When you hear this word or read this word where does your mind go? Does it excite you? Or does it put some fear into you?
I think for many of us we often fear change. Change can be scary, and it can come when we don’t expect it. Often we don’t understand why there is so much change. If we learned anything from 2020 I think we learned how quick the world can change. But, with that change it brought A LOT of FEAR.
Let’s go back in time to the day of change (for me personally) this day of “change” created a snowball effect for change in my life. It was March 13th, a Friday. It was the day of Nate and I’s bachelor / bachelorette party (YAY) but it was also the day I left the office at work due to COVID entering the US. My wedding was scheduled for April 4th, and week after week the snowball got bigger and bigger. CHANGE kept coming!
I was fearful, angry, annoyed, happy, sad, I think throughout this time I felt every single emotion. My wedding plans were changing by the second. I will never forget the day when our wedding was postponed. I cried and ran up to my office where I sat in my chair and I opened up my devotional and my Bible and I said Why God? What is your plan?
I feared what would happen but I knew I needed to embrace all that God was doing in my life and embrace His plan that was going to somehow be greater than I had ever dreamed.
I could write for ages about the months of March – August but that’s for a different day.
Do you fear change?
I struggle with change because I am Type A, and I plan everything out, think everything out, and I like to be prepared for anything that could happen. I always joke about being a Martha or a Mary and I am definitely a Martha. Example: My grandma and I always are early and we are always prepared for anything. Like we have to leave 30+ minutes before we have to be somewhere because who knows: you might get a flat tire, you might get stuck in traffic. We like to think of it all. It can be a blessing and a curse.
Do you cringe when you read it? If so, this is for you.
“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you in Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” – Matthew 28:5-7
We do not need to fear change, because God is making a new creation within that change. He has a plan in place and new things are on the horizon. If we cling to old ways and sameness, we are essentially resisting God’s work that he is doing within our lives. When we begin to let that fear sink and set in we need to remind ourselves to embrace all that Christ is doing in our life. Finding security in Christ alone.
In today’s world it is so easy to make an idol of routine, and finding security in your own boundaries that you have built for your life.
Let’s start by asking God to open our eyes so that we can see all that God has prepared us for in each day.
Fear and then turn into TRUST.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Have you ever found yourself searching for love? I found that a lot of people in college tend to search for love. What I want to remind you today is that Marriage is a calling; a holy covenant between God, your spouse, and yourself. Many times we become so focused on finding the right person or just a person and we forget that in the meantime our job is to BECOME the right person.
My husband Nathan will tell you of a time in college when he was asked "What qualities do you want in a spouse?" He wrote them all down on a piece of paper and then he was asked "As you read those qualities, do you think you're the man that that woman would want to be with?"
WOAH! Big question, right?!
Nathan realized at that moment that he wasn't where he needed to be to attract the type of woman he wanted to end up with. So what did he do? He started preparing, and really tried to focus on the areas of his life that he needed to work on. He wanted a woman strong in her faith, so what did he do? He dug into the word. He wanted a woman that was family focused, so what did he do? He began to spend extra time focusing on his own family relationships.
We dont walk into a college semester final or a big presentation at work without doing any preparing or studying the material, right?
Well I would hope not.
Likewise, we shouldn't walk into marriage without preparing. Many college students and even young adults will tell you "I am not ready for marriage" well if you never prepare yourself you won't be. In order for your marriage to be all that God designed it to be, make the decision to start preparing yourself NOW. We often spend so much time fantasizing, agonizing, and dreaming of the person we want to end up with. I think we all too often don't think enough about how we can prepare the person in the mirror to be ready when that special someone walks into their life, regardless of when that may be.
I remember in college I wanted to prepare myself. I always knew I wanted to get married at a young age so I did what I knew I needed to in order to be the best wife I could be. I read a lot of books on relationships. My favorites that personally helped me on this journey are below:
Ask God to help you become the husband/wife you are called to be, even if you are not already in that position.
To many, waiting might seem like wasting. But to God, waiting is preparation. I love the saying that I heard while listening to a pastor speak where he said, when you stop searching you will find that soon there will be someone chasing after God just as fast as you are and you will look over and know that it was in God's plan all along. God has so much work to do in you and in your future spouse. Then He will call you both together, probably when you least expect it.
When Nate and I met we were very focused on our jobs. Neither of us were searching. A week after going on a few dates Nate was offered a job all the way across the world in Germany and God spoke very clearly and told us that even after only a week of knowing each other this was it. Were we scared? Of Course! Nate was about to turn down an amazing opportunity. However, God's plan is always greater than we could ever imagine.
The books I shared above are great reads to help you prepare for marriage, but I also want to share a few other ways that I believe help you prepare.
Conquer your Insecurities
So many of us can't see the full potential that God has created us to be. Many of us struggle with insecurity and think we will never be enough. Do not give into the lies of the enemy. Rely on what God promises you. Put on that armor of God. You are worth more than you could ever imagine. Small tip: If a man makes you feel like anything less than amazing, don't marry him. stand strong in Faith and know that you are beautiful. I encourage you to write positive affirmations on your mirror so that you can be reminded every morning of how amazing you are. You are smart, beautiful, worthy, strong. Get rid of any negativity in your mind and replace it with the positive words of God.
When we are single we don't have to worry about others and being responsible for them. You can buy what you want, and do what you want. In marriage you need to learn to put God first, then your spouse and your children. They go above your needs. Life is not about you. Start with making your life more than just about you, and this mindset will flow into your marriage as a result of the changes you make now.
Through marriage you learn a lot about compromise. You won't always agree, trust me. Learn to care about your spouses feelings, wants, desires, and needs. Enter marriage with the mindset to give 100% and expect nothing in return. When both partners give 100%, the result is a beautiful, selfless, love-filled marriage that becomes a sanctuary for both the husband and wife.
We all know that friend, family member, co-worker, etc. that cannot say the word "sorry". People can be too proud to ever be wrong. Being humble takes an awful big person and those aren’t easy shoes to fill. Of course no one likes to be wrong, but we are not perfect humans and truly that is what makes the world so beautiful.
Learn to say sorry, pray for God to help you to be humble enough to admit your wrongs.
I recommend reading the book above called Sacred Sex. But no matter what culture tries to sell you, or your friends try to tell you, purity is always best. Sex is Holy and Sacred. Even if you haven’t saved yourself, purity begins the day you decide it to put aside your human nature and culture’s ideas. Purity truly is a higher calling that is so hard to maintain, yet not impossible. But don’t be fooled, purity of the heart and mind is just as important as physical purity.
I have heard that the main reason why couples argue revolves around Money. Learn to manage your money now so that in your marriage it will be easier. Maybe listen to a few podcasts by Dave Ramsey or read one of his books. If you have poor money management skills it will put strain and stress on your marriage especially when kids come along. Once you are married, it's no longer "my money" or "their money." It becomes "our money" and when you choose to manage it together, you undoubtedly will have more success.
God's Idea of Marriage
Learn God’s design for marriage now to benefit you later on down the road. The Bible is the best resource to find advice on marriage. Pray. Ask God to make you the kind of wife or husband that your future spouse needs. Ask Him to hep prepare you and build that foundation of rock. Instead of focusing so much on finding the right person, focus on becoming the right person.
Homemaker & Managing the Home
When I think of a homemaker I think of my grandma or Martha in the Bible. When you are single little things like cooking might not seem like a big deal to you. When you are young and married and money might be tight so home cooked meals and leftover are a saver. Also budget budget budget. I’m telling you, this area matters more than you realize, start preparing now!
Right now, even if you don’t have the slightest idea who you will marry someday, you can start praying for your spouse. Prayer is what will get you both through the hardest times in your life. Whatever obstacles life may throw at you, you can face it hand in hand in prayer. Prayer connects you and your future spouse even before you find them. Pray also to become the kind of husband/wife that your future spouse needs. Prayer is the most powerful thing you can do to prepare for marriage.
Hope this helps you Prepare For Marriage!
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There is a well-known quote that says: “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it”.
I fully believe that this quote is true, and it should be the theme of 2020. As we go into a new year soon, my hope is that after going through a year like 2020 more of us have this outlook on life.
Our first instinct is to look at everything from a flesh perspective as my mom likes to say. This really means looking through the eyes of yourself and not through the eyes of God. Our natural instinct is to be in the flesh rather than the spirit however, we can change that. We as humans often feel as if our circumstances are a part of our emotions, and we think it is nothing we have control over. This leads us to think negatively and have negative feelings like guilt, shame, hopelessness, anger, etc. The reality is that GOD IS IN CONTROL. If we understand, know, and TRUST that He is. We then can choose to respond positively to our circumstances.
Growing up it wasn’t always easy; I was an 8-year-old girl once. As I looked around, I knew I was different and every other girl in school could jump rope in gym class, swing on the monkey bars at recess, and put up their hair in a ponytail. These were things I could not do YET. Key word: YET. My parents raised me to NEVER say the word can’t. I knew that if I had the will, I would find a way, and I always did. I never let my circumstance of having one arm stop me from anything. Sure, it took me many years to learn those things, but I was determined. I have always been asked how I am so confident. My answer is simple. I truly have always believed that God created me with one arm on purpose and for a purpose. It didn’t matter if I didn’t know that purpose yet, I TRUSTED the Lord’s plan for me.
2020 has been a year of uncertainty, a year where we see a lot of negative. I’m with you, this year my world got flipped upside down. My wedding got rescheduled, my honeymoon cancelled. A year that I was so excited for. The reality is: I still found the love of my life, I still got married, and GOD had and still has a grand plan in all of this. Sometimes it’s hard to trust. I remember the day and week my wedding had to be moved. I was a wreck, I felt sad, frustrated and angry. Yet when I sat and opened my Bible and my devotional God spoke as clear as day and as always, he knew the exact words I needed at that time. Oh, how Good God is.
We must choose Happiness and Choose God amidst the chaos.
We have the ability and power to choose positivity over negativity. Unhappy people feel a lack of control in their lives. They often blame others and take on being the victim. This sends them into an emotional loop.
The Bible teaches us how to respond to difficult circumstances.
In Romans 12:12-13 says, “Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” Romans 12:12-13 details five godly priorities in the midst of difficult circumstances.
First, we rejoice in Hope. We might not know the details of tomorrow. But as believers we do know that Jesus has a great and glorious future for us.
Second, we are to Persevere in Tribulation. We are called to persevere, and not give up. With God all things are possible. In His strength we can do anything.
Third, we must be Devoted in Prayer. We must pray for others, Jesus prayed often for his disciples and for future believers. Keep this in mind, on the cross Jesus prayed for those who crucified him. When the sins of the world were placed on Him, He prayed to His Father. We all must pray. Prayer is simply just talking to God. I remember as a kid during tests at school I would get really anxious because I wanted to do well. So, before every test I would pray, and then I would set out a pencil for God and I joked with Him that He didn’t need an eraser because He never made mistakes. Then I would scoot over in my chair so He could sit with me, and on questions I didn’t know I would talk to Him and say, “Jesus which would you choose?”.
Fourth, Contributing to The Needs of Saints. We must help others whenever we can. In Acts 20:35 Jesus says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Fifth, we must Practice Hospitality. Love others. I think in this world this is something we could use a lot more of. Kindness.
It’s time for us to stand up and make a difference. Every day is an opportunity to serve God and others. By the Grace of God, we can seek to respond to our circumstances in a way that His purposes are at the center, instead of what we think ours’s are. Though we don’t know all the reasons for battles, we do know that God loves us and that He would not give us anything we can’t handle.
Let me first start of by saying that there is freedom in forgiveness. However, forgiveness is not always easy. Forgiveness is something I have struggled with since the age of 8. For a long time I practiced “I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget.” I would tell you it straight that I was a master at holding a grudge.
Eventually I slowly learned, 12 years later actually that truly forgiving was the only thing that would bring me freedom. I often wonder why it is so difficult to forgive others when Christ has forgiven me for my sins.
In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells Peter the parable of the unforgiving servant. In this parable, Peter asks Jesus how often he should forgive a brother that sins against him. Peter’s initial guess is seven times. However, Jesus challenges Peter by saying, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” In other words, Jesus wants us to always forgive others without limitation. Jesus ends the parable by saying that if we fail to forgive others, then God will treat us like the master treated the unforgiving servant in verses 34-35.
The concept of relentless forgiveness seems foreign in our culture and society in America. So many movies and television shows glamorize revenge. However, revenge is the complete opposite of what the bible teaches. The Bible teaches us that we are not to take revenge on others because vengeance is the Lord’s (Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19).
Something else that I recently have struggled with is forgiving those who don’t ask us for forgiveness or even apologize to us. I have tried the brush it off concept, and yes that works for a period of time, but eventually it starts to stick. Sometimes you have to sit and address your stubborn heart by praying and reading God’s word. God uses that one on one time to soften our hearts and to remind us that He has shown us the greatest form of forgiveness.
In Psalm 103:10-12 God’s forgiveness is painted beautifully, It says: “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” God does not show bitterness towards us when we repent. He wipes our slate clean. He simply forgives.
I think to me I know forgiveness is not always something I have to do, or even want to do, but I know that it is something I MUST do.
Let’s look at Ephesians 4:31-32
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ask yourself this question?
Do you find yourself limiting your forgiveness? Is there a specific person it is harder to forgive?
This question rings true to me, sometimes there are specific people that are harder to forgive. But as Christians we want people to know Jesus. Forgiveness is the best way to show them that you forgive because you have a forgiving God and that they aren’t as far away from Him as they think. In fact, He is ready to welcome them home as soon as possible (Check out the prodigal son in Luke 15!) Sometimes those that hurt you, might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. That’s why we should reaffirm our love for them and forgive. Show God’s grace and love.
Forgiveness is not easy, it is one of the hardest realities we face on Earth. But that is why Jesus died on the cross for our sins to set us free and to overcome it.
Your Forgiveness will affect generations to come.
Forgiveness is choosing mercy, and not retaliation.
When you have forgiven the other person, you have the upper hand. Not over them but over the devil’s advantage in your life. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
Hi there, I'm Sarah. I'm a writer, speaker, wife, daughter, and most importantly, a sister and friend. My hope is that through blogs, and my posts you will leave here encouraged and know that you were created with a Purpose. My hope is that you leave here feeling loved by Jesus.