We wanted to kick off this "Month of Love" with a FREE Downloadable to use with your children, your spouse, or any other special person in your life. Use these cards to help teach or remind you and your people what the Biblical view of LOVE is.
Click this link for the printable version. Download File
How to Thrive in Your Wedding Vows Series - Part 4
Disclaimer - Because of sin, there is severe dysfunction in some marriages today. This series does not mean to whitewash any problems inside of broken marriages. Instead, I desire to uncover the beauty of the vows thru a Biblical worldview and how they are intended to play out in a healthy marriage.
I’m not sure when it became so bad, but I distinctly remember the June day I flipped as never before, Dr. Jekyll turning into Mrs. Hyde.
I had miscarried our first child and underwent a physically and emotionally traumatic D&C. When we returned home, we discovered that our basement had flooded ruining many of our possessions.
I was a wreck.
My husband put me on a lounge chair in the driveway and told me to rest as he cleared the basement of our possessions as well as the water.
Heartache over the miscarriage, topped with a flooded basement seemed to be the setup for the perfect storm.
A few days later, family came for a visit. I was cantakerous itching for a fight. Sure enough, the match dropped, and I blew. Words and actions I'm ashamed to type unleashed from within me. The aftermath was awful.
I was sick inside, and my man didn't know the woman he married.
When we take our wedding vows, we promise to love and cherish our mate “in sickness and in health.” Most of us think of physical sickness when we hear this phrase. However, because of the fall, there can be extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors that can negatively affect marital bliss.
Our story is an example of the emotional side of sickness, of dark, dark days ruled by my erratic behavior and anger.
It's time we, as the church, recalibrate our thinking about "in sickness and in health." to include not only our spouse's physical health, but also their emotional and mental well-being also.
Brokenness may or may not have been present at the altar when we said, “I do.” Situations and circumstances can unfold causing us to wonder where is the person that we thought we married, for in their place stands a stranger whose actions are not lining up with who we thought we committed our lives to on our wedding day.
What are we to do? Throw our hands up in despair and deem the situation hopeless?
Christ's death and resurrection promise hope and victory in these hard places! This is where our faith grows feet and takes steps we didn't think possible.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen;
it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
I’m sure there were days my husband felt hopeless, but he didn't give up on me or our marriage. What follows is his story on how he chose to live Hebrews 11:1 in our “in sickness and in health” story.
3 Ways My Husband Chose to Walk by Faith in the Darkest of Days
What kept me from walking away from my wife during those hard times? I have to admit that during the dark times, it was not easy, so I chose to focus on three things:
1. The Good Times
One of the things that kept me going was to focus on the good times between those dark times. The good times gave me hope and helped me push through the painful periods.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
2. My Issues
Another aspect was knowing that I too had my own issues. This perspective gave me compassion for the struggles my wife was experiencing. My issues were not resolved in a day, and I knew that it would take time to work through our problems together.
Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.
3. My Commitment
Lastly, it was the commitment that I made when we got married. No matter how bad things became, the word divorce never came out of my mouth. It forced me to seek God’s help, to focus on working on our marriage, and not to give up on it. It did not happen overnight, but each small step encouraged us to stay the course and see God do a work in both of our lives.
But the Lord is faithful,
and He will strengthen you
and guard you from the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:3
Why do I share my man's choices on a blog for women?
Remy had no idea the depth of brokenness inside of me when he said, "I do." and vice versa. Though our circumstances may all be different, our choice as wives to stay committed needs to be the same. My friend, we need to stand by our vows "in sickness or in health," whether it's physical, emotional, or mental sickness.
How to Keep Going thru Your Spouse's Sickness
Over time dealing with health issues in our spouse can be taxing, even straining our compassion for our spouse. In those times we need to press into our faith. Christ extended sympathy to sinners like you and me. Since Christ bestowed His compassion on us, we can and should extend compassion to others, including our spouse.
Luke 5 explains:
"But the Pharisees and their scribes complained to Jesus’ disciples,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus answered, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Whether or not you knew your spouse's physical, emotional, or mental health on your wedding day, you committed to who your spouse was as well as who he would be in all your tomorrows. You, my friend, can be faithful to love your "sick" spouse well because God desires it of us and is faithful to empower us.
If you are currently in a valley with a sick spouse,
- Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. He loves you and is for you!
- Seek to love your spouse through Christ's strength.
- Press into your promise to love your spouse in sickness and in health.
- Find an accountability partner, someone who will be confidential with your story and faithfully pray for you.
Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
There are no guarantees your spouse will be well this side of glory, but the God of hope promises never to leave you or forsake you. He promises to complete the work in you that He started. He promises endless growth in ways the world can't hold a light to.
You. Can. Do. This.
Others are watching, dear one. Shine in the dark places. My husband and I are praying for you and cheering you on! May we all be found faithful thru the sick days and the well days to quietly live out a bold faith inside our own marriages to the glory of the Lord and for His Kingdom.
He will sustain you to the end,
so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1 Corinthians 1:8-9
How about you, my friend? What are some tips you have used to not grow weary in sickness in your own marriage? Do you have any words of encouragement for us? Perhaps you're in the thick of a tough situation. I'm sorry. I'd love to pray with you. Let me know. You are not alone. <3
Tammy Valdivia - Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
Find us on Facebook here.
Wedding Vows Series
I Do? What in the World Did I Sign Up For? - Part 1
Heat Up Your "To Have and to Hold" - Part 2
Winning Solution in "For Better or For Worse" - Part 3
Do You Feel Weary in Your "in Sickness and In Health" - Part 4
You CAN Meld Love and Money in "For Richer or Poorer" - Part 5
Love AND Cherish no Matter What? - Part 6
Till Death Do We Part - Part 7
If you don't know the rest of our story, you can find it here.
When I was a wee lass, I distinctly remember the first time I saw a color TV. Up to this time, we viewed the wonders of television in black and white. But then my cousin purchased a color TV.
His sister and I ran down the hill to his house, bursting into his living room eager to see this modern day marvel. And there it was, turned on, airing a hair commercial of all things. The model might have been showcasing the wonders of hair color, but I was more amazed at the explosion of color hitting my eyes rather than the color of her hair from a box.
Having just come off an 8-day journey thru the Holy Land, the wonder of stepping into the pages of beloved stories I’ve heard from my childhood is like the black and white to color TV scenario. My friend,
I’ve heard the waves lap on the Sea of Galilee.
I’ve tasted hyssop.
I’ve seen the sun paint the sky over the Valley of Armageddon.
I’ve felt the cold Jordan River.
I’ve stood in the EMPTY tomb!
I've walked where Jesus walked!
My Bible reading has exploded into living color!
And I want to convince you, dear reader, to save your pennies and go!
Here are 7 reasons why Israel should be on your bucket list:
1. The Atmosphere
Like any other country, a sea of humanity walks the streets of Israel. Yet, unlike any other place I have visited, outwardly expressive religions walk the same roads with each other. Stiff hats, dark garments, the swishing of the long robes, the curled sidelocks, the slits for beautiful dark eyes, all of it within a country the size of New Jersey! The mix of cultures, food, sounds, and smells makes for an unforgettable experience. Yet despite the mix, I didn’t feel unsafe at any time during my trip.
2. The Locations
Think of it, many of the locations we’ve read about and studied are right there,
- the Sea of Galilee where much of Jesus’s earthly ministry took place,
- the desert -- where John the Baptist started his ministry and Jesus was tempted -- stretches as far as the eye can see,
- caves where David and others hid
- the gurgling spring where God narrowed down a fighting force of men to 300 to fight by Gideon’s side,
- the Jordan River which God opened for the Israelites to cross on dry ground, and where Jesus was baptized
- the Dead Sea where nothing lives, but everything floats, including humans.
- Masada – a king’s desert fortress turned Jewish stronghold against the ruthless Romans
- Peter’s mother in law’s house!
3. The Guides
Like an expert on the Civil War or Yosemite Park, I’d highly recommend going on a tour led by a local guide who is a believer. Passages from Scripture have taken on deeper meaning when told in the context of what was going on in the place and time of the event.
A perfect example for me was Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice. Questions I had about that have now been answered all because I had a knowledgeable guide who was able to show and tell things I wasn’t privy to before.
Another example was the eye of the needle - Just look at the door in a door in the wall! "It is easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter heaven."
Oh my! Where to start? There’s the Old City teaming with history centuries old, the underground tunnels hewed from rock and dirt to safely transport people and water in and out of the city, the wailing wall with rocks the size of a small car, the Upper Room, the basement where Jesus was beaten and flogged, the Via Dolorosa, the list goes on
5. The Garden of Gethsemane
Tucked away from the clamor of the city, is the garden where Jesus declared, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Such a serene spot to reflect and be reminded of what He did for us and can do for us.
6. The Empty Grave
Every other religion in the world visits their leader’s grave full of bones. But ours!! Think about it, we can travel halfway around the world to visit an empty grave! Totally worth it! Woohoo! “He is not here! He has risen, just like He said.”
7. The building of your faith
Of course, I’m still on my own Mount of Transfiguration trip high, but I pray I’ve been renewed and emboldened. Just opening my Bible this morning to continue my study of Mark was totally different than just two weeks ago.
I can now picture the sky being painted by the sun as it rises over the Sea of Galilee.
I can hear the soft lapping of the water, and the crunch of footsteps on the shore ladened with rocks and teeny tiny shells.
I can feel the water caressing my feet.
I have walked where Jesus walked! Glory be!!
I’ve dreamed of traveling to Israel for 30 years. And I long to go again!
So should you because while going to Disney may fill our hearts with glee temporarily, a trip to Israel gives us another brick in our foundation of faith. It's a trip with an eternal impact.
I'm not saying it's wrong to go to Disney or other fun places, I'm just presenting the question,
"We save our pennies to go to Disney, why not for Israel?"
Israel should be on every Jesus Girl's bucket list because a trip to Israel takes the Bible, a living book, and splashes gorgeous colors over every setting.
So, next year in Jerusalem! Yes? Start saving your pennies and let's go!
As I was asked to write for By Faith She, I began praying about what direction I should go. The words no one wants to hear crept into my life almost a year ago and since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I knew I needed to share my story!
Back in November of last year I received a call that came with an overwhelming diagnosis that changed my life from that moment forward. “Cancer” is all I could hear on the other end of the phone. I was forty-one years old and scared to the core! From the very beginning, I heard Jesus asking, “Do you trust Me?” To be honest, that was a hard question to answer because I felt as if Jesus had walked away from me. That sounds so crazy now, but during the diagnosis I felt alone.
As my doctors created a battle plan, my daily life began to consist of tests, doctor visits, blood work, chemo and ultimately surgery. During the process, I lost my hair. We all know that back in the Bible days your hair was your glory and of course it’s still an important attribute for women still today. Yet again, the Lord kept asking, “Do you trust Me?”
Throughout this process there have been many days that it’s just been me and Jesus. I have learned now more than ever to let go of things I cannot control and let Him move in my life. It hasn’t been easy, but when I really came to understand that He was the one that created me and He knows what’s best in my life, I was able to surrender and lay it all at His feet.
I was raised in the ministry and I thought I had given every area of my life to Jesus, but I learned quickly He didn’t really have all of me. Did he cause this cancer? Nope! But, I do believe He allowed it so I could reconnect to Him and go deeper in my faith.
Placing all my trust in Jesus and giving Him all my fears has truly changed my heart and my life. I have moved from simply loving Jesus to being crazy, madly in love with Him!
My hair is slowly coming back in and I am now a blonde, which is a hair color I have never had before! This journey has taught me how to be intentional with what I fuel my body with too. I used to eat whatever my flesh desired, but have seen the benefits of feeding it with whole foods that make God’s temple thrive. In the process, I have now lost 30 pounds. I am so thankful that the Lord has changed me from the inside out!
I can relate so well to the story of the Red Sea in Exodus 14. As the Israelites saw the Egyptians approaching and then saw how vast the Red Sea was, they were frightened! But God was speaking the same thing then as He has been to me on this journey…”Do you trust Me?”. With God on our side, He stands between us and the enemy and we never fight our battles alone! I’m telling you He is crazy in love with you and when the “Red Sea” comes in your life do you turn back or do you let Jesus part the waters for you to walk through?
My journey continues. The surgeon was able to get all of the cancer…Praise Jesus, but I am still undergoing precautionary radiation. Days can be so long and hard, but I know God is my Healer and my Poppa and I must continue to “trust” Him as He has asked me to do.
So, I leave you with this...will you let Him change you from the inside out? What He can do for you, which he has done enough already on the cross, is amazing!! I am very blessed and claim healing, and will claim healing for you and your “Red Sea”.
Hello, my name is Jennifer Williams. I grew up as a child of a kids pastor. I have been in church since I was a baby, and grew to know the love of who Jesus is. I am a wife of an amazing man that God placed in my life eight years ago after going through a divorce that I never would of expected. God turned it around and placed my soul mate in my life and showed me again that He was in control. I have 3 kids...2 from my first marriage, a son that is 23, a daughter that is 21, and now a bonus daughter that is 16. Also God has blessed me with my first grandchild! His name is Landon and wow what a HUGE blessing He is!! I love being a Grammy and know that God knew I needed him at this appointed time! For fun I like to spend my time with family and travel as well. I LOVE ministry and love helping others. My desire in life is to pray with people and see transformation in their walk with Christ, and to see people be healed!
Last year I wanted to work on my understanding of the New Testament. I decided that instead of trying to read through the entire Bible in one year (because I usually don’t make it very far into the New Testament when I try this) that I’d challenge myself to just read through the New Testament in 2018 using the same chronological study as usual.
I still have more to read before I complete the entire New Testament and 2018 is over. I didn’t make it 🤦♀️
I could tell myself I’ve failed. I could count 2018 as a loss because I wasn’t able to keep up. I could decide that it’s not even worth trying because I’m afraid I’ll fail again.
This year I gave myself grace when I didn’t get an entire day’s worth of reading done. And, when I missed a day altogether, I started back the next day right where I left off.
And guess what happened?
I spent some amazing time with the Lord 🙌🏼
I grew in my knowledge and maturity as a believer due to that intimate focused time and due to the reading I did complete 🙌🏼
I understood even deeper that it’s not about worshipping the process of spending time with God but it’s about actually spending time worshipping God 🙌🏼
I encourage you to set those goals for this coming year! Make a plan to study God’s Word and spend some intimate time with Him. Grow in your knowledge of Him and in your relationship with Him!
Give yourself grace when you lack. Start back strong when you miss!
It may not all play out as you have planned but that time you do spend with Him will surely be worth it!
Ask Him to take your time together and use it for your good and His glory.
Click this link to see the Chronological Bible we use and recommend.
The Bible is filled with God’s promises to different people. Some were made to specific people in certain situations, but many of His promises were made to His children in general. When He made those promises to His children, it included any children to come in the future. If you are alive today and are in relationship with God, through Jesus, you are God’s child and those promises are available to you!
For example, let's say Tom decides to play the lottery. He buys a ticket, picks his lucky numbers and when the winners are called, he has a multi-million dollar ticket! Unfortunately, Tom decides to hang on to his winning ticket and never turns it in for his reward. He has great riches available to him, but he never takes the necessary steps to access them.
The promises God gives us regarding prayer are rich and extremely powerful! Let’s take some time today to unpack what they are and how we can live the abundant life He offers.
I have to be completely honest, I’m not great at promptly returning all of my text messages. I’m even worse at Facebook Inbox messages. And don’t even try sending me an email.
But God promises to answer His children before they even call!
“I will answer them before they even call to Me. While they are still talking to Me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” Isaiah 65:24
“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14
He promises that He will 1. hear us and 2. answer every word we send His way.
It's true, His answer may be in a very different way than we had hoped, but even still, He will answer.
Now that is a big promise!
One of my former pastors, Dr. Ed Young Senior, wrote a book that I highly recommend, called Living Under the Rainbow. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific promise made by God to us as followers of Jesus Christ.
In his book, Dr. Young gives us several actions, straight from Scripture, that we must take to live abundantly in the promise of prayer. I have included some of them below.
1. ABIDE in Christ - We must be in a covenant relationship with God, through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is not like the interactions between acquaintances but rather intimate, soul-bearing communion.
We can take the earlier example of Tom winning the lottery further to illustrate this point. Let’s say Tom’s friend, Jim, knew about the winning lottery ticket. He drove straight down to the lottery claims center and told them all about his friend’s winning ticket. Unfortunately for Jim, he couldn’t claim the money for himself. He was trying to access riches that he didn’t hold the rights to. Just the same, God made this promise to His children. Someone who is not a child of God can not claim this for themselves. Only a person in a covenant relationship with God, through Jesus, has access to the promise of God’s ear and answered prayer.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 17:7
"Anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6
2. Pray for God’s Will - Much of Matthew 6 is devoted to Jesus explanation of how we should pray. He tells us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come, and His will to be done. He tells us that our priority needs to be seeking His kingdom and His righteousness first, and all of our other needs will be added to us.
3. Set Aside Pride - We must come to our Father, in our need, and ask Him to give us what we can’t give ourselves. In Jesus explanation of prayer, He says we should ask for our daily bread, reliant on God to provide our needs. This takes humbling ourselves and asking God to provide.
If my people, who are called by may name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears…He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
4. Address Sin - When we are abiding in sin instead of Christ meaning we have unaddressed, unconfessed sin in our life, this blocks our prayers to God.
Psalm 66:18 - “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”
Isaiah 59:2 - God hides Himself from those who are in sin.
James 4:3-4 - When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…
Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?
The promise that God will hear my prayers and act on those prayers provides peace and security as I live through the ups and downs life brings. It gives me confidence to live by faith, and trust that God is with me every step of the way.
Audra and her husband Jordan are called to ministry and he is the senior pastor at their church. They have two beautiful children who bring them tons of joy, lots of laughs, and on occasion new grey hair. She is a former teacher who still loves to teach, enjoys cooking and baking, and has a passion to lead other women to know Jesus and live out their faith in Him.