Monthly Archives: May 2014

4 Myths about “Saving Sex for Marriage”

Congratulations! If you are following my “Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding“, it probably means you are engaged (or would like to be). I am adding a few posts to this series to look at the engagement time! Brace yourself for our first (and potentially button-pushing) topic: why Christians should save sex for marriage.  

Does the Bible really say “no sex before marriage”?

Yes, the Bible forbids it in several places. Here are 3:
  • Exodus 20:14 “You must not commit adultery.” (part of the 10 commandments)
    • A person who is married and has voluntary* sex with someone other than his/her spouse, is committing adultery.
    • A single person who has voluntary sex with a married person is also committing adultery.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” (NASB)
    • A single person having voluntary sex** with another single person is committing “fornication” or is being sexually immoral.
    • Dictionary.com defines “fornication” as “voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons or two persons not married to each other.”
      So anytime we see the words “fornicator” or “sexually immoral,” we know the Bible is referring to voluntary sex before marriage.
  • Hebrews 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (ESV)

*From now on, let us assume the sexual-acts-before-marriage I will refer to are voluntary. (If you have experienced involuntary sexual acts done against you [rape, groping, sexual harassment], please know you have not committed a sin. God will judge the individual who has sinned against you. However, these experiences can still affect your perception of purity and wholeness. I am praying for healing and restoration in your heart.)

**Also, I am taking the liberty to define “sex before marriage” as any sexually arousing, physical activity, alone or with your fiancé, that does not bring honor to God.
Now that we’ve clarified God’s expectations in the Bible, I’d like to uncover 4 myths regarding sex before marriage, according to what I’ve been studying in 1 Corinthians 5-7, Galatians 5, and Ephesians 5:
Shane and I circa 2008, aiming for purity in our dating relationship.

Myth 1: Christians who have sex outside of marriage are “bad”

For most of us, it’s just a given “rule” of Christianity: “Those who save sex for marriage are good Christians, and those who don’t are bad.” I don’t agree with this mentality at all.

Truth: all Christians are pure in Christ

I do not believe a person who “does the deed” outside of marriage is a bad Christian. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you are covered in the grace and righteousness of our perfect Jesus. Whether you gossiped about your co-worker or had sex with your boyfriend, you are still pure in Christ.

“Some of you were once like that [immoral]. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

However, there are still earthly consequences to sin. When a person has sex with someone other than the spouse she is married to, she is breaking God’s commandment. The consequence of sin is death: either yours or Christ’s. Again, if you have trusted Christ as your Savior, He paid the penalty for you. Although eternal separation from God is no longer a consequence, we risk several other consequences when we choose to sin:

  • losing intimate closeness with God today
  • experiencing less than God’s best for our bodies, purpose, and relationships
  • Feelings of guilt, insecurity, loss of self-respect
  • Loss of trust with one’s fiancé, resentment, jealousy
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Loss of trust with our families/church (see 1 Corinthians 5:6-9)
  • Unplanned pregnancy (which is an unparalleled joy, but also meant to be experienced within marriage)

Thankfully, there is healing and restoration in store for all sin! (See the tips below)

Myth 2: Sex (in general) is bad

Have you ever heard this verse and assumed it means God thinks sex is bad?

“Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations.” 1 Cor. 7:1

I used to believe it meant sex is bad… or somehow for “lesser Christians” (as if we are on a scale of good, better, best? NOT). We MUST understand the context of the Corinthian-culture that Paul, the author, was writing to. I just watched the film Gladiator, and I think it portrays a good example of the culture at the time: full of lust, free-sexuality, and thirst for entertainment. When people became Christ-followers, they didn’t have a model-behavior blueprint to follow. So they kept doing what they did before: visiting prostitutes, “swapping spouses”, etc. The Corinthians must have written Paul to ask about what changes should be made on the outside, now that Jesus changed them on the inside. Paul responds with a large portion of his letter (all of chapter 7) giving helpful guidelines.

But does this mean God thinks sex is bad? Um… no.

Truth: Sex rocks!

God created sex! And everything God created, he labeled “good” (when enjoyed as intended).

God celebrates sex in an entire book devoted to married romance and sexual pleasure (Song of Solomon).

God encourages married couples to have sex regularly in 1 Corinthians 7:5.

Myth 3: God doesn’t want us to have any fun.

Many people have a perception of God that doesn’t match what God says about Himself in the Bible. Did you know the word Fun is actually in the Bible?

Hollywood tends to glorify romance, sexual tension, and love-making outside of marriage. When I think of movies about married couples… healthy and romantic sex is rarely a factor. Having fun in the bedroom was a pre-marriage activity. Since movies, books, and TV often shape our perceived reality, it can be easy to see sex-before-marriage as normal.

Because of these cultural norms, God’s boundaries can appear to be fun-suckers when we don’t understand them.

Truth: God want’s your marriage to be so secure, that the fun lasts till you’re 80 and beyond!

Paul clarifies this well:

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. (1 Cor. 6:12)

First of all, sex is great; but it is not good for us outside of God’s design of marriage. Some engaged couples reason that “we are going to marry each other anyway, so it’s not really that bad.”  In addition to the consequences listed above, another reason sex-outside-of-marriage is not good for us is the potential loss of trust. If you or your fiancé is willing to have sex outside of marriage now (fornication), how difficult will it be to say no to sex outside of your own marriage later, with someone else (adultery)? Not having sex before the wedding is good practice for KEEPING sex within marriage after the wedding.

God’s plan is for His people to exercise self-control regarding sex before marriage. Our relationship with God is self-evident when we produce the fruit of the Spirit, one being self-control. When we are not walking by the Spirit, our default “fruit” will be immorality, the fruit of the flesh. (See Galatians 5)
Secondly, Christ-followers must remember that God created fun. Therefore, He knows how to have the MOST, the BEST, the LONGEST-LASTING fun! Christians should be the most trusting of God’s design for sex, because we KNOW it is going to provide the greatest joy. A person who falls into sex before marriage might believe that God is holding out on him/her. I would advise that individual to get to know the God of the Bible, not just the God of your own personal perception.

What Now?

I realize the above truths are not extensive. More importantly, I would like to equip you with a few helpful resources to guard your purity and maintain God’s standard of saving sex (and sexual acts!) until you celebrate your wedding day:

1. Repent

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there…” Galatians 5:24

  • If you have already engaged in sexual activity that doesn’t honor God, confess it to your Savior.
  • Don’t just live with the secret. Confess your sin to a trustworthy Christian mentor or friend:

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

  • Set up a plan, not just to STOP engaging in sexual activity, but more importantly to run in the other direction (see step 2)

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

  • If you are living with your fiancé, move out. (more on this in the next post)
    • I have met so many couples who agree with God, that sex outside of marriage is not honorable, but they don’t stop.
    • No excuse (money, living situations, “the wedding is so close”) is worth true repentance and freedom from sin.

2. Walk in step with God.

“… Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:25

  • Study your Bible
  • Pray (talk to God and listen to Him)
  • Worship your way out of temptation: instead of trying to have less sexual encounters, try having MORE Jesus encounters. Make much of Jesus, and your temptation to sin will become less.
  • Feed your heart and mind with Biblical perceptions of marriage and sex, and avoid consuming worldly ideas that become distractions from God’s plan.

3. Spend time with other Christ-followers

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24

  • Boldly ask for someone you trust to be your accountability partner
  • Generate a godly perspective of marriage by spending time with married couples who are following Christ
  • Mentor someone younger than you. Chances are, if you are encouraging that person to be pure, you will want to lead by example.

4. Talk with your fiancé

Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2

  • Set up clear verbal and maybe even written boundaries regarding physical touch
  • Be cautious with these “talks” as conversation can lead to curiosity and arousal.
  • Pray with your fiancé
  • If your fiancé is the “fool” in Proverbs 18:2 above, and doesn’t want to change, I encourage you to pursue godly counsel regarding continuing your engagement to this individual.

For the Support Team:

We should be eager to encourage our fellow Christ-following friends to stay sexually pure. 1 Corinthians gives us permission to be adamant about maintaining purity within the church. However, we should not expect the same integrity from someone who does not know Christ:

“I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people.” (verses 10-11)

Christians should pursue friendships with people who don’t know Christ, in order to facilitate an introduction to Jesus, not to “fix the impure behaviors.” Jesus is in charge of that job.

Press the follow button to get more posts on Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding (and Engagement). Or follow my Pinterest board, Planning a Christ-Centered Wedding, here.

 

 

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

On stress, anxiety, and casting all my cares on God

20140527-092142.jpg

My extraordinary husband championed the truth of entering into God’s rest in his Sunday morning message at our church this week.

(Read Hebrews 3 and 4 for the Biblical perspective of rest.)

This word could not have come at a better time for us, as this week and month have the potential to be the most overwhelming in our year thus far.

I am due with twins in 2 months, and trying desperately to take it easy so as to keep the kids cooking longer. This isn’t easy at all because….

Today, our house will finally approved for occupancy! We can move in now. But I am at the mercy and help of friends and family to do all the work, organizing, and heavy lifting. I am humbled to have such a wealth of help in our life. However, I feel the need to be ultra-organized and aware of how I want our home arranged, so I don’t have to ask anyone to do it over again. I also have this nagging fear we will be living out of boxes for the next 3 months, which might make life difficult with new babies.

Speaking of babies, I have a MAJOR lifestyle transition approaching fast. You could describe me as a flitting social butterfly, with the curiosity of a puppy, and the multi-tasking abilities equal to a blade of grass. I am good at one thing at a time, and it usually takes me an hour to get into my groove. Schedules feel like cages to creativity. However, deadlines produce high levels of productivity (the life of a procrastinator).

Well…
Babies need schedules.
Babies don’t have deadlines, per-say.
Babies can be party-poopers (I’ve heard of babies literally gifting parents with blow-out diapers at their first social event in months).

I am so excited to meet these kids, snuggle and feed them, shower them with love and truth and care, and walk with then on our family journey to be more like Christ. But I am not naive of the potentially stressful changes I must make to do so.

Add to the list: a shift or two in our finances, new job opportunities, and the great blessing of our adoption process from Africa… It’s an equation for stress and anxiety! Or it would be if my God was any smaller.

The Holy Spirit taught me 2 applications through Shane’s message that I would appreciate being held accountable to this week:

1. Doubt is the enemy of rest and peace. Shane put it rather eloquently: “when we feel stressed-out (to the point of anxiety), we show how little we think God is.”

When we make our fears or circumstances bigger than they should be, we start thinking God is smaller than He is. Hebrews 3:8-19 narrates how the Israelites did this to God in the dessert, and therefore missed out of true rest in The Lord.

When we miss out on true rest, we start looking to other remedies for our overwhelmed-ness: TV, vacation, relationships, “venting.” But these do not satisfy or relieve.

2. We must look at God (through His Word, not our ideas about him), to learn his priorities, His Big-ness, and His love for us.

When we focus in Gods priorities (to live as a light to the world), we can let go of our own priorities (like having a perfectly organized home or new furniture for the new house). This greatly reduces stress!

When we let go of the notion that “I must do everything myself” (pride), and humbly cast all our cares on Jesus, we become rested, settled, relaxed and refreshed. (Read 1 peter 5:6-7 for more).

Today, my prayer mirrors Hebrews 4:16…

“Lord, I need your mercy and grace. I come confidently to your throne – not to TV, Facebook/Pinterest, a nap, or even waiting till every thing gets done-I come to your throne alone to settle my spirit, remove all anxiety, and produce the fruit peace in my life.

Thank you for being Big enough.”

I am also singing a song I learned as a child… It is a simple but excellent reminder:

“My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!”

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Twins-in-Progress: Week 30

30 weeks

30 Weeks: May 18-24

How far along? 7 months, 2 weeks

Babies size: Probably around 3 lbs. or more. 

What’s new with babies? At T-10 weeks to go (if we make it to July 26), babies are on the home-stretch for growing. Their brains are folding to add more square-footage for thinking, creativity, learning, relating, and pondering the love of God someday.

What’s new with Mama? Week 30! It feels like a significant milestone. I am trying desperately to maintain stamina for all the tasks ahead, but I am increasingly more exhausted each day. Nice to meet you 3rd trimester.

Weight Gain: Someone asked me this week how much I have gained so far. I was surprisingly not offended, even though the question was presented in the middle of a large crowd who all hushed to hear my answer. I didn’t realize this but I have only gained 30 lbs. at this point in my pregnancy. It seems low for twins, but I am still healthy which rocks!

Sleep: I am starting to find a routine in my sleep-pee-sleep pattern. But I’m still pretty tired most days.

Exercise: More yoga with my buddy, lots of walking and spending time outside.

Best moment this week: Waking up feeling rested.

What do you miss/NOT miss? I miss working out and getting to an adrenaline-filled sweat. I do not miss the days of early pregnancy when everything felt surreal and I couldn’t feel the babies.

Babies’ Movement: That lil’ ninja likes to put his toes up in my ribs, while lil’ lefty keeps pushing her feet into the space above my belly button. It tickles but I wouldn’t trade it for anything except to see these kids in person.

Food cravings: Salad. And water.

Genders:  a Boy and a Girl.

Kids room prep: While we brainstorm names, I am also brainstorming creative ways to display their names in the nursery. I have 2 big canvases and I am itching to paint them.

Labor Signs/prep: I built a few lists to get organized for D-day (delivery day). I titled them with something adventurous and familiar, to remind me that we are not heading into some medical procedure or big-bad labor… rather, we are embarking on a winsome journey of discovering God, selves, and family.

Confession: I have no idea what a contraction feels like. Sometimes when I’m walking or eating, I’ll feel my tummy get hard, but I can consciously relax my muscles. Is this a braxton hicks? Or am I just reverting to old habits of holding a tone in my tummy muscles while walking/sitting?

Symptoms: Tried a homemade coconut butter/mama belly rub this week and broke out in another rash. My many stretch marks broke out with bumps that itch like crazy! It’s back to the “one lotion to rule them all” for me (Body wrap by Nuetrogena is the only lotion I haven’t responded with a rash to).

Other symptoms include tired, tired, tired mama. I also think I pulled a muscle in the lower right side of my abdomen (right where the Ninja man likes to poke his butt out), so I’ve been dealing with that too.

Mood: I had a bit of a breakdown this week. I woke up one morning with an overwhelming feeling of panic. My first thought was “we’ve bitten off more than we can chew, and we are going to choke on it!” Thankfully, God’s Word and my dear husband was standing by and within the hour, I was restored to the truth I cling to: that God knew, WAY before we did, all that this season would hold for us (moving, twins, adoption, etc.) and He still called us to it. Whom God calls, he also equips. To Him, it’s a small thing to provide each day.

Lullaby of the week: Sanctuary by Mark R. Harris, Dallas Austin. Our church worship leader explained that a sanctuary is traditionally considered a place of safety for those in danger (think Huntchback of Notre Dame). However, a sanctuary is also a place of worship, purity, and devotion to God. As I sing these lyrics, I pray my body can be both a safe place for our babies to grow, and also a vessel of devoted worship to God:

“Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true…”

Truth I’m dwelling on: At the end of a long, exhausting day, when I am feeling discouraged and humongous… I pursue the Phil 4:8 initiative. I read the verse and find something from the day that matches each characteristic:

“Fix your thoughts on what is…”

  • true (God gave me breath and legs and grace to do all I accomplished today, including growing two humans)
  • honorable (motherhood [no matter what the critics say])
  • right/just (the pursuit of release from prison/death for the pregnant Christian doctor Meriam Yahia Ibrahim)
  • pure (my friend’s lovely baby girl, Piper, who just smiles and coo’s like a perfect baby girl should)
  • lovely (music)
  • admirable (a friend’s commitment to sexual purity [more on this soon])
  • excellent (my husband said my perseverance through discomfort and emotional turmoil makes me a woman of excellence… his words 😉 )
  • worthy of praise (my husband’s pursuit of God’s will in his job, his weekends, and his decisions)

Looking forward to: All the kicks and rolls, nausea and discomfort, of the coming weeks. It means I’m doing my job 🙂

Questions for the Mamas: Hey ladies with babies, I’m adding another point to my weekly updates: I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic, and the one’s to come. Today’s questions is:

What do you wish you would have packed (or left at home) in your hospital Go-Bag?

Feel free to answer via commenting below!

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Twins-in-Progress: Week 29

 

29 weeks

29 Weeks: May 11-17

 

How far along? 7 months, 1 week

20140517-142123.jpg

Babies size: about 3 lbs. each!

What’s new with babies? Practicing breathing (we got to see the little boy work on this during the ultrasound 2 weeks ago).

What’s new with Mama? Belly button has popped out!

Exercise: In addition to my “birth prep” list, my dear friend Kristen has started coming over 2 times a week to practice prenatal-friendly yoga routines with me. I need to build up a little bit of endurance, but it is great!

Best moment this week:  Maternity Photoshoot!!!! My incredibly talented friend Andy Gann took a couple of quirky individuals…

booya ninja wheelbarrow

added a touch of magical cheer (and maybe some coffee)…

metro smoothie

and made this happen!

magic

fav

What do you miss/NOT miss?  I miss the brain power to get stuff done/remember important things. I do NOT miss not knowing how much grace and patience my loved one’s have for me. My baby-brain gives me the chance to see just how kind and gracious my family is for me.

Babies’ Movement: Both keep moving consistently. Our little boy likes to tickle me in the ribs (don’t judge if I start giggling in the middle of a conversation).

Food cravings: Nothing too exciting this week.

Genders:  a Boy and a Girl.

 

IMG_5427baby shower loot!Kids room prep: The loot has come in! Between baby showers, donations from great friends and ministries, and a shopping trip with my mama…. our kids are sitting pretty. We were going to wait until we moved in to the new house before stocking up, but it gives me peace of mind to have some of these supplies ready and waiting now.

20140517-141532.jpg

For the record, we are fully stocked on baby clothes! If you are interested in celebrating our babies with us, here are our registry links with items we still need/would like to have:

Amazon: (twin bassinet, woombies, feeding pillow, snap n’ go stroller)

Target: (high chairs!!)

Walmart: (Jogging stroller, classic toys)

Labor Signs/prep:  Patience…

Symptoms: exhaustion

Mood: Steady

Shane with our friends' sweet baby girl… I think he is sold :)
Shane with our friends’ sweet baby girl… I think he is sold 🙂

Lullaby of the week:  Wait and Rest by Brian Campbell.

I have held several brand new babies this week, and I feel like I am the last of the pregnant people I know (both personally and on Facebook) to give birth in this season. In those moments that I am anxious to meet our kids, this song reminds me:

Disarm my thoughts, I’m carried up to the cross…

I will wait and rest, I will wait and rest until you move, and lead me to your heart,

to feel your heart beat, and fill the greatest need in all the earth, that Your will be done in me.

Truth I’m dwelling on: My pelvis and back are receiving the hormone “relaxin” these days, which causes a bit of pain in my ligaments and a whole lot of discomfort. My body is getting ready for babies’ growth spurts (1/2 lb a week from here on out hopefully), and for the marathon of labor and delivery.

happyInstead of getting frustrated by the discomfort, I am striving to view it as a reminder to add some spiritual “relaxin” to my heart. I want to make room for greater spiritual growth in my life. I know this can be uncomfortable, even scary when God calls me to greater faith, deeper trust, consistent surrender, and uninhibited obedience. But like labor in pregnancy, it’s going to happen one way or another. God has a purpose, and as was said to Solomon:

“Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leaveyou or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of theLord is finished.” 1 Chronicles 28:20

Looking forward to: Meeting these kids!!! (but I’ll just hold them like this for now).

 

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Twins-in-Progress: Week 28

 

28 weeks

My incredible older sister helped us celebrate our “sweet peas” with an ultra-creative baby shower! I loved the whimsical nature of the whole day (thanks for being amazing Rachel!!!). Enjoy the pictures throughout this update!

_DSC0144

28 Weeks: May 4-10

_DSC0147How far along? 7 Months

Babies size: about 2 1/2 lbs. each!

What’s new with babies? Ultrasound confirmed both babies are head down. Lil’ Lefty still likes to play with her toes above her head, so in a way she is also “feet down”. My man-cub is still quite the show-off with all of his activity.

What’s new with Mama? My belly measured 30 weeks at my OB appointment this week. I also have “nesting” spurts (which is difficult since we haven’t moved into our “nest” yet. I spend a lot of time on crafts for the babies’ room.)

measuring the planet, ahem, belly.
measuring the planet, ahem, belly.

Exercise: Started a prenatal yoga class and love it! I am also continuing my daily stretches and relaxation exercises.

_DSC0151Best moment this week: It was my first Mother’s Day! Both babies gave me plenty of kicks to show their love.

 

What do you miss? energy

Babies’ Movement: Consistent kicks and rolls. I learned this week that Lil’ Lefty’s placenta is located on the left side of my belly, which is why it is harder to feel her movements than on the right (the ninja’s placenta is on my back).

Food cravings: Sweet and cinnamony croissants… don’t know where to find them though… these adorable cupcakes definitely sufficed 🙂

_DSC0153

Genders:  a Boy (sucking on his fingers)IMG_5408

and a Girl. (playing with her toes above her head)IMG_5407

Kids room prep: Taking inventory and making shopping lists._DSC0156

Labor Signs/prep:  Pushing myself to more diligence in my posture and Optimal Fetal Positioning exercises. No complications or labor signs yet.

Symptoms: Bruising on my stretch marks. A little bit of acne on my chest.

Mood: Pretty positive this week. I have been increasingly proactive to spend time in prayer, preach truth to myself (instead of listen to my emotions), and memorize Scripture.

Lullaby of the week:  Oh my God/I am a Seed by The Digital Age (formerly David Crowder Band)

This fast paced, blue-grass worship always gets me motivated, whether to work out or to start “nesting.” I appreciate the line, “I’m born all over again, death will lose and we will win.” My children will experience their first birth in a short couple months, but for me, this season is another time of rebirth: putting my flesh to death like a seed trampled down, and coming alive in my new identity as a mother in Christ.

Of course, Shane and I daily pray for our little boy and sweet lady to experience the most important rebirth of salvation someday.

_DSC0146 _DSC0149

Truth I’m dwelling on: I have permission to focus on the few. I want to be everywhere, with everyone, accomplishing everything… but I need to be faithful in the little things and let that be enough. Focus on the “Sweet Peas” right?

_DSC0152Looking forward to: a trip to Baby’s R Us with my sweet mama (and hopefully to see my sister try on her wedding dress!!)

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Twins-in-Progress: Week 27

 

27 weeks27 Weeks: April 27- May 3

How far along? 6 months, 3 weeks

Babies size: about 2 lbs. each!

What’s new with babies? Babies currently have more taste buds now than at birth.

What’s new with Mama? Feeling more active these days… working hard to get stuff done. It’s just slightly difficult to work around such a huge sphere of human-making.

Rockin' the tiger stripes!
Rockin’ the tiger stripes!

 

Exercise: I organized a list of helpful stretches and exercises, both for the mind and the body, to prepare for natural birth. Pinterest was a huge help, as were several friends.

IMG_5316

Best moment this week:  Camping-themed baby shower with amazing friends!

notes on the diapers
notes on the diapers
Hopes and wishes for babies
Hopes and wishes for babies
S'mores pops!
S’mores pops!
Lovely hosts
Lovely hosts

What do you miss/NOT miss?  I do not miss cleaning the bathroom (thanks husband!!!)

Babies’ Movement: Our little boy keeps tickling me. It is so much fun to feel these babies and remember the great purpose God has given me.

Food cravings: Lots of ice cream.

Genders:  a Boy and a Girl.

Kids room prep: We painted!!!

before
before
After
After
actually, this lovely lady (and the 3rd host for our baby shower) mastered the painting for this room (with her great husband).
actually, this lovely lady (and the 3rd host for our baby shower) mastered the painting for this room (with her helpful husband).
We are so thankful for helping hands!
We are so thankful for friends and family!

Labor Signs/prep:  Still no noticeable contractions.

Symptoms: Starting to lose my appetite again 🙁

Mood: Still up and down. As per this textbook pregnancy has gone thus far, I am now at the stage where feelings of hopelessness settle in. I catch myself spiraling down a negative path of no return. Shane is helpful to bring me out of it. As is the “truth I’m dwelling on” below.

Lullaby of the week:  more dreaming’…. All I do Is Dream of You.

IMG_5378Truth I’m dwelling on: I continue to work toward memorizing Psalm 46… remembering that God is a very present help in trouble. He is not coming later, or when He gets done with His other God-sized things. My God is omnipresent and He is VERY present in each moment. I find such comfort in that.

Posting all these pictures reminds me that my friends and family are also a very present help. I am beyond blessed!

 

Looking forward to: Maternity pics! (but for now, this one will have to do … look at that belly!)

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

10 Reasons to Study your Bible During Finals Week (Psalms 119)

10 Reasons to Study your Bible During Finals Week (Psalms 119)The end of the semester is approaching fast, and with it, final’s week. So we’ve provided a list of quick tips for studying… your Bible! Don’t forget to engage in some much needed time with God in the next few weeks. Here are a few good reasons why, according to Psalm 119:

1. To finish strong, you will try to study well, avoid opportunities to cheat, and make the most of your last weeks as a student: 

“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.” Verse 9

2. Unfortunately, there will still be moments you might feel like a complete failure:

“I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.” V. 25

3. Because finals week can lead to some crazy emotions:

“I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.” V. 28

4. And there are far too many negative activities to tempt you during a study break, which will only tear you down and distract you further:

“Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.” V. 37

5. Snacking on unhealthy foods while studying can lead to an unhelpful sugar crash.:

“How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.” V. 103

6. When you can’t memorize the standard deviation formula for your Statistic’s final, remember:

“The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.” V. 130

7. More than likely, you’re going to pull an all-nighter. Lucky for you:

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” V. 105

8. Or, you inherited masochists for group project partners, and they all decided to meet at 6AM to finish the project:

“I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.” V 147

9. In the end, you may have to question an unfair grade, or a professor that overlooked your effort. Do not be discouraged. Remember that sometimes….

“…Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word.” V. 161

10. When it is all over, you’ll want to party like it’s 2000 and Y2K fell through. Remember to give credit to God who helped you through it all:

“I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.” V. 162

Keep your Bible handy these next few weeks. Try reading a section of Psalm 119 every few hours during your study time (there are 22 stanzas, one for each letter in the Hebrew alphabet). You may find the insight and encouragement to be just the right perspective for all the stress and deadlines of finals week.

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Spring Cleaning Step 4: Give Thanks

cleaning tip 4Finally, and perhaps most importantly, an effective Spring Cleaning in the home and the heart is not complete without…

Step 4: Give Thanks

I am priviledged to accumulate so much stuff in my home. I even stumble across things I never expected.

I found these old cards from the day I was born in a memory box. It gets me very excited for our babies to come!
I found these old cards from the day I was born in a memory box. It gets me very excited for our babies to come!

But it’s a lot of work-both physically and mentally- to sort through it all. I could complain about the work, and get irritated with the mess. In truth, I often envy societies who live simplistic lifestyles.

While I can aim toward minimalism, I must also acknowledge that I live in the society I live in: the one God has me in (for now at least). So I give thanks, give generously, and move on.

cleaning tip give thanksAnd before I know it, one room at a time is cleaned out, cleaned up, and in my current instance, packed and ready to move into the new place! The process is long and arduous, and as such it accurately represents God’s work in our hearts too.

Thank you Lord for continuing the work to make me look more like Jesus every day.

Now it’s your turn, dear friend:

  • What are you thankful for in your home today?
  • What is the one thing you wish God would just “be done” cleansing you of?
  • How can you persevere in surrender to His work, no matter how long He chooses to take?

Add your perspective by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for joining me for the Spring Cleaning!!!

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Spring Cleaning Step 3: Organize

spring tip 3 organize

Now that I’ve established a decent purge of my home and my sinful heart, I typically want to “call it good” for the day. But step 3 is JUST as important in my spiritual and domestic spring-cleaning as the first 2 steps:

Step 3: Organize

Step 3.a: Put away the piles!

If an item is necessary or valuable to our life, I pile it based on its role (hair/bathroom, clothes, office supplies, etc.). At the end of my cleaning time, I MUST put these piles away.

The other day, I made the mistake of leaving the piles in my studio for the next day of cleaning. My writing productivity decreased greatly that week and I didn’t want to even go in the room!

In the same way, I believe God wants to bring order in my heart. He has given me a desire to do good and glorify God. But these Christlike qualities must have their “time and place.”

For instance, I could pack my day with appointments to mentor young women in my life (definitely a “keeper quality,” see Titus 2). But by evening, I’m brain-dead and still don’t have dinner on the table. I’ve missed out on “being still” before The Lord (Psalm 46:10), being helpful to my husband (1 Peter 3), and being faithful in other tasks (Luke 16:10).

It is important to keep certain items in my house, and my heart. But each must find a “home”: a place where it serves its purpose without distracting from the overall goal of glorifying God in my whole home/heart.

Step 3.b: Set a time-limit

I must organize the way I organize by setting a timer. I’ve always been an all-in kind of gal, so this is hard. I just want to go-go-go till it is done or I crash. Being pregnant means I crash much sooner, and more dangerously (dehydration, forgetting to eat lunch, over working my body).

I do the same thing with my heart. I could soul-search all day, pouring over what I need to “fix” in myself. That’s when I go back and read my “Breakfast with Jesus” post and remember that, in Christ, it is finished.

Campfire Check-In:

What are some ways you maintain organization in your life and your home?

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0

Happy May Day!

I woke up this morning to sun shining, birds chirping, and babies kicking inside my huge belly.

Everything about this day says, “it is time to be alive.”

Today, kindness is a choice. Humility is a part of my wardrobe. Patience will be my compass, and gentleness my sail. I will forgive and let go; consciously release stress and tension; and overall, put on love like a smile.

It is May Day.

A new day, a new month. My circumstances have not changed, but neither has my God. His mercies are new every morning, so my joy can be new too!

I flip the calendar and replace my white table cloth with a bright yellow one. I breathe thanks for a renewed perspective.

Peace will rule today. I am alive, but more importantly, Jesus is.

(Read more at Colossians 3:12-15)

How do you celebrate new-ness today? Comment below with your favorite song of inspiration. Here are some of my favorites:

Good Morning by Mandisa (my mom’s favorite)

You Revive Me by Christy Nockles

Awake My Soul by Passion

I’m off to deliver some May Day baskets to unsuspecting families (I had a blast making them with these fantastic ladies last night).

20140501-083335.jpg
In faith,

Becky

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
0