That Gift You Never Asked For

That Gift You Never Asked For

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in this situation. It’s Christmas and you’re with your family. It comes time to exchange presents and you get one from that distant relative that you see maybe once a year. You know, that one who you’re pretty sure has 2 kids and lives somewhere in Nebraska, but you probably couldn’t pick her out of a line-up if your life depended on it. You start tearing the paper off the package with a genuine smile on your face, anxious to see what they’ve picked out just for you. You open the box and suddenly you’re using every muscle in your body to keep your smile painted on and not go bug-eyed. You pull out the gift, hold it up for all to see, and with what little will to live you have left, you muster up a “Thank you so much! I love it!” We’ve all been there!

And right now, this is where I’m at with the Lord! A few months ago, He started my little family on a journey that would take us through a roller coaster of emotions, and test our faith to the nth degree. It involves us leaving behind the place we’ve called home for 12 years and relocating to the Nashville area. With much excitement, we began making our plans. We got our house ready to sell and put it on the market, I began looking for new career possibilities, my husband began working out details to work remotely with his job, and then I took what I thought was going to be the final major faith step before He would release us to make our move. I quit my job. In case you missed that . . . I quit my job! MY JOB!!!

The job that has been a source of joy and purpose for me for 12 years. The job that allowed me to tap into all of my different giftings. The job that had been tailor made just for me. I quit it. I gave them a date and everything, just knowing that things with the sale of our house were going to go quickly and we’d need to be freed up from anything tying us down here in Texas in time for that. Fast forward to right now. I’ve transitioned to life unemployed and our house has been sitting on the market for almost 2 months, waiting for an offer. And only God knows how much longer we might sit here. Surely He realizes that we now only have 1 income, right? Surely he knows that what tiny bit of savings we do have will deplete in record time if something doesn’t happen soon. Surely He understands that there really aren’t any other steps of faith we can take to show Him that we’re serious about being willing to make this move. So what is He waiting for?

The Before The Cross Shirt

Before The Cross Shirt Featured

We are very excited to have our official Before The Cross shirt available to purchase online!

Buy The Before The Cross Shirt

Our shirt is a Dark Grey Tri-Blend shirt that’s soft and made up of cotton, polyester, and rayon with a fashion fit cut. It’s ring spun cotton so it’s smooth and it breathes nicely.

We are selling them for $20 and they are available in S, M, L, XL, 2XL, & 3XL.

At this time our online store only ships within the United States. For international orders, please email us.

Can Productivity Really be Gospel Driven?

Can Productivity Really be Gospel Driven?

There have been more “Gospel centered” or “Gospel driven” ideas over the past years than I can ever remember. Gospel centered church, discipleship, parenting, marriage, dating, work, prayer, conversations, relationships…and the list goes on.

However, there can be pros and cons to having something like the Gospel be the center of attention in everything. Let me explain. While the message of the Gospel is the most important thing we can share with others, there’s danger in just calling everything the “gospel,” and claiming we know when everything is being driven by the Gospel or centered on the Gospel.

Matt Perman made an attempt to talk about productivity from the Gospel and how the Gospel can transform the way we get our tasks completed. Not only did Matt make an attempt at this, but I believe he nailed it!

I was very impressed by his book “What’s Best Next” because I almost immediately thought to myself that this was just another Gospel centered book without many practical applications to it, but I was wrong and learned that only a few pages into the book.

Efficiency Doesn’t Equal Effectiveness

Right out of the gate, Matt discusses efficiency – which is probably comes to mind for most of us (including myself) when we think about being productive.

5 Ways To Protect Your Marriage From An Affair

This is a guest post by Stephen Bradshaw who is “a husband to an amazing wife, a father of two beautiful children, and blogs at Practical-Christianity.com about Christian issues and the intersection of science and faith.” If you are interested in writing a post for us, visit our Guest Post page. You can also view other guest posts by clicking here.

5 Ways To Protect Your Marriage From An Affair

No one would ever wish an extramarital affair on their marriage, kids, or any other aspect of their life. I’m not sure there can be a more painful betrayal than that of being cheated on in such an intimate way.

And yet, sin beckons at our door constantly and though our spirit may be strong, our flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). Even within strong Christian communities, affairs happen. According to a 2014 survey, 35% of married Christian men and 17% of married Christian women have had an affair at one point in their marriage.

If having a strong spirit and being in a strong Christian community isn’t enough to protect us against an affair, what can we do?

I recently heard a life-changing sermon by Andy Stanley that answered this exact question in very practical detail. The sermon has been so meaningful to my marriage that I couldn’t help but to share his insights.

Errands I Don’t Need to Run

This is a guest post by Lauren Sparks who is “a wife, mom, fitness instructor, proud Baylor Bear, and grateful believer in Jesus Christ.” She shares the ups and downs of the faith of a special needs mom at The Sparks Notes and Facebook. If you are interested in writing a post for us, visit our Guest Post page. You can also view other guest posts by clicking here.

Errands I Don't Need To Run

I LOVE to read. It is one of my great pleasures in life. I enjoy getting lost in novels, reading God’s Word, Biographies, Christian non-fiction, a good magazine, blog posts and my Facebook feed. I’ll pretty much read anything I can get my hands on! Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time to read as I would like. If I didn’t ever watch TV, or go to the movies…or sleep, I might get a few more pages in, but I have 2 part time jobs, a special needs child with doctors appointments and therapies, a typical kiddo who loves her sports and activities, and church and volunteer commitments. I also have a loving and tolerant husband who enjoys me looking in his direction occasionally. So what is a busy story-lover to do?

I’ve taken to audio books. They are entertaining and convenient. By downloading them on my phone, I can listen while I do chores, shower and dress, and put thousands of around-town miles on my car. No, it’s not as relaxing as sitting in an over-stuffed chair with my feet up devouring an old-fashioned paperback (you pictured a delicious cup of coffee in my hand too didn’t you? Just me?), but it keeps my Good Reader “want to read” list in the hundreds instead of millions.

I recently finished listening to “The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman (on the recommendation of my BFF Jen Hatmaker). In this period piece, a childless couple (having endured 3 miscarriages) lives isolated on an island where they tend the lighthouse. When a small boat crashes on their shore, they find a dead man and an alive newborn on board. In their grief over the loss of their last unborn baby (not 2 weeks before), the couple jumps to the conclusion (without bothering to research) that the baby’s mother must have died at sea as well. They take her in and raise her as their own.