Relationships

Loving On Others Well

1024 682 Melissa Mayer

This topic has been on my heart and mind lately- loving on others well. What does that look like for you? For me, I think of making a phone call to a family member or friend just to catch up and listen to them, sending flowers to my bestie as a surprise, leaving my other half a love note, leaving a server at my favorite lunch spot a big tip, saying hi and smiling to strangers as I pass by, offering a lending hand to someone at the grocery store, or taking the time to reach out to someone at work or Church who I might not know that well. Our lives have so many opportunities to reach out to someone and show love in little, sweet ways. It is all of these little ways that add up to a big, beautiful way of spreading the love! Speaking of, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. xo

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images- felicia lasala 

The Dichotomy of Love

683 1024 Lauren Kennedy

Love is the most beautiful gift in the world and is in itself a depth that feels impossible to describe in words, yet it simultaneously seems to bring a heavy heart. Let me explain because I don’t want this to sound like a negative perspective, but more one of reality + one I have been navigating the last four years. To illustrate, by far one of the greatest blessings in my life is my husband. We share such a tightly-bound, inseparable bond full of passion, lots of special memories, constant laughs, and mutual willingness to compromise because our sincere goal is to love each other better every day.

To take a step back, I grew up in Dallas, am super close to my family (my mom and my twin sister are my besties, and same with my dad!), and I experienced one of the greatest seasons of loss in that city, which connected me to it (aka the people) in a way where it will always feel extra safe and like home. When Jase and I met, he was living in Los Angeles and has now been here for nearly 14 years, so, as many of you know, I moved out of Texas to start a life with my best friend. Hence the dichotomy begins; I experienced such heartbreak to leave everything that was comfort, yet I was so incredibly excited to live in the same city as Jason!

He and I are both so thankful for this big move because my struggle of adjusting to a new atmosphere became his struggle too; he has been by my side wholeheartedly through it all, and we attribute this time to how deeply well we know each other. He is always there to cry with me and validates the grief of being unable to pop by my parent’s or sister’s house at any time. It developed in me such a lasting trust that he can comfort me like the people I am closest to can.

The things that create such a rich love almost always seem to come from sacrifice and hardship, whether big or small. For instance, leaving Dallas or saying goodbye to my family when they visit hurts my heart at such a deep level, yet there is gratefulness amidst the pain because it only strengthens our marriage + it makes me extra grateful for every memory and moment with my family. Not to mention, leaving Jase to see my family hurts my heart just the same. It’s such a complicated emotional pull, but one that causes me to be filled with thankfulness for all of the love that causes such intense emotion. Am I making sense? Does anyone relate to this feeling?

This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series. Be sure and check out the other ladies in this wonderful group, such as Kat Harris with The Refined Woman and Jackie Viramontez.

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images by Felicia Lasala 

That Mother-Daughter Relationship

1024 683 Melissa Mayer

There really is nothing quite like a mother-daughter relationship. It is a beautifully messy, totally unique, and completing transforming relationship that develops over time as we continue to come into the women that God created us to be. As daughters, we are so blessed to have mothers that have always inspired us, taught us, challenged us, forgiven us, loved us, laughed with us, cried with us, and simply just been there for us with all their love, strength, and patience…day after day and year and year.

There is so much my mom has taught me just by being herself. I have learned the beauty of femininity, how to make a home cozy and comfortable, how to be strong and resilient with grace, how to be firmly rooted in faith in Jesus, how to love others well, how to be healthy from the inside out, and so much more. I have witnessed her doing these things with such joy my whole life and without knowing that it was happening at the time, I was learning the art of becoming a woman because of the way she lives and loves.

Sending warm wishes to to all the moms and daughters always, but especially this mother’s day weekend. Enjoy it! xo

Images by Felicia Lasala 

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Moms Know Best: Q&A With Cheryl Scruggs

960 639 Melissa Mayer
My mom has been one of the most consistent examples in my life. She is a woman that not only represents class and femininity, but carries a passion to impart the importance of understanding who we are as women. What she has so gracefully endured throughout her life has been enlightening to watch, and what I love about her most is that she is always growing in awareness of herself. What a blessing she is and we are so thrilled to have her here on LSK today. We asked my mom, Cheryl Scruggs, (AKA Mo!) some questions and she answered with so much love, grace, and vulnerability. Scroll down to read!

Your podcast is such a gift to listen to- what inspired you to start on the podcast journey?  

I have such a heart for women and feel as though so many are not thriving in life in so many ways. I want women to be free, to understand who they are spiritually, emotionally, physically, sexually, and professionally. I have written one book in 2008 called I Do Again, mapping out me and my husband’s marriage journey, but I was feeling prompted to either write another book (specifically for women) or develop a blog. One day almost two years ago, my sweet daughters suggested a podcast! I had never seen myself in that space, but God did! How grateful I am and Thriving Beyond Belief was born. I absolutely love doing a podcast! My guests are hand-picked… some young, some older, and some in between. I love the mix because the older ones have something to teach the younger ones and vice versa.

What do you love most about your podcast experience so far?

By far, all of my incredible guests!  Each one has something amazing to share to help women thrive beyond belief. I love when women can be vulnerable, honest, and real while sharing the hard stuff about their life. It touches my heart so much and keeps me remembering how Jesus sustains us no matter the circumstance!

What do you love most about marriage?

My husband, Jeff and I have been married twice to each other; we were first married 10 years from 1982-1992, divorced for 7 years, and we remarried to each other in 1999. Because of all that we have gone through, I have to say what I love the most is that Jesus is the center of our marriage now in our “second- chance” do-over marriage. That was the missing link in our first one. A close second is that marriage teaches Jeff and I about sacrifice, selflessness and learning to love each other well! We can only do that by staying grounded in Scripture and being honest, vulnerable and willing to create a safe place for each other. It takes a lot of work, but we love this challenge as it keeps us humble and grounded. Our job is not to change the other person, but to embrace whom God created them to be and celebrate our differences rather than use them against each other.

What is the biggest joy in being a mom to twin girls?

Gosh, I am not sure where to begin with this! I literally could write an entire book on the JOYS this has brought to my life. The best word I can think of, and you said it right, is the word JOY! This doesn’t mean easy, but rather how each season challenged me, grew me, and humbled me. People ask me all the time how I did it with twins, and I always say I have no idea because it is all I knew –ha ha! It is hard to put into words the love I have for my two precious daughters. I feel as a mom, unconditional love comes very easily— it has helped me understand how Jesus can love His children unconditionally. I have loved every second and every season of raising them.

Your faith is such an inspiration to us. Do you have a daily routine of prayer and spending time in the Word, or does everyday look a little different?  We would love to hear about it!

Thank you so much. My faith in Jesus is my life….He is Life, Love and Strength. I became a Jesus follower at the age of 33 after He picked me up off the floor after a very traumatic season in my life, and He penetrated my heart at such a deep level that it’s hard to describe. I had an affair, divorced my husband and shattered my family back in the early 90’s. But Jesus saved me from the mess and put me on the right path. It was hard work, but back in 1992, I started reading the Bible for the first time in my life…my daily routine started back then of getting up early in the morning, getting my coffee ready, sitting down in my comfy chair with my Bible and a journal. I began to find out who God was by studying His Word, journaling, and praying. It brings me to tears even now as I reflect on all He has done in me, my marriage, my family, and in my life. Today, as I approach my 60th birthday, and 26 years later, I still do the very same thing- setting my alarm to wake up to hang out with Jesus. It is by far the richest part of my day!

Your marriage story is such a special + inspiring one and we love that you are using your experience to encourage others in their marriages! Can you share a little bit about that?

It overwhelms me to tears (even now as I write) because it is such a miracle and a work of God that took so much perseverance and endurance to walk through. Our book, I Do Again, shares more details, but here are the highlights: Jeff and were married the first time and living in LA, in a marriage where we were focused on all the wrong stuff—money, success, selfishness. I was lonely and desperate to know Jeff, but I kept feeling like I was hitting a brick wall. We didn’t fight, had plenty of sex, but were not connected emotionally. Long story short, I had an affair after 8 years of marriage (that I wasn’t looking for)… A man just started paying attention to me and before I knew it, I was wrapped up in a crazy cycle. Because of the deception I was under, I filed for divorce and left Jeff after 10 years of marriage. The pain is gut-wrenching for me to think I was capable of doing all of that, but it is my story and I know God wants me to share it. I became a Jesus follower 2 months after our divorce was final and God put me on a path to restore the marriage, which took 7 years, but He did it! It was so worth the wait, the pain, and the perseverance. We have been back together now for over 18 years and work together in our ministry, Hope Matters Marriage Ministries, meeting with couples, speaking across the country, podcasting, and writing. 

Let’s talk clean beauty- what are a few of your favorite brands?

I am so thankful to my daughter Lauren for educating me about this topic! The two brands I’ve tried so far are RMS and Primally Pure.

And fashion- what are a few of your favorite clothing/accessories brands?

For casual wear and because working out is part of my daily routine, I love to be comfy, but fashionable. LuLulemon, Nike and ALO Yoga are some of my go to’s for every day! I love lots of different styles and brands, but honestly I think what’s important is developing your own style! I’ve done that since I was little girl. I study fashion, and then decide what a good look would be for me! One of my lines is “I want to grow old gracefully!” I want to dress in a classy, feminine, elegant way and never compromise being a Godly woman even in this area of my life. 

And finally, wellness! What is one wellness routine that you are loving right now?

I have always been a health nut and love being an all-natural kind of woman—Since I can remember, I have always eaten clean (lots of veggies, nuts, grass-fed meat, pasture-raised chicken and eggs as well as wild-caught fish). Working out, taking care of my mind as well as my spirit by understanding who God has made me spiritually, emotionally, physically, sexually and professionally is by far a must for me. Now that I’ve gotten older it has served me well, and has been totally worth it. I feel young and vibrant!

Dear Jase,

769 1024 Lauren Kennedy

I was just talking to someone this morning about how married life brings this unspoken sense of wholeness + such a deep sense of closeness with your spouse. I feel like each year, I fall more in love than the last. Jase, I am so thankful to be married to a man that is so kind-hearted and humble. You remind me to relax. You always apologize first. Your hugs can calm me down in a second. You make me laugh so hard every day. You teach me what it looks like to be a friend who goes beyond the standard. You see the best in me. You teach me that generosity has no boundaries. You create a solid foundation in our home and marriage. You exemplify how powerful and meaningful prayer is. You make me a better person. You are my biggest encouragement and supporter. I love how you always speak your feelings. I love how you endlessly show your love to me. I love how you always change the light bulbs in our house. You are the most thoughtful person I know. I love that in the end, you view arguments as a better way to know each other. I love that you roll down your car window to see things better. I love your passion for relationships and stories. I love how tender your heart is. Your work ethic is an example to me. You always make me feel like the top priority. Your surprises are the sweetest. You are my favorite travel buddy. I am so thankful that I miss you whenever you are not next to me. You are my best friend, and I love you with all of my heart. Happy Valentine’s day, babe.

 

A New Vision of Love

1024 683 Lauren Kennedy

When I think of the term love, I immediately think of ease, in the sense that even if we are loving someone through an argument, disagreement, or trial, it always has a positive outcome; it is always leading to something redeeming. I initially associate it with an action that is poured out on people we care about, a commitment, a word to describe things or activities that bring us joy, and an equivalent to what God is and what He endlessly gives. But, I feel like these last few months, my eyes have been opened to a different kind of love, a harder kind of love…a love with a result that might not be seen, except in your own character.

Jason and I have become closer than ever since the end of December. We have been faced with things that are uncomfortable,  unfortunate, and completely out of our control. We have become aware of the amount of hurt and angry people that reside all around us. Our hearts have been broken as we watch, yet we are so grateful because we are reminded of how we can pray and love behind the scenes. After my accident, I fully came to realize that fire fighters and first responders have one of the most service-filled yet difficult jobs. My family and I went to the station to give the biggest hugs and thank yous to those who cared for me so quickly and diligently, and for getting me to the hospital in the best care. They mentioned to us that they had never met anyone that they had rescued and cared for. What a realization! Can you imagine? They put their hearts and deepest efforts into saving lives, yet they almost never know the outcome. What incredible love.

This picture has been running through my head so much recently. A consistent conversation around us is the fact that so many experience hate, bullying, and division on social media. Our initial response is wanting to defend or have the last word, but in this scenario, how can we love? How can we love behind the scenes, even when no one may see? How can we pray and serve people we don’t know who are living in a state of loneliness and hopelessness? In fact, they most likely will be those that are firing hate your way. My dear friend here in LA shared this beautiful piece of wisdom with me last year: you can’t have animosity towards someone you pray for. Prayer is so powerfully loving, healing, and redeeming. How can we start praying for people who may be trying to diminish our value? If someone we don’t know has the potential power to cut so deeply into our well being through words, then we have the power in the opposite way to love on them whole-heartedly from afar.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has an opinion. It has increased my vision of love to step back and look at the big picture. Hurt people hurt people, and what they need more of is love. What can you do today to love on someone that least excepts it? Who can you pray for that has hurt you?

This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series. Be sure and check out the other ladies in this wonderful group: Kat, The Refined Woman, Brynn Watkins, and Yvette Jain.

Photos by Christy Johnston.

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