Journey Up To True Heart Connection This Valentine's Day

The nights are long these days. In a world that celebrates candy hearts and red lettered cards, your intense dislike for the “love day” grows with each moment that marches forward.

LOVE…it just didn’t work for you. In fact, love did so much more than not work. It left your heart-shattered and broken in a million pieces. Or perhaps you’re just numb. You might even be married for 30, 40 or 50 years and living as life-partners, a passionate love left to mere honeymoon memories.

Dear friend, I want to tell you that you are NOT alone!

There are probably more hurting than celebrating as we near Valentine’s Day! The hunger for true, authentic heart connection eerily out of reach.

A divorce. A broken dream. An empty marriage. Another night alone. Betrayal. Abandoned.

I am here to tell you that an authentic, heart-connected marriage is left to more than just circumstances. It’s not a rare luck-of-the-draw. What’s truly rare are two individuals that come into marriage with the stellar communication skills needed for a healthy marriage.  Most of us would benefit from at least a refresher course on how to build and grow relational connection in our marriage.

Marriage is at it’s best when two individuals come together, equipped with healthy tools of communication, surrendered to One Lord, for the blessing of one another.

This Valentine’s Day, a magnifying glass will be laser focused on your relationship. Your marriage. What will it unveil? What is the strength of your relational muscle?

This February, we’re going to equip your Relational Muscle for the Greatest Heart-Connection in your marriage possible. Heart-Connection God’s Way!

No matter if you’re newly married or have been married for nearly a life-time, you will benefit from The Journey Up Marriage Summit for Authentic, Heart-Connection! And it’s completely free!!! This will include a set of emails sent to you daily to strengthen the communication in your marriage which can be applied immediately! This material will also be added to the 7LM Gym, the foundation for healthy learning and living for a life-time and beyond!

To join the Journey Up Ministries Marriage Summit, simply email us saying, “I’m in!” We’re so excited to be on this Journey Up with you!

A Love Story Hidden in the Brokenness

Summer of 1991 birthed a new season of discovery for me. The storm that had been raging was quieted. Well, with a newborn babe in our home, I suppose quiet isn’t quite the right word. Perhaps, a calming would be more fitting.

As I settled into my new role as momma, I cherished every moment of my sweet little ones life! So many questions were answered that had haunted me for months. How would everyone react? Could I handle motherhood? Was I being selfish to keep my baby? Most importantly, what must I do to get my heart, my soul, healthy and right?

While I once questioned my value and worth, I was now motivated by something much larger. God used that little man to remind me that it wasn’t healthy to play games with my heart anymore. There was no turning back. There was only one place my heart was safe. One place that always deemed my value high. And that was only found in the safe haven, the fortress of my Savior. (Psalm 62)

Abiding in Christ and his redemptive work in my life as I treasured my summer with my little man, propelled me forward in my restored heart health. All too soon, September came along with my 17th birthday. As only God can, every detail of my senior year of high school fell into place. I was able to finish my final year going only half a day to school while a precious grandma in our church watched over my little boy.

The long days of being a new mother flew by. With one blink, we were planning my graduation, which included not only a graduation party but also a celebration of my little boy’s first birthday. Although life was moving forward, the questions swirling around my heart seemed to never dissipate. I truly believed that with a child, I would be a hard one to love. The enemy reminded me constantly how unworthy I was. My mind accepted this reality but my heart still dreamed of a man’s love that was noble and true.

There were a few lies that had lodged into the deepest corner of my heart. It would take at least two more years before those lies would inhibit my ability to live with freedom.

Fall of 1992 held the best of times and the worst of times. My older sister, my one year old son and I headed out across the country to attend Bible College. I was on fire for the Lord and still riding on the joy of His lavish grace! My new classmates found it hard to believe that God’s grace was sufficient, after all, who goes to Bible college with a baby? It was an unexpected hard season of a new layer of rejection. It was the worst of times.

There was one who stood head and shoulders above the others. A true friend who loved as God loved, not assuming the worst in me but bearing witness to God’s grace covering my soul. It was the Best of times!

My God the redeemer had not only restored my life but was about to restore my heart in ways that would take nearly two years to really accept. God’s love became tangible as my best friend became the hands and feet of my Savior. In the most unexpected way, God restored my heart that there would ever be one who could really love the broken me.

And there I was standing face to face saying “I Do” before hundreds of witnesses. And my beloved carried my little boy in his arms with my hand in his as we set of for “Happily Ever After.” Those early days were precious and a forever happy memory.

In a matter of months, my heart settled and life carried on. I was a new bride and young mother with a bundle of lies locking her heart from freedom faith living. You see, my mind marveled that God could send a true, godly man to love even me. But my heart was guarded, waiting for the day when he too would leave me.

I was shocked at my behavior, dishing out my worst to get the inevitable over. Nothing was intentional or even conscious, but my heart was living from my core. And my core believed that I was too broken , too unattractive to secure the loyalties of a godly man.

I can remember his words as they pierced through the lies that had become my truth. “I will never leave you. Not me. I love you!” I didn’t even realize that I was living from the broken until the Lord used his words to reveal my true core.

And it took a year before my heart began believing that my beloved, with the strength only available in a Heavenly Father, was committed to being on the journey with the broken me. And a true love story was born hidden in the broken, covered in Amazing Grace! God not only redeemed my pregnancy but now restored my love story.

I’m sharing my story over the next week in hopes to bear witness to the goodness of our Lord and to unveil the lies, the broken core of our very heart that hinders our loving. To protect, we push away, too many times without even knowing. Relational connection as far as the east is from the west. We’ve poured our heart into helping each and every individual, every marriage and family walk in the freedom only available in Christ. As God as our builder, we can have a foundation to help a world in need. For more of our story and encouragement for your heart and home, check out the 7LM Gym. Praying over each and every one of you.  Let God restore The Truth in your heart today!

Be The Change

The eyes starring back at me told a story of forgiveness and love and a fight for survival.

He wasn’t even 14 hours old when our eyes locked, this little one of mine.  Alone in the wee hours of the night at the tender age of 16, I discovered the intoxicating smell of my newborn babe.  I cradled the tiny being that some thought I should abort. And I marveled at the new beginning that would become my everyday.

No matter how he came, he was alive, only 14 hours outside of my womb. 6,792 hours spent in the safety of my womb.

Today, the world is a buzz with the latest news of New York State passing a bill allowing third trimester abortion.  The rights of the woman trump the rights of the unborn. And the cries of the dead remain silent.

Today, I wish that I was a lawyer. One who could stand before the law makers of our land and bear witness to the value of life!  All of life!  From the moment of conception!  One live egg and one life sperm, under the direction of God Almighty, becoming One live little blessing! 

No. Matter. What.  All. The. Time.

But instead, I serve and care for the tiny little humans alive and well living in my home. 

Although  I would love to demand change on the capitol steps, I possess the power to Be. The. Change

The Change that our world is so in desperate need of.

Facebook posts and emails have been swirling about with a demand for change.  Petitions signed.  And testimonies shared.  These are all fantastic steps toward speaking our voice.

You and I don't have government badges or sit on the Supreme Court, but we hold in our hands an even greater influence for change.  REAL CHANGE that happens from the inside out! 

What exactly do you mean? I’m so glad that you asked!

You see,

  • What if each one of us became a safe place for mothers in need?  

  • What if our homes became the haven for real relationship? 

  • What if we had heart to heart talk with our children daily, coaching and appealing to them to make choices that are RIGHT by God? 

  • What if children were equipped with the Seven-Life Muscles needed to be Right with God, know their Role, Succeed in their Relationships, Walk in their Life-Purpose, Equipped with Life-Skills, as they Learn what is needed to find Rest in their Lord?  

  • What if a mother and a daughter had such a close relationship that council and wisdom was sought from her mother? 

  • What if a daughter felt so loved by her father that she didn’t go looking for love in all the wrong places? 

  • What if a son felt so much respect from his mother and father that he stood taller, worked harder and spoke bolder? 

  • What if a child could repent before a father and mother and a God with grace so readily available? 

  • What if every home was equipped with true heart connection? 

  • What if an unwanted pregnancy was met with a reminder for what a blessing every single life is? 

  • What if we knew and believed that only God is the giver of life and would always be faithful to provide? 

  • What if abortion was stopped in our very own home?

  • What if every home in America could Be. The. Change.?

What if we could end ABORTION ONE HOME AT A TIME?

Join the 7LM Gym to equip your heart and home today!

It's Never Too Late to Build Muscle!

Every night felt the same.  Another groundhog day, or so she thought as she laid her head on her pillow.  It wasn’t how she imagined ‘Happily Ever After’ to be.  I mean, should she really be complaining?  After all, there wasn’t nearly the fighting as that of her childhood home.

She shook her head, and clenched her eyes as if to erase the days memories. The tone in her memory even startled her.  Those eyes, so big. The brightest blue.  She could remember the first time she saw those eyes.  The day she fell in love.  In that moment, she whispered promises she never dreamed would be so hard to keep. She would always protect.  Always be gentle and kind, treasuring each moment with her brand new baby girl. 

When did it change?  When did she go from treasuring each moment to living for bedtime?

Her hubby leaned over and cuddled in close.  Every fiber in her being pulled away, a fact she tried to hide. She wasn’t quite sure why.  She loved him desperately after all. I guess, she just needed a minute.  A minute to think, to scold herself and reprimand her heart for her grumpy attitude today. To solidify a path, an oath that tomorrow would be different.  It had to be.  She could barely live with herself.  Why would anyone else want to?

The doubts swirled in her mind.  Was that what was happening?  Was she setting herself up for the day when she would be all alone, so unlovable that no one would want her?

For a second, she reached for the ember of hope that things could really be different tomorrow.  She could do it.  She could choose joy even though she couldn't quite figure out just what was bothering her. 

Her thoughts came to a crashing halt when her husband whispered.  She couldn’t quite hear what he said but it didn’t matter. She was already frustrated, irritated that he’d interrupted her inner scolding. 

“What did you say?” she flippantly replied.

With a little more volume, her husband replied. “So, when will have time for me?  I miss you.  I just want to be close to you.  Your always busy with something or someone.  I just want to know when you’ll have time for me?”

There it was!  Deep down, another reason she was a failure, another person demanding her attention.  But as quickly as the thought came, another came even stronger.  After all, who does he think he is? Didn’t he know how hard it was being a mom, having needy babies all day long and a pile of dishes and laundry to top it off? Yeah, he was the problem.  At least that’s what her heart told her.

In a voice much too angry for late night talks, she directed her scolding from her own heart onto his.  In a matter of seconds, she let him know that he was selfish to care about himself, not when she was so busy carrying the weight of the world.

And with that, he mumbled under his breath that he’s tired of things always being this way.  He rolled over harshly, pulling half of her blankets off of her body.

The cold air of the night left her feeling just as exposed as her heart was.  She pulled her half of the blankets back and closed her eyes even tighter. 

The thoughts began the scolding again. Once again, she had blown it.  She should reach out and tell him she was sorry.  She really was so very sorry!  But then that would lead to a long night of conversation and she was just so tired.  So very tired. 

Yes, it could wait.  Wait until the morning when she wouldn’t be so tired. And with that, she drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, her eyes couldn’t help but squint as the sun crept through the shades onto her face.  She was trying to remember what day it was when the memories of her late night argument welcomed her.  With a flicker of hope and the apologetic words on her lips, she hurried to the kitchen to find her husband.  She had slept a little later than usual but she was sure that he wouldn’t have left for work quite yet. 

Rushing into the kitchen, her focus on the cars outside for a desperate sign that he was still home, she found a note from her beloved.

It read, “I’m leaving for work early today.  I couldn’t sleep last night, not knowing that there was tension between us.  Don’t worry, I’ll buy myself lunch today and see you later tonight.”

As she was reading the letter, her sweet little girl ran into the room yelling, “ Mommy, mommy…I awake. I hungry.  I hungry.”

She was half happy to see her little girl and half disturbed.  All she wanted was a quite moment to read her letter, to let her heart hurt and strategize her next course.

The little girl began tugging on her robe, “Mommy, mommy, please, I hungry!”

And in an instant, faster than she had time to think, she snapped at the little girl, “I’m coming! Why do you always have to eat so much?”

Her heart sank as the very first moment of her day began just like the days before.  She was no different and tonight would be just another groundhog night. 

And with that, she poured her daughter some cereal with a broken heart, wondering how she would find her way to joy again.

***This is a fictional short story that I wrote of a real life family in need of some Seven-Life Muscle foundation and building.  This might look a little like you family and it might look a little like mine.  These real life interactions keep us from relationally connecting.  Oh, we don’t mean to.  We desperately want to love and be loved.

In this story, we have so many things happening at once. The enemy is using real life pressures and miscommunication to divide.  To use her past to lock in her future.  They are lacking tools of communication and healthy boundaries to keep the marriage relationship alive. They are giving into the temptation to set aside their marriage for the “someday” when they would have time.  They are so busy with their daily lives that they are missing the connection that comes with slowing down for the things that really matter.  They are looking to relationships and things in this world to satisfy their heart instead of abiding with the one person who will always satisfy…Jesus.  They are believing that “tomorrow” can catch up on all of their hurts from yesterday.  That the events of today won’t lengthen the divide that is growing between them.  It doesn’t really seem that big after all.  Their life-purpose set aside for surviving today.

But the truth is that without proactive, intentional heart connection today, the distance between them will  grow to the point where the bridge toward oneness is too far. The anger in the home will hinder the desire for their daughter to want to be home as she grows let alone ever marry. Lessons are being taught on how to relate to one another in all the wrong ways. It isn’t what either one really wanted but is in fact how their family is being molded.

It is our desire to come alongside this family and equip them with tools of communication for authentic heart connection.  To heal the wounding from yesterday for the freedom for today. And to replace the chains and lies with the Truth found only in Jesus!  It’s never too late to build Muscle to strengthen tomorrow!

This family is me.  This family is you!  This is a family that can find freedom the Seven-Life Muscle Way! Join the 7LM Gym today!