4 Habits of Joy-filled Marriage Book Review

I have noticed lately that there is a lot of talk about a joy-filled life in recent years. It seems at every turn you can find someone talking about finding joy. Even the Bible is filled with references on finding joy. Got Questions says that The Bible refers to finding joy over 300 times.

As it turns out, authors Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey have found there is a scientific basis behind it all.

There is no more powerful motivator in life than joy.

Chris Coursey

Warner and Coursey discuss finding this joy in their new book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages.


It takes a plan to achieve a joy-filled marriage

Our emotional capacity is directly proportionate to the amount of joy we have. When you have large amounts of joy, life is just better. Note here that joy is not the same as happiness as we learn in the above-mentioned article from Got Questions.

So first, what is emotional capacity? It’s the ability to bounce back after a difficult situation.

And how can I have more joy? It takes a little work but it’s really not that hard. Make a plan, just a few minutes a day for 30 days can change your whole outlook on life. Ann Voskamp shared in her book, A Thousand Gifts, that finding joy through gratitude changed her life radically. She took a few minutes a day to think of three things she was grateful for and her life has never been the same.

Chris and Marcus say we can decrease our joy gap in 30 days. Our joy gap is the amount of time between feelings of joy. The way to do this is through your own intentionality. They say if you follow the instructions in their new book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages and do the prescribed exercises…

“… you will almost certainly begin to see changes for the better in your marriage. If you do them for sixty or ninety days, you will develop habits that make joy the new normal in your marriage.”

OK, What’s the plan for joy-filled marriages?

I was glad to find that my husband and I have been following the plan without even knowing the plan. 🙂 We have been doing many of the things Chris and Marcus suggested and I’d say it must work because Michael and I consider our marriage joy-filled. There are four habits discussed in the book easily remembered by the acronym P.L.A.N.

  • Play together
  • Listen for emotion
  • Appreciate daily
  • Nurture Rhythm

I would say that these are quite self-explanatory. I mentioned that my husband and I feel that we have already been doing these things. Some suggestions we follow are:

  1. Going on dates. This does not have to be expensive. You don’t even have to spend money here. Take a walk. Goo.g.le “Things to do for free” in your city. You will be surprised at what you can do. Check out what we can do in Savannah. When we lived in Milwaukee, citizens could visit the museums for free on certain days. We hit these as often as we could.
  2. Listen for Emotion. Make sure when you are talking that you are actually listening to your mate. Keep eye contact. And LISTEN, don’t start thinking about your reply. Hear what they are saying to you. The book will give you some wonderful exercises to teach you to listen.
  3. Appreciate Daily. When is the last time you said, “Thank you” to your spouse? Not for the big things but the small things like taking out the garbage. Take notice when they do a small kindness and show appreciation.
  4. Nurture rhythm. This is about routine. find a routine and stick to it. Don’t continue to break the times you do have together. Michael and I always enjoy breakfast together and in the evening, we watch some tv together. These are times you have to catch up with what is happening with your spouse. This is important.

An Easy Read

You won’t have trouble reading this small book. The first three chapters explain the brain science behind it all and then how and what they have developed to helped others have joy-filled marriages.

The remaining chapters discuss the PLAN and give you plenty of simple exercises to do together. The exercises are very simple. Some of them might feel awkward at first if you haven’t already been doing them. (ie. eye smiles.) You may not be in the habit of looking into one another’s eyes but they explain how to work on it and lengthen the time.

I did get caught in the last chapter. They actually said if I was like them I hadn’t done the exercises. ha! They were right. Seriously, for us, we do these things so, in a way, we did the exercises. I would encourage you though if you need more joy in your marriage, read the book, do the exercises.

Need a more joy-filled marriage? Read the book, follow the plan, do the exercises. #joy-filledmarriages #marriage #moodypress Click To Tweet

Caution:

Men who have done these exercises faithfully with their wives have commonly reported feeling more secure and less anxious in their marriages. The same is true for women, who have reported feeling more highly valued and cared for by their husbands.

You have to be careful though. One man who went through the process wrote, “I work from home and I had to cut back on the exercises because my wife and I found ourselves in bed too much during the day and I was not getting any work done!” You’ve been warned.

The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages
Mandy Farmer

I express joy-filled gratitude to Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey along with Moody Press Publishers for providing a copy of the book. This review is my own words and not affected in any way by the publisher or authors.

Book Giveaway

Who wants my marked-up 4 Habits of Joy-filled Marriages book? You will be entered in the drawing each time you comment during November. Comment on any post during November 2019 for an entry in the drawing. Winner to be announced in the December 3 newsletter.

Speaking of Ann Voskamp

There is a free Bible Study of her book One Thousand Gifts coming up on Faith Gateway beginning November 18. Come join me to learn how to create a joyfilled-life. Sign Up Now.

my former life

Grieving My Former Life Before Chronic Pain

Do You Think You Will Come Back to Work?

I’m grieving my former life before Chronic Pain. Fibromyalgia and other Chronic Pain illnesses are classified as “Invisible Diseases”. For the most part, one can look at a Pain Warrior and not see anything wrong. And yet this person stops working, turns down invitations sometimes at the last minute. They seem to be checking out of life. But in all reality, they want nothing more to be in the middle of life. Often grief is part of their illness because they want so much to have their life back.

So what are we to do as a friend? Do we continue to include them in our lives and plans? Most definitely! Here’s a bit from my point of view.

divider
curleque by Coffee at pixabay

About this time of the year, in 2011, I lost my former life. I grieved for quite a while because I truly did miss it.

I was busy, too busy really

Let me share a list of the things I was involved in.

too many irons in the fire
Too Many Irons in the Fire
  • Mom – two children still at home
  • Homeschooling – be this time only one high school student left
  • Homeschool Co-op – Director, teacher
  • Pastor’s Wife – ’nuff said
  • Children’s ministry director
  • Sunday School teacher
  • play director – two a year
  • Bible Quiz coach
  • Regional Bible Quiz Moderator
  • Church Office Manager
  • Women’s Ministry Leader

Now, just writing these things makes me tired. But back then I was quite a go-getter. I always had several irons in the fire, so to speak. They say that those with fibromyalgia seem to be Type A personalities. I don’t know if it’s true but it is certainly true with me.

Grieving My Former Life

Grief can be very real for the one who loses everything they once loved. It’s a process and just like losing a loved one, there are seasons that are harder than others. For instance, after my husband and I left our full-time ministry, we grieved the hardest during the holidays. One thing we loved to do was create exciting services, especially at Easter. It’s probably still the hardest time to go to worship and only be a participant rather than the leaders. I wrote about this not long after Michael retired.

It Just Takes Time

The rawness of one’s loss can be very difficult to bear. Dealing with the “why’s” and the “how did this happen” and “what did I do to deserve this?” On top of that, we just missed those activities just as you would miss your loved one when they are gone.

One of the first things I did was start a blog. I came across a challenge to write every day for an entire month. So, I decided I would write about my journey with Chronic Pain. I wrote about the pain, the waiting, the doctors and more doctors. I dealt with the process of the Why’s and the How’s and the Now What’s?

This turned out to be very therapeutic. Not only have I been able to help people become more aware of my illness but it turns out that writing about the frustrations of chronic pain helps relieve the pain.

Plus, I have met a world of new friends, literally from around the world, an unimaginable support group full of love and understanding. They also became my greatest cheerleaders, encouraging me to keep writing. They shared new things they had learned and connected with me because of our similar issues. (I also found that I didn’t have much to complain about because there are many people who have much worse issues than I have.) Two of my favorite Facebook groups, Fibro Bloggers Directory and Medical Musings with Friends.

Lessons from Flat on Your Back

For the first few months, I was flat on my back, unable to even roll to my side without a great deal of pain. I had to drink my meals and have assistance doing all those normal life activities like using the restroom and taking a bath. Believe me, this was hard to take for this Type-A girl.

But while on my back I did a lot of reading and assessing my life. I found myself getting much closer to God, realizing that in some ways I had left Him completely out of my life. Instead of placing Him in full control. I spent a lot of time reading The Holy Bible. I set to reading it through in a year and ended up reading it three times in three versions.

My favorite book was suggested by a friend. I had heard of it but never read it, Now that my pain is managed well, I sometimes slip into grieving my former life. I begin to wonder, “If God is my Healer, Why Am I Still in Pain?“. I wrote about that recently.

But I know this new life is much better. Walking with Jesus step by step, day by day is wonderful. Having this pain is like having a reminder of WHO is in control. And it’s not me!

People will often quote Romans 8:28 claiming that God has a plan. And yes! He does have a plan. I don’t believe that God caused my disease, but He did allow it “for my good”. I may not see the reason why in this lifetime, but I will see it from heaven and rejoice. So I will do as Jesus did as he faced the cross.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2

God can take anything that happens and turn it into good. Are you trusting Him with your trial today? Whether it’s pain, or sickness, or loss He can turn your tears into rejoicing. He sees the whole picture and His plan is a good one! Trust me on that.

Mandy Farmer

P.S. I have created a verse of the day calendar for October. The scriptures are all about comfort. Download it for free by clicking on the image below.

October Calendar

Suggested Reading {affiliate link}


celebrate one year #topposts

Our Top Posts on Mandy & Michele

We’re Celebrating One Year

celebrating one year top posts
image free from pixabay

Michele and I are amazed at how fast this first year of blogging has flown by. We hope that you have been enjoying the ride with us. Today, we take a look back and share with you some of our top posts. The first category is Keeping the Faith. That is posts that show you how to Read Your Bible, Pray, Share Your Faith. The second category is called Leaving a Legacy where we write about Marriage and Family, mentoring, and remembering others’ legacies.

Which post has been your favorite this year?

Top Keeping the Faith Posts

How to Have an Effective Bible Study

8 Benefits of Regular Bible Study

Never Despise Small Beginnings

The Great Commission ~ Who? Me? Make Disciples?

How to Improve Your Church Attendance Experience

Top Leaving a Legacy Posts

Self- Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

An Heirloom Wedding Gown

Adoption Changed My Legacy

The Greatest Legacy: A Father’s Love

From Generation to Generation

Top Posts from Recipes, A Bit of Fun and The Spice of Life

And now how about a little fun and spice? Michele has really kept me laughing this year. I hope she has for you as well. Here are the top favorites from her repertoire.

spice of life favoirte top posts
Enjoy Michele’s Humor About Life

Amish People in Rural Wisconsin

A Few of My Summer Recipes

Recipes Long Forgotten

A Recipe For Life

The Joy of Scaring My Brother

Mornings: Sunrise, Coffee, Jesus

Friday Night Fish Fry

The Cold Roast Beef Sandwich

Observations and Thoughts

Many of these posts are written by guest writers. That tells me we need to continue having others write so that their followers come and find us. This summer we started a monthly link-up called Legacy Link-ups. This has been a good way to increase our traffic as well. We may continue this as well.

The top posts written by Mandy are those about chronic pain. We will share those in another post this month. Michele provides the humor on this blog. If you haven’t caught her Spice of Life posts be sure to go find them.

Tell us what you would like to see in the coming year.

I have created a quick survey. Please go take the survey and we will give you a small downloadable gift for your time.

survey button
Take a survey & receive a free downloadable

Return all Month for more Celebration. Plus another This and That interview with Mandy and Michele!

Mandy & Michele
image created by jfredrickdesign

The Joy of Scaring My Brother

I am basking in sheer joy, remembering all the fun of scaring my brother Jason. How do I even convey the merriment that resulted from all the planning and plotting? The quiet moments I patiently waited in his closet or under his bed. The restraint I mustard to crawl slowly into his room to scare the wits out him. I enjoyed scaring my brother.

I can’t remember why I started scaring my brother. Maybe it was the usual older sister/sibling rivalry type of thing. But whatever the case, mischief lay in my heart and it sought its way out through this avenue.

Plan your work and work your plan

My plan was very simple. I was to scare my brother and make him scream like a little girl. The plotting of “when” and “how” to scare my brother became my biggest challenge. These were elements which required great thought. It needed to have the biggest impact- making him screaming like a girl.

I probably picked a day when he pestered me the most. You know… kinda let all the frustration build. Like marinating meat, all day. I let the frustration marinate my mischievious thoughts. Revenge may be best served cold, but this revenge was best served in the dark.

Michele are you in here?

The five best words to hear him speak were “Michele? Are you in here?” He spoke them with a trembly voice. Mahwahahaha! I had him! Once he spoke those words, I knew the fear was in him. He knew to keep tabs on me in the evening. Watching me, seeing if I was in the kitchen, or brushing my teeth or in my bed. And if I wasn’t, it was time to be afraid… VERY AFRAID! I would make sure to get ahead of the evening’s bedtime routine. Shutting the light off in my room gave him a false sense of me being at bay.

I will start with my very best scare. I decided that I would lay under his bed, near the edge so I could watch for him. Waiting silently, patiently- for the sound of his feet padding down the hallway. Finally, I could see his feet standing in the doorway, pausing for a moment and then the words “Michele? Are you in here?”, followed by silence as he slowly entered the room. Pausing at the closet door he threw it open. But no Michele there. Silence again.

I could tell in the silence he was trying to decide if it was safe. Unfortunately, for him, it was NOT! Hardly able to contain my excitement, I would mentally tell myself to keep calm; the best part is coming! I resorted often to holding my hand over my mouth for fear he could hear me breathing, or worst yet, snickering to myself.

Scaring my brother

The pounding of my heart indicated that if I didn’t yell “Boo!” or “Rar!” soon, I was going be the first child at the age of eight to die of cardiac arrest under her brother’s bed. NO WAY! That wasn’t gonna be me.

My brother had decided the coast was clear and hopped into bed. I could hear him settle in. I slowly took my position nearest the edge of his bed, got my right arm ready, cause I was gonna swing it up and grab him! READY? Taking a deep breath in, I prepared myself for one smooth motion which would be followed by “Rar!”. SET? All systems are “go” Michele! GO! My hand swings up to the top of the bed and it hits his right shoulder as I scream out “Rar!”

JACKPOT! He screams like a girl while launching straight into the air. Blankets flying. I can hear the clatter of coffee cups and chairs shuffling about as my parent’s rocket from the living room to the hallway and then to my brother’s room. Asking him what is going on, why all the screaming?

But I am not even in his room. No, no… I already had done my “roll and run”, assuring that I would beat the parental calamity coming down the hallway. I was neatly tucked in my bed, faking sleep. So innocent. I had my mouth agape with a bit of drool trickling down to make it look sincere.

The Spanish Inquisition

Then I heard it. The tribunal coming down the hallway. I think my dad wore 4 x 6 ‘s on his feet as well as his hands. They knew the routine. They knew it was me, but they would never, EVER catch me at it. “Michele!”. “Michele, get up!”. I opened my eyes as if in a dream state, but there is no fooling mom, especially when I have such a “flair” for these events.

My dad was a big man. 6′ 7″ of him stood, looming in the doorway. Behind him, my brother, sniveling softly. Scaring my brother was totally frowned upon. He did not see well and I took great advantage of that once he removed his glasses. Somewhere I knew I felt bad, just a bit, for scaring him. But the joy of hearing him screamed outweighed whatever punishment that would await.

One Last Time, For Old Times Sake

The last scare, one of many good scares, was in our late high school years. I remember reading a book and seeing my brother come by my room and could hear him getting ready for bed. Then, like lightning, it hit me that I had not scared that boy in years! No time like a present, let’s do this one last time. Can’t let him think I’ve lost my touch!

A grin spread across my face. I wished I could have slinked out of my room, up and over items laying in the way- just like the Grinch did when he was stealing all the Christmas gifts from the Who’s in Whoville. But I was no Grinch and this was going require ninja-like moves. He was all the way across the other side of the basement.

The creature from the other side of the basement

Hiking up my jammies and putting my hair into a ponytail, I prepared for the ambush. I walked half-way slowly, one foot in front of the other, like the Indians did- not making a sound. Then as I could see his doorway, I dropped to my knees and began crawling. The same old joy began effervescing up from my mischievous heart. I had to stop a few times and put my head down to keep from laughing. Man! This was going to be epic! One last time is about all I have because we are not eight and seven years old anymore. I am seventeen and he is sixteen. He is big and fast.  I am extra vulnerable because I am crawling on the floor.

No longer having carpet to crawl on, I begin the trek across the cold linoleum. I am thinking about what I am going to say or do. But the merriment overcomes me and I let out a little snort. I freeze. Jason calls out, “MICHELE?!” I remain silent. Ah! Deep in the recesses of his mind, he remembers and then I remember all the scares, all the waiting in the closets and jumping out. All the screaming like a girl. Till finally, the hilarity of it all makes me bust out laughing and collapse on the floor.

Jason lets out a scream and throws on the bedside lamp. I am on the floor heaving with laughter. Putting on his glasses, he grabs a pillow and begins to give me whop after whop. But I don’t care. It was a great scare and probably my last scare. Scaring my brother was terribly fun and somewhere I know I should be sorry, but it was just too therapeutic.  Maybe the biggest scare is this story made it to print! HA!

#surrogate mom

An Interview With A Surrogate Mom


Years ago I saw a movie about a mother who became a surrogate for her daughter who wasn’t able to conceive a child. I thought, “What a wonderful gift of love; a wonderful gift of legacy.”

What a wonderful gift of love and legacy. #surrogacy #surrogatemom Click To Tweet

Surrogacy is probably something most of us haven’t really thought about unless you are struggling with infertility. Other than seeing that movie, I know I haven’t really given it much thought. And still, I never thought that surrogacy would touch my life until a few years ago.

My nephew’s wife, after having their own three children, Chelsie decided she wanted to be a surrogate mother.

Chelsie was more than happy to share her experience as a surrogate mom. So, we will do that today in a Q & A format. If you have more questions. I am sure that Chelsie would be willing to answer them in the comments.

NOTE: There is much debate about whether surrogacy is a good thing or not. We are not here to debate the right or wrong today, but rather to share in the joy that Chelsie gets from being a surrogate mother.

So, Let’s Get Started

Chelsie thank you for talking with me today about your experience as a surrogate mother. I am excited to share it with my readers.

Tell us a bit about you and your family

I’m 32 years old. I have 3 of my own children. Morgan is 14, Braylon is 13, & Nolan is almost 12. My husband Landon and I have been married for 14 almost 15 years. He works full time, is going to college, is the football & wrestling coach for our son Nolan’s teams.

I work full time also, & am also currently take a few college classes. My favorite things to do are to spend time with my family, running/working out/hiking, traveling, reading &  anything outside.

Wow! You have a busy life! How did you become interested in surrogacy?

I first became interested in surrogacy after reading a book. It was a surrogate telling her story. I then met people through one of my jobs & they really inspired me. Landon also had 2 close friends who were experiencing fertility issues.

I looked into it when Nolan was just a baby. And I realized how much time & energy I would have to devote to it & decided now was not the time.

6 years later, I had a conversation with Landon and said that I still had been thinking about it and really, really, truly wanted to be a surrogate. Landon still to this day doesn’t understand my desire to be a surrogate. He thinks it’s a little weird & that’s okay, a lot of people do. 

I’m glad that your husband is supportive of your dream to be a surrogate mom. It’s important in any marriage to be supportive of one another’s dreams.

How many times have you become a surrogate mother?

I have been a surrogate twice. The first time I delivered twins for intended parents that live in Prague, Czech Republic. I also delivered a singleton with parents that live in Wisconsin.

Yes, I plan on doing it again. As a matter of fact, I have just started medications last week to hopefully become pregnant again. I always get my husband’s & children’s blessings before I start on the long surrogacy journey. 

So, how did you find a family for whom to be a surrogate?

I used a surrogacy agency. I researched multiple agencies. After finding the one that I liked best, I completed an online application, they responded and we made an appointment to meet with the agency.

The meeting was 6 to 7 hours long! We discussed everything you could think of. For example, how many embryos are you willing to carry, what are your thoughts on selective reduction, how much interaction would you like with the intended parents before, during & after pregnancy.

Landon & I had each took a 2.5-hour long psychology tests, verbal and oral.

The selection process to become a surrogate

After the long appointment at the surrogacy agency we waited to see if they would accept us. I got the phone call that they accepted me a few days later. We had to wait for the psych tests to come back.
Then you wait until the agency calls you and tells you that they think they have found intended parents that would be a good match with you.

Getting a Match.

They tell you about the couple & if the surrogate is interested & thinks the couple might be a good fit the agency sends the surrogate a letter the intended parents wrote along with a picture.
The surrogate tells the agency yes or no. If yes, then the intended parents would then get the surrogates letter and photo, if no then the agency would let you know when they think they might have found different intended couple.

The Match Meeting.

If the intended parents say yes to your letter and photos a match meeting date is set. The match meeting takes place at the agency. I was so nervous! There you meet & discuss everything that will eventually go into your contract.

Medical Approval.

If you agree on everything and decide to move forward, the next step would be getting medically approved by the intended parents choice of infertility doctors and clinic. Once you get medically approved and your contract is signed, a transfer date is set, your medications will get delivered, and you’ll begin your medications & set all of your upcoming appointments with the fertility clinic.

Did they use your eggs to create the embryos?

The agency that I decided to work with only works with gestational surrogates. That means that the surrogate is not using her eggs. The intended parents can either us their own egg or sometimes they have to use a donor egg. In my 2 surrogacy journeys we have used the intended mother’s egg. The other intended parents had to use donor eggs. 

I could never give up my baby, how can you do that?

It was never my baby. You go into it with a completely different mindset. I felt more pressure for my surrogate babies to be healthy than my own. The parents are trusting you with the most important thing in their lives! I didn’t take that responsibility lightly.

Do you think about the babies?

Yes, I do. I always explain the relationship as me being an aunt. I love them, I think about them, I wonder & worry about them. The most amazing part though is that then I usually get a picture or a video of them, if not I’ll text the parents.

Did you get to hold and see the Intended parents holding their baby/babies after you gave birth?

Yes! It was always the most important thing in our match meeting with the intended parents. My children must be allowed to go to the hospital and see the intended parents holding their baby. I felt it was really important for my children to be able to see the baby with their parents. We are very fortunate to still have great relationships with the families and still get to see the babies and their families.

That’s awesome that your children can have a part in the whole process.

What is the best part of your surrogacy experience?

This is my favorite question that makes me get tears in my eyes! Seeing the parents holding their babies. Then as they grow, just watching them with their children. It makes my heart melt. I love that I’ve taught my children it’s okay to do something different and that not everyone agrees with.

Chelsie, thanks for opening up your heart with us today. This has certainly helped me understand more about surrogacy. And I feel it has for others as well. We wish you well on this next journey of surrogacy you are beginning.

I’m happy to share with you. If you have questions please ask. I am sometimes amazed at what people think surrogacy is. “I know I have made a huge impact on so many people’s lives.”

“I know I have made a huge impact on so many people’s lives.” #surrogacy #surrogatemother Click To Tweet

To learn more about surrogacy, go to Hope Surrogacy. Or feel free to asked Chelsie your questions in the comments. She will be glad to respond.

Mandy Farmer

There’s Still Time to Link-Up

New Legacy Through Adoption #legacylinkup #infertility #adoption #surrogatemom
Click here to Link-up your Adoption and Surrogacy Stories Here until August 31, 2019

#godsstrength #myweakness #hymn

I Boast In My Weakness ~ In Christ I Am Strong

It’s Friday. Time to join the crew at Five Minute Friday and write on a prompt. Prompt: Weak Weakness

Five MInute Friday PRompt Weak
image provided by Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday

This post was originally published in 2018 on Leaving a Legacy, [GGMANDY dot COM and linked up on the Five-minute Friday Link-up.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

Sadly, I can relate to the Apostle Paul. He had some type of ailment or thorn in the flesh as he called it. He asked God to remove it several times, but God said,

“My grace is sufficient ..” 

Yes. It is true. His grace is sufficient.

First, I just reached the 8-year mile marker of a journey with chronic pain. And I have learned that this pain causes me to rest on Him. In the past, I trusted in my own strength, but now His grace is sufficient for me.

Secondly, even in ministry, I found myself doing everything from my own wisdom and my own strength my weakness. So God had to take me down a few notches. He needed me to look to Him for wisdom and strength. Oh, how it is so much better to lean on Him. So much more can be accomplished through Him when I allow Him to do the work. And it is so much more exciting to see Him do it!

it is so much better to lean on God. So much more can be accomplished through Him when I allow Him to do the work. Click To Tweet

Been There, Done That

Consequently, I have been there with Paul asking, “Can you take the pain away now? I have learned my lesson.”

And God responds,

“Really? Do you really think that you would continue to lean on Me or would you fall back into your old ways and begin again to trust your own strength?”

Regrettably, I think I know the answer.

I believe that no matter my good intentions, I would fall back on my own power.

So I accept my weakness, this “Thorn in the Flesh”.

I accept my weakness, this Thorn in the flesh. #chronicpain #weak #justathought Click To Tweet

For me, it is very literal. But I accept this pain and I lean on Him. Because His grace is sufficient. And His power is made perfect in my weakness.

Mandy Farmer
It is true. His grace is sufficient. Click To Tweet

Hymn Favorite by Mosie Lister

(1)     Many times I’m tried and tested 
As I travel day by day 
Oft I meet with pain and sorrow 
And there’s trouble in the way. 
But I have a sweet assurance 
That my soul the Lord will lead 
And in Him there is strength for every need. 
 
O, His grace is sufficient for me. 
And His love is abundant and free. 
And what joy fills my soul, 
Just to know, just to know 
That His grace is sufficient for me. 
 
(2)     When the tempter brings confusion 
And I don’t know what to do, 
On my knees I turn to Jesus 
For He’ll always see me through 
Then despair is changed to victory. 
Every doubt just melts away 
And in Him there is hope for everyday.
 
O, His grace is sufficient for me. 
And His love is abundant and free. 
And what joy fills my soul, 
Just to know, just to know 
That His grace is sufficient for me. 

Here’s a version of the song I grew up hearing on the old Magnavox record player.

#bullies #tickandstones #attitudeofchrist

Bullying: Sticks And Stones Crush our Hearts

School Time Troubles

It’s time to send our children off to school. And we all know that going to school can be pretty stressful; not just due to studies, but also peer pressure and social stresses. I thought this would be a good time to talk about how to help our children deal with bullies.

These days we hear so much about bullying, so much that it seems we are majoring on the wrong-doer and maybe we are not teaching our children how to deal with bullying when it happens. I don’t mean to make light of bullying, because certainly, I have been on the receiving end of it myself, as a child and as a mother having to comfort my children.

Bullying can crush our hearts. Bullying is not an acceptable way to act and often someone needs to step in and intervene. But how can we help our children through these times? Running straight to the principal may not be your best option, at least not your first option.

Steps For Dealing With a Bully #bullies #schooltime Click To Tweet
#bully #meangirls #roughandtoughboys
free image from Pixabay

Preparing Our Children to Deal with Bullies

What we must teach our children is that in this sinful world, bullying will always be out there. As Christians, we’re given that promise…

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…. If they persecuted Me they will persecute you… for they do not know the One who sent Me.”

John 15:19-21

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

That promise is a bit harder to claim in comparison to the ones we choose to claim, isn’t it?

Along with the promise that “we will have troubles” we should remind our children that God always goes with us through whatever we may face. Talk about men and women in the Bible that face dire circumstances but God walked with them through it all. Just a few to start with are Joseph, David, Daniel, the Hebrew children, and Jesus, himself. Introduce and help them memorize verses like this one from Isaiah 43

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

First, When Your Child is Bullied with Words, Ask This

1. Is there any truth in what the person said?

I’m reminded of an episode of Little House on the Prairie. Laura had been in an altercation with Nelly ‘again’. Upset that Nelly had called her father a smelly farmer, she finally told her father. Charles asked Laura, “Well, it is true, right?” Then he explained why he smelled like a barn and sweat. Because he worked hard and that was something to be proud of.

a. Become Better, Not Bitter

If there is truth in what was said, then we should correct what can be corrected. Use the situation as a tool to improve ourselves. Let it make you better, NOT Bitter. Just as a test shows us what we haven’t yet mastered, our trials show us areas in our life that need improving. Yes, criticism is hard to accept, but it can make us a better person if we allow it too. 1 Peter 1:6-7 instructs us …

” So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

In the Little House episode, Charles can’t help it that he gets smelly while he works. He can try to improve by bathing or changing clothes when he goes to town but even that may not be practical. So he needs to be proud that he has a job and that he is a hard worker.

Focus on the good stuff. Don’t dwell on the negative thoughts that were expressed. Make a list of all your good qualities. Review them over and over in your mind. Remind yourself that you are not defined by that one negative aspect in your life. This is not so that you can downgrade the bully by telling him you are better than him. This is self-talk to remind yourself that God made you

Secondly, Whether there is Truth or Not

A. Be Encouraged

If there is no truth, Be encouraged! because we know that through our struggles and weaknesses, we are strong in Christ.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
—2 Corinthians 12:10

B. Forgive and Forget

– Again we must forgive and forget. Think of the times that Jesus was wrongly accused, even on the cross He said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do“. ( Luke 23:34 ) And later in Acts 7:54-60, we see that Stephen, forgave his persecutors even as they stoned him to death. So shouldn’t we do likewise? Aren’t we taught in the Bible to forgive as we are forgiven? Ephesians 4:32–5:2. Our actions show others how much Christ loves them.

C. Respond in Love

– We must respond in love. Remember that the bully probably does not yet know Christ. We need to show them the love and mercy of Christ by how we react to them. Remember, that we are the only Jesus some people will ever see. Responding in love will also, many times, dumbfound your accuser because they will be expecting you to hurl insults back at them. When we react with love and mercy, it will many times silence them.

Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

Psalm 8:2

I recall a time in my life when I was first out on my own. I didn’t have laundry equipment and had to take my clothes to a laundromat. Finding a dryer with time left on it, I placed my laundry into the empty dryer.

I was later folding these clothes, a woman came into the laundromat and began accusing me of stealing her clothes from the dryer. I replied that there had been no clothes in the dryer and that she was welcome to go through my stacks of clothing to find anything that might be hers. She continued to accuse and yell, backing me up against the dryers and hitting me in the face. But when I would not retaliate, she finally, gave up and walked out.

It turned out that this situation for me became a blessing in disguise. When my church family heard the story, a lady came to me and said, “You will no longer have to go to a laundromat. Bring your dirty clothes to my house every Monday and I will wash them for you.” She not only washed them but made any repairs needed as well!

D. Pray for your Accuser / Abuser

Be a Prayer Warrior. We must Pray for our Accuser. 

“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you

Matthew 5:44

There is usually a reason someone lashes out at us. They may have a bad situation at home, they may be grieving a loss, they may be jealous of you, they may be under conviction of the Holy Spirit. Look for these things and pray for them.

Then look for ways that you can reach out to them as a friend. Find out what their interests are and give a gift or strike up a conversation about their interests. Be a friend.

See if you can find out why they want to lash out. You might be amazed at the results. I’ve heard of “enemies becoming dear friends” because one of them reached out in love.

E. Remember God is With You

Be Encouraged… God is with you and God will be glorified!

Our true purpose on earth is to glorify God. There are times when our trials can bring glory to Him because of the way we react. Others will see Jesus in us when we respond as Jesus would.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4: 8-11

F. Endurance Brings Reward

Be Encouraged .. You will be rewarded!

We can be encouraged when insulted or persecuted because our reward in heaven will be great.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11″Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12″Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:10-12
Prepare Your Child for Trouble at School #bullying #parenting #school Click To Tweet

Additionally, Here Are A Few Ways to Prepare Your Children in Advance for Bullies

The temptation is to encircle our children and prevent any harm from coming to them; however, this may only make things worse. Our children need to learn to stand up for themselves and to resolve conflict on their own.

They don’t need Mommy running to their defense all the time. This makes them feel and seem helpless. It could also cause them more harm because a bully is likely to retaliate when their mischief is reported.

Rather parents should prepare their children for troubled times by discussing real-life situations and Biblical accounts that reveal how to respond when troubles come.

1. Study the Scriptures Together

1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.
3 They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways.

Psalm 119

Each morning before you send them to school, read the scriptures together. This doesn’t need to be lengthy and drawn out. Read the scripture and talk about what it means in our own lives. Just one or two verses could do the trick. Here are a few places to start.

  • The Proverbs – Proverbs discusses character and lends itself to discussion. Plus Proverbs has 31 chapters. Chose a verse or two for the chapter that correlates to the day of the month. Read chapter 1 on day 1
  • Bible Story Book – There are many storybooks available. I like Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping The Greatest Gift. While this is an Advent book, it can easily be used throughout the year. It begins with Adam and Eve and relates each lesson to the genealogy of Christ. Talk about the character of each man or woman. How did they respond to adversity? How can we relate that to our situation?
  • Sunday School Take-Home Papers – Some Sunday School curriculum comes with take-home papers that give scriptures to read at home during the week. This would be advantageous because it will correlate with what they are learning in Sunday School.
  • Look for More Ideas in Gladys Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart and Honey for a Teen’s Heart.
Regular Family Bible Study Makes for School Success. #schooltime #studies Click To Tweet

2. Memorize Scriptures Together

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Joshua 1:8

I cannot emphasize enough on the importance of scripture memory. If you want to be encouraged by the Lord throughout the day, memorize scripture. It’s the only way God can bring it to mind in the middle of your trouble. Here are a few ways to help your children memorize.

  • Start with Sunday School Materials. That aforementioned S.S. paper has a memory verse on it. learn it together as a family. Write it out and put it on the refrigerator. Recite it aloud every time you go through the kitchen. Ask each other, “What is this week’s verse?” (NOTE: I’m not averse to giving awards for scripture memory)
  • Make little verse cards that fit into your pockets. Then review it all day long. It will surprise you how quickly you learn.
  • Memory Apps – I enjoy Scripture Typer which is available online, or on your phone or kindle. It keeps track of what you are learning, helps you review, and you can add your own scriptures in your preferred version.

As an added bonus, did you realize that the more you use your brain, the better it works? My cousin, now a surgeon, wondered how in the world he would learn and memorize all he needed while in medical school. His father told him, “Memorize Scripture”.

What?

More memory work?

Yes! It works too!

The more you use your brain the better it works! #scripturememory #successinlife Click To Tweet

3. Pray Together

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Matthew 18:20

We never let our children set foot on the school campus before praying together. The old adage says that a family that prays together stays together. I think more than staying together, you become one. It creates a bond not easily broken. This bond is a force that reminds us that we are not alone. Our child will know that you are cheering for him and also that God is fighting for him.

Prayer has a way of helping us see things from one another’s points of view. Hearing another pray causes us to feel his pain. It also helps us celebrate big wins that might otherwise go unnoticed. It’s also training for adulthood when they may be asked to pray in public.

Praying Together Creates a Team Bond. #praytogether #bondingtogether Click To Tweet

I hope that this will be a help for you as it was for me and my family.

May God bless you.

Mandy Farmer

Do you have other suggestions that you implement with your family? Share with us in the comments.

adoption changed my legacy

Adoption Changed My Legacy & the Legacy LinkUp

Adoption Made Me A Momma

So MY legacy changed. And, of course, my kids’ legacy changed when we brought them into our family and received paperwork that said they officially belonged to us.

Likewise, God chose me.

Because He chose me, glorious grace is poured into my everyday life and inheritance is prepared for me. My life and legacy would be different if I didn’t recognize my identity in Christ and follow Him.

Ephesians 1:11 from The Message:

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.”

Ephesians 1:11

Other translations of that verse say

  • we were chosen (NIV), we are
  • united with Christ (NLT),
  • we were made a heritage (ASV),
  • and we have obtained an inheritance (ESV).
God adopted me and changed my legacy! #adoption #familyofgod @kristinhtaylor Click To Tweet

God made our family possible.

Consequently, His legacy gets to continue through us to our children. I didn’t grow my three kids in my womb, but my husband Greg and I prepared for them and embraced them from the beginning. We named them and prayed for them before we held them in our arms.

Adoption Changed Their Legacy & Mine

HIll Family
Kristin’s family

Our legacy is shaped by them and their legacy is shaped by us. Cate, Ben, and Rachel to do anything to be our children. They’re named in our will and called daughters and son long before the court recognized that truth with new birth certificates. We chose them in the beginning and we have chosen them every day since – even when they’re loud and wild and grumpy and inconsiderate and obviously still learning like we all are. Adoption changed their legacy!

We chose them in the beginning and we have chosen them every day since. #adoption @kristinhtaylor Click To Tweet

God Chose us

Likewise, God chose me in the beginning and still chooses me today – even when I stumble. Jesus says people will know we are in His family by our love. Of course, sometimes I don’t do a good job of representing my eternal family name, but this truth is my foundation and I want it to be my family’s legacy.

God chose me in the beginning and still chooses me today – even when I stumble. #adoptioninChrist #adoption @kristinhtaylor Click To Tweet

Just like Greg and I gave Cate, Ben, and Rachel our last name, God calls us His own. Just like we welcomed our kids into the responsibilities and privileges of being in a family, God welcomes us into His home.

Yes, there are glimpses of His kingdom here on earth,

God Adopts Us into His Family
image created by Kristin Hill Taylor

but there’s also a promise of the eternal home Jesus is preparing for us. Because…

  • we are God’s.
  • our names have been changed and our covenants sealed.
  • we serve a God who believes in life.

We adopted our children because the God who gives us all life made that possible – and, thankfully, our legacy will never be the same.

Kristin

Our Legacy will never be the same. #adoption #familyofGod @kristinhtaylor Click To Tweet

Thank you, Kristin, for sharing a piece of your adoption story.

Lastly, this month we are focusing on adoption. Adoption changes our Legacy. How has adoption changed your legacy? It’s time for the Legacy Link-Up. Come and tell your adoption legacy story.

New Legacy Through Adoption
Image credit: free on Canva.com Modified by Mandy
  • Have you received a new legacy through adoption?
  • Do you have the pleasure of being an adoptive parent?
  • Did you create a new legacy for your child through adoption?
  • Family of God?

We want to hear your legacy story. Please share it here on the link-up.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


A Different Legacy ~ Adoption

A man and woman in love. 

They get married, experience a positive pregnancy test. It’s an exciting time! A well-planned “gender reveal” on Instagram or Facebook. Pictures of the growing belly, a baby shower, or maybe two baby showers. The baby makes their appearance in the world. The posts continue chronicling the life of this tiny human as they grow into toddler-hood, grade school, high school and more. Hopefully, the baby is loved and cared for in a way that nurtures them to grow into strong, responsible adults. But that doesn’t always happen.

Imagine a different story.

Unexpected Pregancy.

In contrast, a young man and woman enraptured by love find themselves tangled in a relationship far beyond where they meant to be or maybe they did mean to be here but thought themselves immune to pregnancy. Her period is late. She takes a home pregnancy test, the lines appear as she was hoping they wouldn’t. Boy dumps girl. The girl is alone and afraid. A girl born in China. A child removed from their home because of suspected neglect or abuse. A child can be brought into the world of adoption in many ways.

Adoption ~ A Different Legacy

God’s perfect plan even from the beginning. He knew Adam and Eve would choose to eat from the tree. God knew Jesus would die for the sins of the world and he knew that Christ would make it possible for people from every tribe and tongue to know His saving grace. He planned for his people to be adopted into his family because of His son, our Savior, and brother. Of course, in a perfect world, Eve would not have even been tempted to eat.

In a perfect world, marriage first and parents excited to grow their family. We don’t live in a perfect world and that makes adoption necessary and beautiful for those of us in relationship with our Heavenly Father through the blood of our adopted brother, and for those children that need a forever home. A legacy changed by adoption. For every tribe and tongue and for children born in imperfect situations.

We are “Back to the Future” fans.

boy future
image credit Rubylia at pixabay

In the movies, what Doc and Marty do in the past changes the world ahead. Adoption changes the world ahead for a child. Hopefully, each adopted child has a better chance at a successful life than they might have had with their biological parents. I believe that is the hope for all parties involved with adoption, if not, what would be the purpose of adoption?

I am an adoptive mom.

It’s never at the forefront of my mind because this is my family and this is my normal. Our four kids are ours and I truly can’t imagine my life any different. I do know that these four children would not be ours had it not been for loving birth mothers. Yes, especially in the world we live in today, my opinion is that any mother that chooses life for their child is a loving mother.

Any mother that chooses life for their child is a loving mother. #adoption Click To Tweet

Adoption changes the trajectory of life to a different legacy

Each of my children’s legacy is different than it would have been because their biological mother chose life.  Every adopted child’s legacy is different than it would have been.

All of our children were raised in a safe, loving environment with imperfect parents that love and serve Jesus. Adoption has given them stability and allowed the best of their God-given traits to shine through. They all love Jesus and are thriving where God has them.

  • One still has a mother, and a father too. She has had a thriving online business because she taught herself the skills necessary to do it and is currently moving up the ranks in a job she loves. She is fierce yet gentle and is the underdogs biggest fan.
  • Another is rising in the ranks of leadership and has traveled the country working with a ministry that uses state government to teach kids leadership skills.
  • The third spent 10 years running track and cross country and has amazing friends from the time he spent with his team.
  • The last survived and thrived. Living in this country will give her opportunities that never would have been possible if she had stayed where she was born.
Every adopted child's legacy is different than it would have been. #adoption #legacy Click To Tweet

Praise God for Birth Mothers

birth mothers
image credit free at Canva

The fact is, none of these things would be true if they had been raised with their biological families. We have a pretty good idea what would have happened to them and are fairly certain it would not have looked anything like it is today.  Praise God for that truth.  Praise God for birth mothers that chose life.  We praise God for birth mothers that chose adoption. Above all, we praise God that we have been blessed with a beautiful family that God chose for us.

We praise God for birth mothers that chose life. #birthmothers #adoption Click To Tweet

Has adoption always been easy?

Not at all. Raising kids is hard. Adopted kids deal with grief and loss that they often don’t understand when they’re young. Walking that with them can be difficult. But let’s face it, parenting any child is hard. Maybe our struggles were different, but family is family. God is not surprised! Every child is a child wanted by God and every child is fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.

In conclusion, adoption makes it possible for every child to have a different legacy.

Christy Richardson
Christy Richardson

Thank you Christy Richardson for sharing your adoption story.

August Legacy Theme is Adoption

legacy Linkup Adoptions
Link-Up Opens August 12

Hey friends! Let’s talk adoption this month… Natural and Spiritual. Do you have an adoption story? Are you adopted? Did you place you child for adoption? Have you adopted a child?

We would love for you to link-up with us next week! Kristen Taylor will be our guest writer sharing her story. You will be able to link-up on that post. Can’t wait to read it.

In the Meantime,

Have you found the Better Together Show on TBN? They come on at noon-ish every weekday. You need to check in with them for some awesome Christian encouragement.

Watch this Better Together Christian Women Talk Show on TBN. They discuss, “Why is adoption a reflection of God’s love for us?” Let’s talk -natural and spiritual adoption.

How to Make Your Marriage Last Forever

 

A Marriage That Lasts Forever

In honor of my own marriage that we have committed to last forever, I share some notes I have found along the way. They have worked well for these thirty years. I expect them to continue keeping us Lovestruck.

Lovestruck! Yes, that would be a good description of my husband and I. Definitely, Michael was lovestruck from the first day we met. That Sunday in August 30 years ago began as normal as any day could. My pastor’s wife, Charlotte, drug me to Georgia to retrieve her daughter who had spent the summer with her grandmother.

However, Charlotte had ulterior motives – to introduce me to some preacher. (As a side note – I did not intend to marry a preacher.) I went along just to make Charlotte hush about this “Michael” whom she thought I needed to meet.

Michael, on the other hand, had no clue at all that he was being set up. I was just a friend of Charlotte and I would be singing at church that morning. Boy, was he in for a surprise.

Twitter-painted!

Yep! Just like Bambi, he was “looking neither to the right nor the left” when “Boom!”, he came face to face with me. That’s how it started.

Many Waters

But marriage is more than that mushy feeling you get when you are dating. Marriage is a covenant “to have and to hold… from this day forth… ’til death do us part.”

You do remember those words you recited at the altar ‘x’ years ago? Right?

Those emotions and all the chemical reactions going on make for a great start but the covenant seals the deal.

“Marriage is about a covenant with the God who intertwines two souls with the thread of his presence.”

— Sharon Jaynes

The Covenant – Forever Words

Have you read those promises recently? Let’s remind ourselves of the words and promises we made. It probably went something like this…

I, (Name), take you, (Name), to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law, in the presence of God I make this vow.

www.weddingwire.com
2 Imperfect People

God’s plan for marriage is that it will last forever. We can look around and easily see what happens when marriage vows are broken. It leaves not only broken hearts but pure disaster in its wake. Mark 10:9 says that marriage is forever. I believe that God created marriage to show the world an example of His love for us. So we need to enter into those vows with that purpose in mind. Divorce should never be an option. No easy outs here. It takes work and the work we must do.

The “Work” of Marriage

First, Love is not always easy. Love means giving in to the other’s will and giving up what we want to please the other… even when they aren’t returning that kind of love. What if we did that? I’ve shared before from Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

Sacred Marriage reveals how marriage trains us to love God and others well, how it exposes sin and makes us more aware of God’s presence, how good marriages foster good prayer, how married sex feeds the spiritual life, and more.

Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy More that to Make us Happy?

Oh goodness, marriage exposes sin? You better believe it does. You see, when we are dating we always have our best foot forward, right? But once the wedding bells have chimed, we slack off and those fairy tale ideas are found to not be so true. Our own desires come floating to the top and the next thing you know we are fighting, screaming, yelling because we want our own way. {sin of selfishness}

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid to write this or being told what to say.


We may earn a small commission for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support our work in bringing you spiritual encouragement and other favorite product reviews. Thank you.

Marriage Fosters Good Prayer

Additionally, there is likely nothing better for a marriage than prayer. In the past, we often heard this adage… “A Family that PRAYS together STAYS together.” It’s still true is you implement it. Prayer brings you together. Praying together helps you hear what the other one desires, it helps us bring those desires together as we search for God’s Will and agree together to live it.

We also should be separately praying for our spouse. I have been using Sharon Jaynes’ book, Praying for Your Husband From Head to Toe since it was released in 2014. (I’ve also purchased it for nearly every bride I have known since then.) Sharon admonishes us…

As a wife, you have the power to open the floodgates of heaven through prayer on your husband’s behalf. Whether your husband hasn’t yet decided to follow Christ, has a lukewarm fledgling faith, or lives a fiery firm faith, there is no one more qualified to pray for his relationship with Christ than you.

Sharon Jaynes, Praying For your Husband From Head To Toe, page 6

The Importance of Intimacy

significance of sex

Ultimately, intimacy is highly important. It must be treasured and enjoyed always.

Songs of Solomon is an Old Testament book that we tend to gloss over. But there it is right in the middle of the Bible. So I’m thinking. God put it there for us to find instruction. It’s a love story of a King (Solomon) and his bride. It gets a little juicy but it also deals with handling health issues and those “little tiffs” we can get into.

Sharon Jaynes’ newest book, Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, & Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon offers much hope for our marriage. Sharon talks frankly to us about encouraging one another, Speaking life into each other, withholding intimacy, becoming indifferent, extending forgiveness and grace, fulfilling one another’s desires, becoming best friends, and so much more.

The Short List For a Forever Marriage

  1. A Commitment to Forever
  2. Love That Lasts Forever
  3. Prayers That Have Forever in Mind
  4. Lifelong Intimacy
  5. Working Together Forever
  6. Uplifting Words Toward and About Each Other
  7. Most Importantly, God is in the Center

This list is only the first few foundational and necessary actions we must take to have a forever marriage. As I have said before, it takes work and lots of it. it takes commitment to stay the course to forever. I pray that you are committed to the plan just as I am.

Let’s Do This!

If you desire to ignite your marriage, check out any of Sharon Jaynes’ books on marriage. I especially encourage you to pre-order your copy of Lovestruck before the Release date (Tuesday, August 6th). You will receive a free downloadable study guide and more. Just follow instructions at www.lovestruckbook.com

I’m praying you will find new ways to spice up your marriage.

It takes intentionality and ingenuity to make lifelong intimacy a reality. #lovestruckbook @sharonjaynes Click To Tweet
Mandy Farmer

How many years have you been married? Share in the comments.




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