Messy Beautiful Love – 3 Copies of the Book & Journal Giveaway!

cover-messy beautiful love

Today I am celebrating the launch of my dear friend – the Time Warp Wife‘s book:
Messy Beautiful Love* by Darlene Schacht.

Darlene and Courtney

I had the honor of writing the Forward to this book!!!

This book both challenges and motivates me to exchange God’s ideas and ideals for my own.  Her hope-filled story of a marriage changed by the grace of God reminds us that no marriage is ever beyond God’s redeeming grace.

This excerpt from the book is raw…as it takes us to the day her husband discovered her affair but it’s only just the beginning – the beginning of God revealing himself to Darlene in new ways and her marriage transforming from messy to beautiful.

Darlene Writes:

******************************

It was my husband’s birthday

I still had some wrapping to do when I heard the hum of the garage door open and close. I glanced at the clock. It was only three thirty; the kids weren’t even home from school yet. Michael wasn’t due home for at least another hour, and if you know my husband at all, you’ll understand why this took me by surprise. Michael’s never been late for work, he doesn’t come home early, and he’ll miss a day only if he’s bleeding from the eyes. Whatever the case, I was just glad he was home. This was going to be an awesome night with the family, and I couldn’t wait for it to get started!

Leaving his briefcase by the door, he asked me to join him in the living room. I wasn’t sure what was up, but one glance at the stone-cold look on his face told me that something was wrong—terribly wrong.

Sitting across from him, I’ll never forget the sound of his voice as it rang in my ears and ripped through my heart.

“Are you having an affair?” he asked.

Looking up at him I quickly answered, “No. Why would you even ask that?”

“Please don’t lie to me,” he said. As he continued to question me, the heat rose in my face. My cheeks were numb; my mouth was dry; my body was weak. “Did you have an affair?”

I hung my head, unable to look in his eyes. Sitting alone on the couch, I felt the fear of truth spin around me like the web of a spider until I was helpless to move. Barely able to speak I lifted my chin in a nod and then in another. My house of cards collapsed, my shame crashing to the ground along with it.

My sin, the glorious fruit of lust, had enticed me into the pit where all I could think of was death. For death itself had enveloped me, and with it came shame and reproach. I had sinned against God, my husband, and my family. Everything I had once held so dear to me loomed above the pit of sin and shame I had dug for myself.

Every muscle in my body was heavy, tense, numb. I was disconnected from the pounding of the blood that sped through my head like a runaway train. Even if I wanted to speak—even if I had something else to say—I couldn’t. My jaw was locked; my throat was closed.

Michael stood up, and as I watched him walk out of the room, I realized that in every sense of the word, I was alone.

Through a fog of confusing emotions I managed to get off the couch and go out to the car where I fished through my purse for my keys. Not knowing what else to do, I drove. I didn’t know where I was going, what I should do, or where I’d be spending the night. All I knew was that I had to go someplace—anyplace—but where?

Finally pulling into a parking lot, I stopped the car and collapsed onto the steering wheel. My thoughts were a dark and dusty swirl of emotions that ripped through my heart and beckoned me into the grave. Tears poured down my face like poison escaping a wound, and I sobbed until my stomach was raw from the pain.

I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a home. And I didn’t have a shoulder to cry on. All that I had were the shattered pieces of my life.

A few hours later I made my way back to the house, where I started packing up a few things I could carry. Michael came into the room and sat down on the far corner of the bed. Staring straight ahead, he started to talk. This was my husband, the man I had lived with for nearly half of my life, but in every way he was different, from the sound of his voice to the way that he carried himself. We were suddenly strangers.

We exchanged words for a while,but at the end of the day I had nothing left to offer him but soiled rags, words of remorse that he couldn’t rely on, and promises where all trust was gone. My eyes were swollen from crying; my heart was heavy with shame.

“Do you want to stay?” he asked.

I didn’t know how to answer. All I wanted to do was stay with my family—to turn back the clock a year. Back to a time when being a wife and a mom was all that I knew and all that I wanted to be. But I was unworthy to be a wife, a mother, and a child of God. How could I stay in a place where I didn’t belong? How could I ever live on the surface again? How could I ever be trusted to love?

“I can’t,” I said. “I just can’t.”

Again he said, “That’s not what I’m asking you. Do you want to stay?”

Loving his wife as Christ loves the church, Michael reached down to me with a hand of grace when I needed it most. When every thought told me that I was unworthy of love, something miraculous happened that changed the way that I look at marriage and the way that I look at our Savior. It was the realization that I am saved by nothing but the power of grace.

Perhaps that’s how the woman who was caught in adultery felt when she was brought to Jesus. Face-to-face with her Savior, she was left with nothing but His hand of grace. What did Jesus write in the sand with His finger that day? Some say He was listing sins—and perhaps He was. But a part of me will always wonder whether it was an invitation that beckoned her to come home to a place where sin is washed away by the blood of an incomparable Savior.

There is incredible power in the words of Jesus Christ, who said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11 nkjv). It takes incredible strength for a man to echo those very same words.

I didn’t deserve Michael’s love and forgiveness. I didn’t deserve a second chance. I didn’t deserve my family, and I didn’t deserve to be loved by those whom I hurt. But in that moment of darkness when one person in this world cared enough to display the covenant-keeping love of Jesus Christ to His church, I turned from my sin and clung to the grace of God that is strong enough to break the bands of sin and death. It’s strong enough to graft one man to a woman when everything in this world threatens to pull them apart.

Excerpt from Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages,* (Thomas Nelson)

Here’s the Book Trailer:

(If you cannot see this video – click here)

I’m so excited to be giving away
3 copies of the book
along with this beautiful journal today!

giveawaypromopic

Enter here to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t delay waiting to see if you won this giveaway or not.

If you know your marriage is a mess and you need encouragement -
buy Messy Beautiful Love:
Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages

TODAY!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

*Amazon Affiliate Link 

How to Deal With Differences In Marriage

How to deal with differences

All marriages deal with differences. If we traded in our marriage for another, we would just be trading problems with this guy – for problems with that guy – because the reality is, all marriages have problems to varying degrees.

Sometimes I wonder why God made men and women so incredibly different.  And while I understand that our differences should make us complement each other – some days it just feels like a huge hurdle.

My husband and I are very, very different people.

I am an extrovert – the more the merrier is my mentality!

He is an introvert – he is very private.

I love social media and social gatherings fill me up!

My husband does not participate in social media, and social gatherings drain him.

I am a very cautious person when it comes to safety.

My husband loves to shoot guns and ride motorcycles and prefers I be on the back of the motorcycle with him…which is not really my cup of tea!

motorcycle riding

He even bought me this jacket……let’s just say, I wear it for him ;) and pray the entire ride!  I appreciate how he has enhanced my prayer life! Lol!

motorcycle jacket

He has also enhanced my prayer life by taking the kids on very long road trips on the back of his bike. ;)

I like pop music (anything with a beat), Christian and classical piano music (weird mix right? Lol!).

He likes country music and talk radio.

I like Diet Coke.

He drinks Sweet Tea by the gallon.

I prefer new cars – you know with a cup holder and a DVD player.

He loves old classic cars…without cup holders and DVD players.

I love big cities and living in a neighborhood.

He prefers to live on a huge piece of land and not see the neighbors!

I love to sing.

He does not.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg friends.  Our temperaments are very different.  Our family histories are very different. Our school experiences were very different. Our hobbies are very different.

And while I list all these things and wonder how in the world we ended up vowing our lives to each other –”till death do us part,”  I am amazed at how like-minded we are on faith, our view of the world, our morals, values, love for each other and love of family.

I could sit all day and focus on the things that are different between my husband and I and get very frustrated.

Let’s face it – you can’t change a zebra’s stripes. God absolutely changes people from the inside out and I’ve heard testimonies of dramatic changes in marriages where God was at work on sin in their lives…but I don’t foresee my husband’s taste of country music or sweet tea or personality traits, such as loving social gatherings, changing anytime soon.

During different seasons of life, I have tried to get my husband to change. This always brings fights and it’s miserable and he feels disrespected.

Philippians 2:3 -5 says:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

This is truth!  When we look only toward our  own interests, our own selfish ambitions will ruffle feathers in our marriage and stir up trouble.  We will create misery and though it may feel unintentional – it is very real and it can put a wedge in our marriage.

So how do we deal with differences in marriage?

1.) Do not be selfish. (verse 3)

2.) Humble yourself and look at your husband as more significant than yourself. (verse 3)

3.) Do not discount your husband’s interests. (verse 4)

4.) Have the mind of Christ. (verse 5)

This my friends, is nothing like how the world would advise us.  But this is God’s way.  Number 4 is vital to overcoming the selfishness and pride in marriage.  We must pursue having the mind of Christ.  Christ was humble to the point of death on the cross for us.

Have you humbled yourself and considered laying aside your own interests for the sake of your husband, for the sake of your marriage and for the sake of Christ?

**Chime In: What differences in your marriage has God brought to mind while you were reading this?  Will you selflessly put that issue in the hands of God and trust Him with it?  

And one final thought, when we pray that God changes something about our husband – if it is done in selfishness, most likely it will not be answered. One thing I have learned is to pray for these changes for one reason alone – so that our marriage would be more unified and bring more glory to God by the way we love and care for each other.

Next week, we’ll talk more about unity in marriage but until then – let’s pray humble, selfless prayers that focus on God’s will for our marriage rather than our own will.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**This post is a part of the…

Embrace[3]

Coming next:

September 22: Embracing Oneness
September 29: Embracing Your Friendship

This week’s group marriage challenge is:

Embrace Your Differences – Don’t just tell your husband that you love him today. Tell him some of the reasons you love him.

Today my friends pictured above are also writing on
Embracing Your Differences in Your Marriage.

Please visit them!

Darlene Schacht at TimeWarpWife.com
Jennifer Smith at UnveiledWife.com
Sheila Gregoire at ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com
Ashleigh Slater at AshleighSlater.com
Lisa Jacobson at Club31Women.com

 

This Week’s GMG Reading Plan {9.14.14}

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Good Morning Girls!  We are reading through the Bible, one chapter a day, cover to cover.

This week we completed the book of Esther and 1 Peter!  Way to go!

finished collage

Here is this WEEK’s Reading Plan {09.14.14}:

SeptWeekThree[1]

 This is a free printable – click here to print it.

Here is this MONTH’S Reading Plan {September}:

SeptReadPlan[1]

This is a free printable – click here to print it.

 Here are the free eWorkbooks for this month:

Esther  - Short eWorkbook
Esther – Long eWorkbook

I Peter – Short eWorkbook
I Peter – Long eWorkbook

II Peter – Short eWorkbook
II Peter – Long eWorkbook

I John – Short eWorkbook
I John Long eWorkbook

II John – Short eWorkbook
II John – Long eWorkbook

III John – Short eWorkbook
III John – Long eWorkbook

Jude – Short eWorkbook
Jude – Long eWorkbook

Psalm 1-30 – Short eWorkbook
Psalm 1-30 – Long eWorkbook

The SOAP method of study is explained in the workbooks.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE ARE NO ASSIGNED PASSAGES TO SOAP – PLEASE FOLLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT’S LEADING AND DO WHAT TIME ALLOWS.

Some may NOT want to SOAP at all – simply work on the daily discipline of being in God’s word.  

Some may want to SOAP 1 or 2 verses, others may want to do 5-10, still others may want to write out the entire chapter.  Do whatever time allows you in this season of life.

Grace. ;)

The short eWorkbook has one worksheet a day for journaling your thoughts.

The long eWorkbook has 4 worksheets a day for those who like to write more or do extra research.

You do not have to use a workbook at all though. You can simply follow along just reading one chapter a day.

Below is the free printable of every book and chapter of the Bible to mark off as you complete your reading. You will want to print this and save it somewhere near your Bible (or in it). We will be flipping back and forth between the Old and New Testament, so you will want to keep track of what you have completed in case you need to take a break and return.

reading through the Bible Graphic

Click here to print the

“Reading Through the Bible with Good Morning Girls” Plan.

 5 International Translations

Spanish Translators: Beth Vollmer Chagas & Julie Chagas

2 Peter – Spanish Short eWorkbook
2 Peter – Spanish Long eWorkbook

1 John - Spanish Short eWorkbook
1 John – Spanish Long eWorkbook

Portuguese  Translators: Beth Vollmer Chagas & Julie Chagas

2 Peter – Portuguese Short eWorkbook
2 Peter – Portuguese Long eWorkbook

1 John –  Portuguese Short eWorkbook
1 John – Portuguese Long eWorkbook

German Translator: Petra Rushing

2 Peter – German Short eWorkbook
2 Peter – German Long eWorkbook

1 John – German Short eWorkbook
1 John – German Long eWorkbook

Croatian Translator: Rosilind Jukic at http://dobrojutrodjevojke.blogspot.com

2 Peter – Croatian Long eWorkbook

1 John – Croatian Long eWorkbook

Dutch Translator: Eve Jansen at  http://www.lookaroundthecorner1.blogspot.com    

2 Peter – Dutch Short eWorkbook

1 John – Dutch Short eWorkbook

Are you a blogger?

Friday’s post will include a video and a link-up for bloggers who are blogging through the Bible or writing about their morning quiet times.  Simply use this graphic in your post  (right click – save as) and link it back to GoodMorningGirls.org then link up with us on Friday!

Blogging through bible with GMG button

Are you wondering what we’ll be reading next? In the months of October and November we’ll be reading…

Genesis!

I’ll see you back here this Wednesday with a discussion of this week’s reading.

Have a great week as you walk with the King!

Courtney

**Special Announcement: I have started a new Good Morning Girls Facebook Page.  I hope you will join me there today!

A Steady Diet of Beauty Magazines Will Starve Your Soul {I Peter 3}

woman lying on couch and reading magazine at home

Today we are in 1 Peter 3 and these verses are not easy to tackle.

1 Peter 3:1 and 2 says:

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”

First we see that Peter is speaking to wives – that’s us!

Do any among us have a non-Christian husband or a husband, who is not obeying God’s word?   How do these verses say we will win them?

The answer…without a word.

Notice this does not say, by how many Bible studies we attend, how many meals we cook for the sick, how many Christian books we read, by the Christian music we listen to or by pointing out our husband’s flaws.

A husband is won…

without a word.

Simply by our submission…respect and purity.

1 Peter 1 continues in verses 3 and 4:

3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

In this passage the word adorning is also translated as beauty.

Does this passage forbid the braiding of hair or gold jewelry?  No! Thank goodness because I love braiding my hair and my daughter’s hair ;) and if you’ve seen my videos, you know this girlfriend likes some big earrings, right? Lol!

This passage says our focus should not be the same as the world’s. The world sells beauty as the pinnacle of achievements for women.  Every magazine in the grocery store is graced with a cover of a gorgeous woman and then 10 tips on how to apply eye shadow, 4 tips on how to diet, 5 tips on the newest fashion trends and so on.

A steady diet of beauty magazines will starve your soul.

It is a woman’s “fear of God” that will lead her to pursue what is precious in God’s sight – - – a gentle and quiet spirit.

I remember when I first discovered these verses in high school.  I was mortified!  Did this mean I had to stop laughing so loud and become introverted?  I was anything but a quiet girl.  How could I become what was precious in God’s sight?

After talking this over with my mother, I learned that this was not about my personality! Thank goodness!

This passage is referring to an inner peace, calm and strength that comes from a deep trust and faith in God.  A woman with a gentle and quiet spirit will be meek. She will deal lovingly and gently with others. She will not be consumed with worry but have a quietness and peace in her soul that draws others to Christ in her.

1 Peter 3:5-7 says this:

5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”  7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Oh boy, the difficulty of this passage continues.  Stick with me here.

We need a little background about Sarah to understand what she did that was so exquisite.

In Genesis 12:1-20 we see that Sarah was beautiful externally and Abraham was fearful that the Egyptians would kill him to steal his wife. So he asked her to…stretch the truth… and say she was his sister. Truthfully, she was his half-sister.  See what happened below:

10Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.”

In 1 Peter 3 we see Sarah being praised not because she was externally beautiful but because she trusted God and obeyed her husband in a dangerous situation rather than giving way to fear.

Now – hold on to your hat because this gets even more interesting… this scenario repeats itself again in Genesis 20 when King Abimelech sees Sarah’s beauty and once again, Abraham tells her to call herself his sister. She is taken as King Abimelech’s wife and then later she is released after the King has a dream from God that he should not have her as his wife!

Seriously!  Abraham – what are you doing? Why was he not trusting God? He was giving into fear! But Sarah – was as cool as a cucumber. She submitted to her husband, trusted in God and God protected her.

Sarah was clearly beautiful on the outside – possibly she was as beautiful as Queen Esther…since both a Pharaoh and King pursued Sarah’s hand in marriage the moment they laid eyes on her.

But it’s not Sarah’s external beauty we read about in 1 Peter 3 – it’s her inner beauty.  A beauty God admires and a beauty God has called us to.

You won’t read about having a gentle and quiet spirit in the beauty magazines being sold at your local grocery store.  But as we read through the Bible cover to cover, God will transform all of us from the inside out as we lay down our ugly sin filled hearts at the foot of the cross and exchange them for what is precious in God’s sight.

Today we have a choice – what will we pursue? A steady diet of the world’s beauty secrets or a steady feast of the living bread.

Let’s look at beauty from God’s perspective.

Let’s examine ourselves according to this passage and see where we are lacking.

Let’s ask God today to help us make changes in areas where we are lacking.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**Looking for the GMG resources for this month? –> click here. 

 

**Chime In:

Why do you think 1 Peter 3 is such a hard teaching for women of our day?

Do you struggle with having a gentle and quiet spirit? What gets in the way?

How does your husband respond when you display this kind of living?

What else is God teaching you this week through your study in 1 Peter?

 

BLOGGERS: Are you blogging through the Bible with us or have you written a devotional based on your own quiet times this week?

Put this graphic in your post, link it back to GoodMorningGirls.org and then link up below – we’d love to come visit you! Blogging through bible with GMG button



Overnight Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Oatmeal 1

Janelle from Comfy in the Kitchen has a comfy breakfast planned for us today!

She writes:

This morning I had some of my close mom friends from our children’s school over after drop-off. I whipped up an easy ham and cheese quiche, cut and washed some berries, and had this delicious oatmeal already baking overnight in the crockpot. May I just say…. it was so much easier knowing that one of my main dishes was finished even before I woke up!

We had a great time over breakfast and coffee….we live in such a blessed community.
Two tips for GREAT slow cooker oatmeal- Use steel cut oats and a water bath! If you have made Crock Pot oatmeal before, did you notice it crusts on the sides and sometimes browns on the bottom? The water bath prevents all of that nonsense. ;)

*I use gluten-free oats, but you may use any kind you wish.


oatmeal 2

In a casserole dish add oats, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

oatmeal 3

Fill Crock Pot up half way with water, then place the casserole dish inside and cover. Turn on low heat overnight and bake 8-10 hours.

Oatmeal 4

In the morning you’ll wake up to the smell of cinnamon and have delicious baked oatmeal waiting for you.

Oatmeal 1

Add milk, pecans, raisins and an extra dollop of brown sugar and sprinkle of cinnamon. Mmmm…

Thanks to my friends who shared their morning with me! Love you girls!

Overnight Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Serves:8
Prep time:5 mins
Cook time:8 hours
Total time:8 hours 5 mins

Ingredients
2 cups steel cut oats {I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free}
6 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Enough water to fill Crock Pot ½ way.
“Fixins” and extra milk as desired.

Instructions
In a casserole dish add all ingredients except water.
Fill Crock Pot with water.
Place casserole dish inside Crock Pot.
Cover and set on low for 8-10 hours {overnight}
Add your fixins in the morning {brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, raisins, cinnamon …pour on additional milk to desired consistence}

Signature
speakerJanelle Nehrenz

Janelle is a Christian, a Wife, a Stay at Home Mom of 3 young children and a proud- to- claim- it “Foodie”.

You can find her displaying step-by-step photos of her recipes, giving devotionals,and sharing meal ministry stories on her blog.

You can follow Janelle’s blog at ComfyInTheKitchen.com
Follower her on facebook at Comfy In The Kitchen
Follow her on Twitter at ComfynKitchen