Encouragement and Coffee Time with Psalm 142

Scripture for the heart and encouragement with AuthenticVirtue.com

“I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path.

In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.

 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are  Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.” Psalm 142, KJV

This week’s favorite Psalm was definitely Psalm 142. It was a good week full of quality time with Dalton, sweet friends, an awesome mail day, and a visit with the doctor that gave us a few answers and hope for Uriah’s health. Plus, a whole week without contractions and labor is a huge blessing!

However, there are moments when life feels hard. Preterm labor is a constant unknown when your water has broke. Infection is always a looming possibility. The extremely rare threat of the dreaded pro-clasped cord hangs above my head like a dark, menacing cloud. Then, out of the blue, some conflict arises (and you know how I hate conflict) and I cow and fail to speak up and that brings all sorts of dreaded feelings and issues. To sum it up, life can still feel hard and lonely and full of hurt even when it is full of blessings, light, and life.

When I opened my Bible this morning I cried out, “Oh, Lord, help me!” I’m reading through the Psalms and eventually came across Psalm 142. It’s simple and to the point: sometimes, only the Lord can understand and comfort us. Sometimes, human sympathy and understanding, though there, falls short. Sometimes, all we can do is “show Him our trouble, pour out our complaint, and cry unto the LORD …” We can know that we were heard and understood. The longings and cries of our heart are seen and known.

Isn’t that utterly beautiful?

With love, blessings, renewed hope, and coffee,

Frannie

Joy V. Happiness in Marriage, Pregnancy, and Daily Life

Joy v. happiness in an unknown pregnancy with a subchorionic hematoma with AuthenticVirtue.com

It’s happening again, the waters are rushing over our heads and I’m struggling to keep up. Being pregnant with our first has been one of the most delightful and trying experiences of our lives. Having a subchorionic hematoma is commonly low risk but tell that to the momma who’s bleeding, making ER trips, and being told the area her placenta needs to implant is filling with blood.

Then, suddenly, it doesn’t feel low risk any more.

But that’s the nature of a blood pocket in your womb. You never know what it’s up to, what it means, and what it could lead to. You simply wait. Monitoring helps (sometimes) unless you get news that it’s grown larger (as is my case). Then, waiting becomes more dreadful and more difficult to accept.

If you can tell life isn’t very happy right now but it is still very full of joy.

Dalton and I have been meaning to collaborate and write a post on the differences between joy and happiness. (As in I should have written it 5 months ago). But now is the perfect time to write because I’m experiencing it tenfold.

Happiness is temporary. It’s bliss. It’s me resting in bed on rainy afternoon with a cinnamon pecan candle burning in the light finishing a long book. Happiness is my husband bringing me dinner and then washing the dishes afterwards. Happiness is the fleeting feeling I experience after finding a good subchorionic hematoma story.

But happiness, however sweet and nice, eventually leaves.

And after the emotion leaves I’m still left with unanswered, scary questions. Will I have this baby? Will baby be hurt? When will I know? If I lose baby will I ever have more children?

Reality sinks in and the weight of it pushes the temporary feelings yummy candles, good meals, and a rainy afternoon brought.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23

This is where Jesus and my Heavenly Father changes things. This is where joy take over. God’s Word promises the fruit of the Spirit includes joy and that I as a Christian can have it. I cannot create this fruit; I can prohibit it but I cannot force it in my life. It’s God working in me. It’s similar to real life planting; I could place vile and damage the root system around an apple tree and expect its growth to be affected. But I could never actually create an apple — I can only enjoy that it was made, given, and satisfying.

That’s joy — it’s present in the lack of happiness. It’s God given. It’s there when I’m dreading our future; it’s present when it’s 3 am and I’m having blood drawn and being wheeled away from my husband to an ultrasound room by a tech who isn’t happy to be working.

When I’m not feeling happy joy remains.

I do get overwhelmed with the unknowns of our pregnancy. I get tempted to fall headlong into fear and the sickness of dread. Happiness sometimes eludes me. (Which is scary for a sunny-disposition person as myself).

But during those moments when the sickening questions fill my head I’m reminded of God’s promises,

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

If I lose baby God is still good. If I am in limbo from now until week 40 God’s thoughts toward me are still good. If I have to live with unknowns until I deliver this baby God’s ways are still for Dalton and I (and baby). If my next pregnancy resembles this one I am still in God’s vision and His plan is good.

And that is joy. God’s Word and promises are joy. God’s loving will is joy. Living life open-handed, as much as it hurts and as hard as it is, is joy.

Joy is peace, God’s presence, and the knowledge that despite the outcome of our lives God is still good.

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

How Pandora Radio Taught Me About the Subtlety of Compromise // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

I have a supreme enjoyment of three specific, earthly things: good coffee, good music and good dessert. 

Pandora Radio is my music app of choice and I’m always listening to a variety of stations with my top three being JJ Heller, Mannheim Steamroller Holiday, and Pride + Prejudice Film Score. Of course, the nature of Pandora is that you’ll get all sorts of artists crooning their notes through your speakers and, with the flick of an up or down thumb, you build your playlist.

All was fine until I heard a song crooning from my JJ Heller station. My ears pricked at the sound — it was an old, emotion-filled love song which was popular during my Freshman year of high school (back when I was into rap and all sorts of mainstream vocals). It wasn’t a terrible song but it was definitely something I have chosen not to listen to any more.

I was shocked. How could something so long-forgotten and bypassed suddenly appear in my folksy, Christian artist station? And it wasn’t the only one. Throughout the day I was bombarded by songs not befitting my tastes or beliefs. Somehow, through a long-time of liking different songs, I had given Pandora the impression of the type of music I wanted to hear.

My station had been compromised.

And suddenly, I saw a lesson I’ve been needing to learn for a long time.

Sin, in any form, removes us from God. But we often don’t see it that way. We see little sins as minor issues; we don’t thumbs-down the small, minuscule character flaws, emotions or thoughts we deal with every day. It isn’t sin … it’s just not the best, we think. We trick ourselves into believing that the comprise doesn’t matter or that we’re mature enough Christians to handle it.

It happens to us all the time. We compromise on the little things forgetting that compromise grows up into full blown, reprobate patterns of sin. We don’t see that we’ve allowed compromise and justified little sins until we reap the fruit of bad character and rebellious hearts.

Sin does not advance by leaps; it advances by creeps—one tiny compromise at a time. – Mary Kassian from “Don’t Be a Wimp: Kicking the Habits that Make Women Weak.”

Sin creeps in just like artists we don’t want on our Pandora Radio. We hesitate on clicking the thumbs-down button. “Oh, I like this song … it won’t hurt anyone” turns into a secular takeover of your Christian station in a matter of days. It’s a lot like “I’m mature enough to watch this movie” or “My boyfriend and I are committed to purity so we know how far we can push the boundaries and where the line is.” 

Mary Kassian's Quote

The good news is that God is big enough and present enough to turn to. Some of us know we have compromise in our lives but are afraid of coming forward — I’ll fix it, Lord, and then I can turn to you … you don’t want me as I am right now. (This is my biggest lie I buy.) Other’s are letting a lack of faith keep them from repentance — God, I’m unfixable. I’m broken beyond repair. If You only saw my mind and the filth filling it You wouldn’t want me.

Friends, turn to Jesus. Turn in your brokenness and pain and smallness. You can’t change unless you let Him do a change in you first. Let Him shine light on the compromises in your life and weed out the roots of sin. He loves you and you are worth every effort of His. 

Have you let compromise sneak into your life? Are you experiencing the result of hesitation on clicking the thumbs-down button in your life? Do you need prayer or a listening ear? We’re here to encourage and lift each other up — this is a safe place, friend. We’re here to point you to the One Who is big enough to cleanse the years of compromise you’ve allowed. Just ask. 

With love, blessings and a whole lotta coffee,

Frannie

My Theme for 2016 // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

Hello sweet people and welcome back for coffee and Friday conversation. I *love* Fridays with you because the post and your comments are what this blog is really about — growing closer to our Lord together! 🙂

My theme word for 2016 is delight. I’m learning to live out my life moments and responsibilities with an attitude of delight. I’m learning to make room in my heart for delight.

What does that mean practically?

I’m taking delight in reading God’s Word every morning … and taking delight in confessing my heart to Him.

I’m forming new habits of thought. When tempted to despair over my fallen human condition I’ve been delighting in speaking truth to my heart: You are a child of God and you don’t have to work to be His.

I’m taking the time I need to break the cycle of perfectionism in my life. Meaning, I’m learning to be realistic when I make my daily to-do lists and delighting in the truth that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.

I’m pursuing my husband’s heart with new vigor because I am making my desire to bless him my delight and not my duty.

I’m discovering new adventures, new friends and new opportunities because I’m facing life with a get-to attitude vs. a have-to attitude.

And, most importantly, I’m teaching my heart to view my relationship with God with delight. I’m learning to rest in His redemptive work and ability (and want to) to sanctify me. I’m also learning to observe the truth that it delights His heart when I delight in Him.

It’s really as simple as that. Life becomes less stressful, less to-do list driven when I remember that God delights in me and my delight in Him. I am loved, I am wanted and I am delighted in by my Heavenly Father, His Son and His Spirit.

Isn’t that something worth delighting in? 🙂

What’s your theme or word for 2016? How has it impacted your year already? Are you growing or maintaining spiritually this year? I would love to hear your heart so I can pray for it.

With so much love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Five Signs of a Good Man

5 Signs of a Good Man

I love lists and matchmaking is no exception. For years I imagined my perfect man would be tall, brown-eyed and owning his own business by the time he was twenty-five. We’d farm, throw out the tv and sell our belongings to buy the plane tickets to become oversea missionaries.

You can imagine my surprise when God sent the opposite my direction. Now, 20 months into one glorious, beautiful marriage with my best friend, I’m so thankful I wasn’t allowed to hand-pick my man.

Because, #tbh, I would have married at least five different blokes before I made up my mind. 😉

Marriage has taught me a few things and today I want to share five signs of a good man.  The list is extremely simple and exceptionally old fashioned but I’ve found that simple is most often best — even in marriage.

Visible Love for the Lord

Before you ever say “yes” to a first date check the guy out. (And I don’t mean his bod, gals.) 😉 Check his life out. Ask his friends, authorities and family questions about who he is. Take the time to see if his profession of Christianity is fruitful; does his life speak of a genuine love for the Lord? This is the time to play detective, girls.
Before my Beloved ever asked me out I listened closely to what others said of him. I asked questions. I took a look into his reputation. The results encouraged me to allow Dalton to pursue me — everyone said that he was quiet with a quirky personality and that he was known for being hardworking, dedicated to purity, pursuing Christ and filled with a generous soul.
I definitely liked what I heard! 😉
Humility
I never knew how integral humility was until my Husband apologized to me for the first time. Immediately I sensed that he was far more concerned with loving me than his pride.
Ladies, you will be marrying a man who will sin (even if he’s your Prince Charming!). Look for a man who is willing to confess his sins to the Lord and ask your forgiveness when he’s wronged you.
Now, I’m not talking about looking for a man you can manipulate into saying he’s sorry for any thing. I mean finding a man who is serious enough and humble enough to recognize that he needs his Savior every day and who acknowledges that he makes mistakes.
Humor
This may seem like a petty thing to look for but it’s a lifesaver! Schedules can be exhausting and days are long. Look for someone who will laugh with you even when life feels like it’s swallowing you up.
Of course no two senses of humor are alike but finding a man who can pray with you one moment and then dance the tango with you next is a delightful treat.
Honesty
So. Important.
Finding a man who is brave and loving enough to speak the truth is a true treasure. I love that I can rest in knowing that Dalton and I have no secrets and that his word is solid. I mean, I value his word more than buckets of gold. He’s proven himself true … even when it hurts.
Of course, an honest man will not always say what people want him to hear; however, I’ve found that a man who speaks the truth because he is loving and honest will never intend to bring harm with his words. He will simply speak the truth gently and confidently.
Work Ethic
Finally, one last quality I believe marks a good man is a strong work ethic. Look for a man who not only works to provide but who enjoys working for works sake. This looks different for all men and may take time as they discover their talents and skills. However, finding a man who chooses to joyfully provide for his family is an awesome thing!
Authentic Virtue Blog // Martin Luther Marriage Quote

 

I by no means want this to become “your checklist” or guide in relationships — please don’t do that! Instead I want to bless you with a bit of insight on five things that make marriage really tick.

I know I have been extraordinarily blessed by these five traits and praise God He sent me such a gem for a husband.

What do you think makes a good man? If you’re married tell us what trait you found delightful in your husband!

With love, blessings and coffee!

Frannie

photo credit belongs to the beautiful Amelia Protiva Photography