With Good Friday being today and Easter Sunday just around the bend, our hearts are feeling the weight of Jesus’ sacrifice for us and we feel called to share a little Holy Week message with ya’ll.
When we say the weight of His sacrifice, it encompasses the unimaginable suffering that He went through on our behalf, as well as the complete faithfulness of God toward us, the endless love Jesus has for us, and the outstanding gift of grace that we’ve been given as children of God.
It takes my breath away in a God-fearing way every Easter, since it is a very intentional time to focus on this sacrifice. Easter calls us to remember that Jesus died so we could be free! May we live life daily with this truth on our hearts and in our minds, living freely and loving others like He loves us.
Time is a precious gift and Easter reminds us to make the most of the days He has given us out of his love and mercy. He died so we could live for Him (2 Corinthians 5;15), which is more than enough reason to wake up praising him and live to glory of God each and every day. Thank you, Jesus, for loving us sacrificially, unconditionally, and faithfully. We love you!
I am so excited to have a dear friend of mine, Audrey Roloff, featured on LSK today. Auj and her husband, Jeremy, have written a book that everyone should read ASAP! Married, engaged, dating, or single, A Love Letter Life is a read that will speak to everyone’s heart, encouraging all to pursue creatively, date intentionally, and love faithfully. Relationships are such a precious gift from the Lord and we are called to love others as Jesus loves us. We promise you that Audrey and Jeremy’s love story will display God’s love for His children and inspire you to love well, thanks to Jesus’ love for us and how He equips us in relationship.
*Let’s chat about the inspiration behind this book. Was it something that had been on your and Jeremy’s hearts for a while?
AR: I’ve always wanted to write a book, it’s definitely a big God dream for me. I’ve always loved writing, journaling, blogging and am so passionate about relationships, from dating to marriage. Jeremy and I definitely have a similar heartbeat for relationships and the idea of writing a book as a way to walk alongside others in relationship by encouraging creativity, intentionality, and faithfulness felt really natural and made us both really excited.
*I love the book’s description of “Pursue Creatively, Date Intentionally, and Love Faithfully.” This captures the journey of meeting someone, getting to know them, and loving them like Jesus loves us. From your experience, what would you say is the most important purpose of this process?
AR: To us, pursuit, dating, and loving aren’t so much a process (as in one stops and the other starts), but more so a package deal where all three things are part of the whole love story, from the beginning until forever. Jeremy is still doing all three of these things: pursuing me, dating me, and loving me. Just because we are married, doesn’t mean the pursuing and dating stops! That is what we really hope to convey to couples and individuals, that pursuing creatively, dating intentionally, and loving faithfully are core healthy aspects for a wonderful relationship. As Jeremy says, they are beautiful ingredients for a beautiful love story. The adjectives there are super important, too: creatively, intentionally, and faithfully. This is how our God loves us, so we are to love others in the same way.
*Let’s talk faith! Can you explain your point of view in the importance of being with someone who loves the Lord with all their heart? How big of a part did Jeremy’s love for God have in your attraction, interest, and love for Jeremy?
AR: Huge part! I had a very high standard for who the person I was going to be with would be. Loving the Lord with their whole heart was a must when it came to a potential relationship. I met Jeremy at a time when he was in a slight season of spiritual complacency, so friendship first for us was definitely the Lord preparing us and protecting us to love one another better. There was no pressure when we were friends before dating and we are both so thankful for that season, because the season of friendship allowed us to follow Jesus so strongly individually, and then come together in a romantic sense and love one another intentionally and purposefully.
*You two discuss friendship as the basis for a love relationship a lot in this book which is so amazing. Jeremy puts it so beautifully in the book: “We were careful with one another because we didn’t want to mess it up. The friendship we were nurturing allowed us to build the foundation for a love story without getting lost in a cloud of emotions from physical intimacy.” Yes and amen to that! Can you elaborate on why you and Jeremy felt called to be careful with one another and why you believe this truth to be so key when dating? Immediately it makes me think of Proverbs 4:23- “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”
AR: This goes back to the question above and just how important the friendship season was for us. As I said, it was definitely preparation and protection from God which I am so thankful for. We were careful with one another and took it slow because we didn’t want to mess it up. We both messed up before with previous relationships and we didn’t want to go there. Friendship truly was our solid foundation for our relationship and allowed us to stay grounded and patient as our love story took root and then unfolded.
*When I think of your and Jeremy’s love story, I think of a seed being steadily nourished, growing into a delicate sapling, then strengthening into a blooming, healthy plant; one that is thriving and flourishing as you are nurtured through each other by the fruits of the Holy Spirit. How would you describe thriving and flourishing in marriage?
AR: Oh man, great question. I would say thriving and flourishing in marriage for Jeremy and I looks like us pursuing one another constantly, pushing one another to follow Jesus steadfastly, connecting with one another regularly, communicating well, and believing that there are always more ways to love and serve one another. Back to your plant reference, plants need different things at different times of the year, so knowing that thriving and flourishing for us is going to look different at different times of the year really brings us peace and keeps us going.
*Last but not least, we gotta hear what it is like to work and write a book with your husband!
AR: I absolutely love working together with Jeremy and wouldn’t trade it for the world. We get to do life together, completely, and we both love that. Of course we have challenges to work through together and we do that, but it might look different compared to couples who don’t work together. It definitely puts us in a place where we can’t avoid conflict, so we are quick to address it and quick to resolve it! It is such a blessing though to be on mission together and working toward the same goal, it is the best thing for us as a husband and wife team and keeps pushing us to grow, both individually and as a union.
Thanks, Auj! xo
Shop their book, here:
To read more faith posts on LSK, click here, and for more interviews, click here.
If you follow me on The Clean Stuff, you probably saw this post featuring a quote from Dr. Cole: “Stress is the sugar of the soul. It wrecks your health from the inside out.” As I said on Instagram, TRUTH.
I think sometimes we forget how stress truly can wreck havoc on our health. I thought of this recently when I was feeling a little off: sometimes it isn’t a matter of something I ate that might not be sitting right with me, or a supplement I need to take. Sometimes that “off” feeling is simply stress. Stress is powerful, yes, but there is good news; it doesn’t have to hold power over us.
Instead of being scared of stress, I am practicing the act of acknowledging it and riding the wave through it. I am finding that this is a better approach than panicking and then fighting against it, which takes up too much energy and normally just causes more stress! Kind of funny how that works 🙂
To me, riding the wave of a stressful season is giving myself grace when things slip through the cracks, calling out to God when I need the extra boost of strength and encouragement, sharing with loved ones how I am feeling so they can speak truth over me, and always remembering that my worth is not found in what I get done in a day; my worth is found in the fact that I am a daughter of the most high God and completely loved by Him forever.
A little over a year ago, we put this post up on the blog about 10 ways to relieve stress and it is a good one to always come back to. This line is especially worth sharing again: One thing that always gives me peace during a time of stress is remembering that it is temporary. God doesn’t want us to be trapped in stress.
Take a deep breath, fill up a bath, turn on worship music, get a good laugh (and sometimes a good cry), and know that everything is okay. Even if it takes you a little longer than expected to get unstuck from stress, keep taking one day at a time, finding refuge in Him. He’s got you!
As we all know, this past Friday was International Women’s Day. It was such a special day on social media, seeing everyone celebrate women in their life! Of course every single day is a day to celebrate those in our lives, but having a specific day to celebrate women is so awesome.
I woke up on Friday feeling so compelled to not only celebrate women, but also the men who walk alongside us, encourage our femininity and passions, and who help us become the best version of ourselves: the women God created us to be! As women, there are always men in our lives (dads, brothers, husbands, significant others…) who are cheering us on and loving us, which is a support system that I am so thankful for.
I was challenged from a friend a few months ago with the idea that it is part of our role as women to encourage men and support them, too. We often feel that chivalry is dead, but what can we as women do to help keep it alive? Chivalry is a beautiful, instinctual truth and should be encouraged.
As women, we should ask ourselves if we shut men down because we don’t want to accept help, are wanting to prove that we are capable of being independent, and are potentially bitter toward past hurts or resentments. Something as little as accepting help from a man to carry our bags out to our car at the grocery store empowers men to be gentlemen and simultaneously empowers our femininity. It is such a beautiful interaction of God’s creation in everyday life!
A day dedicated to celebrating women is a reminder for me to take seriously my responsibility to fully celebrate other women in my life who I admire, love, and respect, as well as celebrate the men in my life who I also admire, love, and respect. It is so important that we all strive for unity, pray diligently for each other, and show grace toward ourselves and others through our thoughts, words, and actions.
To conclude, I am just feeling so thankful this week. Thankful for the beautiful, inspiring women in my life who I am constantly learning so much from, and thankful for the solid men in my life who have supported and empowered me in the most beautiful of ways.
Let’s be real with something real quick; waiting is hard. It is usually unwanted, it requires patience, endurance, and perseverance, and as humans it is not our strongest of talents. However, in His grace, God equips us to wait well. Praise Him for that! If we lean on Him, trust Him, and follow Him, we will soar through seasons of waiting victoriously, but it takes discipline and faith.
I recently read this article on waiting via the Desiring God website, and it really hit home in my heart. This part especially made my eyes wide open and jaw drop: “We need God to help us want the future he has for us — the future he has written in his inscrutable wisdom. Seasons of waiting train us to relinquish our role as the author of our own story and take up our role as a character in God’s story.” -Scott Hubbard
“Seasons of waiting train us to relinquish our role as the author of our own story…” HELLO. I mean, does it get more spot-on than that? While we wait, He is training us to loosen our grip on the story we have penned, so we will be able to live out the story he has penned FOR us! As we all know, He is a better author than we are, so His story is no doubt the best for us…end of story!! 🙂
I love thinking of waiting as a training season. Just like athletes train in the off-season, we are going to have “off-seasons” in life that are periods of prolonged waiting. Instead of letting anxiety and angst take over and cause us to be antsy all the time, we have the beautiful opportunity to partner with Jesus and let Him train and prepare us for what is to come. If we do this, waiting doesn’t become a miserable, passive experience. It becomes an expectant, fruitful season of preparation.
Are you in a season of waiting? If so, we invite you to practice with us rejoicing as God refines us as we wait! Challenging? Yes. Worth it? So much yes. xo
The book of Proverbs in the Bible is such a treasure chest of wisdom, direction, and truth. There are so many phrases filled with wise truths that the Proverbs is more than likely something you find yourself returning to again and again in order to find a favorite verse, re-read something that stood out to you, or pull from when giving advice to someone in your life.
There is one verse in particular we have been meditating on lately that we wanted to share with ya’ll…
Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. -Proverbs 4:23
From this verse, it is clear that guarding your heart is beyond important, because it is where life flows from. The first time I read this verse, I remember being overwhelmed by the weight and importance of this statement. Overwhelmed in a positive way, though, since it is truth being shared with us for our good.
So, what does guarding your heart entail? I believe it means taking matters of the heart seriously and knowing that your heart is strong, yes, but so precious and to be handled with care. Our hearts are very much the source of life because we dream, love, worship, do, give, work, play, create and everything else with and from our hearts. Therefore, protecting it is a non-negotiable.
“Guarding your heart” might first sound like you need to be closed off or unloving, but that is the opposite of the truth! Guarding your heart actually allows you to love others well because you are protecting the foundation of your capacity to do just that. However, failing to guard your heart will lead to situations, people, and environments that are more than likely not good for your soul and are certainly not life-giving.
The most important command is to love God with all our heart and then to love our neighbors (Luke 10:27). By guarding your heart from things that are not best for it, you will find yourself able to love God fully and love others sweetly. Life will be flowing from your heart so abundantly, so guarding your heart will be second nature. Discernment will come easier with practice and you will be able to easily turn toward life-giving and good-for-your-heart situations, practices, and decisions and turn away from those things that will not be heart healthy for you.
Wishing you love & peace as you guard your heart well! xo