It’s All About God’s Grace

In what is becoming an annual tradition, my family helped me create another Easter video over spring break this year. (You can watch last year’s video here.)

This new one is a cover of Meghan Trainor’s catchy song, “All About That Bass” — but with lyrics I don’t mind my little ones singing around the house.

Take a look, and let us know what you think. You’ll find the new words (along with Scriptural supports) printed below.

Best wishes for a blessed Holy Week. It really IS all about God’s grace… and we pray He will lavish that grace upon you!

It’s All About God’s Grace

You’ve got to know it’s all about God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — know your Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — it’s in the Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — read your Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace.

Yeah it’s pretty clear, this world is full of sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23)
But Jesus stands a knockin’ for you to let Him in. (Revelations 3:20)
Can’t get to Heaven any other way — (John 14:6; Acts 4:12)
It’s all by grace and all through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

My Jesus came to earth; Your ransom did He pay (Matthew 20:28; Galatians 1:4)
To call you out of darkness into the light of day. (John 3:19; 8:12; 12:46
Now God is working in you — and He won’t stop (Philippians 2:13; Philippians 1:6)
’Till every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top. (James 1:4; John 17:23)

Yeah, my Jesus He told me, Don’t worry about your life, (Matthew 6:25)
Just rejoice and be glad even when you encounter strife. (Matthew 5:12; James 1:2)
You know God dresses the lilies and feeds all the sparrows, too. (Luke 12:27-28; Matthew 6:26)
In the same way your Heavenly Father will care for you. (Philippians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 9:8)

Because you know it’s all about God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — know your Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — it’s in the Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — read your Bible.
It’s all ‘bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace.

But Christ will soon be back. (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16)
Go ahead, He tells us, be expecting that — (1 Peter 1:13; Luke 12:35-36)
And keep on praying. Spread the welcome mat. (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Hebrews 10:25)
‘Cause I’m here to tell you, (Mark 16:15; Acts 5:32)
Everyone should trust in Jesus, ‘cause His love will never stop. (Romans 10:9; Romans 8:35, 38-39)

Yeah, my Jesus, He died on the cross ‘cause of all our sin, (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10)
But He didn’t stay dead — no, He came back to life again. (Matthew 28:6; Acts 2:32)
And NOW He’s in Heaven (Mark 16:18; Colossians 3:1)
Preparing a place for me (John 14:3; Psalm 23:5-6)
and building the mansion you’ll live in eternally. (John 14:2; 2 Corinthians 5:1)

Because you know it’s all about God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — know your Bible
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — it’s in the Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — read your Bible.
It’s all ‘bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace.

Doing Work that Will Endure

Our daily challenge: How can we achieve results that will endure?FROM MY ARCHIVES: I have a friend who refuses to iron more than one piece of clothing at a time. She believes that dying with a closet full of clean, pressed clothes would be testimony to a wasted life. Why bother ironing something you may never get the chance to wear?

“I’d much rather spend my time mowing the lawn,” my friend confides.

I assume she just enjoys being out in the fresh air and sunshine, but no, she explains, the reason she likes cutting the grass is because she knows it won’t need to be cut again for a full week — or at least five or six days.

Not so with any other domestic task.

I can see her point. You can knock yourself out scrubbing bathrooms, mopping floors, or washing windows, and the results can be completely undone in a matter of minutes. (And the more young children that share your household, the more likely your efforts to keep it clean will be thwarted.)

Even a home-cooked meal is summarily demolished once it’s been brought to the table. No sooner do you wash and dry the last dish from one meal than your famished family is back in the kitchen, asking when they might expect the next or begging for a snack.

But a freshly-mown lawn? Once that job’s done, you can take a well-earned break and enjoy it for awhile. There is something very gratifying about that fact.

As a wife and mother, I must deal with an endless barrage of demands upon my time and energy, of which there is a very limited supply. If I do not choose wisely, I will end up squandering it to achieve results that are fleeting rather than investing it in something longer lasting.

I want to make taking care of people, not possessions, my focus.

Of course, at some point, the laundry does have to be washed, the meals prepared, the floors swept. Life has always been a balancing act and always will be.

The challenge is to tend to the temporal duties in such a way that we achieve lasting results.

Not that the same chores won’t have to be done all over again tomorrow, but that in the doing, we are training children, teaching teamwork, showing appreciation, offering encouragement, modeling diligence, radiating joy, building character, and making memories together.

That kind of time investment will yield results that endure.

It's all about our mindset: tending to temporal duties in a way that achieves lasting results.

Cultivating Contentment

Cultivating Contentment in the Season you're InMy husband used to have a medical colleague with a bad habit of complaining: When work was slow, he’d complain that he couldn’t make any money. When work was busy, he’d complain that he never saw his family.

Doug suggested that all he really needed was an attitude adjustment.

“When you’re working hard, be happy for the opportunity to make money. When your schedule’s light, be happy for the opportunity to spend more time with your family. Just flip-flop your reactions and you’ll have nothing to complain about.”

It occurs to me that a lot of wives and mothers might profit from a similar shift in thinking.

When our children are little, it’s easy to focus on the sleepless nights, the endless messes, the never-having-a-free-minute-to-call-our-own. As they grow, those earlier trials give way to hectic schedules and constant chauffeuring, then attitudes and hormones, then college tuition and car repairs, and then suddenly — in the blink of an eye — they’re grown and gone and you find yourself sitting in an empty house wishing for a do-over.

That’s why it is so important to focus not on the trials of each stage, but on the joys. Savor them, for they are fleeting. Tomorrow that chubby cheeked toddler who wakes you up three times a night will be married with children of his own.

I am so grateful that, when I was just a little girl, my mother warned me of the dangers of wishing one’s life away.

Instead of thinking, I’ll be glad when I’m old enough to wear make up or drive or date or attend college or get married or (fill in the blank), Mom advised me to just enjoy whatever stage of life I was in to the fullest.

The next stage would arrive soon enough, she assured me, but I’d miss the pleasures of the present stage if I spent my time pining for the privileges of the next.

It’s a lesson I carried with me into marriage and motherhood, and my life has been so much richer as a result.

Contentment is not something you should postpone for a more convenient time. If you are ever going to experience it, you must actively cultivate it.

Right now.

Right where you are.

This involves shifting your focus off the things you can’t do in your current season of life, and instead attending with gratitude to those things you can do.

Instead of complaining about the cold all winter and the heat all summer, relish the opportunity to wear sweaters and build fires and drink hot cocoa when temperatures drop, then take joy in wearing flip-flops and eating watermelon and going swimming when the mercury peaks.

This simple solution, consistently applied, has a profound effect on overall happiness and contentment.

One practical thing I do to help keep things in proper perspective is make lists. I’ve written before about the fact I keep a running Empty Nest List and a Do It Now List in my notebook.

These serve as a reminder to do more of what I’ll miss (like cuddling with my little ones, reading them stories, and baking cookies together) and to chill out about stuff that’s relatively inconsequential (there will be time to alphabetize my home library and organize my small parts cabinets when the kids are grown and gone, if those things are even still important to me then).

Of course, your children aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit when you focus on the things you love instead of the things that irritate you — your spouse will appreciate such a shift in thinking, too.

As much as you might like to grow old together, you have no guarantee that will happen, so show him all the love and respect and appreciation you can muster while you still have him with you.

Live in a way that will leave no lingering regrets when he’s gone.

What kinds of things would/should be on your “Do It Now List?” What things might be better postponed for another season, perhaps when your nest is empty?

Revitalize your relationship

5 Great Reasons to Read My Husband’s Book

5 Great Reasons to Read 25 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife....

Today is the official release date of my husband’s new book, 25 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife. It’s been two years in the writing, but over twenty-seven in the living.

Of course, I’d love to see every married couple devour this book, together with my companion book, 25 Ways to Communicate Respect.

That’s why this little two-volume set has become my standard wedding gift: I know husbands and wives will both be abundantly blessed when they put the principles into practice.

I can think of a lot more than I’ve listed, but for the purpose of this post, I’d like to share the five main reasons you should grab a copy of my husband’s new book ASAP (plus one possible reason you shouldn’t).

5 Great Reasons to Read This Book:

  1. Because It’s Biblical
  2. This book is absolutely drenched in Scripture. That’s a good thing, since the Word of God is the most solid foundation any marriage can be built upon.

    The reason divorce is so rampant in our society is because we have strayed so far from God’s original purpose and design for husbands and wives. It grieves my heart that Hollywood can take things as wholesome and wonderful as love, sex, and marriage, and turn them into something dirty, degrading, and dysfunctional.

    This book is a clarion call to reject all the contemptible counterfeits our culture proffers and return to the role God established for every husband from the beginning: that of protecting, cherishing, nourishing, loving, leading, and providing for his wife in the same self-sacrificing way that Jesus loves His church.

    Marriage is in trouble....

  3. Because It Works
  4. Nothing in this book is hypothetical. The principles discussed have been tried, tested, and proven, not only by my own husband, but by countless others like him — men who are committed to living by these ideals to the best of their abilities by the empowering grace of God.

    The more successful a husband is at integrating these truths into his life and actions, the more secure his wife will feel in his love. That’s why every chapter ends with a bulleted list of action points, so readers will immediately be able to put what they’re learning into practice.

  5. Because You Love Your Kids
  6. No matter how grossed out your children act when they catch their parents kissing in the kitchen, there is a reassuring calmness that settles over their little souls when they know Mom and Dad love one another and are committed to staying together through thick and thin, for better or worse.

    The old adage is true: One of the best things a father can do for his children is to love their mother. It doesn’t take long to see the damage done to children when Dad is not committed to the marriage or involved in the lives of his kids: the statistics associated with fatherless families are heart-rending.

    If you love your children, you should nurture your marriage and invest in resources that will help you tend it more effectively.

  7. Because You’ve Been Waiting for It
  8. I am always thrilled to hear from women who’ve read my books and have seen the Biblical principles promoted bring positive change in their marriages. That’s an answer to the prayers I poured out while writing the books, and I rejoice over every letter I get that shares such victories and triumphs with me!

    I’ve even received a few letters from husbands, marveling over the changes they’ve observed in their wives’ disposition, thanking me for writing the book, and asking whether we have a similar book for men.

    I’m delighted to now be able to answer, yes, we do! So if you are one of those men who’ve been waiting for it to be publishied, I can’t think of a better time to buy…

  9. Because Now It’s On Sale
  10. Order a copy before Valentine’s Day, and save 25% (and pick up a discounted copy of my book while you’re at it):

    50 Ways to Grace Your Marriage...

And Here’s One Reason Not to Read It:

  1. Because You Think Your Marriage Problems are All His Fault
  2. If you are a wife who is hunting for something to hang over your husband’s head, please don’t buy this book. It was never intended to be used as ammunition.

    If your marriage is struggling, your husband doubtlessly deserves part of the blame — there are two sides to every story, after all — but instead of pointing fingers, I urge you to examine yourself. What changes might you make to improve your relationship?

    Sometimes women are unwilling to do what Scripture calls them to do (respect their husband) until their husbands fall into line with what Scripture demands of them (love their wife). They use their husband’s perceived failure to justify their own disobedience.

    That’s a loser’s game. You cannot make your own obedience to God contingent on somebody else’s performance. You’re responsible for controlling your own actions and reactions — attempts to control his are futile.

    So if your marriage is in trouble and you are trying to fix it without any help or cooperation from your husband, skip getting this book for now and start with prayer.

    Pray that God would open your eyes to things you may be doing to contribute to the relationship problems you’re facing. Pray that He’ll give you grace to make necessary changes, even though you have no guarantee your husband will ever reciprocate. Pray that He will help you see your husband as He sees him, and that He’ll renew your love and admiration for the man you married.

    Get my book or read the blog or sign up for the 30-Day Challenge and work your way through each of the action points. And be encouraged that God can make something beautiful of even the most hopeless situations.

    “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9, ESV)

Invest in your marriage. Take the 30-Day Respect Challenge!

The State of a Union

How grows your marriage? The  State of a UnionWhen my husband and I built our house ten years ago, we planted two ginkgo trees on either side of our front yard. The trees looked identical the day we put them in the ground, but since that time one has flourished and the other has floundered.

The tree on the west side of our house gets plenty of sunshine. It is planted on level ground, not susceptible to erosion. Tall and straight, it has more than quadrupled in size. Its leaves are a deep green, its bark smooth, and its limbs symmetrical. Even when my husband accidentally backed into the tree with his truck and gashed the trunk, it managed to survive.

The tree in the east yard has not fared so well.

It was planted on a slope, where water runs off instead of soaking in. Surrounded by larger trees, it stands in shade most of the day. Gophers keep digging tunnels through its struggling root system. It has served as “base” for far too many games of tag and shows visible signs of wear from our little ones whipping the tree back and forth as if it were a stick horse.

Consequently, the trunk is crooked and spindly. Its uppermost branches were broken off at some point, so the tree is severely stunted — barely eight feet tall, as compared to its 45-ft brother. My husband has been sorely tempted to just chop it down and plant another in its place.

He nearly acted on that impulse several springs ago, but I spotted him just in time with the axe in hand and begged for mercy on behalf of the runt. Doug relented, and I did my best to nurture the scrawny thing back to health (a little staking and strategic pruning worked wonders for its appearance).

It’s important to note that my axe-wielding husband is not responsible for this tree’s present sorry state. He was simply responding to the damage already done by its other enemies — the gophers, erosion, and overly rambunctious children.

If I wanted to fault somebody for the tree’s miserable appearance, I should fault myself for not tending to it more faithfully, for not vigilantly protecting it from its various assailants.

No, Doug isn’t to blame, nor does he have anything against ginkgo trees in general. He has no desire to fell the heartier specimen, and although he considers this particular ginkgo an eyesore, he is perfectly willing to replace it with a new one. The presence of the healthy, robust ginkgo in the west yard — and the knowledge that there are countless others like it — reassures him that it is possible to raise one successfully.

But what if the west tree were just as sickly and stunted as the east? What if every ginkgo tree Doug had ever encountered were uniformly puny and pathetic? Wouldn’t it stand to reason that he might be less willing to take a chance growing one himself? That he might decide to plant something entirely different? At least he wouldn’t be pinning his hopes on something with a high failure rate. Would you buy a tree that had, say, less than a fifty percent chance of surviving?

I think the reason some groups are seeking to “redefine marriage” these days is that so many “traditional marriages” — at least the marriages they’ve personally observed or experienced — seem sickly and unappealing.

Although I disagree with their response, I do not consider these groups the enemy. They didn’t cause the problems; they are merely reacting to them.

The damage was done by a much subtler Adversary. Like the gopher that tunneled under my ginkgo, this Enemy attacked marriage at the root, digging away at its foundation, gradually shifting our focus away from God and onto ourselves.

God’s design for marriage — that we mirror the love of Christ and raise children for His glory — no longer seems to be our primary concern. Finding happiness and personal fulfillment is the new end goal.

As Danielle Crittenden observes in What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us, “We may pledge to love each other until death do us part — but we blanch at the first hint of sacrifice.”

How many couples have I heard rationalize their divorce by saying “we’re just not happy together anymore”? I’ve lost count.

More likely than not, these men and women had good intentions of making each other happy (or at least of making themselves happy) when they first married, but if happiness is all they sought, it makes sense they’d be ready to throw in the towel when happiness is not forthcoming.

But should they call it quits? Is unhappiness really a sufficient reason to divorce?

Not according to a report released by the Institute for American Values. Their studies found that two-thirds of couples who were unhappy in their marriages, but stuck it out anyway, considered themselves “happily married” just five years later. In fact, “the most unhappy marriages reported the most dramatic turnarounds. Among those who rated their marriages as very unhappy, almost eight out of ten who avoided divorce were happily married five years later.”

Even so, many couples don’t persevere long enough to discover this fact. And that’s too bad.
It’s bad for their families, but it’s also bad for society as a whole. Strong and stable families make for a strong and stable nation.

Couples need to understand that happiness springs from commitment. Not the other way around. Allowing something as volatile as happiness to determine whether you stay married or not is a sure way to destroy any chance of building a love that endures.

We must stop treating happiness as if it were a destination we have to trample upon others to reach. In reality, the route to true happiness is through selfless, sacrificial love.

Deep, abiding joy is a disposition that is naturally cultivated as we seek to live for God’s glory. That, after all, is the chief end of man: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

It’s the purpose for which we were created in the first place, and we’ll never find lasting, genuine happiness, in marriage or in any other endeavor, so long as we neglect it.

Love Your Husband/ Love YourselfThis post has been adapted from my book, Love Your Husband/Love Yourself: Embracing God’s Purpose for Passion in Marriage. Packed with Bibilcal wisdom, scientific studies, and humorous anecdotes, it is a must-read for any wife serious about improving her marriage.

A Tale of Three Babies

A Tale of Three Babies --  what an amazing story!

(photo used with permission: view source)

Baby #1: Inconvenient

“I’m getting an abortion, and nothing you say is going to talk me out of it.”

That’s what a friend of ours was told by his girlfriend when he accidentally got her pregnant, twenty-some-odd years ago.

Although both were old enough to get married, settle down, and start a family, neither was interested in doing so. There were still so many things they wanted to do, places they wanted to go, sights they wanted to see.

Having a baby at that point in their lives would necessitate tabling many of those other plans. Possibly forever. So they decided terminating the pregnancy would be the easiest and most expedient thing to do.

I think our friend was initially relieved by this choice — it meant he could postpone shouldering any real responsibility for a few more years — but as the date for the procedure drew nigh, he began to have second thoughts.

Hence, his eleventh-hour call to my husband to confess what was about to go down: The abortion was scheduled for 8:00 the following morning. He’d done everything he could to dissuade her, to no avail. She was determined to go through with it.

I don’t know what our friend expected my husband to do with this knowledge. Perhaps he thought he’d just shake his head or wring his hands and commiserate, “Well, at least you tried….”

If so, he was wrong.

“Maybe Jennifer could talk to her,” Doug suggested instead.

The expectant father suddenly seemed a little nervous. Not only did he refuse to give us his girlfriend’s number — he wouldn’t even tell us her name.

But he grossly underestimated Doug’s resourcefulness and resolve… and the concern we both shared for his unborn baby.

We didn’t know the patient’s name, but we knew the name of the clinic and what time she’d be there. So after much prayer through the night, Doug drove me downtown early the next morning and deposited me on the doorstep of that very clinic, our own infant son in my arms.

I explained to the girl at the front desk that I was late on my cycle and had heard their clinic offered free pregnancy tests (true on both counts). Might I get one, please?

She had me fill out some paperwork (I’ve been on Planned Parenthood’s mailing list ever since — a great source for insider information), then grabbed a test kit, led me to a restroom in the very heart of the clinic, and left me to do my business.

Clasping baby to my shoulder, I peed on the strip, washed my hands, then took an intentional wrong turn when exiting the bathroom in an attempt to track down the girl I’d come to see.

I found her sitting in a nearby waiting room next to the father (which is how I recognized her). Sliding into the seat beside her, I tearfully urged her to reconsider. I showed her my sweet little baby and begged her to take pity on her own.

Security showed up in a matter of seconds to escort me from the premises, but not before this pregnant mama had heard my entire spiel. She, and every other patient within earshot….

Baby #2: Inviable

“Your baby’s going to die, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

About the same time Couple #1 was dealing with their crisis pregnancy, some other friends of ours were facing a pregnancy crisis of a different sort.

Having already been married for a couple of years, they were ecstatic to learn a new baby was on the way — their first! But that initial excitement evaporated into thin, sterile air as they sat in their obstetrician’s office after a routine sonogram.

“Your baby has severe pulmonary atresia,” the doctor told them frankly.

Translation? Their baby essentially had no lungs. And as it would be impossible to live without them, they were advised to terminate this pregnancy and try again later. Better luck next time.

But these friends were staunch Catholics, so an abortion was completely out of the question. They believed in the sanctity of life. They loved their baby. And they were determined to carry and care for him as long and as well as they possibly could.

In the meantime, they’d pray for a miracle. And pray, they did. They, and everyone else who knew them.

Even so, every subsequent sonogram — all twenty-three taken over the course of the pregnancy — showed the exact same defect. The prognosis remained bleak. The situation seemed hopeless.

They carried the heavy burden of that knowledge for the full length of the pregnancy. No lungs! The due date was rapidly approaching. Their baby would be born soon, but he’d never draw a single breath….

Baby #3: Inconceivable

“She’s getting an abortion, and I don’t want to hear anymore about it.”

My husband overheard a friend make this statement several years back. The people with whom the man was talking were aghast that he would even consider such a thing. Yet the more they argued against it, the more adamant he became.

Although my husband was in agreement with the vocal majority on this issue, he listened to the conversation from a distance, resisting the urge to jump on the bandwagon or join in the discourse.

Later, when he and his friend were alone, Doug asked gently, “I couldn’t help but overhear what you were saying to the others earlier. What’s going on? It sounds like you’re having a rough time.”

No shock. No judgment. No outrage. Just sincere interest and genuine concern.

The friend immediately dropped his defenses in response.

“It’s my wife,” he sighed, the worry evident in his voice. He explained how life-threatening her first pregnancy had been. How frighteningly close she’d come to dying in the delivery room. How afterwards they had taken drastic measures to ensure she wouldn’t conceive again.

Yet, against all odds, she’d gotten pregnant anyway.

“We’ve always been pro-life,” he confided, his voice raw with emotion, “but I don’t know what else to do. I can’t face the thought of losing her. I need my wife. Our child needs his mother. I don’t know how we’d cope if anything happened to her….”

My husband listened empathetically, admitting that it was a tough call.

There’s such a wide spectrum of reasons why a woman would choose to terminate a pregnancy, Doug noted: “On one hand, we have ectopic pregnancies where the baby is developing inside the fallopian tube and has zero chance of surviving, while mom has almost a 100% chance of dying unless something is done. On the other hand,” he continued, “we have women getting abortions so they won’t have to miss their annual ski trip.”

Clearly, this friend’s situation was much closer to the ectopic end of the spectrum rather than the elective end.

“I can’t tell you what to do,” Doug told him, “but I can pray that God gives you and your wife wisdom as you make that decision yourselves. And that’s exactly what I will do. But first, let me tell you a story about some friends of ours….”

The Rest of the Story

Doug then proceeded to tell him about Baby #2: Our friends were pregnant with their first child. Two dozen sonograms taken throughout each stage of pregnancy indicated the baby had a fatal birth defect that would make it impossible to survive outside the womb. Every specialist the couple saw recommended an abortion, but our friends refused, choosing instead to pray for a miracle.

And do you know what?

A miracle is exactly what they got. The baby was born perfectly healthy, the pride and joy of his parents.

Their physician confirmed this. “I know what I saw,” he told them. “I didn’t misread 24 sonograms. If this baby has healthy lungs, it’s because God answered your prayers.”

The child grew up, graduated from high school, graduated from college (early), and continues to be a smart, handsome, productive member of society.

I wish we had a happy ending to share for Baby #1, but his mama went through with the abortion, despite our earnest pleas to spare the baby. None of us know what might have been had she decided differently.

I still think of her occasionally, though. Did she later come to regret her decision?

I suspect she eventually did, as the majority of post-abortive women do. I pray she is no longer haunted by it, however, but has by now discovered the forgiveness that is found only in Christ.

And Baby #3? Those parents very prayerfully decided to keep that one, too, reasoning if God overruled their best efforts to prevent conception, He must have a very special purpose for that little one’s life.

Mother made it smoothly through both pregnancy and childbirth with no complications, and today the family is healthy, happy, and whole.

So that’s my Tale of Three Babies. Three different couples, three different cities, three different circumstances, but all facing the same decision: Will we end this story before it ever starts? Or will we let it play out, and see what happens?

Tomorrow is “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.” It is a day for Americans to remember the 1.2 million babies a year in our country who, like Baby #1, are never given a chance to live happily ever after.

If you are expecting a baby right now and are facing a crisis because of it, help is available. Please don’t let this story end before it ever begins. Choose life for your little one.

Related articles:
Something You Can Easily Do from Home Saved This Baby from Abortion
Oversold Prenatal Tests Spur Some to Choose Abortion
Dear Woman Who’s Getting an Abortion Tomorrow
We Know They are Killing Children

Never Enough Time?

"If you don't have the time to do the things that you ought to do, it means that you've tried to do something God hasn't called you to." - Jennifer Flanders

My husband and I are both list makers by nature, but we approach our lists differently.

I’m all about the details, which is why I’ve been known to start the New Year with as many as seven type-written pages of goals and resolutions.

My husband, on the other hand, tries to boil down his goals into as few words as possible. During his first year of residency, the goal was SURVIVE. Another year, his mantra was READ, WRITE, & RUN.

He informed me a few days ago that his goals for our family this year are going to be DISCIPLINE and JOY — as in, the more disciplined we are about doing what ought to be done, the more joy we’ll experience as a result.

I think he’s onto something.

Left to myself, I tend to set wildly unrealistic goals. I guess I’ve bought into the it’s-better-to-shoot-for-the-stars-and-get-off-the-ground-than-aim-for-a-lamppost-and-stay-where-you-are way of thinking.

The problem is, I sometimes let what should be secondary or tertiary goals take precedence over far more important priorities. Typically, the lesser goals are more easily quantifiable and don’t depend on anybody but myself, so I’m often tempted to work on those even when I know I should be working on something else.

This is especially true when my accomplishing something else depends on someone else who is being uncooperative or resistant or is in some other way thwarting my progress.

But that’s where the discipline and joy come in, which is why Scripture tells us:

  • “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)
  • “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

And that sums up my New Year’s resolution this year: I want to tend to the things that matter most, doing my work joyfully and whole-heartedly, and not growing weary, even if I don’t get the results I’m hoping for right away.

I still have a huge list of stuff I’d like to accomplish this year — certainly more than I could ever get done in my own strength. But God has promised to supply all my needs (Philippians 4:19), and that includes giving me the time I need to do the things that matter most to Him.

Of course, when I’m disciplined about doing the things I ought to do, I have less time for doing the things I’d like to do. That much should be obvious.

What isn’t so obvious is the fact that, when I’ve tended to first things first, I’m usually far more productive with the time that’s left over.

Like loaves and fishes, when I give each day to God, when I’m intentional about stewarding it wisely, when I faithfully do what He’s called me to do, there are enough fragments of time left over that I can make a serious dint in my dream-big list of goals, as well.

So that’s my plan for 2015. What’s yours?

25 Ways to Communicate Respect