Rise Early In The Morning

I have personally always been more of a morning person, which definitely has come in handy parenting a twenty month old if I’m being truly honest. Recently I’ve been reading more through the scriptures and many scriptures encourage us to become early risers and spend the first moments of our day with our Creator.

In our household my husband’s alarm goes off at six in the morning and my son is normally up sometime between six and six thirty on the average day. Having a desire to increase my spiritual and prayer life I’ve taken to setting my alarm to five in the morning which gives me an hour in the living room by myself to read God’s word and sit in His presence before all the routines of the morning and day begin. I really encourage you to do this as well Mark 1:35 in the NKJV speaks of Jesus “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed”. Find a solitary place tomorrow morning and sit there and just stay in His presence, talk to Him, listen to Him through His word.

Psalm 119:147 in the NKJV says “I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word”. There is no better place to put your daily hope in before you begin anything around the house or with your family then in the arms of our Father in Heaven.

Another great example of biblical obedience is of Abraham, the father of Nations. Genesis 19:27 in the NKJV tells us “and Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD”. Abraham went back to the place he had previously stood before God, waiting eagerly perhaps for another encounter with Him. My prayer for you is that you will commit to doing this once and be so eager to repeat the following day just to dwell in His presence privately.

Why the morning?

The Bible tells us to give the first fruits of all we do back to God, that should include our time as well. There are way fewer distractions in those first moments of the morning especially if you wake up before your children, setting aside the time for God that otherwise would be used for nothing other than sleep means you won’t be busy yet and will feel less hurried during this precious time with Him. I guarantee that each day you do this you will feel even more energized than the days you sleep in, you will experience more joy in your day and have more Godly wisdom and discernment for the trials daily life brings you, all from spending a few quite moments with Jesus before the rest of the world wakes up.

How to Rise Early

Some very easy points to get you started..

Go to bed early, this one is of the obvious but it’s definitely crucial to getting up early

Be consistent, don’t just do the odd day here and there make it your daily routine to get up and spend time with God before anyone else

Don’t look at your phone first thing! This is super important , did you know if you look at your phone first thing in the morning it actually means you have an addiction? If that wasn’t enough , you and I both know once you start scrolling social media that half an hour or hour you’ve put aside for God will be gone in what feels like seconds.

Finally, don’t be legalistic about it. Come before Him with a joyful heart and an eagerness to know Him more and be with Him more, not for any other reason then to build and maintain and nurture your own personal relationship with Jesus.

Advertisements

5 Ways To Grow Closer to Christ With Your Husband

As most of you know, my husband and I just moved to a small town of about four thousand people, of which we knew nothing about before moving and had never even visited or known anyone that had visited.

It has been almost four months since we moved and we are just starting to meet and really get to know people now. That is four full months of me not really knowing or speaking with anyone other than my husband when he gets home from work. No friends or family to come over for dinners or chats at night, just the two of us.

Let me tell you, it was exactly what our marriage and our family needed in this season. God knows so much better than we do doesn’t He?

In all honesty though, our lives in the city were so busy, constantly this go go go attitude and way of life. Since moving, we have had the time to actually focus in on what we want our marriage to look like and what we want our family to look like. It has been the greatest blessing to us. My husband and I were able to address issues in our marriage that had we stayed in the city, probably wouldn’t have even chatted abut until they got much worse. I have been able to shape my days as a stay at home mom and with my husbands knowledge and guidance, start teaching our child and placing more structure to our day so that he is learning constantly and growing into the little boy God has planned for him to be.

One of the major changes we have been working on in our marriage (and i will write more about in an upcoming post) is living out our biblical roles. The bible clearly tells us as wives to be submissive to our husbands and clearly states that husbands should lead their wives. Let me tell you, once we started walking this out, I have seen such a huge difference in our marriage and just how we interact with each other.

So with that here are five ways to grow closer to Christ with your husband..

5 Ways to Grow Closer To Christ with Your Husband

One – Biblical Roles

But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God

1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My husband and I though pursuing Christ together, never really understood or even looked into what our biblical roles in our marriage were. We have been married for two and a half years now and have just recently started walking in our biblical roles and it has been huge for our marriage. It’s not easy, your flesh will want the opposite of what your biblical role is. I am not a submissive woman naturally but God is molding my heart into more of His. There is great joy and blessing in obeying God’s word when it comes to your role as a wife or husband in your marriage.

Two – Pray Together

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:19-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I will start by saying, if you are newly married, the thought of praying out loud with your spouse makes you nervous or the thought of praying does not come naturally to you, my husband and I have both been there! I will share with you a book that actually got our prayer life as a couple started and helped really ease us into the action of praying together daily. The book is called Always & Forever: Marriage In Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan . This book really helped boost our prayer life from absolute nothing to praying several times a day together and I highly recommend it if you struggle in this area. Praying together, you will not only grow immeasurably closer to your spouse through prayer but your relationship with Christ Himself will grow abundantly as well. It is such a blessing to be able to lay it all at His feet with your spouse along side of you.

Three – Read Scripture Together

It is such a blessing to our marriage to read the living word of God together, I am able to ask my husband questions if i don’t understand a verse, we discuss what we’ve read afterward and can let each other know if for whatever reason we received different interpretations of a verse and then search out the correct interpretation together afterwards. Something my husband and I will be starting next week is reading the bible in one year together, its a study through an online marriage course we are currently doing. Other examples are doing a devotional together, or even picking up a bible study you are both interested from your local Christian Book Store and working through that together. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your day, even ten minutes would be beneficial to you both.

Four – Show Affection to Your Spouse

Be constantly physically affectionate towards your spouse throughout the day, touch each other’s hands when you pass by, make a habit of kissing each other throughout the day, even if it’s just a few short pecks! Hug your spouse and not just for a quick amount of time actually stop what you are doing and hold eachother, this is a great way to connect. God shows his loving affection to us throughout our days and we should be consistent in showing the same to our spouse.

Five – Attend a Marriage Course Together

Last but definitely not least! Attend a marriage course together! This one took us until about two months ago to actually follow through on, but the fruit of it has been amazing in our marriage!. See if your church has a weekly marriage bible study you can attend , look for marriage retreats, there are even some online Christian Marriage courses you can do, and if for some reason none of those work for you, look up Christian marriage on YouTube and watch either a sermon or my husband and I watch weekly videos by both Aaron and Jennifer Smith on their YouTube channel Marriage After God and also every Wednesday Dale and Veronica Partridge post a video on YouTube ” Ultimate Marriage” that coincides with the Online marriage course we are doing through them, both of these are great and encourage discussion between my husband and I. One last thing, many friends have encouraged us to take part in a marriage course, we never could because of either finances (a weekend marriage retreat normally starts around $300/2 nights) or the fact that any marriage bible studies took place in the evening and we had a baby who had to be asleep and at the time couldn’t afford a sitter. We totally felt called when we saw that Dale and Veronica Partridge were starting an ONLINE marriage course, something we could do after our son goes to sleep and though it does cost money, it’s not overtly expensive considering it’s a full year course, with an online Facebook group that you can post questions in, ask for prayer at any point. Sound doctrine and biblical marriage advice. I will post all of the links below so you can find everyone.

Marriage After God by Aaron and Jennifer Smith – YouTube

Ultimate Marriage – 12 Month Online Course by Dale and Veronica Partridge

YouTube Website

Marriage After God

When my husband and I first were married, we barely knew who Jesus was. Yes we served in church every Sunday, we knew we wanted to follow Christ but we didn’t know who He was.

Less then a month after our wedding we were visiting the church I grew up attending and after the service the lady sitting behind us pulled us aside and told us God had told her to tell us we should read a chapter in Proverbs everyday for a month. I really wish I knew who this lady was so I could tell her just how powerful those words were. Recieving that word from God through her is exactly what got our pursuit of Christ started. We sat on our balcony every morning reading and discussing proverbs, my husband would constantly look further into the scripture online and through YouTube videos. This one word from God is what started us on reading our Bible’s everyday.

Once we had finished reading Proverbs we started reading Marriage In Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan (highly recommend, and they have YouTube videos to go along with the Study) at the end of each chapter you talk over a few questions together, which were hard intimate questions for us at the time, and then you end in prayer outloud together. This was HUGE for us , I still remember how awkward it felt the first few times we prayed together, reading this book together is what started us praying together daily. These two simple tasks along with an amazing biblical community around us started our biblical marriage and our marriage pursuing Jesus.

Over the past almost three years of marriage my husband and I have grown closer to Christ than either of us could have ever imagined, our faith has flourished and our life and family have seen both the abundant blessings and also suffering for being believers of Christ.

In just almost three years, both of our hearts have changed from wanting to just live the “Christian” own a bible , attend church on Sunday life to a full burning fire towards Christ and desire to live out a biblical life and biblical marriage, Galations 1:10 “For do I now persuade me, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men , I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

What is your personal Marriage After God story?

Five Years Together

A few days ago my husband and I celebrated five years since we began dating.. I’ll never forget our first date, mainly because I was oblivious that it was a date until I was on it. I was seventeen at the time and he was nineteen turning twenty shortly after, he pulled up in his 1992 Toyota Camry that had a very obvious broken muffler , I found out later he parked a few houses down because he was freaking out (he was aware it was a date). He came to the door so my step mom could meet him and we went off from there. Now after my step mom making sure several times it wasn’t “dinner and a movie” just a movie ie. It wasn’t a “date” just two friends going to a movie and myself confirming it wasn’t a date, just two friends seeing a movie .. as we are walking to his car he tells me there’s this great restaurant he wants to take me to before the movie *facepalm* apparently this is a date and yes I did get in trouble afterward.. but anyways we went for Pho which I think is disgusting but he likes it and then we went to see The Hobbit which he apparently fell asleep during (I just found this out this year). Even after all of this we still had googly eyes for each other and we still do!

In the five years we’ve been together, we’ve been through and accomplished a lot..we were engaged a year and a half into dating and with only a few family members supporting us and married nine months later. We’ve lived in three different cities, discovered our faith and love for Jesus together, been baptized together, gone into ministry together, miscarried three babies, birthed two beautiful boys, made a decision to always put our marriage first and never to stop working on our marriage.

Right now I would say our marriage is thriving, and I am so thankful to Jesus for that. We began walking out our biblical roles in our marriage just after we moved last spring and we truly have seen abundant fruit come from that.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:23-28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Morning Routine to Set Your Day Up for Success

There are millions of these exact same blog posts all over the internet but I am going to tell you what I do in the morning hours to set the rest of my day up for productive and emotional success.

PRAY

Wake up Joyful, I know easier said then done but if you wake up feeling stressed or uneasy about your day remind yourself why you are here. You my friend were created for such a time as this. Right now, Today. Before you even get out of bed , give thanks to God and ask Him to give you a joyful heart today. This is something I am constantly speaking over my son and he is always full of joy and laughter.

WORSHIP MUSIC & A HEALTHY BREAKFAST

Once out of bed I normally start breakfast, 99% of the time something nutritious..my husband will normally put worship music on quietly in the background. This sets the tone for our household and for our son to wake up to.

TEA

Half of the days throughout the week I get enough time to make myself a tea before we run out the door and who knew tea could be so great , Seriously, I love driving my husband to work with a warm tea and some more worship music playing in the car.

GET OUTSIDE

When my son and I get home from dropping my husband off at work we go for a one hour walk most days (about 3km) and yes being over half way through this pregnancy pushing an eighteen month old in a stroller, that takes an hour. Plus a bonus which I love about our neighborhood is there are normally about three other neighbours out for their morning walks as well so this includes plenty of chatting time, which right now blesses my soul since I’ve still yet to meet many people in our new town. I never wear headphones or have any kind of music playing on my walk, I just love the stillness of being outside early in the morning and enjoy seeing what draws my son’s attention, normally a passing truck or birds tweeting about. This is the peek of my excercise level right now and even on the days I don’t feel like walking that long whether I’m having pain or it’s very hot very early (it gets to 40 degrees C by noon here most days) , I still try to walk at least 1/3 of it and never regret it.

Once we are home I used to have him play in the yard and I would read scripture or a book, but we have a terrible wasp problem and he is very allergic so we have barely been able to play in the yard this year.

MAKE THE BED

Now when we get home my son plays quietly while I finish up cleaning from the morning , put laundry on, MAKE THE BED if I didn’t do it first thing. I find this so important to having a productive day. It’s one less thing to think about and makes getting into bed at the end of a long day that much more enjoyable.

READ SCRIPTURE & SPEND TIME WITH JESUS

When it’s time for his nap , which is usually around ten or so, thats when I will sit down and read scripture and pray. I have tried doing this before breakfast or before driving my husband to work but it just never works when you have a toddler constantly needing you attention. So I choose to do this once he is down for his nap and I can fully focus on the scripture.

That concludes what makes a successful day from my morning routine, pray, make the bed, drink tea, get outside and read scripture, spend time with The Creator of this day.

Bringing on The New Year

It’s amazing how different everything can look year to year.

This time last year we were a family of three with a ten month old who was just learning to stand well on his own. We had just had our second miscarriage and with the Christmas season I was not in a place to even deal with it emotionally so I just suppressed it for a few months. It had been six months since the death of my grandmother and we had just passed her birthday which was December tenth.

Despite the grief around the season, I still fully enjoyed everything about it. My husband and I were going on date nights once a week which was lovely, our marriage wasn’t great but it was definitely in a good place still. Our son was sleeping through the night , and a complete joy during the day. We were both very involved with our church and had an amazing friends circle and my husband had just recieved news he was getting a promotion we had been waiting a while for in the new year. I definitely will say both of ours relationship and pursuit of Christ was lower than it had been earlier in the year, not intential at all, we just got “busy” with everything else in life and left it to be not our top priority.

Looking at this year now we are a family of four with our two beautiful boys, how our oldest is almost two I don’t even know. We are living in a beautiful small town out in the country, we don’t to go out on date nights anymore since we don’t know anyone well enough here and also newborn season but we still make after the kids go to bed a priority to spend time together. Our friendship circle is growing here which is a huge blessing to us, having a biblical community to surround yourself with is so important. We currently in the fifth month of our Ultimate Marriage course which has been amazing for us, our marriage and gaining better biblical understanding overall. We are in a way different way better place spiritually than we were this time last year and I hope to say the exact same thing next year!

This year was full of both so many blessings and also many trials, some trials I didn’t even know at the time how we would get through, but trusting God He really does work everything out for our good. He has turned every trial this year into a blessing and I am so thankful for the growth in both my husband’s and my faith this year through those trials.

I am looking forward to what this new year brings and how our faith and relationships with Jesus will grow in this coming year.

What did 2018 look like for you? How is your faith now, compared to last year?

Our First Clarke Family Christmas

This year will be our first year celebrating Christmas without any extended family. Normally our Christmas consists of visiting four different homes and Christmas dinner is always hosted by either my husbands parents or mine.

Since moving eight hours away from all of our family in the spring, along with the fact my husband cant take off any time during December, this will be our first Christmas celebrating on our own and though we love our family dearly we are really looking forward to starting our own family traditions with our children.

For us, this Christmas will be very simple, we have just gone from a family of three to a family of four and as any mom knows its best to just enjoy this time in transition and not have any expectations.

Personally I am looking forward to enjoying the full day off with my husband and kids, enjoying watching our eldest son play and the newborn cuddles of our younger son. Who knows maybe we will even get a nap in too? A mom can hope!

Who else will be spending their first Christmas on their own this year and what are your plans?