The Perfect Example and Role Model

grandma with grandma

To the woman who has had the biggest influence in my life. Our time with this amazing woman is short as she longs to be with the love of her life. I love you Grandma! I wish the distance wasn’t so far.

They say actions speak louder than words. I have seen the truth of this in my grandma. I treasure the moments we spent talking about life. And I value the example that she walked out right before my eyes. I learned so much through her actions, even more than I learned from our talks.

I have never been the type that needed to be the center of attention. I am content to just be present and observe. I enjoy watching as much as others enjoy the attention. So, with my grandma, I watched.

I watched her welcome everyone into her home. She had a special way of making everyone feel that they were part of the family.

I watched her treat people with dignity and respect, regardless of how they treated her or others.

I watched her respond to ugliness with grace and kindness.

I watched her be strength at a grandchild’s funeral. Then I watched as she wept with grief when she thought others had gone.

I watched her take care of hurting people.

I watched her love the unloveable.

I watched her as she selflessly loved her husband.

I watched as she was adored and loved by him.

I watched how her eyes lit up with joy as she danced in his arms.

I watched as she made sure everyone around was taken care of.

I watched as she served others without complaining.

I watched as she patiently explained the titiya recipe over and over and over to me until I finally got it.

I watched as she made more food than necessary so that when everyone left, they left with full stomachs, full hands and full hearts.

I watched how she treated her husband, and I knew that was the type of marriage I wanted one day.

I watched how she spoke to others, always with kindness, compassion, and gentle correction when needed.

I watched her when she lost her own son. She grieved. Yet, she never let bitterness consume her.

I watched her exude great strength. Many think that strength is shown with bold, boisterous gestures and loud, aggressive comments. But true strength is also a quiet, gentle-giant. It doesn’t bend or buckle under pressure. Instead, it stands firm against the storms of life. It doesn’t destroy others; it protects them.

I watched her for many years, even from afar.

I have always known that if I could be like any person on the face of the earth, she is the one I want to be like.

I want to live my life so full of love and so full of life that anyone watching me is affected.

I hope I can pass on these same traits to my children and my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren.

I love you, Grandma!

Wife Class 101: Shhh… (the conversation no one wants to have)

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Welcome to the conclusion of our Wife Class 101 series! This post comes later than I planned, but husband has been out of town, things come up and sometimes priorities don’t always line up with my to-do list.  If you have missed the previous “classes” you can go back here.

What better way to end the series than with the #1 requested topic. That’s right, Ladies, we’re going to discuss SEX! There are lots of areas we could address but there seems to be a theme among the questions/requests. So, let’s talk about it. Here are some of the topics/questions asked: What if I’m not in the mood? I feel used, not loved. Why isn’t it more like the movies? I don’t feel spiritually connected during sex. There are more, but I will soon run out of space.

From what I’m hearing, it appears the common theme is dissatisfaction or disappointment. I want to address our part first. I would dare to say every one of us has watched chick flicks at some point in our life. We love the feel-good emotions we walk away with at the end of the movie. We want the love, passion, and crazy desire that we see on the screen. Hollywood has done an excellent job of ruining the sexual relationship for many couples. You see, the problem is not that our husbands are incapable of romancing us, but that we have set our expectations at an impossible level. The bar is so high when it is set to a fictional, scripted, unrealistic romance that we guarantee our husband’s failure. Unlike the movies, most men do not intuitively just know exactly what you need when you need it. Nor can they read your mind. It is unfair for us to expect that our husbands should just know us so well that they “just know.” How will they know if you’ve never told them? And, yes, sometimes you have to keep telling them. Are you capable of remembering every little detail ever told to you just once over the entirety of your life? Remember, movies are fictional and not real life! Let’s stop comparing our lives to those we see on the big screens. Much of our frustration and disappointment (in life, as well) are due to unmet expectations. When our expectations are not realistic, it’s no wonder we feel frustrated with our husbands.

I am a believer in the Five Love Languages. If you haven’t taken the test or read the book, I highly recommend that you do. It would also be great if your husband was willing to take it, as well. We all have different ways that we give and receive love. If you find yourself complaining that you don’t feel loved, yet your husband is frustrated because he’s trying, chances are you both have different love languages.

So… what about when “you’re not in the mood?” Two things here. First, sex is an important part of your relationship. It is very important to your husband. Men are more physical while we are more emotional. That doesn’t mean they do not have emotions. But sex and love go hand in hand for them. Men and women are just created differently. First Corinthians 7 talks about the husband/wife relationship. Wives, when you vowed to give yourself self entirely to your husband and your marriage, that included sex. You didn’t just vow to give 100% in other areas but 75% to your sexual relationship. Second, while it’s true you might not be in the mood, it’s also true that you could get in the mood. This is another reason that good communication is so important in your relationship. What do you need from your husband? What do you need to be in the mood? A little time alone? Help with some of the house chores? Being taken out to dinner instead of cooking? A LOOOOONNNNG hot bath? The daily chores of life can be exhausting. Caring for children all day can be exhausting. A stressful job can be exhausting. But putting your husband and your sexual relationship last is exhausting on your marriage.

This is the best analogy I have heard on this topic. Think about holidays and parties. We have great feasts. It’s exciting because it’s not food you eat every day. Sometimes it’s so good you stuff yourself like crazy. But it’s unrealistic to expect to eat like that every meal. The majority of your meals are satisfying, filling and nutritious. And sometimes you just need a snack. Sex is the same way. Sometimes it’s mind-blowing, over-the-top, crazy, circus-style sex! It’s been planned out, thoughtfully put together, romance has built up anticipation all day or over days. It leaves you thinking, “Wow! That was amazing, I can’t believe we just did that!” However, the majority of your relationship will be satisfying and fulfilling. There is a connection. You are satisfied and loved. And sometimes, you or your husband just needs a snack. You know what I’m talking about. It doesn’t require bells and whistles (or feathers and pasties). It’s just a “snack.”

Let’s focus on how we can best serve, love and fulfill our husbands’ needs. When both the husband and wife focus on fulfilling the needs of their spouse, both the husband’s and wife’s needs are met. But if we only focus on our own needs, everyone loses. Ladies, I have confidence in  you. I believe that you can be the best wife for your husband. I believe you can be the Godly wife he desires. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married 5 years or 50 years- great marriages require effort.

I hope you have enjoyed this series. If you have other questions or topics  you would like to read about, please contact me! You can leave a comment, find me on Facebook here, on Instagram, Twitter and Periscope @morgencarpenter.

I am not a marriage expert or therapist, just a woman on a journey to finding God’s best for my marriage. In doing so, I am learning how to be the best wife for my husband. If your marriage is in crisis, please consult a professional. 

Wife Class 101: We All Need Help Sometimes

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Welcome back to class! I have loved the feedback I’ve received so far. This has been a fun little series and I am so excited for the relationship series Jeremy and I start teaching next week! If this if your first time here, I would encourage you to go back and read previous posts for our Wife Class 101. You can find them here.

WARNING: This post gets extremely personal! But this blog is about real women with real lives. And this is my real life story. It’s a little heavier than usual, but the next post is lighter- I PROMISE!

I have a few close friends that are more meaningful than just “friends I can share anything with.” These are the types of friends that will also tell me what I need to hear, not just what I want to hear. They are willing to call me out, set me straight, and love me through my stupid moments. I respect these women so much because of their boldness, compassion, wisdom, and love.  Hopefully, you have a friend, or friends, that do this for you. It was because of one of these friends that I learned I needed help, real help. Girlfriends are great and they can often help us work through average problems. But if we were all honest, there are situations that come up when we need real help. Help that goes beyond even the wisest of friends.

Several years ago, Jeremy and I hit a rough spot in our marriage. Marriage has its ups and downs, but this was a different kind of “down.” This was a make or break point for us. Things that we should have dealt with, or didn’t know how to properly deal with, got swept under the rug for years. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Unfortunately, with time these insignificant issues snowballed into massive conflict between us. On the outside, we were a happily married couple with adorable children. We were on the pastoral staff at our church, helping people in our church and community. We were experts at putting on a happy face. On the outside, everything appeared to be great. But on the inside, our marriage was another story. Little parts of our relationship had been neglected, which became the foundation for the resentment, animosity and hatred that crept into our marriage.

I felt I had no one to turn to. I was convinced that even my close friends wouldn’t understand. I couldn’t turn to the pastoral staff because I was sure I already know what they would say and how they would respond. I had seen how it was handled with other couples. So I kept it to myself. The darkness grew and grew. Before I knew it, I had slipped into a depression I’ve never experienced before. Well, I didn’t really slip, I walked willingly into it! I allowed my thoughts to be consumed with how much Jeremy didn’t love me, didn’t care and how much I disliked him. I cried myself to sleep on a regular basis. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. I spent a lot of time imagining my life if I left him. I even entertained the idea of suicide just so he would hurt as much as I did. I knew I needed help.

I went to one woman that I felt I could really trust. She listened with such sweet composure. She didn’t freak out on me. She didn’t tell me I was going crazy. She simply told me I needed help- the kind of help that goes beyond the advice of even good friends. This was not something I could do alone, obviously. Then she explained to me why it was important to have people in our lives for situations like this. She helped me to see the value of getting outside help. Too many people view counseling or therapy in a negative light- as if it is only for the mentally ill. Sometimes we just need that outside person, who has no connections to either party. Before all of this, and now long after, I readily turn to God to help me through life’s bumps in the road. But at that time, I was even mad at God. I was mad that Jeremy’s calling to help people was more of a priority in his life than me. I was mad at God for all kinds of things.

So, long story short, I listened to this wise woman. I got the help I needed. Through that process, I learned a lot about myself, about how to work through this situation, how to get to the place in our marriage I wanted us to be, how to forgive and how to restore trust. Jeremy and I had a series of healing conversations. It didn’t happen overnight; it took time. But we chose to work the process to get us to a healthy place. Now, we are strong. We are the dynamic duo! I love him and he is my best friend! We’ve come a long way, baby!

Jeremy and I choose to live very transparent lives. We have found that there are many people experiencing life situations that we have gone through and overcome. We understand that some things are hard to admit or seek help. But more importantly, we have found that people want real solutions without being judged. That was what I had wanted.

Luke 8:17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.

Eventually, what is going on inside your heart finds its way out. Wives, you are the only one that can nurture and protect the condition of your heart. It is important that you take the care necessary to guard your heart. The things in your heart WILL show up in your marriage.

What things have you hidden in your heart that are toxic? Toxic to you, to your relationships? Counseling is not often talked about. Or if it is, it is usually portrayed in a negative light. Sometimes people think it is a last resort. As I talk with women of all ages and all walks of life, I have learned that many of us do not enter marriage with all the life skills we will need for the entirety of our marriage. Many we learn along the way. And other times, we just need someone to help us learn. Our first response is usually to enlist the aid of our current friends. But chances are, they are in the same boat we are in. Do you have women in your life that you can learn from? Do you know women that have more life experience? These women are valuable assets, hold them dear! We can learn so much about being Godly wives from those who are successfully navigating the marriage maze.

The greatest couples I’ve know have all said at some point they needed outside help. For some, they went to mature, trustworthy friends. For others, they sought professional help. (And these are all couples that were living Godly lives and seemed to have it all together). There should be no guilt or shame for taking any measures necessary to keep our marriage successful. We all need help sometimes! Instead of flaunting how bad our lives seem all over social media, let’s be proactive in making our marriages amazing!

HOMEWORK: If you or your marriage needs help, it’s time to set aside pride. It’s time to utilize the resources available. Find women that you can learn from. The end goal is to make your marriage successful!

Up next: Shhh…(the conversation others are afraid to have)- This next post is going to be lots of FUN!!!!!

Wife Class 101: Pull Over, I’m Driving

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I am so glad you made it back for another Wife Class 101! These posts are intended to help you become the best wife to your husband. These are not finite rules, but principles that can help your marriage to flourish. There are some things you don’t understand about marriage until you are married. Many of these are based on requests, what we have learned during 10+ years of doing pre-marital counseling, and our own experiences. Often, these are topics I wish someone had told me. You can read previous classes here.

Early in our marriage, I would get so frustrated when Jeremy would drive in unfamiliar territory. One particular memory was driving around downtown Seattle. He didn’t have a clue where he was going, but he refused to ask for help. The more wrong turns he took, the more frustrated he got. The more frustrated he got, the more frustrated I became. How hard was it to just say he didn’t know where he was going and ask for help? Instead of being a patient wife, I blurted out, “Just pull over. I’m driving!” The irony is that I had no clue where we were or where I was going. But I did know which way was east and that would get us back on the freeway.

Just pull over. I’m driving!

What does this have to do with marriage? I’m glad you asked. Think of your marriage as a car. As wives, it is easy for us to become frustrated when our husbands don’t seem to have a clue where they are going. Maybe we know, maybe we don’t. God placed our husbands as the heads of our households. God placed them in the driver’s seat. It’s a big job! They are responsible for the direction our family goes on the roads of life. If they mess it up, they don’t have to answer to us (although we do a pretty good job of letting them have it!) but they get to answer to God for the decisions they made. Many times we think life would be easier if we were in control. We just want to kick them out of the driver’s seat and take over.

When we were first married, Jeremy was not great at leading our family. It’s ok, he will admit to this. I so badly wanted to take control, but the Holy Spirit kept whispering to me, “Let him try.” Believe me, God and I had MANY conversations about this! Not only did my husband have to learn to lead, but I had to learn to be led. I’m pretty headstrong and independent, so God had His work cut out with us!

Husbands don’t always get it right the first, second or even third time. Maybe some do, God bless your darling little heart. Sometimes our husbands make mistakes. How often do we get everything right on the first try? It is easy to give grace to ourselves yet be harsh on others. Maybe your husband needs to make a mistake in order to learn the right way to do it. Instead of waiting for our husbands to mess up, let’s be praying wives that are asking God to clearly show our husbands the way God wants them to go. This even applies if your husband is not a Christian. I met a lady who loved God with all her heart but her husband wanted nothing to do with Him. This lady chose to honor her husband and still let him lead his household. She never nagged him. She didn’t criticize him when he failed. She loved him, supported him, encouraged him, and PRAYED FOR HIM! She reminded him that she trusted him and believed he would make decisions that were best for their family.

Jeremy has come to me and said, “Babe, I’m sorry. I think I messed this one up. But I talked with God and I believe this is the direction we are to go.” Those words brought comfort and built my trust in him and our relationship. Sometimes I knew he was making a wrong turn. We would talk about the possible decisions (I’m a pro/con list maker) but I would tell him I trusted his judgment and I would let him make the final decision. Then I went back to God about it!

Wives, remember your husbands weren’t taught how to lead you when they were bachelors. Some may get it right away and others may need to learn along the way.This transformation doesn’t happen over night. Time is necessary. And, yes, you still get to have a say in your marriage and life. But if you want your husband to lead, you have to be led. When  you want to jerk the steering wheel away from him, stop, and just sit on your hands.

Be patient. Be loving. Be kind. Be gracious. Trust your husband. Trust God. Believe me, you will enjoy your marriage so much more when you allow your husband to be the husband. You will find a security, a calm, a peace that wouldn’t be there otherwise.

HOMEWORK: If this is an area you are struggling, over the next few days, take a step back and let your husband transform into the leader he wants to be. If this area is strong in your marriage, helps those wives that are struggling. We are all in this together. When marriages win, we all win!

Up next: We All Need Help Sometimes

Wife Class 101: The Collision of Two Worlds (Did I Marry a Barbarian?)

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Thank you for joining me again! If you missed the last post, you can read it here.

I have seen couples that have this euphoric honeymoon phase- sometimes it lasts 6 months, sometimes it lasts several years. But then reality starts to settle in and life isn’t as perfect as they thought it was.

When Jeremy and I were dating, I saw the barbaric signs but didn’t understand them. I thought the drinking from the kitchen faucet was because there were only 2 glasses in the apartment, which his roommate and I were using. But after we got married, suddenly he was driving me crazy with his wet towels on the floor or ON THE BED! He didn’t close the shower curtain after his shower. He loaded the dishwasher wrong. He didn’t seem to understand that you have to tri-fold the towels so they fit neatly in the cabinet. Why were their socks all over the room? He even put the toilet paper on the roller backwards! I had gotten to know his mother and she wasn’t a dolt, so what was wrong with him?!?!?!

I was convinced that my way of doing things was the obvious right way. It was how I was brought up. It was the way I had always done things. It was how my mother had done things. To be honest, I made a much bigger deal about these things than necessary. But I lacked understanding. I didn’t understand how he had been brought up. I didn’t understand why some things just didn’t bother him. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t see that my way was the better way.

When we get married, it is the collision of two worlds. We each bring our own set of beliefs, how we were raised, how we do things, ideas about life and even marriage. He had his way of doing things and you had your way. The reason it is annoying now, is because you live with him everyday. Of course there is going to be friction! You can fight with your husband or you can try to understand him. There are still things that Jeremy does that could drive me crazy if I allowed it. But now I see that it is not a big deal to him. And in the grand scheme of life, it is not really that important. Sometimes the things that drive us batty about our spouse are simply different from how we would do it.

I started asking myself questions before I would let something that was a 2 escalate to a 10.

  1. If I choose this battle, will it improve my marriage?
  2. If I choose this battle, will it change our destiny?
  3. If I choose this battle, will it change me/him or will it slowly crush my/his spirit?

As wives, it is our responsibility to encourage and cheer on our husbands. It is NOT our responsibility to nag or mother them. They want a wife. They want to come home to that sexy lady they married, who is loving, fun, and makes him feel like a man. They don’t want to come home and feel like a child getting grounded. Your husband doesn’t need a second mother; he wants a wife.

If you still can’t just let it go, then it’s time to talk. Have a conversation, filled with GRACE and TRUTH, about how you feel. And find out what makes him tick. He is your husband, your best friend, your partner in crime and partner in life. He spent 20+ years learning his way of life. He needs time to figure out how to be married. And you need time to figure out how to be married. What works for the two of you? Maybe his way of folding towels works better for the closet space you have. Being open to each other brings harmony to your home.

These may seem a trifle thing, but imagine years of frustration. Small things pile up until they have become so big that one of you can’t take it anymore. The usual course I’ve seen is this: wifey doesn’t like how hubby does things. So she nags him, and nags him, and nags some more. Eventually, hubby tunes her out and ignores her. Now wifey feels neglected and unloved because hubby doesn’t care about her feelings. Both start wondering what life would be like with someone else. Do you see how this can be detrimental to your relationship?

HOMEWORK: For the next few days, STOP getting upset over meaningless things. Ask yourself if it really matters. Stop yourself when you want to nag him, instead tell him how much you appreciate him.

Up Next: “Pull over, I’m driving”

Wife Class 101: I’m All In!

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I have heard people describe marriage as 50/50. I’ve also heard it is “give and take.” And my least favorite that I’ve heard people describe it as a compromise. I disagree on all three accounts! Marriage could be 50/50, “give and take”, or compromise. But I doubt you would find your marriage to be truly fulfilling.

Your husband was not designed to complete you. It sounds very romantic, but if you look at it realistically, that is garbage. You are designed to compliment each other. We are not missing pieces of each other. If we are broken, there is only one true Healer. If we are not whole, there is only one that can complete us. God did not intend for our spouse to take his place. Yet, so often as wives, we want our husbands to perform roles that only God is capable of performing. Yes, our husbands can be our stability and support, encouraging us to be complete in Christ. But ultimately, our relationship with our Creator is our responsibility.

Instead of marriage being 50/50, I believe it is 100/100. When we said our vows, we told our husbands that we would commit to being a loving, faithful wife. We would give all that we are and all that we have to our husband and our family. Many  women want their husband to fulfill this vow, yet act as if it does not apply to them. Let’s be honest- it is selfish of us to give anything less than 100% to our spouse. Why does it seem so easy for some to simply divorce their spouse? Chances are, they were not all in. Even if they were giving 90%, they were still 10% one foot out the door.

My husband and I decided we would stop focusing on our unmet needs and focus on meeting each others needs instead. IT REVOLUTIONIZED OUR MARRIAGE!!!! Marriages struggle when either spouse feels their needs are not being met. Think about this: what if you gave 100% to your marriage and you focused on meeting the needs of your husband instead of whining about him not meeting your needs? Was your first thought, “Ugh, that sounds miserable”? Even if your husband is incredibly selfish, if you are constantly meeting his needs- emotionally, mentally, and physically- he doesn’t have to worry about whether or not you can/will but instead he has the freedom to focus on meeting your needs.

The idea of marriage being “give and take” (at least from my perspective) means someone wins and someone loses. Marriage should never be win/lose. We are a team. We are partners. The goal should be win/win. But if one is giving and one is taking, both actually lose. When one spouse feels they are losing in marriage, the marriage suffers.

Compromise can be tricky. It can lead to lose/lose in marriage if we aren’t careful. When done right, compromise can leave both people feeling heard, valued and reach an agreement about situations. For instance, I want a duck. My husband is adamant that we do not need a duck. Of course, we don’t NEED a duck. I just want one! Through several  conversations, we came to the agreement that the next house we buy, we want to be outside of city limits and have some property to it. That would be a better environment for me to have a duck. The compromise is that I am not getting a duck at the moment, but when we find the house/property we are looking for I could get a duck at that time. Compromise should not be used as means for one of you to always get your way.

Proverbs 31:10-12 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Does your husband’s heart safely trust you? Can he be vulnerable with you, knowing you won’t abuse it selfishly? Do you purposefully do him good instead of evil (or harm, or hurt, or break his spirit)?

HOMEWORK: Over the next few days, put your spouse’s needs above your own. If you haven’t been 100% in your marriage, make the commitment to give yourself 100% to you husband.

Up next: The Collision of Two Worlds (Did I Marry a Barbarian?)

Wife Class 101: Is It Really Happily Ever After?

wedding dressThe engagement and wedding planning process has always intrigued me. I have heard many stores, seen a bazillion pictures, read numerous tales and witnessed some of today’s elaborate, over-the-top proposals. Then after months (and even years) of planning, prepping and stressing, the “magical” day is here. Hopefully everything goes off without a hitch. But normally something does not go exactly as planned. Some small adjustment is made and the day marches forward. The Big Day is magical. It is fantasized. It is magnified. It is made of little girl dreams mixed with big girl emotions.

When a girl is dating a guy she thinks could be “the one,” she fantasizes about the proposal. She has imagined every little detail. She has played out how things could go. Maybe it’s a surprise. Maybe it’s a huge celebration. Maybe it’s a private affair. But she has given time to imagine what that engagement could look like. Then after the proposal, she spends time making sure everyone notices the newly-placed ring on her finger. She tells the story to anyone with a pulse. Then comes the planning. Stacks of magazines overrun the kitchen table. Books are replaced with planners and to-do lists. She plans and coordinates every little detail of her wedding and the reception. How much time has she put into the events leading up to The Big Day? Ten hours? A hundred hours? Two hundred hours? Months? Years?

But how many hours do most women give to becoming a good wife? How many books has she read? How many minutes each day does she spend improving herself or her relationship? Even our romantic movies and books end with the couple finally finding each other. Then they get married and live happily every after. That is not real life. I have worked with MANY couples that suddenly wake up one day and realize the honeymoon is over, now what? The common thought seems to be that you have to plan this perfect wedding day and then everything after that will just fall into place. Unfortunately, that is completely backwards. It is easy to get married. It takes effort to stay married.

Every couple is different. The struggles one couple goes through another couple may never encounter. A big deal to one couple is no biggie to another. The next several posts are key components to marriage- and more importantly, to being a Good Wife. But these are not the ONLY components! There isn’t a step-by-step rule book to make a marriage successful. There are principles that are applied. We each have different personalities, preferences, quirks and that makes our marriages just as unique. Let’s talk about our responsibilities within our marriage. Let’s talk about the reality of marriage. Let’s talk about those crazy little things no one tells you will happen in marriage. We won’t talk about how to make your husband the best husband because I am not a husband. I am a wife. So what I can share are ways that we can be the best wives. We will also look at what God says about us. He gave us our uniqueness and He knows exactly how we can use it to benefit our marriage.

Welcome to Wife Class 101!

(If you have a specific marriage topic you want to hear about, leave a comment. It just might make it into one of the upcoming posts!)

Live on Purpose

live your life“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” -Steve Jobs

There is so much buzz going around these days about living your own life. It’s a great concept, but how many people truly live their own lives or fulfill their purpose? I first started thinking on this idea when one of my children asked me, “Mom, do you like what you do? Did you always want to do this? If you had asked me this questions 10 years ago, I probably would have said, “No.” Ten years ago, I worked a job that added a great income, but I wasn’t passionate about it. I didn’t love getting up and going to work. In fact, the only thing I loved about my job was vacation! I felt I was living how I was SUPPOSE to live but not how I WANTED to live!

What would happen if you created a life that was fulfilling? What if you woke up every morning with this thought: “God, I am so grateful for another day to pursue the things you have called me to. Thank you for trusting me with this assignment. I get to live a life of purpose- that will impact others, that blesses people, that excites me, that inspires and motivates me to do more and become better. Thank you for placing the right people in my life. Show me the new friends that are waiting to be met. Guide my words and my actions as I go about my day. Thank you for a life of JOY, BLESSING and ABUNDANCE!”

This life doesn’t happen by accident. This life happens by choice. The power of choice is amazing! What excites you? Do you know what God has asked you to do? Have you discovered why you do what you do? Is it full of purpose? Or does it just get you through life? Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT saying quit your job and just “do more of what makes you happy.” That would be foolish. Just because eating cheesecake makes you happy DOES NOT mean you should just keep eating more and more of it!

If helping single moms gets you excited, how often do you do it? Do you even volunteer your time? Did you buy backpacks and school supplies for that family you know is struggling financially?

Sadly, I have met too many people that think in order to do the things that fulfills them they have to find a full-time job doing exactly that thing. What if God blessed you with that well-paying job so you were financially capable of doing those things? But it is also possible that God gifted you with the desire, resources and ability to start a business doing exactly what you love. Have you started it yet? Are you working towards it?

It takes courage to go after those dreams and desires. What holds you back? When I asked my children what they wanted to be when they grow up, the answers are always BIG! Most kids think they can do anything when they are adults. Somehow, as we get older, outside voices tell us we can’t. We hear things like: You can’t actually make a living doing that; No one from our family has ever been able to do that; You’re not talented enough; You’re not smart enough; That’s an impossible dream. Yet, those same people are ok with you helping them achieve their dream!

Most BIG dreams require more than just you. In order to accomplish it, it often requires God, you, and a team of like-minded people. It is important to surround yourself with encouragers and go-getters. It is good to have a solid support system to help you along the way.

I want to challenge you this week:

  • Take time to really reflect on the things you are passionate about. What fulfills you? What has God placed in your heart that is just waiting for you to take action? Be real about those things. Some are big, some might be simple.
  • Remove all negative thoughts and doubts. If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? If anything was possible, what would you do?
  • Make a list of baby steps you can take NOW that will move you towards those things. Maybe it means taking a few classes to learn what you need. Maybe it means doing research to find organizations to join that are doing what you want to do. But do something! Ps 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way. It takes one step to get started!

DREAM BIG! LIVE BIG! LIVE ON PURPOSE!

Shine Brighter- July Life Out Loud Event

Shine Brighter

Many of you have probably seen the Facebook and Instagram pictures and read a few of the details for the event. Have you wondered what we actually do at these events? Have you questioned if this is something you would like?

Life Out Loud events are a once-a-month time to get together, meet new people, laugh together, and navigate life’s issues together. No one is alone in this journey of life- but sometimes you don’t realize that there is a community of women that want you to succeed and are willing to walk through the process with you.

In the “About” section, the description of Life Out Loud is not just about this blog. It is the purpose for what we do, whether in our women’s small groups, monthly events, or blog posts. It reads:

“Life Out Loud” probably seems like a catchy phrase that has no real meaning. But, in fact, it is the very essence of what I feel God has placed in my heart to accomplish. We see women all around us, through social media, that are living seemingly perfect lives. Their husbands are perfect. Their children are polished and polite. They constantly have #proudmom moments. We see their highlight reels. Then we look at our own hot mess of a life and wonder why we are failing at this. Over the years I have found this to be even more true within the church. We see the Sunday perfection and we have our mid-week friendships. We laugh together, we smile at everyone, but on the inside we are crying for someone to know the real us. The real person that is hurting, that wants to walk out on her marriage, that feels guilty because she yells at her kids when no one is around. Many of the life issues we face are not unique to us alone. Countless other women have struggled and overcome. But we don’t always hear about that side. We only see the amazing end-results. Life Out Loud is about addressing those “secret” parts we try to hide from others out of fear of judgment or condemnation.  Real Women= we are authentic. Real Lives= we are hard-working, busy, emotional, imperfect. Real Love for God= we are passionately seeking a loving God and doing our best to walk out our destiny for this life.

This month’s theme is SHINE BRIGHTER. We will discuss how we can shine brighter in a darker world, but we will also talk about how to find our strength in our dark moments of life. You will hear about real journeys from real women who have overcome. You will find a place where you can engage, be encouraged and leave empowered!

Join me every last Friday of the month.

July 31st ~ 7pm

San Marcos Golf Resort

One San Marcos Dr, Chandler AZ

Open to ALL women

FREE event!

Life on the Wild Side

Hike the Grand Canyon

At first, I was scared to write this. I felt people would read this and begin to judge me based on the typical, Christian prejudices. How often do we, as a whole, judge a person’s credibility based on the size of their ministry or their worldwide impact? There are a lot of faithful people, that are exactly where God has placed them, that fly under the radar all the time. I don’t have a large ministry. My “worldwide” impact looks different from others. My calling might look a little different, too.

From the outside, nothing about my life says “Wild Side.” I have a great family that I love very much and they love me. I am blessed with the opportunity to do work that I enjoy. We go to church on Sunday; we have a small group; kids do well in school; we eat dinner together almost nightly; we are supportive parents of all our kids sports activities.

I mean, I drive a minivan! 

I chaperone school field trips and teach art masterpiece. I am part of the PTO. I run the children’s classes at church and host a women’s event every month. No, nothing from the outside screams “Wild Side.”

But things aren’t always as they seem, are they? I look calm, grounded and put-together. However, on this inside…that is where the action is! If you could step into my brain, my heart, my insides, you would think you walked into an action-adventure movie! I am constantly battling giants, defeating fears, and chasing big dreams. There is never a dull moment. Sometimes, I am about to walk off into the unknown. Sometimes, I run headstrong toward the giant in front of me. Sometimes, I am so overwhelmed with the greatness of the dreams God has placed inside me. But I have seen miracles. I have seen God do impossible things. I am too far into this adventure to give up now! I am alive! I am excited to wake up everyday and win my battles!

I have too much purpose, too much destiny,

too much at stake to stop!

We often see the big things that others are doing. We feel that our small contribution isn’t enough, so we give up. We can give our selves all the right excuses to justify giving up. Our circumstances. Our inability. Our insecurities. Our time. Our lack of discipline. Looking at the work of others, we think our adventure must be grand in order to be fulfilling. I thought that, too, at one time. But I have learned that I cannot do everything and I am not called to do everything. However, I can be faithful with what I have been called to do. I can say “yes” to God, whether it be big or small

There are too many women that reach a point in life where they feel dull. They have lost their “wild side.” They want action. They want adventure. They want mystery and wonder. And, no, I’m not talking about with their husbands! Unfortunately, they begin to look outside for those things. I’ve met too many that walk away from God to seek out those adventures. Little do they know, their “wild side” is inside them waiting to be explored. We all have a “wild side” in us just waiting for us to tap into it! I love the saying , “Wherever you go, there you are.” You don’t have to leave your family to find your adventure.

Are you looking for a little adventure in life? Do you long for something “wild?” Do you want to do something that seems so audacious that people think you’re a little crazy? It’s easier than you think. It starts with a simple “yes” to God. I know, I know. That seems too easy. But try it. It’s harder than you think. Often, it will take you out of your comfort zone. It will stretch you. It will cause you to grow. It will test your limits. Saying “yes” to God may cause you to pack your car and move to another state. It may cause you to start a new job. It may cause you to seek Him everysingle day of your life because you can’t do it on your own. It may cause you to live a life that is fulfilling and exciting!

Live on the WILD SIDE!