My husband and I are quickly approaching our one year anniversary and I cannot believe it!!! It’s so beautiful to me when I talk to friends who desire to be married and have a beautiful sparkle in their eye, signifying their hope toward one day experiencing a covenant love all their own. It reminds me of when I was her and she was me.
I remember having a conversation with a married friend years ago (she has been married for over eight years and my now husband and I were dating for three at that point). I said to her “I can’t wait to experience the beauty of marriage!” Her response was simply a soft-spoken response, “It’s not what you think it will be.” I immediately thought this:
Wow. Why would she say that? What does that mean? Maybe experiences allowed her to become jaded, but I will not allow them to get me to that place. I will never speak that same words to a woman dreaming and hoping for her time and season of marriage.
Now, almost 5 years later… I am meeting my dear friend for lunch as a married woman, almost one year in— and I get it. I get her beautiful, honest, yet graceful response to my inexperienced perspective. Her words years ago prepared planted a seed of remembrance for me.
When I think of her statement now, I ask for forgiveness for the judgement; I pray for her continued strength as a wife and mother; I pray for myself, that I may grow into that level of grace within my own marriage; and I remind myself to be gracefully honest with the women I love so dearly who desire to follow the same path.
Marriage is absolutely beautiful. It also requires an act of selfless love that we’ve never experienced before. Parenthood is an agape love through nature and nurture. When dealing with two grown adults, the act of agape must be learned and developed over time. I’ve so thankful for her love toward me to tell me an open truth, and I want to encourage other beautiful women with the same level of advice.
As you dream of your upcoming marriage that you’ve prayed for fervently, also pray for grace to see His creation through His eyes, and not your own. Our vision is flawed but His is the view of beauty that we desire.
While I have not yet been blessed to be a Mom, which I know will come in the future, I have been fortunate enough to be a big sister to two young men and three young ladies. And as much as we fight and they certainly can get on my nerves, I would not be the person I am or be as happy as I am without them. So to express my love for them since siblings don’t usually do that, I wrote my young queens a little letter. (The one for my brothers is coming a tad bit later)
To my darling younger sisters,
Let me start by saying that each of you holds a special place in my heart.
You are spontaneous, caring, funny, loving, optimistic, intelligent, and beautiful.
DO NOT let one single soul, male or female, steal your joy or devalue you.
There will be naysayers and haters, because they are jealous of all the things that you can and will do.
NEVER doubt yourself, because anything that you think you can accomplish, you will.
KNOW and BELIEVE that your skin, body and hair are beautiful! I know you may not see many people that look like you, but you are perfect the way you are, no matter what anyone says.
Embrace the fact that you are different, because that is what makes you so special.
And most importantly, if you feel like you have no one, understand that I love you more than words can explain and that I am always here for you.
My life was a lot less fun before each of you entered my life and I am determined as your big sister to make sure that no one ever breaks you down, because the world and most definitely me needs each of you.
True Friends are worth making the effort for when life gets busy. As we challenge ourselves to live a life of intentional behavior, here are some ways to help us be more intentional with improving our friendships:
- Periodically Check-in
For some reason, many believe that effort must be equivalent to something grand, or extremely time consuming. This is not necessarily true! Effort could be as simple as a text to say hello (which can be scheduled within your phone, by the way), A kind message on through a social platform, or a brief 5 minute call. For me, life is busy! In the midst of a full time job, a full-time marriage, and full-time dreams– I am still expected to maintain my relationships to the best of my ability. Well- in Atlanta, I am not excluded from traffic! While in traffic (and using my bluetooth and voice command service in my car), that’s when I catch up with loved ones. Every Sunday as I plan for my week, I write down 2-3 names of friends and family in my planner and write down the best day to call. Writing this down helps me to remember, and it also make it just as important as all other things on my calendar. Random “thinking of you” notes are always great too!
- Learn their language of Love
We all have 5 core love languages but the rankings change for every individual! Many apply the love languages to their spouse or significant other but love languages apply to ALL relationships, including friendships. My love language is time for the majority of my relationships. However, a dear friend of mine has a love language of word of affirmation. As her friend, I choose to speak life into our brief conversations and she makes the effort to make time for us to catch up– even in the midst of her busy family life. By us taking the time to truly learn one another’s love languages, it removes any assumptions and helps us tap directly into showing appreciation for one another.
- Seek friendship God’s Way
The word “friend” is taken too lightly in many situations.True friendship takes time, tests, and success through the tests. In the Book, The Woman Code by Sophia Nelson, Ms. Nelson states the following:
“To be a “sister” is to be a friend. To be loyal. Tried-and-true. It is to give a smile, lend a hand, and practice friendship. it is to be forgiving. to be a covering, a balm, a helping hand, a fierce advocate and builder of other women. Being a “sister” means you value other woman as you value yourself.”
Being a true friend goes beyond a word and requires the act of love toward another person. Make it a point to seek God’s Word and guidance as it pertains to friendship. He will never fail you.
If you haven’t had a chance, please pick up a copy of 31 Days of Intentional Behavior, written by ours truly– STRONG Founder, Coupe Scott!!
Want to learn more about Sophia Nelson’s book, The Woman Code: 20 Powerful Keys to Unlock Your Life? Check out my recent book review and be inspired!
After a full year of day to day hard ship, going into another year is easy to feel many emotions. However, the other morning I got up early while my baby girl was still sleeping to seek time with The Lord. In that time I was just praying and thanking God for the HUGE amount of GOOD He did in this last year in the midst of the hardship. In that moment, a domino effect happened. My eyes somehow were opened to the realization of all the break throughs last year had, the victories, the blessings…. Oh the Blessings! It made me recall a short quote I wrote when I was a Senior in College.
“Music… Vibrational reassurance that beauty is not always tangible, and that melody will still thrive in dissonance.”
God is the music in our lives, and He is Thriving!
I think a lot of us make it to the end of the year huffing and puffing, I know I did. And seeing another year coming strait at us seems like endless waves crashing overhead. But I encourage you sweet one. Stand yourself strait up, Hunt for the Good, and the Good will drive your life forward. Going into a new year, after coming out of a hard year, is a wonderful position to be in. Why? Because you are stronger! Because you overcame! Because you are on the hunt for Good! And Because you are choosing to propel your best into this next year!
CHOOSING to brush off the year that past and look head on into what is to come is invigorating and requires BIG Faith! But I know we all can do it! So, Cut your hair! Dye those locks and get that gym membership you’ve been putting off, but above all, focus on the Good! This is my challenge to you!
Have Grit Sweet ones,
I’m going to go ahead and assume that if you’re a woman you are a giver. The days and weeks of your life consists of serving others. You freely give your time, your energy and the best of yourself to your loved ones. This is such a good quality and the true mark of a servers’ heart. However we often get lost in making sure everyone else is taken care of that we forget to take care of ourselves. I can always tell when I haven’t taken care of myself by my attitude. The minute serving becomes burdensome instead of enjoyable or when I start going through the motions and not be intentional with every action and move is when I know it’s time to stop and treat myself.
I recently fell into a huge writing slump. If you’re a writer you know how scary these slumps can be. It feels as if you’re stuck on sticky tap and can’t find a way to get unstuck. For a whole week, I couldn’t jot down one sentence let alone a word for my novel. I was paralyzed at this certain part of my story and it was looking like it was going to be a long road back to the light. Luckily, I have a husband who knows me inside and out and he came home from work one day and simply said, “On Saturday, you’re going to go take some time to be alone.” It’s amazing how our loved ones know truths about us before we can see them. I agreed and all of a sudden I was looking forward to Saturday morning, a date with myself, and a chance to gain a new perspective.
Saturday morning came, I got up early, before the babies, got dressed and headed out! With my laptop, charger, phone, and headphones in a tote I was ready to write and be renewed by time well spent with myself. As I sat down and was prepared to write I was still in a major slump. So I read a little, listened to music and even called an old friend of mine to catch up and laugh. By feeding myself, I got inspired and just like that the floodgates of my creativity burst open and I was able to jot down 4,000 words!!! The light was nearer than I thought, it just required me to put myself first and allow my creativity to be feed. If you starve yourself, you’ll end up being unhealthy. Same with your spiritual/mental body. If you starve your spirit and mind of love and nurture for ITSELF, then you’re going to be unhealthy and insufficient. Ladies, while I love that we are servers and that that’s a true reflection of our creator, I also want you guys to remember to TREAT YO SELF in order to give to yourself and others in a healthier and happier way.
What will you do this week to treat yo self? Let us know in the comments below!
With love and big smiles,