Not Today, Offense!

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Picking up the phone, sending that text, inviting someone over, letting someone stay the night, listening, being honest, forgiving. Those are things that build relationships.

But offense… Offense is the one things that can destroy and unravel relationships. Offense is no respecter of relationship. Offense can affect our friendships, marriage, workplace, extended family, and even church.

It creates separation and causes us to think the worse of people. It leads us to notice the bad instead of the good. When offense starts to creep in, our thoughts get clouded and soon we feel lonely, isolated, left out, and at it’s worse, entitled.

How about we flip the switch on offense? Let’s stop to think of the last time we took the first step. Or expressed how we truly felt. Or the last time we showed up for others in ways we long for others to show up for us.

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You know, the cure to mend a broken relationship is to say no to offense. To do the opposite of what it’s whispering in our ear. To do the thing that feels least natural to our flesh and most freeing to our soul.

When I’m in the thick of it and my mind is out of control, God’s Spirit intervenes and reminds me to be the peacemaker, the hospitable friend, the listener, the gatherer, the one that’s quick to forgive.

Is there someone that comes to mind while reading this? Do you need to let them off the hook? Do you need to start noticing the good versus the bad? Do you need to let your pride down and make the call? Do you need to show up for them today?

Today I’m saying, “Not today, offense”. I’m saying, “Not today, devil”. Clear mind, open heart, willing spirit. God’s way, not mine.

Download the artwork below, Not Today, and feel free to share on your social media accounts. There are two sizes to choose from, square and vertical. Tag me if you use them, I’d love to see them on your feeds 🙂

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Grace-filled Reminders For The Lady Of The House (a.k.a. Home Engineer, Family Manager, Home Economist)

StyldbyGrace_LadyOfTheHouseCards__35I’m excited to share a new freebie I created for my fellow homemakers. That word, homemaker, may be a dirty word to some but to me, it means the head lady in charge. The boss lady. The home engineer. The puzzle solver. The family manager. The lady of the house. And oftentimes, the home economist. Anything to save a dollar here and there, right?!

Loving, nurturing, organizing, and up keeping our homes can seem like an antiquated thing but God has called us to our homes and families first. If we can manage businesses, schedules, outings, and everything else in between, we should make it a priority to manage our homes. To look out for our people. To make sure everything is at peace.

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But let’s be real. In the modern world, where our careers, side hustles, and servant leadership, demand A LOT from us, that can be really really difficult. Sometimes we even resent “having” to take care of our homes. I know I do!

So, what the solution? First, an enormous amount of grace towards ourselves and our families. Second, reading and meditating on God’s word and truth. And finally, reminders that encourage us daily, rooted in God’s word, both practical and spiritual.

 

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And that’s what this freebie is all about. Practical and spiritual reminders for us ladies to have a happy and willing heart when it comes to loving and serving our homes.

You can download these Grace-filled Reminders For The Lady Of The House here and display them all over your home. I hope they’re a blessing to you and your home ❤

5 Facts About Infertility Everyone Needs To Know

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If you’ve been following the discussion around #NIAW, then you must have read the many stories of people going through this struggle.

The stories are so important to bring awareness. I also believe that hard facts and statistics can make this medical issue (because it is a medical issue) less taboo and easier to talk about.

Not only that but maybe more people will advocate and work to get better medical coverage for it.

Here are 5 important facts/statistics you need to know about infertility:

1. The CDC lists infertility as not being able to get pregnant (conceive) after one year (or longer) of unprotected sex. In my opinion, if something is listed by the CDC as an illness, then it needs to be seen and known as a medical issue. Therefore, the necessary work needs to be done to bring awareness, get funding for research, and people who are diagnosed with infertility should be able to seek reliable treatment and reasonable coverage.

The next time you talk to someone struggling with infertility, remember it’s not always as simple as “letting go” or “not stressing about it”. It could be an issue they are battling medically. Which can be very draining emotionally and physically.

2. Infertility is actually very common. 1 in 8 couples struggles with infertility. You may very easily know someone who is battling infertility. 6% of women aged 15 to 44 are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying to conceive. It could be your sister, your brother, your aunt, your coworker, or your friend on Instagram. I’m amazed at the number of people that I know personally that have been diagnosed with infertility. Just in my family, there are 3 people who are struggling with it.

I’m much more aware of what to say, what to bring up, what to keep to myself, and what questions not to ask at this point. But I think we should all start rethinking the questions and suggestions we give others about family planning. It’s too common and too sensitive to ignore.

3. Men struggle with infertility as well. This isn’t just something that happens to women. Or to people of a certain age group. Or people who waited “too long”. As I mentioned earlier this week in our personal infertility story, my husband was diagnosed with infertility. We are in our late 20s and we try to have a healthy lifestyle. Yet, here we are. This issue touches all kinds of people. Again, it’s important to be aware and be sensitive with our words, suggestions, and assumptions.

4. Infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, intrauterine insemination, or assisted reproductive technology. And sometimes a combination of these methods are used. BUT…

5. Only 15 states have infertility insurance laws. But that doesn’t mean that it is mandatory for insurances to cover infertility treatments. It’s up to the employer to decide what kind of coverage they’ll provide.

Being that it is a common medical condition, it saddens me that many people don’t get medical attention because they can’t afford it. And if they do, they are using their life savings for it. 

We are so thankful that our current insurance covers the majority of the infertility treatments we need. But that’s not the case for everyone.

Be reminded when meeting or speaking to someone with infertility that they might be carrying a major financial burden. Not only is it draining emotionally and physically, but also financially.

Encouragement for people struggling with infertility: call your insurance before you cross off any type of treatment. Your insurance might cover what you need and you may not even know it. This was the BEST advice I received.

There’s hope in the middle of all this:

I’ve learned so much during this season. I’ve learned to be empathetic. I now understand what it is to grieve. I now understand what it feels like to get a bad report from a doctor. I now understand why these things matter. I now can be there for people going through similar experiences. IT’S NOT ALL BAD. Even though it feels like it.

One thing I also now know is that my God has the power to overcome ALL these facts. Facts, reports, and statistics are great. They inform us and move us to action. But God’s power, sovereignty, and goodness can contend with these things and win every time.

He truly has the final say. He provides the resources. He provides exactly what we need and when we need it. In Him, we live, breathe, and move. He is the one orchestrating a miracle in motion.

Please share this with someone. Let’s help bring awareness and hope.

With love & appreciation,
Theresa

References:
https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/publichealth.htm

Quote credit for “Miracle in Motion” to @richwilkersonjr and his amazing sermon series Miracle in Motion. Which you should definitely check out 🔥

Hope After My Husband’s Infertility Diagnosis

NIAW_Husbands_Infertility_Diagnosis_ImageIn recognition of National Infertility Awareness week, I’d like to give honor where honor is due. To my husband, Edward, who was diagnosed with infertility almost a year ago.

He is a rock. He is strong. He is resilient. He is faithful. He is steadfast. He is hopeful. How he’s been able to see the silver lining in all of this is beyond me. But he has no idea how God has used him to increase my faith.

This past weekend, I took a three-hour drive all by myself to attend one of my closest friend’s baby shower. Edward had to work and couldn’t take off. And honestly, I was looking forward to the time alone.

I needed the open road, no distractions. During this alone time, I started telling God how I felt about all this infertility stuff. How I didn’t understand why He couldn’t just heal Edward. How I didn’t understand why Edward. This guy, who has a pure heart, all the intention in the world to take care of his family, can’t have kids easily. WHY?!

The resounding question: WHY?!

I truly felt (kinda still feel) angry for Edward. Yet he is completely full of faith and hope. Despite hearing the worse news any person who desires children can hear, he believes wholeheartedly that God will keep His promise to us.

I’m the one who questions. He’s the one who continually trusts. Anxious versus peaceful. That’s how I’d describe our personalities. It works. And somehow God knew we needed each other.

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In that moment of asking God, He quieted my questions with “I knew this would happen, Theresa. I had Edward in mind. I knew he’d meet you. I knew you’d be angry. And he’d be at peace. I knew he would need the fight you bring. And you’d need the calm he brings. I didn’t bring illness to his life. I brought you to him. His helper. The person who would be able to go through this with him”.

What a revelation! I can’t help but cry as I write this. You see, Edward may have been born with infertility issues or it could’ve developed with time. Who knows. But, what I do know is that God didn’t cause this. In fact, before Edward was born, He knew how and when He’d bring about the miracle. And if God chose me to be the vessel to bring about the miracle, then I humbly accept the call.

Now more than ever, I believe that God isn’t in the business of causing pain or affliction. He’s in the business of restoring, providing and giving life. He joins people together and provides the resources needed. Not every miracle looks the same. But it doesn’t make it less of a miracle.

I want to encourage you and let you know that God knows the need, the desire, and the intention, of our hearts. And He will always show up when those things are aligned with His perfect will. Your miracle, our miracle is in the works. He knows. He is working on it. And He may be using you as the vessel for that miracle.

With all my love and appreciation,
Theresa

P.S. I’ll be blogging each day this week in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week. (Did you know it affects 1 in 8 people?!) Some of the posts will be about what’s next in our personal infertility journey, free artwork to encourage those struggling with infertility, and important facts about infertility. Hope you stay tuned!

3 Things that Build Lasting Relationships

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Let’s stop for a minute and think. Our lives revolve around interacting with other people. Some people we like and others we don’t. Some interactions are good and others are not so good. I wish all the relationships in my life were pleasant and easy. The reality is that relationships, whether it’s your marriage or a friendship, take effort. And whether we like to admit it or not, our relationships matter and mold who we are.

The effort we put into our relationships will influence the course of our lives. The people we meet, the people we love, the people we encounter, our relationships with them can lead to marriage, lifelong friendships, and even our dream job.

According to God’s word, loving God and loving people is our greatest calling. If it’s important to God then it should be important to us. And if we do all things through love for him and others, then our relationships and life will be a whole lot rewarding and meaningful.

Deep down inside, even us introverts, long to build lasting and deep relationships. Even when we have a billion walls up to protect us, we long for fulfilling relationships.

Being married, losing friendships, and leading others have taught me that to build lasting relationships we gotta:

Be consistent
I’m convinced that consistency is the substance that makes up success. When we are consistent we exude trust, reliability, and legitimacy. How can a person who’s late and unreliable keep a job or get a promotion? The same goes for our friendships, marriages, and people we mentor. We have to be there for the people in our lives, in the good and the bad. It’s pretty sad when I realize that I tend to push people away when things get messy. If we study Christ’s attitude towards His relationships, we see His dedication, consistency, and involvement. He was always present, always encouraging, and always showed up.

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Show Grace
Stepping out to be Jesus’ hands and feet at times can cause us to feel helplessness, discouraged or even downright angry. When we are there for people we see the stuff we wish we didn’t. We encounter people’s hang ups and faults. There’s one thing that gives us the strength and courage to keep building our relationships when they get sticky. It’s called grace. When I got engaged I wish I would’ve known that grace was something I was going to need more than ever. If marriage has taught me anything, it’s taught me that grace goes a long way. It actually is what sustains a relationship. Grace tells me to care and love my husband even when he has offended or hurt me. Grace tells me to reach out to a friend who is being distant even if it means disposing of my pride. Grace tells me to stop being so hard on myself when the fish I “cooked” tastes like crap.
P.S. My cooking has gotten a lot better 😉

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Be Vulnerable
The glue that binds it all together is vulnerability. When I hear the word vulnerability the first things that come to mind are exposure and fear. But vulnerability isn’t meant to expose us in a way that’s detrimental. If we lose the fear of being rejected, isolated, or judged, we are open to vulnerability. And when we are vulnerable with the people we love, meaning we are unafraid to show all of who we are, we can show grace when it’s hard and we can be consistent in their lives. The times I’ve been the most vulnerable, in my career or with my husband or with God, have lead to a total “vulnerability hangover”. Have you ever experienced that? I start questioning myself: “Was I too honest, too outspoken, too open, too caring, too loving? Will letting down this wall make me seem weak?” But looking back it’s those moments that have forged relationships, opportunities and have opened doors of success.

To learn more about vulnerability, connection, and letting go of fear, I highly recommend reading Brené Browns, Daring Greatly. It has been an extreme blessing in my life!


What have you learned from past and present relationships about building lasting connections?

What is one practical way you can build your most valued relationships today?