Devos for the Newly Engaged Girl

Day 1: Breathe

Everything was going wrong; bridesmaids’ dresses were coming in different colors, things I was ordering were sent to far away places other than my address, I was told my wedding dress may not be able to get altered after having it a year in advance, my engagement ring somehow warped from rough use (#agteacherlife) and the list goes on. I was freaking out, stressing out, crying all the time, and probably going overboard in the dramatic department. I want our wedding day to be perfect and all that I imagine it to be just as almost every girl in the world! But with all the hiccups in the way, I was losing sight of what mattered the most. It has taken me awhile to realize that crying about things going wrong won’t fix anything…coming up with a solution and handing it to God no matter how stupid I thought it might be would fix it all. I pray for patience because I struggle the most with being impatient, and I think God was using those little bumps in the road to show me to be patient and He would take care of it even if it seemed like it would take longer than I wanted. 1 1/2 months from now lies our wedding day. Regardless of what may go wrong, all will be right…I will marry the greatest blessing to ever walk in my life! So if you’re a future bride-to-be, a girl stressing and worrying because nothing seems to be going right, or a guy with a lot on his plate…there’s no need to worry about it. At the end of the day, God is in control and He’s got ya! Don’t forget what is most important! I believe our wedding day will be the most beautiful and important day in my life next to the day I received Christ as my Savior! Keep the faith, stay patient, and trust, trust, trust!!!

Day 2: Just Love

I researched, pinned, and read about 20 blogs on the hot topic of “how to prepare for marriage.” At the end of most of them, they made the statement that there isn’t REALLY a way to prepare yourself for marriage.
Whaaaaat?! Post after post and article after article I was becoming frustrated because I wanted to be the best possible wife for Brad by the time we got married. Now that I have been married for one month today, I understand what they mean…
Nothing prepares you for the happiness you feel each day that you spend with him. Nothing prepares you for the laughs you will share over late night popcorn and movie dates in your pjs. Nothing prepares you for waking up to him each morning. Nothing prepares you for the smile on his face when he eats a meal you cook. Nothing prepares you for how you love him more and more, and just when you think you can’t, he does something that makes you fall in love with him more.
No, you’ll never be able to prepare yourself for marriage.

Day 3: Satan Will Attack Your Marriage

It’s a team effort. Marriage doesn’t take two people; it takes God, you, and your spouse. It is a growing and learning process especially the first month together. You can’t have unrealistic expectations diving into marriage. You have to realize that marriage is two imperfect people serving a perfect God. You will both fail and make mistakes, but it’s learning to say “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong.” It’s forgiving each other every day and loving each other through it all. You need to admit how you feel and be open and honest with each other about everything. I’m a newly wed, so I’m freshly stepping into this whole marriage thing, but I have learned that the enemy tries to destroy what he sees as good in God’s sight. You need to understand the he will try to pry his way in your relationship with your spouse. He will intentionally place barriers between you to cause you and your spouse to feel distant. He makes a small, petty detail seem like it’s the biggest deal in your life at the moment. You can’t let Satan win. You have to keep God in the middle and pray for your spouse and your marriage. Remember, when troublesome times come your way, you need to let God handle it. Marriage is beautiful, and Satan hates beautiful. He loathes goodness, righteousness, and truthfulness. He despises seeing couples thrive in this world in which he roams like a lion to steal, kill, and destroy. Stand up for your marriage!!! Date intentionally. 👠Pray daily. 🙏🏻 Forgive easily. 👫Love always.💕

Day 4: Never Stop Dating

Dating intentionally isn’t difficult. Everybody has an issue with the amount of time they have on their hands, so not having enough time isn’t a good excuse. So what does it mean? Dating intentionally simply means to set aside time to spend with your special someone or go out of your way for them once in awhile to show them that you love them. For example, when Brad and I had been dating for a few months, he drove to my favorite coffee shop and bought me three large cups of coffee. Then, he dropped them off by my apartment as I studied for two exams the next day. See? It doesn’t have to be anything like wearing a tux and a dress for all your dinner dates. It CAN be watching Netflix but letting him/her pick the movie (not recommended for a first date)! It can be putting a sweet note on their car in the parking lot. It can be ordering fries to go with a frosty (if you haven’t done that, you should). Dating a person with intention can be full of little ways you display that you care for them and love them. Like I said, it isn’t fancy, and it doesn’t require a ton of money. Never stop dating the person you love when you get married. Brad washes the dishes, cooks, and washes clothes when he sees that I need help around the house. To me, THAT is dating intentionally. He is demonstrating his love for me in those ways. So whether you are in those early stages of dating, engaged, or married, date with the intention of showing how much you love your significant other.

Day 5: Evaluate Your Focus

It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of having a wedding of your own, but when it clouds your mind of the real reason you are getting married, that big idea soon turns into an issue. Focus on WHY you want to get married. Focus on WHO you are marrying. Focus on who YOU need to become before you get married. Every girl has this perfect image in their mind. This picture is one I dreamed of for years. You deserve a wedding to make your own and to plan, but you also deserve a man who is going to love you unconditionally, protect you, and provide for you. Change your perspective, and fall in love with your spouse-to-be over and over again instead of obsessing over the wedding. The wedding is merely a celebration of the love and marriage between a man and woman. Whatever stage of the wedding planning process you may be in, the details are fun and important, but it’s the relationship of you and your future husband that takes precedence over the wedding!

Day 6: Don’t Get Lost in the Details

I wrote my letter to him two weeks from our wedding day. I spent at least two hours writing it because I didn’t want it to be any less than perfect. I placed a bow on the front of the envelope and attached a burlap flower on it. It was a ridiculously beautifully packaged letter. I mentioned to Brad that I wrote my letter that day, and he told me he had yet to write one to me. This was understandable. I realized I was ahead of the game, and Brad was more a last minute kind of guy, so I didn’t ask again until a few days before. He still hadn’t written the letter. Being the slightly crazy bride I was at the time, I ensured that he wouldn’t forget to write the letter by making him a checklist for our wedding day. Okay, I know…it may seem stupid that I cared so much about one little letter. But written words from Brad that I could keep forever serving as a reminder of our special day were of high importance to me. He did write the letter the morning of our wedding. It meant more to me that he wrote the letter our wedding morning because those were his thoughts on that exact day. There wasn’t anything special about his handwriting or the packaging of the letter. The contents of the letter, however, contained rich words full of love and looking forward to spending our lives together. The letter situation is just one of many that reflect our differences in handling our careers and life altogether. I am one to dress up things to the point that it’s almost hard to see the real purpose of it…like the letter. I was focused on completing it and making it pretty instead of setting aside the time to write it on our wedding day and having those thoughts recorded. I was afraid it wouldn’t be good enough or even worse, that I would forget to write it. I can’t rewind and make the decision over; what’s done is done and in the past now, but isn’t it funny how easily we become distracted by what REALLY doesn’t matter? We find ourselves lost in the details…lost in the busyness of life…lost in our jobs….lost in our education.
This is not to say that those things are bad, but if we aren’t careful, they can take all the time we have. Time is precious, and you can never get it back. If you aren’t carving out time to spend with God each day, is He #1 in your life like it may say in your IG bio? I’m not trying to be critical, but I’m just trying to get you to examine the depths of your heart. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to read the Word every day or to pray especially on days when you “just aren’t feeling it” or are tired. Do it anyway because if God is a priority to You, give Him the time that He grants you. Focus on the contents in your heart…not the packaging!!!!

 

Day 7: Family > Work

Through the hardest times, we have each other. When we visited Brad’s pawpaw in the hospital today, he commented about our wedding ceremony. He has been a man of few words lately because he is fighting pancreatic cancer. He looked at me and said, “You laughing was the sweetest thing.” He smiled at us.
It’s a moment I will never forget, and I would have missed it if I would’ve chosen to stay at work. Those simple words he said and the way he looked at us will always be in my mind. You are replaceable where you work, but you are irreplaceable to your family. It would have been so much easier for me to stay because I hate making sub plans and grades were due today, but I needed that time to be beside my husband and with our family. Please never take your loved ones for granted and cherish the time you have with them as much as you can. Remember that post I wrote awhile back about me wanting to move ahead all the time and not being present in the moment? I may not ever be a “wing it” type of girl, but little by little, I’m learning to take in every precious moment that God gives me.

Day 8: Why We Didn’t Live Together First

We didn’t live together before we got married…here’s why:
1. Marriage is sacred between you, your spouse, and God. Once you are married, you become ONE. Before you are married, you are not ONE. This means that there is 0 stability. Are you sharing finances? Are you sharing the same…everything? Are you okay knowing that someone who isn’t completely committed to you will have access to all your stuff & money? This leads to more arguments which is completely unnecessary and why cohabitation normally doesn’t work out in a couple’s favor.
2. Living together sends the message that you are doing a trial run to see if things will work out, but the thing is, it probably won’t work out if you already believe you have to go through a “trial run.”

3. God commands us to remain sexually pure and wait! Living together creates a stronger temptation to go against His plan of waiting until you are married. In addition, your witness of Christ will be broken to those you are trying to witness to because they will automatically assume that you are committing adultery (having sex with someone you are not married to) and going with the flow of the pressures from society!
4. Let’s look at stats too…”On average, researchers concluded that couples who lived together before they tied the knot saw a 33 percent higher rate of divorce than those who waited to live together until after they were married.” -The Atlantic.com
I know that this isn’t popular and cohabitation is disapproved by only 27% of Americans today. But if living together before you are married is something on your mind or if your significant other is pressuring you to consider it, look at the facts and for the sake of your relationship with God and your possibly future husband/wife, don’t live together before you’re married! 💋💕

Day 9: Treasure the Moment

I couldn’t wait to graduate high school to go to college. Once I made it to college, I was ready to return to my hometown to teach. When I was engaged, I kept looking beyond the sweet engagement season to finally getting married.
And now, here I am, graduated, teaching/working, and married. Don’t get me wrong, I love the season I’m in now! But if I could go back and tell myself one thing in all of those seasons it would be this: spend your time wisely & cherish the moments. I felt like I wished some of the time away. I was antsy for the next season of life instead of fully living in the season God allowed me to enjoy at that time.
I find myself missing my favorite coffee shop I huddled up in while in college. I like to remember what it was like to have my wedding dress on or trying out cake flavors for our wedding cake. I think back to when I would study for FFA contests more than school subjects. 😅
Time is precious & fleeting. Some of us try to plan it out (I’m one of those)! 🙋🏻‍♀️ There’s nothing wrong with setting goals and “shooting for the stars.” But are your goals set to build the kingdom? Were they created based on an eternal perspective? Are you so focused on meeting goals, especially earthly ones, that you don’t enjoy life & all its moments?

We can become obsessed with goals and planning our lives so much to the point that WE DON’T EVEN LIVE THEM. Don’t take this life that God gave you for granted. 💋

Day 10: This is Real Life

Burnt toast, dirty dishes overflowing the sink, clothes that need washing, floors that are begging to be cleaned, boxes still needing to be put up and organized…over and over I’ve been looking around our house and seeing nothing but failure my first week of being a wife (the honeymoon doesn’t count). Although it has been blissful and wonderful doing life with my new husband, I have been focusing on all that I’ve been doing wrong and what needs to be done instead of what I’ve done right. Where did I get this idea of what a perfect wife looks like and what she accomplishes? Who in the world have I been using to define myself? Social media, women in my family, women in my church? The reason I have been feeling like a failure is because I’ve been comparing myself to more experienced wives than me! I took snippets of what I’ve seen in womens’ lives and created a “perfect wife standard.” There is no such thing as a perfect wife, student, boss, teacher, blogger, or mom; the only perfect person to ever walk the earth was Jesus. And the cool part? He lives in you and me and He shows His perfection THROUGH our weaknesses and failures. Doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy? God uses OUR weaknesses to say, “Look to Me for strength.” Quit trying to live up to this perfect *insert role here* standard that YOU created like I did. The one and only person we need to try to be like is Jesus!

Day 11: Control Your Reaction

Crazy Sunday morning…good grief, there are times when I just KNOW that the Devil is out to keep us or me from making it to church & this morning was one of those mornings! My biscuits didn’t cook as fast as they normally do, my mascara wand touched my eyelid with eye shadow already on so I had to redo my eye shadow 🙄, a piece of my hair WOULD NOT STRAIGHTEN for anything so I had to turn my straightener back on to fix it when I noticed that it didn’t straighten the first ten times passing through lol, and then, I didn’t remember turning off the straightener! When we left the house five mins later than normal, I started to think back if I turned off my straightener. I was scared that we would come back to a burnt house, so I told Brad that “I guess I will have to come back and turn it off then.” He drove all the way to church, I dropped him off, and I drove all the way back home. Lo and behold, the straightener was unplugged. 😅 After I was relieved of that, I drove back to church again hurrying to make it to Sunday School. Just reading this makes me feel the adrenaline rush all over again. You may be wondering why he didn’t turn around for me to check my straightener, and it’s because he hates being late for church. I didn’t mind coming back if it meant he could be on time and I could actually focus on the sermon instead of worrying about our house the whole time. Now, I also could’ve prevented some of this by waking up earlier, but there were a lot of things that probably would’ve happened anyway. Haha.
For someone who loves preparation and cute planners with stickers, I don’t have it all together. WE don’t always have it together. There are circumstances that take us by surprise, but as Brad likes to say, “you just gotta wing it.” When these surprises happen, we can control our reaction. My first reaction was anger and aggravation, but when I put my hand on the door to walk into church, I silently prayed for God to get me in the right mindset and for Him to calm me. We must recognize when we are being attacked and I most definitely did driving back to church. Let God help you control your reactions to your crazy circumstances.

 

The Piano

A story, a symbol, a masterpiece…
Brad, my husband, saw a piano free on Facebook. It was left in a shed where it received water damage and the fluctuating temperatures ruined its insides. He decided to take this on as his biggest woodworking project to date. He completely refurbished it. He changed out all the inside pieces, rebuilt and stained some parts, sanded it, varnished it, and gave it to me as a gift. I was and still am completely in awe. When I opened up the inside and he explained to me how he replaced the parts, I just stared at him with my mouth open. The amount of time and patience that was placed into this beautiful work of art cannot be numbered. I didn’t even know I wanted a piano until he gave me this one. I have a keyboard that I bought for myself while I was in high school with money I made from selling watermelons. It only got the job done through the years, but I will admit a keyboard is nothing like playing this piano!
I’m not writing this to brag about how good Brad is to me (although, I don’t deserve him at all because he’s entirely too good for me). We’ve been married for a year and a half and the big secret to it is letting God be in the middle. This piano reminds me that marriage is simple and shouldn’t be complicated. Marriage is like playing a piano…you go through highs and lows, you hit the black keys every now and then that take you by surprise but turn out being all part of the song, and when a key sticks or you hit a wrong note, you work through it and keep playing anyway. ❤️

Where Confidence is Found

I went through a major fashion phase right after I got married. If it was on sale, cheap to me, and cute, I would ask Brad and buy it. Now that I look back on it, I have understood why. Fashion + clothes + shoes are tons of fun to me, and I ❤️ being creative with outfits. I have been that kind of girl before I could talk (just ask my mom), but it increased so much more after marriage…
I have slacked up buying clothes the past 6 months and haven’t bought much of anything except books (Brad and I are book nerds now🤓) and groceries.
It just dawned on me WHY I would buy clothes other than just liking them and being on sale. It isn’t because I had more closet space. I did have more room which was a bonus, but that wasn’t the reason. It also isn’t because I needed to give clothes away and make a wardrobe update. I did that too, but again, this isn’t the reason.
It’s clear to me now: clothes became my way of finding confidence. Being newly married, I felt a crazy amount of pressure to be a perfect wife and everything good I’ve read about. It was my way of gaining stability when my circumstances changed. I was seeing girls at church with the latest fashion trend on or fashion bloggers on my IG feed stating the must-haves for the season. I was looking to prove myself to people and finding confidence in clothes…🤦🏻‍♀️
You guys, it took me until NOW to figure this out. The message I need to get to you is this: look deep into your heart. Satan plants pressure there, little lies that don’t seem to be a big deal until they grow into a monster that tears your life away piece by piece. Harsh, I know. Confidence & stability when life is changing can only be found in Christ. Carefully monitor what you are allowing yourself to believe. You control whether you believe LIES or TRUTH, friends!

Been There, Girl

I have written this post a number of times and never posted it because it’s so personal, but God keeps wanting me to share this and I can’t run from it anymore. There is a girl out there somewhere that needs this, so here goes nothing.

I fell in love with a guy when I was 15. I really did even though some may argue that it wasn’t love but “infatuation.” I know the difference between the two, and I knew it then as well. He was my best friend for a long time, and I caught all the feelings after awhile. I truly got to know him first through our friendship. I remember praying to God to allow us to date and for him to like me.

He told me he liked me (finally) and we dated my entire high school career except my freshmen year when we were building a friendship. We were alike in so many ways, and I thought that we would get married one day like most couples who date for a long time in high school. I had plans with him.
But God is cool and way bigger than the plans I made for myself. When that guy broke up with me, I was so heartbroken. It was an all-time low in my life. I didn’t eat, sleep, and I basically just cried for a couple weeks wondering why and how could this happen? (Haha, don’t pity this experience because a lot of girls go through it! You may be one of them!) I mean, it was so stinkin’ hard y’all! It took me the longest time to get over the broken relationship. God is gracious though and amazing. Over time, I realized that we wouldn’t have worked out because of how much we changed.

Going through that experience made me aware that placing a person and my own plans above God is dangerous. It is allowing that person to have reign over your heart and emotions more than God which ends in destruction. Guarding your heart (Proverbs 4:23) prevents that destruction in the first place. Just because God places a person in your life, doesn’t mean they are always meant to stay there. Maybe the reasoning was to lead that person to Christ or to have an influence on their decisions in the future. I always wondered when I would start seeing “the reasons” unfold, and they eventually did!
Trust God because He knows what He’s doing even when you can’t see it!

Why Sunday Will Be Your New Fave Day

When was the last time you RELAXED? Like completely, totally RESTED? If you answered that question and said “I’m not sure the last time I rested” it’s time that you do just that!
When I first married Brad, it took me a long time to understand how to honor the Sabbath Day. I still slip up and do laundry sometimes, but I had to put resting on Sunday into action. He was taught not work on Sunday, and because of that, I chose to start enjoying Sundays with him too. I had to wean myself away from doing lesson plans, vacuuming, and cleaning the house on Sundays. After I started observing the Sabbath Day the right way, it has become my favorite day of the week. I look forward to doing most of my chores on Saturday and cleaning floors on Monday instead. I highly recommend that you begin resting and relaxing on Sundays as well. It has changed my life for the better by allowing me to fill up my cup spiritually, physically, and mentally. Just that one day during the week makes a lot of difference in my work week especially being a school teacher. If God rested during the Creation, shouldn’t we follow His example and rest? Most of us use the excuse of being too busy! It does take some time to shift into honoring the Sabbath Day by resting, but the sooner you start this habit, the more blessed you will be by it because God commands us to honor the Sabbath Day! Before tomorrow gets here, you should plan to spend it resting, going to church to fill up your spiritual cup, and reflecting!

What Happens If I Fall?

”Let’s stand on that rock together for a picture,” Brad proudly announced with his finger pointing out into a creek. He’s normally not a picture taking kind of guy, so this was a surprising gesture to me. I was wary of stepping onto that slippery rock because 1. It was freezing & I didn’t want to take a chance of sliding right into the water 2. I didn’t have faith in the soles of my boots. 🙃 Despite my two good reasons, Brad’s hand reaching out for me was inviting. “Are you sure?” I asked him. He motioned for me to grab on and pulled me onto the rock for this picture. His assurance in me was what I needed. I had to feel that someone would be there for me if I fell before I took the step. Isn’t it strange how we think we must SEE what’s ahead or who is there before we “take the next step?” What if, as soon as we were told to take the next step, that we just did it without questioning God…without hesitating…without doubting what He can do for us on the other side? I get it. You’re an over thinker like me meaning that you analyze all possible angles of every scenario in life. But, the only thing you need to know is that if God tells you to move, He’s going to be there reaching His hand out to you. And if you fall, He’s going to be there to catch you. And if you don’t, He’s going to be there to hold your hand in the moment. You don’t need to know the details, the script of your life, how it is going to pan out in the end. God is there with you through EVERYTHING. Grab His hand. Make your move. He’s waiting for you.

My Something-Borrowed Veil

Traditionally, Brad carried me through the front door into our remodeled home the night of our wedding. He lifted me up and swung me into the doorway like a dream…until the veil caught on one of the sharp bricks. When he put me down, I drew the veil around me to see if it was torn. A hole about the size of a quarter stood out like a sore thumb. My heart sunk down to the pit of my stomach. I pathetically looked up at Brad and said, “This veil was my something borrowed, and I don’t know how I’m going to get this fixed. Only me…” I dreaded telling my friend about me tearing her veil, but I mustered up the courage and told her the story. She was very merciful to me and assured me that it was okay. As upset as I was about the veil, God used it to grab my attention.
Just like I have mentioned before, a lot went wrong leading up to my wedding day. I worried and stressed over each stupid little thing. I was scared it wasn’t going to be what I wanted and had been planning. But the day came…and it was beyond perfect and beautiful and the best day of my life. God used this illustration of the veil being torn to say, “Hey! Nothing is between You and me anymore!” It wasn’t God that put anything between me and Him…it was ME. Once the wedding day was over, He made it known to me that I was the one who distanced myself from Him. He never changed. He also showed me love, grace, and mercy when I ran to Him more than once.
Wherever you are in your relationship with God, know that He is the same and you’re the one who changes that status. Every veil has a hole in it for God’s indescribable, undeniable character to poke through. So reach through, grab it, hold on, and He’ll pull you out of whatever stuff you’re in right now.