Mother of the Bride: Embracing the Season Change

Mother of Bride Embracing Season Change

When it is time for a season to change, the imperfections of life are most visible. I have spent most of my life looking forward to the next season, sure that it will be better than the last. I am now at a season with four adult daughters and two sons not far behind. Looking back, I’m flooded with sweet memories of the time spent together making paper chains for birthdays and baking banana bread and my own peanut-butter popcorn, and family movie nights. Even the big work projects of cooking, painting, and planting flowers bring me joy. How did I become the mother of the bride?

How To Be the "Mother of the Bride" Twice in 6 Weeks...

Wise mothers who went before me would whisper in my ear “Enjoy the season. It passes so quickly.”

Now, I’m whispering the same thing in your ear, “Enjoy each moment… but when the season is about to change, embrace the new.

As the Mother of the Bride, I survived 2 weddings in 6 weeks by trusting in the goodness of God in the future. I am comforted by this verse:

…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14. 

I survived being the mother of the bride twice by following these simple steps:

  1. I let go of the past
  2. I enjoyed the present
  3. I lay hold of the future.

Jesus is an expert at helping us live this way:

 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

We are the bride of Christ. He is our bride groom. We have a beautiful wedding feast to anticipate. We have a lot to look forward to.

9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage

How to Build a Marriage that Lasts

I still remember the moment I saw my husband, Wayne, for the first time. I was a lifeguard, wearing a sweatsuit with a whistle around my neck at a church camp in upper Michigan. He rolled into camp on a motorcycle, and I had to smile at his windblown hair and pink cheeks. I was 17 years old and I wasn’t thinking about marriage.

Wayne was the camp pastor for the week, in charge of spiritual enrichment for the junior high campers. We filled those seven days with long walks on the beach and hours of fireside talks about our life’s dreams. In that short time, we developed a strong attraction for one another. I had never met a man who loved Jesus more than I did.

On the last night of our week together, we sat by the fire and Wayne said, “I sense we have kindred hearts. I want to stay in touch.” My heart swelled as I agreed. I had already spent a night under the stars asking God to confirm what I was sensing.

At first, we wrote letters and cards and talked on the phone. We were able to spend more time together when he started semi- nary close to my college. Soon, we were ministering side by side as youth pastors at a church. As I grew closer to Wayne, I also grew closer to God. And the more time I spent with Wayne, the more I knew he was the one for me.

Do you remember the zing of attraction you felt when your relationship with your spouse was brand new? Being in the same room brought both comfort and butterflies. You felt empowered by the looks of admiration. Chills ran down your spine when your hands brushed together as you walked or reached for the popcorn.

9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage

Do you still have those feelings? Do you still get a rush when the love of your life walks into the room? Or has exhaustion, disap- pointment, or bitterness replaced the elation you once felt? With the starry eyes of new love, we all fantasize about how life could be together. We want to feel that same sense of excitement, joy, and fulfillment all the time. But that isn’t reality.

If you have been married for more than a week, I’m certain you’re aware that your marriage is not perfect. No marriage rela- tionship is. And regardless of how wonderful or terrible your mar- riage may seem right now, I’m also certain that you are aware of ways it could be better, healthier, stronger, and more loving. We all desire to see positive changes in our relationships. We all want to be built up, encouraged, and empowered to live life to the fullest. Whether or not you use the exact words, what we want are life- giving marriages.

Unfortunately, so many marriage relationships limp along at less than life-giving; worse yet are the relationships that actively drain the life out of one or both partners. You may know someone in a hurting marriage; you may even be that person. And maybe, fearful of what others will think of your imperfect life, you’re hid- ing that pain from your family and friends. You think to your- self, “Suck it up,” or “Hang in there until the kids are grown,” or “Nobody’s marriage is perfect; this is just the way life is.” You think, if you try harder, you can just make it work. Or, maybe you’ve reached the breaking point and are wishing for a way out.

The problem is that all wedded unions consist of two fallible, sinful, prideful, selfish human beings. But here’s the good news: God is with you, too. With His help, you can improve your rela- tionship with your spouse by being transformed into the person God created you to be. You are not alone in your desire to trade a boring or painful marriage into one that is full of joy, passion, and love; God wants all that and more for your relationship.

No matter the current state of your relationship, I am con- vinced that you can benefit from taking time to think, pray, and focus on your marriage. If your relationship is good, honing the nine traits of a life-giving marriage can make it even better. And if you’re in a desperate place, uncertain if you can last one more night under the same roof as your spouse, please know that, with God, there is hope for a happier life together, when you develop the traits that reflect His likeness and character.

What are the nine traits of a life-giving marriage? Let me start by saying the following list isn’t all-inclusive, rather, these traits provide a foundation for a strong, vibrant marriage. And after thirty-one years of being married to Wayne, I’ve learned that my commitment to living out these characteristics keeps my perspective pure and my priorities in place, and life is better. More importantly, our marriage is better. Here are the 9 Traits of a Life- Giving Marriage:

Acceptance—Acknowledging the fact that God made you and your spouse differently empowers you to honor each other’s unique roles and characteristics. Remember, despite your differences, you both bear the Creator’s likeness.

Friendship—This is the bedrock upon which most relationships are built. Reinforcing this foundation can help you grow together, rather than apart, and keep your marriage stable and fun.

Safety—Emotional walls often feel like physical barriers that cut off feelings of happiness and security. Learn to recognize the warn- ing signs and heal the wounds caused by an emotionally unsafe marriage.

Honesty—People who feel they can’t express themselves honestly to their spouse often travel down a dangerous road to find someone who listens and understands. This chapter will help you set the ground rules that open the lines of communication between you and your mate.

Intimacy—A connection that includes, but goes far deeper than, sex, intimacy knits marriages together. To strengthen your bond, it’s important to recognize and honor each other’s differences and be intentional about meeting your spouse’s needs.

Passion—It is possible to rekindle physical passion even if the fire- works in your relationship seem to have completely fizzled out. This chapter is a transparent discussion of one of our most basic and natural needs.

Endurance—The stress of life can push our emotions and our rela- tionships to the breaking point. Well-placed faith fuels our endur- ance. But please know, this race isn’t about survival; it’s about experiencing God’s best for your marriage.

Restoration—Understand this: Satan wants your divinely ordained marriage to fail. His battle tactics can cause injuries that, if left unattended, can certainly end in death. Restoration is a process of healing and building reinforcements to prevent future attacks.

Expectancy—Marriages typically begin with a healthy measure of hope and big expectations. Sin, in a variety of forms, can dash those hopes. Committing to a godly standard for your life and rela- tionship will set you on a path to a strong, life-giving marriage.

Speaking of expectations, as we start this journey, I want to be clear about my intentions. If you’re looking for a quick fix to heal wounds caused by years of hurts and bad habits, you may be disappointed. This isn’t like a fad diet meant to get your marriage in shape in six weeks or less. A good, strong, healthy, life-giving marriage will take work—for life. With that understanding, you’ll discover that this book is for you if:

  • You want to be honest about your struggles and overcome obstacles.
  • You want to gain greater intimacy with Jesus and your spouse.
  • You are willing to own your part and make changes in your approach to your relationship.
  • You are willing to forgive your spouse for his or her part.
  • You are willing to turn away from destructive patternsand cycles in your marriage.
  • You want the light of God to shine through you, as youare transparent before Him. xvi

I pray that the message will help you to look up. Let it be a signpost to invite the Lover of your soul, Jesus, into the intimate issues of your heart and marriage.

Jesus was talking with His close companions when he said:

Remain in me, and I will remain in you.
For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5 (NLT)

Being connected to Jesus is what gives us life. He is the Life- Giver. The life-giving joy, power, and purpose for marriage flow from the One who created us to be in relationship with each other. Apart from Him, we can’t do anything.

As you journey through 9 Traits of a Life-Giving Marriage, I hope you’ll surrender freshly in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Allow the Holy Spirit to breathe new life into your mar- riage. Embrace the creative power of God to turn any mediocre (or miserable) place in your marriage into a masterpiece of His design for you as a couple.


Every Mom Can Overcome Negative Thoughts and Irrational Feelings

Have you every wish that you could push a reprogram button at the back of your head that would immediately erase every negative thought, calm every irrational feeling and free you from every sin pattern in your life?  Instead every mom that I know has unresolved issues that pop up at the most inconvenient times. If you thought you were the only one that still struggles you can rest assured that you are a part of a big company of people – called the human race.

The Day I realized I had an anger issue… Fall 1993

Tormenting thoughts battled in my mind as I drove to Saturday night worship.

“I’m the worst mom in the world…

“I can’t believe I blew it again…

“I hate life…

My knuckles were white as I gripped the steering wheel tightly. Strapped in back were two carseats. Tears streamed down my face and were reflected in the eyes of my three year old and one year old. Another baby girl was growing inside my belly and was strapped in by my seatbelt.

The conversation continued in my brain.

“What am I thinking- trying to be a mother…

“They don’t deserve this..


The last question seemed to bounce off the soiled ceiling of my minivan. Somehow I maneuvered into a parking place and carried the car seat and too tightly squeezed the fingers of my oldest daughter as we walked into the church. After signing them in childcare, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I don’t think I heard the sermon that night. I just remembered communion. That is when I really began to sob as my screaming tirades flashed back in my mind.  Now my hands shook as I held a communion cup.

The fight intensified in my mind.

“Who do you think you are?

“You hypocrite…”

“You will never change…”

This last thought was interrupted by the pastor speaking from the pulpit. “I believe there are some of you who have believed a lie that you can’t change. The truth is that Jesus blood has paid the price for your sin and He has delivered you out of darkness. You are free – You just need to believe it, receive it, and act on it.”

It sounded so simple, so why was I so bound? The turmoil within me began to bubble up then calm as though the toxic thoughts had finally been neutralized by the truth of God’s word.

A new phrase began to take shape in my mind. It was an entirely different thought. In fact, it felt like a whisper from heaven that I was finally listening to.

“You are the best mom in the world for your children….”

“You have been called and chosen for the task of being a mom…”

“I will help you become the best mom for them…

Hope began to fill the deepest recess of my soul. For so long I had floundered under the  fog of the enemies torment that these words were like beams of sunshine bringing a multifaceted rainbow of His promise. His personal promise TO ME!

HE HEARD MY CRIES and His transformation is what has fueled my hope to be able to help other moms who have their own moments of hidden desperation. I hope to hear from you – I would love to hear your stories of pain, triumph and trivia of being a mom. Check back here tomorrow when I talk about some ways to replace your anger with His love.

A New Way of Life

Dan and Mona Hitch are passionate about health. Mona had lupus, joint pain, chest pain, chronic fatige . She and Dan were living in the “4 F”: fast life, fast food, fast drinks, fast tracking to their graves. By the grace of God they chose a better way.

Their new path they have chosen is: faith, health, love, and life. They have been transformed from the inside out. They now are in the Word daily and a part of a church family. They now all grow all their vegetables on their patio with a tower garden and participate with Juice Plus. They now practice self-care rather than health-care.

Mona and Dan are sharing their love with others. They came to our home and helped us start a tower garden to feed the Detweiler Family. They have helped many to embrace a new way of living.

A Renewed Life, Part 1 – Repentant

By Amy Ford

Shortly after my conversion from atheist to Christ-follower, I attended a twelve-step program for loved ones of alcoholics and addicts.  My new husband had struggled with addiction for years, and I realized that I needed help to deal with the issues that come with loving an addict.  We followed the same twelve steps as our addict counterparts, but applied them to our own lives.  The first of those steps, as you may know, is to admit that you have a problem.  Once that is accomplished, one can begin to move through a process of changing one’s life, attitude, perspective, and actions.

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So What Are you Doing Today?

By Amy Ford

My husband and I were engaged in our daily, “So, what are you doing today?” phone conversation, and I rattled off my list of the usual chores before summarizing, “You know, a dozen other things that will take up my entire day, which no one will ever notice.”  The words escaped faster than I could consciously compile them.  As mothers, we know what that list looks like: organizing cabinets whose doors no longer close, changing printer cartridges, laundry, mail, diapers, dusting, the meal preparation, good golly, the meal preparation!  An endless busy progression of nothings.

The day continued, with the addition of phone calls and texts and an impromptu play date.  Three diaper changes and two time-outs later, it was 1:30 and I had neither eaten lunch nor accomplished most of my original to-do list. Read more


Are You Willing to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone?

by Kacey Randolph

Do you know what it is like to be outside of your comfort zone?   I am naturally a people watcher, I would rather help hold up a wall or hang out in a corner than be the center of attention. I certainly am not one to ASK to speak to a few hundred people on a Sunday morning. God sees me differently though. He wants to use me in a way where He knows I will be completely dependent on Him to complete the task – unless I want to fail miserably, trip over my own two feet and fall flat on my face. All of which I was convinced was going to happen before I even started speaking.

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Rest in Him

There I am, once more praying that the baby will stop crying and fall asleep. Hoping I don’t have to go pick him up again since this would make the fourth time in three hours, I was exhausted. And I had it easy without the two year old this time as she was at Nana and Papa’s. — I can’t do this. — I honestly remember thinking that I could not continue in what I was doing, that I could not continue in what I was called to do at that moment, be a mom.

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Musical Moments

I’ve been thinking about musicals a lot lately.  My husband and I re-visit the same discussion every time one comes out I want to see. He always says musicals are ridiculous.  Silly. Over-the-top.  Unrealistic.  And I get it: we don’t randomly burst into song in our daily lives.  If something like a scene from a musical actually transpired in front of us in real life, most of us would take a few steps backward, look around awkwardly, and make for the nearest exit.

But then, I found an argument for the musical way of life in Scripture.  There are moments in which godly people, overcome Read more

Afraid to be Awesome?

I am reading the One Year Bible with my church family this year – what a powerful experience to be in the Word tracking along together!

We just read in Exodus about God speaking to Moses through the burning bush – requesting him to go before Pharaoh to lead His people out of Egypt. If you are familiar with the story, you know that Moses protested several times. Even asking “Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)

It makes me think, wow, Moses is telling God Almighty “No!” How could he say “no” to God Almighty? Just the thought makes me really uncomfortable! I mean, who does that? I’ll tell you who – we do. Like Moses, we have self-doubt – doubts Read more