Marriage Meltdown: Busyness (Part 1)

Marriage Meltdown: Busyness (Part 1)

Busyness kills relationships. Why? Because real relationships take time, effort, and energy. If we are constantly busy and on the go, we won’t be able to give each other or our marriage what it needs.

We will be too tired. Amen?

After an exceptionally busy weekend, Craig and I started talking about what motivates both of us to get (and stay) busy. This is where we start. If we don’t know the heart behind our choices, our behavioral changes won’t stick.

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Distractions {new video & short series}

Get distracted much? Us, too. These distractions keep us from our greatest goals and closest relationships. Craig’s opening up about how the distractions of negative self-talk hindered him in previous weight loss journeys and Jen reveals insight she just got this morning about how anxiety pulls her away from the One and the ones she loves. 

Our plan is to turn this into a series all centered around priorities: why we need them, how they get out of whack, and how we can refocus on them. We hope you'll join us.

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Please also join us in praying for Las Vegas. 

Waking up to bad news like the Las Vegas shootings feels like a sucker punch to the gut. I mourn for those who have just experienced incredible loss and heartbreak. It makes me want to gather my family together and become hermits. 

But, yet, that is not what we are called to do. As families, we are called to go out into the world and love. If those of us who have the capacity to love and love well all shut up in our homes, who would be the voice for goodness? Who would advocate for a way for peace, for wholeness, for freedom, for healing?

Our first job is to love our families well and to connect with Jesus daily. When we do this, we are filled, not with our own strength and love, but God's. And because He gives so fully, because His well never runs dry, we can be sure that we can afford to give as much love as possible that overflows out of us.

Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

And keep the faith.

On Giving Gifts (new video)

On Giving Gifts (new video)

We have a slew of birthdays in the summer months, so gift giving is on our mind. I know that Craig and I have both struggled from time to time when it comes to giving the "perfect" gift. What we've come to realize is that this isn't about perfection, but simply, gift giving is a way you can show how much you love each other. Extravagance isn't required—just a touch of personalization and some good time thinking about your spouse.

Here's a glimpse into our successes and failures and some tips we've learned along the way!

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Imitation Self-Control Tastes a Bit like Imitation Vanilla: The Real Thing is Better

Imitation Self-Control Tastes a Bit like Imitation Vanilla: The Real Thing is Better

I am, we are, works in progress. The past few weeks have been a painful work in progress. It seems like the whole onion analogy works here. There are layers and layers of my controlling nature and as God peels them away, sometimes I cry.

A large part of why I control is because I’m afraid. My biggest fear is that I will fail my husband and my kids.

So much of my planning, organizing, and caretaking stems from the anxiety that if I don’t do X, Y, and Z—or if they don’t—things will fall apart. I keep my expectations high for a well-run, well-organized life, doing my best to keep everyone moving along as they should, investing all that I can emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I believe that this continually striving will give me protection from all that failure that looms large out there.

Hey, guess what? I’m exhausted. Again.

Somehow, I fooled myself. I cloaked my controlling nature and hid it under the guise of simple self-discipline, self-control. That sounds so holy, right? How can self-discipline, self-control, be wrong?

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Why the Church Must Be a No-Shame Zone

Why the Church Must Be a No-Shame Zone

This week, we're talking about being spontaneous, and yet, here is a post about the Church and porn. Well, that's spontaneous, right? I never know when my posts for Covenant Eyes will go live and I don't always share them here, but this is a post that Craig and I both feel so passionate about—Satan uses shame in incredibly powerful ways and it is time for the Church to fight against these schemes.

Church, rise up. RISE UP.

The sins we commit in the dark, in the secret places, those are the ones Satan hones in on, where he continually speaks lies under the heavy cloak, in the deep recesses of our hearts where we shut out Light. Where can we take these sins? To Jesus, for sure. But where do we find the community that helps us in the recovery of these sins?

If the Church is just another space that heaps more shame, the Church then becomes another tool of the enemy.

This cannot be so.

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What a Tree Can Teach You about Kindness

What a Tree Can Teach You about Kindness

On Monday, Craig stayed home from work and through the morning, I still found myself bitter. Poor guy. HE'S SICK and I can't seem to muster up the compassion I know I should have and should be showing.

Part of the problem is that on Saturday, we spent all day working in the garden. Craig helped me. All day. But instead of resting in that gratitude for the day he was able to help, instead I grew resentful of the fact that we still had so much to do (inside and outside) and now, I would be completing all these tasks by myself.

I could have done the sane thing and adjusted the amount of items reasonably achievable by one person. But when I get in my "uber-productive" mode, I lose some section of my brain entitled "Rational thought." Words such as EFFICIENCY! PRODUCTIVITY! ORGANIZATION! ORDER! play through my brain on repeat. And anything (anyone?) that tries to disrupt my work? The image of Alice and Wonderland's Queen of Hearts passes through my mind.

Sad.

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What Chokes Out Kindness

What Chokes Out Kindness

We spent our Spring Break vacation at Disney World, which means we really need another vacation to recover from this one! We had tons of fun! Who knew that we could go for 18 hours, take a 4 hour "night nap" and hit the next park by the 9am opening time? (Now you see why we need the extra vacation!)

Craig and I went into this trip with this question: Will it be easier or harder to show kindness while on vacation? Watch the video to find out our conclusion!

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Why Surrender Doesn't Mean Giving Up the Battle

Surrender is hard.

Surrender is especially hard when you're a type-A emotional caregiver who struggles with anxiety. Hello, perfect storm.

I want to fix everything. I want people to be happy and healthy and free. My first instinct is to evaluate and plan. I find solutions, present them, and cajole the person into using them. And then I'm disappointed when they don't. I get frustrated, angry, and resentful. When they continue to struggle, I say in my head, "If you'd only listen to me!"

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

Ironically, when I'm in fix-it mode, trying to promote Healthy! Happy! Free!, I find myself feeling unhealthy, unhappy, and chained. I've found that the harder I try to bring about change in people with my own solutions, the more I find myself drowning in the fear of the problem at hand. I become antsy and restless, my mind spinning with more ideas, more "what-ifs," and a cascading list of new problems that might crop up because this one is still unresolved.

Praise the Lord there are some problems we can take care of with ease, but those issues that we find in others—the ones that rub us the wrong way, the ones that induce fear, the ones that seem to threaten our security—those are the ones that require surrender. Those are the ones where our solutions won't stick, where when we begin to talk to our spouse about the issue, we are met with silence, a blank "smile and nod," or empty promises.

Why? Because the problem requires their surrender, too. We can't make anyone raise their own white flag. 

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