Category Archives: Five Minute Friday

REMAINING CLOSE TO CHRIST FOR STRENGTH IN MARRIAGE

DSC_0370

Michael looks into my eyes and takes my breath away. Twenty-nine years after we said our vows in front of God and our loved ones, our love is stronger than ever.

During the hard years when the children were young and the stress seemed insurmountable, there were times when I actually felt nothing toward the man I had vowed to love forever. The misunderstandings and the hurts had taken their toll on my heart and it all seemed impossible to repair.

DSC_0414

Now I know that with Christ all things are possible (Luke 1:37). Love grows out of hearts that are knitted closely with God. His love never fails.

I understand why God asks that we pledge our love to each other for the rest of our earthly lives because it takes a lifetime to learn how to love unconditionally and fearlessly.

After nearly three decades, our love is deeper than I could have ever imagined; it is a true miracle. As we remain close to Christ, His love is the strength of our marriage.

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” — Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Close.” It took me more than five minutes to write this post today.

The photos were taken the day we celebrated twenty-five years of marriage by renewing our wedding vows.

Five Minute Friday

INEXPRESSIBLY GRATEFUL

Inexpressible Gift

Although there are no human words to express my gratitude for what Christ has done for me, my heart’s desire is to capture the essence of my gratefulness in my prayers and letters to Him. I wrote this letter to Jesus in 2009 as my pledge of love to Him and my commitment to trust Him in every area of my life.

Dear Jesus,

I love You with all of my heart and soul. I love You more than the very breath You give me. Every step I take—I take for You. You excite me! You make my heart sing and dance. You make me happy. You make me want to leap and jump and skip. You make me feel like a little girl. You make me want to wake up every day and look for You.

I feel You with me. I know You’re beside me. I feel Your angels everywhere I go. There’s this amazing covering You have placed over me. Sometimes I feel Your Presence so strongly that I almost think I can touch You. I am grateful.

I am amazed at your love for me. You relentlessly follow me and show me Your Beauty. The joy you have placed in my heart is so overpowering that I can’t contain it at times.

I am overwhelmed by your love. I need You, my Lord, more than anything else and I praise and honor You for the ways You chase me with Your love. In every area I have been deprived in, You have given me an abundance of blessing.

Lord, I don’t want to ever doubt You again. Forgive me for taking so many years to get to this place of trust. I am thankful that I have fully accepted the gift of You and Your love. Help me to continually stay in this place of trust.

I am Yours always…no one can ever take me away from You. Your love permeates my heart. Your love lifts me high. Your love makes my life beautiful. How can I repay You for Your love for me?

Yours forever and always,
Amy

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” — 2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Grateful.”

 Five Minute Friday

 

A BEAUTIFUL MESS

A Beautiful Masterpiece

“He’s a beautiful mess!” My friend proclaimed these words about her Jesus-loving son a few weeks ago as she talked about her son’s life while we were having lunch together. The moment she said those words, I thought, that’s the perfect way to describe a Jesus-follower. After all, it is Christ who takes our messy lives and turns them into something beautiful over time.

Paul said that we are to boast in our shortcomings because it is in our weaknesses that Christ’s power is made perfect. So after Jesus set me free from being a self-righteous church lady, I began joyfully boasting about my weaknesses.

I believe Christ uses those who openly share their weaknesses with others so much more than the ones who act so stuffy and perfect. Why would people need a savior if they were so perfect, anyway?

Joy oozes out of the souls of those who realize they don’t have to measure up anymore.

That’s the beauty of the gospel message. Jesus came and died so that we could live a life of beauty. The pressure is off to perform. We are free to live abundantly because we have Jesus—the Artist who takes us as a broken mess and creates a beautiful masterpiece of art out of our lives.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Mess.” It took me more than five minutes to write this post today.

Five Minute Friday

THE DEFINITION OF A TRUE FRIEND

Amy's Pictures 1004

A friend is one who believes in others more than she believes in herself.

She is one who allows her friends to put away all pretenses and lets them be who God made them to be.

She lets others share their weaknesses without being afraid of being judged or lectured.

She celebrates the strengths of those closest to her and brings out the best in them.

She hurts when her friends hurt and cheers when her friends are sailing through life.

She isn’t intimidated by the successes of her friends, but finds abundant joy in seeing every one of them succeed.

A true friend loves at all times and her love never, ever fails.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” — Proverbs 17: 17 (NLT)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Friend.”

The photo captured the joy of my daughter’s college years as she celebrated with the friends she met and will keep forever.

Five Minute Friday

TRUSTING IN THE INFINITELY MIGHTY GOD

Mighty Power of God

I can’t remember the precise moment when I realized what a mighty God our Jesus is. Maybe it was the time that our car was stolen and we didn’t have full insurance coverage and we were desperate to see His power. Or maybe it was the time we were behind on our bills, barely scraping by and our only option was to trust God’s infinite power to rescue us. Or maybe it was the time my marriage was in such a mess that my husband and I needed to live separately and wait on God to reveal His mighty love to us.

Jesus rescued us over and over again in the midst of our mistakes and failures. In my stubborn determination to try to handle life on my own, I finally handed over the reins to Him permanently. Still, it took time after time of seeing Christ rescue me and my family from difficult circumstances to know without a shadow of doubt that He can be trusted. He is who He says He is. He is mighty and powerful and his love never fails us.

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” Psalm 147:5 (New International Version)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Mighty.”  If you haven’t heard about Lisa Jo’s new book, you don’t want to miss out! Surprised by Motherhood can be purchased at amazon.com. I think you’ll love it!

Five Minute Friday

MARRIAGE IS FULFILLING WHEN WE’RE WILLING TO LOVE SACRIFICIALLY

Vow Renewal 1

That’s not what I am saying…I passionately defend myself to my husband as we try to hear each others’ hearts. We’ve been married for nearly twenty-nine years yet we still have trouble communicating at times. I believe God created men and women with opposite natures just so we would have to rely on Him in our commitment to each other. There is no other relationship that tests our ability to love unconditionally than the marriage.

Real love is when we are willing to sacrifice our own needs in order to see that our spouse’s needs are met first. My need as a woman to be heard and understood should be much less important to me than it is for me to respect my husband’s desires.

I am challenged daily to love purely with no selfish motives, but with the help of Christ and through His strength I know that I can press on in loving my husband sacrificially.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

— 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (New International Version)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Willing.”

The photo was taken the day my husband and I renewed our wedding vows.

Five Minute Friday

THE SECRET GARDEN OF GRACE

Woodstock Cross

As a young teen girl, I was thrust into a deeply painful situation when my dad moved out of our home and divorced my mother. As difficult of a season as that was for me, I am grateful for the pain. It was that very trial that led me into the secret place with God. In my distress, I learned how to draw away with Christ and to allow Him to comfort my hurting heart with His healing balm. In the moments of heartache, I was drawn into the arms of the greatest love of my life. It was in His presencein the secret garden of God’s grace where I found His never-ending love.

Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” 

I pray that you will rest in Christ’s secret garden on this Valentine’s Day and every day until His return.

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Garden.”

Five Minute Friday

MY HERO AND BEST FRIEND

DSC_0496

As I look back over my marriage to Michael, I think of the laughter and joy, and the times we struggled to stay committed.

We have been in a battle to fight for our marriage from the beginning when we married at the ages of nineteen and twenty-three. Both of us coming from families that were broken up by divorce, the odds were against our marriage. But in the midst of every trial that we’ve endured, my husband has courageously fought for us. He has remained committed to the vows he made to me twenty-eight years ago. In the hardest of times, he has pressed on in loving me. I am grateful for our marriage and look forward to many more decades of sharing love with my hero and best friend.

“Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?” Proverbs 20:6 (NASB)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Hero.”

The photo was taken the day my husband and I renewed our wedding vows.

Five Minute Friday

IN CHRIST, WE CAN FLY

100_2039

I threw my hands up in the air and proclaimed, “I’m free!” I was talking to an acquaintance from church, a woman I didn’t know very well. She looked at me strangely and I knew she had no idea what I was trying to communicate through my gesture. I shared a little about my painful past and how it had held me captive for way too long.

With excitement, I continued sharing my testimony of how Christ had taken my brokenness and transformed me. I used the metaphor of the butterfly to share what God had done in my heart and in my life.

After joyfully sharing about my new-found freedom that day, I left and pondered the words I had boldly shared. Even though the woman stared blankly and didn’t seem to get it at the time, I’ve often thought about her and hoped my testimony had planted a seed in her heart.

It’s been over a decade since that day when I proclaimed my freedom. The longer I walk with Christ the freer I become. I am no longer held captive by the thoughts of my past, by the concerns of the world, by the need to measure up to any person’s standard…on and on the list goes.

Jesus is the true Redeemer. He takes us and transforms us like the metamorphosis of a butterfly. As we leave our past hurts, our fears, our failures, our sin at His feet, He changes us and makes us new. In Him, our spirits are renewed and we soar.

Christ takes us in our caterpillar state and gives us wings so we can fly.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (New Living Translation)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Fly.” Today, I wrote for about ten extra minutes.

The photograph was taken at Anderson’s Sunflower Farm in Cumming, Georgia.

Five Minute Friday

SACRED MOMENTS SWINGING BY THE TREE

Amy's Pictures 802

As a young girl, I lived next door to my grandparents for several years. Every day, after school, I would spend my afternoons hanging out at their house. They lived on a beautiful piece of land in North Georgia surrounded by rolling cow pastures and mountains in the distance. The beauty at their house was magnified by the peace and serenity in the atmosphere.

As I grew older, I realized the peace at their home came from Christ and His presence. My grandfather, whom I called, “Poppy” was a praying man. He was left fatherless when his daddy died on his tenth birthday. Without an earthly father, he turned to his heavenly Father to fill the void in his life.

Poppy’s love for Christ influenced me.

Some of my greatest memories as a child are of the times I sat in a wooden swing that was positioned in front of a big old tree. I would sit for what seemed like hours with Poppy by my side, along with one of his cats nestled in between us. As the cat purred, and the old swing screeched in the wind, I could feel the Spirit of God and the peace that came from within Poppy’s soul.

I tasted the presence of God in those sacred moments swinging by the tree. My spirit was touched and a desire was born in my heart to seek after Christthe one and only way to find true peace.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Tree.” Today, it took me twenty extra minutes to write this piece. This post was written in loving memory of Alvin Harper (1916-2012).

The above photo of my grandfather’s swing was taken shortly after he passed away. I now have the swing at my house and will always be grateful for the legacy of prayer that Poppy left behind.

Five Minute Friday