Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shopping Shopping Shopping and a date

So, I just got asked out on a date for this weekend. Woot!

Guess what I did?

I shopped....

At the mall...

Bought some cute clothes....


Cute shirts....

Now I am exhausted...

The end.......

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bring me back to the Holy Place

For You are Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord God Almighty.

Just one look on Your face. Just one glance of Your eyes. My whole world has changed. Oh I seek only to see Your face. I don't want to go anywhere without you God, without your presence. Let me see your face, your holiness God.

Only one word comes to mind. Only one word to describe. HOLY! HOLY! Lord God Almighty!

Take us in to the Holy Place Lord! Be a flame upon our hearts God.

Take us in....

Holy Holy Holy

We are carriers of your presence God. Let us be a generation marked by your holiness and love God. Purified, set apart, holy unto you God.

I hope you dance

I love this song. To me it speaks life-not letting life get you down when you feel it pulling. I want to make life a joy, not a chore. Someday's it feels more like a chore, so I want to change my focus. ;-)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Great quote

Challenge! An essential part of your progress w/ building self-esteem & reclaiming health is about accepting yourself now, not 20lbs from now, when you have a better job etc. Avoid negative self deprecating remarks & instead celebrate the qualities you love about yourself.Make a list of them & post it everywhere.This isn't easy at first, but the more you practice this behavior the sooner you'll mentally buy into it.
By Jilliam Michaels

Morning coffee and reflection

Good Monday morning everyone. This week is going to be yet another crazy week. Overtime every day, house sitting, driving, driving, and driving. Prayer night tonight, hopefully working out tomorrow night, bible study Wednesday AND Thursday- time with friends on Friday night and celebrating my mom’s birthday on the weekend.

Eeeeee gads!!!! I have to figure out when to fit in all of my workouts between then. My back is starting to get a little better although not great. My sciatica is causing problems so I still am icing periodically.

This weekend I was introduced to a new ministry that supports Human Trafficking called Mission Passport. If you are interested in finding out what they are all about, you can go to They train ladies to make jewelry and hand bags from Thailand. Their goal is to work their way around the world and support women who need to find a new way to make money for their families rather than be in the slave labor business (of course there are many who need to be rescued first). Anyway, I believe you can order items online as well as have home parties. I am excited to get involved with this.

On that note, I am excited to see where God takes me on this journey in getting acquainted with different ministries in Colorado to support awareness of Human Trafficking. There are many many people here who are getting involved which I think is fabulous. We need more people around the world who are concerned about this and are willing to tell the people in their communities.

Well, off to work. Happy Monday.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Friday

Hello Friday! Are you ready for the weekend?!?! ;-)

My life has been a bit crazy. I watched my 2 nephews a few day's earlier this week and threw my back out. Ugh! So, this week I have been trying to get over the inflammation in my back and have been to the chiropractor 3 times this week and missed 2 day's of work because of it. I don't handle that kind of pain very well so it also makes me nauseous. But, I feel like I am slowing making my way out of it. Once that happens I can do more intense workouts yet again.

Anyway, things have been heavy the past week so I thought this song was appropriate. I know we all need it especially when we are feeling depleted.

Have a great weekend everyone. God Bless.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Awakening

"The Awakening"

A time comes in your life when you finally get it. When, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks, and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out… ENOUGH! Enough fighting, crying, blaming, and struggling to hold on. Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears, and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change. Or, for happiness, safety, and security to appear over the next horizon as if by magic.

You realize that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. And, in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will always love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are, and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

Your stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you, or didn’t do for you. You learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don’t always say what they mean, or mean what they say. That not everyone will always be there for you, and everything isn’t always about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own. You learn to take care of yourself, and in the process, a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers. You begin to accept people as they are. To overlook their shortcomings and human frailties, and in the process peace and contentment are born of forgiveness.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing. You begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with.

You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing. You stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for you next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don’t know everything. It’s not your job to save the world, and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry, and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are, not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not mean lonely.

You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility, the importance of setting boundaries, and learning to say NO.

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over, and ignoring your needs.

You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drinking more water, and take more time to exercise.

You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty, so you take more time to rest. You learn that just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So, you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for. That wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline, and perseverance. You learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it’s OK to risk asking for help.

You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into, and through your fears because you know that whatever may happen, you can handle it. You learn that to give in to fear is to give away your right to live life on your own terms.

You learn to fight for your life. Not to squander it by living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn’t always fair. You don’t always get what you think you deserve. That sometimes, bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. You learn not to always take it personally.

You learn that nobody’s punishing you, and everything isn’t always somebody’s fault. It’s just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong, and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy, and resentment must be understood and redirected. If not, they will suffocate the life out of you. They will poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to be thankful, and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted. The things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Then, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself. You make yourself a promise to never betray yourself. To never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire.

You make it a point to keep smiling. To keep trusting. To stay open to every wonderful possibility.

You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind.

Finally, with courage in your heart, you take a stand. You take a deep breath. You begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

Written Gayle Williams.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spirit vs Baggage

"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all".

Today while listening to the, we covered the following scriptures:1 Samuel 10:1-11:15,John 6:43-71, Psalm 107:1-43, Proverbs 15:1-3.

The lesson that was taught after the reading really touched me, so I thought I would share.

“Saul is trying to sort thru the changes in his life once the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. A new heart was given to him the scriptures tell us. This relates to our own lives today. We all at one point or another, feel the calling of the Lord in our lives to rise up into something new, into who we were meant to be- it’s there all the time. It’s deeply planted into us and the assaults of life force us back and we have to contend for what we are going to become in Christ. So much of the time the wounds of life have us settling that we are “less” than what we had hoped or we are “less” than what we thought we should be. There is a dull ache within us-always there. We lay in bed at night and we think thoughts like this “There has got to be more than THIS!” That is because there IS more, but normally we don’t know how to approach the “more” that there IS. We fill it with all kinds of distractions, obsessions, addictions…we are looking for life that we are meant to live. We are created in the image of GOD. There is something deep within us that is screaming for THAT kind of life.

So Saul…he’s the one. Samuel has already prophesied over him. But to bring it all together and prove it true, Israel comes together and chooses by lot and it comes right down to Saul’s family and then comes right down to Saul, but Saul isn’t there- he isn’t present. So the people are asking, “is there somebody else?” the person who is chosen king, what is going on?…and the word of the Lord says that Saul is hiding in his “baggage”.

How often is that our story? We are invited to rise up and assume the life we are created to live. But we are hiding in the “baggage”.

I love this prayer that they prayed over everyone who was listening. This is my prayer for you and me.

Our Heavenly Father, we want to be done with the “baggage” because it is “baggage”-it is dead weight. What has gone before us is in our past. What is our story without you is done. The wounds of life, the terrible decisions that we have made, the terrible things that have been done to us, the things that have framed our lives but have also given us very narrow parameters to live in because that is the only place we feel safe. So we construct this personality, this character around where we feel safe. It is all informed by the bad things that have happened to us. This hasn’t been informed that we are created in Your image and that it is You who lives in us. It’s been formed by the assaults of life. That is something we need to repent of. We repent that we have allowed the injustice of the things done to us and the things we have done to dictate who we are meant to be. We repent because it is Your life that we seek. As believers we are to “die” to ourselves and be raised up in Christ. That means everything that we were is dead and buried and when we go into the baptismal river and go beneath the water and come back up, we have died to the old and become a new person in Christ. Old things have passed away and all is new. We embrace the life we were created to live-living with the life force of the Holy Spirit inside rather than us trying to arrange for a life in a way that will never work. Come Holy Spirit lead us into all truth. Lead us AWAY from the “baggage”. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Thoughts to chew on

So, this month my bible study is doing a relationship series and they are having people come in to talk to us about their experiences and give us a "real" look at what it's like to be married.

Last night a couple of good friends of mine came and talked, and their story is one that is really really stretching. I believe it would be stretching for anyone in their situation. The guy had become a widower at a young age and then remarried yet to lose his second wife to divorce (because she cheated on him). The lady had never been married before but became an instant step mom to 4 kids. They are growing in their marriage but thing have been hard.

Now, since I have been doing the online dating thing, I am constantly matched up to guys who have been divorced with or without kids. I am open to this but it would not be my preference. However, I want to do whatever God is calling me to do and I know He will sustain me in that time if I were to ever be a part of a blended family.

So, for all of you readers out there, if you have experienced this or can give me any good advise on what to look for- any red flags that I would need to pay attention to, please tell me. I'm all ears. ;-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Help me Jesus!!!!

Day 3 of the shred. I made it through--almost! Today was harder than day 2.

For all of you prayer warriors out there, I need prayer! I'm telling ya, this ain't no piece of pie/piece of cake. As a matter of fact, I am burning off 32 years of piece of pie/piece of cake. Sheesh!!! I can barely write this post my hands are so weak from doing push-ups!

Any who, I am sure you will probably get tired of me talking about this all the time so I will try not to talk about it all the time. Just a little...probably a lot! ;-)

I honestly do not know how the peeps on Biggest Loser do it for hours straight. No wonder they puke! Ugh!!!

I am off to the store and bible study. Have a great night everyone.


Happy Wednesday!

It's cloudy and rainy with snow on the way! Gotta love May! ;-) (I'm a poet and didn't even know it) HA!

Yesterday was day 2 of the shred. YIKES! Going up and down the stairs kills. Sitting and standing kills. Moving my arms or coughing kills. LOL! Even through the torture I am loving it. It reminds me of the old days when I did sports. I cannot wait until my body is strong enough to actually go out and be "in" a sport. Bliss! ;-)

I am proud of myself though. I know that this doesn't seem like much, but I did almost all of the jumping jacks last night. With the exception of a few seconds rest, I did them. Since I have bad knee's and a bad back I normally avoid a lot of jumping exercises. BUT, I was able to do these. Tonight I am going to attempt to do kick back jumps.

Here's a little clip of some of the exercises from levels 1-3. I am only at level 1 right now so I haven't done full push-up movement.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

30 Day Shred

So, last night was my first night doing the 30 day shred by Jillian Michaels. It kicked my butt--BIG TIME--and I was only on level 1! LOL!

I love how it is less than 30 minutes yet you feel like you did an hours’ worth of stuff. AWESOME!!! ;-) The only thing I am worried about is my knees. I broke my left knee back in 2003 in a car accident and injured both my knees because of sports in high school so I am not able to do full squats. I am currently dealing with a muscle chorded up in my left knee which I am trying to stretch/massage out. Yikes!

Anyway, I am pleasantly sore today and am sure it will get worse as I continue on this path. I feel great about doing this. Already I cannot wait to get in my second workout even though I know it will kick my butt--AGAIN!

By following this awesome workout you can achieve that awesome toned body that you want just in time for the summer bikini season. If you watch the biggest loser, then you know that Jillian teaches workouts using the principle of muscle confusion. This means you keep your muscles guessing and you do not reach a development plateau as you would with most workout programs where you do the same routine every time. This also leads to very fast results. The 30 Day Shred uses muscle confusion to slim and tone your body and you will see amazing results before you know it.
The workouts are moderately challenging and require light weights as well as a lot of your own self motivation and determination.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blow mighty breath of God...

Spirit of fire fan the flame.....I have a passion for your Holy name!

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend. I certainly did. ;-)
Some of my friends and I went to this Christian comedy improve called "Stick Horses in Pants" here in Colorado Springs. Funny name--Funny people! ;-) We laughed so hard it felt sooo good! I love crazy laughter. It is much needed in times of intensity. Then this Sunday I was able to spend some quality time with my beautiful Sis! We had a great time having lunch with my dad and stepmom and the kids. Then we went to the mall and shopped. I bought some bangles and necklaces. Too fun! ;-)

So today I am starting Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. I’m excited. I’m scared. I hope I can do it. I know I can. I’m strong…..or so I think. LOL A few people that I know are doing it right now. I have heard it’s intense but I’m sure it works. I also bought a Pilates video so I am hoping to begin that again. I used to do it years ago and loved it.

Now, here comes the truth. I am worried about fitting in enough workouts during the week. I just need to figure out my schedule. My life is getting fuller and fuller by the moment and I look at my calendar and scratch my head wondering “What the heck, where did all my free time go?” ;-) I can do this. I WILL do this. For me.

Let me know how you are doing. Just because it’s my blog doesn’t mean you can’t share what’s going on in your life too. ;-) I’d like to know what’s up.

Here is the song of the day.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers day!!!

Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Who was and is and is to come!!! God I glorify You. You are an amazing God! With all I am and with all I have I will adore You!!!!

I am filled with awestruck wonder at the mention of Your name!!! You are the sweetest name I know God!!!!

Happy Mothers Day to all you Mom's out there. You are beautiful!!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A new change

I don't really know how to start this post other than saying this:

I feel a change happening inside of me that I haven't felt in a really, really long time. I can really only give it credit to God and my willingness to submit. I know it's only been a week since I have "taken the plunge" as I like to call it.

A week ago this last Monday I was prayed over and received confirmation from the HS thru others just what God has been telling me. "Focus on Me Annjeri, pay attention to Me Annjeri and the things you are worried about and are anxious about will be put into alignment". It took me an entire week to see it. I was sad...HAD been sad to the core...feeling hopeless and despairing over where I am and where my future was going to take me.

I ended up getting contacted by a guy thru a website I am part of and we hit it off really seemed! He was silly and really easy to talk to. Then I started noticing some things that were not right. In the end I told him, in a nice way, to get lost because he had become so extremely perverted I was shocked-and shaken to the core. I could not believe that yet ANOTHER guy was doing this to me. WHY is it that some people think it's OK to treat a woman like that? Well I tell you it is NOT OK!

That Sunday I cried out to God. I was seriously sick of everything going on with my life that I just couldn't take it any more. I could feel something shaking loose inside of me but there seemed to still be a lot of work before I could figure out what it was. On Monday of this week I was feeling this overwhelming pressure inside of me just ready to burst. It had something to do with the emotions from the prior week but then again it was God's presence ALL THE WAY!! I posted a few day's ago about this experience to what happened when I got home from work on Monday, at how the dam finally burst.

Well, now its Friday and I cannot seem to get enough of God. I have been listening to the Audio Bible online, dowsing myself in worship and journaling. I have felt a difference within me. I am more joyful- more filled with His presence than I have in a long time. I feel Him working inside of me, pruning me from the inside out.

I am not exactly where I want to be but I am happy to be on this journey. He is making me a better person. I can feel Him guiding me in every day decision's and I am so thankful for Him! ;-) I cannot imagine not being filled with the Holy Spirit. This is going to be an exciting yet ever changing adventure for me. I have no idea where He is going to take me. All I know is this.

I am nothing without God.

Happy Friday

Hey Everyone,

Happy Friday. Today is a good day. ;-) I am looking forward to the weekend and hopefully will get to sleep in a little. Anyway, this post is a bit random since I have a lot on my mind lately.

Last night I hosted a Sak Saum party. If you read my last post it is an organization that supports the freedom for women who were sold into Sex Trafficking. Anyway, they learn how to sew and make the cutest things. I have become a purse fanatic and I love love love their stuff. ;-) Anyway, we had a great turn out and I am excited about what it is going to do for the Kingdom of God in these ladies lives.

Tonight I get to go spend time with some great friends and hopefully have some good girl time.

Recently in the last month or so I started listening to the Bible online. There is this great site from where you can listen to the full Bible in a year. You can also listen to a daily Proverb and be a part of a community all around the world focusing on prayer. This has meant so much to me because I tend to not read the word on a daily basis, but I can tune in while I am working or just relaxing and soak in the wisdom from God.

Also, this week I have begun a new change in my life. I have really felt that God has wanted me to have more focused on Him, which also means less T.V. ;-) Soooo, I have been focusing more on delving into scripture, listening to some great worship, and reading a couple of books that I feel will lead me into some new territory soon. I will talk about those at a later date.

This last Wednesday I started going back to bible study. It's a group that I was involved with last year (and remained friends with everyone) but have felt the need to re-enter into community. For me this is important. I am not sure for how long I will remain in that study until God moves me somewhere else, but it's a good start and there are a lot of great people there. Also, I finally decided on what church I am going to attend full time. Yipppeeee!!! ;-) It's called Springs Church and the pastor is Gary Wilkerson. Some of you might know him as the son of David Wilkerson who just recently passed away. He is a great pastor and I love the worship they have going there. This will be a great change for me as I have not felt that New Life Church was my church anymore.

One more piece of randomness... ;-) I am really wanting to start a painting again. I have had certain ideas floating in my head for some time and have felt the need to begin another one. I will let you know when I start it. It is a bit intimidating since it would involve a picture that I got either through prayer or worship. We shall see! ;-)

That's all for now. Have a great Friday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday Randomness

1. My God is good! ;-)

2. I have great Friends and family.

3. Tonight I get to help out an organization called Sak Saum.

4. They sell purses.

5. Hand Bags.

6. Aprons.

7. Jewelery, baby booties, shawls......

8. Sak Saum means "For Freedom"

9. I want to be a missionary.

10. I love seeing people get set free

11. Have I mentioned I love Jesus?

12. I am thankful that God shows me my weaknesses and makes them into strengths.

13. I love painting my toes pink..OR purple like they are right now.

14. I love to laugh

15. I love to sing


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Relationships Article-Part 6 Interpersonal Red Flags

Interpersonal Red Flags

This is not the problem for most couples. Often there's a need to restrain the passions that run so strong at this point in a relationship. Setting the flames of romance aside for a moment, is your friend comfortable with giving and receiving affection? Does he/she show appropriate affection to friends, parents, siblings, etc? If two people are less inclined toward affection, maybe neither will miss it. But affection is a part of the way our Creator wired us. Will your friend be able to show affection to your children? Is it uncomfortable for your friend because affection was never received growing up? The affectionate-resistant person would be wise to explore the reasons that touch is so uncomfortable.

Avoids Conflict
Some people just don't want to deal with conflict of any size, shape, or variety. When tension is present, withdrawal or denial serve to gloss over the problem allowing it to be avoided for another day. Obviously, the problem gets bigger with every effort to sweep things under the rug. How does your friend deal with conflict? Does the problem get avoided or minimized?

Conflict is inevitable because we're human. Whether you realize it or not, there's conflict in your relationship even this side of marriage. You might ask your friend the question, "If I have a concern, how can I bring it up in a way that you'll be able to hear me?" Your friend might say, "I don't want to hear it." That should be a pretty obvious red flag for you. Right now your conflicts might be fairly small, but marriage will change that, there's more at stake. If you don't develop a healthy pattern now, it won't get any better in marriage.

Fears Commitment
We might presume that if the person we would like to commit to isn't quite as interested, it must be a fear of commitment. That's not always the case. Since marriage is such an important decision, getting to know a person well makes a lot of sense. And there's no substitute for time.

Yet there are times when a person sends mixed messages, or struggles to commit due to a fear of intimacy. "When you find out who I really am, will you still accept me?" It seems like she's interested, then it doesn't. He appears to want to move forward in the relationship, but then he pulls back. This hot and cold pattern can go on for years. And even if one makes it to the altar, if the issue isn't resolved, it can still cause chaos and insecurity in a marriage. Do you see a pattern of consistency in your friend's commitments in general? Without the ability to commit, marriage is like the sands of an hourglass just waiting to run out.

Isolated from Family and Friends
Does your friend interact with family and friends? How healthy are those relationships? Though we have no control over our family members, family interactions tell us a lot about a person. That doesn't mean our friend will always end up like Mom or Dad, but it doesn't mean one will necessarily end up differently either. If we don't have the ability to pick our family, we do when it comes to our friendships.

Has your friend kept you away from her family? Does he avoid introducing you to his friends? If so, what's the reason? Are there some issues that are being kept from you? Sometimes those boundaries may be necessary, but interacting with a partner's family and friends will provide valuable information for your decisions about the relationship.

Emotionally Stuck at Home
Has your friend been able to leave home emotionally? I'm not saying she shouldn't love her parents, or that he shouldn't respect his folks. Honoring one's parents is a lifetime responsibility. But honoring them is not about obeying them now that you are an adult.

Genesis 2:24 states, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." When a man or woman doesn't leave home emotionally, heartache invariably results. I've talked with countless couples who've experienced this betrayal from a spouse. People may still be seeking parental approval that they didn't receive as a child. A man may still be controlled by his mother, but anything that even hints of control by his wife will be viewed as such. Can your friend set boundaries and say "no" to his parents when needed? Can your friend tell her parents when she disagrees with them?

No matter what someone does, including yourself, does your friend always second-guess the motivation? If you give your friend a gift, does the question reverberate, "What does he/she want?" Granted, our motivations aren't as pure as the driven snow, but with time one's constant questioning will drive a wedge into any relationship.

Distrust often develops as a self protective measure when people were not trustworthy in one's life. "I can be fooled once, but I won't be fooled anymore," may be the mindset. Again, hurt and pain likely exist behind the wall; and without help, the distrust will likely creep into every crevasse of the relationship. Can people be too trusting? Yes, absolutely, and that's a problem of a different kind. But without trust, marriage becomes a daily witness stand. Over time, the distrust will likely increase.

It may be hard to imagine, but some people get married so that they can have someone else tell them what to do. They may fear making mistakes, lack self confidence, or want a "parent" to direct or blame their lives upon. It can look a lot like submission, but it's not.

You may see it in the amount of time a friend wants to spend with you. Who could argue against a couple sharing quality time? Every counselor knows the importance of that! But when your friend wants to spend every waking moment together, you'll likely feel suffocated before very long. It can feel flattering at first, but be careful of anything that tends to get out of balance!

© 2011 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

You can find these articles for yourself also at:

Relationships Article-Part 4 Character Red Flags

Character Red Flags

Your friend can manipulate in many ways: guilt-inducement, threats of abandoning you, threats of self-harm, yelling, physical aggression, isolating you, pouting, interrogating you, etc. It may be obvious; it may be much more subtle. You might be told that it's really love, but deep down you know that's not the truth. If you see glimpses of controlling actions now, it's fair to say they will likely increase after marriage.

Christian men can hide their control behind headship. Yes, the Bible does speak to the place of headship in a husband (Eph. 5:23), but it's not about domination or manipulation. Jesus is given as the model for headship, the one who came not to be served, but to give his life for you and me. Headship has more to do with servanthood than with being "in charge." It's more about his responsibility before God to encourage the relationship positively than about him demanding his own way. The mutual submission that is stated in Ephesians 5:21 provide a safeguard against marital headship from being used as a club.

Is she able to submit to a husband, or does life simply need to go her way? When a woman has experienced over-control, abuse, or harshness in her years growing up, submission may not come easily. Even when headship is carried out in a loving balanced fashion, she may fear that it will turn into domination. There may still be some wounds that need to be addressed.

"I'm sure she was just stretching the facts a little bit." "He lied to me so that I wouldn't be hurt." It's easy to minimize or overlook instances of dishonesty in a relationship. But lying is often a pattern that pulls the rug out from under a marriage. If you can't trust a person's words, what can you trust about them? Lies that we're aware of are often the tip of the iceberg. We want to trust our friend. But when we find an instance of dishonesty, it causes us to wonder what else has been stretched or distorted

"Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment." Proverbs 12:19. What greater picture of the outcome of honesty can we find? Like most sin, lying has momentary purpose, but it leads to destruction. Does your friend have a reputation that his/her words can be trusted? Is truth compromised for gain, impact, or convenience?

Addiction Issues
"She doesn't drink like that too often." "Oh, he told me he's not going to look at pornography anymore." When we want a relationship to work, it's easy for us to rationalize away the red flags. Chemical dependency, sexual addictions, food addictions, etc. will gnaw at the very fabric of a marriage. If you're seeing the problem now, don't simply accept good intentions; the addiction will likely intensify. Your friend likely needs help physically, emotionally, and spiritually to experience sobriety in whatever arena of struggle. People can often "white knuckle" an addiction for a period of time, but when stress, frustration, hurts, and fatigue set in, it's easy to return to old patterns. In most instances, the addiction is not primarily about the "substance," whatever that may be, but about the pain underneath that needs to be addressed.

There's no guarantee that a person will not return to a former addiction, but if there is at least a year of consistent sobriety, chances diminish significantly. Again, the difficult question remains; if I were not saying that something needs to be done about this addiction, would my friend be pursuing help?

Inability to Apologize
We all mess up, no one is exempt. How does your friend admit when wrong? Or should I ask, does your friend acknowledge his/her mistakes? We don't want to be wrong, but dealing with it when we are goes a long way towards establishing a healthy marriage.

People may tend to struggle more with admitting mistakes when they've grown up around critical people. For some, Paul's words in II Corinthians 12: 10, "For when I am weak then I am strong," is experienced as, "For when I am weak then I am worthless."

Writing out an apology may be easier than saying it. Practicing with a small matter may make it easier when the offense has a greater emotional impact. But saying "I'm sorry" needs to happen for a relationship to thrive.

Unwilling to Get Help
If your friend is not willing to go to counseling if you marry and can't resolve an issue together, don't marry him/her. I know it may sound self serving since I'm a marriage and family therapist, but it's true. It's not merely about one's willingness to meet with a counselor or pastor; it's about one's willingness to grow, to be open, and to learn. A person might agree to it now, but conveniently has a change of mind after the "I do's."

There are often two reasons why people will avoid counseling. One, they know at a deeper level that the way they are approaching life and the relationship is not healthy. If it stays an issue just between the couple, one may succeed at convincing the other that there really are no problems, or if there is, the problem is the partner's. On the other hand, if they meet with an objective counselor, it's going to be a lot tougher to keep an unhealthy perspective alive. Secondly, a person may know that there's pain that needs to be faced, but it may scare the person half to death to do so. "If I meet with a counselor, I'll probably have to face some pains I've successfully avoided until now." Of course the price of not facing the pain is a lot more costly than facing it.

What current evidence would lead you to believe that your friend would be willing to get help when married? Is he open to learn from others, or does he know it all? Does she have a humble attitude, or is there arrogance in her tone and words?

© 2011 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

You can find these articles for yourself also at:

Relationships Article-Part 3 Emotional Red Flags

Emotional Red Flags

I'm not talking about one's ability to experience the feeling of anger; all of us should be able to identify that God-given emotion in our lives. I'm talking primarily about frozen anger- resentment. When we hold on to anger and don't address it, bad things often happen. There may be issues about unforgiveness in the person's life. Often, underlying anger is fear, hurt, or both. Metaphorically, the clenched fist feels a whole lot safer than the more vulnerable open palm.

It can also relate to the frequency and intensity of how anger is expressed. Proverbs 22:24 says, "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered." Is it really stretching this verse to say, don't marry a hot-tempered person? I don't think so. "But he's got a good reason to be angry!" "You don't know what she's been through!" There are a lot of legitimate reasons people may struggle with anger, but marrying into it is like walking into a hornet's nest.

Men tend to have a tougher challenge facing their anger. They may either ignore it, denying its there, or they may explode. Ladies, seeing how he resolves his anger will be the difference between a red flag and a green light in your relationship.

There is no place for physical control or violence in a relationship! It is a major red flag that needs swift action like ending the relationship! Could someone get help for their violent ways? Yes, but you would need strong evidence that it has been thoroughly dealt with spiritually, emotionally, and with a significant time of violence-free living. Your friend getting help while remaining in the relationship runs the risk of pseudo recovery.

Lack of Self Control
If a person is merely the pursuer of one's latest desire or emotional experience, life will be interesting, to say the least. Does your friend follow through on commitments and plans? Does he lack the initiative to find and hold a job? Has she gotten into debt because of impulse spending? Have you looked at each other's credit histories? Does he lack control of his passions?

When a person's emotional state rides like a rollercoaster, there may be bio-chemical issues involved which may need to be evaluated by a doctor or psychiatrist. If that's the case, what changes will proper medication produce? How likely is the person to stay on the medication over time? There may be a legitimate explanation for one's actions, but those actions still need to be lived with if two marry. And if the behavior persists you have to decide if you can deal with that for a lifetime.

How much of your friend's life revolves around himself? Does she have a very narrow flexibility quotient- is there only a thin range of your behaviors that are acceptable in her thinking? Does she need to get what she wants even when it inconveniences others? When the pursuit of a relationship is in full gear, it's easy to think we could live blissfully seeking our friend's interests into the sunset. If that doesn't wear off before marriage, you can count on it doing so after the vows have been exchanged.

You might think that you are acting selfishly when you want your friend to meet your needs. Look for balance. Philippians 2:4 says, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others." It's a good thing to want your friend to show interest in your needs as well as those of others. We often get an accurate sense of a person's ability to sacrifice not by their response to a romantic relationship, but by one's reaction to others in need. Are you willing to be the tag along to your friend's self indulgence? I hope not.

What amount of energy does your friend give to appearance? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with working out or dying your hair. Some need to give more attention to their appearance. But is it in balance? Does it keep a person from serving others? Does it communicate a narcissistic tendency? Sometimes it's difficult to see because we're attracted to the results. Yet over time, the downside of self absorption will become more negatively evident and destructive to the relationship. Does your friend have a humble heart?

Victim Perspective
When a person struggles with distrust, one is only a step away from playing the role of the victim. We can call it by different names- hyper-sensitivity, self pity, critical, or martyrdom. The thread that connects these is a person's difficulty resolving pain and moving forward. Life is a series of whirlwinds that just don't seem to end. Other people or circumstances are perceived as the cause of undesirable events, and one is likely to blame just about every problem on just about everyone else. A person will take little responsibility for life's struggles. When married, it becomes very easy for a spouse to be blamed for one's lack of contentment.

Is there any truth to the person's perspective? Yes, probably a little. But when someone may not want to get past the pain, there's a good chance that they won't. And who ends up with the bull's eye on their chest? You do. In extreme cases, there may be a personality disorder that is involved that is pretty resistant to change. Does your friend own his shortcomings? Does she have a narrow band of acceptable behaviors for you? You may be able to put up with that for a while when the romantic feelings are sky high, but what happens when they're not?

It's easy to think that we can rescue the victim. That if we're able to express true love, godly love, that things will change. It's tempting, but it's a trap.

© 2011 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

You can find these articles for yourself also at:

Article on Relationships-Part 2 How Content are you?

How Content Are You As a Single?

An important dynamic in any relationship is one's general level of contentment in life.

As a single, you are somewhere on the range of contentment. You might be extremely content or very discontented, or anywhere in between.

When people marry, their range of contentment can shift in either direction, or it can stay relatively the same as it was when both parties were single.1 If it's higher post-marriage, then you've found the goldmine. If it's lower, you've unfortunately found the landmine! Before marriage, most anticipate that exchanging rings will lead to the goldmine.

Many factors play into which mine you are likely to strike after marriage. If you experienced a low level of contentment as a single, expecting marriage to propel you to marital bliss probably won't happen. On the other hand, if you are already highly content as a single, you very well may find marriage to be the goldmine. Wherever you're at right now, if you're not content, don't count on marriage to make everything better!

Often there are spiritual and emotional issues that we need to address. If you've encountered pain in your life that hasn't been faced, please take the time to work through it now before marriage. I'm not saying a person who's struggled in life can't be a good spouse, but it often takes more work to get there. Wishing away the hurt isn't going to resolve it. God can help you face the circumstances that were not the way you would have written life's script. God's power, your openness, and often the support of a counselor and community, are key in your move toward wholeness. Jesus said in Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Burying our pain only delays the inevitable.

It's OK to expect your friend to deal with his/her pain before getting married! Imagine two construction workers standing next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. How silly would it be for one to say to the other, "So when do we start the addition?" The structure needs to be shored up before you can add to it and expect it to survive and thrive over time. Wounds in life happen, often without our vote, but each one of us has a choice about what we do with those pains. If you or your friend needs to work through past pains, do it now before moving forward in your relationship. Needs that either of you have now may look very different after you've addressed those emotional wounds.

© 2011 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

You can find these articles for yourself also at:

Relationship Article-Part 1 Spiritual Red Flags

So, my friend sent me this article from Focus on the Family that I really like. It's something that I feel God has been speaking to me of late, since I am in that stage of life--ready to date. I thought I would share it. I like to post things like this on my blog occasionally not just for the purpose of giving out the information (although I am sure it helps other in the process), but to help me as I look back and can read it again any time I want. ;-)

There are a series of part belonging to the topic of Relationships that I will post here. Here is Part 1-Spiritual Red Flags for those of us in the dating world.

Ineligible to Remarry
If your friend was married before, is there freedom to remarry? Society views remarriage as a given, but the Bible speaks to this important issue. Focus on the Family believes there are three situations after a divorce in which a person does have freedom to remarry. 1- The previous marriage ended as the result of sexual unfaithfulness by the person's spouse. (Matthew 19:9). 2- The person was divorced by an unbelieving spouse who was not willing to stay married (I Corinthians 7:15, 16). 3- The divorce took place prior to a person coming to faith in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17).

One word of caution- Typically, a person will learn the details of a previous marriage from the person of interest. The details of the previous relationship and its demise might be accurately portrayed, or they might be one-sided, presented in a more favorable light toward your friend (Proverbs 18:17). If you spoke with family or friends of your partner, would you understand a fuller, more objective picture of the former relationship?

Spiritually Distant
For the person who has come to faith in Jesus Christ, finding a mate who shares a similar commitment and spiritual walk is vitally important! Since II Corinthians 6:14 says, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers," some have concluded that if a person is a Christian, he/she should only marry another Christian. It does mean that, but I think it runs deeper. If Paul simply wanted to convey that two people were heaven bound, he could have used a different word-picture. He could have used a corral or field of oxen- creatures in proximity with each other. Instead, he uses an agricultural picture of a yoke, one that would have been placed upon the necks of two oxen as they pulled a plow or agricultural tool. The yoke would require two things of the oxen. 1- That they walk in the same direction. 2- That they walk at a similar pace. What happens when two yoked oxen walk at different speeds? It's not pretty!

"He believes in a higher power." "Oh, she'll come to faith after we marry." "He says he'll come to church with me." Those things may happen, but they are not guaranteed. Marrying someone who doesn't share your faith in Christ is saying, "God, I think I can handle this one on my own, thanks." But even if your friend knows Christ, is there a hunger to grow spiritually?

You first need to understand your own spiritual walk to see if being yoked together is going to work. Is God my delight? Am I growing in my understanding of His infinite love for me? Have I committed to follow Him daily? Do I believe and trust in His Word? Notice, I didn't ask if you are perfect, all of us fall short. But yearning for a deeper walk with God will enhance a marriage, not hinder it.

Has your friend received God's free gift of forgiveness through faith in Christ? If so, what impact does it have upon his/her daily life? Does he believe what the Bible says, or is there a more culturally correct worldview that's held? Does she have a tendency to compromise when it's convenient? Is he like the seed that fell among the rocks in Matthew 13: 20, 21- quick growth, but no deep root system?

Time and again, I've spoken with people, who thought they were marrying a Christian, but once wedding rings were exchanged, spiritual interests fell like a rock. That's why it's so difficult to start a relationship with someone who subsequently receives Christ. You don't know if the interest expressed thereafter is really about the Lord, or about one's interest in you. You may need to see what your friend's relationship with God would look like if you were not in the picture. Would the person attend church without your presence or prompting? Would the person walk with the Lord, or walk from the Lord if you were no longer involved?

© 2011 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

You can find these articles for yourself also at:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yesterday was a very interesting day. After a weekend full of emotional let downs, I was struggling with intense emotions all day Sunday, and it carried over to Monday. In the mix of everything I was dealing with, the presence of God was so thick within me it was all I could do to not weep all day long. LOL!!! The name of Jesus would make me want to weep. The words "He is jealous for you" would make me want to weep. But, I was at work and I really had to focus. I would tell God "I don't want to lose this intimacy with you but I can't just start weeping here at work." So, the emotions settled until I got in my car on the drive home.

Then it hit. The dam was beginning to break, but it wasn't until I went up to my room and put on Kim Walkers "You are jealous for me" that I felt the dam burst open. I literally could feel my body falling forward (thankful that my bed was right there) and I began to weep and weep and weep. In the presence of God I wept and cried out to him. After a long time I began to laugh and the joy of the Lord filled me. AMAZING!!!!

I love this picture. I feel it represents God's beauty as well as His covering over us. He washes us clean. ;-)

This morning I still feel it. I want to weep and laugh. My legs are week. I could probably spend all day in His presence. Sigh..... but work is calling my name. Must focus, must must focus!! ;-)

Here is a song that I have heard in church as well as on the radio this morning. I really touched my soul. Hope you like it. ;-)

Worthy is your name Jesus!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My soul cries out

The Son of God is the stairway between Heaven and earth. Lord, hear my prayer. Listen to my plea. Don’t turn away from my distress. My heart is sick, withered like grass. I have lost my appetite. I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof. But you oh Lord will sit on your throne forever.

Oh, how my soul cries out for you my God, maker of Heaven and Earth! For you are my shield and my comfort. You are the light that I stand on. Your presence fills me to the core and I cry out to you!

When our lives are centered on Jesus we can see more clearly than if we weren’t fully focused on Him. Come Holy Spirit speak to us with all clarity and truth. Send your Holy Spirit to us so we may live the life we were created for. God, I offer up my future to you. This month, the month of May--spring will bring things that turn to life. I will offer up my future to you. All that I am, Praise the Lord. He forgives all my sin’s and heals all my diseases.

My passion is for the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth. For the Lord will come before me. The people not yet born will praise the Lord. My heart cries out for the Lord—He lives forever!!