#LoveandMarriage

Wifey Wednesday: Marriage is a Mirror

As we continue on this journey of “Self-Examination”, I wanted my final #WifeyWednesday posts for this month to be personal.  Last week we discussed that marriage is instituted to glorify God. Today we will go over the fact that marriage is like a mirror.


An interesting thing that I have found in my 10 months of being married is that marriage is like a mirror. You ever look into a mirror and see your imperfections? Wrinkles, blemishes or age spots etc … the things we wish we could change, but for the most part have little control over. Mirrors can be real lifesavers, they reflect the present state and give us an opportunity to fix the imperfections.


Marriage at times amplifies our imperfections and our unresolved issues. Whether is issues of abandonment, trust or patience – this becomes amplified in marriage. Just as we look in the mirrors at times and see things we do not like, there are some characteristic traits that need an adjustment. By living so closely with another person, you begin to get a picture of what you really look like. You start to see where you need to adjust and change. Unfortunately, many expect marriage to be something that makes them look better, not something that reveals where they don't look so good. Rather than see where we need to change, we opt to project our own negative images on our spouses and point out where they need to change. Are you willing to accept criticism and make changes? In the Bible, Adam played the blame game like this: "That woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12). Stop blaming others and take responsibility for your actions.


Scripture speaks to us time and time again about reflecting Christ because we are made in His image. Colossians 3:10 states “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator”. When we accept Christ we know we are to reflect Him. There were moments in my marriage due to feeling overwhelmed that I would give very short responses or spend more time on work or getting things done for my organization. Being overwhelmed and frustrated did not give me a pass to not speak to my husband in love. I took time to reflect and sincerely apologize. There is a saying that my dad would always drill in my head as a child “Do unto others as you would have them do onto you”.  At the end of the day, we are not only a reflection of Christ but we are to reflect our spouse.


To my followers who are single: What areas in your life do you need to work on reflecting Christ? Make a list of 2-3 things that you will be committed to work on before the end of the year. Place it on an index card or in your prayer journal and diligently work on reflecting Christ.


To my followers who are married: If we believe our spouse is present in the marriage to make us look better, instead of being a mirror to help us see who we really are, we will think our marriage is inadequate whenever one of our faults is revealed. Be open to receive criticism. Open the lines of communication to allow your spouse to feel comfortable to speak to you about imperfections.


My prayer is that God will help us in our imperfections. In the area(s) that we are not reflecting Him, may He refine us and mold us into who He wants us to be. No one is perfect, but we can strive to reflect Christ in every aspect of our life.


For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

Wifey Wednesday: Marriage is made to Glorify God

 

 

 

As we continue on this journey of “Self-Examination”, I wanted my last two #WifeyWednesday posts for this month to be personal. Just wanted to share what I have learned and experienced in my marriage thus far. I was going to save this for the end of the year, but it fits perfectly with our blog series this month.

 

Marriage was instituted to glorify God. One of the main things I have witnessed as I have counseled others and have even struggled with, is the notion that marriage is to glorify God. Our idea of marriage has been misconstrued over time & not in line with God’s purpose for marriage. We have turned marriage into “what’s in it for me”. Hard lesson: it is not about you. Marriage is more than a than a contract, a piece of paper, or pledge. In marriage you are not only committing to each other in companionship, you are committing to each other in everything. Nothing comes before your spouse.

 

In a nutshell, marriage is to represent how Christ loves the church. Marriage unites two sinners and shows the relationship between Christ and the church. It is put on display in front of the whole world to see. Ephesians 5:25-27 states “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.”.

 

My husband and I grew up with great examples of a healthy marriage. Both sets of parents have been married for over 30 years. We understood that marriage would take “work” and “sacrifice” in order to be successful. One of my mentors drilled into my head that marriage is about sacrifice, not compromise. There would be moments ahead where we would not be able to compromise, and would have to sacrifice.

 

Prior to getting married I knew that marriage would take “work”. As I described to one of my mentees, marriage is the type of work you enjoy … not the 9-5 job that you hate. With that in mind I was aware that there would be days where I would feel overwhelmed but I would need to push through. I have heard people say “marriage isn’t what I expected”. The question is what did you expect (moment of self-examination). Are the expectations you have for your spouse fair? Can you live up to those expectations? I learned from the beginning that I could not place my happiness in the hands of my husband. That is so unfair. He is human just like me. There will be moments where he “fails” me.

 

In the beginning we struggled because my love language is “quality time”. My husband works late nights and due to his photography business, he also works weekends. In that instance I felt as if my “needs” were not being met. I had two choices: 1) Be angry and hold it against him 2) Communicate and work through it. “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1). I choose to be wise. Instead of nagging I prayed that he would work less hours, prayed that I would continue to love in tough times and sacrificed my own time for him. After some time, he is the one that came to me with solutions. We made sure we did our best to never skip a date night (#FridayNightDateNight) and established good communication when one felt “neglected”.

 

Let’s be real. That small incident could have grown into something much larger. If I chose to be angry .. everything he did thereafter would make me want to explode. If he left the cabinet doors open, forgot to take out the trash or did not help me cook during the week … my anger and frustration would just build. I wouldn’t love him with sacrificial love. This is what self-examination is all about. Looking at yourself and understanding what you are capable of doing, BUT choosing to do the right thing.

 

For my followers who are single: Please remember a man who will lead you to God and not to sin, is always worth the wait! Be patient in your season of singleness. The person that God wants for you will bring you closer to the God. You will see biblical traits in them (fruit). You have to examine their lives because that is the person you are going to be with until death. You need someone who is going to run the Christian race and keep up with you. If you think that you have found the one keep praying and God will tell you in prayer and thorough confirmation. If you are waiting for a spouse, keep praying that God sends someone your way. While you are praying for someone, someone is also praying for you. Trust in the Lord.

 

For my followers who are married: Is your marriage a reflection of God? Since we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27 ) your marriage should reflect Him. Are you being selfish, stubborn, belitting? Always ask yourself if your actions are glorifying God. Learn to makes sacrifices and love in that manner. Stop thinking about the things you aren’t getting, and focus on what your spouse does very well.

 

My prayer is that God will teach us how to build up our relationships, friendships and marriage, & keep us from tearing it down. Whether in word or in deed, we need to seek to honor each other and glorify God daily. May we have the strength to walk in sacrificial love, and a deep desire to press on in faith. Even on the days when it doesn’t feel good to do so, may we continue to walk in His will.

 

I will most likely do a video at the end of the year to celebrate my one year anniversary of marriage and share some more insight on the things I have learned.

 

For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

Share Your Story: Empowered to Live Again

God can heal and restore any loss you experience in life. In 2008, I went through a heartbreaking divorce, foreclosure and unemployment with a 3 year old and 1 month baby in my arms all in the same year! I found myself broken, confused and in despair. I fell into a deep depression.


Crawling out of my black hole was the hardest journey of my life. I had to hold on to all the messages I've heard growing up and the verses I read in the Bible to keep me going. The only problem was that I was so broken I was mad at God. I didn't know why I was going through so much and I question him everyday. I sought help from a Christian counselor and prayed every day that the nightmare would end. I felt as if my life was over. When I accepted the fact that what I was going through was real and that I had to move on with my life things begin to change. I stopped being mad at God when I realized that man make their own decisions apart from God because he gave them free will. I begin to work on forgiveness because anger and bitterness overwhelmed me. It was through the process of inner healing that I was able to rise again.


Forgiveness is not easy especially when the people who hurt you are your loved ones. But when you experience this type of heartbreak think about Jesus . He left his heavenly kingdom and came on earth to die for our sins so we may have life. Now that's great love 


If you are determined to get back up when life knocks you down then I’m here to tell you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m healthier, wiser, and stronger then I’ve ever been in my life. I want to encourage you to decide to become an over-comer today. Look forward to a brighter tomorrow and LIVE AGAIN!


I’m now remarried to an amazing supportive husband, mother of three beautiful children and a successful mentor. I believe that if  it wasn’t for God who was on my side I would not be here today encouraging you all. I now understand and have accepted the fact that my pain was meant to encourage Others. I now understand the verse that says "all things work for the good of those love the Lord"" (Romans 8:28).

 

Michaelle: Thank you so much for being so transparent and sharing your story & testimony with us. As we are working through self-examination this month we needed to hear about both mental and spiritual health. You sought out a Christian counselor and knew you needed to forgive in order to heal (heart check). So amazed by your resilience and the work you are doing in the kingdom.

 

Please check out Michaelle's website "Empowered to Live Again" here. She is doing awesome work within the community and for the kingdom of God.

 

For His Glory Only,
XOXO

Danielle J.

Wifey Wednesday: Sense of Peace

 

As this month comes to a close, we have been focused on the topic “Walk in Peace”. With all the things that are thrown at us on daily basis, it is important to seek peace (especially in our marriage). The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and this includes destroying not only you marriage but killing your peace.


My prayer is as we embark in this journey,  we have a deep sense of peace. Philippians 4:4-7 states, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


We cannot be anxious, but find time to make our petitions made before God. Your prayers are not in vain. In turn, the peace that surpasses all understanding will invade your heart and marriage. In our darkest hour, God can help us find peace and give us the strength to pursue it. Although our future may seem unknown which causes us anxiety, let us pray that God teaches us to have simple trust, and to allow each step to be steady and grounded.


Let us stand firm on the Word which tell us not to be anxious about anything. It tells us to bring our burdens to Him with thanksgiving and prayer. We often forget, and day after day we carry the weight of our sorrow until we’re brought down to our knees in prayer. My prayer is that God reminds us to listen, and to run to Him first.


To my followers who are single: Spend some time in prayer this week to ask God to give you a deeper sense of peace. In this season, make your request made known to God. He will meet you in your need. Learn to exercise your faith and the peace from God will invade your heart.


To my followers who are married: You may be in a season where you are lacking peace individually and/or with your spouse. Scripture says to make your request known before God. Spend some time in prayer and ask God to bring you a deeper sense of peace.


For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

Wifey Wednesday: Be Selfless (Not Selfish)

Marriage requires you to be selfless. If you are not ready to put your desires on hold, put the needs of your spouse before yours or die to your flesh daily – you may not be ready for marriage (not trying to burst your bubble, just being honest).

In our society, it is more important to be happy than it is to be holy. Our motives are self-centered and couples give up on their relationship because their “expectations” are not being fulfilled. We live in a time when people walk out of their marriage hoping to satisfy their craving for attention from the opposite sex. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard “Marriage isn’t what I expected”. The question is – what did you expect? Did you expect every day to be a bed of roses? The birds to start chirping once you wake up? Maybe you expected what Hollywood has portrayed. I hear that marriage is “hard work”, but at times we over complicate things. Don’t make marriage (or life) harder than it already is.


We need to look to the Word as a gentle reminder that we do not belong to this world. Romans 12:12 states “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The pattern of this world tells us it is ok to be selfish, to give up and to walk out of our marriages. When our minds are renewed by the Word of God, we will be able to test and see what is God’s will (Hint: His will isn’t for us to be selfish). We are peculiar people; chosen to glorify God. He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).


Being selfless may not come naturally, but it is a spiritual muscle we need to work out often. The act of being selfless shows that you are more concerned with the needs and wishes of others than with your own; unselfish. Are you more concerned in understanding the needs and wants of your mate, or are you more concerned on getting your needs met? It is a difficult pill to swallow, however, if you both are concerned of the needs and wants of each other – I promise you things will work out fine.

My prayer is that we have the desire to walk in that light, and be Christ-like servants who give more than we are given. May God open our hearts to give of ourselves without expectation, and to serve without keeping score. Philippians 2:3 says: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

To my followers who are single – Although you are not married, please find different ways to be “selfless” and build this character trait. This means getting involved in your church and community. You will need to focus on the needs of others around you – family, friends and coworkers. Learn to be selfless now so it comes naturally once you are married.

To my followers who are married – If you have lost focus, it is ok! This is the time to regroup. Focus on the needs and wants of your partner. Ask them questions that will help you derive what makes them happy. Put their needs before yours. It will allow them to see you in a new light, and want to do the same. Live a life that is selfless and willing to understand the needs of others.


For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

Wifey Wednesday: Accept Differences

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We have heard the phrase “opposites attract” and see it evident in our interactions with family members, friends and even relationships. For instance, if you look in a group of friends – there is usually one that is serious, another who is goofy, the loud one and the quiet one. Although the personalities are all different – they work well together.


The same reigns true in a marriage. Although Scripture calls the couple “one”, that doesn’t mean that they will always see eye to eye. What do you do when differences arise? The way you tend to deal with others (friends, family etc) you tend to do the same in a relationship. You may be the type to “shut down” during an argument …. that can be a challenge within your marriage (Don’t worry. No judgement here ….. I have this particular struggle).


The beauty of differences is it makes us unique. We can learn to appreciate each other’s uniqueness. For example, my husband is a morning person and once he is up – he is up for the day (He doesn’t even take naps). On the other hand, I am the complete opposite. I dislike mornings! I am a night owl and am more productive in the evenings. You should see us together though. Even though we are different in this area we embrace it and even make jokes about it.


Romans 15:6-7 states “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

My prayer is that God will help us to accept our differences. Help us to see the unique way that He has formed us. At the end of the day we were created according to His plan. May He help us to nurture the gifts we see in each other. May those gifts be sharpened and strengthened and used for His glory. Remember that marriage was made to glorify God.


Neither partner is perfect, which is why we need Him to be our strength. Our personalities are different, and sometimes those differences bring hurt and confusion. Let’s ask Him to teach us to love each other as He instituted love, with patience and grace. Let’s pray for humility and see what we need to improve on.


To my followers who are single – Learn to appreciate the differences amongst your family and friends. With instances of conflict, utilize good communication skills and agree to disagree on some matters, and compromise on the others. Practice these skills NOW and develop in the areas you are weak.


To my followers who are married – Embrace the differences in your spouse. There may be instances where that is challenging but ask God for strength. The same way God has shown you grace, show grace to others.


For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.

#WifeyWednesday: Requirements

This post is primarily for my single readers this #WifeyWednesday edition, however, I encourage anyone to read the below post.

I recall my first semester in college taking some prerequisites before being able to take classes within my major. A prerequisite is a thing that is required as a prior condition for something else to happen or exist.

The thing that I find interesting is that sometimes we don't have prerequisites for the people we allow in our lives, especially our potential mates. Prerequisites in the relationship realm are the "non-negotiable" items that someone needs before you actually date them.

The #1 non-negotiable thing our list should be that the individual has a relationship with Christ. I often hear "Oh yeah, they go to church". Listen, going to church doesn't make you a Christian. Just like standing in a garage won't make you a car. Don't date a "church-goer" but date someone who is truly a Christ follower. You need someone who has an actual relationship with Christ, a connection and the fear of God. I remember my great-aunt used to joke around with me and say "Danie, all men can have bad tendencies but at least a Christian man has the fear of God". My mom used to repeat the same thing once my great-aunt passed away.

What are your requirements? We often focus on the outer appearance and forget about the inner appearance. 2 Corinthians 4:16 says: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Listen, 10-15-30 years from now you will not look the same physically. You definitely don't want to marry someone based on their looks and they have no substance.

First, I challenge you BEFORE getting into a serious relationship - LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF! You cannot love anyone else until you have properly learned to love yourself. That may entail counseling to deal with deep rooted issues, praying, fasting etc Secondly, I challenge you to go into prayer and put your desires before God. He is the author of your life & love story. Tell Him your desires (even though He knows) and ask Him to help you discern what is good for you. Your list of requirements should be in line with the word of God.

I loved this little video I found on Facebook which depicts some of the requirements one can have. Some are playful, but others are very telling of the root things that may be important to you. You can watch the video here.

Again, please save yourself the heartache and stop dating around and entertaining those you see no future with. Set some requirements and prerequisites up for your future mate!

For His glory only,
XOXO
Danielle

Worth The Wait

The moment you realize that everything that led to this point [wedding day] …. was worth the wait.    I was single for SEVEN years!   Singlehood is not a disease or a plague  . Through singleness I learned so much about myself and others. I learned my likes and dislikes, and the things I would not compromise. I learned so much about relationships, friendships but most importantly I learned so much about God. God taught me to rely on Him and not what others thought, learning to ignore unsolicited opinions and hurtful actions.  Most of us have our lives mapped out for the next year, five years or even ten years. Then God throws us a curve ball. My curve ball came in the sense of ending a relationship with my now husband, and being single for seven years. We ended things not because our relationship was bad, but because of bad timing. Prior to my relationship with him, I was in an on/off again relationship with a gentleman who ended up cheating on me. After that incident, I recall grabbing a prayer rug my mother gave me and cried out to God. I recall stating that the “next man I dated, I want to marry”. When I met my husband [Woody] I wasn’t looking to be in a relationship. After six months of courtship, he stole my heart. During the six months – the way I felt for him couldn’t compare to the prior relationship I was in for 2-3 years. When things ended, I was heartbroken. Partly because of the prayer I did before meeting him.  During those seven years of singleness, I went through so many ranges of emotions – anger, anxiety, being stagnant, and sadness. Don’t get me wrong there were so many great things happening in my life during that time. We are sometimes guilty of focusing on the wrong things. Although other areas of my life were moving along wonderfully, I felt like I was missing something. I was angry at God at times because I was doing everything right to the best of my ability and was not receiving what I truly wanted. Like, how do you get angry with God?! At 26-27 I was ending this cycle of going on dates with random guys that my friends, peers or coworkers thought would be good for me. I think that was my pitfall. I wanted to be married at 27 years old and have my first child by 29. Here I was saying “God not my will, but yours” and I was taking matters into my own hands. I made a decision that there would be no more dates. I would earnestly seek God and His direction. Then came the tests and obstacles, and fighting the anxiety. My plans were not coming to pass. Here I was at the age of 28, no man in sight. I had to learn to deal with negative thoughts and emotions, rely on God’s word and trust in His plan.  Woody and I reconnected in the weirdest way after seven years of not dating. We picked up seemingly right where we left off. We reconnected November 2013. I was engaged by February 2015 and married on December 20th, 2015. I often laugh and say “Look at the difference a year makes”.  This blog post is for those women and MEN who feel that they are in the “waiting”. I just want to reach out to you and let you know that God has not forgotten about you. I was once where you are. Hearing people say “You’re almost 30! When will you have kids?!” … and so many other hurtful things. Being reminded day in and day out, you are not where you want to be. Keep focused on the end goal! DO NOT SETTLE! Singlehood is your time to establish a great foundation in Christ. Get rooted in Him. You cannot properly love someone else until you first learn to love yourself and Christ.  I can honestly say that those seven years were needed. God needed to break me down. He needed to remove my need of control. He needed to mold my heart to reflect His. He needed to change my character and get me to the place where I had to simply trust in Him! I can say this now – those seven years were worth the wait for the man that I married and also for the woman that I have become.  I am not sure why you are in the waiting, but I know one thing … If God gave you the desire to be married it will come to pass. Hang in there! Stay strong! I am praying for you!  P.S. In another #WifeyWednesday I’ll share our actual “love story”. Trust me, it is best if you allow God to write your love story.  For His Glory Only, XOXO Danielle J.

The moment you realize that everything that led to this point [wedding day] …. was worth the wait.

I was single for SEVEN years! Singlehood is not a disease or a plague. Through singleness I learned so much about myself and others. I learned my likes and dislikes, and the things I would not compromise. I learned so much about relationships, friendships but most importantly I learned so much about God. God taught me to rely on Him and not what others thought, learning to ignore unsolicited opinions and hurtful actions.

Most of us have our lives mapped out for the next year, five years or even ten years. Then God throws us a curve ball. My curve ball came in the sense of ending a relationship with my now husband, and being single for seven years. We ended things not because our relationship was bad, but because of bad timing. Prior to my relationship with him, I was in an on/off again relationship with a gentleman who ended up cheating on me. After that incident, I recall grabbing a prayer rug my mother gave me and cried out to God. I recall stating that the “next man I dated, I want to marry”. When I met my husband [Woody] I wasn’t looking to be in a relationship. After six months of courtship, he stole my heart. During the six months – the way I felt for him couldn’t compare to the prior relationship I was in for 2-3 years. When things ended, I was heartbroken. Partly because of the prayer I did before meeting him.

During those seven years of singleness, I went through so many ranges of emotions – anger, anxiety, being stagnant, and sadness. Don’t get me wrong there were so many great things happening in my life during that time. We are sometimes guilty of focusing on the wrong things. Although other areas of my life were moving along wonderfully, I felt like I was missing something. I was angry at God at times because I was doing everything right to the best of my ability and was not receiving what I truly wanted. Like, how do you get angry with God?! At 26-27 I was ending this cycle of going on dates with random guys that my friends, peers or coworkers thought would be good for me. I think that was my pitfall. I wanted to be married at 27 years old and have my first child by 29. Here I was saying “God not my will, but yours” and I was taking matters into my own hands. I made a decision that there would be no more dates. I would earnestly seek God and His direction. Then came the tests and obstacles, and fighting the anxiety. My plans were not coming to pass. Here I was at the age of 28, no man in sight. I had to learn to deal with negative thoughts and emotions, rely on God’s word and trust in His plan.

Woody and I reconnected in the weirdest way after seven years of not dating. We picked up seemingly right where we left off. We reconnected November 2013. I was engaged by February 2015 and married on December 20th, 2015. I often laugh and say “Look at the difference a year makes”.

This blog post is for those women and MEN who feel that they are in the “waiting”. I just want to reach out to you and let you know that God has not forgotten about you. I was once where you are. Hearing people say “You’re almost 30! When will you have kids?!” … and so many other hurtful things. Being reminded day in and day out, you are not where you want to be. Keep focused on the end goal! DO NOT SETTLE! Singlehood is your time to establish a great foundation in Christ. Get rooted in Him. You cannot properly love someone else until you first learn to love yourself and Christ.

I can honestly say that those seven years were needed. God needed to break me down. He needed to remove my need of control. He needed to mold my heart to reflect His. He needed to change my character and get me to the place where I had to simply trust in Him! I can say this now – those seven years were worth the wait for the man that I married and also for the woman that I have become.

I am not sure why you are in the waiting, but I know one thing … If God gave you the desire to be married it will come to pass. Hang in there! Stay strong! I am praying for you!

P.S. In another #WifeyWednesday I’ll share our actual “love story”. Trust me, it is best if you allow God to write your love story.

For His Glory Only,
XOXO
Danielle J.