wonderfully made. 

His works are marvelous.

He knew me in my mother's womb.

But He knew I needed a lesson in His heart. I needed to know, in a different way, the words He knew my heart and mind longed to read.

O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am; You even know the small details like when I take a seat and when I stand up again.     Even when I am far away, You know what I’m thinking. You observe my wanderings and my sleeping, my waking and my dreaming,     and You know everything I do in more detail than even I know. You know what I’m going to say long before I say it.     It is true, Eternal One, that You know everything and everyone. You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me,     and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder. It is the most amazing feeling to know how deeply You know me, inside and out;     the realization of it is so great that I cannot comprehend it.

Can I go anywhere apart from Your Spirit?     Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?

If I go up into heaven, You are there.     If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there. If I ride on the wings of morning,     if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean, 10 Even then You will be there to guide me;     Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there. 11 Even if I am afraid and think to myself, “There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me,     the light around me will soon be turned to night,” 12 You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.     For You the night is just as bright as the day.     Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.

13 For You shaped me, inside and out.     You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. 14 I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.     You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;     Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. 15     You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You As I took shape in secret,     carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb. 16 You see all things;     You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb; Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;     You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it. 17 Your thoughts and plans are treasures to me, O God! I cherish each and every one of them!     How grand in scope! How many in number! 18 If I could count each one of them, they would be more than all the grains of sand on earth. Their number is inconceivable!     Even when I wake up, I am still near to You.

19 I wish You would destroy all the wicked, O God.     So keep away from me, those who are thirsty for blood! 20 For they say such horrible things about You,     and those who are against You abuse Your good name. 21 Is it not true that I hate all who hate You, Eternal One?     Is it not true that I despise all who come against You? 22 Deep hatred boils within me toward them;     I am Your friend, and they are my enemies. 23 Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am.     Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain. 24 Examine me to see if there is an evil bone in me,     and guide me down Your path forever.

-Psalm 139 (the Voice)

There is so much here. And if you do like I had always done, and skim through this, you are missing a very direct love letter to that girl inside who shames herself and her body. Who tells herself that her talents aren't good enough and that her body will always disappoint. Come with me to verse 14:  

"I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.     You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;     Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul."

Read that verse again and then stop and ask yourself this question: What kind of woman or man would I be if I truly lived these words?

What if your heart was deeply grateful for His handiwork? For the ways in which He is using you in this world? For the wife He made you to be, or the mother? For the brother He has made you to be or the son? What if you could truly open your hands to heaven, let a smile sweep across your face, and stand in wonder and awe for what He. has. given. you?
This is a big deal, brothers and sisters. Because regardless of what we feel or see with our own eyes, the TRUTH is that HIS WORKS ARE WONDERFUL. Period. There is no possible way you could win an argument against this truth. You would lose. Badly.
So trade in your debate cards on this subject for the knowledge of this truth. And begin to carry it deep within your soul. The exchange is a no-brainer.

And allow me to challenge you to something greater. To a life immersed in His truth. Ask the Lord to grow you in your ability to default to what you know of HIM instead of what you know of you when the going gets tough and the enemies taunting words of deceit seem to sound a lot like truth.

-Laura

*For added encouragement this month, go ahead and print or save this image. And make this your mantra--for March and maybe even for the rest of the year. image


experiencingF

My life these days is a far cry from what it used to be. A few years ago, if you had asked me who I was I would have immediately recognized myself as an endurance athlete, but now I no longer consider myself one which is at times odd considering I somewhat branded myself as a triathlete by tattooing it on my arm. I no longer train or follow a weekly regimented plan. There are no future races on my calendar to obsess over, and honestly, I am barely practicing yoga on my own except when I am teaching.

Yet, I am the happiest I have ever been in my body.

When I reflect back on my time as an athlete, I realize now I was striving for deep perfection in body image. I started racing because I was running from deep hurt in my life, and so I identified myself through training and the way I was disciplining my body. My time on the road, in the pool, or in the gym became the spaces in my day where I could escape from life, and at times God. I found myself so ingrained in training for perfection, that I misconstrued the idea of healthy living. Though my body was probably in it’s best shape physically because I was pushing it so hard, I was never truly happy--with life or with my body image. I always needed a little more definition, more shapely abs, and less curve in my hips.

Now, as I practice yoga for healing and the sheer joy it brings to my soul by being able to connect with my Creator on my mat, I am starting to view my body in a different light. Though my legs are not lean and taut, and my abdominals are not defined, God has opened my eyes to what my body has been designed for. The way He has created us as women, our bodies are meant to go through changes, and mine, in all of it’s curves, is preparing, eventually, to house a tiny human and give life. Though my journey to the splits has not advanced over the last two months, and even in my realization that I physically may never be able to move my body into this pose because of how I am structured, my striving for this pose does not run my life. As I advance in my forearm stand, I see how God is helping me to let go of my deep-seeded distaste for my curves allowing me to freely shift my world upside down. I am letting go and learning to fly.

I am no longer practicing yoga to escape from something.

I am practicing yoga to find the woman God has created me to be. Every curvy piece of her.

-Caitlin


Yoga Poses

If you are working on your heart space, hang out here. If you are working into your hips and lower body, head on over to see what Caitlin has for you this month!

I'm so thankful that winter is over so I can get outside and cartwheel around in the sunshine. So I can #stopdropandyoga any and everywhere. It's not the easiest to kick up into handstand or hold crow pose when you've got a big ol' jacket on, boots, mittens and a hat. I'm in dire need of some dirty bare feet.

This month for me has consisted of a lot of non-yoga exercises to open my heart space.

Christina Mroz has published several great posts about opening the shoulders and realigning your posture. Please oh please head over and view her video on opening shoulders. If you don't have a bolster yet then go and get one. They are amazing and can be used to release basically any part of your body.

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I've been doing this one almost daily and just love it.

Another part of my problem is my neck. Chad Walding and his wife have created a program called Sitting Solution, and their website is chock-full of wonderful resources. This exercise has been a good one for me to strengthen the muscles in the back of my neck. Along with this I have been very aware of the placement of my head during my practice. So instead of hanging my head in plank/bear/chair/up-dog, I've been intentionally drawing up and back and engaging those muscles along the backside of my neck. image

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Sometimes it's a matter of adding a variation or another whole pose to your practice in order to move into greater openness and sometimes it's a matter of doing things off of your mat in order to create more freedom on it. Please take a few minutes and check out these resources, and see what else you can be doing off of your mat to increase openness in your heart space. Our dysfunction is still our dysfunction whether we are on our mats or not. Becoming more aware of that can be the key to greater success and fruit for your labor.

Thanks for being patient this month. March is halfway over, so I will see you in about two weeks!

Peace, dear ones.

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#freedomin15--The Magic In The "Slight"

freedom in 15 It's February! Can you even believe it!? I saw an advertisement for something on February 25th and I thought, "yes... I can't wait for February 25th because then it's nearly March." Can you tell I'm over winter? Come on Spring! Caitlin and I are so very excited about all that God has been doing even in just a month of opening up to receive and experience all that is offered to us. He's been moving hugely, and it has been nothing short of blissful being able to excitedly share these things with one another and with you. So without further ado, let's get into what the Lord has given us going into a new month.

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Meditation

It has only been within the last year that I have realized I have been dwelling in a wilderness for the last ten years of my life. Have you ever been there? A barren, desert place in life that leaves you dry and wandering? This particular wilderness space has been a place of numbing loneliness and quiet for me--I haven’t heard or felt God because I haven’t been listening for Him. I was unfaithful to Him, simply existing and not seeking.

Yet, in His goodness and love, God has been there all along, whispering to me to come back

You see, sometimes the Lord actually leads us to these wilderness places. In Hosea, a scripture that has become near and dear to my heart, we get to see God’s love for his unfaithful people through Hosea’s story. God has called Hosea to love and marry Gomer, a woman he knows will be unfaithful to him, essentially living out a real-life allegory of Israel’s unfaithfulness to their Groom.

In chapter two, after God says all that He will do for Israel’s unfaithfulness, the Lord softly speaks saying: But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. (Hosea 2:14, NIV)

The Message version says I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.

What a revelation that was for me, realizing that the Lord himself leads us into the wilderness, not to punish us, but to romance us. He leads us into the wilderness not to leave us alone, but to pull us away from the distractions and to Him.

Though our wilderness spaces may seem barren and dry to us, though we feel as if we are wandering, we are never lost and alone. The Lord is with us in every moment of our wilderness, whispering to our hearts and romancing us to come back to Him. These are the spaces where He works deepest in our souls, bringing us back to the days of our youth. These are the spaces where He offers us restoration and transformation.

Where He offers us hope and freedom.

Has this first month towards freedom been dry or quiet for you? Have you hit some obstacles or faced emotional battles? If so, you are not alone friends. The Lord is working in all of us, calling us to a wilderness space of sorts for this year. To move forward in freedom, we have to let go of the chains, and that means we may have to enter into places that are uncomfortable and places where we must grieve. But our faithful God is ever present, romancing us, calling us to enter in, promising freedom on the other side.

-Caitlin

*Looking for a great print for this months meditation? Check out this one from Stephanie Moors. You can also print this one out or save it to your phone for a great repeated reminder of His heart and pursuit of you.

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Thoughts On Body Image

Entering into this year I felt so hopeful that this would be my year. The year that I ditch these haunting thoughts and replace them with freeing truth. I wonder what it feels like for God to watch us head into a storm totally thinking it's just a sunshower. That was me. January 1st. Ready to get a little sprinkled. Little did I know there was a hurricane coming.

From adolescence until now, I've been in one of two modes: hiding or protecting. There's been a lot of hurt, so my body and mind have learned how to cope--how to live in survival mode. So it's no wonder God is asking me to give Him my heart and trust that it's safe out in the open and in His rescuing hands. Having said that, it is important to recognize one very important truth if we are to fully entrust our hearts to Him: our body image cannot be dependent upon another person or persons. It must be dependent upon our God alone. Just when you think you've attained a healthy view of yourself something will happen, no doubt at the hand of another, and your lens will immediately cloud with doubt and despair. And going into 2015, my body image was still dependent upon another. You see, even your most intimate of relationships here on earth can and will wound you. Most of the time not even on purpose, but the reality is that these loves of ours are fallen just like we are. So our body image absolutely must come from our view through the lens of Christ.

My body image has been shattered over and over because of the actions of others or of my hopes of what others will give me. That, my sweet sisters and brothers, is a house built on sand. And you know what? Life happens... God allows certain things in our life to shape and mold us into our original design, and He doesn't do patch work--he does complete renovations. So while I may find a recent shot to my body image earth shattering, He sees it as vital in getting a good work done.  In love He lets me stumble and grasp after false self worth and knows that with each scraped knee and scuffed hand I'm getting closer and closer to giving up on all that is less than Jesus. He's a really patient God. He wants to give me the gift of wholeness but He wants me to appreciate the freedom found there, so He's not going to give it to me willy-nilly. He's also not a rich and disconnected daddy trying to win my affection with instant gratification. He's after my heart. Not always my comfort.

So body image is a journey, and I don't think I'll ever fully achieve full satisfaction in this body, but I wonder if I'm supposed to. Our bodies are decaying, and if I were able to find complete satisfaction in this one then why would I long for my heavenly one?

I think one of the very first steps to receiving freedom in our body image is simply accepting the journey. Taking a big, deep breath and gearing up for the long haul. Like venturing out on hike up a mountainside, we step out knowing what awaits us: challenge, fatigue, small victories, breaks to catch our breath, and always, always, always beauty along the way. One day we will reach the top and the view will be breathtaking. And He is good to give us such beauty along the way, too.

Take a deep breath and venture on, dear ones. He's got this.

-Laura

Yoga Poses

If you are working on your heart space, hang out here. If you are working into your hips and lower body, head on over to see what Caitlin has for you this month!

January brought with it some unexpected bumps, but God knew what I didn't and He was faithful to supply all my needs and show me that the change is not found in the yoga but in Him. With a few simple adjustments to my day to day life as well as to my practice, I've already been able to experience some incredible freedom in the opening up of my heart space. It's so very good.

Firstly, let me encourage any of you who are looking to correct your upper body posture and create some more space in your chest--it's so about more than just your yoga practice. How are you standing? How are you sitting? How are you sleeping? Begin to check your posture in all of these places. When standing have you let your belly go? Did you know that your entire core should always be slightly engaged when you are standing? It's not just your legs that keep you up; that core of yours is vital. It's so essential to all movement. Even just the movement of living out your life.

This month I have made a conscious effort to check my posture, and when it's off I draw my shoulders back, draw my skull back, tighten my belly a bit, and bring my weight back in line with my ankle bones. You can check out Christina Mroz for incredible insight into all things alignment. She is a wealth of knowledge and has helped me immensely.

Otherwise I've just made some slight adjustments to a few common postures in my practice. Consider moving into these variations as you practice at home or in a studio, as no instructor would (or should) tell you otherwise. It's your practice so do what your body wants and needs.

Chair Pose with Heart Opener (Or as my husband calls it, "ready to jump" pose)

Forward Fold with Heart Opener

Extended Side Angle with Wide Reach (that's my own made up name for it, anyways)

Crescent Lunge with Cactus Arms

Try incorporating these variations into your practice and see if you don't notice a significant difference in your heart space afterwards. It's freeing, reassuring and oh so wonderful. I've felt the goodness and closeness of my Father just in making these seemingly "slight" changes. He's doing the work of reassuring me that my heart is safe with Him. I'm beginning to trust Him in that, and willing to keep doing the work to receive and experience all that He has for me.

Be blessed this month, beloveds! Let's see what He has in store for us in February.

laura b

Don't forget to show us how God is encouraging you to join in on experiencing the Freedom He has given by hashtagging #freedomin15. You can also tag your yoga/body-image specific posts with #experiencingfreedom and your meditation/soul-changing posts with #receivingfreedom. We can't wait to see what He does in and for you throughout the year!

This Year I'm Choosing To Receive

freedom in 15 As we begin the year, my sweet friend Caitlin and I are embarking on Freedom in ‘15: a Journey of Receiving & Experiencing Freedom, and we hope you will join us.

 Over the course of the year, we will be sharing scriptures and meditations in the hopes of helping each of us receive the freedom we are already gracefully given.

A life of freedom starts in scripture and so the first part of this journey is rooted in the Truth of God’s word with an intention settled firmly in Him.

The second part of the journey comes in the experiencing as we talk through body image issues that seem to be the struggle of many women. Two of the major areas we tend to carry trauma and self-hate are our heart spaces and our hips, so to work into those areas, we will be offering yoga poses to physically work on freeing ourselves and find healing from the trauma and emotions that are deep seated.  There is something profoundly powerful about meeting Christ on our mat and letting him work through us in our movements.

Walk with us together friends as we live, move, and breathe in Him.

 

receivingFMeditation 

Freedom. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to say or think or act as if we are enslaved to our sin or bondage?

“I’m so trapped in my body.”

“I feel like such a prisoner to my negative thoughts.”

But guess what… we’re not trapped and we’re not prisoners.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 

-Galatians 5:1

The word “freedom” here is eleutheria which means “liberty”, saying that “true liberty is living as we should not as we please.” How comfortable is it for you to just revert to your ways of bondage? It’s way more comfy for me to just settle in with the “my posture will always suck” thoughts rather than believing that Christ has also set me free from the effects of years of self-hate. Liberty is mine because of Christ, and it is found in living according to the gospel.

If I could break up Galatians 5:1 for you, after picking apart each word’s meaning and some commentary, I would say this to you:

Christ set you free from the dominion of sin so that you might choose to live your life for Christ, according to that freedom. Sometimes that means life is lived uncomfortably. So be persistent-- don’t let yourself be ensnared by what used to hold you in bondage.  This is life lived for Jesus. Free. Rooted in what you know is true. And ready to go forward through uncharted waters in hope and faith that He is so much better.

That’s what this year is about for us. We’ve been free all along. It’s time we start receiving and experiencing it. Where are you putting the shackles back on? Where in your body, heart, practice, relationships or faith are you believing that this is just all it will ever be? Where are you choosing to turn your back on freedom?

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” -Gal 5:1 (msg)

-Laura

*Click here for a PDF download of our scriptural meditation for this month. Print it out and let it remind you daily of the freedom that is already yours for the taking.

experiencingFThoughts on Body Image 

For most of my life, I have struggled with my body image.

I have never been too skinny nor have I ever been overweight. I’m a average-sized, typically healthy, little on the short side, curvy woman. I have no need to complain about my body, but we’ve had a love-hate relationship since I developed hips my freshman year of high school.

Over the course of the last several years, I have found myself running (quite literally) from a deep seated and hidden revulsion of how I have been created.

I never truly knew this until now.

In the last few months, the Lord been revealing to me that I carry self-hate as well as trauma in my hips, and just this week He has shown me that I am not alone.

So many of us are in bondage to the way we feel about specific areas of our bodies. And it’s time that we realize we are already free in Christ and begin to experience freedom.

-Caitlin

 

Yoga poses

To begin the year, Caitlin and I have chosen a few heart’s desire poses that we plan to seek freedom in for the course of the year. We are not looking to these as goal poses to work to perfection, but instead we are prayerfully asking God to move in freedom through these poses helping us to release the trauma and emotions we store and physically find freedom in our movement.

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  This year my focus will be heart and chest openers and sharing freedom finding poses to work into that area of the body. Caitlin will be focusing specifically on hip openers and will be sharing her freedom finding poses on her blog Wildly Free Life. Each month we will be offering different sets of poses that work into those specific areas and will help us in the physical aspect of the journey.

As we share these poses this month, we encourage you to do the same. Prayfully ask God what pose does your heart desire to move into freely? Where are you holding negative emotions or storing trauma? What area of your body do you tend to dislike or unintentionally self-hate? Ask Him to reveal to you the area He wants you to find freedom in, and share a photo with us (via instagram with #freedomin15 or in the comments section below) this month of the pose you hope to move into. This heart’s desire pose (or poses) are something we can continue to work through as the year progresses, a symbol of our disciplined trust in Him to free us, and a physical representation of our obedience to Him.

Caitlin and I have been praying for years that God would instill a dream in our hearts and pour forth words from our souls that would allow us to collaborate and share our stories and our lives with those around us. It is a joy to finally come together and share our mutual love of Christ, writing and Holy Yoga with you.

Our prayer is that this journey is rooted in Christ, authentically beautiful, and an adventurous romance.

He is calling us higher friends--He is calling us deeper. Changing us from the inside.

Are you willing to go where He is leading you this year?

A beautifully free adventure is waiting!

laura b

 

 

 

 

Don't forget to show us how God is encouraging you to join in on experiencing the Freedom He has given by hashtagging #freedomin15. You can also tag your yoga/body-image specific posts with #experiencingfreedom and your meditation/soul-changing posts with #receivingfreedom. We can't wait to see what He does in and for you throughout the year!

 

 

Some Day-Three Advent Thoughts

SRT-Advent_instagram_day3 I decided to participate in the Advent study which has been beautifully provided by an incredible community of women that call themselves She Reads TruthWhile I grew up Catholic and found the saving grace of Jesus when I was sixteen, I've never understood nor participated in Advent before now. What's crazy to me is that this is totally my thing--studying, meditating and preparing for a big celebratory event like the birth of my Savior is completely my bag. So how I've gone so long without this I'm not sure.

After studying yesterday's chosen passages, I came away with a full heart and wide, love-filled eyes. Man does God love us! His Word proves this time and time again. I thought I'd share some of the insight in the hopes that it could start a conversation, if even just between you and the Lord.

"The people who walk in darkness

will see a great light;

those who live in a dark land,

the light will shine on them.

You shall multiply the nation;

You shall increase their gladness;

they will be glad in Your presence

as with the gladness of harvest,

as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

For You shall break the yoke of their burden,

and the staff on their shoulders,

the rod of their oppressor,

as at the battle of Midian.

For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult

and every garment rolled in blood

will be burned as fuel for the fire.

For a child will be born to us,

a Son will be given to us;

and the government will rest on His shoulders;

and His name will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

from then on and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this."- Isaiah 9:2-7

"The people who walked in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them." Upon reading this verse I couldn't help but begin to ponder what my life would look like today if I didn't have Jesus. If the Son of God hadn't been made fully man and fully God and completed the joy set before Him in taking on the punishment for all sin, what would my day to day look like? Feel like? Seem like to others? See, I know what my life looked like before Jesus, some thirteen years ago, but what would it be like today, at 29? Friends, this is a scary thing to think about and is also a glorious thing to think about because, glory be to God, those things cannot amount to anything more than a thought! Hallelujah!

"... you shall increase their gladness; they will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide their spoils." He came not only to pay our penalty--but to replace fear, guilt, shame, temptation and frailty with an ever-increasing supply of gladness. As I read these words my brain began to hurt because I began to travel down the path of fathoming (or trying to anyways) the reality that the joy I will experience in the times to come will be greater still than the joy and gladness I've already experienced thanks to Jesus. Does that make sense? We think ahead to our futures and comprehend a degree of joy will come our way in various seasons, and even in the day-to-day mundane. But according to this verse, we have a greater amount of gladness awaiting us because His nature is for the joy He brings to do nothing but grow. Am I the only one who can't not smile about this?!

"For you shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian." We punish ourselves. We shame ourselves. To the degree that our physical form is altered. Check out the typical American's posture--you could almost imagine a staff across their shoulders. While there may not be physical weight, there might as well be the weight of the world. It's like when a person has lost a limb or a part of their body and they begin to have phantom pains. We are so used to living with something, and when it's gone we keep on going and feeling and living as if it weren't. The same is true of the staff given to us by our oppressor to weigh us down. But right now, I can sit up straight, draw my shoulders down and back, let my head soar high above my shoulders allowing my neck to un-bury itself, and truly stand up tall--because that rod was busted a long time ago. For real though, can I please get some sort of amen on that one?!

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

Humor me for a second-

Wonderful: Extraordinary--hard to understand

Counselor: To advise, consult, give counsel, purpose, devise, plan

He is our extraordinary advisor. He gives us a purpose and plan that might sometimes be hard to understand but is always extraordinary.

Mighty: Strong, mighty, strong man, brave man, mighty man

God: God, one true God, Jehovah, strength, power

He is our brave Jehovah. He is our Mighty Strength. He is our Strong God, complete in power and truth.

Eternal: Perpetuity, for ever, continuing future-- ancient (past time), for ever (future time)-- of continuous existence

Father: Head or founder of a household, producer, generator, of benevolence and protection, ruler or chief

He is our continual Protector. He has been and always will be the Head--this position will never be eliminated. His role as your protector and ruler will continually exist--it will never fade or disappear. Many fathers disappear from their roles, but Jesus never will--He cannot. He is eternal.

and now my favorite one...

Prince: Leader, captain, warden, head, overseer

Peace: Completeness, safety, soundness, welfare, health, quiet, contentment, friendship and peace (from war)

He is the Captain of our Completeness. Do you get that? His charge, His aim, His job, is bringing us true peace: contentment, safety, soundness, quiet, friendship... He is the overseer of these things in our lives and Jesus came to be called the Prince of Peace because His passion is to show us what true completeness, welfare, health, quiet, safety and soundness looks like. He guards these things as a warden guards his prison. He is the ultimate decider or His peace, and He chooses to give it to us.

GLORY GOD!

Please take a moment and let those titles sink in. We read them and only digest what we know of each word--but once you open them up to their entire meaning His role and the reason why He came becomes ridiculously bigger.

"There will be no end to the increase of His government or of His peace..." His rule in our individual lives, and over this falling world, is doing nothing but increasing. The peace He offers is doing nothing for us but increasing. It's growing. It's becoming greater. and greater. and greater.

As you prepare this advent season know that He didn't just come to carry our burden of sin. He came for so much more and He deserves all adoration and praise for each and every thing as He reveals them to us.

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If you'd like to follow along with the She Reads Truth community PLEASE jump in. You will be blessed. They can be followed on instagram and you can easily download their app on both iOS and Android.

When You Come Together Changed--A Post About Reuniting

I've been MIA. This post will shed a little light as to why.

He came home. Like, home home. FOR. GOOD.

Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!

For weeks I had been preparing, cleaning, ready-ing, organizing and anticipating. Then he came home, and since then we've been embracing, unpacking, relaxing, adjusting, moving and just overall figuring this thing out. Because as wonderful and blessed any reunion is, there is always adjustment--and those are the feelings that aren't talked about much.

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Do you know how wonderful it feels when I look over at him and breathe in deeply the truth that we don't have a set number of days? Those moments when I choose to forget all the things and simply embrace the truth of today are invaluable. There isn't much like it, I must say.

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Then there's the moments where my mind begins to gear up for the usual routine (rest, write, blog or practice yoga during naptime; grab a bowl of cereal and netflix to hunker down before bed) and I'm reminded that life has changed. And it hasn't changed in the sense that now we must both revert back to life as it was before our year of separation, but changed as in we have now entered an entirely new land... and I don't know how to begin the journey of exploration.

You see, we've both changed. A lot. Our God brought us each to a new place in our intimacy with Him. Most days I marvel at what He brought us through and how He must've seen it as necessary to bring us through separately. It's a wonderful, glorious blessing. I'm so utterly grateful for His willingness to show us the parts of ourselves that needed to be left behind, and for graciously showing us how to shed those layers and break those chains.

But what do you do when you come back together?

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There has been a lot of pull to go back to those old habits, because they are what we have always known of life together. "Laura and T" life looks like this ______. But there are pieces of that picture of the past that I don't care to bring with us to this new place. With simple, and seemingly harmless habits like eating dinner while watching tv, or baking a batch of cookies and eating a solid half of the batch before they are even fully cooled, comes deeper strongholds and ways of life that I know neither of us want to continue in. In them lies joylessness-- a settling of sorts. And yet, while our desires to make changes now that we know will bring us joy are so present, our minds and bodies seem to want to go into autopilot.

In enters our will.

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The word "will" means, "Diligent purposefullness; determination: an athlete with the will to win." "The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action."

A mind or body on autopilot doesn't often dance with the will. They seem to keep to their corners of the room. But when I step back and I look at the two, square in the face, I unabashedly choose the will. There is so much more work, humility, face-planting and friction with that choice, but there is also so much reward.

Jeremiah 25 shares the story of Jeremiah trying, yet again, to knock some sense into the people of Judah. For years and years (23 to be exact) he had been trying to get them to turn from their evil ways of worshiping false gods and in doing so be able to live in the bountiful land the Lord had given them.

"Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell on the land which the Lord has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever;" (vs 5)

I taught in my class Saturday that the word "evil" used here doesn't merely represent malignant, wicked things but also means "sad", "unhappy" and  "miserable". The times when I struggle with depression, sorrow and overall listlessness are at their worst when I am living life on autopilot. In this understanding of our present circumstance, that we are on the cusp of choosing a land of bounty at the price of greater effort, or a land of sorrow at the cost of little effort, every day, all day, I will deliberately choose the way of greater effort. I may need to breath heavier and at times might feel the strain in the deepest parts of me crying out for the days of old, I know that truly living and loving doesn't happen comfortably. It takes hard conversations. It takes sore muscles. It takes falling into bed at night because while the day might have taken much from you physically, it has filled your heart to the brim with all the goodness that comes from living it. It might also take laying face to face, heads on pillows, and humbly expressing wrong choices made and attitudes held--and voicing that sometimes living life together is hard and weird and we aren't always very good at it. Do you know how much freedom is held in those honest conversations? Mountains upon mountains.

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I'll take conversations at the dinner table over mindless Netflix binges.

I'll fight for evening family bike rides over cookie baking.

And I'll have the hard conversations, when I feel I've been misunderstood in this mess of figuring out how to live and love together, over closing up inside because "how could we possibly be arguing already?"

Life is arguments and feelings and romance and adventure and nothingness all wrapped up and happening at the same time. It never stops. It's always moving.

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We will change some more, and we will figure out what life looks like then too. But for now, every day is a day of small battles against our flesh so that we may live in this bountiful land God has given. Somewhere we were told that life should be joy-filled and effortless. What I'm realizing is that we need to see the joy in working hard for the life we've been promised. A life of contentment-- a life of completeness in Christ.

So that's what we are doing. And the best part is we are doing it together.

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Lonely So Long- A Rainy Day Post

Husband and wife. Meant to be together. Sometimes when I daydream about our new not-approaching-quickly-enough chapter, or book rather, of life I imagine him by my side always. I think this is due to so many days running solo and so many nights hugging lifeless pillows. But immediately after that thought comes the reality that, well, that's unrealistic.

Here's why:

1. We can't spoon on the couch all day. We'd get fat and our kid would be left to fend for himself. Not a good plan.

2. He needs to work. I need to teach. We need to move and live life separately while still being completely wrapped up in one another.

3. Nature calls. And sometimes it's smelly.

and

4. He'd drive me crazy. I'd drive him crazy. In the absolute best sort of way. The way that says I love EVERY. SINGLE. THING. ABOUT. YOU. Which is why I'm ok with telling you that you're being annoying. And also why in the next breath I will lay a big fat kiss on you and go and read by myself, with my heart warm knowing you are just in the other room.

For me, that's the "togetherness" of marriage. That entanglement of heart, mind, body and soul. It's both of our hearts beating in the same rhythm, whether their miles or inches apart. I'm so ready for that.

Today it's rainy. Like really rainy. Like, hydroplaning across the interstate rainy. This doesn't help my mood. We are nearing the end of this season of physical separation and while I could write a book of all the ways God has blessed it and shown His faithfulness, I'd much rather bad-itude my way to the end of July when he's in my arms for good and the big bad military can't take him away anymore. One of the countless gifts I've been given in my marriage to T is the solid belief in the blessedness of marriage. There is nothing more sacred, more intimate, and more humbling than marriage. While raising a kid is a close second, their is nothing harder than marriage. And without a doubt there is nothing worth fighting for more than marriage. It is the picture of our faith. Of our Savior and the love He has for us, His church.

So on this rainy day I'm thinking about togetherness, both in marriage and in faith. Sometimes there are seasons of separation-- reasons why you must go it alone. A woman I very much look up to once taught on Jesus in the garden and how he left the disciples behind because He had to go further into the garden alone. He and His Father had work to do that needed to be between them only. There are reasons, above my realm of understanding, why we needed this season of going alone. Walking separately with our God. I may not know until He can tell me face to face but I choose to accept this time of separation in obedience.

But it is not meant to go on for ever.

This photo was taken by my insanely blessed friend, Jade.

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Do you see what it captures?

Zero distance between he and I. After months of separation, we could finally experience with our lips the closeness that was ever-growing in our hearts.

M. He is a gift we do not deserve. One we'll never deserve. But he is not the focus or the worship of our marriage. We will always love him well by loving each other first. He will be protected and nurtured by the strength and steadfast faith of his parents in their God, and the devotion and care to their union.

Separation. While this photo was taken in a joyful reunion, his uniform serves to represent the uncertainty of the future. The picture that only God can see and understand and know. For some, it may not be a uniform that separates you, but rather a distance of hearts. In the adventure of marriage one thing is certain, there will be times of inseparable closeness, and times of monumental distance. In those seasons of distance, as a partner in that great and blessed adventure, we must choose to fight for togetherness.

We must go to sleep, alone again, choosing to cling to the hope that there will be an evening coming where their eyes will be the last thing we see before we drift off to sleep in a world where everything is right again.

We must open our mouths to have the conversation that will reveal the fragility of our hearts, knowing that our God is the One who heals those wounds, and our partner is the one who needs to see them. That another day of silence is another mile between two hearts that were made to beat as one.

God created a life partner for man because he saw that it was not good for him to be alone. But He didn't just create her out of the dust like man, but from man, from his very being. I didn't come from T's rib. That would've been weird. But I was created for him. I was created because God knew that it would not be good for T to go without me. And because I was created for him, it goes against my purpose to be without him. Guys, this is so much more than lovey feelings in courtship, or hot bods and bedroom fun in your youth. This goes to the deepest parts of ourselves. We are made to be together. To go forward in our work, our parenting, our ministries, with tightly tangled hearts, sometimes physically separated but always close in love.

So fight for it. As I fight to not bad-itude my way to his arms in a month, I encourage you to fight in whatever way you need to for togetherness in your union. It's worth fighting for, because in it we see how we need to fight for closeness with our God. So many things get in the way of our intimacy with our Creator. Where have you stopped fighting? Where have you settled for second best, in both your marriage and your faith? Ask yourself these hard questions because this actually is a really big deal. These are the things life is meant for. Not pretend lives showcased on the internet, but real lives, with warmth in your hearts and laughter on your lips and fingers intertwined at every possible opportunity.

Choose togetherness. Fight for togetherness. Even if that means you have to fight your own self.

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** T and I are huge advocates for marriage, especially in the beginning years. It's awesome and hard and definitely not something you can go at alone. If you are finding you feel alone in your union and don't know what else to do, we encourage you to reach out. Pray with expectation for someone who can help guide you both to a place of reconciliation. God has been faithful to bless us through a few different seasons of support and we've grown in love and intimacy because of it. Find a pastor, a mentor, a friend, to pray with you and help you lift your hands in obedience to God when you feel you can no longer. We can't do this life alone, and we can't be victorious in our marriages on our own. Ask God to bless you and provide aid through your community. He will definitely do so.

Day 40: 40 Days of Praise

Really, that's what we've been doing these past 40 days... Praising. One of the (many) definitions of praise is, "the offering of grateful homage in words or song as an act of worship." Our words have been worship to His ears. Today, Caitlin and I really just want to offer Him praise for ALL that He has done, is doing, and will do. I know we all have stories of His gracious handiwork in our lives through this journey, and tonight we just want to share a few of them with you. So as you read of all He has been doing, let your heart rest in His goodness and give Him praise.

[If you read my blog you know I'm all about anonymity and initials so that's what we are sticking to with these]

"Over the past 40 days of praying for my husband I have experienced great blessing in my own heart as well as in my marriage. Through Laura and Caitlin's posts and beautiful prayers and also through my own time with the Lord, God has shown me different areas to be praying for my husband and specific areas of his life to become more in tune with. My husband and I have had growth in our marriage and our communication which as a result has strengthened and deepened our bond." -K "I'm so glad God put the 40 days of prayer in my path. With a husband that is often gone with work I am always seeking ways to pray over him and his safety. What a blessing it was to dedicate 40 days to just that. While praying, a sense of calm was given to me. I was able to give my worries and concerns for my husband over to my Heavenly Father who knows how to love and protect him so much better than I can. I thank Jesus for using these ladies to speak His truth in my prayer life for my beloved. Prayer is powerful, praying for my husband is a joy, thank you Father for the reminder." -L "I am praising God so much in the area of the man I am married to. It started before the 40 day journey... it started 9 years ago when we got married and I started praying more fervently for him. I've prayed for specific things that I have just seen answered recently - the last few months. NINE years of prayer. It would have been so easy to just stop, give up, and say "to heck with it, Lord! There's no fruit!" And I did get discouraged, many times. But I was reminded over and over by the Lord and women like you, that God IS faithful and He is in the business of answering prayers and changing hearts. I FULLY praise Him for all the work He has done in my husband's heart in the last 3 years! -D "I feel as if my husband and I have grown closer. I talked with him last night, asking him if he felt different since I had been praying for him, and he said he feels better at seeing my emotional needs. We struggled with a lot of spiritual warfare during this journey but I know it's because God was working good in us. My hubs even stepped out last night and decided to make a permanent time every night for us to pray together. Praise God for His work in our hearts!" -Caitlin For me, God has been doing the muscle work of digging these roots down deep into the earth. He moved some mountains after I did this last year, and I feel very much that this journey was all about the roots. I've seen a wisdom and a maturity in my husband that I've not seen before. But it's a maturity of steadfastness. His heart is becoming more and more steadfast in his God. His faith is becoming his own. I have shared emotions with him that I would've been insecure to show before now, allowing him the ability to see the rawness of my heart for my God. While being apart makes communication all the more difficult, we've really done all that we can to share what really matters in our hearts, and a lot of the time that is simply Jesus.

The most exciting thing to me about this day is that it is like that last second that your toes are touching the diving board before you spring off into the sky and fly exhilaratingly into the blue below. This is the springboard--just the beginning. Because the reality is, He has always been working for, seeking out and loving on our husbands and us. He has now gotten our attention and removed the scales from our eyes so we can see how He really works.

So wives, joyously leap off that diving board tonight! Lay your head on your pillow KNOWING that YOUR GOD IS NOT FINISHED! Oh praise Him!

Image-1 (18) "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wastelands." Isaiah 43:19

Peace and joy to all of your sweet, loving hearts tonight. We have been so blessed going through this journey with you. Until next year.

-Laura and Caitlin

*Remember, these prayers will always be available to you. If you ever feel like you would like to repeat this journey PLEASE don't hesitate! Just obey!*

Day 39: Proclaiming His Faithfulness

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As we wrap up our journey tomorrow I can't help this insatiable need to praise His faithfulness. Whether He has already begun it, or has simply been putting the final touches on a big move, He has been moving and has been faithful these past 39 days. What's so magnificent about our God is that He works far beyond the confines of committed prayer journeys or bible studies or retreat weekends. He's always moving, proving His faithfulness. Things like this are merely an opportunity for us to open our eyes and our hearts to the True God we serve and love.

So let's pray Psalm 146 today, and with all of our hearts proclaim His faithfulness and goodness to us and to our husbands. He's doing a greater work in us and in them than we could ever begin to dream up on our own, and we praise Him for that!

-Laura

 

Hallelujah!

Oh my soul praises You God! All my life long I will praise You, singing songs to You as long as I live. Lord, I will not put my life into the hands of "experts" who know nothing of True life; salvation life. Mere humans don't have what it takes; when they die their projects die with them. Instead, God of Jacob, I get help from You! I put my hope in You and because of that I know real blessing! God, You made the sky and the soil, the sea and all the fish in it. You always do what You say You will. You defend the wronged. You feed the hungry. You free the prisoners. You give sight to the blind and lift up the fallen. God, You love good people and protect strangers. You take the side of the orphans and widows and you make short the work of the wicked. God, You are in charge-- ALWAYS! My God, the God of Zion, is God for good! 

Hallelujah!

(Prayer adapted by me from the Message version of Psalm 146)

Day 38: Humbled Before the King

20140323-211500.jpg "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares you."

-1 Peter 5:5-7

For awhile now, I've been praying that my husband could find someone to guide him. I know that we are very capable of doing this life thing on our own--of connecting with God, of being saved, and walking the walk. But you know, it's so much better when there is someone who has gone before you and can mentor you in your walk.

But I also know, it's extremely hard to humble ourselves and say yes, I would like advice/help/guidance.

Or at least I find that hard in my walk, so I can only imagine my strong, masculine husband struggling with seeking someone to show him the way.

But God says that when we humble ourselves before Him. When we cast all our anxiety on Him, he will offer us grace and lift us up. I know very well that my husband is capable of many things, and part of the reason I love him is because he dabbles in hobbies, he works hard for our family, he chases his passions, and he loves his God with his whole heart. But I also know that he is human, and his flesh is weak, and his heart is deceitful. Just like me.

And so tonight wives, my prayer is this: That my husband would humble himself before the Lord being willing to accept guidance of those who have gone before him. That not only would he a strong, Christian, masculine mentor enter his life, but that my husband would throw away his pride and humbly accept him. For I know then that God will lift him up in his walk and help him to live that full life.

-Caitlin

Lord above,

I come before you tonight a humble servant--a sinner broken but redeemed by your grace. Father, I cannot thank you enough for this journey you have brought me on. This journey of prayer, of love, of dedication, of joy, of Christ, and of change. You are working wonders in our everyday, and I thank you so much for hearing these prayers. Tonight, God, I come before you once again lifting up my husband. As he walks beside You, I pray for guidance. That you Lord, would not only speak to his heart, but that you would bring someone older, and wiser into his life to offer advice on his journey. So many times I feel he makes decisions on his own and wrestles with what you are calling him towards and tonight I pray that you would help him in those moments. Speak to his heart Lord during his time spent with you, as well as through the council of others. I pray that my husband would also learn to humble himself before you Lord, that he may willing accept this council and throw away his pride. That his humble spirit would be pleasing to you and lead him down a path of righteousness. Lord, may his humility seep out of his spirit in his days so that as he grows older, you would be willing to use him to council others. May he be receptive to what and how you are speaking to him so that his life may be well and full in you. Thank you so much, Father, for his spirit. May it be humble and grace filled as you change him. In your most Holy name I pray, Amen

Day 37: Silence

Image-1 (15)  

We live in a terribly loud world. Radios quietly on in the background, televisions playing in the corner, children talking/yelling/crying/singing... and that's just the audible noise. The "noise" constantly produced by our minds can be deafening at times. Maybe this is why we like to have some static in the background... something to drown out what's really driving us crazy-- our own thoughts.

Here's the thing though; God never intended for us to be in a constant state of noise. While we've been given the gift of music and voice and all of these other things that produce sound we cannot forget the beautiful gift of silence. When we are silent, truly quieting the audible and inaudible in our lives, we can enjoy His presence.

Guys, this is not easy. As I am learning through training this is something that must be practiced, but it's worth all of the effort. I have to believe that, each and every second (literally, second by second) that I have to reel my thoughts in and quiet them in the name of Jesus, that  is one step forward in my journey towards quiet.

"But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him." Habbakuk 2:20

By the victorious death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are now His temple. He is IN His holy temple, and we must take time to be silent before Him.

Our husbands have busy lives; working, providing, loving, caring, delighting, fighting... the actions never end, just as ours don't either. But let's ask God to provide them with a space of silence. A place where they can quiet their hearts, even for a moment, to remember that He is in His temple-- in them. Whatever noise may come, whether from sugar-spiked children or the weight of worry, they might be able to draw close to the Father in His temple and enjoy the gift of silence. There is so much waiting for them there.

-Laura

Jesus,

You taught us how to withdraw from the noise; from the crowds and the demands of life. You showed us this often. Thank you for making this a very clear matter of importance in our relationship with you. As you knew you needed to be with your Father, you had to turn from the noise to truly do so. Help myself and my husband to recognize when the radio needs to be turned off. Or when we need to choose some quiet with you over the numbing of the television. Give us the strength to believe that what you can provide in those moments can and will fill us more than any noisy distraction could. Grow us both in the ability to recognize and cherish silence before you for the gift that it really is. Give us grace each and every time we have to bring our busy minds back to quiet, and remind us that there is  nothing but grace there-- no expectation or disappointment--only love. Thank you, Jesus, for giving something as simple as silence so much value! Help us to grow and challenge each other in this practice of being present.

In your most Holy name,

Amen.

Day 36: Thanks in every moment

20140321-213937.jpg I don't know about you ladies, but my heart is often full of thanksgiving for my husband. Sometimes I cannot believe the blessing my God has gifted me. So tonight, tomorrow, and in every moment, let us lift up our gratitude to our God. -Caitlin

Lord above, Thank you--thank you so much for the blessing of life you have given me. This life and this love is so unfathomable. That you would shower grace on me--a broken sinner-- and redeem me for your good amazes me. Too many times I come before you with wants and requests. Never enough do I simply thank you. And so, as this 40 day journey starts to close, I simply want to thank you for the husband you have placed in my life. Thank you for his love. Thank you for his heart. Thank you for his willingness to lead, to provide, to protect, and to encourage. Thank you for saving him and for leading him to me, that we may wildly show the world your love. Thank you for the good and glorious times we have, and thank you for the obstacles and the grief. Thank you for our times together and our times apart. For you work all things together Lord for your good, and in all of these times I am learning to give thanks. Thank you Lord for every moment we have and will have together. Thank you for us. But above all, thank you for your Son. In His most holy name I pray, Amen

Day 35: A Prayer Of Protection

Image-1 (14) In the book of Joshua, we find Joshua bringing the Israelites together once more to renew their covenant. Joshua tells them to choose, once and for all, who they will worship; the God of the universe, the gods of their fathers or the gods of the Amorites. And here is the verse we are all so familiar with: "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)

What I would like to point out is the following verse, one that might not get as much fanfare but brings to light the state of the hearts of the Israelites-- they were not always as aloof as we sometimes might remember them to be.

"Then the people answered, 'Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled." (vs. 16-17)

Even before Jesus came and brought with Him the new covenant, God actively protected those he loved from the dangers of this world. His protection did not first come with the anointing of the Holy Spirit from Christ's death and resurrection. In John 17 we see Jesus praying for protection over the followers God gave Him during His time on earth. Jesus protected them while He was here, and is now calling upon God to protect them once He has gone. So again, even in the new covenant we see our Mighty God actively protecting those He loves. In verse 13 Jesus clarifies why He is saying the things He's saying... "so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them." He said it that they might hear and believe that the God of the universe will protect them, because His very Son asked Him to.

Today, I pray a prayer of joy and thanksgiving that my Father loves my husband so much that He will never leave him unprotected. That no matter where he may be-- at home under "my protecting arms" (yeah right!) or far from my reach or influence-- God is before him, with him and behind him, keeping him safe and within His merciful and gracious will for his life.

Just think: as desperately as we strive to keep our husbands in our arms, safe, healthy and happy, God desires all the more to see those things manifest in their lives. He just has a different way of achieving that end goal. We must relinquish our desire for control and let God protect and care for his precious sons, knowing full well that He has promised to protect them and keep them safe in His arms.

Our God does not break His promises, dear daughters. Believe Him.

-Laura

Mighty God,

You are the God who has protected Your people for countless years, and You are not about to change now. Thank You for knowing us- our need for reassurance. For knowing that there would be many, many times that we would need to cling to Your promise of protection in the scary times in life. Thank You for not leaving us to fend for ourselves in this dark world, but for supernaturally interceding on our behalf in times when our security in You is threatened. We are never far from You, and the blessing from that is boundless. It continues to pour over our entire lives, each and every day, allowing us to live freely and without fear or worry. God, I lay my husband and his safety and security down. I unclench my fingers and willingly hand it over to You because I know that You love him more. You are even more interested in seeing his life be glorifying to You and so I choose to stop trying to influence it and drive it in the ways I believe are best. God, as he faces dangers in this world, physically and spiritually, I believe that You have already gone before him, allowing what is necessary to glorify You and grow him, and keeping him from anything that will harm him and the purpose You have called him to. God, thank You for loving him so. My soul is blessed and at peace knowing that there is Someone who loves him even more than I. You are Lord over all, and there is nothing that brings You fear. We find such peace in Your presence today.

In Your name, Jesus.

Amen.

Day 34: A Tender Heart

20140319-210649.jpg"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." -Philippians 2:1-3

I don't know about you, wives, but my heart rejoices knowing that my husband delights in me. Our story is long and winded, but it's full of God's grace and divine appointments. This year we will celebrate our fourth year of marriage, and in the last few weeks we have stepped out in leading a marriage Bible study where we've had the great joy of mentoring a few newlywed couples.

Oh how God is using our story! The last couple of sessions we have been learning about how a wife feels loved and how her husband can energize her spirit. One of the sticking points for me has been how much I (and we as women) need tenderness.

I know for many facts that my heart itself is a tender thing. When I married my husband, I gave it to him for safe keeping and care. And in these last few years he has done a wonderful job of speaking to me and loving me in the ways I need. But I also know, that he is the one who can hurt me the most without ever meaning too.

I'm not confessing anything here or speaking bad about him as he is wonderful and I love him beyond words--but as we've been learning in our group we are different when it comes to this marriage thing. It's the obvious difference I'm talking about--he is a man and I am a woman--and in God's beautiful entity of marriage we (man and woman) are loved and love differently. In his manhood and in his act of being my husband, the way he reacts to things or even says them in his different way can hurt my heart terribly because I hear them differently.

For that reason, there is much to be done. See, as wives, we are loved with love. But as husbands, they are loved with respect. And in fact, God commands us to this type of love in Ephesians 5:33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. In that beautiful symbol of marriage, we as Christ bride's respect our husband and Christ, the husband, loves his wife, the church. That husband then, being like-minded in Christ, finds tenderness and compassion to make the joy of his wife complete.

Men are not tender creatures--not naturally anyway--and in the way God has designed them, they are not built to be nurturing, tender creatures. Yet, as God commands them to love their wives, they are to become like-minded in Christ which means taking on tenderness in order to show love.

I don't know about you, but those tender moments my husband expresses either through words or actions, simply melt my heart and propel me through my days. They encourage me to respect him more and show him love in the way he feels it. And when I am loved and I respect him, we go round and round in a energizing circle, encouraging each other in this beautiful thing called marriage.

I could undoubtedly type up our whole Bible study here but I won't. Instead, I challenge you to read Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerich and perhaps join a study on it if you have the chance. And tonight as we pray for our husbands to keep delighting in us, let's offer up a prayer for tenderness as it doesn't come easy for them--but it's something that undoubtedly brings joy to our marriage.

-Caitlin

Heavenly Father,

Tonight I simply continue to offer up thanksgiving for my husband and this journey of marriage you have called us on. Our story has been written by you and in these moments, both good and bad, you are here. You have given us the chance to delight in each other, and to walk alongside each other when the world drags us down. Lord, you have created us so differently, yet so perfectly that the way we fit together speaks only of you. As we learn  how to love one another as each new day passes, may we follow your commands. I ask that you would help me in respecting my husband, in showing him love in the way he needs, and in understanding that though he is different than me he isn't wrong. Help me to offer up forgiveness for those moments that pull at my heart and understand that his love for me does not waiver, but that in fact he is simply loving me in the way he knows how. In that I lift him up to you Father. I ask that you would instill tenderness in his heart for the moments I need it most. Help him to be like-minded with you, showing tenderness and compassion to me in my moments of weakness and brokenness and need for love. Help him to speak to me and to love me with a tender heart, and help me to be patient with him as he learns this way of loving. There are so many things in life that do not come easy to any of us, but Lord you offer to show us how. I pray that he would seek you for guidance as a husband and listen to the whispers of advice you offer him. Teach him to be tender towards me--and teach me to notice.

I ask in your most holy name,

Amen

 

Day 33:To Delight In His Wife

Image-1 (11) "May your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love." -Proverbs 5:18-19

This topic has been on my heart for awhile now. Life happens, and consequently both man and wife will grow and change from the person they were on that wedding day. In our marriage, I praise God that we have grown and changed. While I adored him then, I love him, respect him, and cherish him more today.

Sometimes life is not so kind, and it will bring with it distractions. My prayer today is that his eyes would be delighted and his heart enriched by the wife sitting before him. That he would be reminded of my charms that won him over in the beginning and be able to see that I am still that young woman who swoons at his love. I would like to simply share a bit of a commentary on this passage and leave you to explore this prayer more on your own with your specific marriage in mind.

Blessings to you, beauties.

-Laura

"Let him that is married take delight in his wife, and let him be very fond of her, not only because she is the wife that he himself has chosen and he ought to be pleased with his own choice, but because she is the wife that God in His providence appointed for him and he ought much more to be pleased with the divine appointment, pleased with her because she is his own. "Let thy fountain be blessed"; think thyself very happy in her, look upon her as a blessed wife, let her have thy blessing, pray daily for her, and then rejoice with her... Mutual delight is the bond of mutual fidelity." - Matthew Henry Commentary On Proverbs 5 (emphasis mine)

Gracious God,

Thank you for choosing the two of us to be together. I love us together. Sometimes it's hard, and requires more effort; other times it is simply divine. Thank you for being in both of those moments, and every one in between. You have a great purpose for this union and I truly believe one of those is to be able to truly delight in one another each and every day that we are together... Even on the not-so-good days. As I lift him up to you and strive to be the wife you ask me to be, I pray that he would see nothing but you in me. I pray, Lord, that his eyes would look upon me with the same love they did the day we promised our love to you and each other. Draw us to one another, more and more, that no distraction of this world would be worth severing the love that we share. Thank you for completing our love , and for always working to show me more of who you are through the man you've partnered me with. He's a blessing to my heart and I promise to be committed to him forever. I vow to love and serve you always by loving and serving him. Create a desire in his heart to do the same.

Jesus, in your Name,

Amen.

Day 32: Real Rest

20140317-204719.jpg "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest." -Matthew 11:28, MSG

Sometimes friends, we simply need to rest. Maybe that rest comes in the form of binge watching Netflix over a weekend, or taking a vacation. Perhaps it's an evening of riding our bikes, or time curled up reading a book. Or just maybe that rest is a fit of laughter that releases our souls.

You've been there, right? Moved by something someone has said or an action that has happened and you're doubled over in a fit of joy inducing laugher. You can't breathe and your abs ache, but when all is said and done you feel clear in a sense. Relaxed. Rested. Cleansed.

In fact, a bout of laughter is so good for us because it literally releases endorphins (or the happy chemical) causing us to feel a burst of joy and release. In those moments of unstoppable laughter, I often think that is how it feels to rest in God. To be so out of control yet carefree and recovering a part of our life that has been misplaced by the throes of this life. That's what it's like to rest in Him friends and oh do we need it.

May we not only find ourselves resting in Him during this journey, but praying for moments that our husbands can simply get away with Him so they too can feel rested, relaxed, and renewed.

-Caitlin

Heavenly Father, I come before you tonight with thanksgiving that you have chosen each one of us to be yours. You love us so dearly that you sent your Son for us. In our broken, ragged, sin-filled walk you continually offer us Grace because you want us. Lord, in that grace you offer us real rest from this burdened world. You give us a chance to escape with you and recover life. Tonight, God, I pray over my husband for that rest. Wherever he is in his walk, and wherever he is quite literally in his day, bring him that rest. Offer him the chance to sneak away with you so that he may feel cleansed of his work and his day and his struggles and feel renewed in life. For only you can offer it. God, help him to see this road he is on is not in vain, but that you are using it for good and are there to carry the burden when he is ready to let go. Your grace is our rest Lord. May we surrender to you and feel the joy that will follow. In your most Holy name I pray, Amen

Day 31: Predestined To Be His

Image-1 (10) The prayer of my heart today comes from several places in the Word, speaking to one incomprehensible truth. Journey with me to this revelation for your husband and for yourself. But be ready, because it's a doozy and worth all the time you can give to let it truly soak into your entire heart, soul and mind.

"What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it -- we're called children of God! That's who we really are." 1 John 3:1 (MSG- emphasis mine)

Me, you, your husband, my husband... we were chosen. We've already talked about this a few times but I think the magnitude of this merits a lot of time to be meditated on. We are His children-no matter our sin;  past or present. Before any of our decisions were ever made, He had already decided He wanted us. It brought Him immense joy just to think of it.

"In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves." Ephesians 1:5 (NIV-emphasis mine)

Before He knew my husband's mess-ups and shortcomings, He put in the "adoption paperwork". We currently know a family who is in the process of adopting a little peanut from Poland and they've been asking for prayer support, having garage sales to raise money, and preparing their other children for the welcoming of a 6th family member. There is so much passion and love for this little person that they don't even know yet, but they know that she is a beautiful creation of the Creator and they can't wait to love her with all they have in their hearts. Now with that vivid picture in your mind I want you to think of the Father and His Son. They wanted you. They wanted your husband. Enough that Jesus, with the same sensations and feelings that you and I have, endured the cross.

We often ask why He did that? Why He didn't just call angels or say He couldn't go on. It has recently come to my very humbled attention exactly why He pressed on when He even asked His Father for another way: He went on "for the joy set before Him". Guys, that "joy" was us.

He knew the adoption was on... that there were souls so desperately loved by Him and His Father that He had to pay the price. They wanted us to be a part of their family.

Hebrews 12:2 "... who for the joy set before Him endured the cross..."

Above all of the prayers for peace, or strength, or faithfulness or obedience, today I want to pray for eyes open. Hearts softened. Minds welcoming. Because this Truth is a doozy- and it is what pours over everything else we could ever ask or hope for for our men, ourselves or our children. To know that before the foundations of the earth were laid, He had already decided He wanted us. Man, how incredible is that?

May that carry you through the next month and a bit as we prepare to celebrate the price paid for each of our hearts, that we may truly be His children.

-Laura

Father,

You are a tender, loving God. You are a mighty and just God. You have moved mountains and parted seas that those you chose could be called yours. Please, Father, soften my husbands heart, from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh, that he might begin to comprehend this truth. Lord, there is nothing in this fallen world that cares for him or desires to love him relentlessly, which is why the beauty of your adoption is so magnificent. Thank you for loving us personally, not like faces in a crowd but individuals that you paid a lofty price to make a part of your family. I pray that this truth, as it seeps more and more into his soul, would drive him to turn from the empty and heavy things of this world. As a father picks up his child each and every time they stumble and fall, continue to pick him up and cover him in your love. And in each of those moments graciously remind him of how proud you are to call him your son. Thank you, Jesus, for enduring all that you did just for us. Truly, we will never be able to understand that kind of love, but we will continue to offer our lives to you in obedience and gratitude for all that you are and have done for us.

In your mighty Name, Jesus, I pray.

Amen.

Day 30: Fighting the Reflection

20140315-131152.jpg"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." -1 Corinthians 13:12

Yesterday, friends, I talked about grace. I challenged us to humbly bow before the Lord, flee the devil, and quietly say "yes, Lord. I am here."

Wives, can I say I am so proud of you? I am so proud of you following Laura and I on this journey of lifting our husbands up. Of loving them so boldly and desperately that we are humbly coming before our God asking Him to move. You--we--are doing such a brave thing. And today, I feel that we should chase that bravery into prayer and pour out our weaknesses so that we all may know grace. You see, my thoughts come from 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 (MSG):

"My grace is enough: it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations cut me down to size--abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."

I don't know about you, but I have struggled for so long fearing that I am never good enough. A good enough Christian. A good enough wife. A good enough teacher, or writer, or [enter label here.] I know I'm not the only one with this struggle because in a world that labels us according to our careers, and our money, and our hobbies, and in a world that freely invites us to share our perfect or not-so-perfect lives with everyone--it's hard for anyone to "measure up."

And I wonder, what is this doing to our marriages? For I know my struggles, whether in body image or role, play a part in the beautiful, intimate thing we call marriage. Over the years, I have watched my husband struggle too.

The enemy weasels his way into the smallest of insecurities and uses our big 'ole world of propaganda, and social media, and salary tiers, and even our brothers and sisters to tell us that we aren't good enough. I look at my husband who is a Godly and artistic, passionate, determined, hard-working wonderful man and there are days I see the weight of the world pushing on his shoulders... The enemy whispering in his ear telling him he has failed... He is a failure... He will never measure up... And those lies begin to be the "poor reflection as in the mirror" my husband sees staring back at him. 

The world--the enemy-- telling him he is not good enough.

And then those three little words born of a lie--not good enough-- begin to root themselves into his daily walk. His school. His job. Our marriage. His confidence waning and his spirit shrinking. And if I, too, am carrying the burden of that lie, then the intimacy God wishes for us to experience in His sacred marriage is lost, and we start to focus on the limitations and handicaps in our life: things the enemy uses to tear us apart so that God's work will not be done.

But friends, the redeeming part of this story--my story, my husband's story, your story--is that in our weaknesses GRACE is found.

For we are told that God's grace is enough for us, and that in recognizing our weaknesses we become stronger than we ever thought. In His grace, those thoughts of not good enough are thrown away, unimportant, forgotten because in grace, "we'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us"

We are good.

We are chosen.

We are loved.

We are fully known.

And we measure up in the fullness of His grace to the person HE has created us to be.

Today wives, my prayer is for all of us---for us as women to turn away from the poor reflection in the mirror and understand how loved we are by our God and our husbands. And just as importantly--that our husbands would find strength in their weaknesses. That in those moments of not good enough, they would find strength from Christ to throw off the weight of the world and see themselves as God sees them: His son, destined to be brave and courageous, respected and honored, a wonderful husband and father,loved by their God and loved by us. Fully known growing stronger through their weaknesses.

And above all--good.

-Caitlin

God of grace,

You meet us every moment we come to you offering love and grace to cover our multitude of sins. You willingly fight for us as we battle this world, passing time before we can enter your perfect kingdom. This battle is not easy Lord as the enemy wants for nothing but to sever the ties we have to you. He throws everything he has at us to falter your kingdom work. One of his greatest ways is to skew the reflection we see staring back at us everyday. Lord God, though I struggle with my own insecurities, today I come before you with my husband on my heart. This world so easily will tell him he is not good enough. It will beat him down and burden him with insecurities. But Lord! You see him as good enough! I pray so desperately today that he would see himself as you see him. That in his weakness he will be made strong and that skewed reflection become clear. I ask Father, that my husband begin to understand that your grace truly is enough-- and how you see him is the only way that matters. Please take his burdens from him and the lies born of the reflection. Open his eyes to you, God, and to the image you have of him. May my husband begin to see himself as good, and may my words and love for him do nothing but encourage. I lift these in your most holy name, Amen

Day 29: A Quiet Yes

20140314-224303.jpg Tonight, wives, I lift up a challenge. Come before God. Read this scripture both in the NIV and amplified version and sit or kneel or move into child's pose for three minutes (or more) letting His word soak in your heart and speak to you. Say a quiet yes to Him and only then, once you have felt His grace, lift up your husbands. Your heart will know what to say. -Caitlin

"But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ' God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before The Lord, and he will lift you up. " -James 4:6-10, NIV

The Message version: "And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that 'God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.' So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Qui dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet. "

Giver of grace, I am here, bowed out humbly before you. Speak to my heart. In these moments I present my husband before you. Direct me in the way I should pray. Reveal to me the ways I can be his helpmate. Help us to humbly come before you, resisting the enemy so that you can work your will in us. Let our quiet yeses be enough. Full us with your grace. We lay ourselves before you. Amen