A Slippery Slope

What is it?
What is it about me that makes the mental trips to the valley so fast. One moment I can be feeling great about myself and my progress on my mission field and then… SWOOSH. A slightly negative thought nearly completes its journey though my mind and ten other negatives follow. They completely bombard me and close line me off my feet yards away from my path.
What is it? Why is the focus of the negativity always placed on myself? Me not being good enough, healthy enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, social enough, kind enough, cool enough for others.
What is it? Why do the others even matter? Those ones around me who always take and never give. The ones who NEVER build you up or encourage you. Not that they openly discourage you or bring you down. But they can’t fathom saying an encouraging word or build your inner self worth up.
What is it? That we look toward these “friends” to complete these things in our life? Especially when we KNOW that they are going to fail us every time! Especially when we KNOW the only One who literally can’t let us down.
What is it? How come running to HIM for those needs is the last thing we ever think about? We wait until the negative brings anger, hurt, jealousy, confusion, bitterness, and resentment to place our hope in the right person.
What is it? I feel that as a person I give. I give encouragement to others. I give time in listening and asking. I give in thinking about them. Why is it so hard for me to find in other’s interaction with me that kind of give? Is it there? Am I overlooking it? Am I placing my focus on other feelings or things? I see it so easily when they give like that to people other than me, but I cant see it for me. Is it happening? Am I doing something wrong? Am I lower on the social status than I think I should be?
WHAT IS IT? Did you see it above? How fast a thought process can become a Slippery  SWOOSH downhill…
Lord, send me encouraging friends in those others. Help me see when they give to me and when they build me up.  But Lord, even if they don’t help me to be a Godly servant putting aside my selfishness for Your glory.   I know it only comes from You. So, instead of looking straight to them; I am looking at You. Help my heart and mind and theirs too. Thank You for your love for me and giving me a love for others.

A ending thought…
A change in focus off of self and others and on to Christ is discipline of hard work against fleshly nature that takes more than a moment to conquer.

Anniversary Traditions

If you look back in our blog history, you may notice a few timeline gaps in our postings. I know that we are not the only married couple around that has an overflowing plate of responsibilities and commitments. While we enjoy having projects together like blogging, we tend to spend our free time recouping and resting from the crazy and fulfilling life we live. So apologies to our 1-2 readers who have waited and waited for new words from the Kecks.

This week we are celebrating 8 wonderful years of marriage! (Which means Justin has 2 more years to save up for my 10 year anniversary trip to Hawaii…Just a reminder) Early on in our marriage we started some anniversary traditions. We proudly share our wedding date with Justin’s grandparents, John and Rose Jones.

10400892_92253100160_3794_n

We got married on Papa and Nana’s 50th wedding anniversary, so one tradition we practice every year is to try to share dinner or moments with our precious Nana. Before Papa passed away, they would have us over for dinner and share with us the moments and secrets of a long marriage like theirs. Now, that Papa is in heaven and Nana is battling dementia, those early years mean even more now than they did before.

10400892_92253090160_3404_n

The most important anniversary tradition we have in our marriage is a yearly conversation that we share together. In a busy life we sometimes tend to focus on the temporary and present situations. Taking time to stop, reflect, and goal set helps us evaluate our marriage and our mission.

While we are far from “old pros” at this marriage thing, this year we wanted to share some tips and advice that we practice in our marriage.

Know and recognize the weak areas of your relationship

Every relationship has certain characteristics that are weak and targeted as argument zones. Weakness between husband and wife in basic things like communication, work load, finances, house duties, and spouse support can become huge argument zones in a marriage. If a husband and wife can identify the weak areas in their marriage, then they can work together to actively strengthen their weakness.

For example: A weak area in our marriage is the KITCHEN. Its sad but true. We learned early on in wedding bliss that we cannot cook in the same kitchen without making each other irritable and aggravated. It doesn’t matter how big the kitchen is or what we are cooking, we can not see eye to eye in the kitchen.

It drives me absolutely insane when Justin continually eats as he cooks. What’s the point of cooking a dinner if you’re full by the time its prepared?

I can’t handle when MarKita cleans the kitchen as she is cooking. When she is finished with something it immediately goes back to its place or in the sink. The entire kitchen is mostly clean before we sit down with our food. She doesn’t stop moving, which means she’s always taking away the things I need before I’m done with them.

Mix these irritating pet peeves in with being in each others way constantly and the stresses of everyday life and boom the kitchen becomes a targeted argument zone.
Once we identified cooking together as a weakness in our relationship, we were able to put some focus on strengthening it. We would take turns cooking and watching each other work alone in the kitchen. We recognize the “hot spots” of the argument zone and try to be considerate toward one another. We came up with a phase we yell back and forth (in good humor) until the tension is gone. “Get OUT of MY kitchen!!!!”

10400892_92255525160_8848_n

Its taken YEARS of practice and we could still use strengthening in this area, but the great thing about marriage is its a working progress. You may have larger, more stressful argument zones to identify. THATS OK!

Putting some time and focus on strengthening your weak spots in the relationship, no matter how big or small, will grow the love between one another.

10400892_92255840160_6854_n

Look back and remember what it was like in the beginning.

Relationships and dating often get put on the back burner when life happens. We live in a fast-paced world where if work doesn’t steal all your time, your children will. Looking back and remembering what it was like when you met or in the beginning of your relationship helps you to slow down and intentionally think about one another and the bond you share. Relive your early moments by planning a blast from the past date or event you shared in the beginning of your relationship. Talk about the dreams and goals you had at that time in your life. Talk about the dreams and goals you completed together since then.

 

IMG_2410

Where are you now?

How has your relationship grown over the years? Or Has your relationship regressed over the years? We get into the habit of living each day trying to complete work for tomorrow. Time becomes a blur and the here and now becomes too stressful to enjoy. When your mind is always focused on the stresses of life Satan rejoices. His plan for you is working and your too busy to notice the damage its done to your relationships.

Taking the time and effort to reevaluate your relationship with your spouse can heal and prevent future damage to your marriage. Does she need more time with you? Does he need more attention from you? Are you being an affective supporter for each other? Can you tell if your partner is happy?

Look out ahead

Considering where your relationship has come from, and where it is now, can give you a pretty good idea of where your relationship is going to be in 10 years. Is that what you want your marriage to look like?

Considering where your relationship is right now, how do you get to where you want to be?
Will you need to make some sacrifices? Will you need to change or get rid of some personal habits, pursuits or possessions? How can you positively support and help your spouse to reach your goals together?

IMG_2435

****Most importantly**** This last one seems like a no brainer but we would be doing each other a disservice if we just assumed you knew.

Strive to keep Jesus Christ center of your marriage.

When it comes to marriage problems we’ve learned that the true issue is almost ALWAYS a heart problem. Your relationship with your spouse will be helped or hindered by the nature of your relationship to God. Your relationship with God will ALWAYS be more important than your relationship with your spouse.

Check yourself. Then pray for your beloved.

Its our prayer that you would take the time away from your busy life to stop, reflect, and goal set with your helpmate. Have fun and take joy in the time you have together.

Do you have a argument zone that you can laugh about now? We want to hear about it! Leave us a comment!
-Keck Bliss

Anniversary Traditions

Jesus Coffee & Play-doh

Most mornings the sun comes up faster than I would like.  My ears are the first to wake up; usually to the sound of my 5 year old, who is a very early riser (another trait from his daddy.)  A few minutes later, I am able to open my sleepy blind eyes to his big smiling blurry face.  I am able to get out a word or two like  “Good-morning buddy.”  “Breakfast?”  “Cereal?”  “OK.”  In other words, my brain cannot form complete sentences for at least an hour after I wake up.  Morning is not my strong suit. Thankfully my husband and children love me anyway. Since mornings are rough on me I wait until the afternoon to do my quiet time with the Lord. Usually I wait until l lay my children down for their nap to make my cup of coffee and pull out my bible and prayer journal.  On good nap days I can spend some precious uninterrupted time with just my Jesus and coffee.  I take this time to try to listen, learn, grow, rejuvenate, replenish my sanity, mind, and heart for the Lord.  I believe everyone should spend alone time in the word; and daily spiritual nutrition is extremely important for parents.

I enjoyed my alone Jesus and coffee routine daily until a few years ago. My son was almost 4 at the time and I asked him to bring me my Bible from the table. His 3 year old response, “Mommy, you have a Bible too?” crushed me.  I spend everyday with him, how could he not see me with my Bible? My mind raced with thoughts trying to figure out how he could miss the fact that just like daddy, mommy too has a Bible.I would teach and read them Bible stories daily, however its always out of their Bibles or devotional books.  At the very least, I thought he would see me carrying my Bible to church, but my amazing husband still carries my books for me.  I was being spiritually fed and living Christ daily yet the person I spent 95 percent of my day with had no idea.

From then on I made it a point to start doing my Jesus and coffee time a few days a week with my children around. Once they could see my daily routine it didn’t take them long to want to be involved too.  Noah would asked questions and want me to “read it out loud!” so he could hear the stories too.  How amazed I was to have a time so precious to me become even more so by sharing it with my beautiful babies. I felt selfish with my time for not sharing it with them sooner. The simple act of them seeing me read my bible has had a tremendous impact on our bible time together.

My children are older now and we still enjoy reading mommy’s Bible together. On the days I choose to have my quiet time around them, it can me more difficult for the fact that its not so quiet. That’s why it is still important for me to have my time alone throughout the week. When I do share it with my 3 year old and 5 year old, I pull out something to keep their hands busy like play-doh, coloring books, or quiet toys.

20150611_160349

They sit, listen, and sometimes even watch as I act out a story or verse. This picture below is clearly David and Goliath. 20150611_161952

On these days I find that I finish more rejuvenated and spiritually lifted than any other.

20150611_160501

All these memories came back to me during our new series at church on Wednesday night. Our Pastor is teaching about a generation who knew not the Lord and the role that the parent have in this generation. He gave us some good questions to ask ourselves about our children and some good points to consider. I wanted to share them in light of my own experience.

For the children in the church who have christian parents….

Where are your children spiritually? What are you doing that points them to Christ?  Where are they morally? Where are they getting their standards?  Where are your children emotionally? What priorities do you have for your children?

Proverbs 30:11-14 There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. There is a generation- oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.

Judges 2:10  When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.

Psalm 78:2-4 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will NOT hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

78:7 That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.

The last Scripture I’ll share is the last one our pastor did in his sermon on Wednesday.  It’s special to me because it’s such a beautiful picture of what God wants all of us to be doing as parents.  It’s Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

We all want to be Godly parents, and we all absolutely want to point our children toward God.  This shows us how!

Husbands

Justin and I have had little time to sit and write a new blog together. So, this week I am cheating just a little. Justin has been preaching the Wednesday night services at our home church for the month of February. Last night was part one of the Back to Basic in Marriage Series: What the Bible says to Husbands. Below you will find his sermon (in outline form…sorry). I hope this will encourage you as a husband, soon to be husband, future husband, or wife. America’s greatest danger to marriage and the family are husbands, wives, and parents losing sight and focus of what the Bible teaches them about their role in the family. Please enjoy and feel free to comment or ask questions. And Yes! I know how extremely lucky and blessed I am to have this man as my husband!

Back to Basics in Marriage Series

Part 1: What the Bible says to Husbands

You can’t watch the news or read the paper these days and not be confronted with our society’s all-out war being waged on the family and the institution of marriage

As an example, this week, the US Supreme Court ignored the voters of Alabama and allowed a Federal judge to declare it to be the thirty-seventh state to legalize gay marriage

And we certainly don’t want to sit idly by while that happens across our country, and in our very community

But I feel that we run the risk, Church, of losing our focus on the greatest threat

For the greatest danger to marriage and the family in America today is NOT gay marriage!

Yes, you heard that correctly!

Rather the most urgent and pressing danger is husbands, and wives, and parents who have lost sight of what the Bible teaches them about their role in the family!

Of what God Almighty has ordained through the ages as their duties in the covenant of marriage

And when we no longer treat marriage as God intended it, it should be no surprise that the world steps in through the cracks we have created and fills it with their godless ideologies!

The prevalence of gay marriage today breaks my heart, but I still contend that it is a mere symptom of people not knowing what true marriage is in the first place!

And if we are going to turn the tide, it’s not going to be a political solution

It’s got to be God’s people remembering what His Word says about marriage and family and changing our attitudes and actions to match it!

And that’s why I believe this series is needed for us all!

And why, for the next three weeks, we’re going to be getting “Back to the Basics in Marriage”

We’re going to remind ourselves of the Biblical basics in our marriages

Tonight will be the duties of the Godly husband

Next week, we’ll examine the Biblical duties of the Godly wife

And then the final week, we’ll look at the Biblical responsibilities of us both together as Godly parents

And so, as I said, we’re going to begin tonight with what the Bible has to say to us husbands

The very first responsibility I want us to take note of is that the Biblical husband LEADS his wife

Turn in your Bibles to Ephesians ch. 5, and we’ll read v. 22-2323 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.

The husband is commanded by God to be the head of his house and of his wife

This command is almost hopelessly misunderstood in our world today, so we want to diligently seek its meaning, and make sure that we know exactly what God is talking about

For, perhaps more than anything else, God’s expectation of leadership is integral to the very identity of what it means to be a husband

So let’s establish, first, what being the leader, or head, of your family does not mean

It does not mean that you are a dictator, or that you reign supreme over your wife like a master would over a slave in Paul’s day

You do not exercise absolute power in your relationship, with your wife having no say at all

Rather, the picture Paul is painting is one of a unique partnership, where one member of the union (the wife) willingly submits to the authority of the other (the husband)

The Godly husband’s choices for his family are not made unilaterally, but in consultation with, and consideration of, his wife and helpmate

This picture of authority and submission does not reflect the worth of either in the eyes of God – it is merely a reflection of the roles God has ordained for each since the Creation itself

As God says in Genesis, when we marry, we become “one flesh” and find out worth together in His eyes

And we invite social disaster when we reject what God has established!

Perhaps even more blasphemous, in my opinion, are the men out there who reject their leadership role entirely

The man-children who are too selfish and lazy to be the leader God called them to be and effectively force the job upon their wives

If that describes anyone in here, this is your opportunity to grow up, take the reins, and be the head of your wife, and lead her, as the Bible commands******************************************

Moving on now to our 2nd responsibility of the Biblical husband, we see next that he PROTECTS his wife

You actually won’t have to turn anywhere for this one

We’ll just keep reading in Ephesians 5 and read v.25-27 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Men, I’ve got to ask, do you protect your wives?

Who here, if a stranger barged into those doors right now and assaulted your wife, would sit idly by and let it happen?

No one

See, we still have the instinct to protect our family and those close to us from physical dangers

But God is not talking about physical dangers only here

He’s comparing our sanctification and protection of our wives to that that Jesus does for His Bride (the Church!)

Jesus will not allow any spot or wrinkle or blemish to come upon His Church – He protects it at all costs and from all dangers

We all agreed that we’d step up to protect our wives from physical harm

But what about non-physical harm?

  • Do we tolerate verbal insults and sleights?
  • Do we react with the same ferocity to one who causes emotional hurt to our spouse?
  • If she is hurting spiritually, do we wrap our arms around her and make sure she knows you are going to protect her from everything?
  • Does she have the assurance that you will not stand for a single “spot, or wrinkle, or any such [hateful] thing”, will be able to get to her?

If we are not doing this, men, then we are disobeying God’s command in Ephesians 5!

We are not loving our wives as Christ, and we are not protecting them as He is calling us to

We see next that the Godly husband PROVIDES for his wife

I’m going to read 1 Timothy 5:8 says this:

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

We could go on all night, husbands, but, in the interests of time, we’ll look at two more duties of the Biblical husband

And the 4th is of the utmost importance

For it reveals to us that the Godly husband must LOVE his wife

We see this command numerous times

While we’re still in Ephesians 5, let’s re-read v. 25 one more time

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it

Then Paul says again in Colossians 3:19

19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

What the Bible is saying, husbands, is that you are to love your wife more than any other human being

  • And, yes, that includes your kids
  • And it includes you meddling in-laws too!

No one, except God Himself, is to hold your heart like your wife

You are to cherish her and to always treat her with tenderness and affection

We’ve all heard the story of the old couple who get in an argument

  • The poor exasperated wife finally breaks and screams at her husband for never telling her that he loves her
  • And the husband shoots right back that he told her he loved her when they got married and that he’d let her know if it ever changed

I’m not going to lie, I hate that story

For we hear it and laugh, but it makes a mockery of the sad reality of so many unhappy marriages in America today

Men, if you love your wife, TELL her you love her!

And, better yet, SHOW her that you love her too!

Now let’s see what God has to say about the depths of the love we are to show

For our command to love our wife is shown by Him in almost graphic detail in Proverbs 5:18-1918 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

Husbands, God has called you to, not just be affectionate toward your wife, but to have a deep and passionate love for her

It is to be so overwhelming that the only thing greater is Jesus love for the Church itself

Oh, may we discover what it means to love each other as God intended!

Our culture of divorce and adultery wouldn’t stand a chance! *****************************************

Then, the 5th and final characteristic we’ll examine tonight is this…the Godly husband is a man who always seeks to HONOR his wife

Turn with me to 1 Peter, ch. 3, and we’ll read our final Scripture together

When you get there, let’s read 1 Peter 3:7

  • Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

We are called to honor our wives and to esteem them as our partners and fellow-heirs with Jesus Christ

Men, if we are going to win the war for marriage, we have got to look beyond the hot-button politics of the day, and get back to the basics of what the Bible says about our o the basics of what the Bible says about our own marriages

We must stop dealing treacherously with our wives and we must step up, embrace our Biblical duties and

Lead

Protect

Provide for

Love

&

Honor

our wives as God calls every husband to.

A cold pew….

Featured image

Through the whirlwind of the recent holidays, we somehow managed to spend time and catch up with many of our friends and family we don’t see very often. Though we certainly enjoyed this time with friends and family, we were, nonetheless, confronted with something that has become a bit of a running theme with many of the people in our lives – they have quit attending church regularly. For us, it’s painful to realize that many of the people that we once sat beside in bible study, worship, youth group, vacation bible school, and choir have simply made themselves too busy for church.  Somewhere in the busyness of life they have forgotten the importance of spiritual nutrition.

We wonder why this world we live in can be so dark and cold. All it takes is a click of the remote or five minutes on social media to see how corrupted our morals have become. The longer we deprive ourselves from God’s word and Christian fellowship, the easier it becomes for us to justify our swayed standards. The thing we need to realize is that, as Christians, we become a part of the darkness problem in the world when we lose sight of the value of attending church.

We hear many believers give so many reasons for not going:

  • I am a Christian, but I just don’t like church
  • They (the church) just wanted me to be too involved
  • I have to work on Sundays
  • After being stressed out all week, I just need a day of rest
  • I can’t find the “perfect” church
  • We are just too busy
  • It’s really hard to get all the kids ready on time
  • We are good people who just don’t go
  • We have a life/small group instead
  • I am just taking a time out from church until my schedule clears up
  • I plan to find another church soon
  • We like to have family time instead

Believe me when I say, we have heard it all, and, yes, we have even used some of these excuses ourselves!  We are not immune to the tiredness of a busy work week, or the stress of trying to get both kids ready for worship every Sunday morning.  There are times that it truly is a struggle, both physically and mentally, to make it to a church service.  When we don’t have church for special reasons, at times it’s hard to hold in the excitement of a night off.  We jump at the chance to sit at home on the couch because we are human and extremely busy just like everyone else.

Even if it’s a good and true excuse, when we allow ourselves to make one justification we will always find room for more, which leads to more time away from church.  It starts a downward spiral that wreaks havoc on our walk with Jesus.  Through our excuses we starve ourselves of the spiritual nutrition we need to grow as a healthy Christian and be able to impact the world around us.  Regardless of how some of you might read this, the intent is not to be “judge-y” or bash you for your choices.  Rather, we want to honestly discuss our own experience and shine a light on what so many are missing out on when they try to be a Christian who doesn’t attend Church.

Fellowship

You can call this one whatever you want (fellowship, community, brotherhood, etc.).  The point remains that being a part of a local church means so much more than the people you see on Sundays.  It means being a part of a family of fellow believers.  These are people that love you, encourage you, pray for you, and are spiritually there for you no matter what’s going on in your life.  One of the most heartbreaking things about a church-less Christian is that they have to face their hardest times without the Christian support system that a church family provides.  I know many like to share horror stories about church people causing hurt in their lives, but, for us, nothing could be further from the truth!  The people in our church have been there for us and shown us love and prayer through all our times of worry and struggle.  There has literally never been a time that we’ve felt we couldn’t call someone in our church and have them encourage us through that day’s hurdle.  But we have also seen many face similar times, and their struggle is so much greater because they do not have that extra family there to love them and hold them up.  It is our desperate prayer that these people see what they are missing out on, and find their own spiritual family and support system.

Accountability

Another thing people miss out on when they abandon church is the reality of spiritual and moral accountability from our fellow believers. When you cut the majority of your Christian influence out of your life, by not attending church, your sin is easier to hide. This creates a comfortable place for sin to grow in your life without anyone caring or loving you enough to point it out. You may not even realize how comfortable you feel in your sin until one day you wake up and need God, to find you have wondered far away from Him. That’s the thing with lack of accountability that Satan loves; he knows that sin feels good (for a moment), and in most cases it can have no immediate visual consequence. That’s how he gets you to depend on and love your pet sin. We humans need a constant reminder daily/weekly to draw close to Christ. We need those spiritual leaders and fellow believers to assist us in walking the narrow path.

Worship

I think this is the biggest thing that the church-less Christians are missing out on – the chance to worship God together with other Believers.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these people say that they don’t need a church to worship, and that they can worship just fine by themselves.  My response to this is twofold.  First, while it is true that you are not limited to only worshipping God with other like-minded Christians, I have to ask why you would want to.  I simply don’t understand the thinking that says you’d rather be a loner for God than join together with all the other people that He died to save and thank Him for Grace together!  Regardless of what our opinions of corporate worship are, the truth remains that it has always been God’s preferred method for His people call upon Him.  In fact, the Bible book about the birth of the church (Book of Acts) has, as its central concern, two things: the Salvation of sinners and then the establishment of a local church for those new believers to call on their Savior together.  My second question for those who prefer to worship God by themselves is to ask when the last time was that they actually did just that.  When exactly did you set aside time, remove distractions, and open your heart to God in worship by yourself?  How many times have you done so in the last month?  Or 6 months?  [Pausing for a minute as we all do some honest self-examination].  You don’t have to answer to me as to how you worship God, or even whether you do.  But you need to be careful if you claim to do this by myself worship thing to shut people like me up, but then don’t actually follow through in any meaningful way.  Because if you are doing this, then you are stealing worship from the One who died to save you, and you will have to answer to Him for it one day.  Jesus died on the Cross to save us – how weak does it sound to claim we’re too busy to take the time to worship Him?

This is something that has been eating at our hearts for a long time, and frankly, we can’t hold it in any longer.   We know how sensitive this topic is. It has taken us weeks and four re-writes just put it into words. We know that some may not agree with our opinion however, we would like you to check your own family situation. Have you let your family get too comfortable in the lack of church attendance? Have you forgotten the importance of church and its direct effect on your relationship with Christ? Maybe you are in between churches and are on the fence on whether to even bother looking because you have been hurt or wronged in the past. If any of these describes you in the slightest we would like to encourage you with love to make church attendance more important in you and your family’s life. If you don’t attend church regularly than more than likely your children don’t either. So, if you are spiritually malnourished, then your children are also.  Our children learn the most from their parent’s actions.  Let us never forget the importance of a spiritual foundation for our household.

First of Many: Blog Game

As a couple with two kids and a busy schedule, we sometimes lose focus of the relationship in our marriage. It’s not something you want to happen, but it happens to even the best of us from time to time. You catch yourself wondering what we use to talk about when the topics didn’t revolve around the children’s sickness, future, behaviors, and POOP. I mean really how many times can poop come up in a conversation? The answer…a lot! It’s really easy to get in the rut of being a “grown up” and forget that marriage (and parenthood too!) is supposed to be fun!

We have been married for 6 ½ blissful years. In the past 6 years we have already put our marriage to the test in many ways. Five of those years we have been parents. We have both graduated from college. We lived apart for the first 6 months of our marriage while we finished college. We have accepted a call to ministry. We have recently finished building a house and moved into that house. Needless to say, our life has been hectic at the best of times, and way too stressful during the worst of times. This is just the natural way of the life we live here on earth. Though we are YOUNG, we have watched marriages around us lose the joy of a relationship together. We don’t want to become one of these, so we have decided as a family to do a better job of emphasizing the crazy, awesome, joyful, and exhilaratingly FUN parts of being married parents.

One of these activities is the challenging, yet rewarding time spent writing this new blog together. Do you know how difficult it can be writing with someone else? You married couples who want a fun “challenge” should definitely try it, if nothing else to see just how crazy your different styles and approaches to writing can drive each other.

For instance, Justin has a very serious tone in everything he writes. I blame the day jobs. Maybe this experience will help him overcome his gifts of writing sermons, contracts, and seminary papers.

MarKita’s biggest issue, on the other hand, is in her blog management style. She is constantly rushing the poor preacher boy and accusing him of being too serious and deliberate (translation: slow!) in everything he writes. Oh, and she’s also terrible with commas splices!

At least you didn’t mention the singing of Taylor Swift songs while I wait for you to finish a sentence!

MarKita, quit having a conversation in the middle of this blog post thing! That’s not what this is supposed to be about.

Getting back on track….

If it’s not already apparent, we decided to have fun with this first post and write it together taking turns writing the sentences. It might not look perfect, but who cares? We did it together, and we had a ton of fun doing it! We encourage you and your spouse to find something FUN to do together that makes you find the JOY in your relationship with one another. Remind each other of why you chose to be together in the first place. As the Bible says…

“Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun…” (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭9‬:‭9‬ NKJV)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Anyway, this is our first post as we do this neat new blogging thing together. We’ve been astounded with how much we’ve learned about each other and church ministry in general these last few years, and we want to use this as a neat way to share some of the awesome things God decides to show us along the way.