Monday, January 15, 2018

5 Ways to Reconnect with your Spouse

People, Man, Woman, Holding Hands


Being married isn’t as difficult as many people make it. However if you are not intentional in your marriage it will grow dull and slip away from you. Staying connected with your spouse helps you both to remain on mission and fulfill your purpose as a couple. So I’ve compiled five tips that have helped me and hopefully they will inspire you to keep the flame alive.

Unplug
It is so easy to stay glued to our devices and ignore our spouses. So this is first because social media can take up HOURS of your day if you let it. All those hours could be better spent spending quality time with your spouse and rediscovering who they are. People grow all the time right under your nose and if you aren’t careful you can wake up next to a stranger.

Dates
Going on dates needs to be a regular occurrence in your household, whether you have children or not. Your spouse is your first ministry and second only to God on your list of priorities. Just remember you don’t have to break the bank to have a good time! Check out one of my previous blogs if you need some inspiration.

Stay in communication throughout the day
Check in on your spouse. If you work separate jobs you might have no idea what they are facing if you don’t ask. Give them time to vent on your lunch break or even via text, but I would say to check in at least once every day.

Have sex on a regular basis
There is a reason why God pushes married couples to have sex. Other than the obvious possibility of children sex allows you to be vulnerable and loved in a way that you can’t experience with any other human being. 1 Corinthians 7:5 clearly tells us to not deprive one another and the Song of Solomon gives you tons of ideas to keep things interesting in the bedroom. God is not anti-sex. It is a gift He has given to married people to help bring offspring into the world and raise them up to be Godly leaders while doubling as a tool of unparalleled human intimacy. Enjoy it.

Spend time in worship together
Last, but most certainly not least, spending time worshiping God together on a regular basis is probably one of the best things you could do for your relationship. Even if you do all the other tips and you ignore this one you are missing out on an experience that transforms you from the inside out. As a COUPLE. Worshiping alone is one thing, and it’s amazing, but sharing that intimate worship space with your spouse will blow your mind in a myriad of ways.

How do you reconnect with your spouse? Let me know in the comments!


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Monday, January 8, 2018

How to fall back in love with God



Dark Clouds, God, Sky, Clouds
When we question God's character our faith that he cares about us begins to waver. We are drawn away from our first love by the things we think care about us more. The bible becomes an anthology instead of a love letter. God becomes a distant entity whose existence is questionable. Don't get me wrong, God hasn't fallen out of love with us, we are the problem. We are the ones who get bored with God. Our quiet times seem dull, worship services become routine, and our prayers begin to sound robotic. When we begin to display contempt for the things of God it shows in our relationships.  Our tempers are shorter, our patience is thin, and our hearts grow cold toward others. The good news is that in respect to our relationship with God the phrase "familiarity breeds contempt" is not absolute. In my opinion the phrase should read "familiarity CAN breed contempt". The original phrase means that the depth of your closeness with others leads to a loss of respect for them. The modified phrase gives you an option. Your closeness can lead to contempt, but it can also lead to admiration and respect. When we seek to go deeper with God and we find his actions in a new passage puzzling, we have a choice. We can close our bibles and emotionally withdraw from God or we can allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the truth of the passage. 

This happened to me when I read the story of Jephthah's daughter in Judges 11. At first glance it looks like God sanctioned a human sacrifice, and that confused me because it looked like God contradicted himself. For a few days... I stopped reading my bible. I mulled over so many different questions:  


Why didn't God allow a goat to meet Jephthah?
Did Jephthah really burn his only daughter alive? 
Why didn't God stop him like he stopped Abraham? 
Did God not consider her important enough to save?


Needless to say, by the end of the week I was distraught as I went deeper into the rabbit hole. It wasn't until I talked with my husband, conducted my own research, and prayed that I understood what truly took place. Jephthah's daughter wasn't sacrificed by fire, she was dedicated to the Lord and made to serve in the temple instead of living a normal life. 


So what do we do when God doesn't make sense?
How do we fall back in love?

1. Ask Questions.

Asking God about passages that confuse you is not sinful. He wants you to talk with Him. Especially when you are confused. By going to God first He will reassure you of his unchanging character, refresh your soul, and calm your spirit. He might lead you to someone in your church who you could talk to. We learn in community.

2. Do research and discover the context.

The internet is an amazing tool for discovering answers to biblical mysteries. One of my personal favorites is gotquestions.org. There are so many commentaries and research papers available to provide context and clarity. Your local library is another great resource.

3. Keep Reading. 

Don't let one puzzling story in the bible keep you from reading the rest of it. Go back, reinforce the foundational truths, and memorize those scriptures. God will reveal the answers to your questions as you continue to seek Him. Don't run away. 

Tell me about how you fell in love with God in the comments! 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Joint Resolutions

Coffee, Pen, Notebook, Work, Book, Caffeine, Food Photo
During the build up to this New Year a lot of people made resolutions and are hoping that they will be able to achieve their goals. With 2018 just beginning I wanted to write something to my fellow married couples. In 2016 I made a LOT of resolutions, but because I never told my husband about them there were a LOT of unnecessary arguments that came up in 2017. By not communicating our goals we set ourselves up for failure. So last week we sat down and made sure that our goals for 2018 were clear and out in the open, we checked the temperature of our
relationship in general and made some joint resolutions for 2018.

Why is this important?
Great relationships don’t happen by chance, you have to be intentional. By checking on the different areas of your marriage (spiritual, physical, emotional, etc.) you avoid the trap of living in a complacent marriage.

What are the benefits of doing this?

Having clear goals for the year will help you consistently make choices that help you reach those goals instead of coasting through life hoping things will work out. The amount of arguments in the house birthed out of unmet expectations will drastically decrease because the expectations for the year have already been laid out.  Joint resolutions also encourage you to build a deeper camaraderie with your spouse because these goals are things that you have to lean on each other (and God) in order to accomplish.

What is a joint resolution you and your spouse have? Let me know in the comments!



Be sure to follow me on Facebook to catch up with me throughout the week! (Facebook.com/oriannaofreverentia)



Monday, December 25, 2017

Looking Forward




Snow, Winter, White, Cold, Weather, IceThe future will always be a daunting place. No matter how much you plan and prepare the unknown is always waiting around the corner. If I’m being honest this scares me. I crave stability and structure, which is why my goals for 2018 were penned in October. The problem is I did the same thing in 2016 hoping that this year would be different, but looking back most of my plans fell through. I failed in many areas. I disappointed myself, my family, my friends, and God numerous times, intentionally on many occasions. 

With all of the twists and turns that happened this year, 2017 was still good. I’ve grown a lot as a person and as much as my mind wants to look back and wallow in self pity over my failures, God calls me to do something different, look forward. God reminds me to keep planning even though I don’t know if I’ll meet all my goals. To love others even though I don’t know if they will hurt me. God spurs me on when I feel like giving up. He never asks me to ignore my past; he just asks that I focus on the future instead. Focus was the word he told me more than once in my quiet time last week. Honestly I can’t blame him, he’s probably been saying that for years but I’ve been too distracted to pay attention. But when I surrendered my life to this ministry, his voice became clearer and I can’t focus on what’s behind me. Yes the business failed, yes I have disrespected my husband, and yes I have had days where I surrendered to darkness instead of God. But the future is still there, with all of its twists and turns and if I jump off the cliff backwards it’s a LOT scarier than if I dive face forward. I don’t know what’s coming in 2018, but I have planned, and I have prayed, and I know who holds my tomorrows, however many there may be left.  So instead of being afraid of my plans falling through or worrying about disappointing those closest to me I am choosing to look forward, holding my father’s hand, and diving into 2018 together.



What are you looking forward to in 2018? Comment below!


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Monday, December 18, 2017

The Myth Behind the Independent Woman


Image result for business womanWestern society is enamored with the idea of self reliance. Dependency is looked at as a weakness. A lot of women in western society have bought into the hype that being independent is the ultimate goal of life. I used to be one of those women. I would say things like:

“I have to take care of myself because nobody else will.”

“At the end of the day I’m the only one I can depend on.”

One of my past boyfriends actually made “Miss Independent” by Ne-Yo his ringtone for me (side note: I thank God I didn’t marry him.)


I believed the lie that with just enough hard work, just enough money, and just enough education, I could be independent from everyone. Independence is a lie for two reasons: first, the ultimate goal of life is to glorify God in all that we do (Col. 3:17) and second, there is no such thing as an independent person.

Financially responsible, yes.

Emotionally stable, sure.

Spiritually grounded, absolutely.

But we as humans do NOT have the ability to be independent. Everyone has to lean on someone or something at some point throughout their lifetime to function successfully.

The single career woman depends on her company to stay in business so she can pay her bills.

The married woman with kids depends on her husband to help raise them.

Even the woman with the financial clout of Oprah depends on her team of advisors to keep everything in order so she can continue to live comfortably.

Nobody is independent, but we fight tooth and nail to reach a state that God alone possesses. As women of God we must reevaluate our perspective of dependency. Weakness is not a liability when acknowledge God as your only source of strength. Webster defines dependence as the quality or state of being influenced, determined by, or subject to another. Think of the addict who has a dependence on painkillers. They can’t function without them. We have to get to a place spiritually where we can’t function without God. We need to be “addicted” to his presence. Our eyes have to look above the job, the husbands, and the money to realize that God is the source of it all. Even when we try to place material possessions or relationships as our source of fulfillment he is still responsible for every breath in our lungs and every beat of our hearts. We are all dependent on God whether we acknowledge him or not.


Today I implore you to put aside your pride and realize that all our efforts to be independent are futile because for all of humanity, there is no such thing. The good news is when you put your hope in God and depend on him alone, nothing is impossible. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Why Does God Hate Divorce?

Picture it, September 2011. I am home on fall break from school and my mom takes me out to pick up groceries for the house. As we are driving to the store I catch her up on school and she gives me updates about the church. The topic turns to the family and when she starts talking about my dad her entire demeanor changes for the worse. I listened to her vent about her frustrations that had been pent up over ten years of being in North Carolina and it not going as she had planned. We pull into the store parking lot; she cuts off the car and stares out at the rain. We sit together in silence for a moment and then she tells me that she and my father are going to get a divorce. I always knew my parents hadn’t had a particularly happy marriage, but when she told me they were getting a divorce a mixture of anger, sadness, and frustration churned in my chest. From that moment on I started looking up scriptures to help her come back to her senses. I found three instances in the bible and all of them basically say the same thing: God hates divorce. 

My question was, why?

If two people are unhappy or if there is infidelity, or even abuse God should be ok with divorce as long as you have a good reason….

Or so I thought.

Whether your reasons are justified or not God still hates divorce. Simply because: marriage is meant to last for life. When a couple gets married that covenant is supposed to be upheld for as long as they live, through kids, sickness, death and all the other hardships of life that come our way. Marriage itself has a twofold purpose, first, to act as a physical example to the world of God’s unconditional love and second, to produce godly offspring. When you get divorced you can no longer fulfill the first purpose and fulfilling the second purpose becomes extremely difficult. Co-parenting without living in the confines of marriage is a near impossibility. Thankfully we serve a God who specializes in the impossible.

God knows what divorce does to the couple involved, the children, and society at large as a result; however there are some exceptional times where you would be justified in getting a divorce.

Abuse

In Malachi 2:16 directly after God expresses his disdain for divorce he says “I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as his garment.” Some translations say: “I hate a man’s covering his wife with violence as well as his garment.” (AMPC) God has not and never will be on the side of an abusive spouse. If you find yourself in that situation you need to leave.

Infidelity

Matthew 19:9 and Mathew 5:32 make most people believe that you can point to unfaithfulness as a loophole and grounds for an automatic divorce. Since adultery is a form of sexual immorality technically speaking you would be justified in getting a divorce from a consistently unfaithful spouse. However, when you look at the scriptures in their cultural context, you discover a deeper meaning. In Jewish tradition marriage takes place in two stages; the betrothal (kiddushin, where the bride accepts the man’s proposal, her family accepts the bride price and they pay the dowry) and fully fledged marriage (nisuin, where the bride a broom move in together and they partake of the wedding feast). There was about a year between these two stages; however once you were in the betrothal stage you were seen as husband and wife in the sight of God and the law.  Matthew is speaking to individuals stuck in the space between kiddushin and nisuin, where a lot of divorces took place because of that long separation and lack of intimacy.

Divorce was never a part of God’s will for his people it is a result of our sin nature. If you are in the position where you are considering divorce and you are justified in getting one according to scripture. I implore you to continue to seek God and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. If you are seeking a divorce and scripture is not in agreement with your reasons for getting one I implore you to do the same thing. Marriage is meant to last for life. Divorce is not a decision to be made lightly whether it is justified or not God still hates it. And he still loves you divorced or not.



Peace and Blessings

Monday, December 4, 2017

3 Habits I’m leaving in 2017


December is my favorite month for two reasons.

1) Christmas
2) New Year’s Resolutions

I have been thinking about 2018 since October. This year has flown by and thankfully I am not the same woman I was at the beginning of this year. In the spirit of progress here are 3 habits I’m leaving in 2017.

1. Insecurity about my looks
From the time I was twelve I have hated the way I look. Thankfully over the past thirteen years I have gotten more comfortable in my skin. However there are still small things that I do to cover up and hide. Although I don’t wear much of it, make up has been something I’ve been hiding behind and I am leaving that habit in 2017. Unless it’s a formal event or performance I will be bare faced and free!

2. Weight Gain
Since my thyroid surgery in 2013 I have been steadily gaining weight. I got comfortable with my size and fell into a defeatist mindset about losing weight and being healthy. At the beginning of this year I weighed over 200 lbs., thankfully through consistent exercise and portion control I have dropped 20 lbs and a pants size! Before 2017 I was comfortable with my unhealthy eating habits and my lazy exercise habits. This year has sparked a change and I am going to continue fighting to break through every plateau I reach as I push to live a healthy life.

3. Spiritual Laziness
I am beyond done taking everyone’s word for it when it comes to God. I have been stuck in a cycle of laziness with my faith for years. And I am at the point that I refuse to spend the rest of my life as an average Christian with basic bible knowledge and a half committed heart. The biggest way I hope to change this is increase the frequency of my quiet time and the amount of scripture I memorize. I want to know God for myself from his word as 2 Timothy 2:15 pushes us all to do. As much as I love my pastor and the different bible study tools I have access to, I don’t want them to be the anchor of my faith I want his Word to be my anchor.

What habits are you leaving in 2017? Tell me about it in the comments!

Peace and Blessings