Taking Action

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

It is impossible for me to count how many times my mom has reminded me of these verses. She knows that I’m the type of person to usually want to take matters into my own hands and make my own decisions. (I’d also like to add that I’m a bit impatient.) Amazingly, God is good and when we choose to follow Him, whatever decision we make, He will open and close doors. And recently God reminded me of that, specifically when I took action.

These last two months have been big transitioning months from transitioning to another country as well as going through the process of looking for a job, an apartment, and a car. I’ve been sitting on my butt all day researching and looking but never actually applying or deciding. In my experience of letting God lead me, I found myself impatient and stressed out. He put me in several situations in which I had to wait, and He then suddenly opened up doors. I thought my current situation was one of those. Yet, I’ve learned that I am not as impatient as before. Instead, I’ve gotten lazy.

An example is when I was having troubles with my phone. I recently got a great plan with my phone that I’ve had for three years. It’s been with me through most of my traveling experiences and because I’m technologically-challenged and cheap, I couldn’t fathom buying a new phone. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use the data because of several problems on my phone. Well, I usually want to fix things as soon as they happen, but I waited and waited because I thought maybe it would be a good time to get a phone. On the other hand, I was really attached to my phone that I already had. This kind of thinking just wasted me four weeks of phone frustration, and I’m sure God was tired of me going back and forth and telling Him. Eventually, I just called tech support and found out that there was only one option to do: restore my phone. So, I did. And guess what happened? It worked! My phone looks like it’s in new condition and everything is working properly.

If I hadn’t done that, the data on my phone would probably still not work, or I could have gotten a new phone and spent quite a bit of money. I kept waiting for God to tell me the answer, but in this case, God wanted me to take action and He would provide the answer along the way. And He answered me because I finally acknowledged Him and trusted that He would work out something amazing.. I asked God if I could keep my phone but be able to fix the problem, and the Lord was faithful. My understanding is inconsistent and often times wrong. But when I acknowledge God, when I put all my trust in Him, when I surrender, He works in ways I would never have expected or wishfully imagined.

God doesn’t play with us; we play with Him. Lately, I have noticed how much I am sucked into a lazy lifestyle and it affects not only my physical body but also my thinking. It is unhealthy. This also clouds my mind into what God really wants me to be doing. I think to myself that I can just chill by my TV and God will do the rest. Of course I’m not going to get what I want with that kind of mentality. At the same time, I could miss out on beautiful opportunities that the Lord has to offer. Thankfully, my mom reminding me of Proverbs 3:5-6 is just what I needed to hear.

The Lord is faithful no matter how small or great the matter the need. How has God shown you this? As always we love hearing from you! ❤

 

Trials & Thanks

Life is full of twists and turns. Beautiful twists and turns. I sometimes wonder what God thinks as He’s working in our lives. I sometimes imagine Him chuckling over a gift He’s given us. I imagine Him grieving as I suffer a loss or a disappointment. I imagine Him worrying over some choices I’ve made and how He would use it for good.

As I’ve matured in faith I’ve been learning how to trust in Him and see Him as a loving Father who wants what’s best for me. It can be hard to remember that during the challenging times but I’ve learned that during the hard times is when I grow the most. When I was newer in faith, life had a tendency to flow a bit smoother, but as I have grown in faith, there have been more bumps and bruises. It’s not a punishment but an opportunity to grow stronger in faith.

Life isn’t supposed to be easy and God never promised it would be.   Once I began to accept the challenges as learning opportunities and began paying attention to the lessons He might be trying to teach me, they became easier; what I mean by that is that despite the fact that the situation might still be challenging, my perspective had changed. I was able to see a purpose for the trials and even if I don’t know what the particular lesson was, I know that there is a purpose in the work He is doing.

During this particular stage of my life, I feel like He’s trying to teach me to thank Him for the challenges. I’ve been struggling with this a bit. Who actually wants to suffer? Not me. So why would I be giving thanks? I give thanks because God uses every season and circumstance to mold and shape me. I thank Him because I’m alive and free to worship Him. I thank Him because what I might deem a tragedy or a trial, He has deemed an opportunity.

I am a huge fan of Corrie ten Boom, who was a Christian and was imprisoned by the Nazis for hiding Jews in her home in Holland. She and her sister, Betsie, were taken to a concentration camp and Betsie. In the one concentration camp, Betsie is giving thanks for everything around them:

 

“‘Thank You,’ Betsie went on serenely, ‘for the fleas and for–” “The fleas! This was too much. ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’ “‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ she quoted. It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us. “And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.” – The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

 

Later on you find out that the fleas actually kept the guards from entering and gave them more freedom to preach to the other prisoners and prevented their barracks from being searched.

I have to admit, I relate more to Corrie than Betsie but each challenge is an opportunity for me to thank God. I can’t say that I will always respond that way but today, I choose thankfulness. Today, I choose to trust God and the works He is doing in my life. Today, I choose prayer. Today, I choose to be thankful.

How do you respond to challenging circumstances? What do you think about giving thanks during trials?

Focusing Outward

I have a tendency to focus inward or at least within my circle of family and friends. Sure, I pay attention to world news and local events. I pray for the troubles in the world and I believe prayer is a powerful tool. Period. But we shouldn’t end with prayer. Prayer should be the beginning, not the end of what we do. Yes, we should pray for the family who lost their home in a fire, but we can also raise money or donate items to help. We can pray for victims of sex trafficking but we can also raise awareness, do a fundraiser or volunteer within your community. We can pray about the migrant crisis situation but we can also raise awareness or donate our time or money to help. We can pray for the homeless but we can also volunteer at a homeless shelter or buy a homeless person a meal.

My point is that we are also called to action. Prayer should be our first response but not our only one. There are several examples in the Bible that call us to action and remind us that we should actively be serving.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” – Mark 9:35

If everyone in the world who identifies as a Christian were to take action on any one cause, I firmly believe the world we’re living in would look much different. If we took action and used prayer as a first step instead of the only step, people would notice how different Christians are compared to the world. Can you imagine it? Can you see how the lights would shine throughout the world? It wouldn’t be perfect – it won’t be until Jesus comes again but oh it would be so much nicer. What if Christians reached out to our Muslim brothers and sisters and helped them instead of speaking out against taking in refugees for fear a terrorist would sneak in with them. What if we put down our cell phone for an afternoon and went and served someone in our community.

“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” – Isaiah 58:10

How do you serve in your community? What do you think the world would look like if every Christian were to serve? As always we love hearing from you ❤

Privacy with God

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” ~ Matthew 6:6 (NIV)

When I was a child, my father once told my siblings and I to go to a closet alone and just talk to God. He referred to this verse and its importance on intimate time with God. Having privacy was hard back then especially when there were six of us living in a two bedroom apartment. However, as I got older, I didn’t realize it would have such a significant impact in my life. I especially found this quiet time with God necessary as I was going through high school. Being a teenager, I had often times put walls around me. I didn’t have very close friends at that age whom I’d share my struggles with. My parents were also quite busy at that time. It was then that, during many nights, I’d go into my closet and dwell into privacy with God.

God is our ultimate healer and listener. We can spend a lot of time talking to pastors, friends, parents, siblings, any strong Christian in our life and share to them anything that needs to be shared. But it is God who is above all. Even so, many of us struggle with sharing and/or tend to keep a lot of burdens and battles inside of us. Yet, when it is only you and God in a room, there is absolutely nothing that should be holding you back. To have such intimacy with God is a beautiful thing.

Why be in a closet? Having privacy with God doesn’t always mean being in a dark closet, but it does require one’s undivided attention. There should be no distractions. I can understand that in today’s society, technology is often used. However, even if one’s Bible is in an iPhone or a tablet, there should be no other distractions. God just wants our presence whether we have a Bible in our hands or not. God is always willing to give His all to be with us. He can let go of any distraction easily. But we, on the other hand, cannot.

There are times when there is nothing to be said during our private times with God. Sometimes, I just cry. Yet, Psalm 139:1-4 says, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord” (NIV). There is nothing we can hide so we might as well share them to Him. Moreover, when we can, God does want to hear what is on our hearts, not always thinking it.

To be honest, we ask a lot more from God than God asks from us. We should at least prepare and plan some intimate moments with God. Even if one might struggle with ADHD, for example, once God has gotten our attention, our focus becomes only on Him. We should not worry about anything else.

I encourage you today to close yourself from the world and be in complete and total privacy with Him. It does not mean we should sit in silence every quiet time we have with God. There are many ways to have a private time with Him.

How do you spend your private time with the Lord? Hope everyone has a great weekend ❤

Blessings of Sisterhood/Brotherhood

Sisterhood (or brotherhood) is such a blessing. Recently, I was able to reconnect with some of my sisters from South Korea. Mariana flew in from the Midwest, Kate was picked up en route and Hannah was the final destination. For those of you who don’t know – Mariana is my collaborator, and both Kate and Hannah shared their stories on marriage talks.

It was a great five days of road trips, laughter, Jesus and food. We processed our departures and what we learned in South Korea. We discussed what season we were in and what we (think) God is preparing us for. I felt such peace and light at being able to openly share my adventures in South Korea and my sadness at my somewhat sudden departure.

We bonded at a Korean restaurant and reminisced in the Asian grocery store. We laughed and at the end of the reunion, cried. It was such a gift from God that it was able to come together like it did. Mariana had the furthest to travel and considering she’d only been back stateside three weeks, she had a lot going on.

It was a fun time and a much needed time. Since I’d been back I haven’t really felt able to discuss my time in Korea or process what happened and what’s next. I know I have a strong desire to be overseas and missions is something I am currently exploring. I also knew that I could be completely open with them and not worry about how it sounded or it going further than our circle. My sisters helped me remember Korea thoroughly and without any guilt or regret.

I learned so much in Korea. I learned what it feels like to be completely alone and to experience what it feels like to be a foreigner in another country. I learned how to lean into God when times got tough and what an authentic church should look and act like. I learned how to adapt and go with the flow. I learned how to dive into the Word and how to pray. I saw so many godly relationships in action. I learned what true sisterhood is and how the church body should be. I learned what it’s like to truly depend on God to provide. If I could sum up the two biggest things I obtained from my experience in South Korea it would be these:

  1. God will always provide a way, if it’s something He wants us to do/have; it might not be in the way we envisioned or expected but He will provide.
  2. We need our sisters and brothers in Christ and have to be intentional in our relationships

I am a better person because of the people I met and “did life with” and I am so thankful that God taught me this lesson!

 

How has your experience with sisterhood (or brotherhood) helped you grow? Have any of you gone on a missions trip – where, when, what? ❤

A Stubborn Heart? Me?

 When I was finishing up high school, I was under a lot of pressure and stress to look for colleges, finish up my senior year of high school, and dealing with relationships. With all this going on, I found myself refusing to do things such as listening to my parents. There were several times when I would argue with my father. He would ask me to do the dishes or clean something else in the house and I would refuse to do it; there was no reason for me not wanting to do it, I just didn’t want to do it. I would get so angry and let my stubbornness take over my life to the point of constantly yelling at my dad. Nowadays, I find my stubbornness goes against my Father in Heaven.
I am currently not content in the situation that I am in. I have asked for God’s guidance but there has been no direction for me to take except to remain where I am. Of course this Is God telling me to be still and wait, but I am too stubborn to listen or to trust in the Lord that He has a purpose in my life. I’m basically acting like a child responding to God saying, “I’m not gonna do this or that because I don’t want to do it. I don’t feel like it.”
In my refusal to obey my father, it ended up in a lot of arguments and no growth in my relationship with God. Because I was dishonoring my father (and mother too), I was dishonoring God. It seemed as though every conversation ended up in arguing more and more with both my parents just because I let my stubbornness take over my decisions. And even now, I am stuck in nothingness because of my refusal to believe in the fact that God has better plans and that my plans and selfish actions have no way of moving me forward.
The Bible only speaks negatively about stubbornness. In fact, in Jeremiah 7:23-24 it says, “‘…but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward'” (NIV). The Lord has obviously stated what will happen when we obey, and what will happen when we fall into our stubbornness and disobey. We will not move forward in our lives, if we continue to “follow the stubborn inclinations of [our] evil hearts.”
This week, what has been helping me with my stubborn heart is meeting with friends. These friends are people I met when I was living in Korea. If I had stayed at my house and continued to disobey the Lord, I would have missed out on this amazing reunion with my friends. Sometimes my stubbornness has kept me from seeing what God has better planned; I’ve regretted every decision I made out of stubbornness. However, every decision I have made in which God gave me the strength to fight my stubbornness, He has shown me more than I could ever have imagined. This time with my friends had been a hopeful encouragement to actually DO something about my situation and move forward.
Anyone else struggle with stubbornness? What are some things you’ve learned? As always we love hearing from you! Thank your for your patience while we were road tripping along the East Coast and reuniting with friends from South Korea. ❤

A Unifying Call to Nations

These days have been sad days. I don’t particularly care what political views you hold or what the color of your skin is – these past few days in the United States have been sad. When innocent people are killed because of the color of their skin or because of their vocation we should be sad. When a travel advisory is issued warning people of the racial tensions in our country, we should look around us and see what we can do.

We all are called to pray for our leaders and for our nations. Now, more than ever, I believe the United States needs prayers, as does Europe with the migrant issues, as does Syria and Turkey and Iraq and all of the nations of this world. Each nation is battling something and it is our responsibility as Christians to pray.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Tim. 2:1-2

But as a friend and I were discussing there is more we can. I believe prayer should be the first thing we do but it shouldn’t be the only thing we do. We should be interacting with our law enforcement and letting them know that we appreciate what they do. We should be getting to know our neighbors and talking to strangers, regardless of the color of their skin, sexual preference or socioeconomic status. We’re called to live by higher standards, which means rising above these things and recognizing them for what they are: spiritual battles.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph. 6:12

Our enemy isn’t our neighbors; our enemy is satan and you can bet that he is loving this upheaval that is occurring worldwide. It’s not just limited to the United States or the Middle East – it is a global issue and all of us are called to action, so please pray for your country and then go talk to strangers, make friedns and encourage them. I’ll leave you with words from Jesus, that they might comfort and encourage those who are hurting:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

If you have a specific prayer request, please leave it in the comments. ❤

 

Who Is Bigger Than Our Fears?

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When evil man advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.” ~ Psalm 27: 1-3 (NIV)

I love how these verses in Psalm 27 present a powerful image of fearlessness and especially highlighting who God is. God is above all. There is nothing higher than God. Even demons are afraid at the very mention of His name. James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” Awesome! So, what do humans fear? I can write a list, but I think it’d be better if I just sum it up in one word: everything.

Fear has quite a strong grip on my life and I’m sure on others too. It controls my thoughts, my actions, and my decisions. It’s so easy to fear whatever comes in my life, and it seems as though I acquire new fears here and there, everywhere I go: the future, a job, money, a place to live, the next step, spiders, my family, friends, traveling, etc. Furthermore, look at where our society has gone. The fears in our lives have taken such a toll that we need medication or other resources to calm the results of our fears. We avoid the scary things in life and would rather sit back and enjoy a life of comfort which for some is not where God wants us at all. Don’t get me wrong, at this very moment all I desire is a comfortable life. On the other hand, I am grateful for fear at times because it is something that helps me to look for God.

A life without fear…I would not have to deal with hair loss, stress, worry, sleepless nights. Yet, I would not grow stronger, and God would probably not have such an importance in my life. It’s interesting though that when we are children, we are afraid of things that need not to be feared. If God is above all, then the things we are afraid of as adults also should not be feared. Why?

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 43:1 says, “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’”

Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Matthew 10:28 says, “’Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.’”

These verses and the one at the top are just a few that should encourage us to not be afraid. But most importantly, to know that when we are afraid, we can look to God for help. In addition, when we are clouded with fear in any situation such as marriage, school, work, relationships, or anything, one way to truly put our trust in God to be above our fear is to pray and also to read Scripture out loud. Recently, I noticed my youngest brother whispering and speaking Scripture while he plays video games, when he is showering, and even when he is just sitting down. Jesus said in Matthew 10:27, “’What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.’” We can proclaim some of these verses in our head, but when we speak them out, we are demonstrating trust.

As years go by, fears of war, terrorism, racism, more difficult categories get stronger and stronger. However, we must remind ourselves, that even when we see the world coming to this, God is still higher and bigger than the fears we have.

Whatever your fears are, remember that God is bigger than any of them and He’s with you! Lean into Him and cast your cares on Him. We hope you have a wonderful weekend! ❤

 

Marriage Talks – Keeping God at the Center – Andrew & Kate’s Story

I don’t know about y’all but I love hearing people’s stories, which is part of why I want to share your story! Whether it’s a testimony of God’s Grace in Action or stories about what marriage really looks like, I think it’s important that we be real.  In a world of filters, I want people to be authentic and to find encouragement from each other in our walk.  This is the final post for this series and I love that it’s newlyweds sharing things from their perspective and what happens after the vows are exchanged and the guests leave.  Apparently it isn’t riding off with Prince Charming into the sunset – it’s doing life with someone you choose to love daily.   In a world that promotes and admires teen pregnancies and not getting married, I want to share a message about why it matters to have Him in your relationship.

I am so excited to introduce Kate and Andrew. I met Kate for five minutes when we were in South Korea and her generosity and kindness made all the difference in my transition to living abroad.  She showed me around town and took me to church where I met some amazing people.  Anyways, I hope you all enjoy Kate and Andrew’s story. ❤

Upper left: dating, lower left: engaged, right: Mr. and Mrs.!

  1. Tell me about yourselves

Hi! We are Andrew and Kate Orton! We have been married for three months, and we live in Cary, North Carolina which is just outside of Raleigh! We love hiking, running, reading out loud on road trips, trying to cook new foods together in our tiny kitchen, and drinking lots of coffee together. Andrew likes disc golf, going on walks, any kind of dog, working at Starbucks, and he’s more of a cannon-ball-into-the-deep-end kind of guy. Kate likes inventing new recipes, trying to grow her own herbs, and she’s more of a sit-by-the-pool-with-a-book kind of girl.

2) How did you two meet?

It’s a pretty funny story of how we met, actually! Andrew was a senior in college, I was a junior. My family had just moved from Delaware to South Carolina, putting me in a tricky position as I needed a ride home for Christmas break but we went to school in the Midwest – aka, nobody was offering rides to the south and I didn’t have a car. As a last-minute resort, I hopped onto our university’s classified’s page to look for people offering rides. This nice guy from North Carolina offered to drive her as far as Winston-Salem, and the rest is history!

3)What did you do when you realized you had feelings for each other?

Initially, we had different reactions in the moment, but after realizing we liked each other, we took similar actions. First, Andrew gulped nervously. Kate realzied she like Andrew in the middle of a grocery store and freaked out and did what any normal person would do: immediately text all close friends. Pretty soon we both started praying about it and hung out a little bit, then we started introducing each other to our friends and moving towards dating.

4) Tell us your love story.

(Kate) Our love story really began before we even started dating. The year I met Andrew I was building pretty thick walls around my heart because i didn’t want to date anyone while I was in college. When I met Andrew, God immediately started using him in my life to bring those walls down. I thought Andrew was really cool and really good looking, but I never imagined we would start dating and GET MARRIED. I often characterize our love story with the story of Abraham and Issac, when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only, promised son. Abraham says “Yes” even though it is painfully uncertain. The very week Andrew asked me out on our first date I was dwelling on this story, and throughout the rest of our dating relationship, everthing required deeper faith, a willingness to step into uncertainty. We were long distance our entire relationship: I finished college in Ohio while Andrew lived in North Carolina, then Andrew was appointed to be a missionary on Guam, and I accepted a teaching job in South Korea. We had no idea how we were going to make it, but we were willing, we said “Yes,” and God was faithful.

5) Tell us how you set boundaries when you were dating.

When we discussed and set physical boundaries, we didn’t really think too much about it to be honest. We simply decided what we would NOT do, and asked the Lord for strength to not cross lines we set with each other. Living in different countries 95% of the time definitely helps!

6) What were some lessons you learned while dating?

Early on we discovered how very different our personalities are, so instead of allowing that to become a difficulty, we made intentional efforts to try to understand each other more instead of clashing because of our differences. We still work very hard on this: asking “What can I learn from you right now?” instead of “Why do you act/think/speak in this strange way that I would never do?” This is really hard, and always a work in progress for us, but it’s worth it because being with someone who is so different from you opens up many different channels to view the world and even to go about daily life in new ways.

7) How did you know this person was “the one”?

For both of us, it was less of a slow recognition and more of an immediate realization it in a specific moment.

For Andrew: It was when Kate left for South Korea. Kate left for Korea two days after her sisters wedding, so I had spent most of the week leading up to these two huge milestones in their family with them, and that week I could definitely see myself as a part of this family.

For Kate: I took several months to tell Andrew I loved him, but the day I said those words I knew I wanted to marry him.

8) What tips do you have for the single person? The dating couple? The engaged couple? The newly married couple?

One of the best things I (Kate) ever heard about the best way to live intentionally in any season; single, dating, engaged, or married, is simply this: Further the Kingdom. Enjoy being single, because you have just as much to offer the kingdom of God as you would if you were married. Enjoy dating/being engaged, and prepare for marriage as thoroughly as you can. I (Kate) saw a counselor for the last 6 months before the wedding because I knew there were some things I wanted to work on in myself before getting married. We spent HOURS in our premarital counseling, learning as much as we could. For the newly married couple, lean into Christ and hold on to each other. Refuse to let trials from outside or struggles from inside your marriage drive you apart. Fight for unity. Preach the Gospel to yourself daily – it’s the only way you can have the courage to die to self. And further the Kingdom. Daily recognize that God has given you this other person not for your happiness, but for your sanctification, to make you more like Jesus, and to be more effective for His purposes than you would be alone.

9) How does keeping God at the center of your relationship work?

God is at the center of our relationship because we don’t have a choice. It’s a no-brainer. We absolutely HAVE to lean on him, and deeply trust that He is holding us together, or else we would fall apart.

10) How do you think godly relationships differ from what the world promotes?

We believe Christian relationships differ because of the call to daily die to self. Because we imitate Christ and his sacrifice on our behalf, when we remember what He has done for us, it makes selflesness for our spouse seem less of a weight to bear. Because we believe the Gospel, we trust that every pain and affliction we may bear throughout our life was carried to the Cross and felt by Jesus himself, we can carry on and trust His faithfulness through any circumstance. The Gospel gives a deep hope and abiding joy that can’t be found in anything else.

12) Share your favorite scripture.

Kate: Psalm 33.

Andrew: Romans 8

13) Please share anything else you think people should know.

The best thing that’s been working for us right now in a particulary hard season is to intentionally loosen up and have fun. One of the most awesome things about marriage is that now you never have to do things alone! When either of us is feeling really heavy or sad, we immediately do something fun. We go for a walk, or we go get some coffee together. It doesn’t have to be crazy, soemtimes the simpler the better. The other day we both felt so down and discouraged, so we just went to the library and walked around the city for an hour or two and it made a huge difference. Marriage is HARD, but God never meant it to be without DEEP joy! Since our first day married, we have always tried to remember that the other person is a GIFT of GRACE and we always seek to treat each other, and each day together as such.

 

If you’re interested in hearing more about their story, please visit Kate’s AMAZING blog at: https://lifeoffthepages.wordpress.com

As always, we hope this encourages you and lifts you up no matter where you are in life. If you’re interested in sharing your story, please email us at ah.taylor413@gmail.com or comment here. ❤

Like a Superhero

I have a job. Nope, I’m not talking about my day job; I’m talking about the assignment I was given by Jesus. I’m supposed to help free people. I get to be a hero and save people! Whooohooo! Now that’s what I’m talking about.

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I always wanted to be a superhero fully equipped with super powers (although I never could decide which power that should be). I had it all figured out: I would save someone from a near death experience in the nick of time and be recognized for my bravery and heroic acts, while I humbly accepted their accolades (and the key to the city)

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Yea, it’s a bit funny if you think about it but we’re all able to save lives and are actually assigned to save lives. It’s my job and your job. Jesus commissioned us ,yes all believers – even you, to tell people about Him. Not because He’s vain but because He is the Truth and the Way to eternal life.

He’s the answer to saving lives and it’s pretty selfish of me not to share Him with everyone I meet. It’s like having the cure for cancer but holding on to it because I’m embarrassed that of the cure. That’s crazy, right? And yet, people don’t share Jesus.

People don’t share Jesus because they’re embarrassed or they don’t want to “offend” someone or they don’t know them well enough or they don’t want to look like a crazy person or….the list goes on. I know it well – I’ve used all of those reasons for not sharing. It’s not easy to talk to people about Jesus in a culture where Jesus isn’t cool and Christians are labeled boring or judgmental. It’s not easy for me to share Jesus on a blog where I have a bit of anonymity. But saving lives isn’t supposed to be easy.

It’s work but it’s critical. We don’t need to thump somebody upside the head with a Bible or force it down their throat but we shouldn’t filter ourselves either. It might be something as simple as saying “Yea, God blessed me with finding that job” or posting something about your faith on social media or your blog. It might mean reaching out and getting to know someone new to town and inviting them to coffee or church or both.

It doesn’t have to be a plotted out, in-depth campaign but it should be a genuine effort to reach someone. You don’t have to have all the answers – God does. He’s just asking you to open the door and let Him do the heavy lifting. Please note this is not the time to be preaching at them about their sinful nature. Nobody likes that. This is the time to be loving and show them the difference Christ makes.  There’s enough hate and darkness in the world – let’s spread light and love.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

What holds you back from sharing? Is there anyone in particular you keep trying to reach and can’t? Please let us know if there’s anyone we can pray for. ❤