You Are Intentionally & Wonderfully Made

Do you KNOW how PRECIOUS, VALUED, DESIRED AND BELOVED YOU are in God’s eyes?

Long before God laid down earth’s foundations, He had YOU in mind, had settled on YOU as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. -Ephesians 1:4

Our deep desire is to be loved unconditionally, to be seen, to be known for who we really are, to be valued, esteemed, desired, pursued, fought for, to be precious to someone, to be their beloved, the object of their affection. Our hearts are DESIGNED for this by God. -Robin Thompson

intentionally

IT'S HERE!! Tomorrow at The Bridge Princeton, we'll be BREAKING FREE of everything that holds us back!! Powerful worship with The Bridge worship team, messages from Dove Award Winning Sara Groves, Intentionally Yours' own Beverly Weeks and Sherry Jennings, shopping and GIRL TIME at the INTENTIONALLY & WONDERFULLY MADE EVENT!

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DOORS WILL OPEN AT 8AM for shopping with incredible vendors, worship at9:15AM, wrapping up by 12:15PM with plenty of time to shop between sessions and until the doors close at 2PM.

TICKET PICKUP INSIDE! Baby, it's gonna be cold outside in the morning, so you'll be able to pick up your ticket (if you purchased online and haven't picked it up yet!) inside the Bridge Kids Lobby, then you'll go outside to enter the main entrance.

A SOUP & SANDWICH LUNCH will be available for $5/person, provided by the Kentucky Missions team!! Lunch includes grilled cheese sandwich, your choice of soup (potato, chili or taco), a drink and dessert!! Purchase your tickets Saturday morning in the lobby between 8-10AM!

Water, Coffee & Hot Chocolate will be available for purchase to support MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers)!

DONATIONS: Let's bless the Wayne Pregnancy Center!! We'll be accepting donations of diapers, baby lotions, baby shampoos, baby wipes, baby wash, baby washcloths, ANY new baby items!

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Tickets are bracelets and they are selling fast! Click here to check availability and to purchase!

We're so grateful for the partnership of Berkeley Commons Chick Fil A and Deacon Jones for this event!

PRIZE ALERT!!! We'll have 50+ giveaways!! One woman will walk away with a six month family membership to the Goldsboro Family YMCA!!

AWESOME SHOPPING WITH OVER 50 VENDORS: Thirty One, Natural Gluten Free Liquid, Sawdust Design, Jewelry, Mrs. Betty's Dresses, Seredipity Salon, Above Defeat, Connie's Creations, Miche/Compelling Creations, Shop Bow Baby, All Eyes on You, Simply Southern Charm, Mary Kay, Damsel in Defense, Saba, Hand Crafts, Beads & More, Origami Owl, Stella N Dot, Usborne Books & Moore, NC IPHC, Twisted Bliss, Bake My Day, Pampered Chef, Paparazzi, Upper Case Living, Scentsy, Your Changed Life, Arbonne, It Works Body Wraps, Dove Chocolate, Triple Treat Cupcakes & Sweets, Two Fine Feathers, Pattycakes Gifts, Initials Inc., Tupperware, Jamberry Nails, Vivala Vault Denim, The Sassy Chick, Rodan & Fields, S&K Beads, Infinity scarves, Park Lane Jewelry, Emerge Salon, Premiere Jewelry, Life on a Wire, T Posh Kids Clothing, Ahni & Zoe, Initial Outfitters, T & D Fragrances, R U In Balance, Zoweh, Intentionally Yours, Run for God, and Sara Groves.

IWM 2013 cc

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Lonely Yet Never Alone

Lonely? There are many fears that we can grab onto. Single or married. Happily married or standing for a broken marriage. Standing or divorced and letting go. Whatever the state we are in, there are fears to hang onto if we choose.

lonely yet never alone

I choose not to commit to being single forever, but not to be afraid of it. I choose not to consider alone, lonely. I choose not to consider single alone or lonely. I choose to seek Jesus in moments of my discontent. I choose not to FEAR alone.

You Must Choose

I have to choose these things. If I do not, I will walk in desperation of discontentedness in my single state. I will be miserable. By myself, with others, and with God. AND I will make others miserable and they will not choose to be with me, which would make single feel more alone. Though, with or without others, I never walk through this life alone by choice again. I am hanging tightly to my Savior.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~1 John 4:18

I have been told that I have the gift of singleness during this time of my singleness. I have to laugh, since I think life in any state is a gift. But I think someone meant that if one could be happy being single, then they must have the gift of singleness. I have done a lot of thinking about this recently. It is sin not to be content. It is sin not to walk in joy, even when life seems to suck. It is sad to swim in misery because I cannot seem to find a place in my soul for Jesus to heal me of moments of my discontent.  I have always been different that way. THAT is a gift.

Alone

From childhood's hour I have not been As others were — I have not seen As others saw — I could not bring My passions from a common spring — From the same source I have not taken My sorrow — I could not awaken My heart to joy at the same tone — And all I lov'd — I lov'd alone — Then — in my childhood — in the dawn Of a most stormy life — was drawn From ev'ry depth of good and ill The mystery which binds me still — From the torrent, or the fountain — From the red cliff of the mountain — From the sun that 'round me roll'd In its autumn tint of gold — From the lightning in the sky As it pass'd me flying by — From the thunder, and the storm — And the cloud that took the form (When the rest of Heaven was blue) Of a demon in my view —

by Edgar Allen Poe

Lonely, Not Alone

I was always a bit different in my aloneness through my life. I could be alone and not be lonely. I could be with others, and feel alone. I could see the world from a perspective that few seemed to share, much less understand. It made me different and less fun at a party. I have been told that people love to listen to me sometimes, but they lose me when I seem to go where no mind can join me. I have laughed, but have wondered if I was created to be by myself. Then I remember God. I am never alone. And all HE has done has been for our unity with each other. TOGETHER.

… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ~Matthew 28:20

Then I experienced my daughter, whom I got when she was 17. She invaded my world and taught me the challenge, the pain, and the joy of having family.

My definition of family: A person/people who seem to exist in your world to acknowledge and witness your life. Single folks sometimes do not have this miracle, so they feel alone at times and they may even feel as if their life doesn’t matter. Standing spouses also experience the sense that the one significant witness to their life being gone makes them worth less. But it does not mean their lives do not matter. Feelings are undependable and can be horrible to contend with at times. The enemy can distort and twist the beautiful gift of that rainbow of feelings to be considered our enemy instead of our blessing.

We think that if someone doesn’t “feel” love for us, then they must not love us in relationship.  We feel that if we aren’t in a working relationship full of joy, then God must have left us. We are afraid, lost and lonely at times. BUT GOD…

I have pondered this. Back to Poe, "…all things I’ve loved, I’ve loved alone." That is what got me thinking. I have always been different, but a college friend once told me that he couldn’t understand how I could take a great trip alone without someone to say “wow” with. It didn’t mean much then, but it does now. I get that. Relationships give us someone to build memories with, to validate our lives with, to witness our lives, and they give us someone to say “wow” with. At some point it has become important to me to share what I love with others and to share what others love with them. That is the call of God. WE need each other to say “wow” with.

I have carried this quote from Luci Swindoll around in my Bible for a zillion years…well, ok, not so many, but it seems so:

Don’t WAIT for a mate. Don’t WAIT for more time. Don’t WAIT until both your feet are on the  ground. Don’t WAIT for anything else. The time to be involved with living is now—not tomorrow or next week or next year. NOW! ~Luci Swindoll

Problems Are Part of Life

You may believe there are so many problems with being single. You're lonely. You're bored. You don’t know how to enjoy things by yourself.

OF COURSE there are problems. There are problems in any lifestyle, because that is a part of the living process…I would venture to say many of your problems as a single person exist because you are holding back. You are waiting for something better to come along, that certain something that will enrich your circumstances. Well, Friends, --it’s here! It’s called LIFE. And BREATH. And GOD. That’s all you need. You don’t have to be married to be happy. You just have to be ALIVE!

We all know Psalm 23…yea though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil… Well, if single is the evil to you, fear not. If feeling abandoned and alone in your standing for your broken marriage is evil to you, then fear not. If you are struggling, fear not. …for thy rod and thy staff, they comfort. HE IS WITH YOU. Even unto the ends of the earth. I choose not to feel lonely and I choose to remember that I am never alone.

Do not be afraid of being or feeling alone…because in truth, not feeling necessarily, YOU ARE NEVER ALONE! It does not have to equal lonely. Reach out and choose to share your loves with others. Choose not to love all things you love alone. SAY WOW WITH US AND MOSTLY SAY WOW WITH JESUS!

 

Sherry and Beverly have spoken at events throughout the southeast, including our own annual Intentionally & Wonderfully Made women’s event, and we’d love to come speak at YOUR women’s event! We share on topics such as insecurity, sexual intimacy, lies women believe, comparison, discontentment, people pleasing10 questions to ask your husband, and more. Don’t miss my next speaking engagement!

Cafe Chocolate

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

Fall 2013 brochure with codeAOM at Sea rotating slide 07.01.13

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

How to Raise a Son...Singlehandedly

“I will NEVER be like her!”  I was judging the thirty-something single mom with a half-grown child.  Because of my own actions, I was a single mother at twenty-three, cocky and naïve, thinking my story would be different.  Well, here I am on the edge of thirty-two with an eight year old little guy and Prince Charming has yet to swoop in and save the day, so I'm learning how to raise a son...singlehandedly.

how to raise a son

How to Raise a Son

Worried about raising a boy on my own, I spent many years of my son’s life treating dating as if it were an interview for his future father.  I wasn’t thinking about finding someone that shared my interests.  I was focused on finding someone I wouldn’t mind my son growing up to be like.  And the sooner I found this man, the better.  My son was getting older and noticing the absence of a dad in his life.  Every way that I tried to be both mom and dad, that I tried to fill the void of the missing father figure in his life, was an epic fail.

When I got my life straight with God and finally started living for Him I thought this would fix my predicament.  Surely God was going to send a matrimonial blessing my way and all my worries about raising a boy alone would go away.  My desperation to find this man didn’t stop, it just became the center of my prayer life.

My son’s desire for a dad grew stronger and he began to pray every night for God to send him “a nice dad that would play with him and keep us safe.”  Every night I would listen to his earnest prayer, then I would go in my room and cry.  I didn’t know how to tell him that God might not have a dad out there for him.  How do you explain to a child the reasons why God says “no” when you don’t even understand yourself?

 

Equip me

I kept hearing pastors quoting Psalm 68:6 “God sets the lonely in families,” and would pray this verse continuously.  But then I started paying more attention to the hearts of the women around me. Many were not that different from me.  They were raising children on their own because their husbands worked long hours or out of town, were deployed overseas, or were just emotionally absent in their homes.  These women had men in their lives, their family was the definition of “traditional,” yet they were still struggling.  It hit me then that God had already placed me in a family, a family of just two, this amazing little boy and me!

I finally stopped praying for God to send a man into our lives to teach my son how to be a man, and instead to equip and help me to raise a Godly man on my own.  It’s amazing the changes I began to see when I finally started praying the right prayer.  My son’s nightly prayers for a dad stopped and one day he turned to me and said “Mom, when you hear me talk about my daddy, I’m talking about Jesus; He is the one I talk to every day, He’s my dad!”

He started talking to me about how he wanted to pray like the men in church and how much he loved Jesus and wanted to see others saved.  Every time that I would bow my head and clasp my hands in prayer, his little eyes were watching and his little hands were copying mine.  Every time I cried out to the Lord in pain or in joy, praised and worshipped him, and stood firm in my faith, my son was watching and he was learning what it meant to set his heart and his eyes on God.

Jesus fought for your heart...and won

Single or married, many women carry the burden of raising a Godly child on their own.  I see married women every day that not only fight for the hearts of their children but carry their husbands spiritually as well.  You may be carrying this burden today, wondering if anything you are doing is making a difference.  Just because you don’t have a strong male leadership in your home doesn’t mean that the fate of your child is doomed.

Let go of your own ideas and desires about what your “family” should look like.  Evaluate your prayers, are you asking God to change a circumstance or hearts?  A changed circumstance will pass on by, but a changed heart will give life for as long as it beats.  When your situation seems bleak and you don’t know how to change the hearts closest to you, just remember the promises of the Lord when we trust and follow him.

God’s love...is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.”  ~Psalm 103:17 MSG

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

Fall 2013 brochure with codeAOM at Sea rotating slide 07.01.13

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

 

Living in Color

You know the parable-like story of the frog? She goes swimming in water and has a great time until someone turns the burner on under the pot and the water slowly heats up. By the time the frog knows she is in trouble, it is too late to jump out- she is dying. It's like falling into sin...we justify getting into the water. He was so nice at the start. He goes to church. It seemed harmless enough. And that is how I got there. Slowly. In Living Color

Having been a Christian since I was 15 years old, I have had my ups and downs in my walk with The Lord, as do all of us who journey with Jesus. I have been out of His will off and on throughout my years and been restored to the path. But I had never been so far from his will that I thought I was beyond the reach of the father until I felt like Abraham, the rich guy in Luke 16:19-31. I had made sinful choices that led me out of God's will, one tiny degree at a time until I was over my head in boiling water.

I felt like I was in quick sand...where every time I moved, I sunk deeper. I was able to see the place I needed to be with God, but I couldn't get there because I had disregarded all the warnings and signs and redirection and loving guidance that God had sent me. I was feeling eternally separated from my God and knew that I was purposeless and worthless without Him.

My life couldn't get much grayer. I had gone from the woman of God's radiance, that lots of people used to call me, to the woman of blah. I was living in gray. There was no inner joy, just circumstantial and momentary enjoyment of the "feels good at the moment." Life inside my spirit was totally gray. Not black even...just gray. I knew where I wanted to be but had no real clue how to get back there.

I see the expansive array of emotions we have from deep grief to exuberant joy as the most colorful artistic thing about us as human beings. God created us to experience all our emotions with Him. We are to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15). We are to live in color. Walk in love, hear the music of the angels and the Father singing over us (Zephaniah 3:17) and to weep bitterly over those who are lost with the Father. Yet I was lost in my gray.

BUT GOD, who knows me and loves me more deeply than anyone ever could, found a way to invite me back into His space. He did so by finding me in mine. I lay before Him with the shattered heart that I totally deserved.

When I had a relationship with a person who clearly didn't put God first (he could not lead me to Christ because he was not heading there himself), and had sex outside of marriage... I deserved to be shattered. How could I be anything else? I chose to be out of God's will. Oh my gosh, can I be this honest about some of my pit falls along the way?

ENGAGED OR SEPARATED, SEX WITH ANYONE WHO IS NOT YOUR SPOUSE IS SIN. WHEN SEPARATED, DATING SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOUR SPOUSE IS SIN.

I am not condemning. I was there in SIN. But it is still SIN. We cannot be truly healed until we reconcile that and repent and then move again toward our Savior and the Lover of our soul who wants more than sex and more than our bodies. He wants it all. SINGLES hear this: if we live in SIN, God will not bless our relationships as He wants to. We are not in HIS will. I was not in HIS will and I felt unredeemable. BE INTENTIONALLY HIS.

BUT GOD...who redeems the unredeemable, invited me to meet HIM and showed me the value HE has placed in my life.

He welcomed me back, put me back on the road of restoration, but did more than that...HE REDEEMED MY LIFE.

I AM REDEEMED. I live in color. I experience the deepest grief and the highest joys. In fact, someone said I am radiant again. THAT IS JESUS!!! YOU, too, can be REDEEMED in Christ. Don't stay in gray, in competition for the attention and the glory in the here and now...lay yourself before God and live in His redemption and beautiful radiance today. I am so grateful for the mercy HE has offered and the REDEMPTION of my ashes for HIS BEAUTY. I pray that HE will sanctify this life that He has painted with beautiful colors of redemption. He restores by setting my feet on the right path again, and HE REDEEMS by making it all worth something.

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

Fall 2013 brochure with codeAOM at Sea rotating slide 07.01.13

We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Mom's the WordMessy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

A Valiant Woman

What is God's view of a woman? Even of a man? I never asked that question, but now I know a wrong answer to that question can mess up my life. Years ago, I attended a class given by Drs Frank and Sally Seekins on God's view of women. I was so impacted by the learning that I really want to share it.

So, what does God think about women? What does God think of me? I love Proverbs 31. The chapter that strikes fear into the hearts of all really imperfect women. It's a beautiful example of all I would like to be but so often feel I could not be.

valiant woman

What is a virtuous woman? One that is gentle, kind, soft, compassionate, incredibly coordinated, organized and strong? One that exudes mercy and kindness and cares for her family? She can quilt, dress well, shop well, laugh, be strong and dignified and speak words of wisdom. She has a husband who brags about her. Heck, I brag about her. She's never lazy, has children who love her and though many are capable, she is way ahead of them. Yup, that is me, I am sure. Well, except for the husband part. So, since I do not have the husband and kids, am I less? If I did have a husband, would I be more??

Drs Seekins taught me that the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is the eshet chayil (Hebrew). She is a valiant woman. She is chayil. The word used to describe God in Habakkuk 3:19, "God is my strength!”, God is my chayil. Does my being single refute my being men's chayil? Do I play that role in the body of Christ? Do I have value as a woman even if I am single? The eshet Chayil is a valiant woman and a mighty warrior. She supports man. She is his backup in the battle and fights alongside him. Men and women are meant to battle together not against one another.

Chayil in Hebrew means strength and can be translated power or valor. In Greek and Latin the word meant strong, bold, worthy, vigorous, as well as active. We are all of those things along with our men. So, how did I ever get the idea that the proverbs 31 woman was meek, mild and soft spoken all the time? She was a powerhouse. I have reviewed my notes...thanks, Drs. Seekins. Virtuous meant strong and mighty. Their work has changed my life and perspective on WHO I AM IN CHRIST JESUS. Virtuous was also used to describe valiant, excellent and mighty men.

As a woman-a single woman- I need to know my value in the church. I need to be valued in the church and I have needed to come out of my comfort zone to seek the support I need. I was introverted. I could disappear from friday to monday and I was fine. I regained my strength. But the older I get the harder it is to meet the needs of interaction and being valued as my friends have families. I am responsible for that. I needed to change and reach out.

It is not the church's responsibility to entertain me, pull me in, include me in all things and remember me on holidays, necessarily. I need to tell them I need it and to sometimes attend classes and activities that are mostly married people, through which I have learned so much. I have developed married friends who love me. I am thankful as a single woman to serve in God's army fighting beside men and women, married and single, who are seeking to build the kingdom of God and the body of Christ and I share the gospel with those who need to hear it by seeing it lived out in my single life.

Remember the woman who touched the hem of the Lord's garment? She needed healing. Jesus noticed her because when she touched him, the chayil left him. Power left him (Mark 5:30). Notice two things:

  1. SHE NEEDED TO ACT TO GET HER NEEDS MET, SO SHE REACHED OUT TO JESUS.
  2. JESUS NOTICED HER BECAUSE THE POWER LEFT HIM IN RESPONSE TO HER FAITH AND DETERMINATION.

I don't know if she was married, but I know she was a woman who knew what she needed. I want to be that woman. I need to be that woman as a single woman. We all need to be that person. Know what you need and reach out to Jesus for it.

Drs. Seekins helped God to empower me and I share what I learned from them to empower you. Men of the church...love the women of the church and breathe life into them. We need it. Empower us as the valiant warriors we are with God given strengths.

Body of Christ...married people, single people and those in between! Love your single women because they too are warriors that you need in the battle. Women, walk in that Chayil definition of WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST! You are virtuous! You are strong! You are Chayil. Be an ally to men and a STAR against the dark and depraved generation. Step out in confidence. God is with you.

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

WTR Cover Spring 2013AOMAOM at Sea Rotating SlideLLYMI

We're linking up with Marriage MondaysMatrimonial MondayTime Warp Wife, The Life of a Not So Ordinary Wife,  The Better Mom, Marriage MomentMessy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!
 

 

I Wanna Be a Star

“You don’t have to be a star, baby, to be in my world.” Anyone recall that song? Ok, dates me, but for real…I want to be a star in your world. I want to shine. It is funny; I read that line in Philippians 2:12-16 and my world changed. Stars are my fascination and my symbol. It is my encouragement to those who shine in my world. They are stars. But I have realized that being a star is not just because we KNOW Jesus. It is because we shine Jesus.

I wanna be a star

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Do all things without murmuring and arguing [grumbling and complaining], so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. -Philippians 2:12-16

In my life, I conveniently skipped the part that it says obey and work out my salvation with fear and trembling. I seemed to have TOTALLY MISSED  the do everything without grumbling or complaining so that I might become a blameless and pure child of God without blemish in a crooked and perverse generation. THEN…I will shine among the world like a star in the sky as I hold on tightly to the WORD.

I have a grand confession. I TOTALLY LOVE WHAT I GET TO DO AT MY JOB AND IN THE BODY OF CHRIST at my church. I TOTALLY hate the overwhelm that comes with the burdensome admin non-paperwork that is constantly changing in my professional world and I am frequently in the maelstrom of change and being asked to learn to do things in different ways and being told I have to do more to assure that I get the privilege of continuing to do what I TOTALLY love. What I totally love is wrapped in lots of stuff that I TOTALLY hate. I know that people in marriages, and those standing for their marriages, and those single, all get this.

Another grand confession to make: I complain. There…I have said it. I like to say I am easy going and roll with things, BUT I SERIOUSLY DON’T (God knows that). I don’t seem to be able to get started on a new/burdensome request at work until I complain about it. I DO NOT SHINE LIKE A STAR WHEN I DO, EITHER.  I cannot shine when I whine.

I have been placed at an agency with others who serve Christ too. One in particular we will call “Starshine.” Because SHE shines. She loves Jesus and I can see it in her actions and I can hear it by what I never hear. I never hear her complain. EVER. I started this job and I was added to her tasks. She, though far from me in another area doing the same job I was to do, was to take me on and train me. Along with all of the stuff she was doing, she was to be my mentor. AND SHE NEVER ONCE COMPLAINED! She never made me feel like an inconvenience, a burden or a problem. SHE shined. Starshine has inspired me to listen to myself and I have heard the whining and I do not like it. I throw out negatives too often about the heavy burden of the “one more thing.”

Whatever situation we are in, I am pretty sure we would all agree that it is hard to listen to someone when they consistently complain without being willing to SHINE. There is a balance. I love that we can and do grieve with each other through the many challenges that the Lord places or allows in our lives. (And the Lord does place challenges and obstacles in our lives and way at times, but that is another study). We are called to walk this journey out with each other, to cry with one another, and have joy with one another. But if we become so overburdened by the heaviness in our journeys that we stop trying to see the hope and the joy of the Lord, or if we choose to opt out of participating in and with the body of Christ, we will become wearier. We’ll make it more difficult for ourselves to walk out of the fog.

Loving and living for Christ is intentional. It’s a choice, not a happenstance. It is not an accident but a submission to a loving God and HIS commandments. Notice Paul says “as you have been obedient.” Obedience means following commands, rules, directions…whatever. As I have been obedient, in not grumbling and NOT complaining or arguing…and on and on. I believe I have been led to address my disobedience in this area.

My daughter loves me. And God loves me. I am a little grumbly when she sends me stuff that really hits home because she loves me. Proverbs 29:11. That was her verse of the day and she thought to forward it to me because it was appropriate for me. It reads as follows: “A fool gives full vent to anger, but the wise quietly holds it back.”

I have work to do. I have asked others to hold me accountable to help me notice and stop when I begin to throw negative into the universe. When I whine, I cannot shine. Join me. Shine on. Be a Star.

 

WTR Cover Spring 2013

 

GO TO THE SOURCE: FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember is a great place to get TRUTH! It will strengthen your marriage, and change your life, marriage and legacy. Find a getaway near you, register with our group code JOSHUA2415 for a $120 discount!

 

AOM at Sea October 2013 Slider

 

 

We LOVE cruise vacations and we love The Art of Marriage, so we're combining them! Come with us!

LLYMI

We're also excited about the fourth annual Love Like You Mean It Marriage Cruise! It's the ONLY fully chartered marriage cruise. Book with our group for LOTS of additional perks!

We're linking up!

The Alabaster JarTheBetterMom.com

FRIDAY FIVE: Rearview Mirror and Windshield

Although God doesn't want our attention focused on the rear view mirror, He does want us to glance at it to learn from where we've been and to celebrate what He's done in our lives. Wordpress provides to its bloggers a 2012 Year In Review, which we are using for the same thing! We're celebrating what God has done through Intentionally Yours and striving to learn from our first year with a website to make our second year even more effective in building godly families.

rear view mirror

Here's an excerpt from the  Intentionally Yours Annual Report:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 29,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals. In 2012, there were 95 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 104 posts. The busiest day of the year was October 2nd with864 views. The most popular post that day was But our marriage was a sin to begin with.

We pray about and faithfully share what God puts on our hearts, knowing that at one time it was something we needed to hear to change our lives, so surely someone else needs to hear it, too. These are the 12 most read posts from 2012:

It was interesting to see the keywords that brought you from search engines to Intentionally Yours, too. Take a look:

  • questions to ask your wife/spouse
  • what do you know?
  • will the weekend to remember save my marriage?
  • standing for your marriage
  • is the grass greener?
  • how to reconnect with my spouse
  • spiritual warfare
  • how do I fight for my marriage?
  • why is life not fair?
  • is my husband intentionally making me suspicious?
  • scott & sherry jennings
  • beverly weeks

No big surprise, Facebook and Twitter is how many of you found your way here. But let's give a BIG shout out to the top twelve referring sites!

  • Not Consumed
  • Hot Holy & Humorous
  • The Warrior Wives
  • Time Warp Wife
  • FamilyLife
  • Women Living Well
  • Jolene Engle
  • We Are That Family
  • Christian Woman Magazine
  • The Generous Husband
  • The Marriage Bed
  • Loving When it Hurts

Reading through all this sparked a conversation the other day about Intentionally Yours and the wide variety of topics we've discussed here on our blog. It occurred to me however, that we've only just begun to scratch the surface. That's when the idea of a "Feedback Friday" popped into my head.

What if we asked YOU for YOUR thoughts and ideas for blog posts? With your vast array of situations, circumstances, experiences, we're excited to tackle some topics that otherwise would never have crossed our minds. Chances are if you are wondering about something, so is someone else.

So, with that being said, here are some ground rules:

  1. #1 There are no ground rules. We'll do our best to write about and reflect upon God's perspective on anything you submit focused on building godly families (that is our mission, after all). I can't promise we'll have answers, I can't promise we'll solve your problems, but I can promise that from God's perspective, there's nothing new under the sun. We'll research it and then write about it.
  2. #2 I promise we'll do our very best to respond with God's perspective, grace that only He can provide, and that we'll share the truth in love.
  3. #3 I can't promise we'll get it right every time. You already know this, but none of us on the IY team is God. We're just His servants.
  4. #4 I promise we won't hold anything back, sugar coat the message or refrain from saying the hard thing to spare your feelings. If you ask for God's truth, we're going to give it to you. (As best we can.)
  5. #5 We love you and only want God's best for you.

So, as we're looking through the windshield, down the road of 2013, here are several ways you can submit your questions or topic suggestions: you can leave a comment below, you can comment on our Facebook Page, or you can send an email to one of us:

Scott: scott@intentionallyyours Sherry: sherry@intentionallyyours Rick: rick@intentionallyyours Beverly: beverly@intentionallyyours.org

We're looking forward to hearing from you, praying and writing about some of the things YOU'D like to read about!

 

We love The Art of Marriage so much, we're taking it on vacation with us! Come with us!

AOM at Sea October 2013 Slider

I Am Single

Well, I am at it again. This writing down parts of my journey to see if it might resonate with someone else and be a story God can use. I love to write because it is like talking without my voice. Or like talking inside my head so I don’t have to hear my own voice. (Or like filling my mind with things besides the voices in my head…ok, just kidding. That is not my battle). I sort of like that talking without having to hear my own voice. I like a lot of things and wonder what of what I thoroughly love to do could God possibly use to serve Him.

I Am Single

 

 PHOTO CREDIT

 

I am single. But as evidenced by my involvement in Intentionally Yours and its offshoots (including the Intentionally Standing), one of my greatest, deepest and most heartfelt passions is marriage and family. I am deeply committed to praying for those I read from and sometimes you will see that I do that by responding to a post someone has shared. It is important to me to help build people and build marriages.

I am single…but not afraid of being involved with people who are married. (Just in case anyone wanted to invite me over to have supper with their family to talk, play cards, or even watch a movie or the stars while we discuss the issues of the day).

This topic of singleness in this married blog has come in my heart this week because I heard a lot about it over the past few weeks. I have been asked if singleness is my “gift” from God, if I just never wanted to be married, or if I had something against men. (Please laugh with me at that last one!)

I don’t know that I chose to remain single as much as I just never focused on having to be married. I focused on goals that I could achieve by working at them. I didn’t quite know how to work at getting married, I guess. It is not that I never had the opportunity…but I have the standard that says that you would have to be a man who loved God more than you would love me and who would want to build me up to love God more than I love you. So I just never ran into that in my life.

SO in the meantime, I am not wasting my singleness. It is a gift according to Paul. 1 Corinthians 7:7 tells us that Paul wishes “all men [and women, I suppose] could be as he is. But each man has his own gift from God: one has this gift, another has that.” It doesn’t actually say that singleness is a spiritual gift whereas I receive supernatural empowerment to be single. And it doesn’t say that anyone’s singleness has to be forever. It just says that my singleness should be considered a gift, as your married state, or even your challenging state of standing in the gap for your spouse to come back where he or she belongs in the arms of God and of your family.

I am single. This is my “in the meantime” even if I remain single throughout this life. This is my “in the meantime” while I wait to be brought up to my Lord’s home as his Bride or while I live until there is someone I don’t want to live without, but that I want to join in a journey with the Lord.

I pray daily that I do not waste this time. And I pray daily that you, whether married or single also don’t waste your time doing anything but learning to be content in the moment with Christ where you are. It is HIS moment. LIVE it and share your heart. Even if you are weary and you are torn and worn. This is the Lord’s story in and through you. Share it. It will bless us to hear it and to journey with you and to grow with you. It is a blessing for me to journey with others. No matter what they are going through. Whatever we have been through, we can share and God will grow us up in the process.

I am single. I must be available. I am, like Paul, supposed to be MORE available because I do not have the worries of the husband or of children. I was available to be the parent of a child, well a teenaged girl, who needed to have a stable parent and who needed a stable home to complete school in. And just maybe she needed a parent to grow with Jesus with. Whatever. I was single. I was available, so that is how she knew me. I was single and I knew I had to be available…so that is how she got me.  I was single, I was available, and that daughter is how HE chiseled me. I thank God that He has taught me contentedness, so I don’t hunger and yearn and mourn for what I do not have. I am not desperate when I have Jesus. I am hopeful.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:11-13

I stand as Jesus did. Single but serving His body. Serving those married and not, married but troubled, parents with troubles and kids with parents…(ok, maybe that last one is a stretch). I read somewhere one time that Jesus was a revolutionary single person. I want to be that for Him. 1Corinthians 7:28 says that a married person will face many troubles. I just want to be a part of helping some face them together, like my parents chose to do.

We each walk with Jesus individually even if we are married. I pray that we are content and getting stronger every day through every challenge and that we choose to walk through it all…together. We make each other stronger. You are my family and I hope always to be yours.