Who’s Destiny Are You Stopping?

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 8.51.41 PMI have talked to many people lately who are struggling to make serious changes in their lives.  These changes have included such things as; taking a step out to start their own business, giving up their job to launch out into full-time ministry and reaching out to a loved one to heal a broken relationship.  By anyone’s standard, these are all hard decisions and worthy of contemplation and planning.  However, when contemplating and excessive planning coupled with fear, doubters, and basically a faith deficit, prevent you from moving forward to follow closely something God has called you to do, your have possibly entered into sin.

My Pastor, Adam Starling, once said “The time between when God tells you to do something and time you actually do it is the greatest problem for most people’s obedience to God.”  One thing I have learned is that often times, God is waiting on you to obey what He has called you to do, so that someone can fulfill what He has called them to do.  Maybe, someone is believing God for a job and he wants them to take the one you need to give up in order to start your own business.  Perhaps, people’s eternal destiny is waiting on you to completely embrace the ministry call on your life.  Even still, generations coming after you may be forever changed by your willingness to risk being hurt and moving forward to restore that relationship with your family.

I wonder how many people’s lives your decision to quickly obey God will impact?  If you are having trouble making these decisions and taking that step of faith, get some accountability, get some life-coaching, and do the things that put yourself in a place to quickly obey.

Now is the time to shorten the gap between when God speaks and you act.  Faith leaps, while not always easy alway pay BIG.  In the words of NIKE, “Just do it!”

The Best Start and a Fabulous Finish

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 7.21.34 AMThere is nothing better than living a life of joy.  If you combine this with having a marriage that brings you great joy, your life is so much better.  We work with couples every week who struggle in marriages that just don’t meet the standard of joy and peace they would like to have.  There is a simple start to this process.  First of all, there is one thing to always remember.  YOU and you alone are responsible for your joy.  When you truly begin to acknowledge that your spouse is not the source of your joy then you are well on your way to having the best start and the fabulous finish.

Even though it is true that you are responsible for your own joy, there is a secret that will ensure that you are able to have a joy filled day every day.  The best start comes when every morning you begin by spending time with God.  Just spending those precious first moments of your day remembering God, embracing His presence and verbalizing your gratitude to Him for all He has done for you, starts your day off right.  There may be struggles in your day but they are nothing that you and God together cannot handle.  I love Psalm 5:1-3 from the Message Bible:

1-2 O Lord, hear me praying; listen to my plea, O God my King, for I will never pray to anyone but you. 3 Each morning I will look to you in heaven and lay my requests before you, praying earnestly.

This simple concept of praying in the morning helps refocus your day.  Taking time with your spouse every morning to refocus together will give your the best start at having a great day and a joy filled marriage.  Psalm 5:4-5 gives advice for your thoughts throughout your day:

4 I will bless you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. 5 At last I shall be fully satisfied; I will praise you with great joy.

Taking this simple posture of remembering God in the middle of your day, continues to keep you focused on what is most important.  Use phone calls and texting to encourage your spouse to remember that God is with him at every moment.  I love getting texts from my husband sharing the ways God has reminded him that he is with him all the time.  That simple act increases my joy so much.

Now for the fabulous finish, we look at Psalm 63:6-8:

6 I lie awake at night thinking of you— 7 of how much you have helped me—and how I rejoice through the night beneath the protecting shadow of your wings. 8 I follow close behind you, protected by your strong right arm.

Ending your day talking to and thinking about God and how much He has done for you, that He is protecting you, reminds you that you are never alone.

We are never fighting our way through life without the very help we need to succeed.  God is with us every day at every moment.  Try utilizing these steps to finding your “Best Start and Fabulous Finish” every day.

My Best Friend

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 6.22.18 AMI have had this passage of scripture floating around in my head,

A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)

When you’re married, your spouse should be your best friend.  You spend more of your time with them than anyone else, you share a home, meals, activities, children and intimacy with them.  I have, however, heard many wives talk about their best friend only to find out that it is NOT their husband.  As I thought about the reasons why they would give that coveted spot to someone other than their husband, I realized one such reason might be laid out for us in this passage of scripture.  How do those wives treat their husbands, do they show themselves friendly to him?  Friendships take work, they rarely just happen.  You might meet someone that you are instantly connected to, but to maintain a good friendship you have responsibility in the relationship.  Taking time to talk, engaging in activities together, celebrating wins and even walking through the losses together are vital parts of any healthy friendship.  Also, knowing their likes and dislikes, their values and encouraging their dreams are also important.  Do you do those things with your husband? If you don’t, I encourage you to start today.  Show yourself friendly, take responsibility and give your husband this place in your life. the rewards will be great for both of you.

Hello! I love you!! This One’s for the Girls

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 4.34.31 PMThis post is for the girls.

Often in our Marriage and Relationship Life Coaching sessions we meet with couples who have been married only a few years.  However, from time to time we have couples who have been together for many years.  For these couples, they often report they feel like they are living with their sibling.  It isn’t usually anything huge that derailed their marriage rather a lack of demonstrations of love each day.  As you know I often say, “If the grass looks greener in your neighbors yard, water your own grass.”  Often times after years of living with someone you get so accustomed to their ways and thoughts that life can become routine.  This is often the downfall of many marriages.

What to do????  The best answer truly comes from the past.  When you first met your husband, what did you do?  When you first started pursuing him, my guess is you left no stone unturned in your effort to get his attention and demonstrate your love for him.  Well, sometimes going back to the basics is the best idea.  To revive the romance in your marriage, why not try some of the wonderful things you did in the early days.  Here are few suggestions that might be helpful in jogging your memory.

  • Leave sweet notes of love for him to find in his car in the morning.
  • Send him off in the morning with a PASSIONATE kiss.  (This is two-fold, it starts his day of right and reminds him why he wants to come home at night)
  • Meet him for a surprise lunch.
  • Send him sexy text messages during the work day.
  • Make sure your hair and clothes look as good today as they did when you were dating  him.
  • Put chocolates on his pillow in the evening with a love note.
  • Flirt with him from across the room.
  • Surprise him by greeting him while wearing his favorite color of lipstick and perfume.
  • Plan a date to somewhere you went when you were dating.
  • Recreate your favorite things to do when you were dating.
  • If he played sports take him to the ball field or court where he played and remind him how much you loved watching him play.  Talk about that big play or shot he made.  Let him know you still remember.

Be creative,  you will find wonderful ways to spice up the romance in your marriage, no matter how many years it’s been since you first met.

For those of you who are newly married, never stop doing the things that won his heart to start with.  Years from now you will be so glad you did.

~Melisa~

Goals For Your Marriage

photoWe are now nearly half way through the month of January in 2014!!!!  How the heck did that happen.  Having past the mid-century mark in my life I now know and am in complete agreement with the statement, “Time flies whether you are having fun or not.”  It seems funny that as a younger person I was always living for the next thing and now I am digging in my heals hoping to slow things down.  Okay, enough about that and back to the topic at hand.  With the first half of January behind us, the question is…..have your set goals for you marriage for 2014?  For several years Steven and I have developed goals for our marriage and our family.  I call it my vision list for the year.  Habakkuk 2:2-3 says:

Then the Lord answered me and said,
“Record the vision
And inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run.
3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay.

This is a pretty common passage when talking about visions.  I love that it is so clear and easy to understand.  You see having a written vision for your marriage and your family increases the likelihood that is will come to pass.

Having a written vision not only will help increase the success rate of reaching your vision it will also do several other things. First, it will help you bring clarity to what you really want.  By taking the time to write it down you can give thought to what really is important to you and your spouse.  You have the opportunity to narrow the list to the things that are really important to you.  Secondly, keeping the vision in a place where you can see it, will help you be inspired to take action.  I have a huge, wall size, Post It note pad that we write our vision on.  Keeping it in a visible place all years keeps us inspired to keep pressing towards completing the vision.  Seeing the vision regularly will increase your pin-point precision and increase your success rate.  Thirdly, having a written vision will help you identify and avoid distractions.  Going in to many directions will dilute the effectiveness of your vision.  Fourth, keeping the vision list before you will help you press on when you want to quit.  By looking at the vision and seeing the progress you have made toward the vision, you will have the inspiration you need when the going gets tough.  Fifth, having a written vision will increase the success of your marriage as you and your spouse work together to accomplish the things on your list.  Finally, it will increase the celebration when you see the vision accomplished.

If you have already completed your vision list, congratulations you are well on your way to being more successful in your marriage than the majority of marriages without a written vision. If you have yet to write the vision for your marriage, I encourage get together with your spouse, spend some time praying and then write the special vision for your marriage for 2014.  I will be one of the best things you do for your marriage.

Seeing Better ~ Seeing Differently

photoWhat is vision?  For many when you say the word vision, you immediately think about your eyes.  Most would agree that is has to do with being able to see with your natural eyes.  This is true, but vision is so much more than just sight.  I had a friend who recently underwent surgery on both her eyes to have cataracts removed.  After her surgery I would always ask her, “I am I better looking yet?”  I’m happy to report that she is doing great and yes, she always says I’m better looking.  Natural sight is so important and any effort to improve your natural vision when needed is a blessing.

Vision, also is about what you see for your future.  In my last post I talked about having a vision list. A vision list is just a focused way to look at your future.  It can encompass your dreams, your goals, your hopes and whatever you want to focus on to help give shape to your future.

Vision, however, can also be about our perspective of things.  When we do marriage and relationship life coaching, we frequently have as our goal, helping people see their problems, their marriage, their situation from a different perspective.  This slight change in vision often makes incredible difference.  In this post, I want to focus on taking a serious look at the way you see things, your perspective can really influence how you walk through life.  For the majority of us, our vision/perspective of life is driven by our past, our beliefs and our life experiences.  We often see the world the same every day.  If your past shows you that people are hurtful and untrustworthy, then you will most likely continue to find that people will hurt you and you will struggle to trust.  If your life experience says financial prosperity if out of reach, then in most cases you will continue to live a life of lack.  If your life has been littered with people who say they love you and then walk out of your life, you will probably have difficulty connecting on a deeper level with people.  What if you could change the way you see your life?  Imagine what it might look like if you could be released from this perspective and see your life as blessed because people that you loved even came into your life to start with.  Say, for instance, that you decided to believe that every person in your life was there for a reason.  Maybe that reason would cause them to remain as a valuable asset to your life that would last forever, or maybe that reason is for a simple task to teach you something you didn’t know or help you see the world in a different way but then they left your life. When you begin to really look at the vision that you have about people being in your life, you are able to change the way you interact with them.  This is just one simple way that adjusting your vision, your perspective changes a lot of things.

Suppose you decided to change the vision that you have about your future.  You decide that you want to see your future very different from you present and your past, is that even doable?  The answer to that question is yes, and is dependent upon how much you are willing to change your vision.  A small fraction of change can actually net a significant change in your life in the future.

So with all this in mind, begin to think about the future you want to have.  Be brave and willing to make some changes in your perspective/vision and begin to live the life that you were created to live.  Choose to live the life you can enjoy.  Choose to be who you really feel like God has called your to be.  Take some time as 2013 comes to a close and begin to get a vision for what you want 2014 to be.  You can and do control your destiny by the vision you choose.

Ulterior Motives

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 6.48.56 AMMany times in our marriage we can find ourselves attributing our spouse’s behavior to a specific ulterior motive.  If the ulterior motive is “they love me and really want to be a great spouse,” then you are probably enjoying a great marriage.  Honestly, more times than not this is not our default concept of our spouse’s motives.

For many years now Steven and I have utilized a concept that for the most part, helps us maintain right thoughts, attitudes, and interpretations about each other’s words and behavior.  We do this by applying this very simple principle, “What is the intent of my spouse’s heart?”    When you encounter any situation where you find yourself angry, disappointed, hurt, or feeling condemned, applying this simple technique can prevent you from charging head-long into a full on assault or sliding completely into a pit of hurt feelings and despair.

Many times, the behavior of our spouse is influenced by many things and these can manifest in behaviors that are confrontational or hurtful when this is truly not what they are intending to communicate.  Consider this idea.  If you have had a bad day at work, you were caught in traffic, late for a meeting, or perhaps were treated unfairly by your boss, you may have trouble letting it go when you come home.  Because you’re already in a stressed state, you are more likely to find fault or have your feelings hurt by something simple that your spouse says, does or doesn’t do.  While your spouse may intend no ill will or have no negative ulterior motive, you still perceive it as an assault or attack.  It is during these times that it is important to take a step back, breath, and ask yourself a simple question “What is the intent of my spouse’s heart?”  This one simple technique when applied can prevent many unnecessary problems in your marriage.

So I ask you today, What is the intent of your spouse’s heart?