How Joel Osteen Changed My Life

How Joel Osteen Changed My Life

By a complete accident and perfect timing.
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When I first found out I was pregnant with our youngest, I cried. For weeks. I cried because I wasn't sure how we were going to do it. Just the week before I found out we had another one on the way, my husband and I had discussed only having our one child. He had already planned it out in his head to only have one, because having two daughters might just put us over the edge. But then to find out that I was pregnant again and our first wasn't even a year old yet? Whew. Let me tell you.

Having a child is hard! Being responsible for another person's life outside of your own is hard. It will drive you crazy, make you obsessive and keep you awake at night. I have nightmares, a few times a week, about protecting our oldest. I lie awake at night having what if moments.

What if I'm not that good at being a mom? What if she gets hurt? How do I know when to take her to the doctor? What happens when she starts kindergarten? How do you even start the process of getting enrolled?

She was the light of our lives. She was the first thing I thought of when I woke up, and was the last thing I prayed about before falling asleep. I would literally breathe her in every second I was around her. I was EXCITED to wake up at 6 a.m. and snuggle her. See, crazy! Kids make you crazy.

Then, when I found out about being pregnant again, a whole different set of crazy questions started flooding my mind. How could I ever love another child the way I did her? Were we robbing her of her childhood? What happens if they didn't like each other? What if she didn't like us? How were we going to make it? How were we going to survive on our incomes, we were barely surviving with one kid.

The day before my first OB appointment with our youngest, I was a mess. I felt guilty that I wasn't excited like I was with our first. I felt like there was something wrong because I just didn't feel the same. I couldn't fall asleep the night before. I just kept having awful thoughts.

Then. Ugh, then. Right before I started to drift off to sleep, that (stinking) Joel Osteen came on talking about how people say that their child was an accident. Not that their living, breathing child was an accident, but that their getting pregnant was unplanned...therefore accident. He said it always drove him crazy because no child was an accident. Every child had a purpose, every child was planned. Every child is fearfully and wonderfully made.

It was that moment I gave up all fear, anxiety, and sadness about having another child. It was then that I let go of all worry for her, and us. I gave it all, because God has a plan. Always has, always will.

These past few weeks have been a struggle for me. I have cried several times because being a parent is hard. I've had several friends say how lucky I am that I get to stay at home with our kids. How lucky it is that I don't miss any mile stones. And it's true. I am lucky. But weeks like these past few, I lose sight of that. When our oldest acts like a nut, the youngest doesn't sleep and all I want to do is eat chocolate and feel sorry for myself, I lose sight of that. Then I remember, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.

What the girls are going through, the different stages of childhood are rough, and what I'm dealing with right now, is only a small piece of the puzzle that makes up our lives. I will be so thankful in a few years knowing that I got to spend most of their childhood at home with them. So here I am again, giving it all back. I'm giving all my grief, anxiety, and sadness back to Him. I refuse to be frustrated all the time. He has a plan and I'm just sticking to it. Every slap in the face, poop on the wall, sleepless night, every fight I have to break up, I am sticking to it.

I still don't have all the answers. I couldn't tell you if our girls are behind or ahead of the growth curve because they haven't stepped foot in a doctor's office in at least six months. I have no clue where to look for pre-k programs for our oldest. I have no idea if our kids are geuinely nice people, but I do know one thing. They were both fearfully and wonderfully made, and that has to account for something, right?

Cover Image Credit: Carly Marmen Photography

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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I Wish As A Child I Understood That Sometimes Two Houses Are Really Better Than One

A broken home isn't always a bad thing.

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I can't sit here and pretend to know anything about marriage. I've heard that "marriage isn't easy; it requires a lot of give and take." I can, however, tell you about divorce. Growing up you never think that your parents will fall out of love. How could they? And while you may always be too young to understand the ins and outs of your parent's relationship, divorce affects more than just the people married. Researcher Judith Wallerstein proved in her well-known study on divorce that an unhappy marriage is better than no marriage for children. Not only are kids oblivious to the flaws in the marriage, but no marriage at all can have negative long-term effects on the children, especially in future relationships. However, a limitation of this experiment was that Wallerstein did not study high-conflict marriage, where divorce is not a problem that needs to be fixed; it's a solution.

Parents often tell their children that "mommy and daddy don't love each other anymore," even if there are other reasons for splitting up. Divorce is difficult for children to understand so this is the line that is fed most often to them. Therefore, the one concept children struggle with the most is how could parents fall out of love? To answer this question we have to define love. The internet defines love as "an intense feeling of deep affection," but I think TIME is more accurate with their article titled "We Are Defining Love The Wrong Way," in which Rabbi David Wolpe states that Too many women have told me, bruises visible on their faces, that the husbands who struck them love them.

Since they see love as a feeling, the word hides the truth, which is that you do not love someone whom you repeatedly beat and abuse. You may have very strong feelings about them, you may even believe you cannot live without them, but you do not love them. When I was growing up my mom always told me that it was her job to teach me to distinguish between "a man who flatters me and a man who compliments me; a man who spends money on me and a man who invests in me; a man who lusts after me and a man who loves me." I never realized how important it is to be able to distinguish between lust and love. These two words are so different, but society uses them interchangeably.

So how should love be defined then? I believe that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says it best: "Love is patient and kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never fails."

So now try to put your spouse or significant others name as a substitute every time those verses refer to love. Can you do so without laughing? If not, then your relationship might be based more on lust than love. This doesn't mean that it will never have a firm foundation of love; it just means that it will take time to build this kind of sturdy foundation. The problem is not divorce; the problem is the lack of willingness to foster the type of love a marriage requires. The biggest misconception about divorce is that it causes a home to be broken when in reality the home was broken, to begin with. Divorce allows there to be two strong support systems that are much healthier than one dysfunctional family unit. Coming from a divorced family, this is something I wish I understood as a child.

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