Love

I know that Valentines Day is right around the corner. But I don't think that Valentines Day is the only day that we should show love & appreciation to those that we care about. This weekend I tuned in to an International Local Livestream Conference called

IF:Gathering

. A gathering for women of all ages to unite & learn more about Jesus. Not just learn but to be equipped & unleashed into our very own circles of community. To prompt us to live a life around these questions: "If God is real then what?"& "What if we lived like Jesus?"

All weekend long we listened to beautiful women who've braved some hard times. We were led into prayers of confessions of things that we've held back in the dark spaces of our hearts. We dug deep and had some open conversations about who Jesus is to us. There were many tears of pain & suffering but also tears of joy & freedom. But the one thing that rang loudest through out the entire weekend was

LOVE

God is love and love comes from God. The testimonies & hope-filled stories shared this weekend were evidence of how much more real His love really is. "

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." 

The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) These are most important yet simplest commandments that the Lord has given us. Yet, we struggle with the most. To love. 

Love isn't just a feeling a boy & a girl have together. Love is forgiveness,humility, compassion, caring for another persons soul, and so much more. Christ came to walk the Earth and He loved deeply. He came to be the perfect example of love. He loved the unlovely, ashamed, cast-off, & abandoned. Love isn't just for those who are good looking, fit, wealthy, or friendly. Love is for all God's people. 

Every human being that has a heart beat, God loves. And as children of God, He has called us to love our neighbors. This mean's our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, & many more. Whomever is in your life circle, God is calling you to love on them. Even to love the unlovable. Love the ones who can't love you back. This is not impossible. For God so loved the world that He sent His one & only Son. To die for our sins. God not only loves you individually, but He loves the entire world. 

Therefore, if we are made in the image of God, He created us to love well too. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)  Even criminals know how to love. Love exists in all of us but what good is it if we just keep it to ourselves? Lets share His love to everyone around us. Lets spread it to the ends of the Earth like confetti. For the best reason to celebrate is because of His great love. 

Love doesn't just flow from the words that we speak towards one another. Although that is the love language for many. We often hear,"You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?" We can speak of our love for other's, but what we do in our lives will reflect how true we are to our words. Love is evident in the way we move & touch other peoples lives. When we look at the life of Christ, "He didn't just come to talk, teach, or preach. He came to love through His touch, proximity, presence, & dignity."- Jen Hatmaker. 

Lets love intentionally. Lets love our neighbors well. Lets be the hands and feet of Jesus. Loving, even if they can't love us back. Lets love the unlovable. I'm sure we all feel unlovable at times. But God will never stop loving us for a second! He is madly, deeply, head-over-heels, jealously, crazy in love with me & YOU! What are some things we can do to show people that we love them? 

You have any ideas? I'd love to hear them!

How do you love your family & friends well? 

How can you reach your community & share God's love with them? 

Who's Your Best Friend?

Roger & I have been married for 10 years now and one thing we've definitely learned is that we need friendship. 2015 was a hard year, I mean, when is life nor marriage not hard? You'll always face new challenges. I wish someone would've told us on our wedding day how important it is to stay friends in your marriage. 

I honestly don't know when we lost that important factor of our marriage, but I guess once marriage happened, it was all about figuring out how to make it through life.We stopped asking questions. Stopped getting to know each other & we began to just conform to this normality of what we thought marriage was supposed to be. A Relational Retirement. 

Last year, Roger & I literally felt like we came to a point where our marriage was going to end. Not because someone cheated or because we didn't get along. Most people I know would probably conclude & compromise at the fact that they "fell out of love" with each other. For us, it was because we didn't feel connected. Here we were, married at this point for 10 years & yet felt more distant than ever. Don't misunderstand, we love each other passionately. But at some point we stopped having conversations & fell into this autopilot setting of just going through the motions of life with no intentionality. 

It really affected us. With lots of prayers & encouragement from a close couple who knew of our struggles, we started pursing our marriage through God's eyes. We started praying for one another & for our marriage. It took time, patience, trust, & courage. Each day we stepped a little closer towards each other in our friendship. Slowly but surely, we started having more in depth conversations. It was like getting to know him all over again. Don't assume that when you get married, your spouse will remain the same person they were from the day you said "I do." 

As we grow in the years of marriage, we also mature over time. God is constantly working through us, changing & challenging us to become the best versions of ourselves to glorify Him. And so, therefore, we have to learn to embrace each others changes as well. I started to learn so many new things about him that I had never known before. And like any relationship, trust had to be nurtured into our marriage. Even though you're married to each other, the enemy knows how to pull you away from one another, influencing you to be secretive & to keep things to yourself. 

I believe that when we unite in a holy matrimony, (a marriage that is set apart from others), we ought to both know each other inside out. To see each other in a way that no other person could. To be so transparent about your life, emotions, struggles, & celebrations. The only other being that should know you so deeply would be God himself. There is something beautiful about becoming "One." In marriage, we get to experience the intertwining of 2 souls & 1 spirit. God himself blesses couples with His Holy Spirit.  Don't ever assume that marriage is only a physical life accomplishment. It's so much more than that. 

Roger & I have learned so much about what God can do through marriage. We asked God to teach us to communicate well, to be open & transparent towards each other & to know how to extend grace & to be able to love one another. He definitely answered us. Little by little, He began to reveal to us, the victory we have in our marriage. God was reigniting our love & friendship towards one another in such a new & fresh way we had never experienced before. 

"The best relationship is when you can act like lovers & bestfriends at the same time."

Don't get me wrong. Girlfriends are a must-have in every woman's life. But to have a best friend in your spouse, it has to be the most amazing & special thing God has every created! So believe me when I say that I know God has bigger plans for your marriage. He knows you desire a relationship with your spouse. If you do, then run to Him. Plead for your marriage. Cry out for your spouse. Go to God on behalf of your marriage & pour out your heart on Him. He WILL answer you. In His will & perfect timing, He will honor you for your faithfulness,not just to your husband, but your faithfulness to Him. 

Are you best friends with your spouse? 

Have you ever thought about praying for your marriage?

Know that in order for our marriages to thrive, we must make sacrifices & invest in them as best possible. 

How can I pray for you and your friendship with your spouse? 

Let me know in the comments. I'd love to pray over you. 

Have a blessed weekend!