Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Early on in my walk with the Lord, I was introduced to the work of, now, some of my favorite authors.... Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend. As a college student, I read Changes That Heal and Boundaries in Dating. Combined, these books gave me great insight on the topic of boundaries. I'd like to say that I learned all I can about boundaries and have successfully applied the principles to my life. But, it's like this specific lesson is on repeat for me.

Ok, so what is a boundary? Well, I'll share what Cloud and Townsend have to say about it....
Simply put, a boundary is a property line. Just as a physical fence marks out where your yard ends and your neighbor's begins, a personal boundary distinguishes what is your emotional or personal property, and what belongs to someone else. You can't see your own boundary. However, you can tell it is there when someone crosses it. When another person tries to control you, tries to get too close to you, or asks you to do something you don't think is right, you should feel some sense of protest. Your boundary has been crossed.

Boundaries serve two important functions. First, they define us. Boundaries show what we are and are not; what we agree and disagree with; what we love and hate. The second function of boundaries is that they protect us. Boundaries keep good things in, and bad things out. When we don't have clear limits, we can expose ourselves to unhealthy and destructive influences and people.

Lately, the topic of boundaries has been extremely prevalent in my life. It is hard and sometimes uncomfortable to set boundaries. But, if I don't keep the pattern of setting and maintaining healthy, appropriate boundaries with people, I will end up suffocating and suffering in many ways.

I need boundaries because....

  • I want to grow as an adult! If others are constantly trying to do for me or even help me to the extent that I am not given an opportunity to make decisions for myself, I will be overly dependent on others. While yes, I absolutely 100% need authority in my life, I do not need to be controlled. Rather I need to be guided and led so that I can learn and grow.
  • I am responsible for what is inside my boundaries. The more I allow people in and they begin messing around within my boundaries, the more chaotic things will become and it will be out of my control, although still my responsibility! To avoid the chaos, I want to invite healthy, safe people into my life who will help me while respecting my boundaries.
  • I need to be my own person. With boundaries, I will be my own person, apart from others.
  • Without appropriate boundaries, I am at risk of being controlled, manipulated, and even (emotionally) abused by others. 

As I continue on my journey of learning about and setting boundaries, I am amazed at how gracious our God is! Not once has He given up on me because I must revisit this same lesson over and over. He's so good, that He even brings new things to my attention to increase the depth of the lesson. I am grateful that God is patient with me, that I am created in His image, and that He is not yet finished with me!

Do you need to evaluate your boundaries? Are you letting others in at the expense of your emotional or Spiritual health? Who do you need to set boundaries with, in your life?

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." - Philippians 1:6

[Excerpt from Boundaries in Dating (pg. 28-29) by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend]

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ten Ways to Love: Way #1

The other day, I saw Beckah Shae post the photo below on her Twitter and Instagram account. However, it wasn't until today, that I was inspired to write this list down to keep handy. I also wanted to look up all of the coordinating references with each "way to love" listed. 

Today, I got through just number one. I read Proverbs 18 and immediately was drawn into the depth of wisdom. Verse 1 reads, "Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement." As I pondered over this verse, I thought about how many people whom I know, who have not listened to those around them-- who care deeply for their well being. I was filled with concern with people who are making seemingly rash decisions based on their own desires, not what may be best, and ignoring wise counsel from those around them, or in authority over them. Without reading any further, God used that verse alone to remind me of the importance of accountability, authority, and community in each of our lives. Without it, we are bound to reap destruction. 

As I read further, it became clear why Proverbs 18 is the reference used for "way to love #1" ... 


"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." - Proverbs 18:2
"A fools mouth is his ruin..." - Proverbs 18:7
"If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame." - Proverbs 18:13

These verses give more depth to listening without interrupting. How many of us are guilty of "listening" to someone while in all actuality, the entire time they are talking, we are formulating our response? 

From experience, I know how meaningful it can be when one listens intently, assessing what has been said, and then responding. My husband will tell you that often times, I do not share expecting a response or solution to a problem.... I usually just want to be heard. And interrupting would give me the impression that hearing me is not important. 

A helpful skill in listening without interrupting is active listening. One way that Tyler and I practice active listening and attempt to avoid miscommunication is after one of us shares something, the other person will respond with "I am hearing you say...." This allows for correction, while also forcing the listener to actively listen. Unfortunately, we are not perfect in this and miscommunicate! But, we do our best to listen to one another in a way that communicates love.

Who do you need to listen to more, while interrupting less?

Monday, August 13, 2012


Why should we forgive others? Well, for starters, we are called to.

"Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven." - Matthew 18:21-22

"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." - Matthew 6:14

My Pastor has recently been going through the book of Philemon, focusing on forgiveness. Below is last Sunday's sermon he preached. It was quite good, which is why I thought to share it!

Pastor Ken Whitten: The Language of Forgiveness

One of the things he started the series with was asking the congregation at Idlewild, who comes to mind when we talk about forgiveness? So, that's what I want to ask you. Who comes to mind when the topic of forgiveness comes up? Is it an ex-husband/boyfriend, ex-wife/girlfriend, parent, roommate, sibling, co-worker? Everybody thinks of someone....which is a great starting place to begin the process of forgiveness.

The person who comes to my mind when I think about forgiveness is someone who caused me many years of deep pain. But when I think of that person, I no longer think, it'd be great if I could just reach the place of being able to forgive them. I now think, I hope to continue on this path of making the constant choice of walking in forgiveness. And man, how freeing! That person certainly did not need me to forgive them. But I needed to forgive them, for myself. It allowed me to move on from holding onto bitterness, disappointment, resentment, and anger. Now, when that person comes to mind, I am no longer filled with anxiety or even sadness, but I am excited that God has given me the ability to forgive, care for, and even love this person (again).

There are several wonderful resources available on the topic of forgiveness. Here are just a few...

Want to be Happy? Forgive Your Enemies -- by Donald Miller

Forgiveness and Restoration -- by Rose Sweet (Focus on the Family)

Changes That Heal -- by Dr. Henry Cloud

10 Things Forgiveness is Not -- by Pastor Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church)

Now, what's holding you back, from choosing to forgive that person who has wronged or hurt you? God has forgiven us for all that we have done to wrong Him. That's motivation enough for me to practice the choice of forgiveness. And I sure hope you feel encouraged and better equipped to move towards making the choice to forgive your person.

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." - Ephesians 4:32

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tank on Low?

Today, Tyler and I quizzed one another with the Love Language Profiles in Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.

Questions we often ask one another are, "how can I love you better?" or "how is your love tank?" For me, I sometimes find it difficult to articulate how my love tank can be filled more or how Tyler can do a better job of showing me love. So, I thought maybe insights from Gary Chapman would help me.

Well, to no surprise, my primary love language is gifts and Tyler's is physical touch. So, I skimmed through Chapter 8 to find some ideas on how to love Tyler more through his primary love language. Although I found some helpful ideas, what I realized is that loving through physical touch does not come as naturally to me as expressing love through gifts, or even acts of service. I have to choose to show Tyler love in the way he best receives it. This will certainly take effort on my part, but will it be worth it? Absolutely! And it will be fun! I hope to continue to brain storm ideas on how to better fill Tyler's love tank through his primary and secondary love languages.

Who do you have to choose to love? Are you showing them love how it comes most natural to you, or how they best receive it? Do others around you know how you best receive love?

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking..." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Monday, August 6, 2012

Provider vs. Provision

Over the past six months, I have been seeking God as my Provider, as Jehovah Jireh. Or so I thought.

Friday evening, Tyler was in a car accident in a pretty rough neighborhood near our home. It was a drama filled hit and run accident. Thank God, he is just fine! Our car however, looks a little more beat up....

It was about this time last year that we were in the market for a new car. Why? Because in May of 2011, Tyler's SUV was stolen and stripped while we were out of town. 

We had no idea how we were going to replace it, since we did not have comprehensive insurance coverage on the vehicle. A junk yard bought the SUV for the scrap metal and parts, for just over $400. And up to this point, we had not been saving for a car-- we had 2 cars that were doing just fine. So, one car down and no help from insurance. What an unpleasant surprise! So, we prayed and asked God to give us what we needed with the upcoming school year, and us needing to be in two different places (one car didn't seem do-able). We invited others to pray for us as well. We did not ask anyone for financial assistance with the matter. 

As people began to respond, not just with prayer, but with financial assistance, we couldn't help but give God all the praise! He was providing us the money we needed to buy a used car! In less than 3 months, God had brought in enough for us to buy a 2007 Hyundai Elantra -- and what a beauty!!

I was certain that God was receiving my gratitude and praise for providing us with this car. Until Friday night. It was a bizarre realization... but I was deeply convicted. I don't put all my trust in the Provider, but rather what He provides. And what He provides, is His -- He can take it away just as quick as He gave it! Well, that hurt to come to terms with, but also very freeing.

Now, in the season of raising financial support alongside Tyler, as we prepare to move to New Jersey for our first assignment in full-time ministry together, I can seek to not put my hope in the finances God provides, but in who He is as Jehovah Jireh, my Provider!

"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;  may the name of the Lord be praised.” - Job 1:21