Change the Conversation FACELIFT

I’m excited to reveal the NEW cover for my first book, “Change the Conversation,” available soon!

Stay tuned for details! If you want to get a jump start on reading the book, here’s the first chapter, for free!

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Conversations Part 4: Encouragement for the Journey

In “Change the Conversation,” I mention that while there were many talks, scriptures and people that encouraged me along the way, there were 3 specific people who encouraged me as I sought to date and marry in a way that honored God.

The first two were married/engaged and just by the simple telling of their story of how they trusted God and met their significant other, I was encouraged. I had hope that “God’s way worked” because here were normal people, not that much older than myself and they listened to God and they seemed to turn out all right.

The last lady was a speaker at Purity Day at the Capitol, which I attended my senior year of high school. The one phrase that has stuck with me was, “It only gets harder from here.” She didn’t sugarcoat what it meant to walk in obedience to God. She didn’t make it seem like it would always be super easy to make the right choices. And you know what? She was right. The road can be tough on the way to the reward. Her honesty ministered to me that day, and continues to minister to me whenever I think about it.

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So I offer you some words of encouragement. It is always worth it to do things God’s way. Get in his word every day and ask to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit every day so you can better recognize how he is moving in your life.

Remember that circumstances come and go, but God always stays. And he never changes. So build your foundation on him, make him your priority, and no matter who or what he brings into your life, you’ll be on steady ground.

You have my support and prayers, my friend. Happy Tuesday.

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Missed the other posts in the “Conversations” series? Catch up below!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Conversations Part 3: On Prayer

Welcome to Week 3 of the “Conversations” series! July is flying by fast. If you’re just joining us, click the links below to catch up!

Part 1

Part 2

Any glance through my old journals reveals that I was very calm, but persistent in praying to God about the man I would marry. I prayed about meeting him. I prayed about the qualities I desired in him. I prayed about my desires to be in a relationship and get married. I prayed for his future family. And I prayed for “him,” though I didn’t have a face or a name yet.

Years and years of prayer went into our relationship before it even began. In “Change the Conversation,” I also talk about a specific quiet time when I truly laid my request before the Lord about meeting a husband. I talk more about it in this post here, which coincidentally happened five years ago today!

We also prayed during our dating relationship that we would glorify God. We prayed to make good decisions, set boundaries, and meet needs.

I hope you are catching a pattern here. Prayer, when activated, reaps much fruit in every area of our lives. Paraphrasing a quote from “Streams in the Desert,” a Christian can hardly accomplish more than when immersed in prayer.

I don’t know what you’re walking through in your own life right now. Maybe you are praying for job opportunities to open up. Maybe you are praying about funding for a mission trip. Maybe you are praying about the person you will marry. Maybe you are praying for a child. Maybe you are praying that God would heal deep hurts in your heart.

Whatever it is, pray.

Pray quietly, pray out loud, write your prayers out in a journal, share them with a friend, whatever you need to do, lift your requests before the Lord. Pray through scriptures. Pray with songs. Whatever you do, pray. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.

As my husband and I are walking through fertility treatments, we’ve prayed a lot. And by a lot, I mean a lot. Some of have been angry prayers. Some have been tired prayers. A lot have been tearful prayers. But the point is, pray. We don’t see the full fruit of those prayers yet, but I can look back on a long history of answered prayer, and that informs and shapes my future.

Are all my questions answered? No. Is every “what if” satisfied? Definitely not. Do I come before the Lord with perfect faith and patience every time? Ha, NOPE.

But I do come, and I can rest assured today that by faith, my prayers are accounted for and the Lord does hear me. And he hears you, too. Don’t discount the power of prayer.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16b

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Conversations Part 2: On Purity

The Purity chapter in “Change the Conversation” was one of the easier chapters to write, because the topic is so near and dear to my heart, and I want the next generation to catch God’s vision for purity, not become further tripped up in the trappings of the purity culture.

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If I had a kid right now, I would begin painting a vision of purity; a vision of pursuing God’s best in every area of our lives, including dating relationships. A compelling vision motivates people to get behind it. A compelling vision moves people from point A to point B. A compelling vision does in fact inspire change. A compelling vision motivates people to do the work necessary in order to reach the desired goal. I love this quote from French author Antoine Exupery:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sailors longing for the open sea will be more than motivated to swab the decks and  hoist the sails because they love their goal and believe in their purpose. They are willing to put in the work to get there. The concept of purity, in my opinion, can work in the same way.  On one hand, it can feel like endless tasks, a long to-do list and an even longer to-DON’T list. Or it can be framed in such a way that because we love God so much, because we desire his will, because we love his word, we  hold ourselves to a standard for the greater purpose, not for the standard’s sake.

This vision naturally extends to the rest of a believer’s life, not just during dating and engagement. That’s what began to bother me so much with the traditional “purity culture” espoused in Christian circles. Christians are called to pursue purity in every area of their lives, for their whole life, whether in elementary school, or in the assisted living community. But you don’t hear much about it past youth group. It’s not framed in light of marriage (as much as it should be), or in parenting, or in the workplace. Why? Why is that?

Let’s pursue purity as we do schoolwork, as we complete work projects, as we interact with our spouses, our family members, and yes boyfriends/girlfriends as well. Let’s regain the vision for purity that I believe resides in God heart.

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16