Being Purposeful in Loving

Practicing a protective, purposeful heart with AuthenticVirtue.com

If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.” – F. Burton Howard

Today I want to encourage you to protect what you love. Life can be corroding and chaotic, breaking down beauty with its salt-like wind and billows.

Shield what you love. When we plant young sprouts we protect them; we carefully tie stakes to the tender shoots and we water when the sun would rather dry everything out.

Marriages, relationships, and walking with the Lord are precious items meant to be special and protected. Too much harm comes from growing careless, bored, and unimpressed with what makes life special.

Sweet friend, take a few moments to cherish and polish what you never want to lose. Kiss your husband a little longer tonight; read to your child one more time before bed; call your out-of-state friend just to say hello; wake up a few minutes earlier to read God’s Word.

Practice protecting what you never want to lose and watch how precious and special the thing becomes.

Love, blessings, 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

Don’t Dig Up in Doubt What You Planted in Faith: Coffee Series

Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith with AuthenticVirtue.com

In life we’re given the choice to simply trust and obey or grow faithless and fearful.

In our current situation, I’m constantly challenged by fear. Every belly cramp, sign of blood, or internet search weakens my faith and I begin to dig up in doubt what I had planted in faith.

Last week was no different. My Beloved came home, exhausted from the previous night’s trip to the emergency room, the extra work he had done over the weekend, and being out-of-town. My normally calm and collected Dalton was stressed and worn out. And instead of  helping ease his weary heart I made it heavier through my nervous, worry-edged tone.

Even though we had just been to the doctor who informed us that baby was well, growing and the spotting/bleeding appeared to be low-risk, every hour of the day seemed grow my anxiety and fear. It’s like I need to be jellied up and sitting next to an ultrasound every moment of the day for me to have any peace and rest.

Friends, learn with me. Don’t dig up in doubt what you’ve planted in faith.

Life is full of unknowns.

Thankfully, we can know that God is good and kind and exceedingly present in our time of need. He is faithful to His children, their needs, and He hears their pleas.

Dalton reminded me that besides our false alarm miscarriage, our pregnancy has really been quite problem-free. Yes, I spot but so do a thousand other women who have healthy babies.

So, here’s to Fridays and learning to live life in faith. Here’s to less worry and more trusting and obeying.

What are you learning to let go and trust in? have you any advice or insight in how to conquer fear and anxiety? Let’s grow together and share our hearts! 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

 

When Your Love Affair with Getting Your Way Gets Out

Dealing with not getting your way with AuthenticVirtue.com

Have you ever been completely wiped out by your self-will?

Today was one of those days. One moment I’m rejoicing in life then something deep, emotional and fearful sweeps over me. Suddenly, I’m agitated, grumpy and morose. I start fighting Dalton over the most ridiculous conversations. Today’s argument: Do animals sin?

You should have seen the ugliness coming out from me over that unique conversation. (Wait, no, I’m glad you didn’t.)

Dalton pressed his way through the store aisles with his business while I slumped behind feeling like I was out of control and didn’t know why. What’s wrong with me? Am I hormonal? Emotional? Tired? I’m a child of God, I know better then this. I know better then this.

We talked on the drive home. Dalton, I don’t know why I’m acting like this; I don’t know why I’ve been arguing with you all week, I just feel like I have to win even if it’s dumb.

His gentle response? Maybe it’s because you haven’t been getting your way this week. 

Ouch. He’s right. I haven’t been getting my way this week. I’ve had a lot of issues going on this week that crossed my will: a dispute with a family member, Dalton not able to get work off for my mother’s birthday, my relatively tight work schedule which keeps us away for Mother’s Day, plans postponed … and my flesh is hating it.

I feel like I keep my requests to a minimum; as a realist personality I know life has limitations and it requires you to be careful with budgets, making plans and scheduling work. I know these things because I’m a by the rule book kind of gal who respects boundaries and black and white possibilities.

So I’m careful about most of my wishes — I don’t request wild, expensive, impractical things (normally). And in my mind, my frugality deserves being rewarded. When I ask for something I expect to get it. 

UGH. How did that bit of old man survive the sanctification process? How in the world did I miss crucifying that bit of fleshly thinking? How did I allow such selfishness rule my thinking and behavior, unseen, for so long?

It does no good to pout but that’s what I want to do; it feels good to mourn my sinful nature. But I need to fly to the mercy seat of God and let Him pull this ugliness from me. I need to let Him complete the work in me and address my love for my getting my way. He alone can let godly sorrow work good things in me — not days of binge cookie-dough eating and pouting.

I learned relearned a few things today:

  1. Even if you feel justified in getting your way God requires His people to have submissive, meek hearts to His revealed will — even when it means not getting your way.
  2. I’m not there yet. I still have a lot of growing, maturing and sanctification to go and that’s okay.
  3. Marrying husbands who gently point out truth in your life is an absolute gift. (Go for guys like that.)

Friends, can you relate? Tell me what God is revealing in your heart and life right now? Let’s grow together and pray for each other. Leave a comment so we can get started. 

Choosing joy, forgiveness and coffee this evening,

Frannie

Jesus Wants You to Look Up // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

Hey, sweet reader.

Yes, you. You may be feeling a little crazy today, a little overwhelmed, a little busy or a little discouraged.

I know. I’ve been there before. I’ve been in the dark place that looking inwardly brings. Many of us tend to peek at our imperfect parts for far too long. We get lost in the the fact that we’re still lacking, still angry, still sinning, still fearful, still full of pride.

I get it. I really do.

But there’s no sunshine in the dungeon. Friend, look up. Lift your eyes to Jesus — the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

He counted the cost of the cross and endured its pain and shame. He did that so we could know our Heavenly Father and live in His freedom. Friend, we’re free from continual condemnation and free from the never ending pursuit of self and sin.

Jesus is all that we need @ AuthenticVirtue.com

Live in the sunshine and breathe in the finished work of Jesus Christ in your life. After all, He is all that we need.

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption 

With love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie