Monday, October 27, 2014

A Set-Apart Weekend and Pregnancy Update

This past weekend, I traveled to beautiful Windsor, CO for the first annual Set-Apart Motherhood conference, hosted by Leslie Ludy. It was kind of a mini Babymoon....sans the husband. :) I have wanted to attend several of the Ludy's many conferences and events in Colorado for years, so to finally have the opportunity to go was a major blessing and answer to prayer. Being 34 weeks, I was unsure if I could/should make the trip, but once I was cleared by my OB, I purchased my ticket and began planning and packing. It was an interesting experience, traveling alone in my third trimester to the mountains. I'm so thankful for good health, enough energy, and a problem-free pregnancy that allowed me to go. I came home full-to-the-brim spiritually and with a stronger vision for motherhood than I ever had before. Here are some highlights from my trip.

At Ellerslie, you would never know that you are a 10 minute walk from Windsor. It feels tucked away and secluded. Very much set apart. :) The peaceful atmosphere was beautiful.

This was my favorite view. To wake up with the dawn each morning and walk to breakfast, I saw this magnificent picture. A camera photo just can't capture the splendor. I think I stared out the window every time I was NEAR a window!

Each session was power-packed and practical. I have read many parenting books and blogs and there is an ever-present theme in our Christian culture to just take it easy and survive motherhood. The modern Christian mentality says it's normal for your spiritual life to take a back seat when you have little kids and so just be comforted that God understands you're tired, frazzled, and a complete mess. He loves you anyway. Truthfully, that's unscriptural and so I loved how each and every session was full of Biblical wisdom and commandments. Not about hanging on and surviving motherhood, but thriving - through Jesus - in your parenting and bringing heaven into your home.

The worship was worship. Growing up in music, it's always been one of the quickest ways to move me. I was anxious to hear the music from Ella Powell, but was also curious how the music and worship would be led. Let me just say, it was real worship. And I was so moved by, not only her sweet demeanor, but the songs she has written for her children, which she shared with us at the conference. And on a side note, I highly recommend the music of

It was a joy to see the two newest little Ludy kids! Via the Set-Apart Girl magazine, I have watched their two biological children grow and have seen the hand of God in the adoptions of their, now, four adopted children. These two little ones came from Haiti and after an intense 29 month battle to bring them home, they arrived the day before the first-ever Motherhood conference. Isn't that just like God? :)

I met Eric and Leslie Ludy once briefly, one month before my wedding when they spoke at a conference in Arkansas back in 2010. But it was an amazing honor to be in their environment and talk with two people whom the Lord has used mightily in my Christian walk. When I was a teenager and got a hold of their testimony and their love story, it opened my eyes to areas of my life that I had never fully surrendered to Christ. What a blessing to be able to thank them for being an instrument the Lord has used to change my life.

P.S. They were absolutely sweet, down-to-earth, and fun to talk to. :)

The conference ended Saturday night and I stayed over and attended the Church at Ellerslie Sunday morning. I receive each week's sermon in my inbox, but to be in the atmosphere and worship with so many like-minded people - it was a sweet little taste of Heaven on earth.

Now that I am home, I am BUSY getting ready for little miss to make her arrival. Only a few very short weeks and we will be a family of five! I'm feeling well overall. I'm uncomfortable and the pregnancy penguin waddle is slowly surfacing, but that just means it's almost over. :) After such a renewing weekend, I'm more than ready to hold my baby in my arms......right after I get the crib put together. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Love: As Scripted By God

In a culture whose heroes of love are Edward Cullen or Christian Grey, never has it been easier to see what love is.

...or at least, what has the appearance of love. In reality, what is scripted by screenwriters and published by people who do not know Jesus Christ, what is labeled as love is anything but.

It's depicted as an all-powerful surge of emotions; something we literally "fall" in to. For many, it is an overwhelming mental obsession; for many more, it is a mad desire to simply jump in bed together. It has been reduced to clever, cushy sayings that are then quoted by the masses on blogs, Tumblr accounts, selfie Instagram photos, and Facebook pages.

It's something we can choose to give up on if it's in our best interest. It's something we can find in many different partners, so long as we are kept happy and comfortable.

May I tell you what love - true, marital love - looks like when it's scripted by its Author?

Love is giving all of you and the best of you, especially when you don't want to.

Love is keeping sacred things sacred (your body parts, your marriage bed, your heart).

Love is the shared glace over the dinner table while your children are laughing.

Love is being held tenderly when your heart has been broken, whether by a hurtful word or a painful loss.

Love is faithfulness even when you're financially broke, emotionally empty, or physically ill. It's the "sticking-togetherness" for better or for worse.

Love is knowing that you are desired, regardless of your swollen, pregnant belly or your inability to put on your own shoes.

Love is trust. 

Love is not wondering where your spouse is or if they desire another. It's not leaving your spouse in search of greener pastures instead of watering your own yard.

Love is doing your spouse good and not evil all the days of your life...whether it's reciprocated or not. 

Love is choosing their happiness over your own.

Love is initiating forgiveness and reconciliation even when it may have not have been "your fault."

Love is patience when your nerves are shot and kindness when stress is at an all-time high.

Love is friendship and all its belly laughs.

Love is being led to the throne of God, even when you're too weak to walk there alone.

Love is many things that are no longer sought after or cultivated in relationships. Instead, it's a weak, feelings-based decision that we can make null and void should we have the urge to. And as a result, there's heartbreak, divorce, anger and resentment, and quite a bit of emptiness.

But if you want a little glimmer of heaven, if you want something with substance and beauty, let God be your Scriptwriter. His stories are the best.


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