Getting away can be not only romantic, but it can be fun! It can remind you of how you fell in love, and rekindle a spark that life sometimes dampens. It can give you time to have conversations that you wouldn’t normally have and strengthen the bond between husband and wife. Take some time soon to be together just the two of you!
Surprise Anniversary Trip-Audra's Pick
Our anniversary falls on the same week we always take a summer trip to the lake with my family. We have spent many anniversaries in bunk beds, sleeping in the same room as our kids and other family members, and group dinners with everyone! Not that this isn’t a super fun time, it’s just not all that romantic.
So, a couple of years ago, my friend Leslie told me about a quiet little bed and breakfast outside of Nashville. I booked a late anniversary trip for just Jordan and me and took care of all of the details. He is usually the trip planner in the family so this made it a little more exciting for him.
We slept in, had brunch instead of breakfast, and took in all the area had to offer late into the night. Let’s be real, we stayed out until like 10. We goofed around on Segways, and enjoyed a delicious variety of food on a Franklin Food Tour.
Kiawah Island - Laura's Pick
For several years, before life became busier, we took a couples trip with some dear friends of ours. The guys would plan the trip one year, then the girls would plan the next. Everything was a surprise and the location was not disclosed until we were in the car and on our way. I love surprises, so this was always so exciting to me!
The trips were always based around golf and spas. My favorite of all the trips was to the Sanctuary on Kiawah Island outside of Charleston, SC. We loved the seclusion and the peacefulness of being right on the Atlantic coast. They had a five star spa and the guys loved playing golf at the Ocean Course.
My husband and I try to be intentional on getting away by ourselves, but we also enjoyed that season of life when we could share it with friends as well!
Colorado - Rebecca's pick
My man and I escaped to the snow capped mountains of Colorado several years back and it was the most memorable trip that we've ever taken. Prior to the trip, we realized that babies and parenthood had put seeking adventure together in the backseat. So, we lined up childcare, cleared our schedules, and set off. He planned the entire trip--hot air ballooning in Winter Park, snowmobiling in Vail, backroad trekking along the Colorado River, and taking in the majestic views. It was oh-so-dreamy and recharged our marriage for years to come!
4-Day Weekend - Tammy's Pick
Twice a year, my man and I enjoy putting aside life for a few days and stealing away near or far. We might drive 7 hours south to retreat to the sand-kissed waters of the Gulf or drive an hour west to relax at a quaint bed and breakfast. Once in a while, we'll even book airfare on a deep discount airline (like Allegiant) to experience a faraway new city off season for a fraction of the cost. Lazy mornings, long walks, and luxurious desserts top our adventures. It truly revitalizes our marriage and reminds us of the gift we have in each other.
24 Hour Getaway - Bronson's Pick
Get a sitter for the kids and slip away with your spouse to some place fairly close for 24 hours to recharge and relax and invest in your most important relationship after the one you have with Jesus.
Childhood innocence found me frolicking in the creek where the most pressing questions focused on “What’s for dinner?” and “Can so and so stay the night?” Yet, in my inner being thoughts began to percolate like:
“Who am I?”
Teenage years scuffed my innocence with the sandpaper of insolence and independence birthing such questions as, “Who are you to tell me what to do?” and “How is memorizing the Pythagorean theorem going to advance me in life?” narrowing down my inner dialogue of,
“Why am I here?”
College found my friends and I devouring obscene amounts of ice cream and chips while discussing the more profound questions of life in our superior "know it all" manner, often leaving us wondering,
“Does any of this matter?”
Before I knew it, these big questions tumbled into adulthood with me as I grappled to make sense of the madness swirling around in my head, no less the senseless chaos of the world around me.
But then the light bulb went on as I realized that we believers don't have to stumble trip thru life questioning our meaning and purpose.
Like a treasure hunter seeking treasure, the dotted line finally led me to the “X marks the spot” in Scripture with a diamond of a verse containing the answers to some of life’s biggest questions.
For we are His workmanship
Created in Christ Jesus for good works
Which God prepared beforehand
That we should walk in them.
Question: Who am I?
Whether it's the Mona Lisa or the Eiffel Tower or a starfish which come into your mind’s eye when you think about a masterpiece, the truth of this verse says we (you and I) are God’s workmanship, masterpiece, handiwork. In fact, Genesis 1:27 states we were made in His image.
When we look in the mirror, we are viewing God's handiwork. Think about the beauty and balance of two eyes and two ears, one nose and one mouth, with a heaping of hair to crown His creation.
Purposefully and lovingly created. (Psalm 139:14)
We were knit together in our mother's womb with a heart, a soul, and a mind all crafted in the likeness of God. He was so pleased with HIs creation of male and female that He proclaimed, “It was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
Answer: God’s handiwork which He declared very good.
2. Why am I here?
What do you love to do best: sing, help others, teach, encourage, draw, etc? When used for the Kingdom, those are what we’ve been put on this earth to accomplish, good works.
A great example is the Apostle Paul whose initial intent was to shut down Christianity. (Acts 7:58 & 8:3) But following his Damascus Road radical transformation, he was wholeheartedly convinced of why he was on planet earth: to prove that Jesus is the Christ (9:22).
I love how Acts closes out his biography: he welcomed all to come and sit with him preaching and teaching the truth of God’s Kingdom unhindered. (Acts 28:29&30)
Paul knew why he was here: for good works, Kingdom work. So are we.
Answer: to do good works for the Kingdom!
Question: Does any of this matter?
It’s not an accident or mistake that you are in this period of time, in your specific family, job, church, and neighborhood. God has a plan and a purpose and placed you right where you are to do the good works He equipped you to do.
Heartache and disappointment can knock the wind out of us causing us to give up on doing good works. John 10:10, in fact, tells us that the enemy of our soul wants nothing more than to steal, kill, and destroy us and our good works.
However, it does matter. It is crucial for you to pull your weight and do those good works. Just like a tug of war match, it is essential that all our team members have an “All in” mindset.
What you do, matters. Small steps, one good work here, one intentional act of kindness there, fulfill God’s preordained plan for your very existence! Get up, friend, and lend a helping hand. We need you!
Question: Whose am I?
As I was pondering these questions, the realization that the sum of these questions, “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” as well as, “Does any of this matter?”, are answered with the clincher, “Whose am I?”
Just like the actual owner of the Mona Lisa was initially the painter who painted her, “Whose am I?” is answered when we circle back to the beginning of the verse, “We are God’s workmanship.”
When we know who’s we are we are more confident, driven, purposeful to fulfill our calling, longing to “bring one home” for the team ever mindful of whose we are.
Answer: God's <3
Does the Bible answer life’s biggest questions? Absolutely! It sets our compass to true North guiding us on the path to the abundant life promised to those who believe. (John 10:10)
Dear one, allow these answers to anchor your precious heart today. Stop the drifting and questioning and wondering. Live confidently knowing who you are, why you are here, why it matters, and whose you are based on the truths found in the diamond of a verse, Ephesians 2:10. Mine this treasure yourself, so you can shine bright for the Lover of your soul, Jesus. <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.
Follow us on Facebook here.
What a week!
We covered Christ pursuing us, the beauty of encouragement, healed broken marriages, and a modern day miracle. Then we shared our 5 top memories from our very first conference!
Our hearts are full.
So you're a Christian. A Christ follower. You love Him, worship Him, talk with Him often, serve hard... At least that was your story.
But, somewhere along the way you got lost. You now find yourself far away from your Heavenly Father. Things may appear great on the outside, but on the inside you know things are different. Continue reading here.
As I was in our attic reminiscing over tubs filled with our daughter's tee ball uniforms and dance costumes, our son's outfit he wore home from the hospital and many other sentimental moments, I stopped in my tracks when I saw an envelope that held prayers and letters of encouragement that I had received over the years, some of them twenty plus years ago. Continue reading here.
Once upon a time, a broken boy married a broken girl and together they had a very broken marriage. Hopeless is what some called it. There was only one thing that could save it and His name was Jesus. After many years and feeble attempts of trying to fix it on our own, we finally reached out to Him. And, He reached back to us. Continue reading here.
While I longed to be full of the love, peace, and joy promised to those who love Christ, depression, anger, and abusive behavior jerked me around on a chain. I was a slave to my erratic emotions, desperate for saving from myself. I needed a miracle. Perhaps that’s why I love the story of the demon-possessed man whom Jesus freed in Mark 5:1-20. Continue reading here.
What a DAY Saturday was!! By Faith She hit the road and traveled to Paducah, Ky to speak at the Fearless Women’s Conference. The Lord showed up in a mighty way and we still can’t get over it! Read our top 5 highlights here.
What a DAY!! By Faith She hit the road and traveled to Paducah, Ky to speak at the Fearless Women’s Conference. The Lord showed up in a mighty way and we still can’t get over it!
Here are our Top 5 highlights:
Our first known salvation through our blog occurred two weeks ago 🙌🏻, and she traveled across three states just to come to this conference!!
2. Battle Book & Shirts
We launched By Faith She shirts and prayer journals (aka Battle Books)! These items have been a dream of ours for quite some time. After many, many (countless) details coming together, we finally got to hold them, touch them, and share them with the world! 🙌🏻
3. Breakout Sessions
Each one of us taught two breakout sessions (a first for us), and it was SO rewarding! Audra taught on how to use your Sword to defeat anxiety and fears. Tammy taught on embracing your unique God-given design. Laura taught on how to share your story and why sharing it is so important. Lastly, Rebecca taught on the path to freedom and how to overcome strongholds. Thank you Lord for giving us these messages!! 🙏🏻
4. Whoa Susannah!
We got to partner up once again with Whoa Susannah. What’s more fun than that?! Her message on living fearlessly despite the storms of life touched us all. And, of course, she kept us laughing. 😆
5. You! <3
We were able to meet so many of you!! Our work is so often behind a screen and this conference was a sweet time of connecting face-to-face and heart-to-heart. What a gift to us! Thank you for trusting us and allowing us to speak into your lives each day. It is a privilege that we are forever thankful for. ❤️
If you were unable to join us, tell us where you are, so we can start praying about God making a way for us to come to you!
On the surface, many observed a sweet Jesus girl who appeared happily married and mothered her children so well. However, under the surface, a volcano was brewing, rumbling and sending out steam, indicating something was seriously wrong. While I longed to be full of the love, peace, and joy promised to those who love Christ, depression, anger, and abusive behavior jerked me around on a chain.
I was a slave to my erratic emotions, desperate for saving from myself. I needed a miracle. Perhaps that’s why I love the story of the demon-possessed man whom Jesus freed in Mark 5:1-20.
What Jesus did for him, is what He also did for me.
1. Jesus welcomed a demon-possessed man into his presence. (vs. 1-2)
In this story found in Mark 5 – we see a man whose physical location, the tombs, mirrored what was going on inside his heart and mind. Scripture tells us he was a man who had the strength to break the chains others put on him. He wailed and purposely cut himself for demons possessed him.
For me - I looked good on the outside, but inside I was a tomb.
- dark, dark thoughts inhabited my mind
- those dark thoughts dictated my erratic emotions and actions
- I self-medicated with prescription drugs and food to numb the pain.
2. Jesus Addressed the Deeper Issues (vs. 3-8)
Villagers tried to control this man's erratic behavior by binding him, but his was a spiritual issue beyond the reach of man's remedies. Jesus went to the root of the problem and commanded the demons to leave (verse 8.)
For me – it was a spiritual issue as well.
I believed that God loved me conditionally, so I subjected myself to an endlessly exhausting pursuit to earn His love. When the Spirit revealed the lie I was shackled by, I asked God to prove to me He loved me unconditionally. To replace the lie, I hungrily poured over the Gospels, seeking to see Jesus with new eyes and renewed faith. I asked for a miracle: to be set free from this lie once and for all.
And, my friend, He did for where unbelief bound me, belief set me free! Woohoo!
3. Jesus Restored Dignity (vs. 15)
Upon Jesus’s arrival that day, He found an unclothed, deranged man. He set this man free, replacing despair with restored dignity. When the villagers flocked to the scene, they were amazed to find him clothed and in his right mind!
For me - I also am a radically different person than I was a decade ago. Jesus has replaced my despair with restored dignity. Because I am in the right mindset, I am balanced and content and joyful. Thank you, Jesus!
My man no longer wonders what kind of woman he's going to come home to at the end of the day. My children no longer live in fear of my anger.
Only Jesus can do that!
4. Jesus Encourages Us to Share this Life-giving Freedom. (vs. 18-20)
Jesus chose to leave when the frightened village people implored Him in verse 18.
Even though the villagers rejected Him, He cared enough for them that He urged the healed man to stay and share the good news with them!
The man obeyed Christ's command. Verse 20 says he went to the Decapolis and testified about the miracle Jesus had performed in His life and of His great mercy.
For me – That is why I’m writing this entry: to proclaim the miracle He produced in me and that He wants to do the same for you! My days of joy and peace far eclipse those of darkness and gloom. Only Jesus!
My friend, to quote Rebecca, "As long as there is breath, there is hope!" It is NEVER too late for a miracle among the living! I am living proof, all because of Jesus and His great mercy upon me! Jesus not only rescued me from the literal hell, but He also rescued me from the living hell I was choosing to live here on earth. He truly is the Miracle Maker!
How about you, my friend? Perhaps you’re still shackled by your own “demons.” Oh, my friend, Jesus wants to set you free! Cry out to the Miracle Maker, and trust Him for a miracle! <3
For further encouragement, read these posts:
Read "Why This Weary World Can Rejoice" here
Read "He Left the 99 to Rescue Me" here.
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.
Follow us on Facebook here.
Most of us are familiar with the scene in the Bible where Jesus calls his first two disciples, Peter and Andrew. What had begun as an ordinary day on the lake for these two brothers ended in a rather unordinary way. When Jesus found them, they were washing their nets most likely to get the sea sludge off so that they could return them to the water the next day in hopes of a big catch.
Experienced fishermen and skilled on the deep waters, Peter and Andrew probably believed that they would spend the rest of their lives casting and reeling. The sea was their home, their comfort zone. They had no reason to leave.
Then, Jesus showed up. And, with thirteen words, they left it all behind.
“Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” Mark 1:17
Scripture says that they immediately dropped their nets and followed him.
No questions. No hesitations. No wavering back and forth. No goodbyes. No going home to pack a suitcase.
Empty-handed, they followed Him. And, they would go on to follow Him for the rest of their lives.
I have always admired Peter and Andrew’s eagerness to follow Jesus. I have often wondered if I would have done the same if Jesus had found me on the shores of Galilee with net in hand, mouths at home to feed, and the comforts of the sea calling. Would I drop my net just like that at the sound of His command to come? Or, would I clutch my net closely to my chest and tell Him, “Wait!” or “Hold on!” or “I Can’t!”
Would I have the faith to drop everything or would fear keep my feet affixed to the seashore? To this question, I had no way of knowing the answer.
Then, this past spring, on an ordinarily average day, the Lord made the call. He said to my husband and I, “Come, follow me.” And, in that split second response time, the answer to the question that had nagged at me for years came. I looked down...and our hands were empty.
Just like that, we dropped our nets.
Like Simon and Andrew, we weren’t expecting this call. We were quite comfortable where we were. Almost too comfortable. But, when the call came, we just knew it was time to go. I can’t explain it any other way.
The Lord has called us out of the small group (aka our comfort zone) that we are currently thriving in. Life is good in this group. They are the reason why I went from having no friends to having a whole group of friends. Yes, they know where my silverware drawer is. And, they pray for me. They love my children as their own. They enrich our marriage by modeling the love of Christ in their own. They remember my birthday (and celebrate it in grand fashion). They cry with me, sharpen me, sit with me at ballgames, make me belly laugh, and love me bigger, deeper, and wider than any friends have ever loved me before.
Simply put, they have breathed a tremendous amount of life into us.
And now, we are saying hard goodbyes to them. Why? Because we know that the Lord has another group for us. He has called us to a very specific work that cannot be achieved elsewhere. It is also a work that we are all too familiar with: the work of restoring broken lives.
Most of you don't know our story so I'll give it to you in a nutshell:
Once upon a time, a broken boy married a broken girl and together they had a very broken marriage. Hopeless is what some called it. There was only one thing that could save it and His name was Jesus. After many years and feeble attempts of trying to fix it on our own, we finally reached out to Him. And, He reached back to us.
Jesus was the only answer and the only hope for saving our marriage. With His tender touch, He slowly began to put all the broken pieces back together again. My husband and I are now whole, no longer broken. Praise God! But, we realize that there are so many couples out there who remain broken. They are broken and they, too, need hope of being put back together again.
Enter this call and the reason why we immediately dropped our nets.
If our story can save a marriage, sign us up. If small group now looks more like open heart surgery, sign us up. If our home welcomes the couple who is hanging on by a thread, sign us up. If we need to strip off our Sunday School masks and be real, sign us up. If it requires leaving the shallow waters behind and diving into the deep end, sign us up. Whatever it takes, we say, “Yes, Lord. Sign us up.”
We are ready to help carry heavy loads. I want to get a sign for our wall that says, “Your brokenness doesn’t scare us.” And, the reason that it doesn’t scare us is because we’ve been broken, too.
Since that call, the Lord has been moving with great precision and intention in the likes that I have never seen Him move before. Watching Him work, when the only thing that we have contributed thus far have been our “yeses,” has already increased our faith. We have teamed up with another couple who have been as equally broken and as beautifully put back together as we have been. And, their hearts are set on the same thing that ours is set on: the revival and enrichment of marriages.
I sat on my front porch the other day and asked Him, “Why Lord? Why have you been so clear with this calling?” It sounds like a silly thing to ask Him. Don’t we love clarity? Don’t we especially love clarity when it comes to what God’s will for us is?
I can’t say why for sure, but I believe the Lord has given us such clarity, so much that we can trace the deliberate movements of His Hand throughout the past six months since the call was issued, because He is working on a rescue plan for the wives and husbands who are silently crying out to Him right now. They don’t know if there’s any hope for them left. And, He is calling us forth to tell them, “Yes, there is. Just look at us.”
To my local friends, if your marriage is broken…or if it simply needs refocused, refined, or recommitted…pray about dropping your own nets and following Christ as He leads us on this great pursuit to marital hope and wholeness. Our small group will begin meeting on Sunday nights starting mid-October from 5-7pm. Childcare is provided.
To my distant friends, I so wish you could come, too. But, since you can't, I encourage you to find a group or a couple who isn't afraid of your brokenness either and who can guide you well. I can promise you one thing...there is hope. Never give up.
First, I am a child of God. And, like a child, I am always learning and growing. The more I know Him, the more I love Him. Second, I am a wife to a good man. Missions is his thing while teaching women to love God’s Word is mine. Third, I am a mama to three plus a sweet cockapoo who thinks he’s #4. My children are my ongoing sanctification. Fourth, I am a passionate advocate of all things healthy & natural and a dreamer/designer. Old friends call me Becky, newer ones call me Rebecca, and the most intimate ones call me Beck. You can just call me friend.
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