How to Encourage Your Third Shift Spouse

how to encourage your third shift spouse | Working third shift is tough! If your spouse is in that position, here are five ways you can make their job a little easier.

When my husband accepted a job last year as a night-time security officer at a university, it was an answer to prayer and a blessing. We needed him to have a full-time job with benefits, especially since we found out we were pregnant right after he started the job. But we didn’t anticipate just how hard it was going to be to have him working third shift. Time together, already precious, became jealously guarded, and weekends when we actually got to sleep at night together quickly became the best days of the week. As a wife, I wanted to do everything I could to try to make life and work a little easier on my husband, so I started looking for ways to encourage him. I certainly don’t do this perfectly, but if you’re in a similar situation, here are five ways to encourage your third shift spouse.

How You Can Encourage Your Third Shift Spouse

Do everything you can to create a quiet, dark sleep environment for your spouse. This is probably the most important thing, because if your spouse isn’t getting quality sleep, they are quickly going to be drained, exhausted and frustrated, and they won’t be able to work as effectively, either. When my husband first started working this job I worked full-time during the day, so the house was quiet for him to sleep. Now that I and the baby are home all day, we keep a fan going in our room for white noise, and have a blackout curtain to keep out as much sunlight as possible.

Show your spouse how much you appreciate the work they do. This isn’t about who works “harder,” it’s about giving your spouse a reason to work and motivation to keep going every day (night). It’s good for all of us when our work is noticed, and appreciated by, the people we’re working for. Thank your spouse verbally and/or with notes on a regular basis for all the hard work they do to help support you.

how to encourage your third shift spouse | Working third shift is tough! If your spouse is in that position, here are five ways you can make their job a little easier.

If possible, adjust your schedule in order to spend as much time with your spouse as you can. I’ve always been a night owl, but since last year I never go to bed before 11:30 (except sometimes on weekends, if we’re both really tired!). He leaves for work about then, and I usually go to bed right after that. I’m always up when he’s awake in the evenings, and we try to have supper together most days as well. Also, be up and ready to spend time with your spouse when they come home. Our routine is to have breakfast together, catch up on our favorite TV shows, and spend some time with the baby before Joshua goes to bed. I try really hard to at least be up by the time he gets home. It’s even better if I can be showered and dressed and looking presentable, too.

Send notes or texts to encourage your spouse while they’re at work. I don’t do this as frequently as I used to (and that needs to change!), but when I was still using a cell phone regularly, I’d send a text to Joshua whenever I woke up during the night. Since I was pregnant for most of last year, that was pretty frequently. :) Sometimes I’ll write notes on paper napkins and pack them in his lunch for work. It’s nice to let your spouse know that you’re thinking of them, even though you may be asleep while they’re working.

Make the effort to be keenly aware of your spouse’s needs and do what you can to meet them. Do they really appreciate having fresh coffee to drink on their way to work? Is there a favorite snack you can make sure to have on hand regularly? Would a white-noise machine be helpful in your room? Some of the things I do are:

  • Ensure that he always has clean uniforms and work clothes
  • Pack up leftovers for him to take for his work “supper”
  • Help make sure his phone is charged and ready
  • Have the baby out of our room (or at least asleep and quiet) when he’s ready to go to bed
  • Have a flexible supper hour, depending on when he wakes up

It’s a blessing to have a job, but sometimes when that job requires crazy hours, lack of sleep, and loss of family time, it can feel more like a curse than a blessing. As a spouse to someone who works a tough shift, you can help lighten their load by encouraging them in a number of ways. Of course, the best thing you can possibly do to encourage your third shift spouse is to pray for them. Pray for their safety, for alertness while traveling, for joy, for restful sleep, for good health. And know that God does hear your prayers!

Have you or your spouse ever worked the “graveyard shift”? What are some ways you encourage your third shift spouse?

5 Ways Being a Mom Challenges Me

5 ways being a mom challenges me | Being a mom is a challenge, but that isn't necessarily a negative thing!
Motherhood is life-changing. I don’t think any mom would disagree with that. But motherhood is also self-changing. I am a different person now than I was a year ago. Motherhood has brought out some of my good qualities, but being a mom challenges me, too: it highlights some of my worst traits, it forces me to change my priorities, and of course it heaps a lot of work on me.

The fact that being a mom challenges me isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A challenge can be negative, but it can be positive, too. Facing challenges–and then working to overcome them–makes us stronger people. It increases our skills, our knowledge and our wisdom. And when the challenge involves something as vitally important as motherhood, it is in the best interests of those we love to face that challenge.

5 Ways Being a Mom Challenges Me

1. Being a mom challenges me to recognize–and work on–some of my worst traits and bad habits. A few that have jumped out at me lately are my tendencies to laziness, poor time management, impatience, and being too hard on myself (ironically). There’s a careful balance between giving myself grace and giving myself a license to practice bad habits. The trick is working on getting rid of those bad habits, but not beating myself up for struggling with them. (This could be a whole post discussion in itself, and probably will be soon!)

2. Being a mom challenges me to adjust my priorities. Taking care of me no longer can come first. It has to happen, of course–I need to eat well, rest well, take a shower every once in a while (ha!), and have some time to myself to rest and recharge. But the needs of my little one often mean I have to put myself off for a while. For example, yesterday morning I was going to shower before my little man woke up for the day. But he woke up considerably earlier than I had anticipated, hungry and needing a dry diaper and cuddles from Mommy. The shower had to wait (fortunately I wasn’t going anywhere yesterday).

My priorities have changed in other ways, too. I need to spend money on diapers for the baby before I buy myself new clothes. Social events have to be baby-friendly if I’m to attend them. In every situation, ensuring my child’s well-being comes before looking after my own. This is a challenge to my innate instinct to put myself first.

3. Being a mom challenges me to work hard for someone who doesn’t really appreciate it. It’s going to be some years before my child is able to say “Thanks, Mom, for making sure I’m fed/healthy/have clean clothes/survive in general.” And let’s face it, even when he’s old enough to say it, he won’t necessarily always recognize everything I do for him. I certainly never gave my mother enough gratitude for the countless things she’s done for me over the years! Being a mom is a hard job with very little recognition. But I can be confident that God sees what I do, and the benefits of all those unseen tasks are eternal. 

5 ways being a mom challenges me | Being a mom is a challenge, but that isn't necessarily a negative thing!

4. Being a mom challenges me to be creative. I’m not talking artsy, although when my little man is old enough to appreciate “arts and crafts” type projects, those skills will need to be honed. But I need to be creative about doing housework with an awake baby (fortunately he has great tolerance for sitting in his high chair), creative about changing up the way I play with him to stimulate his little growing brain, creative about planning our day to get the most done (he sleeps well and long if I keep him busy and active between naps!).

5. Being a mom challenges me to rely less on myself and more on the Lord. I like it when things come easily to me, and I really have a hard time with things that don’t. Motherhood is one of those things that often throws me a curve-ball and I find myself helpless and frustrated because I don’t know what to do. I am learning to lean on Christ, and cry out to him for help. It is such a comfort to know that he has promised us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a).

When we as mothers have come to the end of ourselves–when we are so tired we can’t think straight, when the baby is crying uncontrollably and we can’t figure out why, when the house is a complete disaster and we haven’t made a decent meal in days, when we snap at our husbands and lose patience with our children–we can look to Christ, for in him alone is our strength. As we give up our weaknesses to God, and trust in him for strength, we may say with Paul,

“Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10)

Being a mom challenges me. And I’m sure it challenges you, too. Know that you’re not alone. On those days when the challenges seem too hard to face, remember that Jesus is with you, right by your side, every step of the way. He loves your family and your children more than you ever could, and he loves you more than you’ll ever know.

2016 Reader Survey: Let’s talk!

2016 Reader Survey: Let's Talk!

Last weekend I finally accomplished something I’ve been working toward for a couple years: I finished my last assignment, for my last class of my master’s degree! It won’t be official until I get my diploma, but I am done with my master’s in Family Life Education. (What does that mean? I studied a lot about how families work, how to teach people about how to be better parents and spouses, how to minister to different types of families, and a lot of other stuff.) Suddenly I have some more time on my hands, and this week I finished a project I’ve been wanting to do for some time: I created a reader survey for you!

Normally, bloggers do this at the beginning of a calendar year, but four months ago I had a new baby, still had one class to finish, and was getting ready to move. Blogging has had to take a backseat ever since I started my master’s, but now I’m excited to really jump back in and make this a much higher priority. Which brings me to the purpose for the reader survey: to learn more about you and how I can serve and encourage you in exactly the way you need!

This survey covers a few things. I’ll ask you some basic questions just so I can get an idea of the demographics of my readership. Then there are some questions related to blogs and social media in general, and then some questions specifically focused on this blog, and what I can offer that will be most encouraging and helpful to you personally.

You guys, I’m really excited: I have some big dreams for where I want to take this blog, things I want to create for you, and I all want it to benefit and minister to you right where you need it most. But for that to happen I really need your help!

Please take five minutes or so and fill out this reader survey. I am so excited to read what you have to say and hear your opinions. You are a blessing! Thank you so much! 2016 Reader Survey

2016 Reader Survey: Let's Talk!

Encouragement for Moms: “Everyday Hope” by Kayse Pratt

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting us!

Encouragement for Moms: Everyday Hope by Kayse Pratt |

When I became a mother, I felt like I had joined a pretty cool club–but one where there were no rules, no instruction manual, and all the other members were trying to figure things out as they went along, too. Fortunately some of these ladies have been members of this club for longer than others (six months under my belt is not much in the grand scheme of things). And those with more experience are more than willing to share their knowledge with us newbies.

Kayse Pratt is one of those people for me. We’ve never met in person, but she’s someone who gets me. She has so much encouragement for moms, and it’s not the kind of encouragement that comes from someone who has it all together and a holier-than-thou attitude. Nope, Kayse is still figuring out motherhood and wifehood herself, and she is as real, honest and open about the hard days as she is about the good ones. This is what makes her so easy to relate to, and is exactly why she is such an encouragement for moms and wives.

Encouragement for moms: Everyday Hope

Kayse’s blog, The Only Hope I’ve Got, is all about Jesus–our one true Hope. She points her readers to him, because when we’re deep in the trenches of motherhood, Jesus provides all the hope we need. Kayse’s newest offering to her readers is Everyday Hopeher latest book. This book (it’s an e-book, so you can read it on your phone, tablet, or computer, or print it out!) is a collection of essays on motherhood, covering topics ranging from “Feeling Insignificant” to “Being Supermom (or Not)” to “Trying to Do it All.” You can read the book straight through, or jump to whatever chapters interest you at the moment. Every chapter is full of encouragement for moms who need it.

Encouragement for Moms: Everyday Hope by Kayse Pratt |

Everyday Hope launches today (April 12, 2016) and in celebration of its launch week, Kayse graciously offered me a discount code ONLY for readers! Enter code everyday20 at checkout, for 20% off Kayse’s entire store (not just Everyday Hope)!! She has several encouraging products for homemakers, mothers and wives: Undivided Mom, Getting It Together (a home management system), Worth the Fight, and Stop Settling for Overwhelmed (an e-course). This discount code is good until Sunday, April 17, 2016.

If you, too, are in the trenches of motherhood, feeling worn-out and discouraged, then you will love the encouragement for moms that Kayse offers. When you read her words you’ll feel like you’re sitting on her living room couch with a cup of tea or coffee, having some much-needed girl time–at least that’s how she makes me feel!

This is the kind of book I wish I could give to every mama I know, just because I think we all need this kind of reassurance and inspiration. Being a mom is tough, but it is so worth it–and none of us is in it alone.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through my links the prices don’t change for you, but I get a commission. I was not paid for this post in any other way, but I did receive a free copy of Everyday Hope for review. All words and opinions are 100% my own. I truly love what Kayse has to say and am thrilled to be able to share her book with you!

FREE Mrs. Meyer’s Products from Grove Co.!

Mrs. Meyer's spring special

Full disclosure: yes, this is a “I’m advertising something” post. I don’t do that much; you know that. I don’t sell add space on the blog, I don’t do sponsored posts, and other than my cookbook (<–affiliate link!) I don’t have any products to sell you (yet. I really want that to change soon!).

But. When I have the opportunity to get you something for free, I have got to tell you about it. (I am an affiliate for Grove, so when you become a customer I get a little commission. This doesn’t change costs for you at all. THANK YOU for helping to support this blog and our family!)

If you’re totally sick and tired of me talking about Grove Collaborative (they used to be ePantry!), go ahead and click the little X at the top of your screen. No hard feelings–just come back later when I’m talking about something else. :)

But, if you’re curious about it, OR if you already shop at Grove and want a freebie, keep reading!

Grove Collaborative is an online retailer that provides cleaning products, personal care products, baby items, and more, for the same prices or better than you’d find at the store. But the prices aren’t the main reason I love them. The customer service is absolutely awesome. I ordered the wrong size diapers a couple months ago and called Grove’s customer service in a panic, because I was almost out of diapers and I didn’t have time to wait for the wrong ones to arrive, send them back, and then wait for the right ones to come.

I talked with Maria, one of their sweet employees, and she had a box of the right size diapers on its way to me within hours, even though I still hadn’t gotten the wrong ones, and she immediately emailed me a packing slip to return the box I didn’t need. And they didn’t charge me a thing for any of this, not even shipping on the extra box!

Plus there’s a live chat feature on their website so if you have a question or problem, you can talk directly with one of the lovely people at Grove, and they are so helpful. I chatted with Victoria yesterday and we had such a nice conversation, even after she had answered my question! (Side note: I love live chat. It has been a lifesaver on a number of different websites for me lately!)

Every shipment arrives carefully packed–bottles of liquid are in plastic bags, covers are taped down, breakable things well-padded–and their shipping is fast (especially considering they’re in California and I’m in Nebraska!). (Unfortunately they don’t ship yet to Canada, Alaska or Hawaii, sorry!)

And I am so pleased with all the products I’ve purchased from Grove. My favorite are Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer’s, but I’ve tried several others and been quite satisfied. I get all my diapers and wipes for Peter from Grove and it is so nice to never have to remember them at the store–or worse, haul them home while schlepping a baby and a diaper bag, too! And I love not having to mess with getting cleaning supplies or dish soap at the store.


All that said, Grove is currently offering a spring-themed Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning kit–for FREE for new customers! And existing customers get a freebie too (link below). I have the spray bottle and it really is lovely–not a word I’d normally use to describe a cleaning tool! And I cannot wait to try the lilac and peony scented dish and hand soap. I’ve been using the honeysuckle-scented handsoap for a while and it smells incredible, and the lavender is one of my favorites too. And the orange-clove, and cranberry, which are winter seasonal scents. Actually, I haven’t tried a Mrs. Meyer’s product that hasn’t smelled amazing. So you really can’t go wrong!

Mrs. Meyer's spring special

Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative here. You will receive the Mrs. Meyer’s spring seasonal offer for free when you sign up!

2. Answer 4 quick questions about your home that Grove Collaborative will then use to customize your first basket ­­-this takes under 30 seconds!

3. Once you’ve answered the questions, you can finalize your basket of products to suit your household needs by adding or removing items.

4. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive in your first box.

5. You made it! Click Finish & Pay and place your order.

Mrs. Meyer's spring special

Already hooked on Grove Collaborative? Existing customers click here to get a free Grove Collaborative glass spray bottle in your next order.

Don’t forget this special offer is only available until Sunday, April 3 or while supplies last.

I just know you’re going to love Grove as much as I do. Hey, they give you free stuff–what’s not to love?

If you try it, come back and tell me what you get! It’s so much fun getting packages in the mail. :)

Drudgery to Delight: A Fresh Perspective on Housework

Drudgery to Delight: A Fresh Perspective on Housework

Drudgery to Delight | A Fresh Perspective on Housework |

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting us!

Housework can be a drudgery sometimes, am I right?

The never-ending nature of it gets discouraging for me sometimes. I get all the dishes done and the kitchen clean…and then somebody dirties a cup or a plate or it’s time to cook another meal, and there’s a new mess to clean.

Or I get all the laundry caught up for once, but we still have dirty clothes ON us, so it’s never actually all done at once! Unless we went around naked for a while, but that’s not going to happen.

Considering how monotonous homemaking can be (cook…clean…do laundry…repeat), it’s easy to lose sight of why we homemakers do what we do. What’s the purpose behind all this never-ending work?

A conversation with my in-laws the other day was inspiring for me. My father-in-law asked my mother-in-law and me, “Why do you clean?” We looked at each other and responded, “Um… because we don’t like living in a dirty house?”

“No, really?” he asked. Apparently it was a serious question. We gave varying answers of “To get rid of germs” and “The house would be a disaster if we didn’t” and “Because we’d get sick otherwise.”

“Well, why don’t you want us to get sick?” he asked. “Being healthy is better…?” I said. (I really was struggling to see where he was going with this.)

“You want us to be healthy because you love us, right?” Dad asked.

Well, yeah.

“So you clean because you love us.”

Now that you put it that way…

It really is more than just housework.

We do the never-ending jobs because we love our family. That’s really what it comes down to. Sure, I like having clean clothes, dishes, and toilet as much as the next person, but if I didn’t love my family, I probably wouldn’t do it–at least not as much, or as well, as I do.

I take the time to plan, purchase, and prepare healthy, delicious meals not just because I love to eat (because I am a nursing mama and I LOVE to eat), but because I love my family and I want to nourish their bodies.

I wash, dry, fold, and put away laundry (even though I DETEST folding) because I love my family and I want to make sure they have clean, fresh-smelling clothes to wear every day.

Of course, I don’t go around every day sweeping and scrubbing and folding and thinking “Lah-dee-dah! I’m doing all this because I love my family so much!” It’s not exactly at the forefront of my thoughts all the time.

But maybe if I do keep that reason in mind, I’ll be more motivated to do the necessary jobs, even if they’re not so fun–and maybe they won’t seem so dull and monotonous when I remember why I’m doing them in the first place.

Drudgery to Delight | A Fresh Perspective on Housework |

Even more than doing housework for my family, I do it for the Lord. Being a wife, mom and homemaker is a vocation–this is what I’m called to do. In serving my family, I serve God–and there is no higher calling!

And there are other ways to make cleaning the bathroom and doing the dishes more fun, too. I love using my Norwex cloths to clean practically everything. And I actually enjoy doing the dishes when I use Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap to do them. I have never used other dish soap that smelled so good. I love the lavender…but Mrs. Meyer’s has special spring scents that are just glorious. Lilac is probably my favorite flower scent, and now they make dish soap that smells like lilacs!

Grove Collaborative–formerly ePantry, which you know I love is having their seasonal special on Mrs. Meyer’s products.  I’m so excited to share Grove Collaborative’s Mrs. Meyer’s Spring Cleaning Kit offer with you! You’ll get a Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap and hand soap in one of the limited edition spring scents, a lovely Grove Collaborative glass spray bottle and the endlessly useful Grove Collaborative walnut scrubber sponges.

new perspective on housework

Read on to find out how you get the products below for free!

● Mrs. Meyer’s spring hand soap

● Mrs. Meyer’s spring dish soap

● Grove Collaborative glass spray bottle

● Grove Collaborative walnut scrubber sponges

Haven’t heard of Grove Collaborative? Formerly ePantry, they’re the online store that delivers effective and affordable natural household and personal care products right to your doorstep. I’m a long time fan of Grove because they make housework easier and economical. I don’t have to worry about running out of diapers or wipes or rushing to the grocery store to buy over­priced dish and hand soap with indecipherable ingredients because Grove always has me covered. I also love that shipments are customizable and on a flexible schedule.

I know you’ll love Grove too, especially after trying this Mrs. Meyer’s Spring Cleaning Kit! I enjoy making my home feel fresh, especially in the spring, and Mrs. Meyer’s makes this so easy. ­­ I love enjoying the scent of lilacs during their brief season and now I can smell them while I’m doing the dishes, washing my hands or wiping down the counter. It (almost) makes housework feel luxurious!

And the best part of this offer? Whether you’re new to Grove or an existing customer, you can take advantage of it.

If you’re new to Grove Collaborative, here’s how it works (existing customers scroll down):

1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative here. You will receive the Mrs. Meyer’s spring seasonal offer for free when you sign up!

2. Answer 4 quick questions about your home that Grove Collaborative will then use to customize your first basket ­­ this takes under 30 seconds!

3. Once you’ve answered the questions, you can finalize your basket of products to suit your household needs by adding or removing items.

4. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive in your first box.

5. You made it! Click Finish & Pay and place your order.

Already hooked on Grove Collaborative? Existing customers click here to get a free Grove Collaborative glass spray bottle in your next order.

Don’t forget this special offer is only available until Sunday, April 3 or while supplies last.

Temporary pain, eternal life

Temporary pain, eternal life: burned fingers and Holy Week thoughts

temporary pain & eternal life: burned fingers and thoughts on Holy Week |

There is so much I want to say–so much that could be written. That’s partially why I haven’t written a new post in such a long time. I just don’t know where to start.

We’ve been experiencing changes in life, dreaming dreams, making plans, learning and growing and struggling and achieving. I hope to share much of this in the coming weeks and months.

But today I just want to share a little lesson the Lord taught me this week. I was making supper on Sunday and I burned three fingers on my right hand. It was a steam burn, and I got it because I wasn’t being safe–I used silicone pot holders to open the lid of my Dutch oven, but I didn’t use oven mitts to protect my hands. I feel pretty silly about it now, and you can bet that I won’t make that mistake again. Especially considering how much it hurt! I’ve never gotten a major steam burn before, and the pain was impressive. Probably the worst I’ve experienced since giving birth five and a half months ago! Fortunately, putting my hand in a bowl of cold water gave almost complete and immediate relief, but as soon as I took my hand out of the water it would start to hurt again.

I lay in bed that night feeling sorry for myself, dipping my fingers into the bowl of water every few minutes, and praying for the pain to go away. And then it occurred to me: as uncomfortable as it was, this was only temporary pain. The skin would heal, and I would soon be back to normal. It was such a small injury.

But Jesus experienced far, far worse pain when he was beaten and crucified. More than the physical agony, he endured the ultimate horror: separation from God. He did all that for you and me, so that we would never have to experience something so awful ourselves.

temporary pain & eternal life: burned fingers and thoughts on Holy Week |

Yes, we endure much in this life. My maternal grandmother is very sick right now: illness upon illness, weak, in pain, suffering. We don’t know how much longer her life on this earth will last. And we have an elderly friend who is enduring the pain of cancer, and her earthly life is drawing to a close as well. Both these dear ladies have been through much in their life: loss and grief and hurt, and now they’ll soon experience death.

But that death will be temporary, just like in this life we experience temporary pain and suffering–not permanent. Instead of getting what we deserve as punishment for our sins–eternal separation from God–we get what Jesus won for us on the cross: eternal life with God in heaven. And there will be no more cancer, or sickness of any kind, or grief, or even burned fingers.

This week is Holy Week, when we remember Jesus’ passion, death, three days in the grave–and then his resurrection. Jesus is alive, and because he lives, we will too!

It took a few burned fingers to give me a fresh perspective and help put me in mind of what Lent is really all about. I pray that you can be reminded without doing anything silly and painful! Hopefully you’re able to get to worship a few times this weekend (weather permitting, in some parts of the country!). Whether you do or not, remember this: Jesus experienced ultimate pain on the cross, so that we would only have temporary pain on earth–and so that we could have ultimate life in heaven.

Encouragement for the hard days

The other day was one of those: one of the hard days.encouragement for the hard times |

My baby wouldn’t stop crying, no matter what I tried, and I got so frustrated that finally my husband came to take Peter for a few minutes so I could have a break. I broke down crying, feeling like a terrible mother, and wishing I knew how to help my baby. I was feeling impatient, but whether it was with him for the crying or with myself for not knowing what to do, I’m not sure.

I finally got him to sleep by putting him in the Moby carrier (that thing is a lifesaver!) and I spent some time in prayer. The Lord laid on my heart the passage from Galatians that talks about the “fruits of the Spirit:”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25 NIV

It was these qualities I was lacking. So for these things I prayed.

“Dear Lord, I pray that you give me the gifts of your Spirit…

love, unconditional

joy, regardless of circumstance

peace, beyond human understanding

patience, in trials big or small

kindness, even when it’s undeserved

goodness, to overcome evil

faithfulness, to every personand vocation

gentleness, of word, action and attitude

self-control, over my thoughts and deeds

In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Blessings in the hard days

Later that day Peter calmly nursed for an hour, and then we both slept for two. Since then I’ve been working on a change of attitude. His crying still makes me sad, but I have increased patience (usually). After all, he’s only crying because he has no other way to communicate. Frustration is pointless; the calmer I am, the more easily he calms down too.

I have been trying to focus more on the blessing that my little boy is. His sweet smiles and giggles bring us so much joy. When he cuddles on my shoulder I feel so peaceful. And the love I have for him is so much I feel my heart would explode.

encouragement for the hard days pinterest

Those hard days will come. Some days will be really hard, with much more serious problems than a fussy, crying baby. But these same things can help me get through those really hard days: prayer. Time in the Word. Focusing on God’s countless blessings in our lives.

Being a mother is the best and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I’m not in it alone. And no matter what it is in your life that’s good or hard, you’re not alone either. The Spirit who produces fruit in your life is always there, living in your heart, strengthening your faith, reassuring you of God’s promises. Even on the hard days.

5 Reasons Why Saving Sex for Marriage is a Good Idea

5 reasons why saving sex for marriage is a good idea |

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for helping support our family!

It’s not popular to be a virgin.

Having sex has become a rite of passage into adulthood, one that occurs far too early for many young people. Instead of being a special, sacred act that is reserved for marriage, sex is a common element of dating relationships and even just casual encounters. Taken out of its God-given context, sex has been twisted into something it was never meant to be.

And what was it meant to be? Joyous. Fulfilling. Exciting. Pleasurable. And most importantly, an expression of love between husband and wife that reflects the holy and perfect love God has for his people. Unfortunately, most people have forgotten that, and instead of saving sex for marriage, it’s turned into an almost mundane element of any romantic relationship.

I think part of the reason why so many people have stopped saving sex for marriage is that they’ve forgotten why it’s such a good idea. God didn’t design it this way with no purpose behind his design. In fact, saving sex for marriage makes a lot of sense.

5 reasons why saving sex for marriage is a good idea |

5 Reasons Why Saving Sex for Marriage is a Good Idea

1. You’ll stay healthier. As of 2008 (a long time ago in terms of statistics), one in five Americans had an STD. Just a few months ago the CDC released a report stating that STDs are on the rise. It’s a simple fact: promiscuity makes people sick. Someone who’s never had sexual contact, who marries someone else who’s never had sexual contact, doesn’t have to worry about STDs. Saving sex for marriage is thus a gift to your future spouse as well as to yourself.

2. You’ll be less likely to get divorced. It’s true: People who are sexually active before marriage have a higher likelihood of getting divorced in the future (1). Why is this? Part of the reason is brain chemistry: every time you have a sexual encounter, your brain releases chemicals that help you bond to your partner (this is true for both men and women).

This reaction weakens, however, with each new sexual encounter, so that someone who’s had a lot of sexual partners before marriage will truly struggle to bond with their spouse. However, within marriage, this chemical bonding helps you desire sex with your spouse, because you get an emotional “high” every time you have sex with them (2).

3. You won’t have to worry about unplanned pregnancies. It’s pretty simple: if you don’t have sex, you can’t get pregnant. Abstinence is the best “birth control.”

5 reasons why saving sex for marriage is a good idea |

4. You’ll have healthier relationships with the opposite gender. If sex isn’t even an option, you won’t have that hanging over your head when you’re dating. And if the person you’re dating pressures you into having sex before you get married, well, that’s a pretty good sign they’re not marriage material anyway!

5. You’ll be more satisfied with your sex life than you would have been otherwise. Just imagine if you’d never had chocolate cake before, and someone gave you chocolate cake for the first time. You’d go, “Wow! This is incredible!” You’d be perfectly happy with that cake because you had nothing to compare it to. But what if you had chocolate cake before? While you were eating this very delicious cake, you’d be mentally comparing it with all the other chocolate cakes you’d had in the past. No matter if they were better or worse than the one you were eating, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy what was right in front of you as well as you would have otherwise.

Married sex isn’t always fireworks, but it is awesome. And it’s really easy to be content with awesome married sex–and the occasional fireworks–when you’ve never had sex with anyone else.

Saving sex for marriage really is worth it. It might seem like a long wait, and waiting can be hard. But you will be rewarded!


What do you think? Is saving sex for marriage a good idea, or a bunch of old-fashioned nonsense? Or is your opinion somewhere in between?

(1) Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children, by McIlhaney & McKissac Bush 2008, p. 80
(2) Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children, by McIlhaney & McKissac Bush 2008, p. 37-38

Linking with Wedded Wednesday on Messy Marriage!

Lavished with Grace

lavished with grace |

So you know those New Year’s resolutions, that you make with the best of intentions? They can be hard to keep, even if they’re really worthy resolutions.

It wasn’t one of my resolutions for this year. But it’s something I’ve told myself to do, over and over, because I know how good it is for me to do it. I’ve been so determined–but I’ve slacked, forgotten, given up, just plain failed over and over.

That goal? Reading my Bible every day.

I know, I know. I should! It’s so important! And if I don’t, I need to give myself grace and not beat myself up. Two sides of the same coin.

I’m finally to the point where I’m not guilt-tripping myself for not doing it, but shaking my head at Past Self and wondering why I haven’t because it is so good for me. I started using a monthly Scripture writing guide from Kayse Pratt, and it’s just what I needed to get back into the habit. It’s not a deep, theological Bible study. It’s just writing Scripture. Designed to help the user memorize passages, it has me looking at Scripture longer, more intently than I have before.

Lavished with grace

This week’s passage is from Ephesians 1. And as I was writing today, these verses jumped out at me:

“In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:7-8).

Look at this for a moment. God has lavisheon us the riches of his grace! Not just given. Not even given generously. Lavished. Some synonyms for “lavish” (according to are “squander,” “heap,” “deluge.” This conveys the idea of giving without any restriction, even to excess, even to an unwise extent!

But look at the passage again. We are lavished with grace by God, who gave it to us “with all wisdom and understanding.” That means he knew exactly what he was doing! He is giving us his very best, and tons of it, with full knowledge of his actions.

And what is God’s very best?

Redemption through Christ’s blood.

The forgiveness of sins.

In other words, the greatest gifts God could possibly give us poor sinners!

lavished with grace |

Without God, we are lost, forsaken, dead, in fact. We need saving. We can’t save ourselves. And for all the wrong we do, we desperately need forgiveness.

So that is what God gives us. Redemption. Forgiveness. These things are ours through the blood of Christ Jesus: he gave his very life so that we might live.

And so that we might live lavished with grace.

Who are we to deserve these gifts? We are certainly not worthy. And yet, in giving them to us, God is doing what he knows is best for us. He has given us his own Son–his most precious Son–to make us his own children as well.

This, my friends, is lavish grace.

So I am going to soak up this grace as I read and write through his Word this year. And those days that slip away without reading and writing, I will give myself grace as God has given me.

Rest in this knowledge today, friends! In Christ, you have all you need. Live lavished with grace from the One who loves you so abundantly.