3 Stay at home Date night Ideas for Christian couples

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Newly weds on a date!

When my husband and I first got married we did all sorts of exciting things together. We would go painting, and horseback riding.. and we would even go exploring historical parks and museums together!

But a lot has changed since then. We have been born again. And I’m not saying that any of those things are sin but a lot of things that people of the world typically do on date night is. For instance, going to the movie theater. We used to enjoy watching movies together until the Lord began to convict us. Now, we can see how we (as followers of Jesus Christ) have no business sitting around snacking with unbelievers watching all manner of sin and wickedness being glamorized glorified.  And speaking of unbelievers, it has also become more challenging to date now that we’re uncomfortable leaving our children with other people. So with our options slim and no where to leave the kids, I had just given up on dating altogether. But lately I’ve noticing my husband craving my attention. And I’ve heard him mention (more than once!) how he believes that dating (or alone time without the kids) is very important in marriage. So I’ve been trying to make dating a priority, and I want to share what we’ve been doing so far because it’s been working.

1. Couple’s  massages

Now my husband is always rubbing me down 🙂 He says that it’s relaxing to him. So I knew that it would be a good idea to just dedicate a whole night to giving each other massages. My husband’s work is very hard on his body so we invested in a massage table but that isn’t really necessary.  Just light some candles, heat up your massage oils and lay a towel on your bed (or floor!) and cater to your husband.

2. Charcuterie boards

When the kids are off to bed, assemble a charcuterie  board and have yourselves a little picnic. You guys can just catch up or simply play a game of scrabble (or something!). And just in case you’re wondering, I bought a cute little serving board from TJ Maxx but you can use a TV tray (or even a regular plate). Do what you can with what you have. Also, I assemble my board with an assortment of cured meats and cheeses. And I also add fresh fruit, dark chocolate, nuts, olives, crackers and hummus. Again, use what you can (and what you guys like). We normally already have these types of finger foods in the house.

3. Cooking (and baking!) together

Now me and my husband like to cook (and eat!) so partnering up to try new recipes is exciting to us. Get the kids situated with a pizza or something good (so they won’t desire what you guys are cooking for yourselves) and print out a recipe that sound delicious and have some fun in the kitchen!

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Me and my honey♥

I hope that these ideas have inspired you. Let me know what you and your husband do for date nights at home, I want to hear your ideas too!

Much love,

Brandi

♥♥

3 Reasons why Single women shouldn’t prepare to be Wives

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2015, Sharing a picture of my engagement ring.

Let me just start off by saying that I am not discouraging single women from desiring marriage. I am a happily married woman, and marriage is honorable. My goal is to simply encourage my single sisters in the Lord.

Trust me, I may be a wife now but I still remember what it felt like being single, waiting for a spouse. So I just want to share a few things with you in hopes that they’ll help you focus more on the Lord (and not on yourself or on a spouse!) in this valuable season of your life.

So let’s get right into it..

Now the first reason why I believe that single Christian women shouldn’t be preparing to be wives, is because the truth is that you will never truly be prepared to be a wife.

Getting married is like having your first baby—You can read all the books, consult the most experienced mothers, child proof your home and even stock up on all the best diapers and bottles! But nothing that you do could ever prepare you for the unforeseen challenges of parenting your individual child. And it’s the same way with a spouse. You don’t know what his past held (or what his future entails!), so how can you prepare to be suitable? Being a good wife isn’t about being a “good woman” in general. It’s all about being suitable for your specific husband. And even if you are dating who you believe is going to be your husband, I can guarantee you that he is not all that God would have him to be right now. Marriage is a very humbling, refining process. So who you guys are now may not be what the other needs or will even be attracted to later! Both of you will go (or grow) through some very drastic changes (if you’re truly walking with the Lord). So the best way to prepare for anything for that matter is to receive the Holy ghost and abide in that Spirit.

 

(The picture on the left is from early 2016, when we first got married. The picture on the right was from a cpl weeks ago, and we’re STILL growing in the Lord!)

2. Men and marriage become idols

“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (Ephesians 5:5)

You may not want to admit it but when we’re single we are VERY covetous. We want a man, a husband, a wedding, a “godly marriage”, a family etc. And eventually we become so consumed by those desires that we find ourselves discontent with just Jesus (we may even find ourselves jealous and hating on others!). Coveting is sin. And so is ungratefulness. Whether you ever get married or not, marriage is still beautiful and God is CERTAINLY still good.

3. Preparing to be a wife causes us to focus too much on ourselves.

When you spend your entire singleness focused on building yourself up or into something you in your own pride deems creditable or “good” you are just creating a big selfish (and haughty!) monster that will eventually have to die hard (unless it succeeds in ruining your marriage!). Marriage is all about serving, submitting, and refinement, so focusing on your SELF while you’re single (or as a follower of Jesus Christ in general!) is a BIG NO-NO.  And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t learn how to cook or be responsible with finances but these are things (like abstaining from sexual immorality!) that you should be doing anyway. I am completely against feminism, but you don’t need a man in order to obey the Lord or to be a good steward of your life and temple.

So I hope that you guys hear my heart on this. I love you, and I’m praying for your joy and strength!

With nothing but love,

Brandi

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When I was a single girl, I was so superficial. I just wanted to be a wife in general. Now all I want is to be “fit” for the Kingdom, and to be apart of the TRUE bride of Christ!

♥♥

14 Ways to Be a Better Wife

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2015, When we first started dating. We were so immature and ungodly (Just in general. Not because of this pose, he still carries me around lol! )

So let me just start off by saying that I am NOT the best wife. As a matter of fact, no one is. Being a good (or great!) wife really depends on who your husband is. Contrary to popular belief, men ARE different. So we as wives have to be suitable for our own specific husband (which I’ll talk more about in the next post for single women).  But anyway (in a general sense), I want to share some things that I believe all husbands could appreciate.

1. Prayer

Pray for your husband. Pray for yourself as a wife. Pray for your marriage, and don’t don’t forget to pray together as a couple! If your marriage is not founded on the commandments of God and upon the Lord Jesus Christ, then your marriage is definitely going to be (and remain!) a MESS. Even if you’re of the world and you think that your marriage is successful, you are deceived. Sin (even if it’s secret) in the end leads to nothing but death and destruction.

2. Making your husband your #1 priority

This is one of the main things that I struggle with because before I got married I was a single mother. But now that I know that mothers just struggle with this in general.. There’s no excuse, we have to stop neglecting our husbands! Put your mom, your job, your friends AND THE KIDS in their place. Our husbands are suppose to come first after God even before ourselves (which leads me into the next suggestion!).

3. Being selfless

As Christians, we should be dying to ourselves in general. But regarding this post, we should be making sure that our husband’s needs are met FIRST. But some of you ain’t tryna hear that (which again, leads me into the next suggestion).

4. Serving your husband with gladness

I remember being irritated when my husband would expect me to fix his plate in addition to cooking (Don’t judge me!). But deep down it would grieve me because I know that he doesn’t mean any harm. I have a good (as in godly), hardworking man. And even if your husband isn’t, fix his plate, run his bath, rub his feet etc. This is YOUR man. You can influence him. Besides, there is another woman somewhere who wants him, and who would love to serve him. You better act like you know it!

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate, not as inferior, but out of respect for the responsibilities entrusted to husbands and their accountability to God, and so partnering with them] so that even if some do not obey the word [of God], they may be won over [to Christ] without discussion by the godly lives of their wives, when they see your modest and respectful behavior [together with your devotion and appreciation—love your husband, encourage him, and enjoy him as a blessing from God].” (1 Peter 3:1-2, AMP)

5. Honoring his position and just respecting him in general!

In addition to the previous scripture, we are to submit to our husband in ALL things (except sin, don’t be ridiculous!), not just when we’re in agreement. And we should honor them because we love them, not because we feel like we have to, or because we think that we are doing God a favor.

6. Honoring YOUR marriage

I love “love”, and I am SO passionate about marriage and family. But the problem is that since I love marriage in general it’s not always personal. We have to make sure that we are honoring our specific husbands (and our specific marriage) and not just the idea of them. I hope that makes sense!

7. Being grateful and encouraging

In addition to the previous tip, just know that it makes our husbands feel really low when we are discontent and covetous.

8. Work on being a better (as in godly) wife

We’re usually focused on how our husbands could improve but the truth is that if we were better in certain areas then his flaws would probably be small things to a giant. So I encourage you to read some edifying books (or blogs!). And more importantly ask him what he needs and desires in a wife.

9. Become fluent in his “love language”.

OH MY GOSH GUYS!! This is HUGE!! I asked my husband to rate me as a wife on a scale from 1 to 10 and he rated me a 7 because I’m not that affectionate (as in clingy or touchy feely, I’ve never been.) But I thought that all those points would be for different things. I never would’ve thought that physical touch meant that much to him (it caused me 3 whole points!). So my advice to you would be to love him in ways that he feels loved, not in ways that you do or would.

10. Show interest in his interests (especially in his work!)

Your marriage is just business without friendship.

11. Being his safe place

You are not God, satan or his mama! Our jobs as wives are to be HELPERS. Allow him to make mistakes and to be a little vulnerable without your pity, criticism and/or judgment. Also, make sure that you aren’t being his source of ungodly influence by doing things like gossiping or loving the things of this world etc.

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

12.  Being gentle

Our husbands are men. And if they’re godly, they’re masculine (yes I did, pun intended.). So we really need to work on being truly feminine. God created us different for their pleasure. Our touch, our tone, our facial expressions and body language should all be soft and gentle. Yes, even the fruit of our lips should be pleasant.

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31:26)

13. Being more intimate with him

Now I told you that I’m working on being more affectionate but that doesn’t mean that I’m withholding sex. There’s a difference. For instance, I may not always want to cuddle afterwards but I do want to have sex with my husband.  I have no desire to withdraw myself, and neither should you. This is the enemy’s doing. God designed sex specifically for marriage. The devil has perverted it. If you’re having problems in your godly marriage I’m willing to bet that you aren’t having enough (or good enough!) sex. And by good enough, I don’t mean all of that demonic stuff you did when you were of the world. My husband and I aren’t acting like animals or perverted like homosexuals (using props or having anal and oral sex.) We make holy love before the Lord. And He blesses us with real intimacy and love for each other. This is how my husband really gets to know me. Remember, in order to effectively communicate with them we have to become fluent in their languages. And if you have any complaints, don’t nag your husband. Go and pray because your issue is really with God (He’s the one who designed our husbands to need sex in this way. By the way, I am not excusing a husband who is full of lust and lacks self control. That husband needs deliverance. I’m just speaking in a general sense.).

14. Taking care of yourself

And I’m not talking about SELF love or encouraging you to be vain. I’m just simply suggesting that you be a good steward of your temple and look presentable for your husband. We all know that men are visual so put some thought into your physical appearance. I don’t wear any make up or hair weaves so if you’re like me, you might be interested in a few of my natural beauty tips for Christian women.

Anyway, of course there is more that could be added to this list (feel free to add some suggestions in the comments!) but these are just the things that I am working on being more consistent in. Remember that being a good wife depends on what that looks like first to God and then to your own husband. So with that being said, I hope that this post has encouraged you to seek the Lord and to bless you husband 🙂

Much love!

Brandi Collins

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Me and my husband♥

The Heart of Homemaking

So I just want to take a minute to encourage those of you who also stay home because I know what it’s like to get weary in well doing. When we’re so caught up in the mundane things, it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re truly doing. There have been plenty of times that I’ve felt like my life had no value because I couldn’t see how cooking and cleaning (and decorating my house!) bared any fruit for the kingdom. But I’m here to remind you that we as wives and mothers (or just women in general), we may be the heart of the home but the heart of Homemaking is God’s. Yes, homemaking is His desire for us because if we can just be honest, our desires are (or were) to be out in this world making a name for ourselves. But contrary to what society may believe, it is a GREAT work raising arrows and creating an environment that fosters godliness.

Don’t let the world (or your own carnal mind!) corrupt your perspective on Homemaking. Remember that this world despises Jesus Christ, men and apparently children (with all of this abortion stuff)! When we’re abiding in the Lord our presence is light in the darkness and our homes can be a peaceful place in the chaos. In addition, Homemaking has eternal value. So just keep working wholeheartedly as unto the Lord unnoticed (and sometimes even unappreciated!) knowing that your reward will be in heaven..

You are SO precious girl! May the Lord preserve your heart and mind in Jesus Christ.

Your sister,

Brandi Collins

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Here’s to cleaning the kitchen, again.

♥♥

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:10-31)

Single ladies, PUT SOME CLOTHES ON GIRL!

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A picture of me when I was a single (professing Christian) woman taking selfies after getting dressed for church one morning. I should’ve been preparing my heart for worship, not for vanity and/or seduction!

So I was just explaining to another sister in the Lord how women wearing immodest apparel effects more than just men. I was telling her how I can barely take a family trip to the grocery store because I don’t want my husband OR CHILDREN exposed to all these naked women. And this is the thing (because the world is going to do what the world does), my issue is with all these professing Christians. Especially single “Christian” women who call themselves praying for a godly man and/or marriage.

You see, if you are still walking around half naked and selfish (thinking that it’s everyone else’s problem for looking) then you are NOT in Christ and you are NOT ready to be a wife! How can you be ready for marriage when you don’t even honor or respect other people’s marriages (and families!)?

And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16:12, NKJV)

And please understand that this post is not a rant because I remember being in that same self absorbed place as a single woman. I was in my own little world (totally unaware).  So even though there are a lot of whores out here, I understand that not everyone is trying to be seductive. Some are just ignorant. That’s what I was. And oh how I wish that someone would’ve told me to put some clothes on! I had no idea. I had NEVER considered the fact that I may have been offending married people (and corrupting their children!).

So this post is for those who have an ear to hear. Modesty is so much more than apparel. It’s about humility, and love for other people. It doesn’t matter how nice her body is (or how beautiful she may be!), a true woman of God will conceal what she has to if that’s what’s best for others.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4, AMP)

So don’t serve satan as a stumbling block. Consider what you’re wearing. And be honest, would you want your husband to notice another woman’s body? And I say notice (not look at) because not every man is full of lust. I can assure you that other women AND CHILDREN are noticing your nakedness as well. So humble yourself, and put some clothes on girl!

With nothing but love,

Brandi

♥♥ P.s If you really do desire a godly marriage, I want you to know that nudity repels godly men. If you’re interested, here’s a post on How To choose Modest apparel because this is also the reason why you’re feeling overlooked (or like you’re attracting the wrong men).

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Leave your husband a special love note somewhere!

Hey guys! So I really didn’t get a chance to post at all last week. My husband took a few days off and ya’ll know what that means 🙂 I really enjoyed his company but I also realized how exhausted he is. So I just want to take a few minutes to inspire all of you wives to take some time and let your husbands know how appreciated they are.

Now you can do this in many ways (preferably his favorites!) but I’m just going to share one that has been effective in my marriage. And that’s leaving random love notes. I’ve been doing this since we first got married, and I leave them everywhere from the microwave to the shower (which by the way is a great way to initiate some good GOOD lovin’!).

 

 

Now keep in mind that I’m a writer (meaning that I express my thoughts and feelings better on paper), and one of my husband’s strengths is that he is a GREAT communicator. So while my husband really gets a kick out of these notes, yours may only appreciate them in the moment. And that’s okay, you just have to make it worth his while.

For instance, the other night, I snuck outside and left a note in my husband’s car (while he was in the shower), telling him that I appreciate all of the hard work and sacrifices he makes for our family. My husband wakes up every morning at 4 o’clock, and heads out to work while the rest of us are still all warm and snuggly in the bed. Now even though I usually see him off (and talk to him the whole way there!) I thought that the note would motivate him because he’s tired and it did! It even opened up a conversation about his mornings that we may have never had. So I encourage you to start leaving your husband some special handwritten notes. And place them in places that you know he’ll stumble upon (wallets and lunch kits are a great place to start!).

Much love!

Brandi Collins

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♥♥

In what other ways are you guys showing your husbands that you appreciate them?

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 🙂 I believe that’s because in addition to building him up physically and emotionally (through healthy meals, good lovin’, 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, 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 journals or something. That’s what I did.

 

Here’s a picture of my Marriage Prayer Journal. 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!

But anyway, here’s the link to the challenge. I pray that it blesses you and your marriages♥

With love,

Brandi Collins

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Me and Papa 🙂 If you’re interested, we also shared some things that make our marriage work!

♥♥

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—not 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, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t 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.

• “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)

• “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, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  Therefore “If 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.” 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.

• “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)

• “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♥

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.

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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 Jesus 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♥

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