While reading in 2nd Timothy 3, I was challenged by three things that Paul said were obvious to the man he was mentoring. But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in … Continue reading
Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you weren’t here? How would the world be different if you were never born? How would the people you rubbed shoulders with today be different if you weren’t here? These questions we’re … Continue reading
Most of us are consistent in our actions. Our actions are a reflection of what we believe and what we value. After reading many definitions of integrity, this is what I have pulled together.
Integrity – Clinging to your morals and convictions, valuing honesty and truth, consistently, day after day.
I read a verse in Proverbs the other day that hit me hard regarding integrity.
For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. (Proverbs 2:21)
I believe that the land talked about here for our Christian lives, is our destiny. Godly people can and will walk in what the Lord has laid out for them. But there is a difference between walking through a beautiful meadow and remaining in it. The one enjoys it briefly, like a holiday, and they soon go back to the old life, dreaming of one day returning.
Those who live in a meadow become one with the area. The sights and smells become comforting and familiar. Birds sing, flowers grow and waters rush. You know the trickle of the stream, and the varieties of butterflies that surround you. You breathe in deeply and the air that fills your lungs is refreshing, and you breathe out and know that you are home. You feel safe and secure, this is where you belong.
Is your hearts cry to remain in God’s will? Mine is. So how do we do it?
Sin is of course the number one thing that can remove us from the centre of that beautiful place which is God’s will. You can be ensnared by something, not realizing that your choices will cost you your life. The battle for your thoughts can be lost in an instant, and one bad choice can ruin you.
That is no ones desire. So how do we remain?
Let’s look back to that verse. Those with integrity with remain in the land.
After reading that, something jumped within me, screaming “seek out integrity, find it, develop it, live with it, love it!”
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church says;
Integrity is built by defeating the temptation to be dishonest.
Being honest is more than just simply telling the truth. It’s being the same person, the person you say you are, in private and in public. It’s saying that you will do something, and then actually doing it, even if no one is holding you accountable. It’s saying that you won’t do something, and then actually not doing it, even if no one is watching.
It takes courage to examine your ways and ask the Lord if they are rooted in integrity or not.
Well known bible teacher and pastor, Chuck Swindoll made this powerful statement.
“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.”
This is tough, and the Lord gives us what we need to walk out our Christian lives, so we can daily come to him and ask for forgiveness and renew our commitment to integral living.
I don’t care what it takes, I want to remain in the land that the Lord has for me. If integrity is the way, then we as children of God need to pursue it wholeheartedly. The saddest thing to imagine is a life not lived to its full potential.
What does integrity mean to you?
Selling our house has been a test of faith. When the deal fell through on our home almost a week ago, and we had to back out of the house we loved, my husband felt God tell him that we were going to get more for our house. My faith was wavering, but he really believed this was the case. As our move date approaches, the butterflies in my stomach start flapping a little harder.
On Sunday we received an offer a few thousand above our last deal, from people that we were excited to sell the house too. We have been praying that the house would be a blessing to a family, and that it would sell at the price that we need, and they need. We have since received a back up offer that would be take effect if the other offer fell through.
This deal isn’t final yet, but I’m seeing a glimpse into what God is doing. I am reminded of a line in the movie The Sound of Music.
In the time of Maria’s greatest anxiety, a motherly nun says to her
“when God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.”
The timing of this offer was interesting. It was five hours after we lost my lovely little house in our new city because we didn’t have an offer. Part of me was frustrated thinking, could this offer not have come through a little sooner?
I have been reading a book by Max Lucado called “It’s Not About Me” and it talks a lot about how we make our lives all about us, and imagine God is continually working to satisfy us, but that actually God is working everything out for his glory.
I wouldn’t put house hunting in the same category as pain, but you get the idea. This whole thing is really being worked out so that the Lord receives the glory. Yes, God does know what we need, but let’s be honest, probably what I think we need, is not exactly what God thinks we need. He can do the most fantastic balancing act of holding our needs, fulfilling his promises to us, and getting himself maximum glory.
My question to myself has been “am I stealing glory from God or am I giving him the maximum amount of opportunity to show himself awesome and powerful?”
Psalm 115:1 says
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.
It’s not about how well we can wheel and deal, or how quick our realtor is, or how great we are at bartering. I believe the Lord is going to show his greatness to us as a family, and to those around us. It may not come the way that I expect, but I expect that he will come through.
Us receiving an offer for more than the last one was simply:
“so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other. I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things.” (Isaiah 45:6-7)
Though my soul is still unsettled at times over where and what our new house will be, my prayers have been changing. I’ve been asking God to work this situation out to bring maximum glory to his name, to be the greatest testimony possible to our realtor, and to be the most faith building experience.
Yeah, I realize that’s a dangerous prayer! But since my life should actually be lived to reflect the Lord’s love and to bring glory to his name, finding a house seems like the safest, easiest place to start praying these kinds of prayers.
In the words of the hymn writer, Fanny J. Crosby;
To God be the glory, great things He hath done! So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, who yielded His life our redemption to win, and opened the life-gate that all may go in!
I’ve had a lot of conversations lately that have gone something like this:
Person: “Is your baby walking yet?”
Me: “Not quite, he’s getting close though!”
Person: “Just wait until he’s walking! Then your life will really get crazy. You’ll wish he never learned how to walk.”
Since having Caleb I have been introduced to the worlds of parents who always think they are one harder and more challenging step in front of me.
I quickly realized these people will say that about every single stage:
“Just wait until he’s on the move”
“Just wait until he’s on solids”
“Just wait until he starts walking”
“Just wait until he can talk”
“Just wait until he starts school”
The “just waits” started to drive me crazy! Each stage that should have been exciting was met with well-intentioned parents who tried to put fear into me.
This is why I will never say a negative “just wait” statement.
No matter what you do, or how much you dread it, your baby is going to learn to walk, talk, run and jump. In fact they won’t even stay babies! Dreading the future won’t change a thing and it robs you of your joy in the process.
I feel it is much more helpful to say a statement like this to a mom whose baby is about to start something new, like crawling.
“Wow, this stage definitely holds some new challenges, but it sure is exciting to watch them find their independence.”
We’ve acknowledged the truth of the challenge, while recognizing the joy of the new action. We have also instilled a positive comment in this already over-thinking mom and filled her with a bit of confidence that she can handle each new phase that comes her way!
I don’t know why we do it. I’ve caught myself about to make a negative statement like that to a mom with a baby younger than Caleb. Usually its rooted in my own insecurity. My competitive nature starts to overtake me.
1 Peter 3:10 says
If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.
Discouraging words are not of God, and not only rob others of enjoying life and having happy days, but rob you as well!
Life might seem to get a little busier, but it sure is a joy to watch my son grow and discover!
Just wait until your baby turns one…it’s so much fun!
While you are following the three D’s to stress free wedding planning, there is another piece to this fantastic engagement period, that often goes unnoted. Well, at least unnoted to the extent that I feel it should be. I’m talking about pre-marriage counseling or enrolling in a pre-marriage course.
I’m not talking about a chat with your pastor in his office, I mean a “dig down deep” pre-marriage course. One that challenges your motives for getting married, asks God to confirm your relationship and prepares you for some of the tough stuff you’re going to face.
The course that my husband and I took was a 10 week intensive that brought up a lot of great things for us to process before getting married. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed that we were having to be so serious during the fun stage of engagement. I am so thankful we took the time to invest.
A lot of couples I talk to have an extremely difficult first year adjusting. The couples we know who have committed to an extensive pre-marriage program have transitioned very well to married life.
50% of all marriages end in the divorce. No one wants to be a part of that heartbreaking statistic, nor do they assume they will be, as they walk down the aisle. I believe it is way more important to set your marriage up with a great foundation and have a little less time for your wedding, than to have a perfect wedding and start out on a rough note.
Our pre-marriage course taught us the importance of praying together daily, of being in agreement and the seriousness of covenant. These things have been invaluable to us.
Never underestimate the power of preparation. Don’t let the busyness of wedding planning cause you to neglect deepening your relationship during this fundamental stage.
A few other thoughts…
Enlist volunteers! You have more family and friends than you realize who want to help. Many of them just want to be given a job and let at it! If you are organized with jobs for everyone ahead of time, the set up stage will fly by!
While setting up for the wedding, DO as little as possible! Just be the coordinator walking around answering questions and organizing. If you don’t feel like that’s something you want to be in charge of, having someone really close to you who understands most of the details to be the one who does this. They can filter through all the questions and bring the important ones to you
Pray over the details of your wedding. Marriage is God’s idea, and he loves throwing a party for a wedding! Hey, Jesus even went to weddings!
Decide that anything that doesn’t get done by midnight before the wedding, just isn’t going to get done. Don’t worry about it. Don’t think about it. JUST ENJOY YOUR WEDDING DAY!
If you would like help finding a solid pre-marriage course in your area, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Wedding Planning!
I want to take a post to say a huge THANK YOU to all my readers! You have no idea how much of an encouragement you have been to me. I started writing in September (see my first ever post here) as a way that God showed me to overcome my baby blues and hopefully encourage others through the things He was showing me. Since then I have tried to share my heart and life with my readers, and have had an overwhelmingly positive response.
I take this post to thank you because it is a special post. This is my 100th blog, and I want to show you my appreciation. I am giving away two $5 Starbucks cards. Here is how you can enter:
- Leave a comment on this post in the comment box below telling me which post that I have written is your favourite. Please leave it in Wordpress, not Facebook, if you are having issues let me know. Make sure you include your email address so I can notify you if you win!
- BONUS entry #1: Like My Red & Purple Life | Blog on Facebook
- BONUS entry #2: Follow @myredpurplelife on Twitter
The winner will be chosen on Sunday, April 8th, and will be notified by email.
This draw is valid for residents of Canada, The United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. My apologies to my readers outside of these countries!
So thanks to you, my beloved friends. You each have a piece of my heart, and I don’t take for granted the fact that you take the time to read about my struggles, triumphs, tears and joys.
Much love to you all, and all the best in the draw!
Back in February I held a contest called the “Celebrating Family Photo Contest”. I asked readers to send in their favourite photo of their family with an explanation of why you love it!
The winner was chosen by a random draw. Lyndsie Bachtold submitted this photo and explanation:
“This is my favourite picture of my family. For starters, I love it because I think we all look just fabulous And secondly, I love hugs and this picture looks like we’re all having one big group hug. I LOVE my family!!!” – Lyndsie
From left to right: Marni, Lyndsie, Shelby, Kendall, Karen (mom), Chris (dad)
This family is incredibly special to me. I spent most of my teen years in their house hanging out with the girls, talking with their parents and being loved on by such a close family. I am so blessed to have them in my life still!
I talked to Lyndsie about why her family is so close, how they maintain their relationships and how the Lord plays a part in their family.
1. How do you and your family stay close though you’re spread out? We try to get together as often as we can. We love getting together and having nice meals where we are able to catch up, tell stories, laugh and enjoy one another’s company. We also love to text, send emails and call one another when we are apart.
2. What was one thing your parents did to promote family time growing up? Same as question one. We’d have nice meals and enjoy one another’s company around the dinner table. I loved our family times around the dinner table growing up. I’m glad that was a part of our lives; something that I think a lot of busy families miss out on.
3. What is one thing that makes your family so special? I love that as we get older we grow closer and closer together instead of further apart…I think that’s special.
4. How do you know your parents show you they are committed to each other? They pray together, have date nights, etc.
5. What’s it like have three sisters? Growing up, deep down I loved it, but didn’t always realize it. Now I fully realize how blessed I am to have three amazing sisters. I LOVE having three sisters who are all my best friends.
6. How does faith play a part in your family life? Our faith in God ultimately strengthens our relationships with one another. As we learn to more fully love God we can more fully love one another. We are able to share our journeys with Christ together, pray for one another, encourage one another, share wisdom and advice, etc.
There are many wonderful things about the Bachtold family. One thing I personally love is that Chris & Karen always sends each of their daughters flowers on Valentines Day. Three of the girls live together, and Lyndsie Instagramed all their bouquets that were around the house that special day.
It is extremely important that girls feel cherished by their dads, and I’ve always thought Chris has done a great job of this! Karen offers great wisdom, and her daughters know they can turn to them.
The sisters are each different in their own way, but if you get to hang out with them, be ready for lots of fun! As we have got older and the times in their basement are no more, I always look forward to them stopping by the house on their way through my city back to our hometown. We laugh a lot, filling my husband in on all the fun times we had, and relive great memories together.
My best conversations with each of these girls always took place over a different kind of drink; coffee with Kendall, Pepsi with Lyndsie, hot chocolate with Marni, and a slushie with Shelby! I am so happy to have gotten to know them each individually!
I think there are some great suggestions that we can pull out of what Lyndsie shared.
- Take advantage of the everyday moments to enjoy with your family. Supper can be the best time of the day to talk! Research indicates that one of the greatest antidotes for risky behavior in teens is consistently eating supper as a family. You can read more about that in Finding Home – By Jim Daly of Focus on the Family.
- Communicate lovingly! We have so many wonderful resources at our finger tips in this day and age. You can say “I love you” over Facebook, email, Twitter, text, phone call, writing a note, etc.
- Parents who take time for their marriage do not hurt their children. Even if they have to cut out an activity that their kids might be disappointed in, it doesn’t take long for grown children (and often younger) to realize it was worth the sacrifice to have a family that is together and parents that are committed to each other.
- As you love Jesus more, you can love you family more. If you are having issues with your family, choosing to take time to pray will give God the opportunity to give you eyes to see them the way He sees them.
Do you know this special family? Share a word of encouragement, or something you appreciate about them below. If you don’t know them, tell me what struck you while you were reading Lyndsie’s answers.
Now I’m going to go make sure my baby boy knows that I love him, starting with a lot of kisses!
Treasure your loved ones today!
This is my first time linking up with Marriage Monday, at Chrysalis Cafe, (“a weblog for thinking Christian moms”). I’m excited to joining up with this, as I am very passionate about marriage and purposefully learning from my everyday life. I can’t believe how much I have changed as a person since June 5, 2010 (our anniversary).
Today’s topic is: Romance.
There are many different directions to take this post, but as I have been praying about writing this post, the Lord showed me something about myself, that is in scripture that has really got me thinking. You will be able to read many other perspectives and thoughts on Romance when you visit the Chrysalis Cafe link up.
Jesus shared a parable about the farmer who went out and scattered seed. He talked about four different surfaces that the seed landed on.
1. The Footpath
2. The Rocky Soil
3. The Thorns
4. Good Soil
The footpath was the people who heard the word of God but don’t understand it and the evil one quickly steals the seed. The Rocky Soil is those who hear the word of God, receive it with joy but then when there are problems their roots don’t go deep, and they fall away. The Thorny Soil hears the word of God but all to quick the worries of life and pressures of this world choke the budding fruit.
The good soil, is ultimately the best. They receive the word of God with joy and go on to produce great fruit.
What does all of this have to do with romance in marriage?
We often talk a lot about what we can DO to create romance in marriage, which is very important. But what this passage showed me is we also have to BE in order to receive in marriage. You can’t have one without the other.
If your spouse offers you every action that reflects your top love languages; affirms you, gives you gifts, etc., but your heart isn’t in the place to receive it, their actions will be falling on soil that will not produce a fruit.
In my own life I relate to the thorny soil, where the worries and cares of life can choke out the seed. The hardest time of the day for me is right when my husband is coming home. My son is always over tired by that point, I’m trying to make supper and have the house prepared for either a small group that is coming over, a meeting or simply clean enough that we don’t waste our evening tidying up.
It seems that no matter what my husband is to do or say in that moment when he walks through the door, unless I am very purposeful, the worries and cares of life will steal the good things that my husband will try to invest in me.
For some of you, you might be able to receive love well when things are going great for you both, but when there is confrontation, difficulties or even sin that needs to be confessed, you give up. All the good seed that was planted is uprooted and destroyed because of the few bad rocks in the garden.
And still others of you simply don’t understand each other, or the enemy has been given room to come in and cause confusion and misunderstanding and you are frustrated because it seems that whatever you do, your seed lands on the footpath, with not even a chance of growth.
So how do you turn the garden of your heart from full of thorns and rocks into rich, fertile soil? A good gardener can pick rocks and pull weeds all morning, and have the garden transformed by afternoon. Jesus is the ultimate gardener and the lover of our souls. He can perform miracles in our lives in an instant if we ask if.
While you work on yourself, simply being aware of how you are prone to be can help. I shared my example about how right around when Andrew is coming home is when I’m at my worst. While the Lord works on me in dealing with life’s pressures, I can be proactive to protect our relationship. I have been trying to implement these few things and they’ve been helping:
- I give my son an extra snack around that time so he isn’t just waiting for supper, and over tired.
- I start supper earlier or at least plan it out ahead of time.
- I try to keep up with my daily/weekly chores so that I only have to do a few things a day to maintain a generally clean house.
- I have been singing to worship music and really inviting the Lord’s presence into our house and I’ve seen a huge difference in my attitude when my husband gets home.
Like I said at the beginning there are so many different ways you can take this topic, and I hope to write about it more. This is what I felt the Lord put on my heart.
To keep feelings and romance in your relationship, you can’t just “do” you need to receive, and that can sometimes be just as much work as trying to be creative in showing love. Commitment to loving Jesus will transfer in every way over to loving your spouse.
Here are a couple other posts of mine that you may like if you enjoy reading about marriage.
Is it harder for you to receive from your spouse or to give to your spouse? Feel free to share in the comment box below!
This is a special Friday! March 23rd, my husband’s birthday! I can’t believe what the last year has held for us. Here is a picture from his birthday last year. I was seven months pregnant with Caleb. Wow, how different things are! I can’t wait to see where we are in another year, and I’m so happy I get to enjoy all the changes with Andrew.
I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog.
We have had a crazy week and that is the perfect transition into my number one moment of the week!
1. Someone started our garage on fire on Wednesday morning around 2:00 a.m. and we were miraculously saved, and our house too! You can read about it in my blog post Fire!
2. On Sunday my husband and I went out for supper before our marriage class. We went to Boston Pizza and I ate Thai Chicken Bites for the first time since having my son (I couldn’t handle that much spice while being pregnant). They were so delicious, and it was nice to go out with Andrew.
3. Like I said today is my husband’s birthday. I am surprising with him a day at the mineral pool spa forty-five minutes from here. (We’re leaving right after I post it, and he promised not to read this!). We’ve been wanting to go there for the day for a while, and after this week, I can’t wait!
4. I got some sweet deals at Value Village this week! You can read about them here. I love the thrill of finding great deals! Thrift store shopping is like a treasure hunt!
Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! Don’t take a minute with your loved ones for granted, we’re here for a purpose and each time I receive some new perspective, I am so challenged to love deeper.
Another week has finished, so another High Five For Friday is upon us! I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog.
1. It’s spring! It’s beautiful and warm. The sun is shining as little birdies are chirping. I love it. We went for a walk around the lake in our city and Caleb took his first ride in a swing. He laughed at it. It was so cute. I will post the video on My Red & Purple Life Facebook page. I am also looking for ways to make my house feel like it’s spring and truly welcome in the warmer days. Send your suggestions my way! Here is the park day as told by my husband’s Instagram.
3. I have been loving this FC5 Arbonne cooling foot cream. I received it as a gift at Caleb’s shower, and then didn’t think of it again. Then I was cleaning out some of our baskets full of products and make up and I found. Wow, it feels so good on your feet. My feet actually feel energized after using it!
4. We were sitting in the living room and I looked over at Caleb and he was standing up all by himself! It shocked me at first, but then I managed to grab the camera before he tumbled down. He’s quickly gone from standing for a few moments, to starting to walk along furniture. Life has changed, again, in a matter of 48 hours!
5. I made White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies this week. Normally I would consider this a winter cookie, but they seemed to work for spring too! Our student leadership group ate them up quickly! Stay tuned for a recipe on Tuesday!
Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!