Fighting words

I’m not one for confrontation.  I don’t enjoy a good argument.  I don’t feel better after a difficult conversation.  Now, don’t get me wrong, in the 12 years of my marriage, my husband and I have had our fair share of fights (just going to call them what they are). But fights in and of themselves are not all that bad, IF, as a couple you get to the heart of the issue.

I have heard it said that fighting in marriage is like fire.  It can do one of two things, it can shed light or it can consume.

A heated discussion is not the place for accusation, insincere apologies, and name calling.  Those things are gasoline to the fire.  In my marriage, I have identified some fighting words.  Common words or phrases that pack a big punch.  And whenever I say these phrases, I am not shedding light on a situation, I am pouring gasoline on the fire.

Here are 3 from my marriage.  I am sure there are more.

I am sorry you feel that way.
I’m sorry you feel that way is not an apology.  It is code for, “you are overreacting.” No one wants to be told they are overreacting especially when they are overreacting!   True love says, “I am sorry I made you feel that way.  Help me understand what I did.”

What were you thinking?
What were you thinking is code for, “you are a large child who doesn’t know how to act.”  What were you thinking might as well be followed by, “you idiot.”  I don’t like to have my face rubbed into a bad decision, but I often struggle with giving others the grace I would want to be given to me.  True love says, “We all make mistakes.  I forgive you.”

Why are you in a bad mood?
Now this one, this one is huge.  Why are you in a bad mood is like punching my husband in the face and saying, “Let’s fight.”  No one likes to be reminded they are in a bad mood, ESPECIALLY if it is true.  True love seeks to do something kind for the person having the bad day.  It doesn’t call them out.

Like my husband said this past weekend, relationships take work.  It is so true.  It takes work not to let a disagreement escalate into a huge fight.  I certainly don’t get this right every time.  But I am learning that relationships require grace.  The grace to try and understand the other person’s feelings.  Grace to forgive.  And grace to overlook an offense.

Monday Morning Commentary

We began our new series yesterday, Meant to Be, a series about the Bible’s kept secrets on sex, marriage and being single, based out of 1 Corinthians 7.  The title of this week’s message was taken directly from the text, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”  There were 4 points to the message (my pen and paper were happy).

1.  Questions and Issues
My husband said that historically the church is really good at answering the questions no one is asking and being silent about issues people are really facing.  There are questions that we ask and questions that we live.  God is not as concerned about answering my questions as he is about dealing with my issues.

2.  Suggestions and Standards
We live in a world of sexual suggestions but there are some sacred standards.  God’s boundaries enable me to enjoy God’s blessings.  When you go against God’s standards, you don’t break them, they break you.

3.  Desire and Duty
Paul teaches us that sex is not about what you get, it’s about what you give.  Having your desires met in a relationship is a byproduct, not a goal.  If you go into a relationship leading with desires, it always leads to disappointment.  We often want the gift of the relationship without giving the gift of ourselves.

4.  Gifts and Grace
The ultimate gift that God gives is grace.   He gives us grace to face whatever our situation is.  If we are in a difficult marriage, He gives us grace.  If we are single and struggling with loneliness, He gives us grace.  The gift IS the grace.

This is going to be an awesome series.  If you missed it, I hope you will go and listen.  You can watch it later today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.  And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Have a great Monday!


ALS Ice Bucket Challenge



The ALS Ice Bucket challenge is extra special to our family.  My father-in-law, Ltrain, who went to be in heaven last year had ALS.  Because of the viral success of the Ice bucket challenge, donations to the ALS foundation have gone off the charts.  This time last year, the ALS foundation raised $2.2M.  As of today, donations are up to $53.3 M!!!

To make a donation or for more information on ALS AND to watch some celebrity ice bucket videos visit

And for a good laugh check out these amazing ice bucket fails.  Ltrain would have loved to watch these with me!



The Best Yes Giveaway!

Last week, my friend Lysa TerKeurst released her latest book, The Best Yes.  I have been reading it and honestly it has come at the perfect time.  The book is about making wise choices in the broad spectrum of life so that you will be empowered to make wise decisions in the day today details of life.

My kids went back to school yesterday and I spent several hours evaluating their extra curricular activities, my schedule, and what our days will look like each week heading into the fall.  Lysa’s book helped me see that this is not just an activity to get me organized.  It is essential to keeping me from feeling overwhelmed later down the road.

I’d love to give away a few copies!  To enter, simply Instagram or Tweet a picture of this book with the hashtag #thebestyes and the website  Also, make sure you mention or tag me so I can find your entry.  I will select the winners and give away 10 copies next week.

And if you just can’t wait to see if you win, you can always hop over to Amazon to purchase it for yourself!.

Good luck!

Monday Morning Commentary

We wrapped up our series this weekend with a message called Naming Rights.  It was the perfect ending to an incredible series.

In Genesis 35:16 we find Rachel dying from childbirth.  As she breathes her last breath, she names her son, Ben-Oni which means, son of my sorrow. We learned that often times, great strength comes out of great sorrow.   In verse 18, Jacob renames the child Benjamin which means, son of my right hand.  Jacob did not want the baby’s history to be his destiny.

My husband taught us that although our situation may not change, we can always rename it.  Whatever you call something, that is it’s name.  Call your situation what you want.  Yes, we all experience great sorrow.  We all experience situations that we would never choose for ourselves.  But perspective can turn any situation around.  I have naming rights to my situation.

I  am not even coming close to describing how powerful this message was and really the whole series.  If you missed it, I hope you will go and listen.  You can watch it later today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.

And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Have a great Monday!

When ministry isn’t measurable

As a pastor’s wife, there are somethings that only I can do for my husband.  I can make sure that our home is peaceful not chaotic.  I can encourage him about his sermon in ways that no one else can.  I can be a protector of the vision and promotor of our church culture because I know it better than almost anyone, I helped form it.

Of course there are other things that I do at our church.  But for me, my first calling at Elevation is to support my husband.  And I have to be relentless to protect my calling and not get distracted by other opportunities that may take away from that.

There are days when I wish I had someone else’s job though.  A more visible job.  Not because I want to be seen, but because I want to be able to measure myself.  I want to check things off a list of accomplishment.

I am learning that just because my job isn’t visible doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable.  And just because my contribution isn’t measurable does not mean it isn’t ministry.

This is a word for all the women and men out there married to a spouse in “full-time ministry.”  Just because your name is not on the pay stub does not mean you are not in ministry.  Doing the work of God is a team effort.  We are all called but we can’t all have the exact same calling.  If your spouse feels empowered and supported from home, together, your ministry will be more effective.

If we all did the same job, we would never be effective.  And sometimes the most fruitful work is not the most fun.  I must have a willing heart to say, God, I will do anything, everything or nothing, if I can just be a part of the work that you are doing in our community.

Monday Morning Commentary

This weekend we continued our series Death to Selfie combined with Student Takeover Weekend.  My husband brought such an incredible message not only for our students but for everyone there.

The message came from the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel in Genesis 29-30. Jacob, the trickster, gets tricked into marrying the wrong woman.  My husband pointed out if you live a lie, you’ll eventually end up lying next to Leah, never Rachel.

We learned that both women were seeking the wrong thing.

Leah was searching for ACCEPTANCE
Rachel was searching for ACHIEVEMENT

Jacob didn’t want anything to do with Leah, but God selects what others reject. In fact, Leah was the wife God chose to bring the lineage of Jesus through.  Rachel was stuck in the mentality of, “if I could just, then they would.”  I loved when my husband said, One moment of receiving from God out weighs a lifetime of trying to receive from others.

The message was so great!  You can watch it later today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.

And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Have a great Monday!

The Sights and Sounds of Love Week



This LOVE Week 2014 has been our biggest yet.

We served over 60,195 hours , with more than 100 partners in close to 1,200 events.

We built or re-built 19 homes, fought hunger, wrapped gifts, and landscaped properties.  We refurbished, repainted, remodeled, and reorganized.  We sorted, cooked, packed and even partied (with a purpose of course).  We partnered with Rescue Missions, YMCA’s, schools, pantries, shelters, offices, housing projects and MORE.

LOVE Week was a massive outpouring of LOVE on our city.  Now it’s time to organize the aftermath, deliver the backpacks, sort the tools, and clean the warehouse.  If you are available to help, these events position and prepare us to serve throughout the year.  Join us as we put the finishing touches on LOVE Week 2014 by signing up HERE

Monday Morning Commentary

The title of the message this weekend was, “When God Shows Up in the Middle of Nowhere,” and it was a great one.  We took another look at Jacob’s life in Gen 28-35.

The message was based around the idea that some of the greatest things God will do in your life are when you are in transition or trouble.  We learned from Jacob that we need to go back to Bethel.  In Gen. 28, when Jacob was in trouble, he met with God, and then he built an altar to the Lord and called the place Bethel.  Later in chapter 35, Jacob goes back to Bethel.

Bethel means house of God and gate of heaven but it represents 3 things:

  1. a place of remembrance
  2. a place of revelation
  3. a place of response
When you find yourself seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you have to remember the past faithfulness of God, remember the things he has revealed to you and realize that he is with you now like he was with you then.
There is so much more to this message but I don’t want to spoil the reveal.  I don’t think I could do it justice anyway.  You’ll have to listen or watch for yourself if you want to hear the end.

This series has been so incredible and this message was so encouraging.  You can watch it later today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.

And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Have a great Monday!