A Christian Marriage Book Changed My Spiritual Life Forever

A Christian Marriage Book Changed My Spiritual Life Forever

"It takes great faith and devotion to allow the whole world to see the ups and downs of your life, and the LaBrants do it with grace, love and transparency."

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Cole and Savannah LaBrant just released an autobiographical Christian marriage book entitled "Our Surprising Love Story."

Both offer their unique perspectives on life, partnership and Christianity from their individual perspectives.

When I got my copy in the mail, I'll be perfectly honest with you, I wasn't expecting much. After all, the authors are two young newlyweds who are also huge social media stars with what seems to be a picture-perfect life. How much insight could a couple with seven million YouTube subscribers have about real life?!

I have never been so wrong.

I was quick to judge, and that kept me from really investing myself in the reading at first. But after I laid aside any presuppositions I had about social media influencers, I began to see an authenticity that I didn't anticipate. It was like sitting down and having a conversation with two old friends. Their casual tone makes for reading that is fun and full of life.
I could go on and on about their writing style and use of voice, but what really struck a chord with me was the raw, honest content. Cole and Sav tackle a wide range of topics like long-distance dating, managing finances, healthy vs. unhealthy sexual behaviors, raising children, young marriage, and modern Christianity; topics often ignored for the sake of avoiding awkward conversation or differences of opinion.

As I made my way through the narrative, I found a lot of Cole and Sav's experiences to be very relate-able.

Savannah had to rebuild her identity after a significant other cheated on her; a journey I am currently on. She went through a period of messy familial and romantic relationships and is very honest about how it affects her in her present life and marriage.
Cole talks about growing up in the Bible belt of Alabama and how he learned the difference between "going through the motions" and true worship of Christ. Having been raised in the same area as Cole, I completely understand the struggle to find spiritual authenticity.

Even though Cole and Savannah have different pasts, they found a love much greater than themselves through Christ.

Jesus is their primary commonality. They are very adamant about giving God the credit for their life and relationship. I think this is what sets them apart from the countless other media stars out there, and also, brings their novel together.
They don't just post fun videos and cute photographs for themselves (even though that is how they make their income), but to make Christ known to their audience through their marriage, the raising of their child, and their vlogging lifestyle. It takes great faith and devotion to allow the whole world to see the ups and downs of your life, and the LaBrants do it with grace, love, and transparency.

I would encourage any young person to order this book, sit down with a pen and a highlighter, and allow God to let the story speak to your heart.

Through "Our Surprising Love Story," God has softened my heart, opened my eyes, and allowed me to see that my first impressions of someone are hardly ever accurate and that I can learn something from every human on this earth, no matter how different their life is from mine. Take the journey for yourself; I promise it's worth it.

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What Easter Is Like As A Wiccan

For the majority of people, Easter is the celebration of Christ rising from the dead. But for witches, it's about something very different.
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One thing that can be quite irksome about being a part of the American school/college system is the fact that, for the most part, we are only given time off for holidays recognized by one religion, that being Christianity. I'm not saying these holidays are bad or that Christianity is overrated; far from it. But when you think about the holidays celebrated by Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or, in this case, Pagans, it makes you wonder how everyone else chooses to celebrate their own holidays in the midst of the all-mighty Hallmark-centric holidays.

Before I converted to Wicca, I never quite understood why the majority of Americans chose to celebrate the gory death and alleged resurrection of someone during the spring, much like how we choose to celebrate Christmas in December even though many historians believe Jesus Christ was born around June. Although anyone can celebrate their own holidays for their own reasons, I think its also important to understand where these holidays may have really come from and how other religious holidays can be represented during this Easter weekend.

Instead of celebrating Easter, myself and millions of other people who identify as Pagans celebrate the holiday Ostara. This holiday is mostly celebrated around March 21, but fell on March 20 this year. During this time, Pagans celebrate the Spring Equinox, when winter ends and the bright colors of spring are allowed to come forward for the year -- when "Night and day stand equal, The Sun grows in power and the land begins to bloom and the powers of the gathering year are equal to the darkness of winter and death."

Ostara is one of the eight Pagan Sabbats marked by the Wheel of the Year. Each Sabbat marks a new season, equinox or solstice, which are used to signify the cycle of life, love, death and rebirth between the Mother Goddess (Gaia) and the Father God (also known as the Horned God). With Ostara in particular, it represents a new age of fertility, as the cycle of life and death of the Horned God starts up again.

There are many ways witches and warlocks from the multiple branches of Paganism choose to celebrate Ostara, but the majority of them choose to celebrate the Sabbat of rebirth by basking in the fresh spring flowers. For many, they can choose to have a ritual in their hard garden or simply enjoy the world around them.

You may be wondering, well what does some holiday about spring have to do with Easter? I'm glad you asked! As it turns out, like many other pagan traditions, the Christian religion got a few inspirations from the Pagans, one of them being the beloved Easter Egg.

What the rabbit represents for Ostara is fertility, magic and sexual energy, seeing as the main theme in the Spring Equinox is fertility and sowing seeds. Many believe that both of the holidays' names come from the goddess Eostre, who is sometimes associated with fertility and is loosely connected to both eggs and rabbits. There are also many sources, such as Jacob Grimm (one half of the Brothers Grimm), who believe that the egg is one of the symbols of early Paganism.

So how exactly do Pagans celebrate Easter, considering it's usually a week after Ostara? Well, for many, they just use the holiday to reconnect with family and celebrate some much-needed time off. For me, I just celebrate with food.

Lots and lots of food.

Happy Easter and Merry Ostara everyone!

Cover Image Credit: Lucid Source

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The Notre Dame Cathedral–Such A Loss Of History And Beauty, But What A Gift It Was To Experience It

Reid shares her story as she is saddened for Paris and the church.

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After the massive fire that devastated large parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the 850-year-old cathedral's spire fell. French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation to share in the nation's sorrow but gave hope for the future. This includes the rebuilding of the cathedral together and making it more beautiful than ever. "The fire of Notre Dame reminds us that our story never ends. And that we will always have challenges to overcome. What we believe to be indestructible can also be touched," Macron said.

Tyler Reid

Among many others, Tyler Reid is saddened for Paris and the church. Although, she counts herself blessed to have seen it such a short time before it was destroyed. Reid, who was lucky enough to visit the amazing structure this past spring break, remarked:

My trip was filled with so many wonderful sites. Although, because Notre Dame carries the title of most-visited monument in Europe, my expectations were high. When I first walked up, there isn't one specific feeling I got; instead, it was more of a million thoughts running though my head. Once inside, looking at the massive stained glass windows combined with all the details in every crevice, it was hard for me to imagine people actually building this without the technology we have today. This hand crafted masterpiece really is so influential considering people still went there to worship, even after so much time has past and so many other cathedrals had been built. This proves how special the Notre Dame Cathedral really is. Due to my experience here, hearing about the fire hurt my heart, especially thinking about how some of the irreplaceable artworks and all of this history may be gone. This place truly influenced people, including me, and for it to be gone is a true tragedy.

Like Macron, Reid shares in the sorrow; although, for her, it was just from one visit. This proves the amazing impact the Notre Dame Cathedral had and hopefully will continue to have even after this devastation.

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