God's Girl

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

Blackening of the Bride: 11 Ways to Sabotage Your Marriage

Imagine with me for a moment.

It’s a beautiful day.

Today is the day your new life together begins.

It’s your wedding day.

You look up at the blue sky and smell the fresh air.

You quickly realize that instead of looking up, you should have looked straight ahead!

The bushes nearby begin to move.

People run out and pelt you with rotten eggs and other sticky substances.

 

They kidnap you and shove you into a car.

 

The next thing you know, you are being paraded around town and tied to a tree.

Kinda sounds like a bad dream after eating too much Chinese food, doesn’t it?

This may seem bizarre, but this is not fiction.

In reality, it is a Scottish wedding tradition called the “Blackening of the Bride (or groom).”

It is meant to prepare the couple for the difficulties of marriage.


No doubt about it, marriage can be tough!

Words can be spoken and actions can be taken that leave you feeling ambushed, beaten, black, and blue.

What takes years to carefully build can be lost in a moment.

The atmosphere of your marriage can be wonderful, until the unexpected comes, and you are pelted with the stinkiness of life.

Things you never thought would happen.

The loss of a job.

The car you never saw coming…

The loss of a loved one.

Your car breaks down on the way to work.

The bills stack up, so does the stress.

The hard stuff leaves you feeling vulnerable.

You can turn to your spouse during these times or you can choose to turn away.

Even the good things can bring the stinkiness out:

Holidays.

Having a baby.

Parenthood.

Moving to a new town.

Busy schedules.

I don’t know how things are in your marriage right now, or even if you are married.

I do know this: No single act can prepare you for marriage.

Preparing for marriage, whether you have been married a day or twenty years, is a continual, daily process.

My husband and I have been married for 15 years.

I thought by now, we would have this thing down.

We don’t.

What we do have is a committed love-filled marriage and lots of stories of our mistakes.

So I thought I would share with you how to blacken your spouse.

Here are 11 ways to sabotage your marriage:

1) Be insecure. Look to your spouse to make you feel good all the time.

2) Don’t trust your spouse. (For some of you, trust has to be rebuilt. Something major may have happened. Some times it can take time. If they are doing things to intentionally harm you or others in your family get help!)

3) Don’t talk about money. Don’t be on the same page. Don’t make a plan for your money.

4) Don’t communicate. Do what you want. Why should you be accountable to someone else?

5) Talk a little too long and smile a little too much at that cute co-worker.

6) Make sure to let your kids divide and conquer you as parents. Take every opportunity to tell your kids that you disagree with your spouse. Develop a good cop-bad cop parenting relationship.

7) Stay angry. Let it linger. Sleep on it. Wake up in a rage. Love being right more than you love your marriage. Hang onto your hurts. Let them eat you alive. Don’t forgive.

8) Overcommit. Do as much as you can, as often as you can. Don’t consult your spouse when making plans.

9) Don’t date. Why should you do that anymore? Treat each other more like roommates and business partners.

10) Don’t hangout with people who support your marriage. Make sure you criticize your spouse in public, especially with friends.

11) Never,under any circumstances, use these three phrases:

“What do you think?”

“How can I pray for you?”

“What can I do to ease your stress?”

 

Remember, Dear One:

You are your spouse’s home.

You love is a cup of cold water offered to the soul beaten down by the heat of this world.

Your arms are the welcome mat, the place where burdens are wiped out.

Your lips help wash the dirt away when you  shower words of praise and affection to a blackened heart.

Love today more than yesterday because tomorrow may not come.

 

 

 

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Special Request Day

photo courtesy of wallaly.com

I would like to take a moment today to say thank you to all the readers and subscribers of God’s Girl.

Thank you!!!!

I’m currently making a list of what I will write about this year.

What special topics would you like to see on God’s Girl?

How can I encourage you?

Just type your ideas into the comment section.

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Blindspot: How to Protect Yourself from the Things You Can’t See Coming

Today we are going to do something a little different.

Are you ready, Dear One?

Get a piece of paper and something to write with.

Go!

I’m not kidding!

A pen, a pencil, your child’s broken crayon…whatever is nearby.

Got it?

Okay.

Now grab that writing instrument of choice and your piece of paper.

Think of one thing that is bothering you.

It shouldn’t be too hard.

If you are anything like me, it’s probably been popping in and out of your head since you got up this morning.

Write the name of that one person, thing or situation on your paper.

Now hold onto it.

Stare at it.

Ball it up and hold it as tightly as you can in your fist.

Don’t relax, it may fall out.

Whatever you do, don’t loosen that grip!

Do this all day and you will magically feel better about what’s on that paper.

Doesn’t make much sense does it?

If you resist doing this physically, why on earth would you choose to do it mentally?

If you have your hand clenched in a fist all day, you won’t get much accomplished.

Isn’t your brain the same way?

If you wrap your brain around a worry all day, you will leave no room to consider opportunities and possibilities that may come your way.

Have you ever driven down the road and not seen a car coming because it was hanging out in your blind spot?

If blind spots didn’t exist, just think of how many accidents could be avoided!

Every time you worry…everytime you dwell…you create spiritual blind spots.

You won’t be able to see what God is doing if you have that big old problem blinding you.

When your problem looks bigger than your God, your life will be a wreck!

Now take that same piece of paper you have been holding onto.

Smooth it out.

Oh, good job.

Nice and pretty!

Ready for the next part?

Tear that sucker up!

Yes, you read this right.

Tear it up!

Now put it back together, just like it was before.

You can’t can you?

When something is broken you can’t make it whole again.

Only God can do that.

Talk to Him about it.

Give him your broken pieces.

You can trust Him.

Really, you can!

Stop trying to control it all.

It isn’t working.

Let

It

Fall!!!

Let the one who holds the world together, hold you together.

It’s okay.

He will create a beautiful picture from the pieces of your life.

He will.

Loosen

Your

Grip!!!

Relax.

Listen to God.

What opportunity have you been given today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Burnt Out

 

 

My family and I drove by a popular restaurant sign a few nights ago.

Our children nearly fell over laughing in the back seat.

“Look, Mom, that sign says, “Affle House”, “you know, like, Awful House.”

The first letter of the sign had burnt out, sending my family into fits of laughter.

Sometimes I feel burnt out.

It seems to get harder to keep it all together.

I get tired of burning the candle at both ends so I just let one end fizzle out.

I’m running on empty, yet I keep going.

It has to get done and it has to get done now!

The tyranny of the urgent.

 

 

One of the first things to go for me is usually my time spent in the Word.

My big “W” that used to shine brightly becomes dim, until it eventually burns out.

When that happens, my body, the house God entrusted to me, can quickly turn into the awful house.

 

My temper flares.

My sleep is affected.

My money spends faster.

My food gets junkier.

My workout time becomes a distant memory.

 

Take a moment to think about what is beginning to flicker out in your life.

 

What is one of the first things to go when you fizzle out?

Maybe it’s a habit that keeps you healthy.

Sometimes a relationship is neglected.

Financial situations may  get ignored.

 

Try to catch it now before the burn out.

Who really wants to reach the point of being the “Affle House”?

Listen, Dear One, urgency is a killer of the soul!

Is it really worth killing yourself to get it all done?

Is there something you can say “no” to this week, so you can say “yes” to your sanity.

Talk to God about it.

Sometimes taking a nap, eating healthier, or spending time with an important person in your life is the most Godly thing you can do.

Write it on your “to do” list.

Don’t feel guilty for self care.

Don’t drop the big “W” and become the awful house, when stress enters your life.

You can avoid this!

You can.

I’ll be here rooting for you and cheering you on.

No guilt here, Dear One, just move forward and do one thing today that will prevent burn out tomorrow.

 

Leave me a comment to let me know what fizzles out first in your life.

What will you cut out or do differently this week?

I want to hear from you!

 

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What is God’s Purpose for you? Take this simple quiz to find out.

God is AMAZING!
I want to shout from the rooftops all that He has done for me.
Yet, I find myself sharing what He has done with the right person at just the right time.
That’s God, folks!

He knows who needs what and when.

I don’t have to figure it out.

I just have to listen and follow.

There is freedom in that.

I can just be me.

I don’t have to save the world.

He did that.

I don’t have to fix the people around me.

He does that.

I don’t have to fix myself.

He is doing that.

My shout becomes a hand held as I look into hurting eyes.
Sometimes He tells me to shut up and just be His love.
Sometimes saying nothing at all screams the name of God into someone’s life more loudly than my voice could ever speak.
He speaks in the everyday.
Most people speak about finding God’s will for their life, like it’s some far off distant dream.
If I listen to Him and follow Him each day I am already living out His will for me.

This is true for you, too.
His purpose is being fulfilled for you each day.
Right here, right now God’s will is being expressed through you.
You don’t have to hunt for His purpose like some kid playing Hide and Go seek.

You my friend, are His purpose.

God makes no accidents.

There are no “oops” in His kingdom.

He made you on purpose with His purpose in mind.

Take a step out now.

What is he telling you today?
Live with purpose, knowing that each moment counts in the heart of a Kingdom child.
Keep dreaming your dreams, dear one, knowing that you don’t have to have it all figured out.
Your job is a simple one.
Follow Him.

I promised a quiz.

Here it is:

1) Are you spending time with God each day?

2) Are you asking Him how you can serve Him and love Him today?

3) Are you noticing when he moves you to take action and acting on it?

If you answered these questions with a “yes” or a “most of  the time”, quit searching so hard!

You are in His will.

Take these steps and repeat each day to stay in it!

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What to do When You have a Bad Case of the “What-Ifs”

 

Our home has been invaded by blankets.

They drape our couches and cover our footstools creating tunnels for a secret hideout.

“Animal HQ”, the kids call it, the secret headquarters for stuffed animal secret agents.

I love their imagination and creativity.

Sometimes I hate my own.

I can watch any horror movie and come up with part two in my dreams.

My imagination is powerful.

The “what-if” monster attacks me all the time.

I’m willing to bet you’ve met him, too.

He lives in the future.

He’s a thief of the present.

I don’t know what your “what-if” monster is saying to you today.

Will you keep your job?

Will your kids be okay?

Does your spouse still love you?

What will the result of the test be?

How will I be able to take care of aging parents?

It’s plenty to keep you up at night.

It doesn’t have to.

Somewhere along the way, you have probably heard the story of David and Goliath.

Boy beats giant when no one thought he would.

Do you remember what David said when he was going to face that giant?

Right when fear should have been at an all time high, David spoke these words:

“God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.” I Samuel 17:35

Remember what God has done in the past and there will be no need to fear the future!

“God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life. He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always.” Psalm 121:7-8 (The Message)

The God of yesterday, walks with you today.

The God who walks with you today will walk with you into tomorrow.

You will fail.

You will fall.

Yes, you will experience moments that break your heart.

You will also experience moments that make your heart.

You will love.

You will live.

You will overcome.

You will.

The God who lives in you has already overcome the world that tries to defeat you.

“In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33 (The Message)

Let God be your hideout today.

“You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” Psalm 91:1 (The Message)

Hide beneath the blanket of his love.

“That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing!” Psalm 91:1 (The Message)

Use your imagination to dream of all the things he has in store for you.

‘God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!

He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)

Now, take that giant problem you have been wrestling with in your mind and hit in square in the head with that little dose of God’s word!

God has given you many stones in his word to aim straight at the head of that nasty old giant.

Take him down!

 

A little something extra:

Go to http://www.biblegateway.com

Type a word of a topic that is troubling you in the search box.

Find a verse or two on that topic.

Whenever that “what-if” monster comes your way, pull your verse out, look at it.

Yep, a stone straight to the head and down goes that monster.

THUD!

Another one bites the dust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Surprising Reasons to Budget

We all know we should budget.

Right?

Why don’t we?

Yes, I know this is one of those questions, like “why doesn’t a child eat his green vegetables?”

 It’s not fun to budget.

Who really says, “Oh, yay! Honey, I know the perfect way to have fun tonight! Let’s pay the bills and track our money. Woo, hoo!”

If you know these people, please do me a favor and slap them for me!

They are not normal.

I have done the Dave Ramsey thing. It’s great. “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else” has been my personal mantra many times. I love this idea, but truth be told I’m an instant gratification kinda girl. I have NO patience…at…all.

“By the way, did you see that great sale?”

Who cares if I actually have the money, I saved money…right?

Here are three reasons you should “Budge-It” your money before it “budges” you:

1) Your relationship with God.

I didn’t budget.

Where did the money go?

“God isn’t providing for me.”

“He must not really care about my needs.”

“The car broke down.”

“It’s the most expensive part.”

“It must be replaced today.”

“God, where are YOU??? Arghhh!”

Not only does your car break down, you do too!

Not that God, doesn’t do all kinds of miracles and provide in all kinds of ways.

He does.

He also gives us guidelines for living throughout the bible that help prevent many financial crises.

2) Your relationship with others.

Scenario #1: The Blame Game

“What happened to the money?”

“I’m broke.”

“We will never have any money.”

“________ spends it all.”

(“It couldn’t have been me after all?”)

End of this scenario: Relationship problems with ________. Yelling. Fighting. UG…LI…NESS!

Scenario #2: The Unaccepted Invite or The Great Mastercard Handover

Friend(s): “Let’s go do ______.”

You: ” Umm…sorry… can’t go.”  (or I can go, but this one is gonna have to be on the Mastercard.)

This scenario also ends badly.

If you don’t go: Friends may feel brushed off. You miss opportunity. Who knows what that opportunity might be? The chance for you to provide a listening ear or maybe have the moment that becomes the inside joke you’ll be laughing about for a long time to come.

If you do: That Mastercard has just mastered you. You may have just created that inside joke together, but when you get the bill you won’t be laughing for a long time to come!

3) Your relationship with yourself.

Budgeting money can be a fantastic way to avoid temptation. Lots of temptations involve things we can buy. Can you think of a few?

If I make a plan for my money and that plan does not include much room for the things that tempt me, it will be easier not to give in to temptation. Notice I did not say it would be easy. I remember being told a zillion times, that if I am tempted God will provide a way out. Could it be that following what he says to do with my money in the first place, might put a plan in place to create that “way out”?

Suddenly, those “Twinkies” don’t look quite as good, when you know you are taking money away from something else you had planned.

How can you use money  as a tool to achieve your goals right now:

spiritually?

physically?

emotionally?

socially?

mentally?

Keep money in perspective. It is a tool. It isn’t security. Only God can give you a solid foundation worth standing on. Have you ever tried to stand on a hammer? Chances are, you will fall!

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Hospitality 101: 7 Ways to be the Perfect Host

I turn into a crazy woman before guests arrive at my home.

Sad but true.

It’s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kinda thing.

I’m pleasant and easy-going one moment, then suddenly I begin shouting orders like a drill sergeant hyped up on too many Red Bulls.

 

My kids look at me like, “Where did Mom go and who is this woman?”

My husband rotates between trying to help, rubbing my shoulders and hiding out.

 

I have gotten better over the years, much better.

What drives this?

Is it really the need to make others feel welcome?

What is hospitality anyway?

Is it having the perfect house with the Rachel Ray spread and the Martha Stewart table settings?

Is it the perfectly vacuumed floors?

I look at the word “hospitality” for a moment.

I stare.

I see the word “hospital’.

Hmm… a place where sick people go to get better.

A place to heal.

A place to rest.

 

An image flashes in my mind….the Good Samaritan story.

A beat up guy on the side of the road.

People pass him by.

One person stops.

The one who should hate him stops.

How often do I stop to see people I have never considered before because they are different in some way?

Now does the Samaritan say, “I see that you are beat up. Let me take you to my house. I will need to clean it first, go shopping, and do a few other things? Why don’t you just hang out here on the side of the road, while I go prepare?

No.

Opportunities for hospitality often come when we don’t feel prepared.

How can you be the perfect host?

1) The hospitable person notices his neighbor’s needs.

True hospitality isn’t about my needs at all.

It’s about listening.

It’s about noticing.

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Romans 15:2

 

The Good Samaritan noticed this man’s needs.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.”

He didn’t throw a band-aid at a seriously injured man.

He met the man where he was at.

So often we avoid the hurt of others.

If someone has had a bad day, it tough to listen to them.

We can’t fix it, so it makes us uncomfortable.

Sometimes people just need to “get it out”, before they can let the love you want to show them in.

 

2) Hospitality involves having good boundaries.

Let me ask you this:

Did the good Samaritan heal the man?

No.

He just attended to his needs.

He couldn’t heal the man, but he could meet a need.

There may be times when I need to lead others to someone else who has specific abilities to help them.

The neighbor on the brink of divorce may need my encouragement and the name of a good counselor.

It’s important to know your boundaries.

” The next day he took out two denarii[e]and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” Luke 10:34

 

3) Hospitality is sharing.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13

My co-worker forgets lunch. I share mine.

I share a funny story with a friend who needs a good laugh.

I may choose to share my time volunteering to help the homeless.

 

4) Hospitality looks for a need and addresses it.

 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matt. 25:35

A friend is feeling discouraged. I can build them up.

My neighbor’s marriage is failing apart. I can listen and pray.

Hospitality says, “I see you. Your needs are important to me.”

Before I meet a friend, I pray a simple prayer:

“God help me to love this person well. Not the way I think they need to be loved, instead show me how to love them in the way you want me to love them.”

I can’t assume I know what someone needs.

To truly know a need, I must be willing to listen more than I speak. 

 

5) Hospitality doesn’t hold grudges. 

“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.” Leviticus 19:18

Do you want to spend time with someone who has a bitter heart?

It’s hard to be hospitable while holding a grudge.

Forgiveness allows my heart to be hospitable to others.

 

 

6) Hospitality protects.

“Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10

My mom used to say, “If the person you are with talks about someone else behind their back, they will do it behind yours.”

Hospitality protects the privacy and the reputation of others.

Be a protector of relationships.

 

7) Hospitality is more concerned with enjoying the presence of another, than trying to impress them.

A friend recently told me that there is a big difference between entertaining and hospitality.

“Entertaining wants to impress.”

“Hospitality just wants to love.”

 

Who knew I could be the perfect hostess without cleaning my house or making a meal?

My family will be thrilled!

 

 

 

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Invisible Danger: How do you protect your kids?

 

Oh, yes Murphy’s Law was at work today!

My children and I had been out for the day.

We came back home.

I sat in the car for a moment listening to voicemails.

The kids went inside.

After a bit, my daughter came out to the car.

“Mom, you won’t believe what happened! The dogs didn’t get put outside. They were in the house the WHOLE time we were gone!”

(This is the equivalent of letting 2 two year olds have the run of the house while you are gone!)

I jumped out of the car and sprinted inside.

Silverware, taken from the empty dishwasher, was spread all over the house.

Anything, the dogs could find to get into was randomly strewn across the floor.

“What is that smell?”, I thought to myself.

I looked at the gas stove.

The knob for the burner had been turned on.

There was no fire lit, so gas had been freely released into the air for quite some time.

My kids had been inside around something dangerous.

I had not known it.

 

I told them to leave the house.

We called the fire department to ask if it was okay to go in the house.

A few minutes later firefighters arrived.

The house was cleared.

We were able to go back in, just in time get our things and run off to our daughter’s practice.

 

During her practice, I began talking with other moms.

Internet safety seemed to be our topic of the night.

How do we keep our kids safe from the unseen dangers?

Recently, I read about two young girls killing someone because of influence on the internet.

My daughter may not be influenced to kill another person just because something she sees on the net, but viewing things without filters, restrictions and direct adult supervision can kill her soul.

We immunize our children.

We use preventative measures because we don’t want them to get a disease that can harm them and spread to others, yet we allow our children to have cell phones and computers without direct supervision.

How does this make any sense?

 

I know in our family we need to do more.

For now, we talk about restrictions, we only have computers in public areas of our home, and most internet content for the kids is played on our tv in our living room, so all can see it.

What do you do to protect your family?

Have you had conversations about the internet?

Feel free to share any links that might be helpful on this topic. (I will look at them before I post them.)

 

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Love

Hello, there!

I hope you enjoy today’s blog.

(I’m learning how to place pics, so please bear with me!)

 

LOVE IS PATIENT.

It doesn’t stand in line with a red face and an angry scowl, waiting to be served.

Instead, Love asks, “How can I serve?”


LOVE IS KIND.

Love looks for the waitress having a bad day and leaves a note with an extra tip.

 

LOVE IS NOT JEALOUS.

Love doesn’t get all wrapped up in the “haves” and “have nots”.

Love is not insecure.

It knows it’s been blessed.

Love is a lot more interested in having a relationship with the Jones’ than in keeping up with them.

 

LOVE DOES NOT BRAG.

Love doesn’t throw God’s gifts in the nearest trash can, nor does it throw them in the face of another.

 

LOVE IS NOT PROUD.

Love is not afraid to scrub toilets.

Love knows it can learn a lot on its knees.

 

LOVE IS NOT RUDE.

Love remembers that each person it encounters has been handcrafted by God.

Love won’t insult His workmanship.

 

LOVE IS NOT EASILY ANGERED.

It is not easily offended because it knowsit has been an offender.

 

LOVE KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS.

Love doesn’t  sit high upon a pile of rocks it has collected over the years.

It doesn’t say, “I remember when this was thrown at me.”

No, Love doesn’t dwell on that pile, instead it rests against God’s Grace.

LOVE TAKES NO PLEASURE IN EVIL.

It doesn’t watch reality shows and get excited over a fight.

It isn’t easily entertained by rumors.

It can’t stomach cruelty.

 

LOVE REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH.

Love gets giddy when it hears a child say, “I belong to Jesus.”

 

Love jumps up and down when it hears the “clank” of chains falling to the ground!

It loves the sound of those set free!

 

LOVE ALWAYS PROTECTS…

 

ALWAYS TRUSTS….

 

ALWAYS HOPES…ALWAYS PRESERVES.

LOVE NEVER FAILS.

 

 

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