Everyday Valentine

On our wedding day my sweet Aunt Jo gave Matt and I some of the greatest marriage advice, and  I am proud to say that we have put it into practice everyday since our family was established, some days of course, are more successful than others but none the less it is still used for Gods glory. This Godly, wise advice was “Work everyday at being a blessing to one another and you will be blessed.” Simple, sound and to the point, we took this message to heart right away. I am so glad we did because every day in our  810 days of marriage has been Valentines Day; a day to express to the other just how much you love, value and appreciate them.

Now, let me also say that I am all for celebrating Valentines Day as well as all other meaningful holidays that commemorate a relationship including, but definitely not limited to, anniversaries, birthdays and other special events. Matt and I celebrate these moments each year as well in our little family of two. We even have our own unique names for them such as our date-a-versary (the day we started dating) and our engage-a-versary (the Christmas Matt proposed).  So we are very much pro Valentines Day. In Fact, I  personally like it so much that if I could choose a holiday to be born on I think that Valentines would be it because it’s a day dedicated solely to expressing love for others and I think that is just so beautiful! Like many other couples Matt and I also celebrate our love for one another on Valentines Day each year, but at the same time, to be completely honest, it’s just another day in our marriage that we both wake up and decide to dedicate to The Lord and to one another. For us this daily commitment means that we are purposely going to utilize the time we have been given with one another to showcase our love throughout the entire day, everyday until the good Lord takes us home. Sometimes we do this through grand gestures and other times it’s through simple details, but either way one common thread exists and that’s making the other feel meaningful and important through expressing our admiration, encouragement, support, care and compassion for each other in that specific moment.

One thing that Matt and I have come to realize throughout our seven years of being together is that you are only given a certain amount of time each day and once that day is gone you can never get it back. This is why we never leave a word unspoken or feeling not shown between the two of us. If we have something on our hearts to say or do for one another we do it, and we don’t wait. We never hesitate to tell one another how much we mean to each other and we make sure to back up our words with our actions on a consistent 24/7 basis. Many of our friends and family have nicknamed us “The Honeymooners”, “The Newlyweds” and “The Lovebirds”, and after almost three years of marriage we take these nicknames as huge compliment. Of course Matt and I know that we are more in love with one another and that the love between us grows stronger each day. But to think that others that are close to us and view our marriage on a rather consistent level, whom we value and respect, see that same love between the two of us radiating on an outward level truly fills me with such gratitude for what God has given us and is doing through life, family and marriage. It is the little reminder that as we allow God to work on our hearts He is using them as a blank canvas to paint a beautiful picture of Jesus’  tender love for each and every human being. I feel honored every time this is brought to my attention that God would use us to portray His unfailing, unwavering love to the world and that others can vividly see that love through our relationship. It is honestly one of the greatest compliments we have ever been given as a couple because it is literally telling us that, even though we are far from perfect, we are living up to the expectations that God and ourselves have for our marriage on a daily basis.

All in all what I am trying to say is that even though Valentines Day, anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions are wonderful, they should really be just another day in which we show our genuine love for one another in our relationships, whether that be in marriage, friendship or  family. We should strive each day to be a blessing to those that are placed in our lives so that we can better allow The Lord to showcase His magnificent love for us and others in a more clear, vivid way to the world.

How we spent our 7th Valentines Day together sharing our love and friendship with four other fun, encouraging, supportive and all around wonderful couples that God has graciously placed in our family as friends.

How we spent our 7th Valentines Day together sharing our love and friendship with four other fun, encouraging, supportive and all around wonderful couples that God has graciously placed in our lives.

Much Love and Prayer,

Blair

Modern Day Miracles: Part 2

A week ago I wrote a blog post on here about what a real-life modern day miracle has looked like to me in the life of my family and marriage ever since I asked The Lord to trade in my perspective on things for His. Today I would like to share a little bit about the latest miraculous work that He has been doing in our little family of two in hopes to encourage and inspire my readers. As many of you know I recently landed my first teaching position at a well renowned school district in the Northern Kentucky area, but how this came to happen has so much more to do with my Abba Fathers direction and my husband ferverently leading our family down that said pathway than it ever did with my hard work and effort. The greatest thing I did in the grand scheme of things was to listen and obey. Don’t worry I am not going to get into the dreaded submission talk too deeply today, although I would reckon that who ever is reading this probably knows where my opinion lies in that realm, and if you don’t then you will probably have a good idea after this post.

About one month ago our family took a big step as I graduated with my Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from The University of Kentucky, and therefore turned a page into a whole new chapter of our life! Although it is obvious that there were going to be some expected transitions during this next phase, the beginning of this awe inspiring movement started about two years ago right after Matt and I were first married. Long before I had ever been accepted into the rigorously competitive Elementary Education program at UK.. long before I had completed student teaching and set my graduation date… long before I had even thought of applying to the position I now hold.

So lets go back to that beginning, back in the early winter of 2011-2012, right after New Years Eve. Matt and I were brand new, fresh off the honeymoon, newlyweds living in a one bed room apartment in Lexington, KY while he was finishing up his degree and we were deciding what the next avenue to take was with mine. As I mentioned, the program that I graduated from at UK was extremely competitive and rigorous. That Spring semester of 2012 was my admissions semester, which meant that I had to fill out a hug application, put together a portfolio that included everything from sample pieces of my best writing to descriptions of my community involvement and prior experience working with children. I also would have to go through a panel interview and answer a number of questions about why I believed I was called to the profession of teaching young children as well as write a three point essay on the spot about whatever curriculum concept they asked of me to prove that I had the content knowledge necessary to pursue this career path. Of course there were also the GPA requirements and recommendation letters. Plus this particular program is known for only accepting around thirty applicants at a time during each semester and the semester that I applied had, up to that date, a record breaking amount of applicants! So to say the pressure was on to make sure that this was the program I was called to go through really doesn’t even begin to describe the stress of that time in our young marriage.  If you ask Matt he probably will tell you about the weekly interventions he would have with his fresh faced, wide eyed bride where he would pray over her and remind her that everything was in The Lords hands. That we were not called to have a spirit of fear but instead one of a sound mind. That Jesus had paid the price for any type of bondage that could ever chain us up.. including my excessive worrying and that because of Him we are free! To say that I am thankful to have such a strong, unwavering, gracious, faith-filled man of Gods leading our family day in and day out, through all that life brings including but definitely not limited to this phase in our life, really would not even begin to explain just how grateful I was for Matt and his interceding prayer over this situation, at that time in our marriage, and now! Thanks to The Lord and His direction Matt literally has been an unshakable, constant foundation for our family. He has searched for The Lords plans with all he has and found them. He has been unmovable in what he knows God has called us to through immense criticism and undermining relatives who do not understand the ways of The Lord and believe that they have the right to voice their harsh, rude opinions about other peoples life paths just because they do not understand it and can not deal with not knowing it all. My husband has been Gods rock and through this time I have been blessed enough to be his support system as he moved our family in the direction that we were being called.

That being said, around early January 2012 Matt started speaking a lot about moving back up to Northern Kentucky to nurture and take care of our families. He would talk to me about how it would come up during his prayer and morning time with The Lord then reoccur in distinct ways through out the day, and every time we went home there always seemed to be a need that only we could fulfill.. only we could meet. The interesting thing about this situation was that I had been hearing similar messages from God as well, and as these conversations with Matt continued God stirred a movement in my heart to move back. He was specifically telling us how to use the talents of nurturing  and encouragement that had been given to us to support and care for our loved ones. So we began checking into other elementary education programs around the Northern Kentucky area since God had made it so evident that was where we were eventually supposed to be. It was a confusing time, a time where we both had been given clear direction about the way in which we were suppose to move, literally, but at the same time were not completely sure of when God’s timing would have us do what He had called us to.So we went forth with keeping all options open and listening for the next step The Lord would give us. Around Spring of 2012 is when I was accepted into the program at UK.  Matt and I decided that this acceptance, coupled with a few other words God, was a significant sign that we were to stay temporarily put in Lexington as I finished out what God had called me to and we waited patiently for the next transition.

Time passed during those two years. Birthdays, anniversaries, and other various holidays and occasions were celebrated. Friendships were made, career shifts took place, promotions and recognition were given.. slowly life happened and with each passing day the big transition that we had been given foresight about crept closer. Before we knew it Fall 2013 was upon us and with the end of that season would come my long anticipated graduation date and the uncertainty of where our next move would be. Would God call our family to go straight back to Northern Kentucky or would He have us go other places first? Would we be in a period of in between or would it be a swift transition?  Thank The Lord and all of His goodness that He had provided us with a strong group of other young, believing, married couples, which we had formed a close, intimate and sturdy bond with to lean on during this time. Just to know that they were coming along side of us, praying with and for us, supporting and encouraging us, listening to us and sharing their experiences with us to give us a renewed sense of hope and faith in our great God was such an immense blessing! These couples truly became more than just friendships, they became our family in Lexington, sharing our ups and downs of life and the road that we had been called to walk. Supporting what The Lord was doing the entire time, even if it meant loosing the physical closeness and gaining an amount of distance, that in October 2013 looked, for a moment, like it could have been in a number of different continents outside of the U.S. before our final transition, one day, back to Northern Kentucky. It was a time of known, yet unknown, and for these brothers and sisters that stood faithfully by our sides we are forever immensely grateful!

Also, in this moment, God had been specifically working with me on just taking His will one step at a time and not worrying so much about the over all big picture of things. He had been gracious enough to show me that if I would give each day to Him, devoting it totally to whatever He called me to as a wife, daughter, sister, teacher, friend, aunt and so much more, that those days would be strung together like a beautiful pearl necklace amounting to a life lived solely for His glory, honor and praise. So I devoted myself to a day-by-day walk and let go of the stress of looking so far ahead to the point that I could not see just yet. I had decided that whatever, or wherever God called Matt and I, whether it would be in Lexington, Northern Kentucky, another state in the U.S. or a completely different country and continent, that I would follow faithfully, not worrying or thinking ahead but instead staying right in the moment that He had placed me in. Sometimes I feel like God was just waiting to teach me that important lesson about being in His day, not mine, because the moment that I truly took it to heart rapid movement started taking place and once again my husband had been given the clear instruction to officially start the process of moving back to Northern Kentucky. This time though we were not worry ladened. Instead we found beauty in the freedom of not having to worry and in knowing that as we seek The Lord each day He will make it clear to us what we are meant to do in that day.

So here we were, on Martin Luther King Day of 2014, almost exactly two years after we had been given the foresight about moving back to Northern Kentucky. Over the past month Matt had been hearing from God so much and with such force that he had basically decided that we were to take a huge leap of faith and just move back, even before we had any other significant set up in the area. He was being told to take our family and to step out in faith, to trust in a big way, to let God move us when He wanted and to not hold back but to be bold!  I can honestly look back in my prayer journal from that MLK Monday morning where I had again resolved to give my day to day life to The Lord. In the midst of wanting to worry, I found myself consciously making the decision to give all the authority over to my Abba Father, and therefore also my husband, since God had called him to be the leader of our family, and would direct us and guide us through him, not me. I found myself thanking Him for thinking of me and Matt and choosing to put us in His day, choosing to give us a part in His will. I honestly didn’t realize just how significant my obedience on this specific morning would be, but to be frank I don’t think I ever do until the amazing ways of The Lord start coming into play through that said obedience. I had told Him that whatever this day held for me, the mundane and the amazing, that I would carry them out with joy, and that while I was on this step I would wait patiently and do the good work that He had called me, putting all my heart and soul into it, in that specific moment.

On that Monday the good work that the Lord had called me to just happened to look like laundry and teaching applications. Not very exciting in most peoples opinion, if not down right frustrating, but I had committed myself to carrying out whatever was laid  in front of me and with a joyful, peaceful, surrendered heart! To say I am glad that I did does not even begin to explain how happy I am that I listened and followed those directions! One of those job applications that I had filled out that morning just happened to be for the position that I now hold at a well renowned blue ribbon school called Woodfill Elementary in Ft. Thomas, KY. That same evening, not even five hours after I had applied for the position I received a call from the principal asking if I would like to come in for an interview the next day! So Matt and I loaded up the car and I was on my way! The funny thing is that we had both originally decided it would be a good idea for me to go up to Northern Kentucky that same night and go around the next day to a few schools just to introduce myself and begin networking, but then after hearing there was going to be a possibility of a blizzard thought it best if I stay home and go another day, until I got that call back! I ended up interviewing, feeling at peace with all that took place and calling Matt right after to tell him about it. To which we decided that I would stay one more night in Northern Kentucky and go around to other neighborhood schools the next day, just in case this amazing opportunity did not work out and we were called to go another route for whatever reason. Again, I am so glad that Matt and I listened and watched closely for God’s direction even in the small things like choosing to stay another night because just a couple hours later I ended up hearing back from the principal and being asked if I would like to accept the position. If I had waited to call Matt and hastily made my way back to Lexington before discussing it with God and my husband I would have been all the way back in Lexington by the time I got the call from the principal and would have had to turn right back around to go back to Northern Kentucky! Even down to the fact that I packed more than one interview outfit was God’s clear provision and my undeniable obedience because that meant I had another professional outfit to wear the next day when I was asked to come in and sign my paper work, as well as tour the school and meet my new classroom of kindergarten kiddos.

There are a many things I have found to be true in the two and a half years that Matt and I have been married but these specific lessons we have learned throughout the course of this amazing situation.

1. When you are in God’s will He will always provide a way for His plan to come to pass. For this specific modern day miracle, that we are currently living out right now, these provisions have come in what some would deem as great and small packages. Although to Matt and I each detail, whether on a grand scale or not, has significantly blown us away and strengthened our faith, determination and obedience to our Lord  that much more. During this time Our Abba Father has provided everything from the physical needs of having a place to stay while we were looking for a place to move into permanently, to providing the perfect next newlyweds nest for our little family in Northern Kentucky, as well as sustaining our family as we followed His call.

2. When God calls one spouse He also calls the other. He did not join Matt and I together so we would be separated but rather so we could fulfill His purpose on this earth together in a great way! He is a God who hates division and strife and loves unity and wholeness. When He calls one spouse to a mission He also calls the other by nature because we were joined as one in Him.

3. When God tells you to move it you don’t take your sweet time, you do! You drop whatever it is that you are doing and go. In our case this has been a very literal translation of that statement. It hasn’t always been easy. In fact it has been one of the most difficult, yet strength building things our marriage has endured. Real heart-felt, unwavering obedience to God is always well worth it though! It is so awesome now to watch as we see the glorious master plan unfold and get to give all the honor and praise back to Him for what He has been doing all along.

I tell this story to solely encourage and inspire those who are needing to yield their lives in obedience to God’s authority and trust His plan. For those who want to see His amazing miracles unfold in their life story.  Allow God to be the author of your life, marriage and family. Let Him guide you and find the wondrous freedom in not having to know it all, but instead giving His day back to Him by simply doing whatever He has called you to in that moment. I promise you will not be disappointed. He is a great miracle worker and is longing to work His miraculous will in your life! So give Him the control, being eager to go and do whatever He calls you to, and know that when you do your life will be filled to the fullest with modern day miracles, proving His love for you, both in grand gestures for the world to see and secret moments just between the two of you.

Much Love & Prayer,

Blair

P.S. This modern day miracle  in our little family of two is still coming to fruition and even though there was so much told, there was just as much untold because that is just how awesome our God is! We can not even begin to put into words all the ways He shows up on a daily basis. I will keep everyone posted on the rest of the story as it comes into play.. but for right now, as I said early, we are just enjoying the harvest as we have a front row seat to the amazing work He is doing in our life, family and marriage.

Modern Day Miracles

When reading through The Word I always find myself amazed, like many other believers, at the wondrous things The Lord did through Jesus and the prophets; the impossible made possible just by the sheer touch of His hand or the mention of His name. And like many other believers I have found myself wondering at times, where are these inspiring, awe striking moments today that would bring even the most cynical critic to their knees and proclaim to the world that The Lord is with us and even better, He is for us! So a couple years ago, while having a thought such as this, I asked God to show me the miraculous, to open my eyes to His marvelous works. What He has shown me since has been nothing short of inspiring! 

So often we want what we consider to be the BIG miracles in life, like physical healing such as what Jesus did for the blind man just by touching Him and declaring it to be.  We want the instant gratification, the WOW factor. We do not want to have to wait and if we do then we expect it to be nothing short of absolutely Earth shattering for us as well as everyone around us. But what The Lord has shown me over the past years, since that moment I asked for His vision to see the things around me as He sees them, is that His mighty works are being displayed daily in our everyday lives. Even what we would deem the smallest, most insignificant moments of life factor into The Lords great plan and often can be the hinging point because He is waiting on our obedience.  So often we do not realize that what is going on in this very moment is The Lord working in our midst, creating a path or providing a modern day miracle just for us because we are too busy being blind sighted by the things going on around us. We chalk that relationship being mended, the promotion or recognition at work, or the financial, physical and sometimes even spiritual growth up to our own hard work or worse don’t even acknowledge it at all and see it as just sheer luck instead of seeing it the way God does, as Him working things in our midst for the good of those who love Him to bring His plan for our lives to fruition

But when you take the blinders off and start looking between the lines, searching for the way God is showing up in your life you will be amazed at all the miraculous moments that are unveiled to you! The simplest things, such as waking up to a beautiful sun drenched morning that fills your spirit with hope and joy, turn into the most amazing, intricate, personal wonders that you know were orchestrated just for you. Of course this optimistic and focused attitude allows you to see the larger scale things that The Lord is fulfilling around you as well. The things that others still might miss or shrug off, but in your heart of hearts you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was God parting the waters in the sea of your own personal life, creating a modern day miracle tailor made just for your specific needs. Ultimately, what I have come to find is that these moments have become more inspiring to me than any other miracle that I read about in The Bible. That’s because it is my holy, loving and grace filled Abba Father putting His pen to the blank pages of my life and creating a beautiful, miraculous masterpiece that will bring reassurance and truth in the here and now. It is a modern day miracle that I get to experiences personally taking place in the present day, rather than reading about one that took place in the life of another person from the past.  It is my Savior showing up, time and time again, to rescue me, redeem my walk, and faithfully guide me down the path that He has called me to, opening the doors that He sees fit to open and closing the ones that He sees fit to close.

Much Love and Prayer,

Blair