30 Prayer prompts for wives

When we were just newly weds! We had NO IDEA that life as we knew it would change BE OVER! It hasn’t been easy but I thank God for quickening us. Now we BOTH love God and His ways and are born again believers.

My husband has always said that I make him feel 7ft tall ūüôā I believe that’s because in addition to building him up physically and emotionally (through healthy meals, good lovin’, general honor and encouragement etc.), I also lift him up spiritually. Listen, prayer is tried and true! I’ve learned that at the end of the day, God is the only one with all the wisdom, truth and power to actually change your situations for the better.

A few years ago (when I was a newly wed), I stumbled across this 30 Day Prayer Challenge for wives and I want to share it with you in case any of you could use some prayer prompts. Now I’m not endorsing the website I got it from (ibelieve.com). I’m just sharing this specific post with you guys. As a matter a fact, I encourage you to just go through the prompts and create your own little prayer journal or something. That way you can really make the prayers not only focused but personal..

So¬†here’s the link¬†to the challenge. I pray that it blesses you and your marriages‚ô•

With love,

Brandi Collins

(My Marriage Prayer Journal‚ô• I bought a blue one (that sparkles of course!) because blue is my husband’s favorite color. Trust me, It’s the little things in life!)

Loving the unlovable (Encouragement for struggling stepmothers)

(Featured image provided by Pexels.com)

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.¬†And though I have¬†the gift of¬†prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith,¬†so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.¬†And¬†though I bestow all my goods to feed¬†the poor,¬†and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.¬†Love suffers long¬†and¬†is¬†kind; love¬†does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;¬†does not behave rudely,¬†does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;does not rejoice in iniquity, but¬†rejoices in the truth;¬†bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.¬†Love never fails.”

( 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, NKJV)

Whew! That passage of scriptures right there will end your life if you think that you are some great or mature woman in the Lord but hate your step children. You guys, I have been holding off on this post for SO long now because I know all about this struggle. I have a step daughter who lives with us and who honestly, gets on my ever lasting nerves. I have wished her away plenty of times. I have even tried to divorce my husband behind her. So trust me, the things that I am going to share are real, and a little hard to hear but necessary. And I can’t promise that by the end of this post that you’ll adore your stepchildren (because I’m still working on it!). But you will know how to endure your suffering and what is unacceptable on your part as a woman professing godliness.

So first things first, a quick “disclaimer”. I understand that not everyone is struggling as a step parent. This post is for those of us who are. Also, it takes a certain level of discernment and maturity to acknowledge that even children can be used by the devil. People typically think that the children are always innocent but we ALL were born into sin and shapen in iniquity.¬† HOWEVER, we can not try to blame others for our sin like Adam did. So in this post, we are going to just focus on ourselves and take accountability for our own thoughts and actions (or reactions!).

So anyway,¬† let’s begin with the marriage. If you believe that your marriage was a match made in heaven, then you definitely need to honor (and enjoy!) it and let NO ONE (not even yourself) destroy it. Like I said, I tried to leave in the beginning. Thank God my husband loves me like Christ loves church and understood that no one, not even our children should come before our spouses. Now just for the record, even if you know that God DIDN’T join you two together, you still have to honor that covenant. Concerning stepchildren in general, divorce is not an option.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about love. Love is a term that has been really abused and misused. We live in a deceived world where we have been taught (ultimately by satan) that love is a feeling. Love is not a feeling or a “liking”, it is an attribute of God. It is an action or a deed, meaning a process of something selfless being done. Not knowing this can really hinder you in growing to love your step children. I remember being really discouraged because I thought that I would never love my stepdaughter because I didn’t like her or FEEL like I loved her. If you’re sitting around waiting on your feelings to line up with the commands of God, then you will be waiting forever or even worst, double minded. There will be times when we have to go directly against our feelings. And God will change our feelings when we learn to THINK and act differently. This is how we become sanctified. Our flesh will NEVER be willing to submit to the laws of God.

¬†“For¬†those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those¬†who live¬†according to the Spirit,¬†the things of the Spirit.¬†For¬†to be carnally minded¬†is¬†death, but to be spiritually minded¬†is¬†life and peace.¬†Because¬†the carnal mind¬†is¬†enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God,¬†nor indeed can be.¬†So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.¬†But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.¬†¬†And if Christ¬†is¬†in you, the body¬†is¬†dead because of sin, but the Spirit¬†is¬†life because of righteousness.¬†But if the Spirit of¬†Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,¬†He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:5-11, NKJV)

This is another lie I believed. I believed that I was being fake when I would force myself to act in loving ways. Hear me, we are never being fake (or even hypocrites) when we are trying to obey God in spite of our feelings. That is the whole point of crucifying our flesh and dying to self. We can love people whether we FEEL like it or not because true love is not a feeling it is the power of God. And if we claim to have His spirit then we can (and will!) love. Otherwise we are liars.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.¬†But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.¬†God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.¬†This is real love‚ÄĒnot that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.¬†Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.¬†No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.¬†And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.¬†Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.¬†¬†All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.¬†We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.¬†God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.¬†And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.¬†Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.¬†We love each other because he loved us first.¬†If someone says, ‚ÄúI love God,‚ÄĚ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don‚Äôt love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?¬†And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.” ( 1 John 4:7-21, NLT)

And I think its worth mentioning that we need to accept the scriptures as they are. We begin to deceive ourselves when we try to ignore what they say or try to justify ourselves. I remember being so wicked while reading this thinking that I was only commanded to love by brothers and sisters in Christ not bad kids or unbelievers. But guess what? That’s how people deceive themselves. By picking and choosing what they want instead of taking in the full counsel of the Word. Jesus told us to pray for those who persecute us and to bless our enemies. So when it comes to hating ANYBODY including our stepchildren there are NO excuses. Hatred is a murderous spirit. and we know that no murderer has eternal life within them.

‚ÄĘ “You are of¬†your¬†father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires¬†[which are characteristic]¬†of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies¬†and¬†half-truths.” (John 8:44, AMP)

‚ÄĘ “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.¬†Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.¬†Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” ( 1 John 3:14-16)

You see, we love by laying down our will (and satan’s will!) for the benefit of someone else. And as wives, it is our duty (which is a moral and legal obligation) to wholeheartedly assist our husbands in raising OUR (which includes theirs!) children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And speaking of passing from death to life, that is the resurrection! THAT IS THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL. We were dead in our sin but now we have been raised to life in the spirit. Now, in Christ, we have the power to overcome ALL spiritual wickedness. And how to we do this? We DO this by DOING what is good and right. Especially when doing what’s good and right is the hardest!

If it is possible, as much as depends on you,¬†live peaceably with all men.¬†Beloved,¬†do not avenge yourselves, but¬†rather¬†give place to wrath; for it is written,¬†‚ÄúVengeance¬†is¬†Mine, I will repay,‚Ä̬†says the Lord.¬†¬†Therefore¬†‚ÄúIf your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.‚Ä̬†Do not be overcome by evil, but¬†overcome evil with good.”¬†(Romans 12:18-21, NKJV)

Now it all seems simple but if you’re anything like me, you’ve let the situation (or in my case, circumstance) plague you with resentment and bitterness. This is a very dangerous place to be in. And I’m going to be honest, if you (or I!) die in this place we’re going straight to hell. So we have to climb out of this grave. And not just for ourselves, but for our husbands or for any other children in the situation because bitterness is contagious.

Pursue peace with all¬†people,¬†and holiness,¬†without which no one will see the Lord:¬†¬†looking carefully lest anyone¬†fall short of the grace of God; lest any¬†root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;” (Hebrews 12:14-15, NKJV)

So, if you have bitterness in your heart don’t throw in the towel. There is hope. Confess your sins to the Lord (acknowledge them as wrong and hate them) and consider these four tips that have TREMENDOUSLY helped me out.

1. Pray

Prayer is tried in true. And that’s all I have to say about that.

2. Remember the golden rule

One of the greatest commandments is loving others as yourself. If we do not care for our stepchildren as we would (or do) our own then we will be in BIG trouble. Another thing I do is imagine a step parent hating and even possibly mistreating my children. Now if you love your kids like I love mine, then trust me, those thought’ll get you right.

3. Cast down vain imaginations

Stepchildren (and babymamas and sometimes even grandmothers!) can make your life seem UNBEARABLE. But that is a lie. Not only are there other people in the same situation but some of them have overcome it! Besides, God will not suffer us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. Sinful thoughts are what make painful emotions (and annoyances) unbearable.

No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.” ( 1 Corinthians 10:13, NET)

So, we have to take every thought captive. We have to stop replaying events and conversations in our heads over and over again. We have to stop imagining things that haven’t even happened yet! THERE IS NO FAITH IN THAT.¬† So let’s allow God to transform us and eventually our situations by the renewing of our minds.

‚ÄĘ “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.¬†¬†For the weapons¬†of our warfare¬†are¬†not carnal but¬†mighty in God¬†for pulling down strongholds,¬†casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” ( 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NKJV)

‚ÄĘ “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ( Philippians 4:8)¬†

4. Fear God (And of course, this is last but not least.)

Ultimately, we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We must believe that all of those scriptures concerning love and treating others right also applies to us. God is no respecter of persons. We will be judged righteously. It’s no surprise to God that your spouse had a child (or children). So, welcome this kind of circumstance if not as anything else, as discipline. It is better to suffer in doing what is right than to be punished by God for doing what is wrong ( 1 Peter 3:17). When we obey God instead of contending for what we want (or think we deserve), we become those living sacrifices that are pleasing and acceptable to Him. So, let us worship our God and be good stewards of everything (including EVERYONE) He has entrusted to us‚ô•

I hope this post has encouraged you in your situation, and if you know a step mother who is struggling PLEASE share this post with her. The struggle is REAL. And more importantly this could be a matter of spiritual life and death. God bless you all. Please email me if you are compelled to and also keep me in your prayers as well.

Much love, Brandi Collins

3 Tips on making a godly marriage work

So yesterday was my anniversary and in honor of us entering into our 4th year of marriage, I thought it would be fun (and helpful!) to share 3 things that have strengthened our relationship.

1. Being selfless

My husband and I have both come to the knowledge and understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ. So self denial (denying the flesh) has been essential to every part of our lives, including (or especially!) our marriage. We are ALL selfish and self absorbed by nature but unfortunately most of us don’t even realize that we are and have always been until we get married. So, with that being said, my first tip is to put your spouse’s needs above your own without conditions and without any expectations.

2. Communication

Now my husband and I talk and have always talked about any and EVERYTHING, to the point where we had to repent and start holding each other accountable for idle conversations and just straight up gossiping. But at the end of the day, we have to express ourselves in order to make sure that we are on the same page (or at least working toward the same things). Also, we have to not only acknowledge but HONOR the fact that men and women usually communicate in different ways.

3. Integrity

There is so much peace and joy in the home and in the marriage when you and your spouse are trustworthy.¬†And this doesn’t just happen because you’re in love. You have to fear the Lord and walk in His ways first.

4. Encouragement (A bonus from my husband)

As I ran through an overview of this post with my husband,¬†he told me to mention how it is also important to allow your spouse time to grow.¬†Looking back,¬† I can’t even believe that my husband and I hooked up because we are nothing like the people we once were.

IMG_20160405_2243012017-11-29-12-10-17

This is a witness to the fact that God can and will change those who are willing. And it only gets better as you’re continuously being refined and conformed to the likeness of Christ. So basically, what he’s saying is, let God be God (and let satan be satan!). Our jobs as wives are to HELP not accuse or hinder our husbands.

So, I hope that you consider this post and if you have any tips on a healthy marriage please let us know!

Much love, Brandi

The Excellent Wife book review

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. (Proverbs 12:4)

So I stumbled across this book at my local library, and I STILL can not believe how much it has impacted me. Now I don’t know much about the author, Martha Peace so I can’t really endorse her (or her trinitarian views) but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this book is the truth!¬† Seriously, it is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Through The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace seems to be the epitome of the Titus 2 woman by teaching us younger women EVERYTHING we need to learn to mature into godly women.

The wise counsel in this book definitely lives up to it’s sub title (“A Biblical Perspective”) because with scripture, Martha proves what God requires of Christian wives. And even though the standards are high, Martha demonstrates how with and by the grace of God they are attainable.

I have a notebook full of things I took away from this book because she addresses everything from idols in our hearts to sinful (but understandably painful) emotions that are enslaving us. One of the many things I loved about this book was how it mainly focuses on obeying the Lord’s commands which makes it applicable to any area of our lives. So with that being said,¬† I would just recommend this book to women in general. But¬†as a wife, the most valuable part of the book (to me) was on respecting our husbands unconditionally.¬†The advice is tried and true. And I say that because my own husband immediately noticed (and received) my improvements.

So, if you’re working on becoming a better wife, check out this book it’s an “excellent” guide.

Much love, Brandi

 

Order The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace here

The Peaceful Mom book review

A fun fact about me is that I LOVE TO READ. I am always reading something! So with that being said, I thought that I would start sharing with you all what books I am currently reading. Right now, I have about 3 books in rotation but before I finish any of them I want to take a minute to share my thoughts on a book that I just finished: The Peaceful Mom by April Cassidy

Quick disclosure: I will only be reviewing books that in my opinion are worth reading. I am not going to waste my time (or yours!) reading (or mentioning) random books that aren’t edifying. So basically, you can assume that every book I review, I am recommending.

Just thought I’d throw that out there..

But anyway, many of you may already be familiar with April Cassidy, The Peaceful Wife. And if you aren’t, here is a link to her blog (you’ll want to thank me later but all glory belongs to God!).¬†I have been following her ministry for about 3 years now and she has inspired me to humble myself as a woman and to become truly anchored in Christ.

When she shared that she was finishing up The Peaceful Mom, I was beyond excited because I often feel like I am failing in that area. And to be honest,¬† I wasn’t that interested in reading her first book The Peaceful Wife because I assumed that whatever she was talking about would already be covered on the blog. But after reading this,¬† I don’t even care. I’m going to read it because now i’m wondering what other provision God has provided through it for my marriage.

But that’s another post for another day.¬† I’ll be sure to let you know but for now here are my thoughts on The Peaceful Mom!

First things first. This is not your typical¬†(and carnal!)¬†“How To”¬† be a better mom book. This book focuses more on building your relationship with God than with your children (which I love!).

In the Peaceful Mom, April walks us through (with scripture!) correcting our negative beliefs, thoughts and emotions towards God, ourselves and toward other people (especially our children). She also teaches (or reminds) us that true peace can only be found in right standing with Jesus.

Now like I mentioned before,¬† I wanted to read this book because I have been all over the place emotionally as a mother. And I’m also a step mother so I want to make sure to have a healthy and¬†impartial relationship with my step daughter.

What I like about this book is that it features some of her own personal stories as well as testimonies from other men and women, which is encouraging because it highlights how even though our circumstances are different we all have struggles (and are overcoming!). Another thing I liked was how throughout the entire book she continually addresses sin and points us back to Jesus. That is also why I appreciate her blogs.  April Cassidy know she be preaching the gospel!

But ultimately,¬† what I took away from this book was, and I quote, “A peaceful mom knows God intimately and follows him wholeheartedly.”¬†After reading The Peaceful Mom I not only found myself coming to repentance, but I also found myself respecting my husband as a parent AND my children. Obviously I recommend this book. It is a must read (even if you are a single woman without a husband or children). I will¬†definitely be revisiting this book because it is full of prayer and wisdom.

So there it is! I hope that you guys enjoyed this book review because like I said, I’ll be doing them quite often. Also, I would love to hear about what edifying books you’ve been reading so please share them with me in the comment section! Much love!!

Your sister,
Brandi

Don’t forget to visit April Cassidy’s blog:
Peaceful Wife
Peaceful Single girl

When your children aren’t interested in the Lord

 

It can be frustrating, and ultimately heartbreaking when your children seem to have no genuine interest or affection for the Lord. This is something that I have been experiencing lately. All of my kids believe in God but one of them in particular just isn’t that enthusiastic about living a true Christian lifestyle. So I thought that I would share with you all how I’m able to be at peace with it all.

Now first of all, I just want to address the fact that we are NOT exempt from having unbelieving children. There were plenty of godly people in the Bible with perverse offspring . I know we like to believe that out of all these people in the world, that our entire families are going to be part of that FEW saved by the Lord.¬† But don’t be naive, Jesus himself told us that households will be divided so it would be wise to take in the full counsel of the Word and let the scriptures sober us.

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”¬†(Matthew 10:34-37)

Now does this mean that we can or should just give up hope and throw our children over to the wolves ? Of Course not. Especially if you have young children like mine who need to be stewarded. What this means is that we are not to love our families more than we love God because if they really do decide to reject Him we’ll either try to override their free will or shrink back in fear and compromise (usually by tolerating their blasphemy and/or worldliness). And I’m not gone lie, whenever any of my kids start acting all nonchalant about the things of God naturally I just want to freak out. But as I really begin to pray for them that burden I think I have to carry as a parent is lifted.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

And that’s the thing, I can have peace knowing that the battle is truly not mine to fight. My job is to simply pray without ceasing and to live out the gospel (and not because my children are watching but because I fear God and because Jesus is the Lord of my life). That is what’s important because if we can just be honest with ourselves, we are probably the main reason why our children aren’t interested. Maybe you came to the Lord when you were older so your children are already grown. Or maybe you were just a little too zealous like I was and repelled them off with MANY words! See I used to think that I was the holy Spirit and that it was my job to convict my children of their sins and to reveal all kinds of “truth” to them. But I must’ve forgotten that I don’t have any power. I couldn’t even change myself! So I just needed to BACK OFF and let GOD be God.

But anyway, ALL OF THAT just to say that at the end of the day all we can do is work out our OWN salvation with fear and trembling and pray that they’ll do the same.

Group hug‚ô•

Brandi

Being a homemaker: Why I quit my job to stay home full-time

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”(Proverbs 31:27)

In a generation where being a “boss” chick takes precedence over assisting your husband and raising children, it’s no surprise that quitting my job to stay home full-time seemed to be anything but noble.

I remember old friends and family members being a bit concerned because financially speaking, we shouldn’t have been able to make that move. But that’s the thing, I didn’t become a stay at home wife or a homeschooling mom to try and keep up with the Joneses. My husband and I understood the seriousness of fostering a godly family.

We knew that there was no way for me to truly be attentive to my husband (or available for my children) working a full time job with crazy retail hours. And for me, the solution wasn’t to just get another job because taking a step down (or working part-time) in some ways still meant neglecting my God-given responsibilities.

You see homemaking is so much more than just lounging around in your pajamas all day long, and it is certainly more than just cooking and cleaning or doing NEVER ENDING laundry. So I want to share what it is that I actually do at home, and I hope in the midst to encourage some of you who are either new to homemaking or weary in well doing.

So first things first, being suitable for the kingdom and for my husband.

Now I married a man who loves God and is seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, so that means that he is often a target for hatred and ridicule. My job is to not only BE but to create (and maintain!) a peaceful, loving and godly place for him to rest and to regroup after a hard exhausting day.

Now I don’t know about you but there is NO peace or love or gentleness or GOODNESS¬†in and of myself. I get these qualities from walking very closely with the Lord. If I were still out¬† working some stressful and unfulfilling (or exciting and “fulfilling”) job, I wouldn’t have the time, energy or even the desire to spend my extra time praying and reading the Bible or marriage blogs. And I’m just being honest! Staying home allows me to go as deep as I want with the Lord, without any vain distractions or divided loyalty between Him and work . The Lord is my foundation. So first of all, I spend my days at home seeking Him and His ways. THEN I can begin to built or “make” my life and marriage pleasant with a renewed mind and with fruits of the Spirit.

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)

Discipling my children

Before I got married I was a single (and working!) mother of 3 children, so I understand that you have to do the best that you can do. But now that I am married with a working husband there is no need for me to work or to desperately allow my children to be raised by daycare providers and teachers unbelievers.

This world is blatantly pushing Satan’s agenda and I would be a fool to just volunteer my children over to the system. Mothers have been given such a big and awesome responsibility to primarily raise the children upright in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And I don’t care what the world says,¬† I know from experience that you can NOT do that wholeheartedly at work.

It’s like we’re always looking for some grand opportunity to witness to somebody as we overlook our very own children who also need to hear AND SEE the gospel. And by no means does this mean that my children are perfect (or exempt from anything) but that’s okay because I’m not raising them upright for my own pride or glory anyway.

This life is not a game. And even though ultimately they have to live their own, my job as a parent is to lead them (by example!) onto the right path in hopes that they’ll go on to follow Jesus.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”¬†(Proverbs 22:6)

So yeah, basically, that is why I quit my job to stay home full-time. And what a blessing it is to be able to serve and to commit like this!

Much love,
Brandi