Category Archives: Sanctification

Marriage Retreat

This past weekend, my husband and I had the privilege to attend the annual (though our first time) marriage retreat through Bethlehem Baptist Church…

Can I just say WOW! God blessed this retreat! It was amazingly full of truth, grace, wisdom, and conviction.

The speakers this year were Gary and Betsy Ricucci, authors of the book Love That Lasts. We had read this book almost four years ago now when we were engaged as part of our pre-marital class through BBC. Hearing them in person was such a rich experience! The Ricucci’s were simply amazing at pointing us to the cross and keeping us focused on the LORD always, even amidst the many topics and issues surrounding marriage, like communication, conflict resolution, and romance.

Though I am still slightly overwhelmed with all the great nuggets of wisdom I heard, we were encouraged again and again to remember that even taking away ONE thing from this retreat is enough and will be helpful to our marriage. We don’t swallow an entire meal at once, we have to take it a bite at a time and really chew on it.

The one big takeaway for me, which seemed to encompass every topic discussed this weekend, comes from James 4:6, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” This simple yet profound truth alone is not really new to me, but God really seemed to be hammering this into my heart and mind. John and I both really have sensed God convicting us about the root of SO many of our issues is our pride…. but praise God that when we humble ourselves, he gives us GRACE! That is all we need, and we really do need his grace to conquer anything and everything in our relationships and in this life.

Well, I could go on and on, but really any of you who are reading this who are married, you must read their book. We have an extra copy if you ever want to borrow it! :)

Eventually I do want to type up this amazing list they provided for us of promises that we can believe and cling to that all start with “Because of the gospel…” It’s just amazing truth that really pierces your heart, and I hope to share that with you sometime tomorrow.

And… I plan to get back at blogging about my Bible reading in Exodus soon, too! It’s been a busy and full weekend and I also wound up getting a nasty cold last week. Now I can get back at it! :)


Turning my eyes to what matters most!

Well well, it sure has been awhile since I’m come on here! I almost forgot my username to log into wordpress. Yikes!

The last couple months have been busy and full, and honestly, blogging has just not even been on my radar. As I’ve said countless times, I struggle with writing since it is really not my gifting.. but, I do hope to keep this blog afloat despite this, as I do enjoy blogging from time to time!

Without going into too much detail, I will just say that the LORD has been so good to me and has really been working on refining me these last couple months. My stubborn and prideful self has been lovingly humbled time and time again by our merciful Father. Although it’s been difficult and even quite painful at times, I have seen the glory of God with new eyes and have learned so much about myself and the Lord in the process.  He is SO good and provides all that we need and more! Beyond just basic daily life needs, he has given me joy and peace that is beyond my understanding through what he has accomplished for me (and for HIS glory!) in the work of Jesus Christ. I couldn’t ask for more and I couldn’t be more filled with pure contentment and joy!  Still a struggle to fight against that nasty sin of pride every single hour of every day…

so between humbling myself and praising God for all he is and does for me, I’ve kept busy!  I hope and pray your lives have been rich with God’s love and mercy and joy and peace, which perfectly sustains us like nothing else in this world can!

[If you’re really THAT curious what I’ve been up to these past few months, here’s a couple quick words: started attending a new church-plant in a town close by that we are LOVING…. discovered the joy of the local library and have probably checked out 20 books already!…. canned or froze 20 lbs of cucumbers (pickles!), 20lbs of tomatoes (salsa and tomato sauce!), 20lbs of peaches (just chopped and froze), and 20lbs of apples (apple sauce and apple pie filling!) and learned that I way overdid it for my first time canning/preserving… ran a 5K race with my hubby and watched my sister, brother, and brother-in-law run the half-marathon (which I had originally set out to do but am glad I changed it to the 5K!)… learned to make sourdough english muffins and crackers (fun and yum!)… switched to 8 hour shifts at work rather than 12 hr shifts (but yep, still nights!) and so far am loving it!…. and….. yep,  I think that’s enough :) ]

Healthy Living? Here’s a healthy conviction for ya!

This morning I stumbled upon one of my favorite blogger’s reviews of one of those books I reviewed recently, From Clutter to Clarity. I’d like to direct you to that post and read it for yourself. If you look hard enough through the comments, you’ll see my (lengthy) honest reply.

After reading her post and reflecting more (something I’ve been doing a lot of these last couple days/weeks), I’ve definitely been convicted and learned a few things…

This new and exciting (and busy!) journey of healthier and simpler living over these last 6-8months has been a whirlwind for my husband and I. Although I’m glad for the direction my husband and I are going in and don’t regret what I’ve learned and done, I’ve seen how I’ve sometimes (well, let’s be honest, MOST of the time) gotten way ahead of myself. Trying to do too many things at once is my weakness. No wonder I always have 15 books that are half read. The root cause? Most likely my lack of patience and trust in God.

I’ve been convicted on how much I need to slow down, PRAY for more patience, trust, and wait for the Lord’s timing. I need to refocus, check my heart (constantly!), and always evaluate if what I’m setting out to do is ultimately bringing God more glory and me/us more joy. If not, then it’s not what I should do!  Simple as that. Maybe eventually, but perhaps not in this season of our lives.

Don’t you love how God planned this all out and knew that this path that I set out on would lead me to this? Just as with everything, he has his perfect timing and ways. Definitely not easy at times, but I love how he is always working to mold and perfect our faith in Him :)

Edit: Just realized that exactly a month ago today I wrote a post almost entirely about this same conviction. Maybe God’s trying to tell me something, again, huh? And maybe (no, not maybe) I should listen.  I would be so thankful for your prayers!

lessons learned at home

We’ve been living in our new house now for a month and a half. There’s so much that I love about living here- the space, the quietness, the independence, the ability to be more organized, the ability to decorate. God has really blessed us!

He’s really using this experience, just like any other, to show me my sin and to point me back to Him. I’ve seen some nasty parts of myself surface since moving in here and even before we got the house. Things that I’ve been struggling with for months and years, at least. Envy, greed, jealously, discontentment, unbelief. That’s what it all comes down to, my unbelief- my lack of trust in my loving Creator to provide for my ever need, for the desires of my heart.

Just about every day I sit down and scroll through craigslist classifieds trying to find the next (this) or (that) for our home, or I search through for the next good deal. Something we surely need or I’m sure we just won’t be happy here. The living room doesn’t look right because there’s no side table. The couch we just got really could use an accent chair. The walls really need to be painted to bring out the throw pillows. Etc… etc… the list just goes on.

I’ve found myself losing sleep (as if I really needed another reason beyond my ridiculous job hours!) over this and I can see how God is using this experience to show me just how much I’m lacking in my enjoyment of HIM. Not in decorating or making our home the perfect looking home. It’s okay if we have ugly shrubs outside. It’s okay if there are weeds taking over our backyard. It’s okay that the light fixtures don’t go together or that the windows have no curtains. It’s okay that there is nothing up on the walls yet!

God has provided me and my husband a place to call our home. Our temporary home that should be focused on bringing glory to Him. Not to say a beautiful home can’t do this, but that is not the main way. Rather by opening up our home to others as a way of serving them and thus serving the Lord. A home overflowing with joy and not things. A home characterized by peace not only externally (i.e. piles of paper floating around) but mostly internally. A home defined by love and not by style.

The only way I know that I can find this joy, peace, and love is from Jesus and from what He has done for me already on the cross. My focus must be on Him first and then second on my husband and our new home. I will never enjoy this place and it will never bring any glory to Him (or even ourselves) if this focus turns onto worldly things and means.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15e.

Maybe that should be the first thing to go on our walls! :)

Current events

“Hey all the snow/ice has finally melted! yay!” was what I said to my husband at 8:00am this morning. Now, we have about 5 inches of snow on the ground.  Oh Minnesota… ————–In other news, I’ve decided to officially leave facebook for good now. No longer will I submit to that yoke of slavery!  I’m pretty pumped about it (but hope people don’t forget I exist now). —————Update: Forgot to mention another accomplishment (snow is an accomplishment?) of the day… I finished my resume and my application essay to a nursing job for new graduates at two of my favorite hospitals in the cities! So, after hearing back from a good friend on her suggestions for editing them, I will be printing them and mailing it off. This is my first time applying to a “real” job, so I’m a bit nervous. I need to trust that God has it figured out and he will provide me a job if he wills it. Worrying won’t help… (preaching to myself)…