Sunday, July 27, 2014

Random things that make me HAPPY today:

* Papa's here
* fellowship
* free day at the fair ♥
* that awesome family of mine!
* a joyful soul
* fair food ♥

Witnessing to a Muslim Woman {Guest Blog}

Thursday, July 24, 2014

{It is with such excitement that I introduce the amazing author, Anne Garboczi Evans. Anne contacted me a while back, asking to share on my blog. Once I read the different topics, I was in! Make sure you stop by her page and check out her work. Please welcome her with lots of comments and shares!}

Once you've experienced the peace of Jesus, the first thing you want to do is share it. When you’re first saved, you often naively think if you just shout Jesus’ love from the rooftops, everyone will fall on their knees to worship their Maker.

Sadly, there are a lot of lies masquerading as truth and most people are firmly entrenched in the religion they’re in. The religion might not meet the innermost longings of their soul, but they aren't leaving. How do we as Christian women reach across the divide and share the love of Jesus with women in other religions?

The first thing we need to know is what other religions believe. You can’t very well tell someone to turn to Jesus, if you don’t even know what you’re asking them to turn away from.

Islam is the second largest religion in the world and a rapidly growing one so here are some tips for witnessing to Muslim women.

How to go to heaven the Islam way: According to Islam, to go to heaven, one must first believe in “no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” After that, one works one’s way to heaven by following rules like the five pillars of Islam and the Koran’s commands.

Why Muslims believe the Qur’an: Muslims are rationalists. They don’t want to feel in their heart Islam is true (like Mormons), or see a paralyzed man healed in front of them (like Pentecostals). Muslims believe the Koran based on reason. And according to Islam, the reason the Koran is true is because of how well the words have been preserved since Muhammad’s day. Knock the feet out from under the preservation of the
Koran and you knock the feet out from under a Muslim’s faith.

So what should you talk about with your Muslim friend?

1) Talk about atonement. We know we’re sinners. We know we’re not good enough. In Christianity, we can plead Jesus’ blood to cover any stain. In Islam, you have to be good enough. Ask your Muslim friend, how she’s doing as far as good works. Does she feel she’s good enough for heaven yet?

2) Talk about the preservation of the Koran. In reality, it hasn't been preserved nearly as well as Muslims believe it has. Study the facts. Ask your friend, “If the New Testament had been better preserved through the last 2000 years than the Koran through the last 1500 years, would that make Christianity true?” Pursue that thought with your Muslim friend with scientific evidence that the New Testament has been better preserved.

3) Be Respectful: If a Muslim converts in a Muslim country or returns to a Muslim country after converting, they will lose their life. Even if a Muslim woman lives the rest of her life in non-Muslim countries, she may be beaten by her husband and will lose all her family and friends. Remember that when you’re sharing the gospel.

Further Resources

1. Has the Qur’an Been Perfectly Preserved? 4truth.net

2. For audio learners, a nine part youtube.com video of a Christian and Muslim debating about the preservation of the Qur’an

3. Is the Qur’an Preserved? AnsweringIslam.com

4. The Islamic Method of Examining the Textual Preservation of the Qur’an. Answering Muslims

5. Look for Anne Garboczi Evan’s not-yet-released apologetics book on world religions entitled No Fear: My Tale of Hijabs, Witchcraft Circles, & the Cross to further explore how to witness to women from other religions

Anne Garboczi Evans is an author with Hartline Literary Agency. She is currently working on a world religions book entitled, No Fear: My Tale of Hijabs, Witchcraft Circles, and the Cross.

How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness {Book Review}

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness
Serving People Just as They Are
By Todd Stevens and Erin Stevens
About the book:
The starting and ending points for all outreach have to be love. The most effective way to reach people for Jesus is through servant evangelism—showing God’s love in practical ways. This type of outreach is what Jesus modeled, is culturally relevant, and values people. The goal should be to invite people to take the next step from where they are. 
Friendship Community Church, led by Pastor Todd Stevens, has experienced tremendous growth through acts of kindness. The church’s most radical servant evangelism project is Nashville Strip Church, founded by Erin Stevens. Erin’s life changed when God told her to "go feed the strippers." With home-cooked meals and gift bags, Erin shows dancers that God loves them. How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness includes the story of a dancer who has come to know Christ, left the strip club industry through Erin’s ministry, and is now serving with Erin to reach other strippers. 
From feeding the homeless, to Easter egg hunts for special needs children, to ministering in a strip club,How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness provides exciting ideas for showing God’s love in practical ways. 
Last week, my fam and I went on a little vacation to the beach.  If there is one thing this Mama loves, it's reading a book by the pool or the ocean.  And I did just that every. single. day.  This was my book of choice.

Let me start out by saying this...I knew within the first 3 pages of this book that God was going to use it to change my life.  How's that for a review?

This book was a fun, down-to-earth read.  Todd definitely has a sense of humor and I can so appreciate that!  And I so love that he used normal, every day words.  Goodness, I hate feeling like I need a dictionary beside me when I'm reading a book.

If you are like me and you want to know how to reach your neighborhood with the love of Jesus, this book is for you. If you feel God is telling you to just go love on people right where they are, then this book is for you. If you feel like we need to SHOW people Jesus love rather than just telling them {although telling them is important too}, then this book is for you.

In nine chapters, Todd and Erin challenge the reader to think about how their acts of kindness can make a difference for the Kingdom of God. This is because, as they point out: What we've found over and over is that by doing a simple act of kindness, which may not meet any obvious need, we often end up connecting with people on a much deeper level.

Time and time again I found myself saying "Shut up, I've felt this same way!". I would read a page, get super excited and tell Joe he HAD to read it. My mind would fill with tons of ideas and my mouth would ramble on and on.  So many ideas that I will be putting into effect.  

Read this book and you will be encouraged and motivated to think differently about how to share God’s love with others in your neighborhood, workplace and maybe even family!

This book was provided to me free of charge by Book Look in return for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

What I Love About Sunday

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oh Sundays, I so love them.  Big family lunches after church remind me of my childhood.  My Mama always had big lunches after church.  I can remember sitting in church, feeling like I was starving to death, and passing her a note that said "what's for lunch?".  Those meals are one of my favorite memories.  I really miss having big Sunday dinners at my Mama's, but I guess now I'm the Mama to provide this memory for my littles. 

Eternally Thankful

Saturday, July 19, 2014

This is the seventh anniversary of the best and worst day of my life. This is the day I stood in my living room with tears streaming down my face and begged my husband not to leave. This is also the day that made me step back and take a good, long look at myself in the mirror and realize my own faults. And this is the day that I decided to make a change for me, for us, for our family and for God.

Not everyone understands why I remember this day or why I "celebrate" it. I think it's super important to remember our past, it brought us to where we are today. The word “remember” is used 167 times in the Bible. I’m fairly sure God is reminding us of the importance of remembering. I never, ever want to forget what brought us to that point on that day. I want to remember what my actions were before and what I changed afterwards. I can remember so vividly sitting in the middle of my floor, sobbing, and looking at the calendar and thinking "this is a date i will never forget". And I haven't. Remembering is part of our design by creation.

One evening, not long after he left, I drove my car back a dirt road. I followed the road to the top and pulled in to the perfect spot, nestled among trees and open fields. It was a gorgeous, clear night and the sky was filled with stars. I sat there that evening and cried for hours while talking to God like He was sitting in my car with me. That evening the seed of forgiveness was planted in my heart.

I realized my relationship with Jesus had taken a backseat to life, along with my marriage. Actually, Jesus wasn't even in the backseat, he was in the trunk. I did not have time for Jesus to trip me up when I was busy living the ways of the world. I realized I couldn't change my husband. There was only one person I could change: me. Jesus said, "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:5). Once I realized that, asked for forgiveness and started to nurture my relationship with Jesus THAT'S when things started to change, when I started to change.

There was never a doubt that I wanted to stand for my marriage, regardless of what the world told me to do. God showed me divorce extracted a high price. One I simply wasn't willing to pay. There were people telling me to get a divorce and move on with my life, that I deserved better, but all I wanted to do was what God wanted me to do and that is it. I knew that standing was what God wanted me to do and I never let the thought of divorce even enter my mind.

Some may support your stand for your marriage and your fight against the enemy, while some may totally disagree, but all that matters is that you do what God wants you to do. Those that disagree with you might make their voice heard daily, or they might even walk out of your life because of it. You need to remember, one day we will all have to face judgment and have to be responsible for the things we did. All those people who had opinions about your situation will not be with you when you have to answer to God. So you have to do what you know is right.

I prayed, trusted God and knew His will would be done. I basically handed my marriage to Him and waited for things to be done in His timing, not mine. I was waiting for His intervention. Through that, God taught me patience and perseverance. Three months later, he returned home!

I am so thankful that our love story didn't end there, that it did indeed have more chapters to it. The reward of restoration was well worth the wait. And I am eternally thankful that our love was rescued by God ♥ I adore the beautiful God-scripted love story I have.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Parenting for the Launch {Book Review}

Friday, July 18, 2014

Parenting for the Launch
By Dennis Trittin and Arlyn Lawrence

About the book:
Key strategies for parents of teens in the crucial window before that "launch" into the real world. Learn how to set them up for success through effective communication, valuing and cultivating their unique strengths, and empowering versus control. Help your teens build a strong personal leadership foundation that will enable them to live successful, independent lives of purpose, integrity, and impact.
I have two teens at home that will eventually leave the nest. I'll have to send them out into this world, hoping they are equipped with the skills they need. I really appreciated this book! It helps parents effectively prepare and equip their teens for their new chapters of life when they leave home. Are you nervous? I know I am! Are you ready to launch your kid out into the "real world"? The authors offer practical strategies and insightful advice that are truly helpful and invaluable. The book is divided into 3 main parts: Destination Preparation, Relationship Preparation and Transition Preparation. Each chapter ends with a "Take Five" section which includes key questions for readers to reflect upon.

Here is a great quote from the book:
Wings are the things we do to prepare our children to be secure, confident, and independent adults, who will live with integrity and impact. We empower our kids when we train them with strong internal guiding principles and give them freedom, opportunity, and accountability to apply those principles according to their unique style and interests. Picture an eagle--it can soar to the heights. It is free to explore high and far and to navigate the turbulence that life often brings. (p. 13)
I would definitely recommend this book to all parents!

I received a free copy of this book from Icon Media Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Passion Pursuit {Book Review}

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Passion Pursuit
What Kind of Love Are You Making?
by Linda Dillow + Dr. Juli Slattery

About the book:
Can sex be both holy and passionate? The Bible says yes! Combining Dr. Slattery's psychological expertise with Dillow's life-changing stories, this bold study reveals what God says is and isn't okay in the bedroom; the reasons he made men and women different; and more. A must-have resource for women who've been married four months or 40 years!
Why yes, you did read that right. A sex book review up in here, woo! Before you start blushing, remember God created sex for husbands and wives to enjoy together. And that, my dear sisters, isn't shameful at all!!!

We live in a society that is so super focused on sex and sexuality. TV, movies and books address this topic openly and even sometimes forcefully. I mean, hello, they are even using sex to sell Liquid Plumber! Yet the topic of true intimacy is often NOT a part of the picture.

This book is built as a bible study, which I love. This girl is a slow learner so when you break it down for me into a study format, I can focus and learn so much quicker. You can read it alone, with a friend or in a small group of women. It is designed to get you thinking (and talking) about intimacy in marriage. No worries, the book comes with rules already set about discussing these topics with others. The rules allow for boundaries about privacy while still creating a safe guide to use in interacting with others on the topic of intimacy. It is broken down into 10 weeks and each week has 5 days of study. Each day has a devotion, scripture and guiding questions with room to write out your answers.

This book is not just about sex. It is about respect, integrity, truth, forgiveness, temptations and faith. All of these are really important aspects of intimacy as well. The book is packed with scripture, taking a look about what God says about sex in marriage and addressing some of the misconceptions about sex that churches have held for centuries.

I was given this book by Moody Publishers for the purpose of this review.

Why I Write

Monday, July 14, 2014

Why do I write this blog?
The answer is really simple.

I write for Him.
I write because He has given me a passion and a heart for marriage.
I write for broken hearts.
I write because I stumble.
I write to help marriages that are hurting as well as help strengthen healthy marriages.
I write to help you enjoy and grow in the beautiful covenant that God created.
I write to let you know you aren't alone. Ever.
I write because I'm not perfect.
I write to share that we all have our own story and our own past.
I write to share my pain and joy, my struggles and triumphs.
I write in hopes that my struggles will help you in your own walk.
I write to honor God with my words.
I write out of love.
I write because He nudges my heart.
I write because He is still working on me.
I write because He knows my heart.
I write because He has a plan for my life.
I write because He has called me to write.
I write to share love, not anger.
I write to heal, not cause conflict.
I write to share harmony, not criticism.
I write to speak truth that is sometimes hard to hear.
I write because I believe.
I write simply out of my absolute love for Him.

♥ le SIGH ♥

Sunday, July 13, 2014

lots of fam time. 
flip flops. 
book reading. 
sleeping in. 
tons of pics. 
NO work. 
not cooking. 
i am in love.

The Day is Finally Here

Saturday, July 12, 2014

We are leaving for our vaca...
Can.not.WAIT. to get outta here for a week...
I have big plans of laying on the beach daily...
Doing my morning devotions while sitting by the ocean watching the sun rise...
And walking this boardwalk every evening...
I'm not taking my laptop along, so no pics this year until we get back...
I made the executive decision that this is a fam vacation to spend time together, technology free...

PS...what I won't be doing this vaca is riding those willy nilly bikes on the boardwalk in the early morning.
They are super sketchy.
And I had a bad experience with those when I was little.
I may or may not have knocked down a little Chinese man.
And peddled away quickly while he yelled at me in a different language.
No desire to go through that again.
Nope.  None.
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