5 things that make me happy

Everyone experiences happiness in different ways. It does not matter what makes you happy; what matters is being happy. In John 16:24, Jesus says “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” God wants us to be truly happy. If you don’t have happiness in your life, dig deep. Dig deep and figure out what would make you happy. I am not referring to material things. If buying something new is what you think will bring true happiness, you did not dig deep enough. Determine these things and ask God for His guidance.

Here are 5 things that make me truly happy:

1.Grace: This one is the most important for me. It took me awhile to find God’s grace and be willing to receive it. Afterwards, my life was changed forever. Yes I still struggle and yes there are those difficult days but without grace, I’d never make it through. Grace brings happiness no matter what is going on in my life.

2.My husband: I’m sure it sounds cliché to some of you, but I really have no idea where I would be without my husband. I surely do not have any desire to find out. He has helped me in ways I never thought were possible and loved me like I never thought someone would.

3.Being a wife: I’m not going to lie. Being a wife isn’t all unicorns and rainbows (no marriage is). But that still does not mean it can’t bring me happiness. There are things I prefer not to do that people associate with married life like fold and put away laundry or cook every single night (thank goodness I’m not stuck in these things and hubby helps me ALOT), but this is not being a wife. To me, some of what being a wife means is being supportive. It means being patient and full of love. It’s dating my husband and continuing to help build our relationship.

4.Family: Although my family is spread out among various places, larger, some are furry and I am now married, it does not mean anyone becomes less important. In fact, I find family to be extremely important in a person’s happiness. Yes we still fight and have times we don’t get along or want to talk to each other but that doesn’t mean we love each other less.

5.Blessings: Every single thing I have is a blessing from God. From my job, my family, our cars, our house, our good health…all of it is because of Him. I thank Him every day for all of my blessings and thank Him for the ones He plans to give me in the future.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
-Frederick Keonig

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Grace in a marriage

Matthew 19:5-6 states that “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Marriage is a promise and sacred bond between a man and a woman publicly entered into before God. I could entertain you on how our wedding went but I’ll save that for another time. Luke and I have been married for 7, almost 8 months. As all newlyweds probably say, it’s been wonderful and full of love. That’s entirely true for us. We’ve experienced things most newlyweds would not have to endure but it has strengthened our marriage in numerous ways. It has taught us more about communication (one of the reasons difficulties begin in a marriage), true, deep love, and grace.

I never thought about grace in a marriage; at least not until I realized grace is about love, forgiveness, tenderness, and helpfulness. Aren’t these all of the things we ask of our spouse and that our spouse asks of us? Grace is so vital to a healthy marriage. My husband has shown me grace countless times in the last 7 months. He’s shown grace during the grief, the anxiety, the impatience, the irritability, the sadness, the neediness…the list could possibly go on if he was writing. Without his endless love, just like Jesus’, I wouldn’t be where I am in life.

Grace in a marriage is about being there for each other no matter what. It’s about holding each other and listening to our spouse talk or even cry. It’s about forgiveness, whether it’s something that was said or something not done that you expected. It’s about tenderness regardless of what life throws at both of you. It’s about being helpful even with something as simple as opening a jar of pickles or cleaning the house. It’s appreciation…with EVERYTHING. Without grace, marriage gets difficult. You move your eyes from Jesus even just slightly enough to let the devil in. We all know the devil just wants to destroy marriages no matter what he has to do.

My advice for you tonight: show grace to your spouse. They deserve it just as much as you do.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” -Colossians 3:12-14

How To Get and Feel Grace

grace (n): the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

A lot of times we (myself included) think we deserve grace, no questions asked. Sometimes in life, it’s almost as if we get in a certain situation or frame of mind and act before we pray about it. Our number one go to is God. He supplies our needs. It may feel as if our friends, our family, and our coworkers supply us with everything we need but I assure you those things do not come without that bond with God. As christians we don’t have rights to anything. Everything we are given is given to us by God. Yes, God gives us grace but that does not always mean we deserve it. Ephesians 4:7 says “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” God allocates grace for everyone who believes in Him.

Getting and feeling God’s grace goes hand in hand. Think of it as a grace-flow, as my Pastor puts it. Being generous allows us to experience things we never thought possible. This is through God’s grace. Avoiding generosity disheartens your relationship with God. As my Pastor said one morning, “Generosity is based on the overflow of God’s grace and love.” I know being generous is tough at times. Why would you want to be generous to that friend who blew you off by canceling plans at the last minute? Why would you want to be generous to the homeless person asking for help or money when you’re working hard and living paycheck to paycheck? Why would you want to be generous to that coworker that you know isn’t trustworthy? Why would you want to be generous to that person who always tries to turn your world upside down? We’ve all been there-in that situation where we just feel resentment or even hatred towards another person. Yet we still think we deserve grace. Why should we deserve God’s grace if we have these negative feelings towards others, some of those being people we really don’t even know?

So how can we get and feel God’s grace amidst all these things standing in our way? Simple: Love. Forgiveness. Tenderness. Helpfulness. Things we are all familiar with, yet often find it difficult to do. I struggled with forgiveness for months. I had that feeling of hatred towards a person that I knew I shouldn’t have. Yet, I still could not find it in my heart to forgive them. Each time I would feel God’s grace flow through me and God tell me to forgive (which took ALOT of prayer by the way), this person would do something else to bring back all those emotions, including anxiety, I thought were gone. So the cycle began again. I felt the anger, the hatred, and the refusal to ever forgive them. I kept praying. Prayer warriors were praying for me. Then it hit me. God poured his grace into me and I accepted it wholeheartedly. Everything after that was a piece of cake. Forgiveness came, resentment left. Love came, hatred left. Then grace-God’s sweet, amazing grace-it began flowing through me like never before and I find it so much easier to steer away from those pressing questions. I’m not perfect; I still have those thoughts, but they’re brushed away thanks to God’s grace.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  -2 Corinthians 12:9