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  • But Lord, I Can't DO That!

    But Lord, I Can't DO That! by Lysa TerKeurst

    “Moses said to the LORD, ‘Pardon your servant, LORD. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’” Exodus 4:10 (NIV)

    Insecurities. We all have them.

    These qualities about ourselves that make us lack confidence or assurance can be a positive call to action to make healthy changes in our lives.

    But insecurities can also hold us back from stepping into the assignments God calls us to.

    That’s exactly what happened in the place where we find Moses in our key verse today.

    Moses knew with absolute certainty what God was calling Him to do. God had confirmed it by speaking to him audibly through a burning bush telling him, “to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt ” (Exodus 3:10b, NIV).

    And Moses knew exactly what to say, what God planned to do, that God would be with him, and that God would provide for them with plunder from the Egyptians.

    So, what could possibly hold him back when things seemed so very clear?

    It was the same thing that might be holding you and me back at times.

    Moses doubted God had created him for the calling God gave him.

    In Exodus 4:10 Moses says to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, LORD. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

    The Lord comes back with very strong words to Moses, “Who gave human beings their mouths? … Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (v. 4:11a and 4:12)

    When we doubt we have what it takes for us to do what God calls us to do, we are doubting His creative abilities. He knew from the beginning of time what He would call you to do and therefore how you would need to be formed. God does everything with purpose and precision.

    The exact way He made you is in keeping with how He will use you.

    Trust this. Embrace this. Even if you don’t know all the details of your calling quite yet, thank God for making you perfectly equipped for your assignments ahead.

    And when insecurities start to make you doubt, flip it around and say, “God, I may doubt myself. But I will not doubt You. So, I will let Your perfection override my feelings of imperfection and do what You instruct me.”

    Heavenly Father, I confess that all too often I doubt I have what it takes to do the things You have called me to do. Remind me I have been perfectly equipped for the assignments You have given me. Help me not to doubt. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (NIV)

    Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (NLT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What assignments from God are you currently trying to ignore? Does your hesitancy to obey have anything to do with insecurity? Prayerfully ask God to give you one step of obedience you can take today as you place your confidence in Him.

    © 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • What Got in Your Way?

    What Got in Your Way? by Nicki Koziarz

    “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

    I have this little issue. My husband calls it a perspective issue. I’m sure a licensed counselor would call it something fancier.

    Here’s the problem …

    I pretty much think every craft project I want to work on will take about five minutes to complete and will cost around $5. I have great ideas! They come to me all day. And then I start to move forward with those ideas because, again, in my head it’s simple: 5 dollars, 5 minutes.

    Most of the time my optimistic attitude is a great thing.

    But when the project becomes more than I originally thought, my perspective suddenly twists to one of “It’s impossible!” and I become a quitter.

    Can you relate?

    Maybe you had a dream in your heart. You started to pursue it and then … the kids, the marriage, the bills and a million other “the’s” got in the way. I believe people quit things every day without even realizing it. And then the days turn to weeks, weeks to months, months to years and then one day we look back and wonder if it’s too late.

    But here’s why I love today’s verse in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” It reminds me God is still able to accomplish anything in my life, as long as I stay open to His movement.

    There are things God wants to accomplish in and through your life. Plans that are still in place and waiting to prevail.

    I wonder if God is prompting us to ask the question: What got in the way?

    God doesn’t meet us at perfected completion; He meets us wherever we are in our process toward His promise. And sometimes in order to meet us, He needs to reveal the areas where we have allowed our perspective to get clouded.

    The past few months I’ve been brushing off some things I quit. With God’s help, I’ve allowed my perspective to be changed, shifted and refined. And through this process I realized that even when my own efforts (or lack of efforts) fail, God’s efforts don’t.

    I returned to a few passions, a few desires and a few purposes. All these years I’ve been asking God for “a new this” and “a new that” and it was as if He revealed to me I couldn’t get there until He found me faithful here. It’s like a fresh perspective within the same purpose.

    Because what He’s already purposed for my life will still prevail.

    I’m not a quitter.

    And neither are you.

    Just because it looked like it was over the first time, the second time or even the third time, doesn’t mean it’s finished. It just means something got in your way, but now you’re picking it back up.

    When our tiniest efforts meet God’s supernatural grace, we begin to experience the blessing of God’s plans prevailing in our lives.

    Lord, thank You for the grace You give us when we pick things up again. Help me to be a woman who doesn’t give up on the commitments I’ve made to You or others. I want to see Your plans prevail in my life. Show me what has gotten in the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good‚ for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Is there something you quit that you feel God leading you to pick back up?

    Identify what got in your way and ask God for wisdom and direction. Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

    © 2016 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • Letter from Holley Gerth

    Hello, friend!

    Since I first wrote my book You’re Already Amazing, almost one hundred thousand women have accepted my dare to embrace who they are and become all God created them to be. As I connected with many of them as an author, life coach, and speaker, I often heard women say they wanted more ways to apply the message in deeper ways or wanted to do the book as a study at church or with friends but weren’t sure how. You're Already Amazing That’s why I’m so thrilled to be bringing you the You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide and DVD. It builds on the foundation of You’re Already Amazing by giving you everything you need to do the book as a group study. It also offers brand-new concepts, bonus material and activities you won’t find anywhere else, and even more ways to apply the message so you feel like you have your own personal life coach every step of the way. This study won’t just give you more information—it will lead to true transformation.

    You really can know who God created you to be and what he’s called you to do, and you really can have a realistic plan for pursuing his purpose for you. I know that’s true because I’ve already seen thousands of women’s lives changed in powerful ways. Now it’s your turn.

    If you’d like to join me, check out a sample of the LifeGrowth Guide and videos online. Then perhaps gather a few friends (and your favorite coffee, tea, or other treats!) and get ready to embrace this life-changing truth—that you truly are already amazing!

    Cheering you on, Holley Gerth

  • How to Leave A Legacy of Love

    How to Leave A Legacy of Love by Perry Noble

    “Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NIV)

    Our world is confused about love — what true love is and how it makes a difference. Too many of us have equated love with a feeling and based it on emotion. The only problem with that is as soon as the feeling is gone, the love follows. We’ve made it flowery and feeble when it’s actually the greatest gift that God gave us! (1 Corinthians 13:13)

    If we step back and look at the bigger picture of what love is — what God created it to be — it changes everything.

    The thing I’m realizing about life is no matter where you are or what season you’re walking through, you’ll find yourself in spaces that require you to lead, which come hand‐in‐hand with challenges to love.

    Career changes, new life phases — whatever it may be, we all get thrown into situations where we have to make decisions and choose to grow in who we are and how we love.

    The key to leadership is love, so I want to make sure that as I go through life, I leave traces of love behind me. Like our key verse says, I want to “Do everything in love.” I’ve been thinking about what that looks like in everyday life, and here are three ways each of us can leave a legacy of love:

    1. Seize opportunities to lead. No matter who you are or what you do, you are a leader.

    It’s hard for a lot of people to wrap their minds around that. They think they are too quiet or too loud, too unique or too ordinary, too opinionated or too meek, and the list goes on. The fact is God uniquely designed each of us with gifts and abilities to lead and love others. That includes YOU!

    • If you’re a mom, you are a leader to your kids.
    • If you’re the boss at work, you are a leader of your organization.
    • If you’re a student, you are a leader at your school.

    If we want to leave legacies of love, we need to welcome these opportunities and love the people who come along with them.

    2. Understand the power of your words. How different could our relationships look if we just committed to saying positive things like “thank you” and “great job” more often? A LOT.

    Our words carry more weight than we know.

    As leaders, our words can speak life into the people around us if we’re willing to run them through a filter of love. This doesn’t mean that we have to sugarcoat everything or shy away from the truth. It simply means we should be slow to critique and quick to compliment.

    3. Commit to helping others succeed. If I am successful in life, then good for me. But if those around me are successful? THAT will define me as a leader. It will be the legacy I leave.

    Our friends, coworkers, spouses and kids won’t remember us for what we accomplish, but instead what we helped them to accomplish and how we cheered them on along the way.

    They’ll remember how we loved them.

    I SERIOUSLY want everyone around me to live a life that exceeds their dreams as they become who God created them to be. That’s why I’m committed to seeing the people around me reach their goals.

    When people in our lives know we have their best interest at heart, they can trust us. That trust allows them to experience what true, unconditional love feels like — that love leaves a legacy!

    So as you go about your day, do everything in love. When you’re shuttling your kids around, do everything in love. When you’re at your job, do everything in love. When you’re taking care of small details you’re convinced no one will ever notice, do everything in love.

    When you model what you consider important, those around you take notice. Celebrate love. Display it. The most lasting thing we can do with our lives and leadership is to love because love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). That’s why leaders who love are leaders who leave a legacy.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for lovingly leading us. Help us to love and lead others in a way that honors You and leaves a legacy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (NIV)

    1 Corinthians 13:8a, “Love never fails.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What opportunity could you seize right now to take a step toward leaving a legacy of love?

    © 2016 by Perry Noble. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • I Still Love You, Lord

    I Still Love You, Lord by Tracie Miles

    “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 (NLT)

    The last few months have been one of the hardest seasons I’ve ever experienced. A situation in my personal life went haywire and left me with an aching heart.

    There have been days when I didn’t know if I could get through. Days when God’s strength and my faith were the only reasons I got out of bed. Days filled with “whys.” Days when I’ve questioned God about suffering, the unfairness of life at times and unanswered prayers. I’ve carried the weight of a myriad of overwhelming emotions, fear and heartache.

    If I’m honest, I can’t say I’ve felt thankful for my circumstances or focused on God’s promise of having a plan and a purpose for everything. I can say I have been upset with God at times, questioning His ways and feeling discouraged, fearful and down.

    Yet recently in the midst of an especially trying day, my heart was changed during a time of prayer. I heard myself say something that caught me off guard. It was just one simple statement consisting of five simple words that rolled effortlessly off of my lips:

    I still love You, Lord.

    Even though my mind was swirling with hurt and negative thoughts, my heart was swirling with love for God, even when I wasn’t really thinking about it. I realized I loved Him unconditionally, even though in that moment I had felt forgotten. I experienced a surge of peace and relief, prompting me to trust God’s ways, and then today’s key verse came to mind.

    Romans 5:8 reminds us of this beautiful, holy love which is not based on us meeting certain conditions, adhering to strict rules or proving our worthiness. A love we are blessed with simply because of who He is. It’s not because of who we are, but because of what He’s done for us, not because of anything we do for Him. It’s a love we don’t deserve, but enjoy nonetheless.

    When life is good, it’s easy and natural to love the Lord. But when life falls apart unexpectedly, it’s not quite so easy. In fact, it might even feel impossible. Those thoughts and doubts don’t make us a bad person or a failure at being a believer; they merely make us human.

    The upside is these thoughts can force us to ask ourselves a really hard question: Despite everything — will I still love Jesus with my whole heart, soul and mind?

    Our honest answer to this question serves as an indicator of whether we love the Lord all the time, or just in the good times — when He gives, and when He takes away, when He answers our deepest prayers, or when it seems He isn’t listening at all.

    Maybe you can relate to the emotions and feelings I’ve been experiencing. Maybe you are facing a difficult time, an undeserved hurt or a painful loss. Maybe you’ve been wondering if God hears your prayers, or if He has forgotten you. Maybe you’ve doubted if He loves you, and if you could still love Him, in the face of your hardships.

    Sweet friend, you are not alone.

    Even the most faithful followers of Jesus have times when they find themselves doubting not only His love during difficult times, but maybe even His existence. Times when they wonder if His love is meant for them, or just everyone else. The truth is, those thoughts are from the enemy who wants to cloud our minds, make us bitter and pull us away from God. But Scripture tells us God sent His Son to die for us, even though we were still sinners, because He loves us unconditionally.

    This brief encounter with God helped me refocus on how blessed I am to have His love, especially when life isn’t perfect.

    God’s love is unconditional, with no strings attached. I’m so thankful for His gentle whisper on that particular day which reminded me how important it is to love Him unconditionally in return.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for doubting Your ways or Your love for me. Fill me with peace and joy. Equip me to focus on Your everlasting love, push past my doubts and love You unconditionally despite my circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Jeremiah 31:3b, “… I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (NIV)

    Job 1:21b, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (NIV)

    1 John 4:9‑10, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What’s one thing causing you to doubt God’s love for you? How might focusing on how much He loves you unconditionally change your heart and attitude?

    Repeat these words daily as much as needed: I still love You, Lord.

    © 2016 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • Youth Revival!

    Back in 2013, Hillsong Young & Free debuted with a new wave of music defined by a young generation of believers. Their album, We Are Young & Free, quickly rose to the top of the charts, hitting #1 on the Billboard Christian/Gospel Chart.

    Through the worship and praise of God, Young & Free aims to bring truth to the youth and young adults of the world. In their own words, they “sing passionately of their belief grounded in the love, grace and freedom found in having a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

    Bringing more new energy to the worship scene, today marks the release of their second full-length live album, Youth Revival. Each song seamlessly blends electronic beats with lyrics that are the overflow of their hearts and a reflection of life in Jesus. The album is passionate and praise-filled, with songs that will make you sing, dance and be thankful.

    Hillsong Young & Free is about more than just making music. Their mission is to awaken their generation to Jesus and to empower youth to step into their calling.

    They believe that through their music, “hearts will awaken to the light of Christ, captives will be set free and the name of Jesus will be made known.”

    Check out the new album today >

  • Painting Memories With My Child

    Leah DiPascal February 26, 2016

    Painting Memories With My Child LEAH DIPASCAL

    “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed …” Proverbs 31:27-28a (NIV)

    When I was young the hardest years for me were in middle school.

    I can remember 7th grade being the absolute worst. Wearing glasses certainly wasn’t trendy back then and waking up to a new candy-apple-red blemish on my face had become a common occurrence.

    I dreamed of having beautiful soft curls like my best friend, Kerry, but the poker straight hair growing from my roots refused to bounce like hers. Instead, each strand hung limp and lifeless, while my bangs clumped together in an oily mess on my forehead.

    Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling like Miss Congeniality.

    To make matters worse, my sister was a few years older and I would constantly compare her accomplishments to my failures.

    She was a popular high school cheerleader … and I had nothing to cheer about. In my eyes, she did everything right. In my thoughts, I couldn’t do anything right.

    Although I figured no one noticed my frustration, my momma did and one day she said to me, “Why don’t we start a new hobby together.” I was reluctant at first, but with a little prompting Momma persuaded me to consider the idea.

    A couple weeks later we went to our very first painting class at a local artist’s home.

    The combined odor of acrylics, oil-based paint and turpentine would later become a scent I’d learn to love over the years as Momma and I kept our weekly date — every Tuesday night — to paint together.

    We’d sit side-by-side with paintbrushes in hand, as Momma would encourage me by pointing out what she loved about my paintings. Months passed and my confidence slowly grew as our relationship deepened to a whole new level.

    Looking back, I realize the tremendous investment Momma chose to make during that awkward middle school year when I was struggling.

    She could have simply signed me up to take the classes on my own or suggested I spend more time with friends, which would have been a lot cheaper. Instead, Momma set aside other priorities and rearranged her schedule to devote time with me.

    Just like the Proverbs 31 woman in today’s key verse: “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed … ” 

    My mother was keenly aware of what was going on in our home and took notice of her little girl who was hurting inside.

    Her attention to detail, and effort in making a difference, afforded me the wonderful privilege to “arise and call her blessed.”

    To this day, every time I look at one of Momma’s oil paintings, my eyes swell with tears as I’m reminded of her devotion and love for me. I’m also challenged in the best way to be keenly aware of what’s going on in my own home and take notice if one of my kids seems to be struggling.

    I aspire to be like my mother. To always be willing to set aside other priorities and rearrange my schedule to devote time with my children and relationally invest in them.

    As I make these small deposits of love, I trust and pray that God will dispense a beautiful return as my kids arise and one day call me blessed.

    Heavenly Father, help me every day to be the kind of momma who invests in her children by encouraging, loving and dedicating time to do special things with them. Knit our hearts together as we share simple moments that will create beautiful memories — not only for me, but also for my children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (ESV)

    Isaiah 66:13a, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you …” (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES: Could you or someone you know use some practical wisdom and a little less guilt in parenting? You might appreciate Lysa TerKeurst’s, Am I Messing Up My Kids? … and Other Questions Every Mom Asks.

    Stop by Leah DiPascal’s blog today for more encouragement on parenting and sign up for this week’s giveaway. 

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Calling all moms! How about taking your child or teenager on a date this month? Keep it simple and don’t feel pressured into spending a lot of money. Time together is what matters the most.

    Consider making deposits of love toward your child today by spending more time alone with them. Be attentive, offer encouraging words or simply listen as they share a story or a dream they hope will one day come true. These special moments are worth the investment and will make a difference in your child’s life.

    © 2016 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • What I Never Noticed About Jesus

    Lysa TerKeurst February 25, 2016

    What I Never Noticed About Jesus  LYSA TERKEURST

    “Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” Mark 6:51-52 (NIV)

    I ran my hand over the large rock and closed my eyes. What an incredible moment it was for me to stand where Jesus once stood in the Holy Land. I opened my Bible and let the full reality of all He was facing fall fresh on me.

    I wanted to read the Scriptures leading up to this moment where He sat on Mt. Arbel and prayed and watched the disciples, just before walking on water.

    But I cautioned myself to read the uncommon sentences. Too many times I highlight verses telling of Jesus’ miracles but skim right past those telling of deeply human realities.

    In Mark chapter 5, we see Jesus interacting with a woman desperate to be healed from her bleeding disorder. He frees her from her suffering and gives her peace. And we find Him healing the young daughter of a synagogue ruler.

    Miracle!

    But we also find in verse 40a, “But they laughed at him.”

    In Mark chapter 6 we see Jesus sending out the 12 disciples and as they preached, “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them,” (v. 13.)

    Miracle!

    But we also find earlier in verse 3b, “… And they took offense at him.”

    We find Him having great compassion on the people who followed Him in the feeding of the 5,000. They all ate and were satisfied by five loaves and two fish.

    Miracle!

    But we also see that Jesus and His disciples were physically depleted, “because so many were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat,” (v. 31a).

    Messy realities tucked in the midst of miracles.

    And isn’t it so like us to miss this about Jesus’ everyday life? We hyper-focus on the lines of Scripture containing the miracles so much that we miss the detail of the mess.

    Jesus had people laugh at Him and reject Him and misunderstand Him. We know this in theory, but as I sat on that rock that day I suddenly realized what an everyday reality this was for Him.

    Now, here’s what happens to me in my life: I get so focused on the mess, I miss the miracles.

    And that’s the very thing that happens to the disciples right after the feeding of the 5,000. They got in a boat and strong winds caused the water to get very rough. The disciples were straining at the oars as the realities of life beat against them.

    Jesus was on the mountainside praying. From Mt. Arbel, Jesus could see the middle of the lake where the disciples were. Mark 6:47-48a, “Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them” (NIV).

    Jesus saw them. He went down to them. And they missed the miracle in the midst of the mess.

    The same miracle worker that multiplied the fish and the loaves was now walking on the water near them and they thought He was a ghost. They were terrified and then were amazed, but they didn’t understand, for the Scriptures say, “their hearts were hardened,” (v. 52b).

    It seems to me Jesus has a pattern of performing miraculous acts in the setting of messes.

    This revelation led me to a gut-honest prayer, Oh Lord, let me see this. Please don’t let the messes of life harden my heart and blind me to Your presence. Instead of being so terrified in the midst of the mess, might I keep the picture of You, watching me, always watching me. And might I find courage in the assurance that You will come to me with Your miraculous presence. 

    Yes, I need to spend a whole lot less time trying to fix the messes in my life … and a whole lot more time keeping my heart soft in the process.

    Then I won’t miss the miraculous work of Jesus in the midst of my mess.

    Dear Lord, You are so good. Help me see Your hand working even in the midst of things that seem to be messes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)

    John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:  Point your family to the reality of Jesus this Easter season by reading about Him in the The Jesus Storybook Bible! We also have several other life-changing resources that we’d love to share with you. Click here to find out more.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Are you in the middle of a difficult or frustrating season in your life right now? Ask God to open your eyes to see His miracles in the midst of your mess.

    © 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • Sandpaper Spouses

    Karen Ehman February 24, 2016

    Sandpaper Spouses  KAREN EHMAN

    “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

    “This is NOT what I signed up for!” I cried out to God as I sat cross-legged on the bedroom floor of our first apartment, my eyes stinging with hot tears. Out in the living room sat my husband — bewildered, completely exasperated, unable to handle his wife’s volatile emotions.

    I was a brand new bride of just six weeks. Our thank-you notes for the wedding gifts hadn’t even been sent! But already I had buyer’s remorse. Or I guess more accurately, “bridal remorse.” All I knew was that this “Happily Ever After” thing was not-so-happy after all.

    The first few years of my marriage were rocky and rough. I had envisioned a relationship of marital bliss. Flowers. Candlelight dinners. Holding hands at the movies. Long strolls on the beach.

    Then the wall of reality hit. Instead of the candlelight dinner, it was burnt roast. When he once again came home late from work, I wrongly interpreted that as him caring little about my culinary efforts. We didn’t get to the hand-holding at the theater much because we couldn’t make up our minds about which show to see. And I strolled on the beach, all right — all alone — just after I stormed away from my husband following yet another argument.

    Although we possessed a mutual love for each other (really we did) our personalities and approach to life could not have been more different! In fact, we joke today that if we went on one of those online dating sites, instead of matching us up as perfect soul mates, the computer screen would blink a bright red message “DO NOT DATE! TOTALLY INCOMPATIBLE!”

    Often, my husband and I just plain rub each other the wrong way. Yep. We’re different. We are what I call “sandpaper spouses” and our rough-around-the-edges relationship often finds us turning to God when we feel like turning away from each other.

    When we encounter conflict, I am verbal and process my thoughts quickly, backing him into a corner. He prefers to pause and ponder before sorting his thoughts or sharing his feelings. This difference makes him view me as critical and combative. And I label him an avoider, accusing him of caring little about resolving conflict.

    When making decisions, he is methodical and thorough, carefully weighing all options. I prefer to decide in a snap and forge ahead to the next thing. This difference causes me to label him as indecisive and tempts him to brand me knee-jerk and impulsive.

    Having a spouse who faces life differently can often tempt us to attack each other. But what if instead we were to flip the situation, and see things that rub us the wrong way as blessings instead … that enable our spiritual growth?

    Today’s key verse states, “Iron sharpens iron.” If your kitchen knife is dull, you sharpen it by grinding it against a rough stone, not by rubbing it on cushy cotton. In the same way, the rough patches in our personalities can help sharpen us in the areas of love, compassion and patience — mostly patience!

    And I know from experience that my less-than-perfect marriage has grown my prayer life immensely as I take my concerns to God during times of tumult.

    My husband’s slower-paced decision making causes me to pause and pray before I forge ahead and consider other options I might not have thought of initially. My verbal processing encourages my husband to talk through issues rather than stuff his feelings inside, where they might fester and explode later. And our different philosophies teach us patience and perspective.

    Will you join me today in thanking God for sandpaper spouses? Rather than our differences driving us crazy, instead may they drive us all straight to our knees.

    Father, I want to see the differences in my marriage as opportunities for growth as I take my concerns — and my attitudes and responses — to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Colossians 3:12-13, “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the LORD has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (ESV)

    Hebrews 13:4a, “Marriage should be honored by all …” (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES: For a free printable entitled “10 Ways to Love Your Sandpaper Spouse” and a chance to win Karen Ehman’s book LET. IT. GO.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith, visit Karen’s blog.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: In what ways does dealing with personality differences in marriage help to smooth out your rough edges? List what it has done for you. (For example: developed patience, driven you to prayer, etc.)

    © 2016 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram

    We're all born driven to explore, marvel, and experience the adventure of life. But as responsibilities pile up, we slowly exchange that unbridled curiosity for a sense of control and routine. Wolfram shows you how to rescue your now by exploring what is possible with a God who is unlimited, unpredictable, and ever-loving!

    Family Christian is very excited about Logan's new book.  We had the opportunity to catch up with Logan and get this little video to share with you.



    "Logan Wolfram would give you full access to her pantry if you lived next door. She is a plate-juggling mom and interior decorator turned writer, speaker, and host of the Allume Conference. She is a passionate leader who desires to see women live fully in Christ."

    We first heard of Logan as a blogger.  She had a great blog Curious Faith by Logan Wolframwhich eventually led to her starting a Christian blogging conference called Allume.  It has been a joy to watch her journey from blogger to speaker to author.  She has an authentic voice and when you meet her, it is like having coffee with your best friend.

    We are proud to be selling Curious Faith and excited to give you chance to win a copy!  We are giving away 2 copies of her book Curious Faith and 2 t-shirts!  Each winner will win 1 book and 1 shirt (randomly selected size).

    Enter below for your chance to win.

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…to look after orphans and widows in their distress. James 1:27
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