In Your Heart

It’s not in your day job or side gig. Your credentials or diplomas. It’s not in your trophies or alma maters. It’s not in your bank account or retirement account. It’s not in your likes or followers. It’s not in the concerts you attend or the books that you read. It’s not in the movies that you watch or the instruments that you play. It’s not in the spouse that you have or the child that you raise. It’s not in the school you attend or choir you join. It’s not in your social status or relationship status. It’s not in the car you drive or the boat you own…

It’s not in your parents choices or your grandparents wishes. It’s not in your past heartaches or future concerns.  It’s not in your mistakes, accomplishments, regrets, or failures. It’s not in your report cards or paychecks.

It’s in your heart.

The decision each one of us makes day after day as to whom we will serve, lean on, and trust is our own. Your spouse can’t make it. Your parents can’t make it. They may try, but they can’t. As a parent myself now, this is terrifying, but I turn this over. Over and over. My kids will make their own choices. As will I. As will you.

To love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul may look different to people. It may lead to choices others may not make. He gives us different gifts, passions, and paths. When we ask Him to lead, our lives may take directions we’d never choose on our own. But, the beauty before us is a life lived trusting Him. Let God be your guide.

We find Him in our trials, we help others with what we’ve learned, and we choose Him day after day. In the ups and the downs, we have faith He is with us. And, it’s in THIS faith, that our strength is found. Our callings may be every bit as different as the circumstances we face. But, pointing to the same God, brings us together in one accord.

Brothers and sisters. Hearts to hearts. Trials to trials. Victories to victories. Peace and strength abounds. In one name. The name of Jesus.

 

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I’d Choose Love

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Love and money are great, but if I have to choose, I choose love. Love and sex are great, but if I have to choose, I choose love. Love and handyman abilities are great, but if I have to choose, I choose love. Love and great looks are great, but if I have to choose, I choose love. Love and a great time are great, but if I have to choose, I choose love.

What’s interesting to me is that so many of us confuse money, sex, skills, looks, and fun for love. They can all come WITH love. But, they can also very easily come without. They can counterfeit the real thing. I think they even sometimes keep us from finding the real thing. We want money. We want physical pleasure. We want the perfect face and body. We want to have a great time. In and of themselves, none of these are bad. But, to be loved. Truly loved. Is better than them all. If you’ve never had this, you’d never know. If you have and lost it, no doubt, you know. Real love is a rare find. If you have it, nourish it, be thankful for it, enjoy it.

Great sex doesn’t equal love. But, real love will lead to great sex. If you have real love, then communication is already in place. If you have real love, you’ve already proven that you can talk about anything. Hang-ups, likes, dislikes, previous issues, fears. There will be a mutual respect and concern for each others hearts. There will be an openness that takes shame out of the picture. The person making real love to you will honor you. Your pleasure will be their greatest desire, not their own. Before marriage, this comes in the form of waiting or going only as far as you’re both comfortable with. After marriage, this comes in the form of giving. I was physically rejected countless times in my marriage and then immediately desired in that way when dating. This made it very hard for me to refrain in order to decipher real love. My self esteem was shot and I had been starved in so many ways. If your desire is to wait and a man honors you in this way, your heart will swell with so much love for him. He will be making love to you in a way you’ve never known, to your heart. This is beautiful. This is pure. This is real.

Money without love will feel empty. Things cannot replace love. They are nice. Vacations are nice. Designer clothes are nice. But, without the love, they feel like extremely fake imitations. Without the love, a Gucci purse has as much worth as the knock off. I’ve had nice things given to me when all I wanted was personal time spent together. I liked the purse, but felt shunned. I carried the purse, but knew in my heart, that it was given as an after thought in hopes to replace my desire for time spent. If I had known I was loved, I would have felt much warmer carrying the purse. Instead, I felt like it was a lousy substitute. A pacifier. A gift given out of convenience and requirement. Looking back, I wish I had had the courage to say “Keep it, it’s not what I want.”

We love our kids regardless of what they have, what they look like, what they can do, or how they are feeling. This is true love. Love trumps. If they were to become disfigured or injured, our love would not waver. Love never fails. If you have a rich, attractive, fun, handy spouse who loves you, ENJOY! The “who loves you” part is the hardest to come by. The “who loves you” part is something not to be taken for granted.  The “who loves you” part is the most important. There’s a reason wedding vows say “for richer for poorer”, “in sickness and in health”. Because all those things can change. To love and to honor through them all is something nothing else can buy.

Cherish your spouse. Love them like no other. Show them the best humanly love possible. Your spouse is given to you by God to love you through life and we all know life isn’t easy. They are supposed to be your helper, not your hurter. Let us never intentionally hurt each other. Let us ask forgiveness when we do. Let us forgive. Let us cherish. And, let us always choose love.

Born to Pursue…

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I’d like to share some information that I’ve learned through the trial and error, excitement and disappointment, joy and pain of dating….things I wish I’d known the first time around. Better late than never.

A man will pursue what he wants most. Career, marriage, sex, power, God, hobbies, family, money. It’s a God given trait. You can tell what is most important to a man by what he prioritizes.

When he’s looking for a woman, he will pursue. When he’s looking for a wife, he will pursue. And, these can be two very different things. Same goes for us. What we may want in a man and what we need in a husband are two different things. Be aware, guard your heart, and date accordingly.

When a man catches your scent and starts to pursue, what is he picking up? Sex appeal? You may have a plethora of pursuers. But, be aware that sex may be all he’s hunting. The only way to know is to take it out of the equation. Money? A different type of pursuit. There are plenty of men who will spend and live off your money too. He needs to work. Looks? They will fade. We all age, even him. A good time? We all have bad days, sick days, sad days, hard days…..Will he help (love) you through them or bail?

How about spiritual fruit? A man drawn to the sweet smell of the fruits of the Spirit will be looking for yours. That’s a beautiful pursuit.

Work on your insides while you take care of your outsides. Outer beauty may attract initially, but inner beauty will become more attractive over time. To us too. Most of what we desire in a husband, they also desire in us. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. Ask God for a character that grows more beautiful by the year.

If you have the desire to marry, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for talking about it or looking for it. Not everyone has this desire, but for those of us who do, it is not wrong nor does it make you any less spiritual when you feel or express physical loneliness. That’s a healthy, God-given desire.

A huge part of what makes a husband a great husband is his awareness of how special his wife is. His treatment of her reflects that. These are my favorite marriages to witness. You’ll want a man who continues to pursue you, even married. One who gives, serves, plans, and thanks God for you. One who truly loves you for you. If you are the one chasing him and wearing him down to spend time with you or commit while dating, this is the precedent you are setting. Wait for the man who pursues you. Treasures you. Who views being committed to you as the privilege that it is.

When the dating crickets chirp, take comfort in the fact that you are released from the temporaries and more prepared for your permanent. It may feel lonely. You may think something is wrong with you. But, God is working in you and your future mate. Pray for them and know that you are already loved, already beautiful, and already being actively pursued. Jesus woos us. He waits for us. He is the perfect gentleman. That being said, Jesus doesn’t take the place of a living breathing physical partner. I know this. But, He does love you more than any living breathing partner will. Cry out in your physical loneliness and know that He loves you.

Love is sacrifice. Love is patient, love is kind……(1 Corinthians 13). Learn what real love is so that you can recognize healthy and unhealthy love when it shows up. Learn so that you can give and receive it. Grow in your relationship with God so that your fruits will flourish. This will not only help with future romantic relationships, but also with your kids, family, and friends.

The man who is pursuing a wife will pursue you differently. He knows what he wants too…and he knows it’s hard to find.

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. Proverbs 31:10-11 (NIV)

There are no guarantees in marriage. Uniting two imperfect people in holy matrimony is always a risk. I have learned the hard way and experienced much pain in the process. If I can help anyone avoid pain, that would be a huge blessing. I pray for wisdom this time. I pray for fruit this time. I pray for the courage to take the risk….again. Because I believe love is worth the risk. I plan to keep learning from and leaning on the One guarantee I am certain of and that is Jesus, my Rock.

 

 

Passion, Calling, Gift, Career…

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My passion is learning and teaching healthy love, which flows from the love Jesus has for us. I believe wholeheartedly that this is my passion because I didn’t know healthy love before. I married unhealthy love because I was unhealthy. I didn’t know any better. Under nourished falls for over bearing and controlling. Makes sense now. This is my passion.

Now that I know better, because I know Jesus’s love better, my passion is to share with others. Others who may not know. Others who turn to unhealthy relationships, marriages, or vices to satisfy their God-given cravings. Others who don’t know their worth in His eyes, how to be treated respectfully, speak up when they need to, give God their pain, ask Him for help, or look to Jesus first. Because I didn’t. I know the loneliness and desperation this can lead to. So, I share. This is my calling.

I’ve always loved to write. I’m able to articulate my thoughts and feelings better this way than verbally. The words flow and come relatively quickly when a topic comes to mind. I thank God for that. Writing relieves me. When I write, I can actually feel sadness, confusion, and stress leave my body like a pressure valve inside me. I feel better. I feel lighter. Like I did what I needed to do. It energizes me and calms me. If it helps anyone else, bonus. I’ve been told that it has. This must be my gift.

I earn my living looking at hearts. I’ve done cardiovascular ultrasound for 16 years. Yes, sometimes it gets monotonous. But, I know it’s important. I know it helps others and serves a need. I don’t like missing field trips or summer breaks with my girls. It pangs me that I can’t pick them up from school or take them to dance class. I hate rushing them out the door on the mornings they don’t have to be at school. But, I provide for my girls and God knew that I’d need to. He led me to this career path. I have a job that needs filled. I have a job that helps others. And, I am thankful. I am thankful that I can provide for us and save for retirement in an air conditioned office with an ultrasound probe. This is my career.

While I get paid to look at hearts all day, my passion is ministering to them. I recognize how one supports me financially and the other supports me emotionally and spiritually. I had my career before I had my passion. Oh, how I would love for them to come together one day…

Nonetheless, I feel more fulfilled than ever knowing my passion, accepting my calling, and sharing my gift. If God opens the door for my passion to support me financially, I will enthusiastically jump aboard. But, in the meantime, I will continue to lean, learn, grow, and work. I will thank God for what He’s taught me, the courage He’s supplied to share, the format in which to do so, the hearts I’ve been able to touch, and the hearts I’ve been able to see.

Truth is, we may or may not be able to make our livings pursuing our passions. But, we can always take them with us. And, we should. Do you think plumbers, welders, septic tank workers, grave diggers, or proctologists were born with a passion to do what they do for a career? Possibly, but not likely. Thank God they do it. We need them! Make a living to support your family. Bring the joy of your passion with you. God will honor that. He will use you to bless others and touch hearts right where you are.

One day the door may open to earn your living with your passion, but if it doesn’t, remember that God placed you where you are and He put that passion within you for a purpose. Earn your living and share however you can. There are many jobs that need to be filled. Take your passion with you. We need you.

No More Bills?!

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When we think about Heaven, we tend to think about how there will be no more death, sadness, or sickness. The absence of these three things is enough to make me want to go….yesterday. But, today I was thinking about how there will be so much more to experience and not experience in this truly glorious place.

Have you ever thought about the fact that we won’t have mortgages in Heaven? We get to live in our dream home, free and clear! No mortgages, light bills, water bills, trash bills, phone bills, or internet bills. We won’t have them, nor will we need them.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2,3

It’s mind blowing to me that He’s not only preparing a place for us, but also that He wants us where He is. No matter the size, architectural style, paint color, flooring, or acreage of the homestead He graciously GIVES us, it will be our personally ideal home. A home like no other. A home like our humanly minds can’t comprehend. Our resting place. And we will have Jesus as our neighbor! I can’t imagine a warmer welcome.

Have you ever thought about the fact that there will be no more grocery bills, school bills, medical bills, day care, vacation costs, or taxes? We work and work and work and pay and pay and pay. We work hard to pay our bills and hope for some leftover money to entertain ourselves and our families with. In Heaven there will be no need for any of these expenses.

We won’t need checkbooks, ATMs, credit cards, insurance, retirement accounts, or new tires. No travel costs. No baggage fees. No security lines. No gas pumps. No oil changes. No tolls. No hotel costs. Life will be an eternal all-inclusive vacation from what we’ve grown accustomed to. I can’t even imagine…

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9

Where the streets are paved with gold and the gates are made of pearls, there is no need for online bill pay, stamps, or paydays. The relief of all financial responsibilities is not something I used to think about when I thought of Heaven. Now, raising 2 girls, it strikes a much deeper chord. There are so many reasons I yearn for Heaven…..

No more death, seeing our loved ones again, no more physical or emotional pain, no more violence, no more diseases to catch or panic over, and living in the light of The Lord’s physical presence gives me more hope and excitement than I can articulate with this keyboard!

Coolest part? God wants us home with Him even more than we want to go home! Now, that’s hard to imagine. He is the ultimate Provider. He sent His Son to die for us so that we could live with Him there….forever. ALL EXPENSES PAID!