Marriage & Family

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Posted 9/12/17 at 10:53 AM | Audra Jennings

Finding freedom, purpose and joy in life’s mundane

Part 1 of an interview with Kari Patterson,

Author of Sacred Mundane

Many women feel trapped in everyday drudgery and disappointment, in dull domestic duties and jobs that don’t offer fulfillment. The mundane day-in, day-out life seems like a far cry from the abundant, purposeful life they envisioned as Christians. In Sacred Mundane: How to Find Freedom, Purpose, and Joy (Kregel Publications), author and blogger Kari Patterson helps readers find freedom, purpose and joy in the life they are living right now.

Q: The word “mundane” usually has a negative connotation. How do you define mundane?

Mundane refers to the ordinary, everyday, commonplace, unexciting stuff of life. Yes, it does usually have a negative connotation, and that’s the point! We tend to devalue and despise the mundane, but that is where our transformation takes place. When we overlook this area, we miss the greatest catalyst for effecting true change in our lives. For Naaman, the Jordan River had negative connotations, which was why God led him to dip down into those waters. It is precisely the waters we most want to avoid where our transformation is found.

Q: Explain the life-sentence exercise you ask your readers to do in the introduction of Sacred Mundane.

In 2 Kings, we read, “Naaman was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.” He had so much going for him, but his leprosy threatened to steal it all. I ask readers to consider their own lives and prayerfully simmer down their own life into a sentence. We all have so much going for us; we are made in the image of God with gifts, skills, relationships, abilities, potential . . . but there’s something that limits, hinders, robs, and binds us, and in quiet, prayerful moments it will likely come to the surface. There’s something we just can’t kick. So often we’re vaguely aware of the areas we want to change, but we don’t take the time to narrow down and identify the one thing that most hinders us. We feel overwhelmed or discouraged. Identifying the one thing helps us see more clearly how God wants to use our mundane to make us more like Him.

Q: You write we all have something that limits our freedom, confuses our purpose, and steals our joy that we try to hide from others yet it continues to grow. How do we identify what that thing is and remove it from our lives?

The good news is that God wants us free even more than we do. As we sit quietly before Him and genuinely desire to hear from Him, He will show us. We could also ask a close friend, spouse, or someone who truly loves us, “What one thing do you see keeping me from being all God created me to be?” I find it helpful to think of it not as something that’s “wrong with us,” but simply something that’s keeping us from being all God made us to be. It wasn’t Naaman’s fault he had leprosy. Some of our hang-ups are the result of our poor choices, some are a result of what others have done to us, and some are just the consequences of living in a fallen world. The point isn’t to determine whose “fault” it is or to shame us for our weakness or issue, but to find wholeness, freedom, joy.

Q: How does desperation lead to transformation?

Change is hard, but it happens when the discomfort of our problem exceeds the discomfort of changing. When we are finally sick to death of a situation, when we’ve had it with this struggle, that’s when we really seek change. In recovery circles, we would call it “rock bottom” — we each have to reach rock bottom in our situation before we are truly ready to change. My hope is readers have reached their rock bottom or find it in reading the book and become ready to do whatever it takes to let God change their lives.

Q: Why is it sometimes unsettling to let God into our lives when He is right outside, knocking on the door?

It’s unsettling because it means letting go of control. Our greatest temptation will always be to want to rule our own lives, to be our own God, and to do it our way. However, God loves us too much to let us do that because He knows we’ll do a terrible job. We aren’t God, and we were never meant to be. He’s the only One who can handle the weight of that responsibility, so He patiently knocks and waits for us to let Him in. We’re hesitant because of fear and not wanting to give up control. We forget how good He is and how He always is working for our good . . . if only we could trust Him more.

Q: When you were in college, you were on fire for God, yet miserable at the same time. Why were you so unhappy during this period of time?

Life was so very ordinary and full of disappointment. The man I loved had just broken my heart and told me we would never be together (we are now married), my job was full of mundane, tedious tasks, my relationships, especially with my roommate, included the usual conflict and awkwardness, plus I had the challenges of leading 400 college students. I hadn’t yet learned all of life — even the struggling, frustration, irritating, disappointing parts — were part of my sacred offering to God. I genuinely wanted to please God, so it was life-changing for me to realize I could please Him simply by offering up every ordinary day as a sacrifice of praise to Him. Hebrews 13:15 says through Jesus’ sacrifice of atonement we can offer our sacrifice of praise.

Q: On your blog (also named Sacred Mundane), you wrote, “Several years ago God wrecked us for ‘normal,’ and we started doing weird stuff.” What exactly did you and your husband start doing?

By nature, I am very introverted. I like my space, my stuff, and my organized, controlled, neat, and tidy life. I wanted a secure retirement account, a successful writing career, security, and other things like that. In 2010, my husband and I read The Hole in our Gospel, and God completely turned our world upside down. Even though we’d “known” these things, we’d never really known them.

We began seeing the kingdom of God is all about giving away, taking the low seat, preferring others, and storing up treasure in heaven. We sold our dream home and moved to “the other side of the tracks” into a dumpy little rental to plant a church in a lower-income area. We opened up our home and started living in community. We became involved with those coming out of alcohol addiction and even had some ladies live with us who were coming out of homelessness and addiction. For a few years we gave half our income away, and I will be giving away 100% of my proceeds from this book.

None of this is spectacular — lots of people are doing the same — but from the world’s perspective, it’s weird. In fact, our local TV news did a story on our downsize and our commitment to frugality because it seemed strange. Apparently following Jesus is weird to the world! Why would you give half your income away? Why would you downsize unless you had to? Why would you let unsavory people into your home? Because Jesus is awesome, and we finally saw the value in investing in the Kingdom more than in our own little temporal kingdom here on earth.

Q: Why is the mundane so sacred, and how can we learn to embrace it?

The mundane is sacred because that’s where we live. It’s the majority of our lives. Sure, we have some mountaintop experiences. We have vacations and high moments; we have wedding days and exhilarating experiences. But the vast majority of our lives is spent in the midst of ordinary days, so that is why it’s so sacred — because it’s where we live, it’s where God is, dwelling inside us by His Spirit. It’s where our guard is down, and we’re not performing; we’re just our raw and real selves, doing our raw and real thing, and that is where God meets us and makes us more like Him.

Learn more about Sacred Mundane and read Patterson’s Sacred Mundane blog at www.karipatterson.com. She is also active on Facebook (sacredmundane) and Twitter (@sacredmundane).

Posted 9/11/17 at 4:25 PM | crystal jerke

Seek Help from a Marriage Counselor- Save Your Marriage

Marriage is a sacred bond which is tied between two individuals who promise to spend the rest of their lives together is bliss and harmony through hardships. But life is tough. One couple might not feel compatible with each other all the time. They fight and might say things which they regret later. Sometimes things go way out of hand too. Before the matter can go to the topic of divorce you should see a marriage counsellor in order to save the relationship in any last way. This should be more stressed upon if you have children together as no child would grow up completely happy in a broken family.

What can a marriage counsellor do?

• When a couple has troubles in a marriage like sexual issues, personal stress or even relationship miscommunication issues, a kind of wall is formed between them for a while.

• This is the wall which needs to be broken to create a new life together again.

• Communication is important and it’s important to trust your counselor with your troubles so that you can help the counselor help you. The counsellor might even come up with new techniques of communications.

• There might be some underlying problem which you are not aware of. In this case, the counselor helps in gradually unfolding the problem through regular sessions and therapy. FULL POST

Posted 8/28/17 at 11:38 AM | Brian Wallace

Building Stronger Families With Breastfeeding Rights

People like to try to tell women where they can and can't feed their children, but the truth is they are legally allowed to feed their children anywere they want. Learn more about breastfeeding rights from this infographic!

Posted 8/22/17 at 6:35 PM | George Smith

A Plan for Christian Couples to Reduce Financial Stress

Christians are not immune to the stress of today's financial struggles. Considering the fact that finances is one of the leading factors in divorce, it is important to understand how to divert off a road to poverty and debt and enter into prosperity.

So, where does a Christian couple start in untangling their financial mess? There are some steps to take that can, over time, make your life easier and reduce stress.

Figure Out Where You Are

This is the hardest part for many people. It involves going through all your bills, organizing your letters of debt and seriously looking at your checkbook. You might want to make a list of all past debt, interest, and dates due is to get a clear picture.

Set Your Budget

The process is also not much fun, but necessary. Add up your incoming money for the month and then list all the things you must pay. Then list everything else you spend money on like eating out. You may need to track your expenses over a month to figure out where it goes. FULL POST

Posted 8/16/17 at 8:08 AM | Lara Sen

Gold Bracelets To Choose From!

A gold bracelet is a timeless piece of jewellery that you can wear over again with a variety of outfits and to many different social events. You could also wear it every day. But which one would you choose? Gold bracelets for men seems like a pretty basic piece of jewellery to choose when buying one, however these days with all the different styles and designs available, choosing the right one for yourself or someone else could seem tricky and time consuming. It really is just a matter of choosing the gold purity, style, design and gold color.

The purity of a gold bracelet is measured in carats. The higher is the value in carats, the higher the value of the bracelet. There are variations in gold carats from 1 carat up to 24 carats which is considered pure gold. The most common carats used for gold jewellery are 9K, 10K, 14K, 18K and 24K. We would recommend sticking to 9K-18K gold for your bracelet, as 24K can be a bit too flexible and if pressed too hard it can change shape and get dints.

There are innumerable styles and design types online to choose from along with gold bracelet price. The choice you make should really reflect your tastes, and will depend on when you'll be wearing your gold bracelet and how often you'll be wearing it. Another feature to think about is whether you'll choose a fashionable bracelet or a bracelet with a classic style.

There are styles with unique chain links and some that have charms attached. They also come in designs with large flat surfaces that have patterns on them or shiny surfaces that have the potential to be imprinted. A great gold bracelet design to give as a gift is a cuff as it generally fits anyone and you don't need to know the size of the wearer's wrist.

There are gold plated and solid gold bracelets. The solid ones are heavier than other types, but most people get used to the extra weight and after a short while don't notice it anymore. When it comes to choosing the color of your gold bracelet, well you're on your own. This comes down to personal taste.

Some people love white gold and others don't as they find people confuse it with sterling silver. There are different colors of gold to choose from, the most common being yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. Some designer jewellery online also offer green gold and black gold - these colors might be for the more bold types.

Your choice of gold bracelet should really show up your personality or the wearer's personality. It is also a good idea to think about when the bracelet is going to be worn, and if it will be worn often then it would be a good idea to choose one that's made of solid gold.

Posted 7/27/17 at 4:04 AM | Mark John

Wedding Gift Ideas- How to Make an Unforgettable Mark with Personalized Wedding Gifts

A good wedding usually involves more than just the partying and fun that comes with it- it is a time when special memories are created and these memories are meant to last for an entire lifetime. Even though the main focus is always going to be on the bride and the bridegroom, they are not the only ones who carry good memories away from the weddings and the people involved, especially friends, relatives and other invited guests also get to share in the same. So, naturally, if you have been invited to a wedding then you want to bring with you a special gift that the wedding couple is going to remember for the rest of their lives, or at least for most of it.

Choosing the right wedding gift is almost always a tough decision especially for people who are not quite used to doing this kind of thing. Of course if you are a billionaire then you could just spend a couple of millions on anything and still make an unforgettable mark. But, if you are like the rest of us then you might want to look for something that is a little less expensive and yet just as hard to forget. Personalized wedding gifts can help you achieve this.

By definition, personalized gifts are gifts that have been specifically made or designed and then customized to suit just a specific person or people. So a personalized wedding gift is a wedding gift customized just for the wedding couple. It has to be something that will hold a special meaning, message or thought that the couple will remember for years, or even decades, to come even though the same gift may not necessarily be of any value at all to a different couple. FULL POST

Posted 7/14/17 at 12:06 PM | George Smith

Keep Your Children on the Right Path

For older generations, it can often be disheartening to see Millennials and younger generations fall away from their Christian faith due to outside influences in the world. From music videos to television shows, the media has managed to cause younger adults to stray from their faith over time. Although it can be difficult to stay faithful to God and focus on Him in a busy and chaotic culture, there are a few ways to stay on track and walk close to the Lord.

Avoid Distractions
One of the most common ways that the enemy likes to lead Christians astray from their faith is through distractions. Distractions keep us overly busy and make it difficult for us to find time to attend church or read the Word of God. It's important to recognize certain distractions that may be taking you away from your relationship with the Lord. Social media seems to be one of the main culprits and have caused both young adult and older adults to spend several hours each day scrolling through feeds and posts. Consider deleting your accounts or setting rules for yourself to avoid wasting precious time. Set a timer to ensure that you don't get distracted and can disconnect. FULL POST

Posted 6/28/17 at 12:10 PM | George Smith

Is Life Insurance Right for You?

Most of us don’t particularly like thinking about life insurance. Naturally, facing the prospect of our mortality is less-than-comfortable. Yet, having a life insurance plan is simply a responsible choice, a way for you to provide for your loved ones in the event of your death.

As you consider financial planning and planning for your future, life insurance may be an important piece of your and your family’s financial plan. Although there are certainly some drawbacks to purchasing life insurance, there are many benefits that are simply not available from other financial instruments. Some of these benefits are obvious, some less so.

The Advantages of Life Insurance
The most obvious benefit, as you are probably aware, is that in the event of the insured’s death, life insurance provides an infusion of cash to named beneficiaries. The theory is that if beneficiaries—generally a spouse or children—are negatively affected financially by the insured’s passing, life insurance will mitigate the financial effects, at least to some degree. To put it bluntly, if you pass unexpectedly, of course, your family will grieve, but at least they won’t have the burden of worrying about how to make the next mortgage payment. FULL POST

Posted 6/8/17 at 1:34 AM | George Smith

How the Rise of Online Mattress Companies Can Solve Sleep Problems for Married Couples

Once you are joined in holy matrimony, the Bible clearly states “what God has joined together, let no one separate.” However, things could become a bit tricky at bedtime since sleeping in the same bed may become a problem initially. If you are planning to get betrothed anytime soon, it might be worth taking a note of the following problems that newly married couples often experience while sleeping together, and why online mattress companies have the solution.

Snoring
The most common problem is a snoring husband/wife. Invest in a bigger king size mattress so that he/she can shift during sleeping, as it has been proven that a different sleeping position often helps. Also, buy some special pillows to assist.

Tossing and Turning
Tossing and turning can be a normal sleeping habit for your partner but it will cause you to lose sleep. Opt for a bigger bed to allow him/her the freedom to move around and make sure that it’s a foam bed with low motion transfer. Alternatively, you can also buy a good quality mattress topper. FULL POST

Posted 6/5/17 at 12:33 AM | Lara Sen

Helpful Tips in Budgeting Family Expenses

Do you feel stressed about budgeting for your family? Managing finances for the family is quite a difficult job to handle. If finances are handled improperly, problems may arise and may lead to conflicts and broken relationship among family members.

Lack of discipline and right information about managing your family budget are root causes of financial problems. So, we prepared some helpful tips for you to avoid stress while budgeting for your family.

1. Write everything you earn and spend.
Keep a daily written record of the money that comes in and out. List down your income and expense items. This way, you can accurately see how much money you are getting and where you are spending them. When you know how to manage your money, you can make wiser and more practical choices.

2. Divide your income into different categories.
Specify your money according to its category. Allot money for fixed overhead expenses or what we call your basic needs such as rent, foods, car payment, and utilities. Don’t forget to put aside money for unexpected expenses like hospitalization and car repairs. Setting aside some of your money for long term savings will prepare you in the future especially when you retire. FULL POST

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