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?

A Newlywed’s Recipe for a Fulfilling Marriage

I had all the ingredients I needed, but didn’t quite understand the directions to the baked breaded tilapia recipe I googled. I really didn’t know what I was doing. The kitchen was a mess, with egg whites all over the counter, and the breading sprinkled on the floor. In the end, the tilapia was more like a spotted, gooey mess and it was not crispy at all. Yuck!

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My poor husband ate it anyway. I threw mine away. But, I  was so determined to not let this happen again. The following week I payed more attention to the recipe, prepared the ingredients correctly and had all the right pots and pans. This time around it turned out pretty amazing! And I’m so proud to say that Edward actually enjoyed fish for the first time.

I wish I could share all my crazy newlywed stories with you. (Like when I microwaved a METAL travel mug. Not kidding.) But this one in particular reminds me that to have a fulfilling marriage, we should follow some sort of recipe. Before marriage, I thought that if two people were in love, it would all work out. Well, now I know that it takes effort to keep that love alive.

In the last two years of marriage my ever-evolving recipe for a fulfilling marriage is:

Ingredients:
2 Cups of Joy
1 Gallon of Grace
2 Gallons of Devotion
1 Lifetime with God

Directions:
Take those 2 cups of joy and daily, laugh together. Also, don’t take each other or yourself too seriously. I do lots of silly, air-headed things around my husband. Before marriage, I would avoid doing those little quirks in front of him. Now, it’s inevitable. He sees the good, the bad, and the really silly. So I just decided to count it all joy and I learned to laugh at myself.

Pour the 1 gallon of grace over yourself and your spouse. I make mistakes and I fall short as a wife every single day. So I’m learning to give myself some grace. There is no such thing as a perfect person or the perfect marriage. The beautiful thing about marriage is that it helps you become a more grace-filled person towards yourself and others.

Use the 2 gallons of devotion to care, honor, and serve your spouse. We devote our time to our work, our hobbies, our dreams. Culture tells us that it’s perfectly fine to devote ourselves, and commit endless hours to those things. Yet, marriage is treated so casually.  If we want fulfilling, long-lasting marriages, then we must take time to care for the person we said “I do” to. Let’s make time to cook their favorite meal or help them get ready in the morning or listen to their worries and burdens.

The most important ingredient is 1 lifetime with God. He makes it all work together for our good. Like the times we argue and something mean slips out. Or the times we feel disappointed. He turns those things around for our good when He’s the one we seek after. He gives us the strength, the grace, the self-control to commit to having a fulfilling marriage. At the end of the day, no matter how amazing of a relationship we have with our spouse, it will feel like there’s something missing, if we don’t spend our days seeking God. He’s the source and the main ingredient for a lasting relationship.


A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6)

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesian 5:33)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 3:5)


What is your recipe for a fulfilling marriage? I’d love to hear and learn from you!

P.S. Happy 2 year anniversary to my handsome, super funny, incredibly caring and supportive husband, Edward.

Friendship: It’s not Always Hearts and Kisses

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I was getting ready to go to bed after a much-needed Facetime date with my sister, who recently moved away. My husband noticed that I wasn’t being myself and had been crying. Of course, he asked the inevitable questions, “Have you been crying?”. Now, you know what happens when someone asks that, right? You start crying again. And it’s not your normal crying face. No. It’s your really ugly crying face. Anyway, I went on a rant, trying to explain why I was crying, “I miss my sister. I miss my best friend. My sisters are my best friends. I need them close to me. I can’t make friends that are as close as a sister.”

The great thing about having best friends that are my family is that we don’t expect perfection from each other. We know our faults, our hurts, our attitudes, and we take each other as we are. Having that connection outside of a family circle, can be difficult. It dawned on me that it’s not easy to have close friends when you expect them to be perfect. Why couldn’t I take my friends just as they are like I did with my sister?

It would be ideal, and we would be living in a perfect world if everything was hearts and kisses. You know, like those cute emojis you send your friends? The reality is that, heartbreak and disappointments will happen in our relationships. If we expect for that to never happen, we are setting up our friends for failure.

Loving others sometimes will cause us emotional pain. We will get hurt and we will be disappointed. I am reminded of the love and dedication Jesus had for his disciples. He knew their thoughts, their intentions, their hearts. And still, he taught them and guided them with love. Jesus was betrayed and denied by his closest friends, yet He chose to love.

I believe Jesus shows us in God’s word that we should love unconditionally. He also shows us that we should forgive and move forward. Holding on to bitterness and resentment is poison to our souls and even to our bodies. The best choice we can make is to accept people’s flaws. If we can’t accept people’s flaws, how can we expect them to accept ours?

Honestly, it doesn’t really feel good to love my friends when they hurt me. My first response is to push them away or go into hiding for a bit. Sometimes I rehearse in my mind what I would say to them. Really mean things that would hurt them back. My mind tells me, “She’s not a good friend”. While my heart says, “Give her another chance. Show her God’s grace”. I’ve isolated friends and family from my life because of things that I could’ve resolved and decided to forgive. Only trial and error can teach you when it’s time to let go of a friendship and when not to. I have a feeling though, that God would have us forgive and forget rather than letting go of a friendship.

This crazy love that God calls us to demonstrate, takes so much dedication, commitment, and courage. It takes courage to confront an issue and forgive.

So how do we mend or prevent broken friendships?
We choose love over staying disappointed. We choose mercy when we feel hurt. We choose grace when we feel betrayed. And we choose peace when we feel heartbroken.

Is there anyone you need to make amends with today? Is there a friend you should take out to coffee and resolve an issue with? Is God asking you to forgive a friend or loved one today?

Be encouraged to be honest with your friends and loved ones when you’re hurt. And be encouraged to forgive them and embrace their frailties.

Unearthing Easter Part 2

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“I love… Jesus”, I said to my husband right before falling asleep in bed. I think he expected me to say, “I love… you”. We don’t fall asleep without saying I love you to each other. But, on that particular day, I just had to verbalize to someone how much I truly loved Jesus. Not because it’s a cliché thing to say or because it’s the Christian thing to say, but because I was learning so much about who He is and what He did for us.

During the months of March and April, I made a decision to study the book of Matthew with a group of ladies, in order to prepare for this Easter season (we are following a bible study plan from Good Morning Girls). We share every day what God has revealed to us. The testimonies and new understanding we share, are ways we help each other grow in our faith. I think they can say, as can I, that learning about Jesus has caused our heart to long for Him and love Him even more.

My mission during these couple of months was for my faith and understanding of God’s word to be renewed. I’ve read the passages in the book of Matthew many, many times before, but for some reason they have come alive. Perhaps it has to do with the intention and motives of my heart in seeking God.

One of the themes we have seen in Jesus’ words and ministry is having the right motives for what we do. He is all about the intention of our hearts. When speaking of murder he said that if we curse a person, we have murdered in our hearts. When he spoke of prayer, he said God didn’t want to hear repetitive words, but authentic heartfelt prayers, and when He spoke of fasting, He told us to keep it to ourselves, because what we do in secret for God, He would reward us for it. The intentions of our heart matter more to God than our works. How we do things, versus what we do, matter to Him.

There have been many times that I’ve served God with the wrong motives, for recognition, or for my own gain. He knew I did and although those works served other people’s needs, God knew the intentions of my heart. Any other type of accolade I gained had no weight compared to the reward God could’ve given me if my heart had been set on Him. Have you been there before? Expecting to get a reward from people for the service or work you do? It’s human nature to desire recognition, but let me encourage you today to believe that the reward that God has for you is greater and better than any reward you can gain from people.

Reading Jesus’ words convicts me to my core. There’s nothing better and more loving than some tough love. People that love you, tell you what’s right and what’s good for you and that’s why I exclaim, “I love Jesus!”. He truly desires what’s good and right for me.


What can you do today to focus on serving God with the right motives?

Have you ever received “tough love” from someone, and it consequently brought positive changes to your life?

My Declaration

MyDeclaration
I am accepted
Even when I feel left out, even when I’m excluded, even when I feel rejected, I am accepted because God has already accepted and redeemed me. I belong to Him and I belong in His Kingdom.

I am loved
Even when I feel unwanted, even when I feel alone, I am loved with a crazy and unconditional love by God Himself. His love for me is deeper and wider than any love I desire here on earth.

I am forgiven
Even when I’m reminded of the past, even when the enemy tries to bring up my mistakes, I am forgiven by God and when He forgives, He also forgets.

I am enough
Even when I feel less than, even when I feel intimidated, even when I feel like I’m not skinny enough, even when I don’t feel pretty, God broke the mold when He made me. I am made in His image and He says I am wonderfully and fearfully made.

I will sleep in peace
Even when my anxious thoughts start to race, even when I’m afraid, even when I’ve had nightmares, even when I’m worried of tomorrow, My Lord gives me rest and His peace that surpasses all understanding will fill me with comfort.

I am not afraid
Even when I try to shrink down, even when I’m tempted to back down, even when I’m tempted to say no to an opportunity, even when I feel like I can’t take on a new endeavor, even when I feel my dreams are too crazy to believe, God has not given me a spirit of fear. He calls me to be bold and to be a light in the darkness. He calls me to speak of Him and spread His good news to the world.

My dreams will come to pass
Even when it seems like I failed, even when I don’t see any progress, even when people say negative things, even when it seems out of reach, The Lord says He gives me the desires of my heart. God says he made me with a purpose and has called me to do what only I can do.

What are you clinging to and declaring over your life?