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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

For the Brokenhearted Wives


I spent some time this past week talking with a married gal who's heart is broken. She's in a marriage that has been more than a little bit painful (she said I could share this). She married a man that is not a believer. She knew it wasn't the best of circumstances, but she loved him and felt that he loved her deep enough to eventually want her God also. He's a good man, but still a man that does not love the Lord like she does.

This is no time for blame, she's hurting and needs comfort not correction.

If you are hurting in your marriage, I want to encourage you that the Lord sees your tears. He knows the pain of a broken heart and is near to it.

Maybe your spouse has another woman or maybe pornography has gripped his life and it breaks your heart.

The Bible says that God is a jealous God. By that it means that He knows the pain of someones heart embracing the love of another. He understands the depth of your hurt.

No matter why you are hurting, God has the healing and love that you so desperately long for.

I offered this woman the same advice that I do to all women who are hurting and want so badly to have their husband love them, it's found in THIS post.
But I also shared with her how much the Lord loved her and wants her to find her hope and healing in His arms. Sometimes our wounds just need time to heal and they need us to slow down long enough to let the Lord apply His love and healing power to our hearts.

Before we are wives, we are daughters. Daughters of the King of Kings.

You are precious in God's eyes. Failures and all. His love for you extends beyond the expanse of the universe. He created everything we see with YOU in mind. He adores you. He's your biggest fan. He wants to be your hiding place.
Psalms 32:7
You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. NIV

If you are hurting today, friend, go to that hiding place. Get yourself alone with the only One who is able to bring true comfort to your brokenness.

Psalms 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. NIV

Psalms 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. NIV

It's very difficult to bind up the wound of someone who won't stop moving. Take some time alone with God, He's just waiting to wrap healing His arms around you.

For more that I've written about my own brokenheart, see THIS post.

I'm praying for our marriages,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Double-Dog Dare You!

I'm posting over at Mel's World today for her "I'm a Godly Gal" segment.

Stop over and see me: Mel’s World

Here's a clip from my post "I Double-Dog Dare You!"...

"I wanted to cry. How could God take a worthless person such as I and
appoint me the honor of seeing Him move through the workings of my life. And
then I think, that IS who He IS. He takes the scorned, the down trodden, the
nobodies and gives their life purpose and joy when they trust in

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Guest Post ~ Sandy Coughlin of Reluctant Entertainers

I have been loving Sandy's blog for a couple years now, she has taught me so much about hospitality, you must check it out if you haven't already. You are going to love her!

Here is a quote from one of the newspaper's she was featured in:

"Hospitality is not about having the best or newest
or most beautiful," says
Reluctant Entertainer Sandy Coughlin.
"It's about sharing your heart and
home with others."

Leave her some Praise and Coffee love with a comment here and then hop on over and check out her website, click on logo:

Her husband has a ministry for men too, check it out here: Paul Coughlin

When Perfect and New Wears Off …

Usually when I’m asked to be a guest blogger, I like to talk about a party or food. But when Sue asked me, I just knew I could take my most recent experience and find spiritual value to it. Let me start here …

It was over 5 years ago that we enjoyed a brand new kitchen at our old home that we lived in for 10 years.

I remember the freshness of moving in, unpacking from the garage, having brand-new - and feeling on top of the world.

Then life became ... reality. The kitchen, that once was sparkling new, didn't seem that new any more. The glitter of it all started to fade as I still had to do dishes, my stacks of "stuff" piled up on the counters, the kids made huge messes, the cupboards needed wiping down, my busy life left it looking not so pretty anymore.

Those of you who have followed my blog know that we're on the cusp of enjoying another new kitchen in our current home. It's been a long process to get it done, doing much of the work ourselves, but I'm getting that taste of "newness" and "freshness" and I'm thinking my life will be happier when ... my new kitchen is done. Not!

I want to remember the lesson I learned with the old. My happiness doesn't lie in perfect or new. Because perfect and new wears off, it becomes old, rather quickly, and as life settles in again - I know I must keep my priorities straight.

So as the newness fades, I need to stop quickly and remind myself that it's what goes on in our kitchen that really matters. It's about the love that is transpired, the bonding with friends and family that is inspired, the nourishment that will be provided and shared together. It's sitting back and relaxing; what I call sharing the common life.

God blesses us all with exactly what we have each day. It's perfect for the day, whether in old or new, and He meets our needs, down to the finest details.

I want to daily create a place of love, in the heart of my home, called "the kitchen", where food is served, and real sharing takes place.

Luke 12:29-31

"What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You'll find all your everyday human concerns met."
The Message Bible

Sandy Coughlin • 4 Reluctant Entertainers
• real entertaining • for • real people •

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Biggest Zit Video and Your Marriage


Have you seen it? The biggest zit video. It's awful, truly awful. It shows a man's back and some of his "friends" lance this huge zit, and for about 10 minutes it continues to "erupt" over and over again. Just about the time you think that it must be over, it shocks you again.

If you haven't watched it yet, I am sorry but I'm not linking it here. You can easily find it on YouTube if you're interested. My sons were all yelling and screaming as they watched it so I had to see what all the fuss was about. It is so disgusting to watch and from what the people say in the video, it also has quite a pungent odor. Personally I think it is a staph infection and not a zit.

What does this have to do with marriage?? A lot actually.

When I watched the video I thought about how we let painful memories and feelings build and build in our lives. We walk around pretending it isn't there, but it's festering all the time and our spouse is fully aware of it along with most the people around us.

The symptoms are obvious, bitterness.

We spew it out everywhere we go. We complain about our husband to anyone who will listen. We rehearse the past and place the blame rightfully where it should be- on him. The bottom line is that we have an "infection" building in us. The longer we let it go, the worse and deeper it gets.

Ladies, if that is you, I pray you takes steps today to fight the infection with some "anti-biotics" or should I say "anti-bitterness" medicine.

A prescription for anti-bitterness:

1. Forgive
Let go, really...for good. Decide that you're not going to live your life through the lenses of the past. Put an end to seeing the world through the pain of past circumstances.
Col 3:13
Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

2. Put an end to constantly reminding yourself and others. All this does is amplify the situation and make it "bigger" in your life.

Phil 4:8-9
And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.

3. Go to the Lord in your quiet time and pour your heart out about the pain, asking Him to heal it. Do it by faith, believing that He is right there healing your broken heart. Then leave the pain with Him, stop carrying it with you everywhere you go.

1 Peter 5:7
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

Some of you (probably the ones hurting the deepest) will say that this is too simplistic, I can't truly understand how deep your pain is. And maybe I've not walked through your specific battle, but please don't think that I don't understand pain. I have walked through all these steps in different circumstances and I know that I know that God is faithful. He will heal your heart if you give it to Him. That is why I give you scripture, it's not my word or my experiences that matter, it's what God's Word says that counts.

Please hear me when I say that the "pain" that has become your closest friend is not your friend. It's eating you up, it's hurting relationships all around you. I pray that you will be able to walk in the freedom that God offers. He has joy for you that may have been buried for years.

Obviously, this message goes way beyond marriage, but let's start there.

I'm praying for our marriages,

Friday, October 16, 2009

I ask a lot of my pantyhose...

Wow, what a crazy week! I've been running around trying to get ready to go away to a writer's conference this weekend. Any moms out there that can relate to the "preparing to leave" routine?! Laundry, food and all the extra little emergencies that we try to prepare for.

  • Make sure they don't run out of dog food.
  • Tell them where the dog food is.
  • Buy plenty of cereal...the boys can survive on cereal for weeks if need be.
  • Tell them where the cereal is.
  • Wash everyone's underwear...they can deal with a lot, but no underwear becomes a crisis.
  • Tell them where the underwear is.
  • Remind them again about the dog food.

(In my husband's defense, he is AWESOME! He does take care of everything and they are all in good hands...and Lauren is thrilled to have Daddy all to herself for a couple days!)

And then there is the fun of preparing my own clothing choices. Now that it's a new season, everything has to be tried on and tested again. Not sure if you knew this, but in Michigan clothing can shrink from season to season.

So I put on an outfit that I really like, but it's just a bit know....the "Michigan thing." But I tell myself, it will be fine when I put pantyhose on. Then I realize...I ask A LOT of my pantyhose. Truly, they are expected to preform like no other piece of clothing or accessory. I can honestly tell you that if the pantyhose decide to get lazy on the job, somebody could get hurt. Just saying.

I was also busy sending out 25 Praise and Coffee Leader Packets to women who want to start them in their communities around the nation. From Maine to Arizona, women are busting out the Praise and Coffee and I am just thrilled to be a part of it! I hope to get to travel to many of them this next year!!

I am heading to Florida on October 28th to do a Praise and Coffee Night in Ft. Lauderdale with Melissa from Mel’s World. She's a long-distance blogging girlfriend that I just can't wait to meet in person. I think we will have hours of conversation and lots of laughs, just like girlfriends should!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, I'll let you know how the conference goes and most importantly, how the pantyhose hold out. Pray for me (or should I say, THEM).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Getting Your Vision Checked

Today we have another guest post with my good friend Denise, who I just happen to be going to a writer's conference with this weekend!!!

Yes, it's sure to be good fun. Lots of learning, laughing...and of course conversation that takes us way into the wee hours of the next morning. It's a requirement when you stay in a hotel with a girlfriend!!

Enjoy her post and click on her logo to visit her blog, you won't be sorry, it's very cozy there.

I wear glasses. Well, actually, I wear contacts because I don’t like to wear my glasses. You would think something so close to your eyes would not get banged into, but when you have boys you are always getting banged into and glasses are not a safe thing to wear.

S3 began kindergarten this year. In order for him to go to school, he needed his vision checked. Of course, I didn’t pay attention to this fact until the weekend before school began. I brought him to the local Walmart that has a box the kids look into, they tell the lady what the picture is of and I get a little slip to hand in at school. It’s a breeze, I had been assured. Except S3 failed this test. He was so intrigued with the box and how they got the pictures in it and he wanted to see the lady make the pictures big and small again. I shopped and brought him back but he still wanted those pictures out of the box. She failed him and I was furious over the whole ordeal.

I took him to our local pediatrician’s office the week school began. Our great pediatric nurse knew what had happened and took him aside, pumping him up to pass the ‘easy’ test. He failed again, much to the shock of both she and I.

I had to walk across the hall and make an appointment with my eye doctor so they could pass him once and for all. S3 seemed to be enjoying trying to take the tests, enjoying them a bit too much in my impatient opinion.

They asked me a bunch of questions about his vision and I assured them he was fine. They began the process of checking his vision and found that, he indeed, did seem to be having a difficult time seeing. I figured that would happen, I mean, we are at the eye doctor. They do need us to buy glasses, right?

They looked deeper and found he had a serious eye problem. Corrected with glasses, perhaps corrected completely one day, but the fact was he had not seen properly since birth. His vision was seriously in need of help. And quickly.

We shopped around for the blue glasses that best fit his face. All the while I was wondering how I would keep these on his face, how they would not be bumped into. S3 wanted the big sunglasses that looked like bug eyes but figured the blue ones with just regular glass would work too.

I had watched as the doctor had checked his vision and I watched the light in S3’s face as he realized he could indeed see the birthday cake, or car, or anything else that happened to flash up on the wall. As a mom, I felt horrible that I had not realized his need sooner. As a doctor looking at the situation, they assured me we would have had no idea without the thorough exam that he was suffering from poor vision.

I love how God uses just such situations
to reveal Himself more deeply to
I wanted to share the very personal way
God used this to show me an
important lesson.

I am my children’s mom. God put these four boys in my husband’s and my life to raise them in the Godly way they should go. It is up to us to keep them on track at this point in their life, keep them on the ‘straight and narrow’. So I had better know the truth of what I am teaching them. How often don’t I just assume I know? I have depended upon the upbringing of my parents – which I could not have done with out – to teach my children now. If I am not in the Word myself, how am I going to be able to teach my children the truth? How do I know if I’m well when I am not being regularly examined, if I don’t have someone who loves me enough to say “Silly girl, you are seeing it the wrong way!” and then help me find the correct way to see the situation. God’s way.

This point was driven home to me with S3’s glasses. I was 99% sure that his vision was just fine and dandy. There was nothing wrong with him at all. But it took a trip to a special physician to point out to me what I could not see with my own eyes.

I need to keep going to the Great Physician, to God, to make sure that I am doing what is right, raising our boys according to his word. Because I can be 99% sure I am correct, but I may be 100% wrong. I need that trip on my knees to God, visiting in His Word, listening to Him, to know how ‘well’ we are. There are those in our lives to point us the way we should go like the pediatric nurse and the impatient woman at Walmart, but until I go to the Physician Himself, I am just pointed in that direction. I have to do it myself. It’s great I am in church, learning in service and Sunday school, but until I am on my own with God, I am just ‘pointed in the right direction’.
S3’s glasses will get banged into, they will be difficult to get used to. But the outcome of him wearing them will far out weigh him not having them. Sometimes I feel like the Christian life “bumps” into others, causing discomfort and awkwardness. But the outcome of living for my loving Father far out weighs turning my back to the truth of God.

The song, “What do I know of Holy?” by Addison Road is one that always gives me goose bumps. I don’t have the album, but there is a line in the song (so I don’t have an exact quote) that talks about praying but she says all the words instead. I could have gone to the dr’s and told them all the reason’s why I didn’t think S3 should have glasses and walked out feeling better, I had explained it all to them, and S3 would have been just as vision impaired. It’s only when we stop, listen, act…that is when it changes.

What if I had told the optometrist she had no idea what she was talking about? What if I had told S3, “you know, honey, if you want those hideous sunglasses instead of real glasses, that’s okay because that is what you want.” What if I get these glasses for S3, he puts them on and says they are too hard to wear and I say “oh, that’s okay honey, you don’t have to wear them. We just had to buy them and that was all it took for you to see clearly.”

We need to act out what God has taught us. It’s only by S3 wearing them daily his vision will be improved. The moment he takes them off, his vision is wrong. The moment I turn my back to God, my vision is wrong, my life is wrong, my heart is wrong. It’s only by me turning to God daily that my heart condition improves, therefore leading to a life improvement.

I hope these words that seem to have tumbled onto the computer screen give you reason to pause and consider, “How is my vision? When was the last time I went to the Great Physician for a check up?” There is no time like the present.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do you wish your husband would love you more?


I believe that the book, "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, is one of the best books on marriage available. I have watched it take marriages from the road to divorce to complete healing and restoration.

The foundation of their message is the "crazy cycle".

Here is a short clip on the subject of love and respect, it helps us understand the different needs that a husbands and wife have. Please watch it and read the links!!

The Crazy Cycle

After watching that short clip, check out these two stories.

Two stories I hear over and over.

They will make you laugh and touch your heart!!

I'm praying for our marriages!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October Winner!


The winner of the October Praise and Coffee is:

Susan J. Reinhardt
Congratulations Susan!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Beware the Crunchy Milk Duds

What a great evening!
Women from all different churches and backgrounds gathered together again at the Plainwell Coffee Mill for a Praise and Coffee Night Out.

We had a jam packed evening of fellowship, worship, a talk-show, testimony, small groups, laughter and tears.
During our time in worship I looked back to see such beautiful faces of women thanking, praising and worshipping their God, it was overwhelming. How Great IS Our God!

I want to say a huge thank you to all the women who helped bring the evening together!!! To Tera for being my "Hoda", to Casie for being Casie and sharing with us about true beauty. To Amy for sharing the amazing testimony of her little boys walk through cancer...Amy we all love you!
To my incredible group of women who led small all are amazing and I'm so thankful to be sharing ministry with you.
To my daughter mini-me! You are such a blessing, words can't describe...not sure I could do this without you!!!
To the ladies who greeted, thank you for the welcoming smiles!

I could just gush on and on about the evening...mostly because I feel that God showed up and moved in each of our lives the way only a Great and Mighty God can!

Thank You Lord for bringing such love and healing to all of us. For laughing with us and for wrapping Your arms around us when we cried. Thank You Lord.

Here are some snapshots of our evening:

Here I am with our beautiful greeters at the front door, Harmony and Casie.

And... we recorded a message for California and one for me to bring to Florida at the end of the month!
I'm already getting excited about when we meet again Dec. 3rd!!!
Oh, and if you are wondering about the title of the post, this was one of the things we talked about in our host chat last night: Milk Dud Drama

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Imagine the Shame

To Throw the Stone
John 8:1-2
Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

3-6 The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said,

"Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?"

They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

6-8 Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said,

"The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone."

Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
9-10 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest.
The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. "Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?"
11 "No one, Master."
"Neither do I," said Jesus. "Go on your way. From now on, don't sin."

Caught in the act, imagine the shame.

But does Jesus scorn her? No.
Only her accusers that used her to trip up Jesus...just sure that He would have to condemn her and look like the cruel person they wanted to portay Him as.

But in His most loving way, He turned the tables on them. Just like He does to us when we get complaining about what someone else is doing.

I've never been caught in the act of adultery, but I've done some things I am hugely ashamed of and I am so thankful that God's response is...go on (meaning: don't stay here in this shame) and start over, don't do it again.

Forgiven is a beautiful title, take it.

To my local girlfriends...hope to see you tonight at the Coffee Mill in Plainwell for our Praise and Coffee Night!!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Each Word a Gift


Eph. 4:29 (Message Bible)
Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
30 Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted.
31-32 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Let's apply this verse to our marriage today!!

I'm praying for our marriages!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Praise and Coffee Conversations!

The next Praise and Coffee Night in Plainwell, MI is this week Thursday!

October 8, 2009
At The Plainwell Coffee Mill
717 E. Bridge St. Plainwell, MI 49080
7-9 PM

I am so excited because this evening promises to be entertaining and inspiring as we debut a new talk show style format with testimonies, information and plenty of laughs along the way.
"Praise and Coffee Conversations!"

Here are the small groups we will be offering at the end of the evening...

Small Group Topics:
1. Beautiful You
2. Marriage Matters
3. Freedom from Eating Disorders
4. Finding Peace in Chaos- A Mom’s Life
5. Woman to Woman ~ God Changed Me!
6. Overcoming Offense
7. Power of a Positive Mom
8. Healing
9. Freedom from Fear
10. Captivating - The Glorious Design of a Woman

Hope to see you there!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Don't Get Caught on the Wrong Side of the Driveway!

I'm over at the Cafe' today, stop by and see me!!!!

Here is the direct link to the article.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Praise and Coffee Giveaway AND Awesome Guest Post!


This month's Praise is:

Hillsong's "Faith + Hope + Love
You are going to LOVE it!!!! It's my current favorite!

You'll also get some very yummy "Praise and Coffee" label coffee!!

PLUS, our good friends at Bayview Cards are giving you a beautifully handmade box of cards!


~> Post a comment to THIS post after reading Denise's post and tell her how much it touched your heart- I know it did mine!!!

~> Please make sure that I have a way to contact you-PLEASE!

~> If you have one of my "Praise and Coffee Giveaway" buttons on your blog, let me know and you will be entered twice. Here is a link to all my buttons: Blog Buttons're so blessed this first day of October!!!

A guest post from one of my favorite-est girlfriend's Denise (click on picture to check out her blog!)

Where Are the Stars?

Our youngest, S4, has a fascination with stars. When we are out in the evening, he must search the sky for the first star. Once he finds it, he points excitedly, jumps up and down, shows it off to anyone near him as if we have never seen stars before and then breaks into song….

“Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are……”

It’s the cutest thing ever.

The other night we, S4 and I, walked out to the shed where we keep the deep freezer stocked with ice cream. The sky was filled with stars and S4, who is very afraid of the dark, clung to my hand and sang. Anyone who was with him must sing as well.

When I went to bring the ice cream back that night, he didn’t want to go with me. It was just too dark. “But you sing the song, Moma”, he told me as I headed out.

I knew he would ask if I had indeed sang it when I got back in so I did sing it to myself, feeling pretty dorky, as I walked to and from the shed. And sure enough, he wanted to know if I had sung the song. I was glad I had.

When it’s a cloudy night, S4 will look for the stars and panic when he doesn’t see them. He is sure some sort of catastrophe has occurred and taken the stars. Without stars, what is the purpose of night?

I try to explain to him they are just beyond the clouds, just beyond what we can see. He is very skeptical. He searches the sky until he can, indeed, see the stars again and then, once more, we must sing the song.

So often when this happens I think of how that is in my Christian walk. When going through the dark times, I am scared. God is the light that gets me through. He sends me a million trillion reminders of His love. “His banner over me is love” is the song that runs through my head. He is there and while it is dark, it’s in the dark I see the beauty.

But there are times when I can’t see God in the midst of my dark time. I can only see darkness everywhere, every dark shadow and crevice is something to take me down and out for good. I don’t want to be out in the night, I don’t want to walk from point A to point B. I know God is there, but I can’t see Him. And it is difficult in that time to praise Him, to trust Him, to see the beauty in the darkness.

God always brings the morning, whether they are filled with sunshine or storms. There is always the sun. God always brings the night, whether they are star filled or dark. But God is always in control, always there, and I am reminded of that when ever I have to again remind my little boy that the stars are indeed there…that morning will indeed come… How often don’t I need God to remind me the same way? “The dark night will pass, I am faithful and true.” And it’s these reminders, these little stars, if you will, that get me jumping up and down, praising God for His faithfulness.

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