Posted in December 2018, podcast

“The Gift of the Magi” Christmas Story

In our second Christmas story for 2018, Matt reads O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.”

It’s a simple little tale of a young couple struggling to make ends meet, but who are determined to give the other a nice gift for Christmas. Each of their gifts comes at a great sacrifice, which often, the best gifts do.

This story was written in 1905 so the language is a bit “old-timey” but it’s a Christmas classic that all should hear.

Listen to the story here!

Posted in Podcast Show Notes, September 2018

Show Notes: “What is Love?”

What is love? Such a simple question. Not so simple to answer.

This week we explore what ‘love’ actually means. It’s easy to think you know the answer, but don’t be fooled by what you’ve heard over the years.

Listen in as we talk about the many ways love is defined and then narrow in on what we think is the greatest definition of all.

Listen to the full episode here

To read the complete transcript click here

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email us any questions or prayer requests you may have as well as any show ideas.

Posted in Podcast Show Notes, September 2018

Show Notes – “Affair Prevention: Guard Your Marriage”

As a follow up to last week’s discussion wherein Matt and I shared what it looked like for us to recover after an affair, it seemed only fitting to also share with you some things we have learned that made our marriage vulnerable in the first place.

It is our desire to equip and encourage married couples to not only stay faithful but to thrive while doing so. It’s true that God’s grace and power are big enough to heal a marriage, but wouldn’t it be better to just avoid that crisis in the first place?

Listen to the full episode here!

Some common pitfalls that any marriage may stumble into:
* Pornography and an indulgent fantasy life
* Unrealistic expectations from your spouse
* Comparing your spouse to an idealized version
* Believing it could never happen in your marriage…every marriage is vulnerable!

Some practical steps to keep your marriage protected (this is NOT an exhaustive list!):
* Guard yourself against pornography and sexual triggers
* To “spice up” your sex life, look to Christian resources (a few links below)
* Understand that the person you marry isn’t a project; they may ever change (and               if you’re hoping they will, it might not be time to marry them, just yet)
* See your marriage as a team effort; you’re working toward the same goal. Act like               it.
* Tend to your own pasture…the grass is never greener. Trust me.

These are some of the things we talked about in this episode. Of course, we didn’t cover ideas about finding shared hobbies or interests, or how to effectively listen to your spouse or any one of a hundred other ways you can foster a loving relationship. Those, I’m sure will be covered in future episodes.

Christian resources:
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1589975383&asins=1589975383&linkId=19026be85507a6566e457d86dc28429f&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>No More Headaches

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0785264671&asins=0785264671&linkId=08541fcbc3cbf187e8db40bc2a132114&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>A Celebration of Sex

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0307444945&asins=0307444945&linkId=42d9346345ac7e8c70fe2364700dc927&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Intimate Issues

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0800725840&asins=0800725840&linkId=fb42df6d3565da55f972b8e2ea88a87d&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>The Language of Sex

There are so many more resources available for the Christian couple. Whether you’ve got questions you’re uncomfortable asking anyone else, you want some ideas for how to put the spark back in your marriage or you simply want to know how to make your spouse feel more loved, there is a myriad of books out there.

To see Christian books only and not be worried about being bombarded with potential triggers or porn, check out Christian Book Distributors.

Please follow us on our social media links: Facebook Instagram Pinterest

You can also email us with questions, comments, show ideas or prayer requests.

NOTE: This week’s transcript will likely be out late. I will do my best to have it available as quickly as possible.

To become a Patreon supporter and help us keep the lights on in the studio, head on over to Patreon. We’d love to hook you up with sponsor only swag!

 

 

Posted in September 2018

Summer and Smoke

“Life is full of little mercies like that,
not big mercies but comfortable little mercies.
And so we are able to keep on going.” – Alma Winemiller
Tennessee Williams; Summer and Smoke

We were sixteen years old when we met.

He was a transplant student, having arrived part way through our Junior year of high school. I was introduced to him along with a group of my friends, as we sat at our usual lunch table. Our theater teacher led him over and told us we had a new student in the drama program, would we please take him under our collective wing and welcome him into our group.

It wasn’t hard to do. He had shaggy blond hair, golden sun-kissed skin and dimples that melted my heart with his first smile.

Within that first year, we did a scene together from Tennessee Williams’ play, Summer and Smoke. He played the naughty little boy, John and I played Alma, the sweet minister’s daughter next door. (Our roles should have been reversed.) In that scene, we had our first kiss, a quick peck on the cheek.

Six years later, we walked down the aisle and promised to love, honor and cherish each other till death do us part. What easy words to say and mean when you’re caught in the throes of love and wonder.

Slightly harder when reality crashes in and you’re suddenly met with the very real fact that your life now includes caring for someone else’s needs more than your own on a daily basis. Oh, sure, you still mean what you said that hot June day, but actually living it out is harder than you’d imagined it would be.

And then one day, those vows get lost in the selfishness of your own desires and soon, the life you’d always imagined you’d build together begins to crack in a thousand different ways until you’re looking at nothing more than a pile of rubble.

When we sat across from each other 15 years into our marriage and decided that we were going to stay side by side and fight for what we’d built, we started with a very practical exercise.

We went back to the beginning.

What made me “me” and what made Matt “Matt”?

We shared stories of our childhoods. Going back to the earliest memories we could muster. We shared the first time we were let down by someone we loved, we shared the moment we first realized that Mom and Dad can’t always protect us from the bogeymen that walk among us. We talked about rejection and shame. We cried over the memories that scarred us, leaving us damaged, broken adults.

And what we realized in the space of a few hours was that, though we’d grown up in different places under different circumstances, we were really, pretty much the same little kid deep down inside.

We were both insatiably curious about anything and everything. We both loved a good story and had rich imaginations. We both felt really small and often unheard in a world full of giants.

litle Brandy little Matt in barn

Brandy, approx. 5 years old; circa 1978                Matt, approx. 4 years old, circa 1977
What we realized was simple: we were two adults that had been hurt in life as little kids (because let’s face it, we all get hurt in one way or another) and we had carried those hurts and fears into our adulthoods and ultimately, our marriage. Those places of childhood hurt had resulted in us each seeking different ways to fill or replace whatever we felt had been lacking.

It didn’t make us bad people. It just made us broken people.

Seeing each other through a new lens, that of a child has helped us to understand and appreciate each other more. We’re more patient and understanding than we used to be. We recognize more easily when the other is being reminded of a loss or hurt that reaches the depths of the subconscious. We’re gentler, kinder and more sympathetic.

We’re not perfect.

We still have our moments, but more often than not, when I look at Matt now, I don’t just see the adult version that stands before me, with a beard and a job and a mortgage to pay. I see a little 4-year-old, crouched in the barn, with a head full of dreams and a heart already feeling the effects of living in a broken and fallen world.

And it makes me love him even more.

Posted in Podcast Show Notes, September 2018

Show Notes – “Coming Out: I Had An Affair”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery;’
but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
– Matthew 5:27-28

Adultery. 

Not a very pretty word is it? But there it is. In black and white. You can sugar-coat it and call it something different, but it’s all the same ugly sin.

This week, we dive headlong into our own journey of adultery and the grace and redemption that God provided. Eight years have passed since the news came out that shook our world to its core.

We invite you to step into this conversation with us because we hear, on a near daily basis of so many other marriages that are struggling with their own battles of infidelity. We want to bring hope and encouragement to those of you currently walking this path and in next week’s episode, we want to provide some common pitfalls to avoid or overcome that oftentimes lead to an affair.

Listen to the full episode here

If you are struggling in your own marriage, please listen. Please reach out. To us. A pastor. A counselor. There is grace. There is healing. There is a new beginning available to you and your marriage. You are not alone.

Read the full transcript here

Here are the links to many of the tools I used in my own recovery process:

“Breaking Free” Beth Moore
“When Godly People do Ungodly Things” Beth Moore
“David: A Man After God’s Own Heart” Beth Moore
“The Genesis Process”

Previous episodes can be found here on Google Play!

We can also be found in Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify and pretty much any podcast app. Please share with your friends, neighbors, people you love, and people you love to hate because everybody needs a little encouragement and grace.

Our social media links:

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To become a Patreon supporter and receive some cool rewards click here!

Special shout-out to our friend, Phil who has recently become a Patreon supporter! We appreciate your encouragement and kindness!

Alright…Love God. Love People. Pray hard.

 

Posted in June 2018

A Simple Act of Love

He wasn’t a perfect man. Nor was she a perfect woman.

When they got married in December of 1968, they were just a couple of young college kids. With nary a penny in their pockets and a baby on the way, they set out to make a life together.

In 1973, they added another in their ranks. I came along and made our family an even number. By this point, Dad was teaching social studies and coaching. The easy days of youthful ambition were a thing of the past; the horizon was a sea of adult responsibilities.

In all honesty, my childhood was pretty charmed. For most of it, we lived in one house, across from the local golf course. I had two friends nearby, Mike and Jesse and we spent countless hours riding our bikes, retrieving lost golf balls, building forts and exploring the woods. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad were just that…Mom and Dad.

They both worked full time. They both made every effort to come to our games or plays. They cheered hard at our every success. They put food on the table and clothes on our backs. It was, for the most part, a very stable home full of love. We knew what to expect as kids and our parents were consistent.

But every now and then, one of them would come home after a hard day at work. They both worked at local schools and saw the best and worst of the families they crossed paths with. And of course, school was and continues to be, fraught with politics and pressure.

I remember Dad coming home one day. It was in the fall, a chilly afternoon. Mom had come home exhausted and I, like any self-respecting young teenager conveniently only cared about my own existence, so didn’t seek to lighten her load any. When Dad walked through the door, it was clear that his day had been markedly better than hers.

He barely even kissed her on the cheek before she said, “You’re taking me to dinner tonight. I don’t care where. I’m not cooking.”

Mind you, we lived on a budget. Dinners out were a rare treat. I stood there, slack-jawed, waiting for Dad to respond with a loud voice, listing all the reasons we couldn’t afford to go out. In retrospect, I don’t think he’d ever done that before, but I’d also never seen my mom so adamantly put her foot down over a meal. Anything seemed possible.

Dad looked at her and said, “Okay. Where do you want to go? Brandy, get your coat.”

That was the moment I think when I really knew how deeply my parents loved each other.

It was such an easy exchange. No drama. No tears. No need for explanation. Just a simple need expressed and a gentle response of understanding. We grabbed our coats and headed out the door.

I asked Dad about it later. For some reason, the whole thing had taken me by such surprise. I asked why he was so quick to say yes. He turned to me and said, “If a dinner out every now and then is going to make your mom happy, I’m happy to do that. She doesn’t ask for much.” And then he went back to puttering.

It didn’t take much at all to make Mom happy that night. It took her husband, making the small effort to hear her words and know her heart and respond with a loving ‘yes’. That’s all.

And not only did we leave the restaurant that night, full of good food and laughter on our lips, not only did Mom feel valued and loved, but I walked away with an amazing picture of what love looks like.

As a child, it was an important moment that showed me how tenderly my dad honored his wife. That one simple act spoke volumes.

He wasn’t perfect. Nor was she. But they loved each other and they loved us. That love was displayed in a million different little ways and I’m forever grateful that my childhood was built on a foundation that they built together.

[Pictured: Jim and Teresa Page; circa 1995. Ogden, Utah.]

Posted in June 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: Episode 8 – “Parenting 101: Partner Support”

This week Matt and Brandy dip their toes into the world of parenting. Topics discussed: supporting your spouse while you parent, modeling love and respect and the uniqueness of every child.

Listen to Episode 8 here!

This is a vast subject so today’s show only skims the surface. If you have more specific parenting issued you’d like us to discuss, please email us!

Due to technical difficulties, there is no transcript at this time. To view transcripts from previous episodes check out our Show Notes in the blog archives.

Also, we are looking for clever names for our new segment where we talk about all the things we love about road trips. If you have a great name for us, drop us a line!

Likewise, we want your road trip stories! Share your favorite or most memorable road trip, who your favorite traveling buddy is, where you like to go…whatever! You can e-mail us your (brief) stories to be featured on the show!

This week we talked about our favorite snacks. Here are some links:
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00OYPFC46&asins=B00OYPFC46&linkId=e4ce13284eef60a6566e31710a578663&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Gummy Bears
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01LZNFYOU&asins=B01LZNFYOU&linkId=967b06c84d90564062eb25a9fbb98af7&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Tillamook Beef Jerky
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01NALFQK9&asins=B01NALFQK9&linkId=b697e569320e2439176ec94460931ac0&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Smartfood Popcorn
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00A6ZHJ1W&asins=B00A6ZHJ1W&linkId=8e24c204cf237bd0c8941f0eeca9294c&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Peanut M&Ms
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B0012QD8MS&asins=B0012QD8MS&linkId=d60dc736992c3cc5a8643816a7b66efe&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Snapple Peach Tea
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=roadhome-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B0091HCJZ2&asins=B0091HCJZ2&linkId=565e2010756fe424067259340a7bdeb3&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Nutter Butters – Bite Size

Sadly, the donuts aren’t available through Amazon. But, I reckon, any old-fashioned glazed donut will be delightful!

Remember, if you buy anything through our blog, it won’t cost you any extra but we’ll get a little bit of a kickback. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Reminder: You can rate and review us on iTunes even if you don’t download us through them. Your reviews and feedback on iTunes is a HUGE help to broaden our show’s reach. Thank you!

 

Posted in June 2018, podcast

Picture (Im)perfect

It was a quiet conversation.

The two of us sat across the dining room table from one another, working on a jigsaw puzzle of a tiger lurking in the trees. Our voices were calm. We even laughed a little bit as we shared memories of our dating years and talked about where our relationship was currently: broken and on the edge of divorce.

We were less than 3 years into our marriage.

High school sweethearts, we’d met through our drama department our Junior year when Matt’s family relocated to our little town. We’d noticed each other immediately. His shaggy, bleach blond hair and dimpled cheeks shone like a beacon home for me.

It wasn’t until a year later that we’d begun dating and then, only after our friends Jimmy and Joy forced us to have a face-to-face conversation about how we liked each other instead of simply telling everyone else. It proved to be an off-again-on-again kind of relationship for a few years, but once we decided that we meant it when we said, ‘I love you,’ it stuck and wedding preparations were soon underway.

On June 24, 1995, before friends, family, God and one homeless lady who joined the festivities, we gave our vows and celebrated the start of our lives together. We danced, we toasted, we tossed the bouquet and garter. A week later, we loaded all my earthly possessions into the bed of a truck and the trailer we towed behind and drove the 12 hours to our first home together in Ogden, Utah.

wedding photo Matt and Brandy(Matt and I, exhausted from all the photos we took after the ceremony.
June 24, 1995. Welches, Oregon)

Pulling in well after dark, it was hard for me to really see what our new town looked like, but walking through the door of our little house-turned-tri-plex, I was overjoyed. It had great charm and it was OURS! Unpacking and decorating was a thrill. As a kid, I’d only ever lived in three homes and two of those were before I was 5, so I’d never known what it was like to actually move. It felt a little bit like playing house.

Our first 2 years in Ogden were full of college for Matt and work for me. We had little to no money but learned how to make the most of instant mashed potatoes, Kool-Aid, and pancakes. When time allowed, we’d pack a picnic basket and head to a local park. When time was tight or the weather didn’t cooperate, picnics happened on our living room floor. By working at the college’s theater, which also had touring companies coming through, we had the opportunity to see and be a part of some wonderful shows and performances, including Ballet West, Christopher Parkening, and Sundance Film Festival.

Matt and Brandy hiking(Me and Matt hiking in Ogden, Utah. circa 1996.)

It all seemed pretty good. We had our friends, we had our little nest. We had each other.
But lurking underneath was a dissatisfaction growing inside me.

Growing up, what I wanted most in life was to be a wife and mom. Here I was, on the path. Step 1: Get Married. Check. Step 2: Have babies. Not happening.

I’d wanted to get pregnant from the beginning. Matt wanted to wait until he was done with school. Tension was growing, while my belly was not. Health issues from earlier had me worried that fertility might be a problem. Meanwhile, I was seeing people everywhere both getting pregnant and also having abortions. It was heart-wrenching.

Then my world came crashing down in the most unexpected way. My dad, at the age of 48, died of a massive heart attack. He’d been my rock. We shared a love of oldies music, fly fishing and ‘puttering’. And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, everything changed.

Dad and I painting trailer(Me and my dad painting the trailer that carried all my belongings to
my new home and life with Matt. 1995)

The week or so that followed is a blur. Matt and I went back to Oregon, we buried and memorialized my dad. My mom, brother and I sat silently together, numb and unsure. Eventually, though, the regular flow of life had to return to normal. Matt returned to Utah, where he was chin-deep in school and work. I stayed behind with my mom, unwilling to leave her side.

Life was untethered and I didn’t know how we were going to survive.

When I finally returned to Utah – I’m not even sure how long I’d been gone – I was restless and anxious. I jumped everytime the phone rang. I couldn’t concentrate. I hated to hear about anyone else’s struggles or problems because it all seemed so petty. I lost any compassion I’d had. And I was angry at Matt.

He hadn’t ‘performed’ the way I wanted him to in the wake of my dad’s death. He shed few tears and in my mind, felt distant and emotionally unavailable. What I then saw as a character flaw, I now know to be a strength. Even though I wanted Matt to mourn with me, what I needed most was for him to be strong and hold me up. He did both. But he did them quietly. I was too lost in my own chaos to even recognize what was happening around me.

Within a few months, I got pregnant and soon thereafter, miscarried.

Devastation. Again.

I was at a complete loss. I didn’t want to be in Utah anymore. I wanted to be with my family and friends back home. I wanted my dad and my baby and I wanted my husband to do more than he was capable of doing for me.

So there we sat. A jigsaw puzzle between us. One thousand pieces of a perfectly destroyed image. And it was our task to put those pieces together, to recreate the picture on the front of the box, the picture that looked so seamless and perfect.

We worked for hours and as we worked, we talked. We reminisced about the day we first met. We laughed about our awkward beginning. We recalled our first kiss and so many kisses after. We talked about our fears and our hurts, our disappointments. We talked at length about the possibility of divorce.

As we talked, the pieces in our fingers began to come together. The edges were formed and soon, the inside picture grew, little by little.

We talked about how much we’d grown up with each other in the 10 years since we’d met. How we’d shared so much of ourselves with each other that we’d never shared with anyone else. We’d already invested so much of ourselves into one another, the thought of having to start over with someone else seemed daunting, at best. After all, despite the struggles we’d endured, we were best friends. We loved each other.

We always would.

Before we knew it, the final piece of the puzzle was set in place revealing not a seamless image, but a complete image. Where the pieces had been cut, there were crevasses as they joined together. It wasn’t smooth as a photograph. But it was whole. And together. What sat between us was a picture, not of a tiger stalking its prey, but a picture of how two separate people with their own brokenness can come together and form a beautiful union.

We weren’t perfect, but we were together.

 

[Wedding photos by Eileen Hunt]

Posted in June 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: Ep. 7 – What’s Love Got to do with it?: A Look at Divorce

This week we take a look at divorce in America. Who’s doing it and why? Because, seriously…marriage is hard work and it’s important to know some pitfalls before you take the plunge.

Listen to Episode 7
While it’s a pretty stat-heavy show, it’s also got lots of commentary and conversation surrounding those numbers.

Read the full transcript here

These statistics come from the following sources:
http://www.healthway.com; “The Most Common Reasons Marriages Fail According to Divorce Lawyers”; Sager, Jeanne; Sept. 20, 2017

http://www.wf-lawyers.com/divorce-statistics-and-facts/ Wilkinson and Finkbeiner Family Law Attorneys, California
* During the average marriage vows (approx. 2 minutes), 9 divorces happen.
* One divorce in America every 13 seconds = 277 every hour or 6,646 every day or 46,523 every week or 2,419,196 every year
* On average, every divorce cost American taxpayers $30,000 in government assistance
* 50% of all marriages end in divorce or separation
* The divorce rate is declining slightly, but the rate of marriage is is declining even more
* Every re-marriage increases your chance of divorce by no less than 10%
* The years of marriage that are at greatest risk for divorce are years 1, 5-8, and 20-25.
From a recent national study (as quoted by Wilkinson and Finkbeiner) the 8 top reasons people cite for getting divorced are:
1 – Lack of commitment (73%)
2 – They argue too much (56%) – arguing about money at least once a week can increase your chances of divorce by as much as 30%
3 – Infidelity (56%) – addiction to pornography was cited as a major contributing factor
4 – Married too young (46%) – loss of virginity before the age of 18 increases your chances of divorce. Likewise, couples who live together before marriage increase their odds of divorce by as much as 40%.
5 – Unrealistic expectations (45%)
6 – Lack of equality in the relationship (44%)
7 – Lack of marriage preparation (41%)
8 – Abuse (25%)

“Every unrealistic expectation is a resentment waiting to happen.”
– Father Richard Rohr
Heuertz, Christopher L. The Scared Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2017

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Intro and Outro Music: “The Long Road Home” Written by Brandy J. Goebel, Arrangement by James Swanson, Performed by James Page; copyright 2018

Posted in June 2018, podcast

When We Become the Church

“…be of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit,
intent on one purpose.”
– Philippians 2:2

It’s never easy, is it, coming to others to ask for help?

What will they think if they know my need is this great? Will their opinion change once they know just how dark my heart and thoughts can be? Or, will they think I’m silly; wasting their time with my needs which seem so insignificant?

I’ve had these thoughts on more than one occasion. Yet, at every turn I am amazed by the response I’m met with when I take a deep breath and share my heart.

Sometimes it’s a prayer need, sometimes a thought I’ve been mulling over for days and need to talk through. Other times it’s a sin that I keep finding myself struggling with. Often it’s the critical thoughts that tend to take up residence in my head, shoving aside God’s words of truth and bring me to tears and of guilt, shame, fear and overwhelm.

Consistently though, God has met me in those places of need as I’ve turned to someone at church and bared my burden. I’m met with encouraging words, reminders of God’s promises and faithfulness, prayer and often a hug.

Likewise, I’ve been met with gratitude for my willingness to be vulnerable and broken in front of others. Because, honestly, that’s just not a thing you see all the time.

These kinds of relationships are born in and grown through fellowship in and around church.

Three years ago, our little congregation of less than 50 merged with another local small church. A majority of church merges fail. Ours has been a story of success. And in that place, I’ve gotten to know a whole new group of people; people I’d never have met otherwise.

Some are well into their grandparenting years, enjoying traveling the world. Others are just starting out, eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first baby. And there’s everyone in between. We’ve got nerds, geeks, intellectuals, blue collar, white collar, scrubs, lab coats, graduation caps, Bermuda shorts and button downs with a tie. And every single one of those people has impacted me, whether they know it or not.

You see, going to church is really good. You learn a lot about God. You sing some good songs full of good words and truths. You hear things that encourage you and maybe even challenge you.

But being the church…that’s even better.

Because then you get to rub elbows with people who are just like you and nothing like you at all. You get to see the vast array of people who God calls His own. Sometimes things get a little messy, but hopefully, as Christ stays the focus, even the messy is made clean again.

Being the church you can speak into one another’s lives. You can experience that ‘iron sharpening iron’ accountability and growth that’s talked about in Proverbs 27:17. You become invested in something that is so much bigger than yourself and it reminds you just how incredibly generous our God is.

Going to church is really good. Being the church is the best.

What about you? Do you just go to church on Sunday, letting the message slough off you as you walk out to your car, while the music fades in the background? Or do you take the church with you, presenting Christ to a broken and hurting land, recognizing that left on your own, you’d be just as broken, too?

The choice is yours.

 

 

[Photo by Ingo Joseph from Pexels]