February 20, 2017

Marriage Wisdom from Sharon Jaynes (w/Giveaway)

I’m excited to welcome my friend, Sharon Jaynes, to my blog today to share her new book, “A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage.” You will be blessed by her words of wisdom AND her GIVEAWAY! Read through to the end of the post for a chance to win a copy!

What do you do when you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ in your marriage?

Maybe you truly adored your husband in the beginning, but now you can’t remember why.

Maybe you honestly admired his finer qualities, but now you can’t remember what they were.

Maybe you appreciated his wonderful attributes, but now you take them for granted.

Between taking out the garbage, paying the bills, running the car pool, mowing the lawn, disciplining the kids, and folding the laundry, sometimes the passion of marriage gets lost. It happens to all of us at one time or another.

We can get so busy taking care of life that we forget to take care of love.

None of us got married so we could have a long list of chores. If you’re like me, most likely you got married because you were madly in-love and couldn’t imagine life without your man! You got married because your heart skipped a beat every time you laid eyes on him.

You couldn’t wait to tie the knot and build a life with this incredible person God had miraculously brought into your life. Maybe you still feel that way. But maybe you could use a little reminder—a re-stoking of the romance.

In the book of Revelation in the Bible, God had this to say to the church at Ephesus: “I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4).

Ephesus was one of the most loving churches in the New Testament, and yet somewhere along the way they lost that initial thrill of knowing Christ. Their love for each other and for God had grown cold.

So how do you get that lovin’ feelin’ back?

God gave the church two simple steps, and I believe we can apply them to our marriages as well. “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5, emphasis added).

Remember how it was in the beginning.

Return and do the things you did at first.

One day I took John’s words in Revelation to heart, and decided to remember and return by romancing my husband for fourteen days straight.

Can I tell you, I was a little bit nervous about it?

What if he thought I was silly?

What if he didn’t respond?

But I took a deep breath, push the fear aside, and began to romance my man like I did in the early days.

Every day wasn’t earth-shaking romance, even though there was some of that.

One day I simply put a sticky note on his bathroom mirror that said, “I love you.”

Another day I placed a box of Red Hot candy on his car seat with a note that said, “You’re a hottie.”

One morning I warmed up his towel in the dryer and had it ready when he got out of the shower.

And you know what happened? At the end of the fourteen days, Steve had a skip in his step and smile on his face like a Cheshire cat.

And what happened in me? I can hardly describe the love that welled up in me, as I loved my man well. Hear this…I changed.

I don’t have a big, bad personal story of how God took a terrible, tumultuous marriage and miraculously transformed it into a storybook romance filled with white-knight rescues, relentless romance, and rides into the sunset leaving all danger and darkness behind. Although our marriage has been all that at one time or another, it’s no fairy tale.

Our marriage is a daily journal, one page after another, one day after another. I’m guessing just like yours.

Some entries are smudged with tears; others are dog-eared as favorites.

Some days are marred by unsuccessful erasures that couldn’t quite rub away hurtful the words said; others are finger-worn by the reading of precious events time and time again.

But on those days when I see my marriage slipping back into the mundane cadence of passionless routine, I pull out my list of ideas, and put a smile on Steve’s face.

And that’s my challenge to you and to me today. When we see the fire needs stoking, remember and return. It may be a little scary at first, but be brave and begin!

What is one thing that you can do for your husband today to remind him of how much you love him?

Leave a comment and tell one thing that attracted you to your husband when you were dating. We’ll randomly pick one name and send a FREE copy of Sharon’s new book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage. I’ll announce the winner next Tuesday.

Sharon Jaynes is a conference speaker, devotion writer for Girlfriends in God and Proverbs 31 Ministries, and author of 21 books. Her latest book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage will help you step out of the mundane routine of life and captivate your husband all over again. With encouraging stories, Biblical principles, and over 250 simple ideas on how to romance your husband, Sharon will show you how to put a smile on your husband’s face. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

January 30, 2017

Live Full, Walk Free with Giveaway!

Happy Monday, friends! If you love our Inscribed Bible Studies, you will be excited to meet today’s guest. I’m thrilled to welcome our newest Inscribed Bible study teacher, and my friend, Cindy Bultema.

CindyBultema-bio-pic-small

God has given Cindy a beautiful story of redemption that will touch you like no other. She lived for years a lonely, rejected, cocaine-addicted single mom, living an empty, self-defeating, rebellious lifestyle, until the amazing day she met the One who set her free.

Her newly released Bible study, Live Full Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World, celebrates her NEW life in Christ. She is now a married mother of 4, and this summer marked her 20th anniversary of being cocaine-free. Hallelujah! Only God!!

I know you have a deep love for Bible Study so that is why I’m extra excited to share this book with you. Cindy teaches from 1 Corinthians. Chapter by chapter, she will take you through Paul’s teachings and equip you to live a set-apart life for Christ in today’s sin-soaked culture.

CBultema-GIVEAWAY-2

Enough of my words, let’s hear from Cindy:

Overcoming Addiction

Life wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.

As a red-haired, freckle-faced little girl, my childhood dreams included being a cheerleader, driving a fancy car, wearing sparkly things.

However, my story did not progress as I had planned. My young adult reality would have made for a depressing TV movie: bullying, betrayal, and rejection.  As I sought to fill my emptiness and loneliness, I sampled everything I could from the “smorgasbord of life.”

Food.  Shopping.  Alcohol.  Men.  Drugs.

Nothing worked.

Before long, I found myself as a single mom. Used.  Abused.  Alone.

Not knowing how to calm the caverns inside of me, I turned to outside remedies again. The bar became my nightly hang-out, and alcohol and cocaine use quickly consumed my life.

On the outside, everything looked fine. I worked hard and loved my 2-year-old son. But on the inside, I was still empty and hurting.

In the midst of my mess, I reached out to a friend’s mom and shared the web of deception I had created, and an intervention was arranged. Compassionate Christian women held yellow pads filled with strategies. Go to AA. Pursue inpatient therapy. Tell my parents.

None of the proposals appealed to me. I left the gathering with a fresh sense of self-confidence. “I can do this. I don’t need their help. Everything is under control.”

I discovered willpower alone is not enough to overcome the allure of addiction.

Soon the cravings were overwhelming, and I caved in to my temptations. Before long I was back in the bar making the same self-defeating choices.  “I’ll try again tomorrow” became my evening tune.

Two weeks later, I accidentally overdosed on cocaine.

After driving myself to a med center, my parents were quickly notified.  One concerned nurse informed my mom she should say her goodbyes to me, her only daughter.  The doctor’s prediction as they rushed me by ambulance to a local hospital: I would be dead on arrival.

Thankfully, I didn’t die like they expected (whew!), and the cocaine overdose became my “bottom.”  Out of desperation and a determination to survive, once again, I asked my friend’s mom for help.  This patient woman shared with me four simple words that have changed my life— 

“Cindy, you need Jesus.”

And on that day, freshly discharged from the hospital, I cried out to Jesus and asked Him to enter into my life and save me.

Can I just say – best decision ever?  Life has never been the same.

Willpower alone is not enough to overcome the allure of addiction – but Jesus is.

Jesus alone can rescue, redeem, deliver, restore, and open up prison gates and set any captive free. There is no one too far gone from His redemptive reach.

Now I wish I could share it’s been an easy, carefree journey of sobriety and freedom.   Not so much.

Although Jesus delivered me from my pit of despair, I’ve also had to do my part, including:

  • Pursuing a daily relationship with Jesus Christ through His Word and prayer.
  • Renewing my mind with Truth. 
  • Leaving behind the “old” life, involving: letting go of any alcohol/drug related friendships, and avoiding tempting environments.
  • Stopping secrets and lies, exposing all areas of my life to His Light.
  • Getting to the “root” of the problem through Godly counseling.
  • Asking for ongoing accountability.
  • Discovering and practicing healthy new habits.
  • Praying!  I ask God daily to protect me from temptation, replace my cravings with His satisfaction, surround me with women to build me up, and fill my heart and mind with Truth.   

The good news? This year I celebrated 20 years of sobriety. Yay, God!

Please know I’m not a trained therapist, just an ordinary girl transformed by an extraordinary God.  There isn’t a day I don’t invite Jesus to do His powerful work in my life. I’m desperate for Him. But I must show up to do my part as well. Life’s worth it.  Jesus is worth it!

How about you?

If you’ve been searching for something to fill the emptiness and find yourself ensnared by the lure of addiction, please remember, willpower alone is not enough to set you free. 

Sweet friend, you need Jesus.  Please don’t wait another day.

Giveaway

Leave a comment before 5:00 pm Friday (2/3) sharing a specific verse God spoke into your heart during a dark time to redeem or deliver you. We will choose one name to win a copy of Cindy’s study and the accompanying DVD. I will announce the winner Tuesday, February 7th.

More about the book:

Live Full Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World is a six-chapter journey through 1 Corinthians. A six-session DVD is also available providing additional teaching from Cindy to enhance your study. For a FREE chapter of Live Full Walk Free, a set of A-Z scripture cards, and other resources, visit Cindy’s blog here: http://www.cindybultema.com/live-full-walk-free/.

More about Cindy

With nearly 20 years of ministry experience, Cindy is a popular women’s speaker, author, and Bible teacher. But don’t let her cheerful smile fool you—Cindy has endured single parenting, overcome bondage to addiction, and survived tragic loss. Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and their four kids. Most days you can find Cindy walking her beagle Rocky, attending one of her boys’ hockey games, or serving hot lunch at her kids’ school.

September 28, 2015

Taming the To-Do List Giveaway

Today I’m excited to introduce my friend, Glynnis Whitwer, and share her new book, Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your BEST Work Every Day.

I keep a to-do list next to my computer, and it drives my day. In fact, a great day for me is when I have crossed everything off that list by the end of the day! The problem comes when I have not and those tasks carry over to the next day. That, my friend, can sometimes take me to the edge, worrying how I’ll get it all done the next day.

Can you relate?

Glynnis’ book helps with this dilemma. Rather than focus on getting “through” our “to-do” list, she helps us bring balance to our “to-do” list. Through personal stories and Scripture, she exposes a word many of us identify with … procrastination, explains what it costs us, and equips us to overcome it. They key is not to get all things done or more things done, it’s to get the “right” things done each day. It’s God’s agenda first, not our own.

Don’t you love that? So freeing!

Below please find a message from Glynnis’ heart to yours. And when you get to the end of the post, leave a comment sharing at least one way you struggle with your “to-do” list for a chance to win a copy of Taming the To-Do List!!

Glynnis.TamingToDoList

I faced hard, challenging work, which quite honestly made me wonder what I’d learned in four years of college. It was easier to plead busyness than to admit I felt under-qualified and afraid to try. Would my work show I didn’t have what it took?

Procrastination popped up its bossy head as I got involved in church, volunteering and leading small groups and Bible studies.  But its influence escalated when I answered God’s call How Can I Procrastinate When I’m So Busy?

Looking back, it’s obvious procrastination has been a life-long companion of mine. Only I didn’t see it because I was so busy.

Plus, it’s always been easy to find other things to blame. But digging down deep unearths the truth: I put things off that I really should do, I could do, but I choose not to do. And in doing so, my to-do list gets out of control.

Procrastination first showed up in school when I’d wait until the last-minute to finish an assignment. Just good enough to make the grade … but never feeling like I’d done my best.

It then showed up at my first job, when to write and speak.

It hasn’t controlled all areas of my life, but it’s impacted me enough that I finally said “no.” No to the lies that tomorrow will be easier.  No to the fear that I’ll look like a fool. No to the threat that my best isn’t good enough.

And I also finally said “yes.” Yes to addressing the underlying issues of my procrastination. Yes to being brave enough to face some weak areas.  Yes to hard choices that bring my responsibilities under control.

It turns out, my procrastination had a root problem. When faced with a choice between two tasks, my tendency is to choose the easier of the two.

For example, if I know I need to get housework done on a Saturday morning, but I also need to do some shopping. I’ll choose shopping, and then never quite get around to that cleaning.  Or if I want to work on a creative project, but I also need to answer emails. I’ll start on the emails, thinking I’ll eventually get around to my project, but then never do.

With enough choices like that, I leave undone the work that will make the most impact on my life.

I’m learning, with God’s help, to be honest with myself about why I procrastinate doing certain things. Some times the answer is easy. But sometimes I have to dig deep to discover some fear or perfectionist tendency that’s keeping me stuck.

Sometimes, I just don’t know the best thing to do next. This is when I desperately need wisdom beyond what I can muster to make the best choice. To find wisdom, I need to silence the demands of many, to hear the commands of One.

God is faithful, and His Word promises we can receive wisdom.  In fact, it’s a gift from God. Here is what James 1:5-6 says,

 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

My goal in dealing with procrastination isn’t to get more done. I want to get more of the right things done. Rather than follow my to-do list, I want to follow God’s to-do list for me.

It’s not easy, but it is possible. Thankfully God is faithful and an ever-present source of help. With His help, I have a manageable to-do list … most of the time.

Glynnis Whitwer is a wife, mother of five young adults and executive director of communications for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her latest book, Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day is available from Proverbs 31 Ministries. As a bonus for purchasing from Proverbs 31, Glynnis has prepared two time-management planner sheets to help you get control of your to-do list.  CLICK HERE for more information.

Thank you, Glynnis, for joining us today and for generously donating a book to give away. Okay, girlfriends, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Taming the To-Do List!!

Blessings,