What does it mean to follow Christ in my everyday life?

My first mean street preacher encounter was as a college student at Auburn University. These “preachers” were actually other students who angrily proclaimed messages of damnation to their peers passing by. They left me livid. I hated the lopsided image they portrayed of the God I loved and followed. In my own fervor (and naivety), I heatedly engaged them in their declarations and attempted to address their mode of operation, in the hopes that I could get them to see how poorly they were representing Christ. I always walked away even angrier. They made Christ look bad. They made me look bad. And I felt that they would harm the witness I was attempting to have with my unbelieving classmates.

The frustration with the methods and motives of others in ministry did not remain in my college days. There is a constant temptation to criticize the methods of other church’s efforts to get people in the door. I am bombarded with aggravation when people take to Twitter to stir up trouble or fan the Facebook flames of controversy just to get more reads. Of course, I can never know for sure the motives of others, but often times there is little room for doubt. It leaves me feeling like my 20-year-old self, angry and frustrated with the portrait it paints of the people of Christ.

“It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.” (Philippians 1:15-19)

The apostle Paul found himself in a much more frustrating and personal situation. He was in prison and had been receiving reports of polarizing firestorms amidst God’s people. There are two important actions Paul takes during that stressful time.

Paul Rejoices

The first time I deeply studied Philippians, these verses put me to shame in the best possible way. I’d spent so many years wasting so much frustrated energy on others with whom I did not agree on their methods or motives. It angered me that they “won.” The very people we had been trying to reach got all caught up in the song and dance they had to offer. Those people we’d invested in and loved on and pursued eventually chose entertainment and comfort over truth and depth. Then there’s also the public sphere where Christians post and share that which is less than ideal for the image of God’s bride. These instances and more prove to be difficult for me to navigate.

Yet, here we see a man who rejoices amidst the controversy and bad motives—even when that involved a deliberate stirring up of trouble for him. These were personal and deliberate attacks and Paul rejoices in them. He doesn’t agree with the method or the motives, but He recognizes that Christ is being preached. And so, he rejoices.

Paul Remembers

Beyond the choice to adopt a perspective of joy, Paul is also intentional to cling to the character of God:

  • He remembers that God is more powerful than the impure motives of the jealous proclaimers.
  • He remembers that the Good News of Christ can outperform the manipulations of man.
  • He remembers that his Deliverer is not dependent on or deterred by the troublemakers.
  • He remembers that prayers of God’s people and the power of the Holy Spirit—not the silencing of the troublemakers—is where to put his hope.

So, when others prevail, though their motives and methods are not what they should be, let’s choose to rejoice and remember. When the choices of others lead to damage and discord, let’s choose to rejoice and remember.

Let us share a prayer for the situation: God, lead us to a deeper hold on your sovereignty and power. Help us remember that you are full of mercy and grace…even for the ones who are missing the mark in their ministry motives. Grant us humility to examine our own ways. Help us walk in the example of Christ to do nothing from selfish ambition, but instead in humility count others more significant than ourselves. You are not threatened by attempts to thwart your plans. You are always in control. Help us, Holy Spirit, to remember and depend on your goodness and grace, your power and provision.

The post was originally published over at LifeWay Voices.

For many moms, it can often feel as if everything is defined by their “pre-kid” life and their “mom” life. Our wardrobe and furniture choices are different; hairstyles and hormones have changed. The dinner on our plate, the money in our wallet…even the time needed to use the restroom is no longer our own. There is a very clear delineation of what was “normal” life before and after having kids.

This has certainly been true for me as I look on the timeline of my own life, and while much had indeed changed forever, one of the most difficult transitions for me has been my time with God. Pre-kids, I could enjoy a slow, QUIET, and relatively uninterrupted time in the Bible. Once my first bundle of joy arrived, all of that neatness went out the window. It led to some dark days as I had to rearrange my expectations of what a “successful” time in the Word looked like, but the roadblocks I encountered through sleepless nights, constant chaos, and incessant interruptions have been the best thing that has happened to my spiritual life.

As we approach Mother’s Day—as much as we moms LOVE our kids—it is a temptation to look back and long for the simpler, quieter days before kids changed everything. Weariness will do that to the best of us. Instead of wondering if life will ever return to normal, what if we shifted our focus to the goodness and beauty of this new-normal?Instead of lamenting all that’s been lost—especially when it comes to our spiritual life—let’s focus on and celebrate how God has and will continue to use the formidable moments of motherhood to move us closer to His presence.

Here are five ways motherhood has shaped my walk with Jesus forever—for the better.

1. My devotional prayer life is better

As a woman without kids, I had a tendency to silo my relationship with God into the one-hour time slot I had scheduled. That hour was awesome, but I treated it as if that was the only appropriate time to spend with God. I did not invite Him into the rest of my day. I didn’t pray much outside of that “quiet time.” The disruption of my “perfect” little God-appointment showed me that I lacked meeting with Him continually through each moment of my day. This caused me to see that I need not be so dependent on an hour slot in my schedule to experience God. He is always near. I can talk to Him any time, anywhere.

2. The paralysis of perfectionism doesn’t paralyze me as easily.

“If I can’t do it right, then I shouldn’t do it at all” was my mantra. I had unknowingly been living this way and it was suffocating my spiritual life. Suddenly, in the motherhood stage of life, there wasn’t much that I could do “just right” anymore. Pre-kid Katie could control her environment, plan perfect days, and color-code her prayer journal and study notes. Post-kid Katie was drowning in failure until she learned to kick perfectionism to the curb; the “all-or-nothing” era has ended. (This has also made me much more patient with others and their less-than-perfect attempts at life!)

3. I’ve learned how to go deeper into the Bible quicker.

Before kids, I used all the Bible study tools I could find. All of them. Becoming a mom forced me to be more selective in how I spent my “quiet time.” I had to learn to utilize the tools that give me the most “bang for my buck” in helping me understand the Word. I still try to enjoy a more leisurely time with God when I can, but most days I take what I can get once I open my Bible—which may only be 15 minutes. This time-crunch has made me think more critically about the tools I’d gathered and whether or not they actually helped me understand the Bible better. Just because so-and-so does it doesn’t mean I have to as well.

4. I’ve learned my desperate need for more and more (and more) of Jesus.

Oh, how I need Jesus! There is nothing like the stress of three kids bickering in the car over something completely insignificant or the frustration of trying to create a perfect family moment through reading the Bible together…only to have kids fight over who gets to sit in my lap while I get kicked in the face in the process. My lack of sacrificial love, enduring patience, and unconditional kindness is on full display through my feeble motherhood efforts. Motherhood has been a mirror which continues to shed light on the ugliest parts of me. These are the places that need the redemption and transformation that only the power and grace of Jesus can handle.

5. Scripture memory has become an essential delight.

Perhaps as a culminating effect of all of the above, motherhood has driven me to hide God’s Word in my heart. Through the ingestion of my Bible through slow and steady memory work, the essential truths contained in Scripture—who God is, who I am because of Jesus, and how I am to respond in worship to Him in my everyday moments—are being infused forever into my soul. The words of God are becoming a part of who I am and the Bible is available to me even when my hands are busy with all things motherhood.

There are more ways that motherhood has changed me forever, but I am most thankful for these five transformations—changes that are certainly not complete!

So if you are a mom struggling to get in the Word because you just can’t seem to do things the way you used to, or you feel like the mom-life just isn’t the season for a closer walk with Jesus, lay down these lies! You can enjoy the Word, even with littles wandering around you. You don’t have to sacrifice depth for time. Quit focusing on what you feel you can’t do, and focus on what you deep-down want to do—because even the “want to want to” is something.

Let go of the Instagram ideals and Pinterest perfection, fix your eyes on Jesus, and ask Him to stir up an even greater desire to become more like Him. He has begun a good work in you and He promises to complete it (Phil. 1:6). Motherhood might very well be the vehicle He is using to do just that.

This post was originally posted over at LifeWay Voices.

The Bible is not an easy read. Yet so many Christians approach the Bible as if they ought to be experts at what it contains. They believe that just by nature of being a Christian, Bible study should come naturally to them. I believed this lie for the longest time. I’m not sure I would have ever vocalized it as such, but my experience proved it. Instead of being a source of joy and delight, opening God’s Word was an activity filled with guilt and failure. It paralyzed me and left me feeling less-than for not having the amazing “quiet times” everyone else around me seemed to be having.

If you find yourself scratching your head when it comes time for Bible study, know that you are NOT alone. In fact, you are probably in the majority. But just because you’re in that boat doesn’t mean you have to stay there. The Bible is the primary way we can know God and the purpose He has for our lives. It is God’s revelation to us, His very words which tell us who He is and who we are because of Christ. It is a gift of grace, a treat to be enjoyed and savored. The Bible is filled with the spiritual nourishment our souls crave.

Here are 8 actions to take when you have no idea what you are reading:

1. PRAY.

2. ZOOM OUT AND GET THE BIG PICTURE.

3. BE SURE YOU ARE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.

4. PHONE A FRIEND.

5. READ A COMMENTARY AND LISTEN TO A SERMON ON THE PASSAGE.

6. INVEST IN RESOURCES.

7. KEEP GOING.

8. REMIND YOURSELF OF THE END GOAL

Read more about each in my blog post over at LifeWay Voices.

I thought it would be fun to hear from YOU! I created these fun “stories” images you can upload and personalize on Facebook and/or Instagram stories. To download the images you can “drag and drop” them to your desktop or “tap and hold” to save to your device.

Be sure to use #enjoygodsword and tag me @thekatieorr and @enjoygodsword so I can see what you share!


Join us April 23-25, 2019 for this 3-day fully online Women’s Bible conference!

Women’s history month is upon us, and we all have cause to celebrate the female voices of the past who have paved the way for women to enjoy a fuller, educated life with which to serve our God. Yet many of us who have grown up in the church have received mixed messages when it comes to what the Bible has to say about women. Even those who have little-to-no church experience have likely heard some sort of (so-called) biblical perspective on the role and value of women. However, many of these “facts” have been distorted, misunderstood, and even misused by men and women alike. 

Here are three common misinterpretations, misconceptions, and misteachings when it comes to the Bible and women:

  1. The Bible teaches that men are more valuable than women.
  2. The Bible teaches that women should not seek to have a voice.
  3. The Bible teaches that women should not teach or lead. 

Before we dive into what the Bible does not say about women, I think we need to start this conversation with a few important foundations about God and His Word.

There is no “Old Testament God” and “New Testament God.” Both accounts (as well as all teachings of Jesus) are of the same God. There are no contradictions. God is the all-knowing, all-merciful, all-righteous, all-gracious, all-holy, all-mighty, all-loving God. He is immutable—He does not change. Everything we know to be true of God in the Old Testament is still true of Him in the New, and vice versa. Our knowledge of the New Testament shapes the way we read the Old, and so it goes the other way around.

Most of the issues people have with the Bible’s “teachings” on women can be understood and explained through greater knowledge of the history, context, and purpose of the writing. God worked (and still does work) through the culture, geography, and customs of the time. Some of the “oddball,” troubling traditions we see in the Bible are primarily of cultural, not spiritual, influence. Additionally, a lack of the reader’s familiarity with the original languages (Greek and Hebrew) as well as many interpretive nuances of each lead to difficulties in capturing the true meaning of the original text(ex: Deuteronomy 22:28-29). Alongside all of these issues is the fact that many of the “problems” people have with the treatment of women are treatments which are also applied to men (ie. Leviticus 15, see point #2 here).

This post assumes that you believe that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God. It is His revelation to us. It is primarily a theological book, intended to reveal who God is and what His plan is for mankind. It is not a history, science, economics, or morality book. It has those elements within it, but its purpose is not to provide a detailed dissertation on those topics. We must start from the foundational viewpoint that the Bible is sufficient and authoritative, and when we do not understand all the pieces of the biblical puzzle, we need to remember the goodness of God and perfection of His Word and keep seeking to understand.

All this to say, we don’t get to read the Bible with a Sharpie, blacking out the passages we don’t like. When we encounter difficult passages, we need to change our default position. Instead of letting hard verses cast doubt on God’s character, we need to first question our own knowledge and understanding of His Word. With this posture as our common ground, let’s move on to the three earlier stated misconceptions about what the Bible says about women.

I invited you to read the rest over at LifeWay Voices, where I tackle these misconceptions:

  1. The Bible teaches that men are more valuable than women.
  2. The Bible teaches that women should not seek to have a voice.
  3. The Bible teaches that women should not teach or lead. 

Hope to see you there!

In a world moving full-steam ahead and no idea of knowing what is looming around the bend, it is easy to give into the feeling of uncertainty. Worry and anxiety often rule our thoughts, leaving us feeling out of control. These are the times we must remember God’s Word and the promises it holds.

God is bigger than any barrier we run into.

God is stronger than any mountain we might face.

God is always nearer than we realize, and loves us more than we can ever imagine.

When we give into worry, the last thing we need is a quick-fix or more information. What we need is a reminder of who God is, and how much He cares for us. We need to get our eyes off of ourselves, and on to Him.

Psalm 46:1–3

  • God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah (ESV)

Luke 12:22–24

  • And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! (ESV)

Psalm 147:8–11

  • He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. (ESV)

Matthew 10:29–31

  • Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (ESV)

Psalm 50:1–2

  • The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. (ESV)

Luke 12:25–28

  • And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! (ESV)

James 1:5–6

  • If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (ESV)

Luke 12:29–31

  • And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. (ESV)

Want to dive deeper into additional verses on how to deal with worry?

Are you a worrier? Does not knowing what other people are thinking, what curve balls are around the corner … or simply what’s for dinner send you into a panic? This 8-day reading plan is for you. Through 5-10 minutes a day, this reading plan—Bible verses for the Control Freak—will lead you to set your mind on who God is and the actions you need to take to trust in Him and find rest for your weary soul. NOW FREE THROUGH 3/18/2019 using the coupon link above.

This reading plan is designed to to be used either as a stand-alone Bible reading plan, or an accompanying plan for the book Unhitching from the Crazy Train: Finding Rest in a World You Can’t Control by Julie Sparkman and Jennifer Phillips.

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

The following is an excerpt from the book Unhitching from the Crazy Train: Finding Rest in a World You Can’t Control by Julie Sparkman and Jennifer Phillips.


I will readily tell you that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I do not have control over my children’s lives. And yet, when my desired picture for my children is threatened, I can demonstrate some crazy behavior that would suggest otherwise. When my son missed basketball tryouts because I lost the sign up sheet, or when my daughter had to have her earring surgically removed because I failed to make sure she was following post-piercing protocol, my confusion over role and responsibility sent me to the depths of despair. I believed my son would never find his place in his new school because he wouldn’t be on the team, and I assumed that my daughter would have an irrational fear of earrings for the rest of her life. And guess what? It would be all my fault . . . or so I thought.

If those predictions had come true (they didn’t), it would be absolutely correct to say I had a role in those outcomes. However, they could not have come true without the influence of certain circumstances and actions that were beyond my control. I would have had a role in those outcomes, but they would not have been my responsibility. I would have needed to confess my negligence and ask God to strengthen the areas in which my parenting and organizational skills were weak, but my actions could not have rewritten God’s story for their lives. I’m not that important. None of us is.

This was a lesson I had to learn on a much larger scale during a particularly dark time in my life, a season in which my faith could have been destroyed if I had not come to grips with the difference between role and responsibility. It was the fall of 2012, and I was enjoying a life that was pretty close to my picture. My counseling partner and I had just opened a counseling ministry. I was in the middle of teaching a Bible study that was being filmed for nationwide distribution. My son had graduated from college and was pursuing his career in California. My husband loved his job. My daughters were doing fine in school. Everything was on track. Then one day, out of the blue, reality took a sharp detour farther away from my picture than I had ever experienced.

bible verses about worry

It began with a phone call from my son. He had noticed a lump growing under his arm and decided to get it checked out. He called to say that his doctor was sending him for an immediate ultrasound. My world started to tilt. My picture started to shake. Two days and many tests later, my picture was shattered completely with his diagnosis of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Our family was thrust into a world of huge decisions and a new cancer language we neither spoke nor understood. A well-meaning friend who was a cancer survivor said, “You have to get him treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. They have the cutting-edge technology that he needs.” This would have been good advice if his insurance had been accepted at Cedars-Sinai, but it wasn’t; only the smaller hospital nearby would cover his treatment. Fueled by my belief that my son’s treatment would determine his outcome, the voices in my head were deafening: “A good mother would do whatever she had to do to secure the absolute best care for her child. Mortgage her house. Sell her hair. Sell her blood. Whatever it takes.”

Somehow, in the fog of cancer war, saving my son’s life became my responsibility.

We consulted with two oncologists who both confirmed that my son’s treatment was very standard, and that he would get the same treatment no matter what hospital he went to. We arranged for him to be treated at the smaller hospital that took his insurance. The night before my son was scheduled to begin chemo, he got a phone call from his doctor.

“Listen, I didn’t feel completely comfortable with your pathology report, so I sent your scans to a lymphoma specialist. You don’t actually have lymphoma B. This doctor confirmed that you actually have Burkitt lymphoma, a cancer so rare and dangerous that we can’t treat you here. We need to completely change your treatment plan and send you to Cedars-Sinai.”

Had this error not been caught, my son’s cancer would have responded to the original treatment very quickly because that is what Burkitt does. However, it probably would have returned with a vengeance in his brain and spine. My son’s prognosis would not have been good.

Would that have been my responsibility? After all, I didn’t listen to my friend, the cancer survivor. I didn’t research enough to know about the lymphoma expert to whom his doctor sent the report. When my son’s original diagnosis and treatment plan were presented to us, I did not demand that the doctor run the lab work again. I didn’t read any books by cancer survivors. Some might say I had failed. And yet, God spared him. Did I have a role in my son’s health? Yes. I had a role in securing the best care for him. But it was God’s responsibility to give him what he needed, and His best for my son at that time was to direct him to the treatment that would save his life.

I know what you’re thinking. This story is conveniently easy to tell because your son is still alive.

You’re right. And I’m grateful. But had I lost my son that year, I would tell you today that my son’s death was not my responsibility because that is a burden God never intended for anyone to bear. To carry a load that is only meant for the Father would most certainly crush me. Instead, I would pray for faith to cling to the truth that the Father always gives us what we need, whether in life or in death.

I realize how hard this is to hear. It’s hard for me to say. I have shared this story in front of a woman whose husband had the same treatment as my son, but her husband died. I do not pretend to understand why. I don’t know why. It’s not okay, and pat assurances that “it will all work out in the end because we know who is on the throne” fall flat for people who are in great pain. Sometimes I scream at the Father because suffering is horrible and I don’t know why some are spared and some are not. God does not ask us to be happy with life outside our pictures; that’s not what faith is about. Faith strains to see His face. Faith screams and claws and fights its way to the surface, demanding, “You say You’re good. Show me! Open my eyes so I can see You in this dark place.”

I remember sitting in my hotel room while my son was in treatment, reeling from his grave appearance. In the weakest voice I whispered, “Where are you? Show me Your presence, God. What are You doing here? Show me.

In that frail moment, I put on new glasses with the two crucial lenses that are the foundation of Christ’s easy and light yoke: He is in this, and He is in me.

First, He is in this. My son’s sickness. The loss of his job. Sin and sickness do not thwart the plan of God. He is here, and His purposes will prevail. And secondly, He is in me. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life (2 Peter 1:3). This means that God has fully equipped me for whatever comes into my life, even my son’s cancer.

I wanted to scream, “You’ve given me everything I need? Are you sure, God? Because I’m pretty sure I was standing in the Diet Coke line the day You handed out the maturity gene. I’m mouthy and high maintenance and I do not do crisis well.”

Yet, in a silent California hotel room, broken by my son’s brokenness, I had all I needed.

Can you put those glasses on? I know you don’t want to. I know it’s scary. It may take a sheer act of will in the midst of your pain and confusion, but set those glasses on top of your nose, and hold them in place because they tend to fall off easily. When your picture starts to shake; when you look at the mess you have made of things; when the brokenness of the world touches your life with searing pain, fight to keep those lenses in place. He is in this, and He is in me. If I had not been able to wear those glasses as I stared my son’s potential death in the face, I don’t think I would have survived it.

I am sorry to say the glasses don’t fix everything. Wearing the glasses won’t change your circumstances, and they won’t ensure that you will now be happy about whatever adversity you’re facing. But they allow you to view life from God’s perspective. We serve a powerful and sovereign God who only acts for our good and His glory, and when we believe He is in this—whatever “this” is—it causes us to look hard for Him when we probably would not have otherwise. We see glimpses of His kindness and commitment to our holiness; we see ways He is changing us for the better. Wearing the glasses makes us free-er. Free-ish. And if you have ever been in great pain, you know that being free-ish, even for a few minutes at a time, is a lifeline. Manna for the moment. In that small moment, choosing to trust in the character of the God who never changes is enough to get you to the next moment.

He is in this; He is in me.

When you blow it with your kids again, when you think you’re making the right decision and it backfires, when you’re tempted to believe there is no way God can redeem the mess you’ve made out of life: He is in this; He is in me, whether or not A plus B equals C. No circumstance or person can ever change that, praise God.


bible verses about worry

This is an excerpt from the book Unhitching from the Crazy Train: Finding Rest in a World You Can’t Control by Julie Sparkman and Jennifer Phillips. They’ve also created an accompanying reading plan—Bible Verses for the Control Freak—you can find in the Enjoy God’s Word Resource Library.

Affiliate links present – at no additional cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!

Valentine’s Day is here, and whether this holiday is part of your yearly festivities, or you find it a ridiculous excuse for consumerism, it gives couples a chance to evaluate the state of their relationship. One of the biggest area of a married relationship is that of the sexual connection—or lack thereof. Wives, I want to address you specifically today. Husbands, listen in. This post, though directed at the woman’s heart, might be a source of insight for you to understand the struggles your wife faces when it comes to physical intimacy.

I’ve led small groups for, discipled, and taught many women over decades of ministry. Inevitably, the topic of sex comes up. For some, it is an area filled with great dread coupled with a negative attitude all around. Others hold a more positive air toward the issue yet are suffocated by the tension between what her heart tells her is right and what her tired mind and exhausted body desires. Rare is the woman who naturally enjoys sex with her husband and regularly initiates intimacy with him.

Within the married Christian culture, there seems to be an overarching view of sex as a chore to be completed in order to keep husbands from committing adultery. Deep down, women know that it is important for husband and wife to connect physically, but the acknowledgment of this reality and the regular enjoyment of that sexual connection are two very different things. There is a disconnect with what she recognizes to be right and what the rest of her being desires.

This is a complex topic, especially considering that most bring baggage into marriage which the evil one often uses to sabotage a couples’ journey toward healthy physical intimacy before it even starts. If there is abuse in your past, I encourage you to seek out professional help to sort through that trauma as it might be affecting your ability to enjoy this area of your life as God intends. If you are currently experiencing an abusive relationship, please get help right away.

For those not in an abusive relationship, here are several significant gifts you can give to your husband this Valentine’s Day as you take steps toward pursuing a healthier sex life.

1. GIVE HIM YOUR RESPECT

Be careful about how you talk about your husband with others. If you find yourself regularly complaining about your marriage with other women, find a way to divert the conversations before (or once) they start. Refuse to commiserate with others about the quirks and weaknesses of your husband. Do everything you can to discourage an environment where you and your friends complain about your husbands.

Focus on what you love about your husband instead of what is difficult. In other words: be kind or be quiet. Our words are powerful, and when we allow negativity to fester—even if it is something as small as the trash not being taken out—it will affect the way you respond to your husband in every other way. It might also be good to remember that we, too, have many failures and flaws.

2. GIVE HIM YOUR COMMITMENT AND FORETHOUGHT

Just like other areas of our lives, if we don’t choose to make this a priority, our desire for sexual engagement will get pushed to the back-burner. Communicate with your husband about this. Let him know you want to make regular connection a priority, but you are struggling to do so. Share any specific roadblocks you can identify. Come up with a plan together. Many couples find that scheduling a special evening once a month or making sexual connection a regular weekly event has proved fruitful. Figure out what making it a priority looks like for you, then be ready mentally, physically, and spiritually to follow through.

3. GIVE HIM YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION

This is one of the biggest struggles for many women. The thought-life of a woman is much like an internet browser with 24 tabs open and running in the background. We are always thinking about…everything! While it is difficult to silence the voices of all the responsibilities you carry, it is not impossible. This is going to look different depending on your personality, but do what you need to in order to clear your mind to be able to engage as completely as possible.

4. GIVE HIM YOUR HONEST (YET GENTLE) THOUGHTS

Before I got married, I’d heard stories of couples splitting up after 20+ years of marriage. Many cited that they were married to a stranger. They’d lost touch of one another. They had become roommates, no longer lovers. How this could happen was such a mystery to me…and then I got married. And like most newlyweds we struggled to communicate. All the “intense conversations” were exhausting. It took work to keep connecting with one another, and there were many days I just wanted to ignore the problems and pretend to be happy. But we listened to the biblical advice to not go to bed angry, and (though we lost hours and hours of sleep) we muddled through the difficult conversations until we were able to hear each other’s hearts. Instead of retreating—which eventually severs emotional ties—we fought to understand and do better next time.

Whether you need to have a conversation about your sex-life or a tough conversation about another area of your relationship that is troubling you, don’t put off. Avoiding difficult conversations is counterproductive and ultimately leads to being strangers in the same bed. The goal of this physical connection is a holistic intimacy. Physical, spiritual, and emotional oneness is what we get to enjoy as a married couple. Your husband doesn’t just want your body. He wants to enjoy you. Every part of you. If we are holding back what’s on our mind, it will hide a piece of us from our spouse. And if you are holding back emotionally, it is most likely one of the reasons why there is a hesitation toward your husband physically.

5. GIVE HIM YOUR PRAYERS

Oh, how I forget the power of prayer! I get so caught up in the realities of now, that I neglect to remember that God is for us in all areas of our marriage. It is His perfect will for all married couples to experience a deep intimacy on every level of the relationship. Healthy, happy, holy marriages reflect the glory of God. Yet our sin continually clouds and distorts that picture. We can never produce the perfect marriage on our own. Every couple struggles, but victory is near through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

So, let us pray with confidence, asking the God of the universe to do only what He can do. Pray for specific heart change for both you and your husband. Pray for good communication. Pray for intimacy in every area of your marriage. Pray for grace and strength to walk forward in obedience as He leads. Pray for God to be glorified through your unity.

Sex ought not be not an activity we dread, nor is it simply a duty for the Christian woman to fulfill. Married sex is a gift from a very good God, designed for our mutual delight. As we pursue health in this area of life, we will not only enjoy the benefits of a greater, holistic intimacy with our spouse, we will also enjoy the pleasure of God himself as we glorify Him in this area of our lives.

This post was first published over at LifeWay Voices.

Lest I think I’ve ever “arrived,” it takes only a moment of stress to show me how far removed I am from biblical love. My everyday moments more often resemble lovelessness rather than the definition of biblical love. Over and over again I insist on my own way as I bark out commands in haste to my kids or speak short words to my husband and leave no room for doubt that I’m irritated. “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26 ESV).

Impatience, at its core, is a love issue. The Greek word used in 1 Corinthians 13:4 for “patient”(makrothumeō) has the connotation of being slow to act against wrongdoing. Whereas the original word for kind has a meaning of responding with a mild demeanor. These are reactive words.

Love is Patient. Love is Kind.

The challenge here is not to go out and be more patient and kind. Instead, love is displayed in our response to the offenses of others. When someone intentionally wrongs me or is just incredibly annoying, my response reveals love (or hate). I don’t need to look far to find an occasion to love. I am given continual opportunities to love each and every day.

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” (Matthew 12:34).

God loved me so I can show love. “Not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19). God extended me mercy so I can extend mercy. God is patient with me so I can be patient with others. Once again, we have our example of love in our Savior. God’s love for His people is patient. My sin—and yours—is a continual offense to a holy God. Yet, He responded to our offensive actions toward Him with love. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient (makrothumeō) toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Love is evidenced in our responses to others. All too often, when we want to make changes in our lives, we go overboard looking for new things to help us in our journey. In our efforts to be intentional, we skip right over the simplest solution. Truth is, we already know what to do. We don’t have to look far for ways to show love to others. Every moment we have with the people God has planted us next to is an opportunity to love. From the next-door neighbor we rarely speak to, to the girl at work who drives us crazy, to the friends and family closest to us. As we choose to stay near to God and keep in step with His Spirit, He will faithfully enable us to love others and bear witness to the love we ourselves have experienced.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

PRAY THIS WITH ME: God, I praise You for your extravagant love! I deserve judgment, yet You have lavished Your love on me. Jesus, thank You for taking the wrath of my sin so that I can experience the favor of my Creator. Spirit, enable me to respond with extravagant, patient, and kind love with every offense I face today.


This is an excerpt from Everyday Love — a women’s Bible study on love. This easy-to-use, four-week Bible study will help you discover how your life can bear witness to God’s purpose. In as few as 15 minutes a day, you will explore the Book of 1 Corinthians 13 and the deeper truths about God’s love for you and others. 

Join the Online Study Group!

 

Discover what the Bible has to say about love

(And learn how to study the Bible along the way!)

WHAT: Studying 1 Corinthians 13

WHEN: February 11th – March 8th, 2019 

WHERE: Bible Study Hub Facebook group

My oldest approached me a few days ago and asked if we could meet as a family every morning and have our “quiet times” together. For months now, he’s been trying to find a time and a place in his day to spend time with God. He and I started going to breakfast on Wednesday’s before school and I’ve been teaching him how to study the Bible using an inductive study method. But he wants more. He wants to be in the Bible every day and there isn’t much more that makes this momma’s heart sing.

Thought I certainly don’t have this parenting thing down, and I’m sure we have some tumultuous years ahead of us in these last 9 years we have as parents with kids in the house, we are beginning to see both the holes caused from our parenting failures as well as the good and sweet fruit of our labors. With the clarity of hindsight, I can now see how the Lord has faithfully led us to take several actions with our kids when it comes to the Bible. Here are five we’ve seen begin to bear beautiful fruit.

MODEL AND INVITE

It is really tempting to study behind closed (and locked) doors, especially when they were younger…. Allowing them to stay was an invite for them to be a part of what mom was doing.

UPLOAD AND HAVE FUN

I cannot count how many times we (unsuccessfully) tried to have some sort of family devotion time that ended in kicking and screaming and me losing it in absolute frustration that my kids could not get with the program! Looking back, I can see that I was asking them to do something they were not developmentally ready for. There was, however, something I was doing right all along …

BUILD THE HABIT AND INVEST IN THEIR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

There is no way I can impart everything they need to know about God and the Bible while under my roof. And even if I did, it will mean little if they don’t choose to make it their own relationship, their own faith, their own pursuit. While I cannot chose for them, I can set them up for success by inviting them to make time with God part of their everyday lives through providing opportunities and tools to help them do so.

DISCUSS WHAT YOU ARE LEARNING

Chat about what you are learning in your own time in the Bible. Ask them what they’ve been reading…. Make it normal to talk about and enjoy the Word of God in your everyday life.

PRAY, PRAY, AND PRAY SOME MORE

There are no guarantees that they will grow to love the Word, but just as a plant needs the right environment to grow, so does a spiritual life. As we do the work to till the soil, water, fertilize, and pull the weeds, we must also pray for the Light of the World to illumine the hearts of our precious seedlings. Without His work in their hearts, our labor is in vain.

(Read more about each tip in my post over at LifeWay Voices!)


One of the ways we are doing this in our family recently, is through the Brave Roots Boxes. My kids have LOVED their boxes. All three have faithfully sat down to do their “quiet time” using the simple yet significant Bible studies that come in the box. You can learn more about the Brave Roots Boxes here. (This is an affiliate link. Because we love them so much, we want to share about them! At no additional cost to you, I receive a portion of your purchase if you make one. Thanks!)