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 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 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

Day 27: To Know Shalom

20140312-180000.jpg"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."

-Matthew 5:4, MSG

I fully believe God has ordained every step of this prayer journey. It never seems to fail that Laura and I's heart have been seeking the same sort of prayers for our husbands, even though we haven't planned out these prayers days in advance. Then there's the fact that we're both in Holy Yoga training and just happen to be studying the same scriptures during the week which I firmly believe God is speaking through. 

I feel--in my heart--that God as we have prayed about suffering and healing, He also wants us to know shalom this week. 

In the study and origin of scripture, shalom means "the absence of strife." Oh! If we could find ourselves basking in the serenity of shalom everyday! But this shalom--this serenity-- is not something we humans can attain. Instead, we find ourselves in mourning during our life here on Earth. In my lifetime, I have come to associate mourning with death for there has been far too much of it that I have seen. And yet, I believe mourning can take place over many other things besides death. Yes, the loss of a loved one is heavy on our hearts, but some days we lose our dreams. We lose our way. We lose our hope. 

But we can never lose His Grace. You see--in order to understand His peace that surpasses all understanding, we must realize that shalom exists only when we surrender to God--when He is in control. To be able to understand the blessing that comes in times of mourning is to know shalom--to have surrendered to God so that we are wrapped in His comfort: in the absence of strife.

Wives, I know that not all of our husbands may be in mourning of something at this particular time. But may we still arm them for when the moment comes? May we pray for the time when we can let go of ourselves and let God take over? So that when the time of mourning comes, we can be blessed by His shalom.

-Caitlin

Father God,
I come before you tonight a broken sinner who often loses my way. But I know, Lord, that you will always guide me home. You have told us this life will not be easy, and that we may suffer and feel persecuted, and fill our days with mourning. But there will be a day of Glory where none of those will exist. We will feel your peace. Your shalom
Today, Lord, I pray for that. I lift up my life and my husband to you in this moment, in this day, of imperfection. Help us to see you and know that you will heal us and bless us during this time. I specifically lift up my husband tonight, that you would help him to seek you in his strife. Take away his mourning Lord and help him to see that you are wrapping your arms around him. I pray that he would find strength in you to completely surrender in these moments. That your 
shalom would wash over him as he lets go.
Father--his mourning may not be as deep some days as others, but you know his heart. You know the strife that plagues him. But you also promise a life brimming over with blessings. I praise you for the peace he will feel when he lets go. May he surrender to you today and in days to come, letting go of anything worries or sadness or strife so that your blessing can settle in. 
I ask of these in your Son's name,

Amen

 

 

Day 23: Living Passions

ams "It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for." -Ephesians 1:11, MSG

This morning, my husband left for his Spring Break Restoration week. Going to a Christian University has it's perks--two Spring breaks after all--except this one is more of a week of evangelism. He's on a choir tour in the South singing his heart out at churches, spreading the gospel.

Most days I wish I could be as passionate as him. Willing to drop my fears and own dreams and serve the Lord in the capacity of ministry. I started pursuing Holy Yoga training two weeks ago, so who knows, maybe the Lord is working in my life for me to have some sort of ministry, but the idea of Kingdom work still scares me.

Yet, I watched my husband's excitement grow this week as this morning drew closer. He is so passionate about music, and worshiping the Lord through song and art comes so naturally to him. I see the joy of the Lord in him when he leads our church on Sunday mornings, and I so wish I could be at each stop this week to watch him. He made it a point to tell me they would be recording at least one night so I could watch the performance when he got home.

Too often I feel as if the men of this world have lost or be unable to find passion. It's one thing to be the provider for a family and simply work hard for a living. But it's completely different to pursue it with passion. I also know that not every man has the ability to have his passion and job align. For that reason, I want us to lift our husbands tonight in a sense of thanksgiving for their willingness to perhaps work a job that provides for our families, but isn't the easiest on them. And though I pray the man in your life can meld that passion with his work, I know that isn't always possible. So for that, I invite us to pray that our husbands can find a passion so deep inside of them for something in life--an activity, a hobby, a connection--and be able to pursue it all for the Glory of God.

For in Christ, we know who we are, and in Him our souls awaken.

-Caitlin

Giver of life, I come before You tonight with thanksgiving in my heart. Thank You Lord for leading me on this journey of prayer--for meeting me here. But more than that, I thank You for the opportunity to pray. I thank You for the husband you have placed in my life and for his willingness to pursue with diligence the curse You have bestowed on all men. I know there are days when this daily work  drags him down, and it is not always, nor ever, his passion. But Lord, I pray for strength in this work and in his days. That each morning as he wakes up, he would come to You for strength and guidance. That he would obey Your command and work the ground beneath his feet for You and only You. Lord, as his work continues daily, I pray You would awaken his soul to a passion that would give him fulfillment. We know who we are in You Lord--we find ourselves in You! And today, I pray that my husband would feel the passion You have given him and pursue the time to find it. Lord, bestow in him passion for an activity, or hobby, or simply time spent with friends so that he has more in his life to pursue than just daily work. Awaken his soul to things of this life that can put a smile on his face and be something that glorifies You. May he seek You with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength, finding Your glory, Your guidance, and Your love. As these days linger and the year moves forward, begin to work in him, Father, and place a passion on his heart he can righteously pursue. Awake his soul!

I ask of these in Your precious Son's name,

Amen

Day 21: Hope in Him

20140306-191018.jpg "What am I doing in the meantime, Lord? Hoping, that's what I'm doing--hoping You'll save me from a rebel life, save me from the contempt of dunces. I'll say no more, I'll shut my mouth, since you, Lord, are behind all this. But I can't take it much longer. When you put us through the fire to purge us from our sin, our dearest idols go up in smoke. Are we also nothing but smoke? Ah, GOD, listen to my prayer, my cry--open your ears. Don't be callous; just look at these tears of mine. I'm a stranger here. I don't know my way--a migrant like my whole family. Give me a break, cut me some slack before it's too late and I'm out of here."

-Psalm 39:7-13, MSG

I don't know about you friends, but I am often drawn to David's cries. Living in this fallen world brings me to my knees, and the Psalms are always a comfort. I understand I am not alone.  I understand there is hope.

I want tonight to be short and sweet, wives. Short in my words and sweet in HIM.

I want us to continue to pray for our husband's hearts, for their minds, and for their souls. May we pray protection over their lives and strength to fight this world. But above all, may we pray for hope--that they will place it in the Lord as they dwell in Him.

-Caitlin

Hear my prayer, O LORD, tonight. Listen to my cry for help. Be not deaf to my weeping. As I come before you tonight, Father, I lift up my husband; I place him in Your hands. Lord, I ask for hope tonight. That as we pray for good, and strength, wellness, and wisdom and we pray away the sins, I want him to take hold of hope and only put it in You. Whatever he is struggling with tonight, whatever he is rejoicing in--hear his heart's cry as You heard David. Keep him together with Your love and truth; don't hold back in your passion. Intervene, Lord, in my husband's life. Move and breathe and speak so that he will hear you. You are our help and our deliverer, O my God, do not delay. We praise You God, and give thanks to You for You are good. Your love endures forever. In your glorious name,

Amen

Prayer adapted from the Psalms

Day 18: Blessed are Those

20140303-202011.jpg "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. -Matthew 5:3-4, MSG

 

Can I be honest with you tonight wives? If you've noticed  a trend in my posting, it usually doesn't happen until late at night. I had grand plans this morning to schedule my thoughts out for the week since I had the day off of school. But instead, I rose early to teach a sunrise yoga class, went back to bed and didn't mean to sleep until 9:30, worked on a tedious project all day, ran errands, did a pile of dishes, cooked dinner, and made time for my mat. If I'm being honest, I haven't showered today, put on a bra (and yes, I left the house without it), and I'm not even sure I remembered to brush my teeth.

I feel as if I am at the end of my rope. Tomorrow is the year anniversary of my grandmother's death, a day I do not want to celebrate, and like Laura yesterday, I feel my emotions all over the place. Between co-hosting this journey, leading a Love and Respect marriage Bible study, and embarking on my Holy Yoga training last week, and simply feeling hunkered down with an immense load of stress,  I have felt nothing shy of spiritual warfare raging in my life.

I've watched my husband this past week seemingly float through his days. To be honest, the enemy is tearing at my heart to harbor bitterness towards him, and messing with my mind making me believe the lie that I'm carrying it all. When in fact, my dear husband has been shouldering my burden all week.

You see, as I sit here with tears streaming down my face realizing how magnificent this thing called marriage is, I am reminded of how like Christ to the church my husband is to me. In such a grace-filled example of sacrifice and love, my husband has taken on the role of a Christ in our marriage. As I feel so heavy laden with my sorrow and stress, my husband takes that burden from me as Christ takes the church's. So as the enemy tries relentlessly to drive a wedge between the holy work God is doing in our marriage, my husband chooses to listen to my frustrations, to comfort me in my sorrow, and to carry my burdens so I don't have too.

For when I think I am carrying everything around our house and our life, in reality, he is shouldering it all.

Wives, wherever we are at tonight may we take a moment to simply thank God for our husbands. May we realize how blessed we truly are by them that they would take on such a role in our marriage and show us the purest form of love and grace.

-Caitlin

Father God, As these days journey forward, you never fail to comfort us in our sorrows, to life us up in our joys, or to take our burdens from us. This life is far from the Glory we will one day experience, but you give us snippets through this beautiful thing you call marriage. Someday, we will truly know what it is to walk beside you, to be held by you, and to never more have the heaviness of a burden upon our shoulders. But until that day, you give us a grand example of how that Glory will play out. You have blessed us as wives with a husband who would walk through fire for us all so that we may know love. Thank you for such a man. Thank you for placing him in my life. In all of this--our joy  & our sorrow, our busyness & our moments of peace, may we understand that this marriage is meant to show the world your love. Lord God, I lift up my husband tonight for as he is chasing his own passions and dreams and joys and sorrows, he also is shouldering my burdens. May you give him strength to carry this load and to lift the burden over to you. Bless my husband tonight Father with an overwhelming feeling of love. Fight for my heart God, banish the enemy, turn my soul to you, and help me to show steadfast love to my husband. For if there are moments in life when he is to carry my burdens, I so desperately want him to feel how deeply respected he is from me. 

In your most precious Son's name,

Amen.

 

 

Day 17: The God Of All Comfort

Image-1 (3) "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Sometimes, being a woman is just plain dumb. Well, the emotional side of being a woman, anyways. I can't help but think that, on my very worst day, T might think the same thing. The emotions of women are dumb sometimes. When I think back to some of my worst days (ahem, the nightmarish months following the birth of our sweet boy) I praise God for showing T how to comfort me through the ways that he himself has been comforted.

Tonight, as I myself wrap up a stellar day of emotional highs and lows, let's pray for our men to have sensitive spirits to our ever-changing emotions. That they would have patience, and know when to speak and when to just listen. And above all of that, to know that this too shall pass. And may we have the sensitivity to show them comfort when it is needed and how it is needed.

Happy Sabbath, dear women. Enjoy some chocolate today in honor of yours truly.

-Laura

Oh Father God,

Your patience is boundless. I can't wrap my mind around it for I have nothing in me that is even worthy of comparison. I am so grateful to you for always showing up to comfort both my husband and myself in our weakest of moments. The doubly beautiful thing about it is that it has allowed us to learn how to then comfort others. Your storehouse never runs dry, you are always there to show us more compassion, more comfort, more patience, more love... allowing us to work beyond ourselves and show those things to others. I pray specifically for that in our marriage today. Please give us both a sensitive heart towards the other. A willingness to put our needs aside for a moment, when the other really just needs a hug. Give each of us the ability to see that those moments where comfort is needed are of much greater value than any task or distraction calling our names. These working-life-out-together moments are what this marriage and this God-glorifying life are all about. Please don't let us forget that. It is when we are able to accept one another in our weakness and show the love that is needed that we give you such glory, which will in turn radiate to those in our lives who will witness our marriage... our relationship... the support that has been foundational because of you. And Lord, even if I'm being irrational in my momentary hormonal hurricane, give him the patience to wait the storm out alongside me, offering your words of kindness and truth that can sometimes stay locked in his heart. Grow and stretch our communication Lord, and open our eyes to see the fruit of it. Thank you for the beautiful, complicated and ever-changing love that we share. May it bring you glory, Lord Jesus.

In your mighty name,

Amen.

Day 15: Relinquish To The Relentless

Image-1 (2)  

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire     and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12 You will go out in joy     and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.” - Isaiah 55: 8-13

God is God. Period. His will will be accomplished regardless of any of our resistance, timidity or reserve. But how much more of a ride could it be if we were to just relinquish to the One who is unyielding? If we let Him have His way with us? As Isaiah 55 states, His word will not return to him empty. It will accomplish what He desires.

Today, can we pray that our husbands would truly understand what's waiting on the other side of their resistance?The Message paraphrases verse 13 in this: "All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias, no more thornbushes, but stately pines..." Choosing to believe that what He has could be and is better than what we have chosen for ourselves will produce a different, more bountiful harvest of joy. Like comparing a thistle to a sequoia- who in their right mind would choose the thistle when there's a sequoia waiting for them?

He is chasing after that man today. He wants his heart, and He will not relent until His plan has been fulfilled. May they see, as vulnerable as it might be, that He will not back down because He loves them that much. He knows what He wants to do in them and through them for His glory and purpose.

May you see that today too, dear sisters. He's after you.

-Laura

Mighty God,

You are my strong tower. There is never a moment where you do not know where I am. Even in my weakest of moments when I want to hide my face from you, I find comfort in knowing your love is relentless even then. Father, you love this man. You unabashedly and adamantly love him. You have his heart and in the end, you will have your way with him. But Lord, I pray that he wouldn't wait until the end, but would rise up and choose to answer your calling. That his life wouldn't be a series of Jonah moment's but of moments where he feebly and boldly stands up and goes forward, knowing full well just who the God is that has called him. That, like young David, his knowledge of your might would leave no room for fear of man. God, while your love is tender and merciful it is also absolutely powerful and absolutely strong. Show him that, Lord. Maybe even for the first time, show him the mighty force that is your love, and that it will never back down, no matter how hard he protests. Show him the joyful procession that awaits him, if he would only choose to join in. Your name is praised today, Lord God! May the reality of your love wash over both of us like the wind and rain of a hurricane.

In your holy name I pray.

Amen

If you'd like a great sound track for your day today check out "Relentless" by Hillsong United found here.

Day 13: A Higher And Deeper Calling

Image-1 (1) "My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:20-23

I'm feeling a bit amped  and I believe it has to do with one or all of the following: the medium light roast with white chocolate I just drank (mmmm), the excitement and spiritual whirling in my heart about Holy Yoga Instructor Training beginning tomorrow (eeeeeeeek!) OR  the Spirit  flipping the switch to all kinds of light bulbs in my head over the passage on my heart today. Whatever is causing it, I ask for your patience and grace as I share... this girl has got some major excitement happening on this side of the screen.

On the subject of what our lives look like and who we live them for there's one thing that comes to mind, specifically with husbands, and men in general, in mind. Something that irritates me beyond belief are the stereotype actions, responses and attitudes that men buy into in our society.

Don't show too much emotion.

Make a joke at someone else's expense to look tougher.

Keep your thoughts, musings and whispers of your heart to yourself.

In a conflict with your wife? Just don't say anything at all. She's just going off and being a woman.

I realize that men are different than women. The "whispers of the heart" is a bit of a stretch, but I for one will say that the moments when T has shared his heart with me are ones that I keep very close. I go back to them often because I believe that is a major facet of the intimacy that God designed in marriage.

I read Proverbs 4 today and if T were here with me, you better believe I'd be preaching from the mountaintops to him on the whole chapter. Wisdom, wisdom, WISDOM! I won't make you read the entire chapter if you don't have time, but I do encourage it. If you can read it in the amplified version, please do.

Verses 14-16 say, "Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go your way. For they cannot sleep until they do evil, they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall." The amplified version says, in verse 16, that they cannot sleep until they have caused trouble or vexation. That word means, "the act of annoying, irritating or vexing." Men are so vexing towards one another! I can't help but wonder if this can leave them fearful of stepping out, taking the right path in each moment they are presented the opportunity, and walking away from people who push them into the stereotypical "man" corners.

So today, can we pray for our men's hearts? That they would take and guard wisdom in their hearts with vigilance? Because I know I've seen my man get backed into that corner far too many times, choosing to fall into the stereotype rather than standing up in wisdom and knowing the value that it has for him in this life.

Be blessed today, beautiful daughters.

-Laura

Lord,

Your wisdom is more valuable than the most precious of jewels, which is why the thought of choosing the labels of this world seems so foolish in comparison. I desperately pray your words of Proverbs 4 over him today. Lord, there are men all around him that buy into the lies and the labels... who can't seem to rest until they have caused unrest in his heart and the hearts of others around him. Please, Father, ignite in him the revelation of the value of your wisdom. Allow him insight into the beautiful reality that you have given him another road, a higher road, that he can travel in each and every instance where someone desires to tear him down. Lord, you have given him the tools, so show him how to guard his heart with vigilance and to step out in bravery. It is in these moments that he can actively choose to live out his life in a worthy manner, honoring you with his speech and his actions. Moment by moment, Spirit, remind him that he has been called higher and deeper than cutting words and "manly" power trips. He has been called to kindness, where more power is found than in any snarky retort ever muttered by the lips of the ensnared. Release in him the freedom that can be felt in acknowledging this truth. God you are so good! May we always remember how much more worth is found in you than any of the emptiness this world has to offer us!

For your glory God!

Amen

If you desire to, here is Chapter 4. Let me know if you feel amped after you let the Spirit settle it in your heart, because I know I sure did.

Proverbs 4 (NIV)

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. 2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. 3 For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. 4 Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom. Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding. 8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. 9 She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.”

10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. 14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. 16 For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. 17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 24 Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Give careful thought to the[c] paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

And in the Amplified to really just hit it home:

Hear, my sons, the instruction of a father, and pay attention in order to gain and to know intelligent discernment, comprehension, and interpretation [of spiritual matters].

2 For I give you good doctrine [what is to be received]; do not forsake my teaching.

3 When I [Solomon] was a son with my father [David], tender and the only son in the sight of my mother [Bathsheba],

4 He taught me and said to me, Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live.

5 Get skillful and godly Wisdom, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation); do not forget and do not turn back from the words of my mouth.

6 Forsake not [Wisdom], and she will keep, defend, and protect you; love her, and she will guard you.

7 The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation).

8 Prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote you; she will bring you to honor when you embrace her.

9 She shall give to your head a wreath of gracefulness; a crown of beauty and glory will she deliver to you.

10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life shall be many.

11 I have taught you in the way of skillful and godly Wisdom [which is comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God]; I have led you in paths of uprightness.

12 When you walk, your steps shall not be hampered [your path will be clear and open]; and when you run, you shall not stumble.

13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

15 Avoid it, do not go on it; turn from it and pass on.

16 For they cannot sleep unless they have caused trouble or vexation; their sleep is taken away unless they have caused someone to fall.

17 For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

18 But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared].

19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.

20 My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.

21 Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.

22 For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.

23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.

24 Put away from you false and dishonest speech, and willful and contrary talk put far from you.

25 Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.

26 Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.

27 Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil.

Day 12: A Worthy Heart

20140225-173135.jpg "So no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s." -Colossians 3:23, The Voice

Laura's post yesterday spoke to me so much so that as I have been immersed in the classroom today in lesson plans and grading, and my husband spent his own time on the opposite side of a classroom, learning, I have found myself meditating on how we can be living a life worthy of His calling.

I believe it starts with understanding we are not slaves to man. All that matters to God is that we are living a life worthy of Him--serving Him as our true Master and working from our heart every moment of every day.

For that reason, I want to piggyback on yesterday's post and ask us all to simply mediate on the God-breathed word: "Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work." -Colossians 3:23, The Messsage

May you feel encouraged by Christ today in all that you do! -Caitlin

Lord,

As we strive to live a life worthy of You, I simply ask that we would earnestly seek you. I lift up my husband today in a simple prayer: that whatever he does Lord--wherever You call him--he would work at it with all his heart to please You and not man. I know that part of his deepest need is to be respected. I ask that he would feel that at home and at work, but in a way that honors You. Instead of seeking a power trip at work or school or home--may he seek Your honor God. May his heart be pulled towards a life worthy of Your calling so that his heart is completely won over to do your work. Help my husband today and in the days to come to see that he is not a slave to man, but instead serves You and You alone. I pray that his heart would honor you in all that he does, speaks, and feels. Capture his heart for you Lord, so that his life can be full and well in You. In your Son's most holy name,

Amen.

Day 11: What Your Life Looks Like

Image-1 "As a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you: Walk as Jesus walked. Live a life that is worthy of the calling he has graciously extended to you." Ephesians 4:1-The Voice

A reality about life and God that I will never understand is that not all will spend eternity in glory with the Lord. There are so many aspects of this that I could get into and begin to ask questions about but that would get me way off the topic at hand... the one on my heart. The fact of the matter is, as we have discussed earlier in this journey, God orchestrated quite a lot to get each of us to this place where we love and worship Him. The clincher is that the degree of which we worship is completely dependent upon us. How much of ourselves that we give to the Lord is our choice, as Caitlin showed us yesterday. But regardless of what and how much we choose to worship the God of the universe, one fact still remains: we have been called. He has anointed us. He has anointed him.  He has placed a seal on my husband, that he may be set apart in this world to do His good work. If your husband is not yet saved, he has still been chosen in that God has placed you very purposefully in his life... To be his help-mate; to show him Jesus. So whether his journey with the Lord has already begun or has yet to, God is at work and desires for all of our lives to be set apart. The way his life, my life, and your life, look to the outsider is each of our own decisions. God will not do the worshiping for us. If he only desired to worship Himself He wouldn't have needed to create us in the first place.

So today, as you pray over him and over yourself, keep this passage in your mind and on your heart: "In the light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk - better yet, run! - on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline - not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences." Ephesians 4:1-3 The Message

-Laura

Father,

We both need you so desperately, whether we choose to recognize that or not. Lord I will never understand why you choose some and not others but I am humbled that you have chosen me and that you have chosen my husband. Lord, let our lives be a worthy sacrifice to you. Father, show him when his life is beginning to go down the path that leads nowhere; when it's beginning to look just like everyone else's. Lord, while I thank you for the tools you've given us in our western Christianity, I pray that his faith, and mine as well, would not depend on jumping from one bible study or small group to another, but that it would be a steady pouring out of ourselves to you. Lord, show him how to display the truth of your character through the way he works out his faith in this life. Spirit, nudge him in the moments when you know a difference in attitude or a little extenstion of grace could reveal your heart through his actions or words. And most of all, Father, deeply implant in his heart and mind the magnitude of the calling you have placed on him. That he is not just another face in a sea of believers but that you have set him apart, and because of that his life aught to look different. As I pray this Lord, I confess the ways that I have not been living in a worthy manner too. Please right me where I am wrong, take my hand and show me how. You are worthy, Jesus, and it's in your name I pray these things. Amen.

Day 9: Awaken Pure Joy In You

Image "And David danced before the Lord with all his might, clad in a linen ephod." 2 Samuel 6:14

Let me just get this out of the way right off the bat: I'm not about to suggest we pray that our husbands dance around in ephods. At least not in front of any other eyes than our own. But I do think we should pray that they would  unashamedly dance. Allow me to elaborate.

Today I found myself listening to some old music that T and I used to enjoy in our youthful courtship days, making silly videos on my so cool macbook, lip-syncing ourselves silly. I like thinking on those memories, how it felt being so young and free of the weight of worry and adulthood and responsibilities. I would not, however, care to go back to that woman, nor would I want T to go back to that man. With trials and hardship comes wisdom and I would take that over macbook lip-sync videos any day.

In reading about David today, I am drawn to the above verse. David had recently conquered Jerusalem,  defeated the Philistines and was now transporting the Ark of the Lord (talk about a high pressure task). Take a minute and think of David in real-life terms, not just a person in a book. He was real; his emotions, levels of stress, and inability to handle said stress well were just like ours are. And yet he, "danced before the Lord with all his might."

Wives, our husbands carry so much in leading, providing, caring and loving. Today, let's pray that the Lord would wake within them and allow them to dance before Him in praise of all He is, all He has done and all He has promised.

Laura

Father in Heaven,

You have placed quite a task before this man, and you have done so knowing full well that He is capable of not only accomplishing it but giving you glory at the same time. Lord, you have placed so much joy inside of us in giving us the Holy Spirit. Please awaken that joy in him. Even in the most stressful of days, let loose the freedom inside of him to sing and dance for you, for himself and just for the pure joy of it. Thank you, that even in the most stressful or uncertain of times, you have not taken your joy from him. You know the plans that you have for him, to prosper him and give him a hope and future, so free him of the chains of worry and show him how to dance. Give him a heart like David, that is unashamed of the joy bursting inside of him because of you. Rid him of the desire to "cover up" with the stereotypes of this world and to vulnerably and unabashedly love you and in turn love me, our family and those around us better. It's in your worthy Name I pray. Amen.

P.S. I highly recommend doing a little dancing of your own to the song "Wake" by Hillsong Young & Free. You can find it on Spotify.

Day 6: Living God's Way

20140219-112412.jpg "But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard--things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely."

-Galatians 5:22-23, The Message

My husband is studying to be a worship minister, and in the mean time working part time as the worship minister for a church. I never saw myself as a minister's wife and being able to pastor those in the church and ministering to others. Since the day my husband has decided to obey God's call to ministry, I have been terrified. What if don't measure up? What if can't do this?

Really--I've been asking the wrong questions. I should be asking God to set a fire in my heart and soul to not only hear His call, but to boldly walk alongside my husband in his profession. Just because he is being called to be a minister doesn't necessarily mean it's my calling. Instead, my calling is to be his wife and walk alongside him.

I may never feel qualified to pastor someone by way of a church minister definition--but my husband does. When I became his wife the day we were married, I had no idea where God would lead us, and I was terrified. But I did know He would lead us. And even today--in whatever calling and capacity God asks--I don't know about you, but I am still terrified.

But God equips us for whatever path He lays in front of us and we choose. To combat the fear I believe we need passion. Something so deep in our soul that begs us to cry our for a God who loves us and guides us.

Cultivating that passion comes with prayer and in boldly telling God we want more of Him in our lives and our marriage. Over the years, I have learned that being a wife is more about my husband than it is about myself. This partnership works only if we selflessly offer Grace to our spouse and care more about their well-being and needs than our own. It's not easy-- giving up ourselves never is-- but it is so worth it.

Today wives, I encourage you to ask God to set a fire to your husband's soul--ask Christ to cultivate a passion for His love so that our husbands may walk through life with affection, exuberance, serenity, commitment, compassion, conviction , wisdom, and holiness. For when they do, they will be leading us along and passionately showing us how God is near.

-Caitlin

Holy God, Today I come before you unsure of where you are taking me but boldly asking you to lead. As you have so perfectly placed me in my husband's life, use this journey of marriage to equip me to walk alongside him in the way he feels called. I praise you for your love and goodness, and I come before you today lifting up my husband. As he follows your guidance, set a passion and fire in his soul so that he will seek nothing and no one but You, Lord. I pray that as new days come--both good and bad--that he would desire more of you Lord. So much of you that he cannot contain nor control his passion for you allowing it to overflow into his life. Today, Holy One, fill him with the fruits of your spirit. May he show exuberance for life, compassion, and commitment in all that he does. Cultivate such a passion in him that it would overflow into our marriage and his calling so he may lead me with Your Spirit. I ask that these spiritual fruits manifest during this prayerful journey so that my husband may live out a full & well life that speaks honorably and passionately of You. In your most Holy name, Amen

Day 5: A Spirit Of Unity

Image-1 (1) "Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself, but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." Romans 15:2-7

It's a well known fact that, for nearly everyone, there are certain people who we just don't get along with. (If you are one can argue that this is not true of you, well, then you must be Jesus. We all know that's not possible so you must be lying to yourself and to me.) One of the bajillion reasons why Christ is so beautiful is that He continues to give us such an example of this, every single day. The Prince of Peace, patiently showing us how we ought to bear with one another, not for our sake but for theirs, that HE may be glorified. Today, let's pray for our husbands to know the encouragement and endurance supplied to them that they are able to accept those in their lives that they can't accept on their own strength. Whether they are in the church or in the world, that the peace that comes from Christ would allow them to live in harmony with others for the glory of God.

Laura

Prince of Peace,

I sit here in such humility at the thought of Your acceptance. Neither myself, my husband or any others who walk this earth are deserving of it and yet You gave it to us that day on the cross and every single day thereafter. Thank You. Father, thank You for loving him enough to show him how to accept others. Thank You for not just telling him to do so without guidance or instruction but for tangibly showing him how and why he can do it. That yes, there will always be those who challenge unity and peace but that your encouragement and endurance is supplied in excess daily. Touch his heart in those moments when pride is setting in and gently guide him back to Your way and Your truth. Allow those around him to see Your peace in him, that they would know there is something uniquely different about his spirit... about his life... about his aim. Let love overflow, not for his own gain but for the benefit of those who desperately need it, that YOU would be glorified. That your love would be recognized in their life, maybe even for the first time. Lord, in your mercy let lives be won by the way his life is lived. Fill him with joy and peace as he trusts in You, so that he may overflow with hope by Your power, Holy Spirit. In and through and for your mighty name, Jesus! Amen. (Pieces of this prayer taken from Romans 15. Definitely take a peek at the whole chapter and let it come alive in your prayer.) 

Day 4: Full & Well

20140217-120422.jpg "Good friend, don't forget all I've taught you; take heart to my commands. They'll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well.

Don't lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. Earn a reputation for living well in God's eyes and the eyes of the people.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and best. your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving corrections. It's the child he loves that God corrects; a father's delight in behind all this."

-Proverbs 3:1-17, The Message

 

Today--God truly spoke to me when I opened my Bible. THIS, friends, is what He wants us to hear.

I often forget how much He wants us to live a long life both full and well. Lately, my life seems too full--of things that are chaotic and everywhere at once.  Not full of Love and Loyalty.

I feel this verse speaking to my heart today, reminding me to slow down and breathe and to lift up my husband. To pray that he would listen for God's voice and run to Him because if he is Honor God in his everyday moments, it will remind me to slow down and to find the right kind of fullness. As these words speak to you today, may I encourage to lift them up? Pray His Word thoroughly so that our husbands will run to Him and not only find that desperately beautiful and full life He promises, but live His commands so that they may take lead and encourage not only us but those around them.

-Caitlin

Creator God, I thank you for a new day in you, and for the chance to feel not only your love but the love of my husband. Thank you for hearing my prayers and for instilling such a heart of Christ in this man you have paired me with. I lift up your words so that You may move today. Be in him and be in me as we obediently walk together. I pray that today my husband will not forget your teaching, but keep your commands in his heart. Prolong my love's life for many years so that he may bring You prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave him; bind them to his neck, and write them on the tablet of his heart. May he will win Your favor and become a good name in your eyes and in the eyes of man. I continue to lift him up to you, Lord, and ask that he would whole heartily trust in You with all of his heart, and lean not on his own understanding. In all of his ways, may my husband acknowledge You .  I ask that you make his paths straight. May he not be wise in his own eyes, but instead fear you and shun evil . I ask that this bring health to his body and nourishment to his bones. May today he honor you, God, with all of our wealth, with the firstfruits of all of our crops, so that our barns will be filled to overflowing, and our vats brim over with new. Above all Lord, I ask that my husband not despise your discipline nor resent your rebuke but instead remind him that it is in LOVE that the discipline comes. May he begin to see how much You delight in him as a your Son. In your precious Son's name I pray,

Amen.

-Prayer adapted from Proverbs 3:1-12, NIV

 

Day 3: Trust In The One Who Answers

Image-1 "I don't fear; I'm confident that help will come to the one anointed by the Eternal: Heaven will respond to his plea; His mighty right hand will win the battle. Many put their trust in chariots, others in horses, but we place our trust in the name of the Eternal One, our True God. Soon our enemies will collapse and fall, never to return home; all the while we will rise and stand firm." (Psalm 20: 6-8)

In an uncertain time, in an uncertain world, we need a God that will answer. We need to know why we choose to place our trust high above the things of this earth. There are millions of distractions daily, tiny little greedy tentacles of a scaly, slimy enemy, vying for our attention. I once heard that the enemy isn't necessarily aiming to turn us 180 degrees away from God, but even just one degree. Just enough to eventually get us off track and our eyes far from Heaven. So today let's pray for our husbands to look intently towards the Lord. To have strength to turn their backs, even if just for today, from the pull of the temporary... the "chariots" and "horses" of our day. That their focus and the depth of their heart could be deeply rooted on the Eternal One. So that, even at the end of today, they will be able to stand firm amongst a sea of souls who have chosen the things that will never love them back.

Be blessed today, wives, for you are so deeply loved by your King.

Laura

Eternal One, Your beauty is matchless. There is not one thing in this entire world that compares to even a glimpse of you. How gracious and loving you are to allow me to know and love you, even in my ever present state of sin. Thank you for promising to listen to my prayers. Thank you for giving me the gift of confidence in your answering. Lord, I carry him to You, knowing that Your love for him far outweighs the love in my heart for him. I pray that You would bring contentment to his heart, allowing him the freedom and desire to turn his back on the things that draw him to this temporary world. Spirit, fill his entire being with such peace and satisfaction in You and all that You have given him that he feels no need for the idols of this place. Open his eyes to all that You are, allowing him to go forward in this day with the confidence that his God is the one true God who tenderly listens to him and fiercely moves for him. God, You are unbelievably good. Please remove the scales from both of our eyes today so that we may see a bit more of who you truly are. We love you, and so long to love you even more. Show us how, Lord Jesus. It's in Your mighty name I pray. Amen.

And Friends Are Friends Forever

As I prepare to write my thoughts for the last few days, this classic Michael W. Smith song is playing in my head... and I have to say it's not the greatest. No offense to Michael but that's one of those songs where you never really knew what he was trying to say but the words were mercilessly trapped in your brain, unwilling to leave. Thankfully, I have not been pondering the meaning behind these words, but rather one single word and all that it entails.

Friends.

There's the show, which let's face it, might be one of the best shows ever. (I know many will argue this, but honestly, you will get no where with me. I've seen every episode, several times... which may be why I, at various times, have felt like I have few friends. They all know I spend my time watching a decade-old show over and over and over. I think my husband sometimes doesn't want to be my friend when he sees me take the DVDs out again.)

There's the memories of times-past. Childhood friends. High school friends. College friends. Work friends.

There's mommy friends. Church friends. Neighborhood friends. The ever-touchy and ever-changing couple friends (one we have only nailed twice. This is a touchy subject in our home.)

My trouble is that I find it ridiculously difficult to really find a friend. *To my dear friends (who are mostly far, and some near) please know that I am about to explain why I run into this feeling time and time again and that it has nothing to do with the amount of how much I love you and know that you love me.* I have this thing, that I've decided is actually a huge act of God's grace but at times I think it's so inconvenient. I can't remember an exceptionally large amount of my past. I remember the big things, but everything other than those large, monumental moments looks a lot like what I see when I take my glasses off... only even more blurry and maybe even just straight up dark. (I am pretty blind, FYI... -4.25 or something like that.) So my frustration is that I can see the general idea, like:

Elementary school was awesome, I had lots of friends. I got teased a lot by boys though. I remember that. And that's when I learned what it felt like to feel fat. To recognize that something about my little girl body was not what it should be to other people. That part I didn't like.

High School was a whole lot of crazy. I was popular (in my mind anyways. I had a lot of friends. I thought people liked me.) I could never get that one guy to like me though... which shot right back to my life lesson from elementary school-I'm too fat. Then one day I became not-popular. I could count the number of real friends I had on one hand. Then I came to Christ and youth group proved that I could have friends again and people could love me and care for me. "Friendship" had regained it's value.

College (age... couldn't finish) was when I learned about thick and thin friends... the kind who really stick with you. Through terrible bouts of disease. Through traveling the world. Through it all, really.

Army life was when it all came crashing down. Maybe it was moving across the country and starting over in a new place. Maybe it's being in a transient environment. Maybe it was just me; maybe I had given up on reaching out and giving my all to the women around me, regardless of how they responded. I don't find it coincidental though that through this relentlessly tiring experience I have found a couple of friends that will stick. For forever, I hope.

I was once told, by a very wise woman, that there are three kinds of friends:

  1. Friends for a reason
  2. Friends for a season
  3. Friends for a lifetime

I think of this often and can say that this is very true. I am thankful for all three of these friends, for they all serve a purpose in the ultimate goal in my life: to bring Him glory. But can I just be honest and ask a question?

Does anyone else find it to be one of the loneliest places, as an adult, trying to find a friend? Someone who just wants to know you.

There are thousands of people all around us everyday and yet we can walk around not really being known. And how much fuller can our lives feel to just know that there is that friend who knows you - like really really knows you- and chooses to keep calling, keep hanging, keep growing with you...

The problem is I have this. I have these women in my life. They may not be near to me geographically but they couldn't be closer in my heart and mind. Yet time and time again the voice in my head reminds me of how lonely I feel. In those moments of weakness I choose to turn my face away from Truth... From what He has commanded me to do; fix my eyes on what is true, pure, holy, excellent, praiseworthy. And let me tell you, these women, these friendships, are praiseworthy. So as I've pondered this word "friends" the past two days, I've come to realize that I have as many friends as I choose to have. Plain and simple. It was my choice to focus my eyes on the ones who didn't reciprocate. Who were too busy. Who already had a best friend (that's a touchy one for me). Each and every one of those choices brought me here, to this place. I am a very loved woman walking around feeling very unloved all because I chose that for myself.

And so this I have been robbed of these last three years here in Texas. How many friendships could have blossomed had I been brave enough to offer myself to them. Been brave enough to try and try and be ok if it didn't work out. Trying to make friends as an adult reminds me an awful lot of what it felt like to have a crush in high school. I thought I was free of that dreadful feeling when I married my dude. But then again, my memory of those years is quite hazy.

So I guess I challenge you, as I am challenging myself in this new chapter of life, to be brave. Put yourself out there. Don't be a spectator. I've always felt the most comfortable just watching... but now I look back at my life like a movie and feel like I'm watching a whole lot of life pass by with a lot of missed opportunities. And I also challenge you, young and old, to be brave enough to walk away. If a person doesn't see how special you are, how very much you have to offer them, then you must simply turn and walk away. Because I'm pretty certain once you turn you just might find someone who will see and love and know all of those things about you and be so thankful they do.

*Parents of school-age kids: I challenge you to teach your children to be brave in this area too. In a world where kids are so horribly awful to one another, they need to be armed with bravery to know and love themselves so others can know and love them too. And teach them to open their eyes to everyone around them. For every popular girl or boy who's affection they are dying for there are five great kids who will truly appreciate them for who they are. This is a lesson I wish I had learned when I was young.

So let's all be friends, ok?