The Walls Around Your Bedroom and Your Marriage 

Marriage, Spring Cleaning

“A wise woman builds her home,but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.” Proverbs 14:1

This week in “Spring Cleaning for Your Heart and Home” we are cleaning in our master bedroom and praying over our marriage as we go.

Today we prayed protection over our marriage as we scrub our walls and windows. Proactively praying for your marriage is a subject I am especially passionate about. We make sure that we protect so many other things in our lives, why shouldn’t we put as much effort int protecting our most important relationship on this earth?

Last year, my husband Nick & I spoke in a chapel service for the ministry he works for that serves Nascar about this topic.

You can hear the 20 minute recoding of it here: http://motorracingoutreach.podomatic.com/entry/2015-08-24T05_36_46-07_00

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You can build protective walls around your marriage, just as real and sheltering as the ones that enclose your home.

Here is a list of suggestions to plant protective a hedges to keep people and threats out of your sacred marriage relationship:
“Hedge 1: Choose wisely.

Avoid unnecessarily spending time with someone of the opposite sex. For instance, if you’re looking for a personal trainer at the local gym, choose someone of the same sex.
Hedge 2: Share carefully.

If you find yourself sharing things about yourself or your marriage that you haven’t or wouldn’t share with your spouse, that’s a red flag. Not all affairs are physical-an emotional affair is just as damaging.
Hedge 3: Stay in large, public settings.

Determine not to meet one-on-one with anyone of the opposite sex. If your coworker asks if he or she can join you for lunch, ask a third person to join you as well. If necessary, don’t hesitate to share the boundary you and your spouse have agreed upon in your marriage. You just might lead by example.
Hedge 4: Don’t be naïve.

Most people who end up in affairs don’t set out to have one. Infidelity usually begins with an innocent relationship that, in time, moves to an emotional depth that crosses a line of fidelity.
Hedge 5: Increase your investment at home.

Solid marriages are built by spending time together, laughing together, and playing together. If you aren’t dating your mate, set up dates for the coming months and make spending time together a priority.
Hedge 6: Pay attention to your thought-life.

When all you think about is your spouse’s faults, any other man or woman will look better. Make a list of the strengths that initially attracted you to your spouse. Increase encouragement and decrease criticism.
Hedge 7: Don’t play the comparison game.

We all make mistakes, have bad habits and annoying behaviors. When we compare a “new friend” to our spouse, it’s an unfair comparison because we aren’t seeing that person in a “living under the same roof, taking care of kids at 3 a.m., struggling to make ends meet” reality.
Hedge 8: Seek help.

Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. A Christian counselor can provide valuable perspective and help set new strategies for a marriage that can go the distance.”
This list of  hedges came directly from the book “Hedges: Loving your marriage enough to protect it,” by Jerry B Jenkins.

So sweet sisters, as you evaluate the cleanliness of the walls & windows  in your bedroom, pray hard considering how to protect your marriage! God is faithful & his promises will affect the future of your marriage as you pray them.

To buy the study and join in, click here >>> http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1530583446/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1460486307&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=spring+cleaning+bible+study

Clothed in Strength and Dignity

Spring Cleaning

 “She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25 NLT

“The strength and dignity of the Proverbs 31 woman is found in Jesus alone.  She doesn’t find it in the order and cleanliness of her drawers and closets…she laughs and lives freely and lightly because she trusts in Jesus to give her strength to serve her family and provide all their needs.”  

If you have been spring cleaning along with us this week, great job!  Week one is coming to a close.  I was so blessed and encouraged to hear from some of you this week about your experience thus far.  I was able to see some pictures and walk through one of my friend’s homes and see the progress!  God is so good and I praise him for what he is doing through this bible study.

 I would love for you to come through my home with me and see the transformations taking place in my spaces and hear about the renewing transformations God is doing in my heart through these focused times of prayer in my home. (And actually, I am going to invite you who live locally to do just that, so stay tuned :))

 I now have a hall closet where I prayed through a jumbled dream for this ministry to an organized vision and a tidy space:

My kids have been loving to play these board games they were once afraid to try to find and pull out!  It’s beautiful to see how organization spawns their creativity.  Here are my girls’ masterpieces created after they could easily access their acrylic paints:

And here is the before and after of the junk drawer featured in my last post:

I still have more to work on in my kids’ closets, which I am about to go finish after this blog post.  But I could not let the end of this first week go by without recapping the final day of study for the week.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25 NLT

I have studied the Proverbs 31 woman a lot over the years.  I mean a lot.  I have compared myself, and felt under-qualified beside her every. single. time.  Except for one quality.

She loves Jesus.  And  her identity is found in him alone. She doesn’t find her success in how organized her closets are, or how many things she has marked off her to do list this week.  She is covered in a “splendid garment.”  It is the grace of her Jesus.

She laughs because she knows what her ultimate future holds.  A life forever seated with her Savior.  Contemplating in his beauty, studying at his feet.  She will be sure to trust in his strength to care for the home He has given her, but she will laugh joyfully, with glee about the home she will live in one day:

Psalm 84:

1-2 What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,
Always dreamed of a room in your house,
where I could sing for joy to God-alive!
3-4 Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God!
How blessed they are to live and sing there!
5-7 And how blessed all those in whom you live,
whose lives become roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!
8-9 God-of-the-Angel-Armies, listen:
O God of Jacob, open your ears—I’m praying!
Look at our shields, glistening in the sun,
our faces, shining with your gracious anointing.
10-12 One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship,
beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches.
I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God
than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin.
All sunshine and sovereign is God,
generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.
It’s smooth sailing all the way with God-of-the-Angel-Armies. MSG

So keep on moving through your earthly home sweet sister.  Make it a masterpiece for the present.  But keep your eyes and hearts fixed on your eternal home with your Jesus. Then you will be wearing his beautiful grace well.  ❤

>>>Want to join the Spring Cleaning with Jesus journey?  Buy the study here:  >>>

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Decluttering Your Heart, One Drawer at a Time

Spring Cleaning

I pulled out the drawer in the middle of my kitchen, searching for a number 2 pencil WITH an eraser, with ten minutes to get into the minivan.  My hands began frantically rummaging to no avail; UNO cards, nail polish, hair clips, dozens of tiny rubber bands…no number 2 pencils, no pencils at all!  This is not good I thought.  The one thing that is supposed to be there isn’t, but every other thing under the sun is in there, taking up space and just junking up my drawer!

I know how this happened.  When I am tidying up I just toss things in there and close it up real quick instead of dealing with it and putting it

where it’s really supposed to go.

It works for the moment.  My counters are clear, and on the surface my kitchen looks really shiny and nice.  (Until a guest accidentally opens the drawer looking for a spoon to stir her coffee, right?) The same happens with our hearts.  We don’t put the real time or effort into prayer.  So we just toss up a general “Lord help me.”

Our outsides look great and tidy; but on the inside, we feel like our own junk drawer.

 Cluttered.

This afternoon, I opened it up to clean it out.  I put my fingers in there and moved the junk all around, looking for things that were valuable enough to keep.  I set a few treasures on top of the counter that I deemed worthy.  There was still so much junk mixed in with the good stuff.  I spotted a handwoven necklace I had bought in Africa when we were there adopting my daughter that I definitely wanted to keep.

But I realized I only had a few minutes before I had to leave again to take my daughter to gymnastics!  (See why I wrote the “Why your house is messy” post?)  I shoved the UNO cards and other treasures back in and then took this picture:  (Your’e welcome, I try to keep it real here :))

 

I thought about how my heart felt all discombobulated like this messy drawer.  It had been such a busy morning with necessary activities that I could not cut out of our schedule.  I have been out of the habit of rising very early to pour my heart out to the Lord in prayer and so it felt just as cluttered as this drawer.  So many concerns were in there, nothing extremely heavy or pressing,  but just things I needed to talk to Jesus about, stuffed in there waiting to come out and set before him.

The only way to clear something so messy out is to dump it.  Let all the good things worth keeping and the clutter taking up space to come out, and be picked up and evaluated

one thing at a time.  

It is the same with our prayer life.  We can’t feel light and free if we don’t sit at the feet of Jesus and lift up every concern separately

one care at a time.  

He wants us to be specific, and ask.

 “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” James 4:2

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7

So in the spirit of Spring Cleaning, go pick a drawer or a closet.  Open it up and dump the clutter out.  As you pick up each thing to evaluate it, voice your concerns to the Lord.  Don’t let your mind wander into daydreaming.  Talk out loud to Jesus if that helps.  Feel your heart become so light and free as you let all the cares and worries be set upon the One on whom they are supposed to fall.

Then organize all the things that are left.  See the beauty you have created where there was once a mess.  Know that the things you lifted up to the Lord are being turned into something beautiful for eternity as well!  If you doubt,  just open up that drawer or closet and thank Him for working on the requests you laid at his feet.

I would love to hear from you if you are working through “Spring Cleaning for Your Heart and Home!”  Comment below and tell me how it’s going!  Praying for you all. Enjoy journeying through your home with Jesus, and look forward to a clean home and heart!

>>>If you would like to purchase the study, it’s available here on Amazon: >>>

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Fun Tips for Spring Cleaning with Kids

Marriage, Spring Cleaning

 This crazy picture is my life. My kids are at a fun age, and this is how we roll. My daughter, Arabella is wearing a strainer on her head as she posing for a pic in the middle of her daily chore, unloading the dishes. If you look behind her, you can see her “castle” made out of the clean dishes.  She is not tall enough or skilled enough to reach the cabinets yet, so she is supposed to just set the dishes underneath the cabinets they go in.

I heard her saying, mom, can I make a castle out of the dishes instead?  I really wanted to say, “No, just put them underneath where they are supposed to go! But I just couldn’t. Her little voice sounded so cute, and I know the days of building castles of any kind will be gone in no time.  So I gave in.  And I enjoyed watching every second of her castle building!

As we journey through “Spring Cleaning for Your Heart and Home” together, I want to encourage us to Spring clean the way Jesus would.  One thing Jesus was adamant about was including children in his ministry.   It would be so much easier to turn the disney channel on and sit them in front of the t.v. for the majority of this journey, or to lock the doors of the house and make them stay outside! Below are some alternatives to those two last resorts.

Cleaning out closets/drawers:

Dress up/Fashion shows

Clothes basketball:  shoot the clothes in the basket

Peek a boo with young children

Cover kids in a pile of clothes

Conquer the clothes mountain (climb on top of the pile)

Windows: 

Kids go outside, and you clean inside of windows, They go outside and pick which window you are cleaning and see if they get it right!

You clean outside windows while you they hide and you seek.

Walls:

Everyone gets a bucket and scrubs their section.  When you are done, you go outside and toss the soapy water at each other.

Lights:

Sing “This Little Light of Mine” with them.  If they are old enough to help, have them cover up the light with the rag while they sing “hide it under a bushel”  and then uncover it when they sing “shine.”

For older kids, talk about how we can be the light of the world to those around us.

Doors:  

Make up “knock knock” jokes together.

FOR SPRING CLEANING ANYTHING:

Turn some fun music on and dance while you clean.

Set a timer and see how much you can get done with your kids in 15 minutes!

I hope these ideas help you look forward to spring cleaning with your kids.  The idea is to include them and make it fun.  This doesn’t mean they can or need to help you every second of your spring cleaning journey.

If you haven’t purchased the bible study book yet, it’s not too late to join us.

Click the link to Amazon below: 

>>>http://www.amazon.com/Spring-Cleaning-Your-Heart-Home/dp/1530583446/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459542400&sr=8-1&keywords=spring+cleaning+bible+study>>>

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<<<I start blogging through it on Monday right here and on the Facebook group!!!>>>

How Would Jesus Spring Clean?

Spring Cleaning

WEEK 1 PRAYER PODCAST: Spring Cleaning Week 1 Prayer Podcast

  “Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30 MSG

In the breath before this one, Jesus had just been explaining to the disciples how exactly to live this free life- in intimacy with the Father.  He is telling the disciples to watch him, and promising that he will teach them how to live life in this free and light way.

So we can’t literally see Jesus at the moment,  but as I have encouraged us in the book, we have invited him with us on the journey to a clean home and a clean heart.  If we haven’t done this, then we might as well forget this bible study and just grab our trash bags and our cleaning supplies and get the work done.

So, I sat down to write some quick tips to motivate us to get started.  And as he often does, Jesus rushed in as I called on him and he told me to encourage you with this:

Spring Clean the way Jesus would.  

Can’t you just see him now?  Like he did when he washed the disciples’ feet… wrapping a towel around his waist, eager to serve, a heart full of love; perfect love for the recipient of this work.

And sisters, this is EXACTLY what I encourage us to do in our homes in the month of April.  I am not a cleaning expert.  I am a girl wildly and madly in love with Jesus who has been given a home to make into his masterpiece.

I want you talking with Jesus the entire time you are on this journey,

thanking him for your clutter and excess,

asking him who to pass clothes on to,  

inviting your children to join in the work, and

praying for the people you are cleaning for.  

>>>Now a FREEBIE!  For those of you who are not going to buy the book, here is a passage reading/cleaning schedule so you can join in too!  >>>Click below!

Spring Cleaning for Your Heart and Home Reading_Cleaning Schedule

Want the full Spring Cleaning Bible Study Experience?  Buy the book at Amazon below: