God +Love > Sweatpants--wellofaith.com

Fallen World “Beauty”: God + Love is Greater Than Sweatpants

God+Love > Sweatpants

This article was originally posted in 2015.

This is Why the World Can’t Have Beauty

Recently I stumbled across and interview Eva Mendes gave where she stated that the end of a marriage can be directly related to the wife wearing sweatpants.

If you want to read the original article that led to this posting click here.

Say what?

Normally, I don’t pay a lot of attention to what celebrities talk about.

I especially don’t tend pay attention to celebrities who feel qualified to give marital advice when they’re not married.

However, reading many of the comments linked with these articles on social media made me reconsider.

In Society Today, Beauty is Only Skin Deep

There are a lot of women–too many women–who feel Eva Mendes is correct.

They believe in this day of Photoshop and plastic surgery what a wife wears is the true key to the longevity of their marriage.

I need to clear this up.

For everyone.

Or, at the very least, for the people who read my weekly ramblings.

What We Wear At Home Should Not Be a Deciding Factor in the Strength of Our Relationship With Our Spouse.

God+Love>Sweatpants--wellofaith.com
No, this isn’t my husband or me. It is a great photo, and captures exactly what should connect a husband and wife.

Marriages are a contract, yes, but they’re a contract that should be tied to a deep and abiding love and faithfulness– to not only our spouse, but to God.

When I got married, I distinctly remember the minister mispronouncing my short name, but getting my husband’s long, long, long name correct. the words, “for better or for worse” among the words my husband and I repeated.

I’m sure there are people who will smirk and say, “For better or for worse doesn’t have anything to do with bad style choices.” I disagree. Completely.

If my husband’s love for me were directly tied to the way I looked, our marriage would have ended years ago.

I may not wear sweatpants, but I also don’t wake up each morning before my husband so he doesn’t see me without my ‘face’ on.

For that matter, I rarely wear make-up, so there’s that.

He’s seen me with bedhead, fighting the stomach flu.

I’ve had chronic migraines, that have done nothing for the way I look; and long ago, he saw me when I drank too much.

None of these sights were pretty, and they’re all a heck of a lot worse than him seeing me in a pair of sweatpants.

Love Isn’t About the Way You Look, It’s About the Connection You Have With Someone’s Heart.

Love is the butterflies you get in your stomach when you know you’re going to see them; it’s the comfort their presence brings you, without them saying anything.

It’s knowing that you don’t have to doll yourself up all the time to impress them, because they’re impressed with the way God created you.

God+Love>Sweatpants--wellofaith.com
I can guarantee I’m wearing work out leggings in the picture. Possibly baby spit too. Also, pretty sure my three year old is wrapped around my leg.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

1 Peter 3:3-4

They don’t love you because of the adornments you use to be fashionable or beautiful for a materialistic world.

I understand what she ‘might’ have been trying to say.

Women Should Take Pride in Themselves.

The biggest problem with associating this with a type of pants, is that people miss the bigger picture.

Pride in yourself is fine–as long as you remember everything you have is God’s.

Be careful about having too much pride in your good looks, your perfect body, or the clothes you wear.

All of those things are fleeting.

The beauty God created inside you–your heart and soul–those are where the true strength of your marriage will come from.

So, ladies if you feel like your husband (or boyfriend) will leave you if you don’t look your best, walk away.

He’s not the one for you.

Don’t sell yourself short for someone only interested in the outer trappings.

Find that person who will love you even when you’re looking your worst, because he’ll see the beauty God created.

Besides, no one wants to be worried about their hair or make-up at two in the morning–when they’re in labor.

No one.

Trust me.

God + Love > sweatpants. Always.

Until next time,

wellofaith
God+Love>Sweatpants--wellofaith.com
Full-Fat Tea

Becoming a Woman of the Word: A Journey Through the Bible

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for the full disclosure.

For Christmas 2015, I received a Bible study book titled, Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.

At first I wasn’t sure what to expect from the pages of this relatively thin book.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading study guides for various themes or books within the Bible, and I figured this would be similar.

I was correct on only one part.

It is a book on studying the Bible.

What it ISN’T is a manufactured Bible study.

Within the first seven chapters of the book, the author shows you how to approach the study of any book in the Bible (and preferably every book in the Bible) for optimal literacy.

This includes studying with the five “Ps”:

  • purpose
  • perspective
  • patience
  • process
  • prayer

Bible literacy isn’t a phrase I was familiar with.

What is Bible Literacy?

According to the Northwest Centre for Biblical and Theological Literacy,

Biblical Literacy describes the ability and motivation of people to read the Bible with sufficient understanding so that they can explain its basic meaning, having sufficient knowledge and skill to use resources that enable them to discern the basic meaning of a biblical text. It includes the ability to apply this discerned meaning, i.e. biblical wisdom, to contemporary life.”

Since I’d focused on the word Joy for the year, I realized I need a better scriptural understanding of it.

I didn’t want to understand how a single verse on “joy” applied to me, but how that verse applied to the bigger picture of God’s love and plan for everyone.

Only then would I be able to see how it applied to me in the present and future.

Why You Should Become a Woman of the Word

In a day and age when more and more people are not only turning away from God, but are antagonistic towards anyone who dares to trust in Him, it is important for us to have a clear, educated understanding of God’s Word.

Becoming a Woman of the Word: A Journey Through the bible @wellofaith.com

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

It doesn’t change.

It isn’t corrupt.

People will tell you you’re wrong.

They’ll offer you opinion stated as fact.

Some will twist the scriptures to fit their personal agenda.

We must know what the Bible says and what it means–both historically and applicably.

Our own relationship with Christ might not be affected by their misunderstandings, but our children’s relationships might be.

The Bible is Not a Fairy Tale

The Bible was provided for us so that we would know what was expected of us, and what we could in turn expect from our God.

Within the sixty-six books of the Bible we learn how to raise our children, love our spouses, and how to love our neighbors while not loving or applauding their sins.

We see the great love, righteousness and compassion of God who created EVERYTHING, and loves us without fail.

People read these stories and consider them fairy tales.

Stories made up to explain away situations they otherwise had no answers for.

As Christians we know this isn’t the case.

The Old Testament gives us a detailed account of all the things we shouldn’t do–and how God loved the Israelites so much that he forgave them time and time again; finally disciplining out of love when they refused to listen.

In the New Testament we see the miracles.

The unbelievable, awe-inspiring, miracles of Jesus.

Jesus Performed Miracles: The End

There are people who will latch on to these miracles and claim they didn’t happen.

That they couldn’t happen.

The only problem with their argument: It’s wrong.

Jesus performed miracles.

This is a fact.

A fact supported by historical research; not just research done by people predisposed to seeing miracles, but also by secular historians and scholars.

If we don’t study the Bible, we won’t be able to respond to those who haven’t discovered their faith in Jesus.

As a mother I need to be able to guide my children; to help them find the answers they seek, and to know how to articulate the truth when confronted by their secular peers.

We also need to study the Bible, because it’s the voice of God speaking directly to each and every one of us.

Daily Study

When you have a relationship with someone, you spend time with them. You talk to them, ask questions about them, and seek answers to who they are.

The same thing needs to happen when you want a personal relationship with Christ.

You can’t expect a relationship–or an understanding of the scriptures–to happen if you’re not spending time together.

Women of the Word makes it possible to do more than just scan a verse and take it out of context, because it sounds like a verse to make you feel better about yourself.

The more time you spend with God (in prayer, in study, in contemplation) the closer you’ll get, and the more you’ll understand.

You don’t always need to spend hours diving deeply into the Word, but you need to meet up with God, in peace and quiet, each day.

There are dozens of ways to “fit” God into your day; between scrolling social media and running your kids to their activities.

However, we shouldn’t have to squeeze God in.

He should be our top priority.

After all, we’re His top priority.

I know it won’t be easy, but learning a new habit–especially one that will help you grow each and every day, isn’t always going to be easy, but it will always be worth it.

First thing in the morning, before you get overwhelmed by your ‘to do’ list, grab your Bible, colored pens and pencils, and a notebook.

Then take a breath, and say hello to the only one who has loved you without ceasing since before you were born.

He’s been waiting for you.

“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” -Proverbs 1:5

Until next time,

wellofaith

Check out I Plant My Roots in Jesus

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The Words We Use-- wellofaith.com

The Words We Use

An Invisible Weapon

As a child I remember hearing the saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

The problem is, words can hurt.

They can leave scars no one can see.

Unlike sticks and stones, the damage done won’t leave visible bruising to the body; Neighbors, friends, family, and teachers won’t see the injuries.

That doesn’t mean the pain isn’t there.

It doesn’t mean the wounds aren’t real.

Words are the invisible weapon that can do lifelong damage and never heal.

It is not what goes into the mouth the defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. –Matthew 15:11

I’m Going to Be Real With You

My children have these unseen injuries, and I’m the one who caused them.

How’s that for real?

the-words-we-use-hurt-bear-wof.c.jpeg.jpeg

I can try to rationalize the circumstances when I used words as weapons against the little people God has entrusted me with; it won’t make a bit of difference.

The fact is, I made HUGE mistakes.

I spoke in anger and frustration instead of love and respect.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. –Proverbs 18:21

My tone caused as much damage (if not more) than the words I used. Maybe I could pat myself on the back and say, “Well, I’ve never called them names.” That means nothing when I know I’ve bruised and battered them with words of indifference.

Instead of praising them for their imaginations and efforts, I’ve asked, “Why would you do that?” Instead of saying, “Thank you for trying to help”; it’s been, “Look what you’ve done.”

These words have hurt them time and time again.

Realizing this now, tears at my heart. I’m bleeding from each of the wounds I caused my children.

The Words We Use--wellofaith.com

I swore I would never treat my children the way my siblings and I were treated when we were growing up. I swore my kids would never have a reason to question whether they are loved.

Yet, here I am.

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perversness in it breaks the spirit. –Proverbs 15:4

When my children acted out, I wondered what was causing them to misbehave. I never stopped to consider it could have been my actions and reactions leading to their outbursts. That my words, said in frustration, anger, or disinterest, might have led them to lash out in search of some sort of control.

This family the LORD has blessed me with deserves more than that.

I Can Change

My children will not grow up questioning my love, or remembering only the harshly spoken words.

I will not be the reason their self-esteem suffers, or they turn away from God and family. I will not push them away with my own actions.

Our Heavenly Father knows my sins. He knows my heart, and my weaknesses. He trusted me to raise these children, and I will do my best, and when I stumble I’ll turn to Him.

I will control my words–both the words themselves, and the tone of my voice. I will focus on praise; on building up my children into strong, mature, loving, adults. I will do my best to let them spread their wings, to make mistakes, to be helpful, to explore life, and be the people God created them to be.

Most of All, I Will Pray

I’ll pray for guidance.

For patience.

For understanding.

I’ll pray for a kind tone and a joyful spirit.

I’ll pray for a million questions from my almost three-year old, so that I may show her through actions and words that she matters.

I’ll pray for my son to try new things–even when they involve me sitting back and ignoring the mess, because I want him to see as well as hear how proud I am of him, and how much I believe in him.

I’ll pray for understanding as my tween daughter finds more and more interests that feel far too worldly for someone still so young.

Finally, I’ll pray for each and every one of you who have faced these same problems. Those who have hurt their friends, families, and loved-ones with weapons so powerful they can damage people indefinitely.

Heavenly Father,

I pray today that you help each of us control our tongues. That we may build one another up in this world. That we use our words to soothe and encourage, not to draw blood. Give us pause when we speak, that our children will not be a casualty of our sinful ways.

Amen.

If you feel led, please share this post so it may remind others they’re not alone in their struggles with the words we use.

Blessings,

Sare Signature

parenting love

That Time As A Teen When I Was A Perfect Parent

I once was a perfect parent. Before I had children of my own.
When I was a Perfect Parent

I Was a Perfect Parent

As a teenager, one who obviously knew everything about everything, I believed I would be a certain way as an adult. I was one of those people who believed I knew how to handle whatever life had in store for me. This included parenting.

*Insert slightly insane laughter here*

There is a meme floating around the internet that states: “I was a perfect parent. Then I had children.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly accurate.

Too many people (me included) believe they’ve got it all figured out–life, fitness, parenting, their make-up; only to have reality kick them solidly in the solar plexus.

My old friend, Reality likes to remind me of its presence regularly.

When I was still a perfect parent–living under my parents’ roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me.

I wouldn’t keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I’d understand them, and treat them with “respect”.

I’m sure God chuckled at my plans.

My parents did.

When I was still a perfect parent--living under my parents' roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me. I wouldn't keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I'd understand them, and treat them with

The Reality Of Parenting Is Drastically Different

Before the birth of my youngest daughter, my niece and I spent some time sitting on a bench overlooking the Puget Sound.

The sun was warm, the sky was clear, the seagulls were begging scraps of our lunches. It was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle we’d been dealing with for the last few months.

Taking a few moments to enjoy the beauty the Lord created, and to truly appreciate it, helped relax my anxious heart.

It also helped me understand something about myself:

I’m not a perfect parent, and I don’t really have this parenting thing down.

In fact, teen me would spend a lot of time rolling her eyes at adult me.

I always thought my parents were strict, but they were nothing compared to how I am as a parent.

Part of this stems from a moderate battle with anxiety, but not all of it.

Simply put, my priorities have changed, as have my views.

God is the Perfect Parent

God has blessed us with four beautiful children, not to be perfect parents, but to teach them and train them up in what is righteous.

Much to their dismay, that includes horrors like sweeping, making their beds, cleaning bathrooms, and picking up toys.

It also requires them to spend time with us, to not put their friends above the LORD or their family, and to forgive each other when we stumble.

Something else that comes along with this is the amount of freedom we allow our children to have.

Our eldest is only eleven, and regardless of how my husband and I were raised the world is a much different place today than it was twenty years ago.

Yes, she can do solitary things without constant supervision, and she has experienced the joy of middle school ministry events (where her mother wasn’t invovled), but there are rules that have to be followed, and consequences if those rules are ignored.

This is a relatively new freedom for her, and I still have several bad moments where I want to keep her in the house away from any chance of getting hit by a speeding car or abducted (see, anxiety).

I’m taking it a day at a time, and maybe I’ll be more relaxed when they’re visiting me in the retirement home.

The point is, there are no perfect parents on Earth, except God, and of course those who have never had children.

We as a society (especially women) spend so much time judging the merits of one person over another that we seem to forget we’re all just stumbling along doing the best we can.

Have some people lost their way?

Yes, but that isn’t for us to judge.

There are people in this world who have been called to help those who have fallen.

Instead of casting blame and pointing fingers, it’s time for us to come together and build each other up, and to raise our own children with love, compassion, and grace.

Lord, Shine from Me.

Lord, Shine From Me.

Lord, Shine from Me
May the LORD always shine from me.

My Plan

When I first started writing this blog, the original plan was to show all the happiness and joy this walk brought me.

The only problem with that idea is that nothing good comes without at least a little pain. I wouldn’t be true to my Heavenly Father, or myself,  if I skipped over the dark places; those trips, falls, and downright cliff-diving moments that take me off His path, and make me as imperfect and human as each person reading this.

 

You’re Not Alone

I want everyone who reads this blog to know that they’re not alone.

Not alone on this planet, and certainly not alone spiritually.

The LORD pulls me out of each mess I find myself in, and He will do the same for each person who calls out to Him.

So, I’ll share my stories, the good and the bad; I’ll let the light of Jesus shine from me.

Blessings,

Sare

Changes

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…
1 Corinthians 15:51-52a

On May 6th we welcomed our third child into the world.

She is beautiful, wonderful, and such a blessing to our family.

After two weeks of labor, where i didn’t dilate past four because of scar tissue, I was finally admitted to the hospital. Six hours later, our cuddle-bug was snug in my arms.

She was born at 1527 weighing 8 pounds 3 oz and 21 inches long.

Changes are coming.

Blessings, Sare

Joy?

Since my word for 2016 is Joy, I’ve spent more than an average amount of time contemplating what Joy is, and why I need to focus on these particular three letters.

While there are several good words out there I could learn from during the next twelve months (Love, Forgiveness, Understanding, Patience, etc.), they’re not the ones chosen.

Joy.

Such a small word, yet one with so much power behind it.

What is Joy? Is it just a word, a feeling, an action? Are we naturally born with it, or is it something that has to be learned? What does it feel like?

Will Joy teach my heart to feel lighter when it physically feels so heavy? Will it bring a smile to my face when I want to cry? Will it change who I am so drastically that I’ll look in the mirror and wonder who the glowing, happy, smiling person is?

For these first eight days of 2016, I’ve taken stock of each moment throughout the day to see where the Joy might be. Sometimes it seems to be obvious (I say seems to be, because honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever truly noticed Joy the way others have); other times I question if I should consider that first bite of chocolate chip cookie as something worthy of such a powerful word.

I have ended up with a lot of questions.

Is there a gauge for measuring Joy? Is there a wrong way? A right way? Does it come from the inside only, or from outside forces as well? Is it hereditary? Can I share it with others? Once I have it, does it stay with me forever, or do I need to keep searching for it?

As this week comes to a close, I rest my questions at God’s feet. I’m sure throughout the year He will answer several of the questions, while helping me grow and change.

My prayer is that the LORD will use Joy to help me strengthen my relationships, not just with my own family, but with those who are still searching for answers only He can give.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness , peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” 

–Romans 14:17

 

Sare

God’s Work in My Family

Since the day I got down on my knees and asked Jesus to guide me through this life, to save me from the person I’d become, and to fill me with his Holy and loving Spirit, I’ve seen my life change before my eyes. Some days are easier than others, but each day brings me closer to His presence.

It doesn’t end there, though. I’ve seen His work in others in my family as well. I’ve seen it in the way my daughter is growing; always thinking of others who might not have the things she does. She always searches for ways to be of help, either to me, her brother, or a little kid at the park who seems lonely.

God isn’t just working in her life. He’s working in the heart of my husband as well. In the beginning he went to church, because it was what I wanted to do, and he wanted to be there for me. He didn’t care which church we went to, and would have preferred if I’d chosen a Catholic church. I didn’t, and I don’t ever regret that decision.

He has become a different person. He no longer attends church just because I want to. In fact on those days when I’ve become too overwhelmed by people and desperately want to stay home and spend solitary time with the LORD, he’ll motivate me to get dressed and go (sometimes even he can’t get me to go for fellowship, because sometimes I just need the silence and the personal time with my Bible and the LORD).

Recently, I feel God placed in his heart something I never could have on my own. My husband felt called to volunteer, and he looked into opportunities and found the one that he felt in his heart the LORD was leading him to. On Monday night he spent time at a men’s home helping with dinner, and spending time getting to know the men living there. He came home tired but filled with a new light. I look forward to the changes the LORD brings to my family and myself.

Praise the LORD!

Lessons Through the WORD

A week ago I stumbled upon a blog post talking about the importance of memorizing large sections of the Bible, not just a single verse, but the surrounding verses as well so that you would have a better understanding of the context. Now, I’m not particularly good at memorizing things, (I’m a mother, and many of my brain cells seemed to have been given to my children. At least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.) but I decided to give it a try.

The post recommended a person begin with Psalm 100, because it shows Thanksgiving and Joy. It really is an amazing chapter to memorize.

So far, I’ve managed to memorize the entire thing EXCEPT the final verse. “For the LORD is good and His love endures forever, His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5 The first four verses locked themselves in my heart and mind rather easily, but not verse five. I’ve been working on verse five for the past three days.Those sixteen words keep slipping away. Just when I think I’ve got them down, they disappear like the stars behind clouds. I know they’re still there, I just can’t see them.

This got me thinking. These words must be important. I mean, really important. If the LORD has kept them in front of me, niggling at me, I must need to study them more. There is a lesson within those sixteen words that I need to accept and understand. I think once I do they’ll embed themselves into my memory without a problem.

Things have been difficult on an emotional level the past few months, and I think these words are the key to my healing. To acknowledge that no matter what is going on, the LORD is good and His love endures forever.

It’s time to take this to heart.

Is there a verse or section of verses that you’ve found particularly helpful to your life? Have you memorized them? Share them in the comments below. 🙂

May the LORD bless you today and always,

Sare

Loss

On December 30, a dear friend of my niece’s went home to the LORD. She was a young woman with plans and dreams. She was a new mom with a little boy about the same age as my own son. Her loss was as unexpected to her family as it was to my niece. Although I didn’t know her personally I’d like to take a moment to pray for those affected by her loss.

Please, join me in praying for her family and loved ones.

Heavenly Father,

May her family and loved ones find peace in Your Greatness. May their hearts be filled with happy memories of her love and laughter. May her son grow up hearing wonderful stories of her love for him. LORD I ask that you comfort her family and friends while they grieve and help them to find solid ground once again.

Amen.

Sare