The Honeymoon Life

Neil and Michele McQuire married in our barn 2 months ago. If you’re joining me from Proverbs 31 devotions, welcome!

We live on a farm and have weddings in our barn, every weekend!  Marriage, love, weddings and honeymoon conversations are our life!

True love  on a wedding day  is breathtaking, but what’s more breathtaking-is true love after babies, sleepless nights and hard days turned into years.

Many couples struggle to keep their marriage aflame. Many wives tell me they have no interest in lovemaking, that romance isn’t alive in their marriage anymore. I say to them this, don’t allow that mindset for one second. We don’t want our spouse to look for other things to fulfill what only should be fulfilled by us.

It wasn’t always easy for me either, trust me. I struggled when our children were small and demands were constant.  But one day–everything changed. My mindset shifted.It was the day I decided to live The Honeymoon Life, it transformed our marriage.

It all started when this woman  told me the tragic end to her love story.  When she and her husband married, they couldn’t afford a honeymoon. Kids came and the money to do something special together just never seemed to be there. Her husband worked all the time, so for years she dreamed and planned for the trip she longed for with him—the perfect honeymoon.

When their last child was leaving for college, they finally set up their honeymoon trip. But something awful happened right before they were ready to leave. Her husband was tragically killed in a car accident. Her dreams were shattered.

With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I stood by her feeling helpless to offer the right words. All I could say was, “I’m so sorry.”

Her story affected me deeply. Although my husband was still alive, I didn’t have the honeymoon of my dreams either.My heart sank as she told me the tragic end to her love story.

I didn’t want to pin my hopes on a fancy trip any more.

On that day I decided to live every day as if it were my honeymoon. Rather than a honeymoon trip, I wanted The Honeymoon Life.

I looked for ways to turn ordinary places into exotic destinations. I decided that lovemaking would be relished and not just endured.

We live on a farm with open fields and woods. The possibilities became endless for exotic destinations.

No trip around the world, no lavish hotel, nor any gourmet dish could have competed with that field, the picnic dinners and the way God changed my perspective.

From that day on, I chose the honeymoon life. Not just dreaming of it but living it every day. I’ve set my heart to cherish the simple things, like making my husband’s favorite foods and eating ALL meals together, going to bed at the same time, reading and praying together. Even mundane trips to the store together.

We’ve been living the honeymoon life for 21 years now and have been married for 36. Everything changed the day I made up my mind to live The Honeymoon Life. Last week at one of our weddings a couple saw us running in the rain together with arms locked. When we got to the barn they said, “You two look like you’re the newly weds!” Funny thing is, we feel that we are!

Ask God to help rekindle passion in your marriage, ask Him to help you have desire. Ask Him to take all hindrances away. Once you decide to change your mindset and start making plans for your adventures- desire will come, and The Honeymoon Life will begin.

My husband and I are officially going on our first honeymoon trip to Europe this August!

Past posts on marriage:

Marriage is Like Farming

Marriage’s Greatest Enemy 

A Wrecked Marriage Saved over Lunch

P31_gift

My dear friend, Sharon Jaynes wrote this 14 Day Romance Challenge. You can order it through Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Would you like for me to pray for your marriage? Do you desire The Honeymoon Life?  Leave your name in the comment section. I’ll pray for you, and it will enter your name in a drawing to win this Romance Gift Set.

Dear Lord, give me the ability to live the honeymoon life with my husband. Help me to stop focusing on the what if’s of the future and to start focusing on loving to the fullest today. Help me not to have any regrets of how I’ve lived out my married life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Coveting Another Husband

Dale and I watching the super moon Sunday night by the barn. Its good to reminisce of days gone by. Dale and I cook meals, dishes, mow grass together now. There is a season for everything. . .

Dale and I watched the super moon Sunday night by the barn

Oh my…Yep, when this temptation comes, and it WILL, DON’T ENTERTAIN the thought even for a second!

Every grueling week, my friend would share how absolutely easy her life was. Every evening when her husband came home from work he helped with dinner, dishes, gave the kids baths and PUT THEM TO BED! He even mowed the grass, trimmed the bushes on the weekends and  rubbed her back, for goodness sake!

I wanted to throw up. It made me so sick. Truly. Could she not SHUT UP?

Resentment toward Dale started to fester. I started to wonder why he couldn’t do these things. I didn’t want her husband but started wanting an imaginary husband that would do everything right and love me wholeheartedly.

After a few weeks (alright, maybe a month) of desiring my imaginary husband, I realized I was wrong. I asked the Lord to forgive me and to help me. Moving forward, every time this friend or other friends started telling me about their holly-jolly life, I took the wrong thoughts captive and refuted them with truth.

Truth was, Dale was an amazing man of God. He loved our family. We owned our own business. He had to work 15-18 hrs a day, six days a week to support our family of five children. There was no time for him to do all the things my friend’s husband did.

Truth was, I vowed  to God and Dale to have and to hold for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.

So, every week, year after year I mowed the grass, trimmed the bushes, took care of the household, cooked every meal, washed all the dishes, got the cars inspected, paid the bills, put the kids to bed.. .

And loved him outrageously without coveting an imaginary husband.

How? After a while I no longer had to refute the lie with truth. The truth is, we are one. What he can’t do, I will do. That’s what we do for one another when we’re one. After I got this, it was a joy to work as hard as he did for our family.

Guess what? My friend’s husband left her. I know!?! I was brokenhearted for her. But I wondered, why? Was the load too heavy to bear and he snapped? He was a really good man, but even a good man has a threshold for what he can endure.

Satan wants us to want another husband. If we don’t refute lies with truth, we’re in trouble.

We’re all tempted. Yep… None are exempt. Temptation isn’t a sin, acting on it is.

Next time you’re tempted to covet another husband—DON’T ENTERTAIN the thought, not even for a second!

Winner of last weeks drawing for the marriage books and movie tickets is: Angela who posted 2015/09/26 at 10:25 PM Let’s all keep praying for each other’s marriages!

While we watched the moon it was good to reminisce of days gone by but I’m thankful that Dale and I now get to cook meals, wash dishes and do yard work together. There is a season for everything.

While we watched the moon it was good to reminisce of days gone by but I’m thankful that Dale and I now get to cook meals, wash dishes and do yard work together. There is a season for everything.

 

Marriage’s Greatest Enemy

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If you’re visiting me from Proverbs 31 Devotions, welcome! The winner of the drawing will be posted week! Subscribe to the blog for updates!

She could hardly stop crying long enough to get a sentence out. “Sharon, I loved him so much (sob). I can’t believe he left the kids and me. What am I going to do?”

I gave her tissues, looked directly into her swollen eyes and said, “I know what you’re going to do! You’re not going to give up! You can’t!” He’s your first love, the father of your babies and you made a vow to God- for better or for worse. This is the worse and this is when you FIGHT for what you vowed to do.

I asked, “Is it another woman?” She wept even harder and said, “I don’t know.”

Alright. Get up out of that puddle of tears. Here’s what you’re gonna to do:

  •  Pray like you’ve never prayed before; for him and your marriage.
  •  When he comes to pick the kids up for the weekend, invite him in for dinner, make his favorite food. Talk to him about his work, life, health, dreams…
  •  Woo him back. Wink, wink—make yourself attractive. What attracts him to you physically?
  •  Pursue him!

She said, “Sharon, that’s all easy for YOU to say. I’ve already prayed and it didn’t work. She held her hands over her face and moaned, “I don’t even know what his favorite food is. We never ate together! He always got his own dinner.  He would think something was up if I started asking him about work, life and stuff. We never did that, Sharon.” Her voice got stronger and she said, “And one thing’s for SURE… I’m not about to look like I’m chasing him! I’m NOT! If he doesn’t like me in my sweats…! He has to come get ME!” I didn’t do anything wrong to deserve this.”

I said, “If you love him and you want this marriage, you’ll need to do what it takes. Jesus said to love others as ourselves, even our enemies. Love him like yourself.”

She shook her head and said, “I just can’t do that, Sharon. I can’t.”

They divorced.

She married again.

He was a good man, for the most part.

One day, there was a knock at my door. It was her. She was crying, “Oh Sharon! He wants to leave me? MEN!! They’re all rotten!”

I put a cup of coffee in front of her and we sat at the same table. I said, “We’re ALL rotten without Jesus’ help. You know what I think the greatest enemy of marriage is?” She said, “No?” I said, “It’s not sex, money, kids, communication, pornography or the in-laws. It’s selfishness…

If I viewed my marriage as a 50/50 covenant, we’d be divorced by now. It’s a 100/100. That means we deny ourselves, sacrifice and live to serve the other- wholeheartedly. There’s been YEARS of my marriage where Dale could give little because he worked 80 hours a week and got home with nothing left for me. There were days I felt sorry for myself. Days I wanted to give up on my marriage. But I grew up in a family without a dad. And I was willing to sacrifice anything to keep my husband. He was a good man, working as hard as he could.  He wasn’t cheating on me, nor was he abusing me. I would’ve been the selfish one if I hadn’t served him 100%.

We got through those years by the grace of God. But even to this day we BOTH have to sacrifice for the other and deny our own desires. It’s still hard, because selfishness is so much easier.

Wonder if your husband was really rotten and you still had to give all? Like Hosea in the Bible. He married a prostitute. They had three children. He couldn’t trust her and she gave NOTHING to him. He sacrificed EVERYTHING for her and stayed with her- even though she was “rotten.”

One day in eternity he will be rewarded for how he lived his marriage out and so will we- if we are faithful.”

Jesus, WE can’t do this without YOU! Help us to not be selfish. Help us to sacrifice our own desires for theirs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The couple stayed together!

Read: Marriage is Like Farming–It’s Hard Work

Cookie recipes: Gluten Free Soft Oreo

Do you know someone who needs prayer for their marriage? Satan is out to destroy families. Let’s pray for our families, today!  Tell us who to pray for in the comment section, we’ll pray and it will enter your name to win some of my favorite marriage books  AND two free movie tickets to see War Room! 

The Encouragement for Today book has a devotion by me on The Honey Moon life. Personality Plus book has a story about Dale and I in it,  telling how different our personalities are and the challenges that go with it. The Mystery of Marriage is one of my favorite marriage books and you get a free journal! books

A Wrecked Marriage–Saved Over Lunch

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If you’re joining me from P31 Devotions today, welcome!

“I can’t STAND my husband. I’ve had enough. It’s over. I’m so finished

with this marriage, Sharon. I’m DONE… DONE!” She screamed as I held

the phone away from my ear. She started sobbing. I waited. I could hear

her kids fighting in the background and a baby screaming. She said,

“Sharon, can the kids and I come over right now? I need your help. I don’t

know what to do with my life.”

Everything in me wanted to say, “NO!” It was lunch time. Her kids plus

mine would be a miniature army to feed. We were renovating our house

and the kitchen was out of service. I was using my bedroom as a makeshift

kitchen. We didn’t even have running water! I couldn’t imagine feeding

her crew and mine, much less have enough ingredients for a lunch.

Without thinking further I said, “Get the kids in the van and get over here!

We’ll talk over lunch while the kids play.” I heard her phone disconnect

before I even finished the sentence.

I rummaged through a box and found oatmeal, walnuts, maple syrup and

water bottles. That’s it, I thought. We’re eating oatmeal for lunch. That’s

all I’ve got! I made it on one of those table top burners. It was the biggest

pot of oatmeal you’ve ever seen.

The bowls and spoons were covered in dust from the construction. I wiped

’em clean. A little dirt never hurt anybody, I thought to myself. My kids

came in and asked why I had so many bowls. I said, company’s coming.

Your FRIENDS! They squealed with delight.

15 bowls of piping hot oatmeal topped with butter, walnuts, milk and

drizzled maple syrup were ready! I ran outside. Pulled 15 apples off the

apple tree and sat one next to every bowl.

The house was a wreck but I don’t think she ever saw it. She had tunnel

vision. All she could see was her doomed marriage. Everyone got their

bowl of oatmeal- including the construction workers.

We all sat down on the dusty floor, bowed our heads in prayer, ate, and

talked. The kids talked. The construction workers talked. My friend and I

talked.

As she told me her story, I thought to myself, “Oh my GOODNESS! I can’t

imagine being married to this man-either!” But I wasn’t about to say it! I

let her talk for over an hour without saying a word. At the end of it all, she

looked at me and said, “Well, what do you think?”

Within my spirit I prayed and asked God to help me say only what He

wanted me to say. My flesh wrestled with my spirit- BIG TIME! Lord?!

This guys a jerk! A total JERK!

I looked into her eyes and said, “Let’s pray and ask what He thinks.”

Words rolled out of my mouth that I hadn’t planned or thought. So much

better than what my thoughts were.

The prayer was finished and she looked at me and said, “I’m going to need

a lot of prayer to get through this Sharon. Everything you said really

convicted me today. I do love him and I believe more than ever after

coming here, that God is going to turn this around and use it for our good.

She hollered for her kids. Hauled them into the van and off they went. She

went back home to her husband, the kids’ dad, the family united. They

started to love each other again…

What did I do?

Served 15 bowls of piping hot oatmeal in 15 dusty bowls on a dusty floor

and barely said a word of my own. Listened. Kept my mouth closed and

invited the Lord through prayer to lead our thoughts. He is faithful and boy

did He answer.

“Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will

be opened to you.”

Do you have a friend who’s going through a hard time with money,

marriage, kids, or their health? One you should invite over but haven’t

because your house isn’t in order? It doesn’t matter what your house looks

like or what you serve ’em! They need your help!

In the comment section below, tell me who you need to invite in one word.

Your comment will enter your name in the drawing to win a fifty dollar visa

card and Karen Ehman’s book, A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart &

Home to Others.

Top marriage posts:

The Good Wife Recipe

Marriage is Like Farming- It Must Be Cultivated

The Depth of Intimacy

Love Potion

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Marriage is Like Farming- It Must be Cultivated

A magical marriage

The grain bag was almost empty, so I reached deeply into the dark bag to get a scoop for my chickens… Suddenly something scurried up my arm sleeve! You would have thought an anaconda was in my shirt the way I jumped and screamed! Within 10 seconds a mouse jumped right out of the top of my shirt! I’m surprised we didn’t both roll over and die right there!

People love farms. I think it’s inborn. You know an innate desire deep within for “that” farm- where the grass is always green, the animals are always content and luscious organic food grows effortlessly.

Ahhh… but what people don’t see is what it takes to make “that” farm.

A diligent farmer never, ever goes a single day without working and laboring by the sweat of his brow on behalf of the farm. You have to fight for it. YOU DO! You protect its borders, maintain the fences… love and cherish it, in sickness and in health- till death do you part.

Only a farmer with this mentally has “that” beautiful, “magical” farm.

You must be willing to fight predators single handedly who come to steal, kill and destroy; like snakes eating our breakfast, foxes dragging off the chickens, or coyote’s stealing our newborn kids (baby goats).

The work doesn’t stop there. There’s poop to scoop, fields to mow, poisonous vines to annihilate, goats to milk in 0-100 degree temperatures. . .  Left unattended for just a short while and you wouldn’t want the farm!

People love looking at our goats, chickens, and turkeys strutting about the farm. They love watching the fireflies dance about over the open field at night… roaming the nature paths… With dreamy eyes many say to me, “Oh this place is magical! I want a farm, just like it.” I smile and nod, thinking to myself, if they only knew the labor. Would they really want it?

A good marriage is just like a good farm.

People love good marriages, it’s innate. Everyone desires “true love.” Oh, it’s breathtaking. People flock to movies to see a powerful love story about a couple who would do anything for love. They sit with popcorn in hand, tears streaming and wish their love story was “that” one.

Just like a farm, marriages have predators that threaten “true love.” You know what I’m talking about… Something or someone that seeks to destroy you and/or devour your marriage. You’ve got to FIGHT for your marriage! YOU DO! Protect the borders. Maintain the fences. Love and cherish it in sickness and in health- till death do you part.

The work doesn’t stop there. There’s stinky messes to clean,  poisonous vines (words that destroy) to annihilate… love to be lavished sacrificially. . .left unattended for one season and you wouldn’t want the marriage.

Yep… There are moments that I don’t want to farm anymore; like when a mouse runs up my sleeve and out the top of my shirt. I’m finished, I am! But in the grand scheme of things a mouse in my shirt is the very least of the costs of having “that” farm. Some things you just got to get over no matter how unnerving and press on toward the prize of the high calling.

A good marriage is like a good farm. It is a work in process that can never be left unattended- not even for one day. Luscious fruit doesn’t grow effortlessly. You’ve got fight for it. YOU DO.

I always dreamt of living on a farm. Never, ever did I think it would be so hard. But we’ve got “that” farm- where the grass is green and the animals are content. Actually, it is magical to live here but we work hard at it.

Our marriage is magical too, but we work really hard at it.

Gen 3:18-19

“Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground…”

Gen 2:22-24 “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

Edward when he was born

Edward when he was born.

View More: http://simonefoxphotography.pass.us/jenifer-nick

Edward our French Alpine buck.  He’s famous on The Glasgow Farm.

chickens

Sparky and chickens 

Snake eating our breakfast

Yep a black snake in the chicken coop- eating our breakfast! He never came back for another egg after this day.

Edward

A content animal.

Turkey's

Every night before dusk we have to put the Turkey’s in their house or the foxes come looking for them.

Sparky and cat

Trolly unloading people

Trolly unloading people onto our farm for a wedding- 2 hours before they arrived. Edward knocked down his fence that led straight to where the trolly is parked. Dale worked hard to mend the fence before 200 people arrived!

 

Ground hogs- every year Dale secures the garden. He built a wooden fence to the ground with chicken wire around it. They've dug under, climbed over. . . I've turned around while weeding before and seen one looking me straight in the eyes! You've got to fight for your garden!

Ground hogs.  Every year Dale secures the garden. He built a wooden fence to the ground with chicken wire around it. They’ve dug under, climbed over. . . I’ve turned around while weeding before and seen one looking me straight in the eyes! You’ve got to fight for your garden! They love anything with blossoms, especially zucchini, cucumbers and squash.

Fence and gate

Deer  jump over and  foxes crawl under  fences to  get to what they want- it’s up to us to protect within our border.

40 Day No Complaining Fast

Meeting with  the Lord three hours every morning for the next 40 days-May it be a sweet aroma unto Him

Moonlit sky on the Glasgow Farm

My 40 day fast ended abruptly before my head hit the pillow, on the first day! Yep, my plan was to… fast from complaining. I was pretty excited over the possibility of reigning all those negative thoughts… then I woke up on the first morning- and our pipes had frozen!

I stood with my blow dryer, blowing hot air on to pipes while Dale sawed huge holes out of our drywall to find where water was flooding behind walls.

The phone rang, I turned the blowdryer off. Someone was unhappy with their circumstances and were complaining- profusely… My thoughts were flailing… I got ready to stop myself because of my fast… but… then- I took the bait and went along with the complaining. How quickly my high hopes and ambition failed me!

Dale’s computer died. It wasn’t even its appointed time. It was still in its prime… Poor thing, he had to work on mine- which put me behind. My thoughts started to complain, but then I remembered- I was fasting!

That night, I had a rip roaring fire in the wood stove. I opened the door to load wood but my dog wouldn’t move. His back end pressed against the scorching hot stove door and caught fire! A large stream of dark grey smoke rose toward the ceiling. The fire alarm sounded, “Fire, Fire, Fire!” He ran. I chased him with a wet towel… He was fine. We both sat back down, by the fire. The house smelt horribly of burnt dog hair.

I said,“Lord, I failed terribly at reigning negative thoughts today. I don’t have the ability to do this in my own power. What would you suggest for the next forty days knowing my weak minded condition?”

I’d been reading in Exodus, so He spoke to me through it. I had just read Exodus 29 where Moses and Aaron were to offer a morning and evening sacrifice- an offering made by fire to the Lord of their first fruits.

I’m not a morning person and I would never choose to rise before the sun does, ever. So I decided that I would sacrifice those hours to Him. I would rise at O’dark-hundred every morning for the next forty + days to spend three hours alone with Him.

I started this past Sunday. I thought it would be impossible to get up, but He woke me before the alarm sounded. Then yesterday and today were the same — He woke me before the alarm… as if He’s excited about our time together.

The hardest part of getting up is that our house is FREEZING! We heat by a wood fire and by wee morning hours it’s just a few glowing coals left. The temperature in the house is 40ish degrees until the fire gets going. I load the wood and then we start to talk, Him and I.

It’s getting pretty exciting… How ironic that my sacrifice starts with us starting a fire together, kinda like in Exodus. The forty days will be over on Good Friday- and this year, Good Friday is even the first day of Passover! I can’t imagine what it will be like in 37 days. If you see me out and about you notice me glowing like Moses you’ll know why! His Shekinah Glory is EXPLODING!

Oh that my sacrifice be a sweet smelling aroma unto Him!

The Overflow of His Shekinah Glory


Ephesians 5:1 tells us to “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

2 Corinthians 2:14-15 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God…”  Sparky and I the night he caught on fire

Sparky and I the night he caught on fire

Keep it Shut

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Sunday morning fights. Ugh…

Kids fighting, shoes missing, and Dale and I who are usually in crazy love- nearly ready for separation before we walk inside the church on Sunday morning. Yikes!

This past Sunday wasn’t a lot different. I wanted to go in late and leave early so as not to touch any of the “sick” folks carrying that horrible flu bug. Yeah it’s the one with the high fever and has been going around lately.

I’m speaking at a retreat this coming weekend and can’t get sick. I gave my rules before entering…  “When the last song starts- we leave. Agreed? We can’t talk to or touch ANYONE.”

The last song started… I texted him to remind him of our plan and asked for the keys. He didn’t give them!  I gave him the look.  It didn’t work.

By the time the car doors shut we were arguing.

Why do I do that? The poor man had barely done anything wrong and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Have you ever had a fight so uncalled for that by the end of the day you can’t remember why you were so mad?!

Oh my goodness- my fight with Dale was just wrong.

That afternoon I was opening my mail and got a package from one of my most precious friends and prayer partner, Karen Ehman. It was her newly released book, Keep it Shut.  

How appropriate was that? I needed to learn to keep it shut and here was the tool to help me.

I started to read.  Oh my goodness… the book is full of wisdom and practical help for mouths like mine. I don’t know about you but I need to learn to Keep it Shut! 

Here are a few of her guidelines for choosing words more wisely.

1. Trade Places. Imagine you are hearing rather than speaking your words. How would you feel if what you are about to say
were addressed to you?

2. Leave some things left unsaid.

3. Temper your tone. What we say may not be wrong, but if the tone is off, harm can be caused and the meaning misconstrued.

4. Consider your countenance.

5. Believe the best before assuming the worst!

6. Don’t get historical, rattling every offense off the person has done.

7. Choose Your Timing!

You’ve got read this book. I’ve only got two copies to give away.

Dale and I made up before the night was over…  We’re in love again. Thank You Lord. I learned several invaluable lessons on keeping my mouth shut! I hope you win- so that you can too!

You can even take a “test drive” and read a chapter- for free!  Just click here! The book is about the power of our words in every area of our life.

To enter to win the book, just describe a situation in the comments below that makes it hard for you to “keep it shut.”  If you’re in a hurry- just say, “I’m in!” I’ll announce the winner next week!

In Michigan this past June at the 6 week video Keep it Shut Bible Study recording! w/ Melissa Taylor, Lindsey, KAREM EHMAN, me and Kim

In Michigan this past June at the 6 week video Keep it Shut Bible Study recording! w/ Melissa Taylor, Lindsey, KAREM EHMAN, me and Kim

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

Buy Keep it Shut HERE!  RANKING #1 best seller in Christian living on AMAZON!

Happily Ever After

The Princess and Prince united in Holy Matrimony

The Princess and Prince united in Holy Matrimony-June 7, 2014

The wedding was glorious!  True love took center stage in the old country church.  Their purity combined with their passion- exploded our hearts with joy and peace.  It’s a breathtaking wonder for a couple madly in love to wait for their wedding day, to partake of all the pleasures God has for them.

I sat directly in front of Jennifer and Alex and wondered if angels filled the place and all of heaven as they watched them pronounce their sacred vows.  I could sense God’s pleasure coursing through every word and gesture.  When two combine as one in they way that He intended, it is an awesome wonder.

The possibilities of a Happily Ever After marriage are endless now. . .

True love becomes drunk with passion when Christ and unselfish love unite as one.

Thank You Lord for allowing Dale and I (your humble servants) the honor of raising your princess. You are worthy of all praise and honor!  You are the King of Kings.  You are the most High GOD.  The Great I AM!

 

The cake was lowered from the ceiling for the unveiling!

The cake was lowered from the ceiling for the unveiling while music played and all eyes watched! It was a  real life fairy- tale wedding and reception!

The humble servants of the Most High God are still cleaning up from all the festivities!I’ll be sharing all the wedding and reception photo’s in a couple weeks! Thank you for praying for us!

A Fairytale Love Story- Hardships

Who doesn’t love an epic love story?  In Genesis 24, Rebecca and Isaac’s story reads much like a fairy-tale.  It was a match made in heaven- literally.  It was love at first sight.  And God wanted us to know every detail about this couples love story…

Rebecca was beautiful, pure, energetic and had a servants heart.  Isaac was peace loving, easy going, and quiet. What could go wrong with such a perfect combination?

No doubt about it they were attracted to each other and loved each other.  In fact, the word “love” was used to define romantic love for the first ever time in the Bible- about them!  But romance or none, the storms of life blew hard on their home.  Rebecca was barren for the first 20 years of their marriage. That’ll put a strain on even the strongest couple!  Isaac was passive- to a fault, wanting peace at all cost, he lied about Rebecca’s identity as his wife!  Yep, he’s Abraham’s son.  You can be certain Isaac heard about this for a long time.

Rebecca wasn’t passive by any stretch of the imagination, she was the opposite. She quickly made family decisions without consulting her husband. Oh boy, the story gets a lot more complicated when their twins were born.  Rebecca and Isaac’s communication wasn’t what it should have been…

Even though it was a match made in heaven, the story shows us that life is full of human weakness.  They were normal, imperfect people.  Humans make mistakes every day and they were no different from us.  God wanted us to see that even behind the doors of a match made in heaven, there are many faults.   Yet, in our imperfection and desperately weak flesh, He loves us- and chooses to use us for His glory!  Generations later, He used this imperfect couple to usher in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ!

Who doesn’t love an epic love story?  And whether you’re married or not, your epic love story is being written.  Your story is being inscribed.  Every detail matters to God- Every choice we make, how pure we live, how we rise above the hardships, how we forgive and how we depend on Him every step of the story.

In Malachi 3:16 it says God has a book of remembrance of those who feared Him. That verse and others challenge me every day to rise above myself. God loves to brag about His children-what will He say about how I lived my life? I want my story to be an epic love story—choices I make determine the “epic.”

If you’re visiting me today from Proverbs 31 ministries devotion, Hidden Hardships behind Closed Doors– welcome! I’m glad you stopped by. If you’d like to subscribe to my blog, I would love to have you in the family!

2 Corinthians 12:9-11, “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  

How Will We Be Remembered?

Leave a one word comment below telling a hardship you need prayer for to enter to win a vintage apron. Our family will pray for you! Winners will be drawn next Tuesday!

apron 1

One winner will win this white and purple vintage apron

The second winner drawn will win this vintage apron. Embordered at top of apron it says, " Main Ingredient is Love"

The second winner drawn will win this vintage apron. Embroidered at top it says, ” Main Ingredient is Love”

 

Is “Date Night” Mandatory for a Happy Marriage?

A cozy  campfire in our backyard

Date Night-talking by the campfire in our backyard

If you’re visiting from Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today Devotions, welcome!

When Dale and I were raising our five children, we maybe had three official “date nights,” ever. I know, it’s hard to believe.  There were a lot reasons why we didn’t. I don’t think we ever discussed these things. It was just what we did because. . .

~ The cost

~ Where do you find a babysitter for five children- that you trust? (Family didn’t live nearby)

~ At home date nights were more romantic

~ He worked hard all day, he didn’t need to go out to be fulfilled- he just needed his wife-happy

~I just needed him fully present and my basic needs were met

~ I didn’t like leaving our kids-(I know, it’s crazy but true)

When we went out to eat, or saw a movie, the kids came with us. When we went anywhere, they were with us. But everywhere we went, Dale and I were always on a continual “date night.” Even while feeding and talking to all five daughters, Dale and I were totally engaged with one another. Always touching, watching each other, and listening intently to the others’ every move and thought.

Some nights after the kids went to bed we had work to do. We did it together. I sat right next to him and we worked, side by side.

Many nights after the kids went to bed (with phones, television, and computers off) we talked for hours on end. We never ever got tired of talking and we still haven’t.

Some nights we watched movies together, side by side. Often one of our girls would get out of bed and come to us because they couldn’t sleep and lay in our arms. We  loved it–aren’t they adorable when they’re sleeping?

Some nights we went to bed early and had a better “date night” than if went had gone to the finest restaurant and walked the ocean shore at sunset.

I never once regretted not going out on scheduled “date nights.” Raising a family is a lot of work. There are stresses that constantly threaten the family. So, believe me, you need date night but maybe just not the world’s idea of going out for your “date night.”  The greatest need of a happy marriage is Christ in the center.  Then living together with a oneness mind set, being romantically engaged, and loving each other extravagantly- every day.

Here are a few Date Night Ideas:

1. Make a campfire and talk about the deeper things of Christ (oh yeah)

2. Stargazing on a blanket (spring and summer) talking about future dreams

3. Read a book to each other in front of the fireplace (fall and winter)

4. Make your favorite desert (great cake recipe) and eat by candle light

5. Listen to worship music and worship Him together

6. Pray together

7. Write a letter telling him all the reasons why you fell in love with him and how he has fulfilled your dreams and read it to him.  (Then you can discuss how you’re going to pay the credit cards off… just joking or not!)

8. Cook his favorite meal, make it special and enjoy after the kids go to bed

9. Wear his shirt as a nightgown, then watch a good movie in bed.

10. Tell me your idea!

What would be your perfect date night? Tell me in the comment section below,  it will enter your name in the drawing to win my downloadable marriage message called Extravagant Love and a $20 gift certificate to Target for your date night!

Good Wife Recipe

 

Susanna Wesley’s Prayer Apron- Powerful Life Story

My vintage aprons hanging on clothesline

My vintage aprons and the winners aprons hanging on clothesline- behind the aprons a few  butternut squash, cucumbers and tomato plants

Hidden behind the door of many homes is the reality of hardship.  Secret things happen that few want the world to know.  Yet, from some people (presently and historically) we are given the inside story, whether they want it told or not.

A devastated home isn’t always apparent on first impression, is it? Susanna Wesley was married to a preacher.  They had 10 children of which, two grew up to bring millions of souls to Christ. That would be John and Charles Wesley.  It’s a powerful story if you stop there, isn’t it?

But, behind the door of her home, hopeless conditions were the norm.  She married a man who couldn’t manage money.  They disagreed on everything from money to politics.  They had 19 children.  All except ten died in infancy.  Sam (her husband) left her to raise the children alone for long periods of time.  This was sometimes over something as simple as an argument.

One of their children was crippled.  Another couldn’t talk until he was nearly six years old.  Susanna herself was desperately sick most of her life.  There was no money for food or anything.  Debt plagued them.

Sam was once thrown into debtor’s prison because their debt was so high, which doubled their problems.  Twice the homes they lived in were burned to the ground, losing everything they owned.  It was assumed that their church members did it because they were so mad at what Sam preached in the pulpit!  Someone slit their cow’s udders so they wouldn’t have milk, killed their dog, and burned their flax field!

When Susanna was young, she promised the Lord that for every hour she spent in entertainment, she would give to Him in prayer and in the Word.  Taking care of the house and raising so many kids made this commitment nearly impossible to fulfill. She had no time for entertainment or long hours in prayer!  She worked the gardens, milked the cow, schooled the children and managed the entire house herself.  So, she decided to instead give the Lord two hours a day in prayer!

She struggled to find a secret place to get away with Him.  So she advised her children that when they saw her with her apron over her head, that meant she was in prayer and couldn’t be disturbed.  She was devoted to her walk with Christ, praying for her children and knowledge in the Word no matter how hard life was.

One of her daughters got pregnant out of wedlock and the man never married her.  She was devastated, but remained steadfast in prayer for her daughter.

In the end, she knew that one day her hard life would be over and she alone would stand before the throne of God and give an account of how she lived her life.

We can be the best mom, wife, friend, person in the world and still have untold hardships.  We need to take Susanna’s example, flip our apron over our head and pray in the middle of it all.

Back to the beginning of my story…

Her son’s John and Charles were powerhouses for the glory of the Lord.  John Wesley preached to nearly a million people in his day.  At the age of 70 he delivered the gospel message of salvation to 32,000 people- without the use of a microphone!  He brought revival everywhere he traveled!  His brother Charles wrote over 9000 hymns, many of which we still sing today.

Hidden behind the door of my home, I want our children to find a mom who prays diligently- no matter how busy or how hard the circumstances.  I want to raise up John Wesley’s out of our family line!  Where’s my apron?

I’m giving away two Susanna Wesley inspired Prayer Apron’s.  Leave a one word comment below about what you need prayer about in your home to enter the drawing. (The book I read on John Wesley is mentioned in this blog post)

Flip your apron over your head- begin your prayer and close it with this verse from Philippians.

Get your apron out, flip it over your head–begin your prayer and close it with this verse

This is one of the aprons I'm giving away in the drawing. Tell what you need prayer for in your family in the comment section--that enters your name to win one of the two aprons.

This is one of the aprons I’m giving away in the drawing. Tell what you need prayer for in the comment section to enter your name to win one of the four aprons. Winner drawn Wednesday!

This is the second apron. This one is hand stitched, "

This is the second apron., it is hand stitched and fits a large

This is the biography about Susanna Wesley that I read. Moody Press is the publisher.

This is a good  biography about Susanna Wesley,  Moody Press  publisher

 

Extravagant Love–Marriage Conference Call

Dale and Sharon

Dale and Sharon

I was SO mad, I thought I would explode! And the contents of that explosion would have been hazardous to anyone in my path—namely Dale!

Anger was emanating from every pore of my being. What was he thinking? How could he not see the obvious? The more these thoughts swirled in my head, the madder I got! And he didn’t seem to care about my feelings, either! He just looked at me. That was it! I decided to pack the kids up and leave.

And (the nerve of him!) he didn’t even ask where I was going! The suitcases said it all!

I wasn’t thinking rational thoughts. I just left in the storm of it all.

Oh, boy. Those were the days. I’m so glad that was then and now is now. It was many years ago. Yeah, he said a lot of things and did a lot of things that I didn’t understand. It was like we were from two different planets with totally different brain and emotion function.

If you read my blog post Love Potion, you’ll remember I said there was a turning point in my marriage. Within a year of God working on me, my marriage started to change.

If you’re visiting me today after reading my devotion To Have and To Hold from P31 or Crosswalk, welcome! If you haven’t read it, you should!

Truth be told, most marriages will struggle at some point. The real question is: How will you handle it when it’s yours that is struggling? I can tell you from personal experience, if you focus on your spouse’s faults, the conclusion isn’t marital bliss.

There were three key things that radically changed my marriage. It took time for me to adapt to the changes, but I felt God’s leading and His pleasure in it all. A perfect marriage isn’t forged in a day, but the time and energy invested in it will last a lifetime. It’s worth the effort, and YOU WILL reap what you sow—I promise.

Getting back to the story… After being gone from Dale for 24 hours, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I came home, and we made up.

I’m a bit on the strong willed side, so it probably took me longer than it will take you. But when necessary changes were made, our marriage radically changed for the good. I’m talking the highest happiness of wedded life here!

Colossians 3:12-25 basically says: Extravagant love is the bond of perfection. Love is merciful, kind, long suffering, forgiving, bears all things… Verse 23 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord…” So, if we love our husbands extravagantly (heartily), the reward is great. Christ loved us extravagantly. He didn’t love us because we deserved it. He sacrificed everything for love. Extravagant love can transform an ordinary marriage into an extraordinary one, induce greater love, ignite intimacy, help us live above our weaknesses, and spend less time quarreling!

On May 30, 2013, from 8:00-9:15 PM EST, I’m going to do a marriage conference call—Extravagant Love. I’ll share the three things that changed my marriage, and then you can ask me questions at the end of the call! Sign up today for the Extravagant Love Conference Call! (Sorry men, this call is for wives- maybe I could get Dale to lead one for the husbands? )

I’m going to give away 3 free Extravagant Love conference calls. Leave a comment below to enter your name in the drawing. Just tell me in one word what you need help with in your marriage. Winners will be announced next Wednesday.

Subscribe to my blog or RSS feed to get all updates about the upcoming call!

The Depth of Intimacy– Pure and Indescribable

 

Dale and me in our field

Intimacy. Hmm…

After 32 years of marriage, I still blush talking about it!  It is so private and sacred!

No expression of human communion is deeper than that of a husband and wife making love. It borders on supernatural in expression.  The sensory goes beyond flesh into spiritual depths that are indescribable.

It took me a while to fully understand this in my marriage. Intimacy on the indescribable level can only be attained through a complete surrender of your heart and mind. God intended it to be this way. A lot of people skip this part and think that the very act of making love will induce love. It doesn’t. It deepens it, yes…but only when you surrender your heart.

When I got married I had no idea what surrender meant. The only thing my mom told me before I got married about intimacy was this: Don’t ever deny him. So I didn’t.

Oh, Dale and I loved each other very much, and making love was good. For various reasons, though, I had a wall of protection around my emotions. But I was unaware of it.  And because I was unaware, I didn’t know I needed to get rid of it.

I was able to trust Dale (He had never done anything to cause me not to trust him).  Over time, the walls protecting my heart slowly started coming down.  One night, unbeknownst to him, I decided to surrender my whole heart.

Hint: You’re supposed to do that at the altar—some of us just didn’t know how!

Let me tell you what happened when I finally surrendered…

It had been a long day.  I had cooked dinner, washed dishes, bathed the kids, put a load of laundry in, and put the babies to bed. Dale had been busy working, so he didn’t know how tired I was.  The little ones were finally asleep, and I was exhausted.  I was about to collapse when he gave me that look. You know…the look.

I was too tired, but my mom’s words came to mind.

He started to kiss me. This time something switched in my mind.  I decided to not think of this as a duty, but, instead, I accepted his gestures as gestures of love toward me. Then I surrendered everything to him—every vulnerable part of my heart, mind and body.  I loved him wholly and completely—unabashedly.

For the first time ever, a floodgate opened.  The wall lifted.  My emotions left the natural and went into indescribable. I started to cry I was so overcome. (Which was a little embarrassing, because I never cried!)

We were one flesh, and it was beyond good. It was absolute abandon. Whew, that was a big deal for me!  If more husbands and wives could love with abandon and receive love with abandon, there would be a lot fewer problems in marriage. I’m talking to husbands, too!

It is the same with my spiritual life. When I love and trust God with all my heart, soul and mind, in a place of abandonment, I enter into His sanctuary and am so overcome with the union of His presence, it is indescribable.

The ecstasy of loving and receiving love with no reins, freed, uninhibited—this is God’s ideal of marriage. He is the author of romance you know!

Many people struggle with intimacy in their marriage.  I think Satan works overtime trying to destroy it.  If he can mess with the deepest and most passionate thing God intended for marriage, well, then he may just have a foothold to destroy the family unit.

Men need to know they are loved just as much as we do. Your man may have walls around his heart, too. We need to love our husbands with outrageous, abandoned love in our conversations, our actions, and in intimacy.

Sometimes we may not think he is deserving of our intimacy. Next time you think that, remember this verse in relation to him, “Love is patient, love is kind… It does not dishonor, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”  (1 Corinthians 13:4)

He may be undeserving.  Love and be intimate anyway.  Do unto him as you would have him do to you.  If you love and bless him even when he doesn’t deserve it, in time you will reap what you sow.

The Lord desires your marriage to be happy, full, pure and indescribable.

Ask Him to help you.

 

Love Potion

 

Dale and me standing in front of our first apartment, 30 years later.

A lot of women who read The Good Wife Recipe assumed that marriage had always come easy for me. It hasn’t always been easy.

My dad left our family when I was young, so I lacked the example of a godly marriage. Being the oldest child, I was very independent. Those two factors added together equaled a negative value in my tendencies toward marriage. My learning curve took years.

I loved my husband, but I didn’t respect all of his ideas. I had my own ideas of how things should be, and naturally, I thought I was right. Overall we had a good marriage, but it wasn’t what it should be until one day, after reading the Bible, God led me to make a decision that tamed my independent mind-set. I decided to submit to Dale’s role as the leader of our home and to respect his thoughts and opinions no matter how much I might disagree. Gulp.

Our marriage started changing after that day. When Dale would share what he thought the kids needed to do about school or church, my first impulse was to say, “Are you kidding? No way!”  Instead, I said nothing. I would bite my tongue, receive his words, and follow his leading. Amazingly, good things started to happen. Dale was making decisions that led us in the right direction! Why–because  he cares about the family. Dale doesn’t rule over us with an iron fist. He lovingly considers our needs, opinions, and dreams.

Since I yielded to my husband’s lead, I haven’t always agreed with his decisions. Nevertheless, I stood firm in my commitment and followed Dale anyway. The outcome has always been positive and a sure sign that God is leading him. I am honored to follow such a man of God.

Now I find myself in awe of my husband. He is everything I could ever dream of. It is my desire to be everything he dreams of too! If he wakes me up before the alarm with kisses, then I pray that God will give me the ability to be what he needs. I actually enjoy making his favorite meals, dressing the way he likes, and sharing the same interests and hobblies as he does.

Sometimes when Dale walks by me, my heart will skip a beat. You know what I mean? It’s like  love potion has been poured on me! We are two people in passionate love—now more than ever. When we honor our husbands in every way—at home, in public, and in our conversations with others—God pours out His passionate love, and we are swept away by it.

Make a conscious decision to honor and adore your husband. You will become the woman of your husband’s dreams, and he yours and the legacy will live on in your children’s marriages for generations to come.

Today I’m going to give away a book written by my dear friend Rachel Olsen and her pastor entitled, “My One Word.” It is an incredible book about making one word represent what you most hope God will do in you, and you focus on that for an entire year. This single act will reveal clarity and concentrate your Christ-like efforts. I love the book!  Along with the book I’m giving a $25 Outback gift certificate to one name drawn from the comments today.

What is the one thing you need to work on in your marriage? If you’re single what is the one thing you need to focus on this year?

I’ll pick the winner from the comments tomorrow morning at 10AM (Wed). I’ll post the winner at that time.

 

 

Love is As Strong as Death

Sunrise on Glasgow Farm

“Love is as strong as death. . .” Song of Solomon 8:6

True love is passionate, unquenchable, fiery and devoted at all cost.

We galloped through an open field on our horses, then slowed to a trot and talked while riding side by side.  Our conversation went from one level of glory to the next.  It was heavenly.  I had never told anyone the dreams of my heart, until that day- nor anyone else since.  A connoisseur of the finest delectable fare would never want to share a spread with anyone other than one who had tasted and seen the very essence of the unspeakable.  The sun started to set and we realized we had been talking for hours, though it seemed like minutes.

That was my first date with my husband, Dale.  Our first date was and is the very signature of our marriage.  Passion and fiery love is drawn from the depths of two people, unified in spirit.  The strength of our marriage is exactly proportionate to how much we love each other.  The more I know him, the more I love him. The more I love him the more I want what he wants and dislike what he dislikes.  The stronger the marriage, the more passionate it becomes.

This kind of love will sacrifice anything for love.  If given the choice of living in a castle with all the riches afforded me without Dale or living in a hobbit home craved out of dirt on the side of a hill with him, I would choose the latter.  I would do anything to be with him.

The same is true for our lives as Christians.  A Christian’s strength and conviction is exactly proportionate to how much we love Jesus.  The more we know Him the more we love Him; the more vehement our love, the more we want what He wants and dislike what He dislikes.  Yet, we can’t fully love Him until we know how much He loves us.  Once we get this revelation- we are lit with a holy fire of love that is unquenchable and for this kind of love we would do anything.

God authored a lyrical poem written by Solomon about marital bliss in which He and His bride are consumed by this love that transcends knowledge.  The poem is metaphorical with figurative language expressing timeless truths- only understood by those consumed by His love.

As women, it’s not surprising that we long for great love stories.  But, the consummation of any love story will never satisfy us in the core of our spirit.  Only Jesus can fulfill our passion to love and to be loved, in the deepest sense.

True love is passionate, unquenchable, fiery and devoted at all cost.

God in His infinite wisdom and love for us described ultimate love through an allegory of the passionate bride and groom.

Jesus, I love You. I want more of You!  Break my heart for what breaks Yours.  Open my eyes to the things unseen.  Everything I have is Yours!  Baptize me with Your love! I want the flame of Your fire to consume me with unwavering devotion!

Ephesians 3:14-21 says it well;”For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory. . . for ever and ever! Amen.”

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.” Song of Solomon 8:6 ESV

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