Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

devotional, inspiration, woman's devotional, scripture, motherhood, marriage, pregnancy, women in the word, daily scripture, daily devotional, motherhood blog, faith blog, christian living,

This morning as I was reading a devotional, I came across this quote I hadn’t heard before. Maybe you have, but it was the first time I’d read it and it really stuck with me.

“Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” -Bil Keane

I’ve been feeling convicted this week, as a mother. My responses to the girls, have been short. I’ve been quick to get angry and quick to speak.

My frustration has been evident. Because I am frustrated, the girls become frustrated. They act out even more and begin to see how far they can go until I really “lose it.” I yell, they scream out back. They don’t seem to listen, but the funny thing is, I never listened to them when they weren’t misbehaving.

I only gave them my full attention when they were doing the wrong thing.

What if God only gave us His full attention when we only did the wrong thing? We wouldn’t want to listen to HIs instruction with joyful expressions and open ears, to listen. We’d grunt, huff and puff and try to interrupt Him ONE HUNDRED TIMES before He could get just ONE sentence out!

That’s what it’s been like for me this week. Instead of taking a step back and giving them my undivided attention; to see them and hear them; to watch what their hearts need in certain moments. In the one moment they do something they aren’t supposed to, that’s when I “listen;” and perhaps, that’s why they did it in the first place.

As I sit here, hearing them laugh and play pretend with their dolls, I am both happy and sad. Sad because, how many of these precious moments have I missed? How much time have I wasted in correcting them over silly things, only because I am frustrated at all the to-do’s that “must” get done before lunch? Frustrated because they didn’t want their pancake cut in half, they wanted it whole. Frustrated because they’re just being a FOUR year old and a TWO year old.

How many times have I acted in the same way toward God? Did he bicker and sneer at me? Fuss and send me to time out? No. He’s always been gentle with his correction, gentle with his words… gracious and merciful.

I could and will pray more consistently for God to make me more like a James 1:19 woman. Even in my marriage, many times I am quick to get angry and not quick to listen or quick to forgive… or apologize for that matter. It just makes everyone frustrated. It’s not about being wrong or right. It’s about working things out peacefully and enjoying the fact that I… YOU are here.

Enjoying the fact God blessed me with motherhood. That He’s blessed me with an amazing husband. That He’s blessed me with our beautiful home…

Waking up every morning with a grateful heart, regardless of our circumstance. 

Enjoying motherhood despite the fact that dishes need to get done, laundry needs folding, toys are covering the living room…

Simply listening to the sounds of laughter coming from those two little humans that God so delicately, lovingly and joyfully created inside of my body. Seriously, what a gift that I take for granted far more than I’d like to admit!

I’m reminded that TODAY IS A GIFT FROM HIM and I must be diligent in my role here on Earth.

To give more grace.

To be more gentle with my words.

To not allow negative circumstances to dictate my day.

To CHOOSE JOY and PUT ON LOVE the way GOD LOVES US, even when we do have our tantrums with Him.

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF…dishes don’t have eternal weight, but how I go about raising my children does and how I go about being a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted me with, does too. 

XO,

LO

Worship Like Jesus

Worship devotional, daily encouragement, devotions for women, devotionals, spiritual growth, what is worship, scripture, positive affirmations, prayer, prayer journal, inspirational

I started reading this book, Adamant by Lisa Bevere and let me tell you, if you haven’t already read it… go get it now. It is so so good!

Today, I want to share with you a part that has stuck out to me.

“We were created in the image of God, and God is spirit. Though it is invisible, the spirit is as real and as near as the very breath we draw. And yet it is something deeper than the passage of air through our lungs. It is the quickening of God dwelling within us. The God of fire and love consumes all that hinders the expression and reception of his love.” Pg.36

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

John 4:24

First, I want to start off by saying, that worship is more… way more than the “pre game” to the sermon at a church service; It is just one avenue of entering into God’s presence and it’s one of my favorites, 😊 but isn’t the only way in which we are called to worship.

We experience true worship in our daily lives, not just once a week. In our devotions, in our marriage/ relationships, in ministry, in our parenting and the way in which we reach out to others… in our prayer.

If we truly have Jesus dwelling, moving, living and breathing in us, then our worship should reflect  just that. Our worship should be unhindered, immovable and undivided, regardless of where we are or who we are around.

We are called to be like Jesus, right?

Through out the New Testament, he tells us that we are to be a light, that we were made in his image, that we are to love one another, that we should share his word and teachings to others, etc. And one thing that amazes me about Jesus, is that he DID NOT CARE where or who he found himself around. He was always going to worship, preach, heal, pray for, raise back to life… regardless of Him being in the midst of  his disciples, pharisees, Jews or gentiles, unbelievers… HE WAS ALWAYS GOING TO WORSHIP!

He was unchanging and because of his devotion, his worship was pure, true and full of the spirit of God.

We aren’t called to be perfect. Our days are not always going to be great. We will go through hardships. We will have “haters” and doubters.  We will be in uncomfortable situations, but  how we respond to each situation is where we truly see if God is really dwelling within us the way we think.

Many times, we like to keep him and his spirit in a box. We don’t want to be labeled the “weird christian.” We don’t want to lift our hands during a worship service. We wake up not really feeling like being nice to people. We don’t feel like spending time in the word or prayer. We don’t feel like volunteering at the church event…

but if we constantly live our lives this way, what will our worship look like?

Empty? Vain? Calloused? Angry? Mediocre?

How can God speak to us? Move through us? How can his presence dwell in us? If we aren’t worshipping him daily in every aspect of our lives, regardless of what we are going through or who’s watching?

Let us not allow our worship to be defined by and dictated by our circumstances. Rather, lets allow our worship to speak volumes despite what our day looks like, who we are around and regardless of those throwing stones.

“Don’t settle for religion void of God’s presence or for turning the pages of the Bible without the wind of his Spirit. His voice speaks life.” pg 37

Let us allow God to “consume all that hinders the expression and reception of his love.” So that our worship (daily life) can reflect his love, joy and peace that surpasses all understanding!

Choose to live a life of worship in a world that wants you to be distracted by the mundane.

Hope this has encouraged you today.

Xo,

Lo

 

Increasing Faith

devotional, scriptures, biblical teaching, encouragement, hope, book of Matthew

This morning, part of the devotional I was reading, included a verse from Matthew 9. It really made me want to read the entire chapter, so that I could fully understand the context of it all, and well, it is a pretty awesome chapter that makes you really think and want to (re) evaluate yourself. (I guess almost the whole Bible does that, right)?

The one verse that really stuck out to me the most, was in the beginning of the chapter. It seriously made me take a step back, and reflect on how I think on a daily basis.

“Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, ‘Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” Matthew 9:4

Umm… can I just say wow?! In context, the verses before are about when Jesus healed the paralyzed man. He told him to pick up his mat and go home. The pharisees, seeing this, thought that Jesus was absurd for saying “such a thing.” They were religious, but faithless men, who didn’t believe Jesus had that kind of authority…that he was “fake.”

But then I began to wonder if I, myself, am like a pharisee sometimes. Throughout the chapter (I encourage you to read it),  we learn about the many people Jesus healed, spoke with and raised from the dead.

It’s crazy to me how much I in fact, can be like a pharisee. How it’s easier to think about all the things that can go wrong; of how things will never work; how there’s no way to get out of a difficult situation. (as if God can’t or won’t do it).

It’s easier for us to believe the lies of the enemy because we’re surrounded and trapped in a world where so many people around us, have forgotten just who JESUS was AND still is! 

All of the people Jesus came across in this chapter had FAITH. Something I personally lack most days.

Jesus performed miracles back then and He still does them now. However, it’s easier for us to doubt that a miracle, big or small, can actually happen in our lives. We doubt that God can do it. And if we don’t believe He can, then he probably won’t… or maybe He will and will show us the power of His love for us, even when we don’t deserve it (this is me currently thinking out loud).

Anyway,

Miracles look different, because our world is different, but He still works in and through us… when we allow our faith in HIM to increase and allow Him to move in our lives.

“…’If  I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you’…” Matthew 9:22

If we only, If I could only have the tiniest bit of faith when things get rocky, tough, complicated, scary, rough… it will/has already been done.

We forget the BIGGEST promise He’s already made to us. We lose sight of His sacrifice. We become consumed and blinded by the temporary; our focus shifts and we’re too focused on the Earthly things.

Which, yes, what we do here on Earth matters, but not the silly things.

The ETERNAL things like:

Our relationship with Jesus, our spouse, children and others.

How we’re showing His love in spite of our good or bad situation.

Here are some questions I asked myself and will seek to resolve if I’m not doing it right. I encourage you to ask yourself the same questions how they apply to you.

  • What am I sowing and reaping into my marriage? 
  • into my daughters?
  • my relationships with others?
  • into ministry?
  • at work/school?
  • Am I being like the pharisees that only saw the negative and constantly doubted and questioned the work of Jesus?

if so,

  • How can I be more like the faith filled people Jesus healed?

 

xoxo,

Lo

 

 

God First

bible, bible verse, scripture, scripture of the day, verse of the day, seek God first, God first, put God first

We live in a social media driven world. It’s so easy to get distracted by Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, the News app etc. We fall victim to their rabbit holes and before we know it, we’ve been scrolling through our phones for an hour!

I’m talking to myself here too. This verse says, “Seek FIRST…” not second, not when you have time, not when it’s convenient for you, but FIRST.

Lately, I find myself first thing, as soon as I open my eyes, reaching for my phone and opening Instagram or whatever app to see what I missed while I was asleep.

It became second nature, an addiction of sorts.

Man oh man did conviction hit me like a ton of bricks! I felt God asking me where He stood in line in my life. Talk about a wake up call!

The funny thing about it all, is that most of what we miss while we’re asleep, is nothing but vain, negative Nancy, look at my flashy this or that news. It’s nothing that really fills your life with positivity, joy or encouragement.

Most of today’s news is depressing, aggravating, and honestly makes me mad that we live in such a world as this.

When we have access to Jesus news right at our fingertips; that talks about hope, joy, love, freedom, and all we have to do is go to HIM FIRST. How much better would our day go if we spend time with Jesus as soon as we open our eyes?

The answer is A LOT!  “…and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Not that our days will be perfect by any means, but when we rely on Jesus as our main source of energy and fuel, we’ll be able to deal with our day a lot better than we do when we’re handling it on our own; when we first fuel our spirits with what social media has to say.

When God is first in every area of my life, I can be a better wife, mom, sister, friend… a better me. I can wage a better war against the enemy and his lies. I can better see the traps he tries to get me to fall to.

Even better… my relationship with Jesus is better, stronger and alive! Our faith is stronger, our anxiety is gone and peace can take over!

Let’s put God First every day and wake up with Jesus!

XoXo,

Lo

Apple Seeds

 

It’s almost 2018! What?! How?! It is crazy how much time just passes us by in the blink of an eye.

What a year this has been! It’s been great for my family and me and I’m excited for what 2018 will bring.

Bearing Fruit, Growth, Flourishing, Motivation, Growing, Blogging,

The other day, I was eating an apple. It was so delicious, that  I ate another one. As I was cutting up my second apple, I noticed the seed; this small little seed. I looked at it, observed it and went about getting the rest of that apple in my belly.

It wasn’t until later, as I was doing things around the house, that I remembered how good that apple was. Then, the seed popped back into my head. I thought, wow, it is crazy how from that tiny little seed, came something so pretty and delicious.

I also thought about how crazy it is, that I’ve birthed two beautiful girls. I am fascinated by the fact that one small little organ inside of my body, can stretch and accommodate and house a tiny human being! God really didn’t leave out any details when He created us and molded us; to be able to do and create amazing things.

As I thought about the seed, I realized how we are very much like that apple seed. Many times in life, we undervalue and underestimate our talents and abilities. We think of our goals and we dream up dreams, but soon squash them because we tell ourselves, “I’ll never make it.” or “I can’t do that.” or “I’m not good enough.” or (insert your own excuse here).

We come up with excuse after excuse and we fail to see ourselves the way God sees us. When He thought us up and began to mold us, we were just tiny little seeds inside of our mother’s womb. However, He didn’t stop there, He knew that that tiny little seed would grow into something bigger, more beautiful, full of life and full of purpose.

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“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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As we grow up and learn the world and hear the whispers and lies of the enemy, of our “haters,” of the media, of growing up without a mother or father, we lose sight of who we were created to be. We begin to fall victim to the lies and start to conform to the shape of the box instead of thinking and growing outside of the box.

Imagine if someone saw that apple seed and just threw it away? They would have never known that out of something so small, would come a huge tree that bore these beautiful fruits. Someone saw those apple seeds and saw past their size. They had faith when they planted them, that something much better would come out.

They took the time to plant the seeds, and watered them daily. They were persistent and never gave up. It took time and effort, but the fruit…the end result, was worth it.

It takes nine months for us to go from an embryo to a fully developed baby. It takes 13 years for us to go through school. It takes 20+ years for us to become adults. It takes 4+ years to obtain a professional degree and it takes an apple tree 8+ years to grow and bear fruit from a seed.

And so, our own personal seeds (passions, goals, dreams) also need the persistence, the patience, the time and the right tools to grow. Because of the world we live in, it’s so easy for us to give up. It’s so easy for us to think we’ll never make it. It’s easy to quit and move on to what we think will make us happier; or we just settle for mediocrity.

As we grew up, school took effort. Growing up under our parents authority took effort; being obedient to them, their discipline, their advice etc. College took LOTS of effort but when we walked across that stage, it was worth all of those papers, midterms, finals and late nights of studying. We had something to show for ourselves and were proud that we did it, we made it, despite all of the obstacles and aggravations of college life. All of the seasons and ages and things we go through in life, take effort, persistence, tears, sweat, sleepless nights, but the fruits of our labor make it worth all the effort.

Going through 9 hours of labor for both of my kids… that’s what you call a “labor of love.” It wasn’t easy, but man holding them was worth all of, not just the hours of labor, but the months of holding them inside of me.

What I’m trying to get at is, if you have seeds in your hands, plant them. Cultivate them, water them, be persistent and patient and watch them sprout, bloom and grow. Don’t let fear or negative influences, self-doubt or lies stop you from flourishing.

Over time I have planted seeds, dreams and goals of mine, but have failed to water them daily, have failed at being persistent. One goal of Sam and mine that has finally bore fruit, is getting our songs out there. We did it, we’re being obedient to the Lord and have put them out there for the world to hear. It’s very vulnerable and scary, but seeing the fruits of our labor and walking in obedience has given us that extra push that we needed; a sense of accomplishment and the fear of what people might think or say is wearing off, bc those opinions don’t matter… God’s does!

In 2018, my resolution is to pick up that watering can and water my seeds (two of those seeds are my precious daughters), because I know that one day they’re going to bear many fruit. God has called us for so much more, but it’s up to us to put in the effort and water our God-sized dreams and goals.

What desires has God placed on your heart? Chase after them. Pray and seek Him and wait patiently for the fruits.

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“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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And take delight in knowing that there’s beauty and joy in the journey; in growing; in learning, succeeding and failing.

Make It Happen

Blogging, goals, accomplishments,lifestyle,blogger,parenting, motherhood

This past weekend, a few of my friends and I went to Waco, Texas to attend the Magnolia Silobration. It was such a fun little girls weekend trip and I loved every minute!

I absolutely love Fixer Upper and love Chip and Joanna! They’re seriously the cutest! So, going to Magnolia was definitely a highlight! Despite the killer heat, it was a beautiful weekend and all the details that they put into the Silobration were awesome. Of course being able to spend time with great friends made it a sweeter experience.

That being said, I didn’t expect to come back home feeling like I was spiritually refreshed and encouraged. After all, it’s not like we went to a conference expecting to hear a good word.

We arrived to Magnolia around noon on Saturday and we were all so excited! We couldn’t wait to taste the yummy foods at the food trucks, check out all the street vendors and of course walk around the grounds of the silos.

I love how God works and how much He loves to find us in the most random places in our lives. Looking through clothes, and wandering around in a mundane setting, shopping, I glanced over and saw a notebook. As clear as day, I heard God tell me, pick it up and buy it. So I did.

The notebook says “Make it happen,” and it’s pictured above.

Now to tie all of this in.

As the day progressed and day turned to night (I’m laughing at that sentence right now, I’m corny sometimes), it was time for the concert. The bands were so so good! Opening the night, was Castro (the band), which one of the members is Jason Castro and I remembered him from American Idol! It was so cool to see him and his siblings playing/singing, they’re so talented! Anyway, then Jon Foreman (from Switchfoot)!! played and he didn’t let us down either, and finally Johnnyswim (which I hadn’t heard their music till that day) and they were beasts! Oh man, so many talented and sick musicians/singers!

In each of their sets, they all took moments to give God glory. They all spoke of how crazy it was to see their dreams come to fruition and how blessed they felt to be able to play in front of our/a crowd. They thanked Chip and Joanna for giving them that opportunity. They sang a few worship songs and/or had messages in their songs that were inspired from The Word of God, The Bible! Their messages to us were encouraging and told us to dream big, because anything is possible. To have hope, because we can do more than what the world says we can’t.

Chip and Joanna talked about how they were struggling to flip houses, but persevered in the face of adversity. They spoke about Chip’s endeavor of starting “Chipstarter,” and encouraged people to send in videos explaining their dreams and where they want them to go. The end result being that Chip would help fund those dreams/businesses. That night, they brought up three finalists and we got to see what those dreams/business were and to everyone’s surprise, they gave all three of them checks of different amounts, to help them reach their goals.

They encouraged us to go after those God-sized dreams, because that’s what their whole Silobration was based on, a God-sized dream that they never thought would be possible.

The reason why God told me to buy that notebook, with the words “Make It Happen,” in the front, were because my God-sized dream is to write a book and along with Sam, to write songs that reach nations. A year ago, God told me that I needed to write a book. I thought He was crazy, and I put it off for months! Finally, after He kept reminding me of my disobedience,  I began to write little by little this year. Even though I don’t feel equipped or like it will go any where, but I’m doing it.

Christine Cain said in a sermon, to “do it afraid!” because after a while, we won’t be afraid anymore and we’ll see how far it will take us!

For years now, Sam and I have had songs sitting in the “notes” on our phones. Finally, we recorded them and they’re almost ready to be released, before the year ends!

Those are our dreams, they’re scary, but God has placed them in our hearts! The notebook represents a step in the right direction, for me in my writing and for us with our songs. Every thought as a writer and every lyric we receive will be written down in that notebook and we’re going to make them happen! Who are we to think that we’re talented, smart enough, or good enough for these things? But GOD, ya’ll…BUT GOD!

He uses the most unlikely to reach the unlikely! Oh, He’s so good! He wants us to realize that no dream we could ever dream up will even come close to the plans and dreams HE has for us!

What’s your God-sized dream?

Do it.

Dream big.

Make it Happen!

XO,

Lo 🙂

 

S E V E N

Marriage, Love, challenges, relationship, friendship, Jesus, prayer

There’s no “7 Year Itch” here! On the 13th of August, Sam and I celebrated S E V E N years of marriage! It’s so crazy…I feel like just yesterday, I was walking down the aisle, anxiously and joyously waiting to hear, “Sam, you may now kiss your BRIDE!” How I LOVE being his bride!

Man, how time flies! (I guess that’s my theme as of late, ha). While, I won’t sit here and pretend that our marriage has been that of fairy tales, it has been a fun, crazy, exciting, scary, learning and growing kind of roller coaster ride. We laugh together, we cry together, we argue, bicker, get angry, get loud, frustrated, aggravated, etc., BUT at the end of the day, we resolve our issues and continue enjoying each other and pushing each other to be better and do better.

The last few years, Sam and I have gone on little weekend trips for our anniversary, and they have been so needed, especially after having kids. They have helped us regroup and refresh our friendship and relationship. This year, we had a “staycation” and it was seriously some of the most fun we’ve had together this year! On one of our dates, I asked him what he feels he’s learned in these last seven years and vice-versa. Here’s the biggest things I’ve learned:

Don’t let your guard down

So often now, we hear of pastors, worship leaders and in general, people in ministry, separating and getting divorced. Some cases are because of moral failures, others are because they just couldn’t get along or “had nothing more in common,” they could no longer work through their issues. That really, truly breaks my heart! I sit here and read story after story about these broken marriages and wonder: HOW? WHY? WHEN AND WHERE DID IT GO WRONG? WHAT COULD’VE BEEN DONE DIFFERENTLY?

I’m not judging their decision to end their marriage, rather, I pray for my own. I pray for God to always strengthen me as a person and as a wife. I pray that God would give me wisdom and show me how to love Sam in every season.

As individuals, we must always be willing to learn, grow and change. We cannot stay the same, because we then become complacent. Complacency can lead to lowering your guard! It’s dangerous to lower our guard as Christians AND in our marriage.

” Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch… What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13:33-34;36

Ya’ll the devil be creepin’! He’s waiting for our guard to be down, so he can attack! And if we’re asleep, we won’t even see it coming! He sneak attacks us like a coward and throws a party when we’re defeated. Then, he keeps throwing punches, until we either: give up OR fight back!

I think the brokenness happens when we no longer have the strength to fight back. We throw in the towel and can no longer see a way out because we’re blinded by the devil’s veil of deceit, defeat and discouragement.

But God intended marriage to be a mirror of Him and us. He’s the bridegroom, we are the bride and he wants our marriages to be successful, full of love, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, joy, grace… The same is to be said even if you aren’t married.

We CANNOT for one second think that we’ve got it covered, because the second we do, that’s when the devil strikes. In my marriage to Sam, I CANNOT sit here twiddling my thumbs, arms folded, bask in my own glory and think that I’m the most awesome wife in the world! (sometimes I am though) haha just kidding… But seriously, we must always be willing to LEARN AND GROW TOGETHER. Make time for each other and always talk about any issues we may have with one another. <–(this I’ve learned the hard way)

Talk to each other

This seems like a no brainer! However, early on in our marriage, my biggest issue was communication! Any time Sam would say something that would hurt my feelings, aggravate me or just didn’t sit right with me, I’d hold it in. Not immediately letting him know that something bothered me, allowed time for those things to simmer and get blown way out of proportion.

My thoughts would feed into the littlest things he’d do or say and eventually, on a random day when all was going well, I’d explode in anger at him. It’d leave him standing there bewildered and wondering if it was something he just said. It wouldn’t go over very well, and we’d be in hour long (or longer) arguments. That’s no fun!

For  a while, in the beginning of our marriage, I kept on in that cycle and eventually it made him take the same approach. He started bottling up his anger towards me, because he thought if he told me any little thing, I couldn’t handle it. He would rather try to brush it off and ignore his feelings, than have to deal with my irrational responses.

This issue really was one of the bigger issues that if we still dealt with to this day, may have made for a different kind of blog post! Thankfully, we have learned how to communicate better! I’m not saying that I still don’t keep things in sometimes, but 95% of the time, I immediately let him know that something he did/said/didn’t say bothered me. We work through the issue and ask each other how we can be/get better with whatever it was.

Communication is a serious thing! If we’re not in constant communication, and not even just on what’s bothering us, but even on what’s going well with us, how can our marriage thrive? We are ALWAYS in the know about the happenings of our lives outside of each other. We trust each other, lean on each other and feed off of each other’s thoughts. Our spouses should be the person we trust the most and tell everything to! I DO NOT believe in keeping secrets from each other, nothing good comes from that, in my opinion.  Otherwise that leaves room for entrusting things in others, leading to…well nothing good.

I could seriously go on and on about things I’ve learned in these short 7 years. We are still young and still have so many more years to learn and grow! Make time for each other, be each other’s best friend, enjoy every moment together in every season, push each other (lovingly of course) to be better and do better! Don’t be afraid to seek wise counsel if you are going through rough times. Don’t give up! Push through, because your marriage is intended to be something beautiful, even through the trials!