Thursday, April 30, 2015

You Need to Meet This Girl

Happy Thursday! I have been rather absent from the blog this week due to sickness. I did write a post on marriage for Monday though. Have you checked it out yet? I have been sick for a week now and even had to take a trip to the hospital. But enough about me!
Do you have a special friend or two that you have met through this crazy blogging world? Maybe you haven't even met yet but it seems like you've known them for years! Faith is one of those friends for me. I started reading her blog, Life with Mrs. G and the Artist, months ago. She writes about life, marriage, her faith, her struggles, funny moments, and she is the mastermind behind the ever so popular and growing Golden Vlog. (I personally love it!) She is married to LG and she is a nanny of two sweet twin boys. We wanted to do a fun little post together so we asked each other questions. I'll be over on her blog today & she is taking over mine for the day! Meet Faith. You're going to love her....

1. How did you and your husband meet? Was it love at first sight?

LG & I met through mutual friends. They told him about me first and then he asked for my email and then never emailed me so I took the first step and emailed him. After that first email though, that was it. We emailed almost every day and talked on the phone almost just as much. We lived about 4 hours apart so we didn't get to see each other to much but I cherished the times we did get. Hmmm... love at first sight? I don't know that I believe in that. ha! I knew he was super sweet and I liked him a lot but I don't know if it was love ... I think it grew to that. For me at least. Now he will tell you that he remembers everything about me from the first time he met me. sweet! 

2. What is the biggest obstacle you have faced as a blogger and how did/how are you overcoming it?

Hmmm ... I think probably the biggest obstacle for me was and still kinda is about advertisement. I love sponsoring people and I love having them sponsor me but I'm always nervous I'm not doing something right. Or that my sponsors are not going to like being on my sidebar. I worry I'm not doing enough ... or doing enough of the right things. Does that make sense? I'm still working to overcome that and I have had some amazing people sponsor me and really encourage me with there feedback so it's a work in progress I guess. :) 

3. If you could write a book, what would you write about? 

Oh wow ... funny you should ask this. I have always wanted to write a book. In my teenage years I wanted to write fiction. In fact, somewhere in my parents house is a fiction book I started when I was in high school and I've read it a couple times since and just laugh. It was so terrible so maybe fiction is the way to go. However, I still have the desire to write. I've thought about a book of short stories a couple times and then recently I've come to love the inspirational type books {grace for the good girl, love skip jump, mended}. I would love to write something like that.


4. What song best describes you?

I don't know if a lot of people will know what this song is because it is an old hymnal song but I absolutely love the old song "It's My Desire" It really speaks to my heart. 

It’s my desire to live for Jesus, 
It’s my desire to live for Him; 
Though often I’ve failed and brought Him much shame, 
It’s my desire to live for Him. 

If you could see where Jesus brought me from 
to where I am today, 
You would know the reason why I love Him so. 
So you can take the world’s wealth and riches; 
I don’t need earth’s fame. 
It’s my desire, it’s my desire, it’s my desire to live for Him.  

5. What is the best gift you ever received? 

Best Gift ... I've had a lot of great gifts in my life but the two that are coming to mind right now are my coach purse from my husband last year for Christmas and theatre tickets to see pride and prejudice live on stage. Also from LG. He surprised me one year for my birthday with the tickets and I was so excited! Those two things would have to be at the top I think. :) 
You can find Faith over on twitter, facebook, & insta!
Do you follow Faith's blog? If not, go meet her! Do you have blogging friends?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Five Ways to {Practically} Encourage Your Husband

1. Help him.
Ask him how you can help him with the yard work, the finances, or his work load. Husbands have great responsibilities so showing him that you care and how you are willing to help him in any way will greatly encourage his heart. Pulling up weeds may not be your first choice but if it helps your husband, you are choose to say "I do" to him, all over again!
2. Pray with him.
If he is especially stressed or worried about something, pray with him... Right then & there! If he is having a great day, praise God with him. When I pray for my husband or when we pray together, it helps us focus on what's most important and encourages us to keep fighting the good fight.
3. Surprise him.
So often we, as women, want to go on dates that are fun for us. My husband doesn't mind going on shopping trips with me, but I know that he especially loves going to the movies. He sure loves his popcorn. Let your husband choose what you do one night or one weekend. Maybe even surprise him with something that you know he will love, like tickets to a sports event or a new video game.
4. Love him.
Kiss him extra long, laugh with him, give him a foot rub after he had a long day at work, smile at him, pack him lunch with extra chocolate, & don't forget to just simply LOVE him. If you two have children, it's easy to put your husband on the back burner. But by choosing to love him extra much will remind you why you fell in love with him in the first place. Unity is key!
5. Talk with him.
Communicate with him! Let him communicate to you. Be a good listener and really focus on how his day went, what bugs him, or what makes him really excited. Ask him questions. Tell him how much you love and appreciate him. Respect him in a conversation by listening more than just trying to prove yourself, especially when you both aren't agreeing. Reminisce on your past together and dream of your future together! And in the midst of it all, enjoy life together!
Be selfless. Choose him over yourself. And show your husband how much you care!
What else would you add to this list of ways to practically encourage your husband?

Friday, April 24, 2015

My Favorite Spring Outfit!

I am in love with Spring! My husband's sister, mom, & cute little nephew stopped in town to visit us last week and we decided to spend the beautiful spring day downtown by the river. My husband snapped a few photos of me while we were enjoying the day so I wanted to share one of my favorite spring outfits. It's simple + springy!







If you are in the TN area & are interested in a photoshoot, check out our photography website: Kashner Photography
top: yard-sale steal from aero
bottoms: American eagle
shoes: j.crew

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Catch The Little Foxes

Friend, whether you are married or not, you need to read this. This can be applied to not only our marriages, but in our thoughts,  hearts, and minds as well.
Shelby is a monthly contributor here at Hot Tea and the Empty Seat Community and let me tell you, girl can write. God has so blessed her with a great talent of powerfully and eloquently speaking truth. Shelby is actually a real life friend + she has a precious family. She and her husband have been married nine years (they must have gotten married when she was 12? hehe) and they has the cutest two boys you ever will meet.

Marriage is hard.
Marriage with one kid is really hard.
Marriage with two kids is really, really hard.
Marriage with more than two kids... I can't say from experience, but in my opinion, these are the real superheroes who should be having blockbuster movies made about them.

Having my husband home with me on summer break the past month has been a huge blessing. I'm so grateful that he has a job that has allowed him to be here while we have a newborn, so that we all can adjust with a little more ease, and I don't feel like I'm having to handle it all on my own. As much as he is my best friend and I adore him though, we can drive each other a little crazy and really get under each other's skin. Being together pretty much all day, every day for the past month has provided more opportunities for us to get irritated with one another and more chances for us to vent that frustration to each other.

Now, those of you who are reading this because you think I'm about to air all of the Vandegriffs' dirty laundry, you'll be disappointed to find out that that is not, in fact, what this blog post is about (and then I want you to examine yourself to try to figure out why you were so excited that you thought that's what was about to happen). Unlike that one special Facebook friend we all have who loves to post the ridiculous dramatic happenings in their relationships every ten minutes, I actually have a working filter, and I know that it would not benefit anyone to talk specifically about the negative things in my personal life.

Suffice it to say, there are negatives. And I think it's okay to say that because I am a human. Blaine is a human. I'm assuming you are a human too if you're reading this (unless maybe this is 40 years into the future and our artificially intelligent computers have finally gained sentience). So as humans, we all know we are imperfect, and as imperfect humans, we are all going to make mistakes. And when there are mistakes, there are negative outcomes. So, yes, shocking as it may be, I don't have the perfect life. I am not the perfect woman. My husband is not the perfect man. And our kids are not the perfect kids. (Although if you've ever read any other blog posts I've written, you would have no reason to have thought any of us were perfect in the first place).
So if I'm not about to tell you all the ways Blaine and I have gotten on each other's nerves this past month, and I'm not about to publicly vent any specific negative details about my husband, you may be asking (if you're actually still reading and weren't just here for the drama), "What is the point of this post?" Well, this post is the result of a thought process that started when my husband and I got really frustrated with each other today, and I stormed off to take a shower and stew on my angry thoughts.
My general thoughts started along the lines of: "How dare he?" "Look at all the stuff that I do and take care of," "I would never say such and such," "I would never do such and such," "I am such a selfless, good, thoughtful, [insert any other positive adjective] wife and mother," "What a jerk," "I'm going to stay in this shower for an hour and let him deal with our offspring himself," "I am giving him the silent treatment the rest of the day" (big punishment, I know).

Then in the midst of that self-affirming, husband-accusing stream of consciousness, this thought quietly inserted itself: Catch the little foxes. But I kept going with that other flow of thought for a few more minutes because it made me feel good. Once again the phrase interrupted me: Catch the little foxes. I still resisted, but the thought was getting louder, and the husband-bashing was making me feel guilty now.
CATCH THE LITTLE FOXES. Ok, Ok, I've got it!
Now, before you think I'm clinically insane and have multiple personalities or hear voices, let me explain. There's a book called Song of Songs (sometimes Song of Solomon) in the Bible that is about a couple and their love story, their courtship, their marriage, their intimacy, and even some of their struggles. In chapter 2 of that book, there is a verse (vs 15) that says, "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom." There are, of course, different interpretations about what this means and what exactly the foxes are, but several years ago I listened to a sermon series on the Song of Songs, and one of the messages was about this particular section in the book. In that message, the pastor referred to the little foxes as, "those seemingly small sins that sneak into a marriage and create disunity."

My little foxes were running amok while I stood there in the shower mentally proclaiming my innocence and my husband's awfulness. My little foxes, upon closer examination, were feelings of pride and arrogance, unrealistic expectations, selfishness, a dishonest or unrealistic view of my own self and the role I play in our disagreements or differences, and the forgotten realization that I and my husband are imperfect humans with a nature of sinfulness that has to be overcome on a regular basis. Those little foxes were having a field day in my head, and I was just opening the gate wide and welcoming them into our vineyard (our marriage). Once the realization sank in and I knew that what I was doing was wrong and harmful to my relationship with my husband, I prayed to God right there to help me catch those stupid foxes.

So I set out to eliminate them, one by one. I calmed down, I stepped outside of the focus on ME, and I gained a new perspective.
Was I justified in my frustration? Maybe.
Did I handle the situation appropriately? Not really.
Did I contribute to the problem? Definitely.
Was I some innocent victim? Nope.
Was I trying to play the part of an innocent victim? Yep.
Would staying angry about this benefit anyone? Absolutely not.
Then I went into the specific details (which I will not go into here) and examined why I reacted the way I did, what was I really upset about, and how could I have handled it all differently and more productively?
Clearly the shower ended up going a little long, but it really wasn't out of spite. It was a cleansing process (Ha Ha).

I would like to go ahead and insert a little disclaimer here that our argument wasn't about some earth-shattering, marriage-ending problem. It may or may not have had something to do with nap time and a turkey sandwich. But that's how tricky those little foxes are. We know not to cheat on each other or lie to each other. The marriage-ending potential for those actions is pretty clear. But fighting about a turkey sandwich and our 2 year old's nap time, well that's a little more sneaky but can have just as devastating effects if left unchecked.

So I caught the foxes and was then reminded of the passage in the Bible I had read only 3 days ago during my devotional time. I'm going through the book of 1 Corinthians and just read chapter 13. When I stood there (yes, still in the shower) thinking about how I was acting toward Blaine, it didn’t measure up very well to the standard of love laid out in the Bible (vs 4-6):
Was I being patient? (No)
Was I being kind? (No)

Was I being jealous or boastful or proud? (Definitely proud, and I definitely boasted in my mind about how great I was)

Was I rude? (Yeah)

Was I demanding my own way? (Ha! That was the start of the whole problem!)

Was I being irritable? (Yep)

Was I keeping a record of wrong? (Yeah, if I'm honest, I think I had actually been mentally tallying up every time he had done this specific thing over the past few days)

Was I rejoicing over injustice or rejoicing when the truth wins out? (I didn't want the truth to win because then I would have to admit I was a little wrong)

But the passage concludes: "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." (vs 7)


So here's what I concluded... I wasn't acting lovingly toward Blaine, but I do love Blaine, and I needed to change my actions to truly show it.

Here's what I concluded... I can't control Blaine; I can only control myself and how I react. I tell him this all the time when he's driving and he gets mad at another driver, but I wasn't listening to my own obnoxious advice as I tried to control how Blaine should've acted and how he should've handled our argument instead of focusing on myself and my contribution to the problem.

Here's what I concluded... It's really hard to love the right way. It's easy when things are going the way I want them to, but when circumstances don't go the way I expect, when I haven't had more than 3 hours of consecutive sleep for over a month, when I have a demanding toddler and a demanding newborn, when I just want to sit down and eat a whole cake but I don't have the excuse of being pregnant anymore so I have to practice self-control... well, those are the times when it's a little bit harder to love the right way. But it's no less important in those times if I want my marriage to "endure every circumstance".

Here's what I concluded... I'm a sinful person. Even though I have been saved from those sins by Jesus' redeeming work on the cross, and I am no longer a slave to sin, and even though my heart has been made new and has received forgiveness, I still have a human nature that seeks its own comforts and its own demands and its own happiness. I have to ask God every day to help me keep my sinful inclinations in check, to help me promote and desire the happiness of others over my own selfish desires, to show love to others like He showed love to me by allowing His Son to die for me.
Here's what I concluded... my marriage is worth that effort. I made a covenant with Blaine to love him and be committed to him and to our marriage for the rest of our lives, and it takes work. It takes more work with two kids than it did when it was just us. But the reward is worth the effort, and I refuse to let the foxes win.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Celebrating God's Creation!

Happy Earth Day!
One thing that I do not write a lot about is our love for the outdoors. My husband and I love going on road trips, hikes, camping trips, & enjoying the bright blue sky together. Every morning, I open up my windows in the kitchen as I sit down with my Bible and I hear the sweet birds singing their praise. God's creation is so beautiful! A couple of weeks ago, my husband + I went rock climbing with a few friends. His amazing creation never ceases to amaze me. God is truly the ultimate artist!

"The heavens  d e c l a r e  the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."
Psalm 19:1
What is your favorite thing to do outdoors?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Are You Seeking? - the world vs. jesus -

Can I just be honest?

I blew it. It's only the second day of the week and I already blew it like glass in a tire on the highway. If you are a female of any age, surely you know Lily Pulitzer? And you know & probably love Target. And you know that this week, the two collided. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, in fact, I searched the site for an hour picking out my favorite dress. And yesterday, after thirty minutes online, I decided which dress I was going to purchase to add to my overflowing collection of sundresses that I already own. (I know what you're thinking.. i bet she really needed that dress. The world might end if she doesn't get that dress). I thought I really needed it. Because I thought it would make me happy and I really wouldn't need anymore. I would be content. This dress would complete me. Ugh, I stink. Let me be clear, wanting a dress wasn't the real issue. Although I know the truth, I was looking to the world for temporary fulfillment because I wasn't being obedient to Jesus or spending time with Him. I was being a rebellious child.
This morning, as I forced myself to the kitchen table to open up the Word that fills my hungry (and wretched, selfish) heart, I began to write in my prayer journal. Because the Word was too convicting. Y'all, I haven't truly been in the Word in over a week.
 Told you, I blew it.

 My hungry soul had been seeking things of this world.... dresses I don't need, more crap to fill my already-filled home, obsessive thoughts about the future (like obsessing over anything really does any good). I've just been a worldly mess and I've pushed Jesus so far out of my sight, that I couldn't even get back without feeling guilty. Please tell me I'm not the only one. I know I'm not. But I'm not writing to correct you. I'm writing to tell you that even when we seek the world, seek our selfish desires, those things we do not need, Jesus is still there waiting for us to seek Him again. He never looks at us, thinking, "Wow, she really blew it. There is no way I could ever forgive her for that. She is going to have to work hard to get me to love her and hug her again." NO. Jesus thinks quite the opposite about us, even when we are in our mess. Even when we lose sight of the purpose, promise, and hope of our lives.
I believe Jesus looks at you & me and he says, "BELOVED, Come to me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I am your heart's greatest desire. I am your God and you are my child. Forever."
This morning, after writing my sad, guilty words to God, He spoke right back... as clear as the blue sky outside of my window. And my soul did a cartwheel, my knees hit the ground.
"Who are you seeking?" were the words in my STR devotion.
The devotion pointed to the Jesus-seeking Mary Magdalene after Jesus had died and was put inside of the tomb. She ran out to see Him but found no Jesus, only glorious angels proclaiming His resurrection. Even when she saw that the tomb was empty of her king, she kept seeking. Through her broken heart. Through her confusion. Nothing was going to stop her from seeking Jesus. She kept seeking Jesus Christ, her soul's one desire.
"Mary saw the stone was rolled away, her Savior missing from the tomb – and she went in to look for Him anyway.Two angels dressed in glowing white greeted her and most folks would have run – but Mary went to them weeping, asking for her Lord.Then a face she could not recognize through her tears asked why she was sad, and Mary didn’t even answer the question. She jumped right to the seeking.
“Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” (v.15, emphasis mine)
Mary was simply and sincerely seeking her Lord. She sought Him when He was living, and she sought Him after He died. She sought Him relentlessly, even through the pain and confusion of a freshly broken heart.
Mary did not yet know the “why” of what was happening, but she knew this: she needed to find Jesus.
She sought Him, and He spoke her name.
He saw her, He knew her.
She called for Him and He called back to her.
“Mary.”" -shereadstruth
Mary sought after Jesus. And Jesus called her by name. As I was reading that excerpt from the devotional, I inserted my name instead of Mary's. Because it's true. When we seek Jesus, He speaks our name. He speaks up, letting us know that He is still there. Nothing we do or seek can push away His love. He knows me, He loves me. And He knows and loves you. He's a personal God.
Jesus spoke to me clearly and now my heart is full again. It's amazing how quickly He can comfort us, speak to us. He isn't a million light-years away. He is near. He is so close, beloved.
I don't need that stupid dress as much as I need peace and contentment of heart and joy. Jesus. I need Jesus.
Let's stop seeking the things of this world & daily seek Jesus, whose ruling Kingdom (and our true home) is not of this world!
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
Relentlessly seek the world & you'll always want more, never be satisfied. Relentlessly seek Jesus & your heart will not only be filled, but will absolutely overflow with gladness.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Comparison is the thief of joy
Hello sweet friends! Hope your Monday is as sunny and happy as mine has been! Today is special. Today we are kicking off the new Hot Tea and the Empty Seat Community with an article from one of our own, writer & wife, Gemma Watts! Gemma blogs over at Deepest Treasure & resides in England. She is so sweet & it's a blessing to know her! This morning, she brings us encouraging & truth-filled words on...

'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?' Shakespeare writes in Sonnet 18. 
Well, I think we'd all agree that we'd love a strapping young fellow to compare us to a summer's day, wouldn't we? I don't know about you, but summer conjures up all sorts of beautiful memories of friends, family and fellowship. Not to mention the weather!
But what would happen if Shakespeare compared us to something else, something less beautiful, something less worthy of praise? How would you feel about that one? I don't know about you, but I'd probably leave feeling a little disheartened, a little less worthy of that person's time or acknowledgement.

The truth is, every single one of us falls into the trap of comparison minute after minute, day after day.  Shakespeare wrote about this in 1609. Comparing ourselves to someone or something is not a new idea. In fact, it's a very old one. But nevertheless, it's a trap that we continually have to battle. 
How many times have you scrolled through your Instagram feed and thought 'man, I wish my house was like theirs' or 'I wish I was that beautiful' or perhaps 'I wish I was that godly'? I know that if I put my hand on my heart and give it a really close look; I've done it. Comparison works both ways too. How many times have you not followed someone on Instagram or some other form of social media because their page doesn't look good enough, or their blog not fancy enough? Hand on heart? I've done it. 

You see, as Christian women, our eyes are so often pulled into looking at the things of this world for satisfaction. Our world says that you're not good enough unless you've got the house with all the beautiful things inside, or the hair that swishes in the right way in the breeze, or the new clothes for every season. 

So what does the Bible have to say? 


Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[d] is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

-1 John 2.

Ouch. There it is. Friends, when we compare ourselves to someone or something, other than looking to Jesus, we're lusting with our eyes. If we think we're better than someone else, we've got the pride of life. Either way, we're not looking to Jesus. We need to be secure in who we are and not anything else. We were bought with a price. A price that Jesus paid on the cross. Surely that makes you feel more loved and valued than ever? The world will pass away. It's desires will pass away. But God will stand forever.

Next time we scroll through our Instagram feed and are tempted to compare ourselves to others, how about we stop and remember that we were bought with a price? Let's remember that Jesus loves us. When we're tempted to judge others, let's remember that same thing. We're not better or greater than anyone else. Each soul is a soul that needs saving by Jesus. 

Father, help us to do these things and be women who act upon your word. Amen. 

-Gemma, HTATES Community Contributer


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Growing with God link up - Week Three - True Fellowship

Maybe you're on of those gals who has the strongest group of friends on earth. You ladies are there for one another and you have get-togethers all the time. You've known each other since you were kids. Or maybe you're sort of like me and you don't have the same friends since high school. And you don't have sleepovers with your girlfriends every month. Maybe you feel like you don't fit in wherever you are.
You may not fit in to the world's cliques but there is a place where we all belong. The body of Christ. And it's oh so sweet.
This week's Growing with God prompt is fellowship. Or community. It all means one thing: unity.
When my husband and I got married, we found ourselves in a town where we knew exactly zero people. I met a sweet woman named Lee who invited us to her church, Harvest Bible Chapel. Before we visited that church, we went to a bigger church in the city since I was used to bigger churches even though I knew everyone because a grew up there. But this church was so big that people met in two places at once. And while it was a great service, not one person actually talked to us. So, we decided to try out Harvest. Y'all. We went one time and we were hooked. The worship was real. I FELT God's presence. The people were friendly. We even joked that they were so friendly that it was creepy. But they were GENUINE. It was such an encouraging place. That night, we attended small group with Lee in a couple's home. This was SO out of our comfort zone but we felt like we needed to go. Story after story, people were pouring their hearts out. Nothing hidden or tucked away. Just real people doing real, hard life walking through pain and struggles, joy and celebration. For one purpose.
For God's glory and their sanctification.
We have been at Harvest for almost two years now. We are involved in the youth group, outreach, welcome team, and a small group. I have overcame anxiety, fear, worry, and a dark place in my life while the ladies in our small group walked alongside of me every step of the way. Not for selfish gain or to look good or to get praise. But because they are full of the love of Jesus. I'm not saying that everyday is perfect but I can honestly say that there is no gossip, no slander, no dissension, no disunity in our small group. Just true fellowship. I understand that not every church is like this but it can be. If any group of people come together in the name of Jesus for His glory and their sanctification, God will work in amazing ways. There isn't magic in numbers but there is supernatural power when believers come together under the name of Jesus.

"For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future." Ephesians 4:4
I'm sharing all of this with you as a testimony of how God has used His body, His church for my sanctification and my encouragement. And my husband's too, of course! He has grown in leaps and bounds as he and the other guys seek God together, hold one another accountable, and pray for one another.
I believe that God wants us to treat all people like we treat the people in our small group, church, family, or tight group of friends. He calls us to love, serve, and give. And to me, that's true fellowship.

How has fellowship/community effected your life?
Link up your blog post on Fellowship with us & don't forget to link back to Hot Tea and the Empty Seat!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Golden Vlog! Volume 8 - BEAUTY!

Hey sweet friends! I am super excited to be back to vlogging with Faith of Life with Mrs. G and the Artist! I have missed vlogging since being too busy to vlog but I am excited to be back. This month's theme is over beauty. It was awkward at first talking about beauty since I have always struggled with insecurities in that department! But I ended up enjoying it and I can't wait for next month! Missed ya, Faith! :)

My favorite beauty products that I totally recommend to anyone:
- Clinique "beyond perfecting" foundation + concealer (this stuff is AMAZING $27)
- foundation (stippling) brush to apply foundation ($12 walgreens)
- ELF cream eyeliner (only $3!)
- ELF Eyebrow kit (I think only $2-$3)
- Physicians Formula bronzer ($13) & ELF bronzer brush ($1-$3)
"Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—   rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." 1 Peter 3:3-3
:Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30
You are beautiful & you are loved!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Growing with God: in the WORD {week 2} A Link Up

Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope you are having a superb week so far. Jesus is alive & He reigns. It can't get much better than that! To get you caught up with this Growing with God series, go check out week one. It was about PRAYER. This week, we're discussing our connection with the Word of God. Are we growing? Are we loving it? Or are we forcing ourselves to dig in?
I n   t h e   W  O  R  D 

"as newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious." 1 peter 2:2-3

The Word of God is our spiritual food. If we don't desire and "partake" of it, we aren't going to grow. For new Christians, it's vital. For growing Christians, it's vital. Babies will be sick and malnourished if they don't drink milk. Its the same with Christ followers. If you aren't growing through the Word of God, you're going to be spiritually malnourished.

"Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path" Psalm 119:105.
God's Word is the Light in this dark world. It reveals truth, the only truth in this life, and guides us to walk in that truth. If we aren't using the Word as our light, we are going to stumble and fall. No matter what we think at times, we need God's Word. All the time.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
God's Word is literally alive. How amazing is that?! His words are living because HE LIVES. We can trust and live by God's Word because God is trustworthy and faithful and He is real. So are His words. That is reality. Not what the latest magazine or news article or someone's opinion. God's Word is the only reliable source of truth. That should get you excited! We can be sure about what is real in this life because we have the Truth. Jesus is the Word. {John 1:1}
I used to take my Bible everywhere I went. As a Senior, I was the girl in high school who took her Bible to lunch, to the gym, to the bathroom. Okay, maybe not the bathroom but everywhere else. I craved the Word. I needed it to survive. As the years went on and the seasons changed, I grew in Christ because I was in His Word, soaking up every word. Then, I went through a dry spell, a season where I didn't crave His Word. And inevitably, I began to fall a little. But because of His amazing grace, I didn't stay down. He never leaves us fallen. In the moments where I don't crave His Word, I pray for that desire. And I open His Word and dig in anyways. God is faithful to give me that desire back. Why? Why is God's Word so important? Because it is GOD speaking RIGHT to you and me.
After high school, as I went through a season of seeking God's will for my life. I think we all go through that stage of life. Except I worried so much about it. I didn't want to get it wrong. It took me years until I realized that God's will for me is written in His word! It isn't a mystery what God has planned for us. Though it may be worked out differently for ever person, He wills for all of us to have faith in Him and to seek Him and proclaim His name in everything we do. I learned this by being in His Word. His will for us isn't a certain career or location. His will for us is to live for Him. And to grow in Him. And to make disciples for Him. And we can do all of those things by being actively in His Word.
 "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 thess. 5:16-18
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Romans 12:2
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Last year, God gave my husband and I an answer and peace on whether we should go to Haiti... guess how? By His word! He spoke to us through a verse in the book of James. And He keeps speaking to us through His Word. We must be diligent in opening it up.
"It's not about getting in the Word. It's about getting the Word in you." Those are the words from a friend named Joe Mulroney who moved to Charleston to plant a church with his family. We grow and learn and are molded into the image of Christ by letting God's word transform our minds and hearts. Reading the Bible shouldn't be something we cross off our to-do list. We are being sanctified by opening up our hearts to let His Word change us from the inside out!
We will never stop learning, never stop growing, and we will never stop being molded into the man or woman that God created us to be if we are daily in God's Word, seeking Him. I am learning how to be a godly wife, a true follower of Jesus, a friend, a neighbor, a servant all through the Bible, God's Words to us.
So whether you crave His word more than anything or you find yourself in a dry spot, not really having the desire to open up His word daily, I encourage you to keep reading, keep praying, keep seeking Him. He will bless you and teach you and be near to you more than you will ever experience!
 He is faithful.
And you are loved!
How are you growing or being stretched by being in His Word? Are you in His word at all? Link up with us and tell us how you are doing, what you are learning, or whatever God has placed on your heart in the area of His Word!

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