Thursday, November 8, 2012

Twisted Truth.

A very wise woman once asked me, "What truth is it that's 'gone wrong' for you to be thinking this way? What good thing has become distorted?"

At the time, I was convinced God was more pleased with me in seasons of suffering. In suffering I'd thought, "This is God's kindness to me. He loves me and wants me to enjoy more of Him and His promises right now.  He loves to grow me, and I grow in trials. He wants to keep me near Him- that's why this trial is here."

Now, can that thought be true? Absolutely it can.

But when taken to the "enth" degree, seasons of prosperity {ehem, like now for me} can feel like God is far away. Or that something is wrong if I don't tangibly feel my need for Him like I did in a more trying time.

...unless it is replaced with thoughts like, "This prosperity is God's kindness to me. He loves me and wants me to enjoy more of Him and His gifts right now. He wants to keep me near Him and show me His goodness- that's why this prosperity is here."

...why is it that the second is far more difficult for me to believe? And remind myself of?

I live as though I believe it is more godly to suffer.

We cannot control whether we suffer or prosper, nor the seasons they change. The "season" is not more godly or ungodly. It's how we RESPOND to the season that reveals our hearts.

I am currently doing a project for my counseling class on "the fear of disillusionment." Basically, the twisted truth here, is over-weighing the thoughts and observations of others to the degree that my own discernment or perspective is not valid.

I fear that I am walking, living in, and blind to destructive sin patterns in my life that others from far away can see, but  I {and those closest to me} can't. When incorrectly accused, even if I have many observations from people very close to me that strongly disagree with the accusation, I find it incredibly difficult to dismiss it.

...and not because I want to protect my reputation...but because I fear there MUST be truth in what they brought.

I am learning that my definition of humility and understanding of how to pursue it, is incomplete and at times, totally inaccurate.

My husband and I just read through Job...and it was revealed only more. Job did not waiver to "agree" with the wrong conclusions his friends presented/corrected/rebuked him with. And somehow, at the end of Job, God does not correct Job for dismissing and disagreeing with his "WISE" friend's correction. In fact, God tells these accusing counselors, that they "did not speak what was right about Him" but that Job HAD. This literally blows my mind.

As I am searching Scripture in preparation for this paper, I am finding so many verses that I mentally use as my "reasoning" or "logic" behind how I respond to accusation that I believe is false.

The "good thing" is that I distrust myself and value other's input in my life.

...but this has been taken to an unhealthy, sinful level. I am instead dismissing my own thoughts/perspective, and at times, down-right FACTS to somehow make these observations plausible. And the spiral affect is that I hesitate to bring observations to others because I don't want to cause the same difficulty for them if they don't agree and my observation is just incomplete. Oh, it affects so many things...

I know I can't see things totally clearly. But I have a hard time resolving that OTHERS can't always see things totally clearly.

I don't think a whole lot of people read this blog anymore :) but if you're reading this, would you mind praying for me? As I sort thought my thoughts and emotions and even pain at times, I want to hunger for God more and see things through His eyes. I want to discover and explore how I can more fully trust Him and cling to the cross.

Monday, September 17, 2012

For Moms

Having lived with a large handful of families, my heart is always eager to encourage, help, support moms.

I'm not a mom I'll let this amazing woman do all the talking. If you are a mom in need of

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How He lived.

I've been contemplating and considering the life of Christ a lot recently. In Radical, David Platt uses Christ's example and teaching to challenge a lot of my American mindset.

I've thought and prayed about various homeless ministries I could be apart of. I want to let the challenges in Radical change and alter my cultural mindset. I've been involved in conversations and debates about homosexuality and abortion...and what it means for the Church to love others and stand for truth like Christ has loved and been Truth Himself. Have we begun to compartmentalize sin? {I hate when others do that to me!} I am so aware of the great extent I think we've failed to be Jesus to the world.

And as a few new faces and I began talking about how to "stand up" for what is right, without preaching moralism or being a hypocrite, or interacting with others through a narrow view of "their sin" that bothers us {does OUR sin bother us?}...

I started thinking about Jesus. I wondered what He'd do. Would He be initiating committees and non-profits? How would He deal with homelessness? Would He protest with a sign at an abortion clinic? How would He care for a gay friend?

I pictured Christ speaking to crowds, and then ministering to the individuals He met along His journeys. The lame, the blind, the woman at the well. I was affected by how He loved those He was around...whoever He came in contact with. He didn't seek people out by categories.

In my head I concluded, "Ya, it's not like He came and tried to save the world." And then I laughed...because actually, He did.

But what I tend to think "saving the world" looks like, is changing the world as a whole. In large groups with conferences and megaphones and really good one-liners that are posted and re-posted on fb and cut to the heart so unbelievers see their need for a Saviour. In my mind, all of this is done quickly and effectively. But that is not what Jesus came to do.

He came to save us. And to individually and uniquely save us from our sin. That's the beautiful thing about testimony's: no two are ever alike.

As we discussed in Community Group Tuesday night- there is a temptation to think that we could be more successful in ministry if we had a title or status of some kind.

...but Jesus didn't. He was a carpenter's son. Who loved and served and taught and discipled those whom the Father gave Him.

So as I go about my week nannying, running business and having countless business meetings for insurance, marketing, hiring employees, etc., or as I grocery shop and do laundry at the laundromat, or take my class on Thursday nights, go to youth group, or ride the I being sensitive to how God might use me to interact with people He puts in my path? I am convicted even as I write this.

Last week in class, David Powlison said, "Jesus was busy. But He was never rushed." We talked about how strong and prevalent distraction is in our culture today. I am constantly distracted. I am aware of a need to change. I need the Holy Spirit to work in and through me. To help me build relationships {real friendships} with unbelievers...for the purpose of sharing Hope and Life with them. Am I too busy with the "big vision" of getting groceries, or finishing laundry, or doing business...that I miss those "little visions" of how I can love, serve, and care for others in the mundane?

From what I can tell, all of Jesus' ministry was done in the mundane.

Lord, please. Help me better know who You are, that I might reflect You to those You put in my path. Help me fight distraction and be focused on You even in the mundane.

Monday, September 3, 2012


It's been a challenging few weeks. Not circumstantially...but inwardly. In my heart, and my mind. Josh and I, along with some family members, have just finished the book Radical by David Platt.

It has been life-transforming. Perspective-altering. I recommend it to you. Highly.

The reader is challenged to take a look at the wealth in America. I have never in my life considered myself to be wealthy...until reading this book. Mere shelter, water, food, and transportation of any kind {including public} make me among a very small percent of the wealthiest in the WORLD.

Josh just finished reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan and I have benefited from his thoughts on it greatly. Can't wait to dig into it myself.

God is using these books {they are mere tools...He is the One working} to open my eyes and challenge my perspective.

I take pride in how little money we have spent on our furniture or decorations in our apartment. I make it a personal goal to spend as little as I can on food for us each month. Often, I make gifts instead of purchasing them. I love coupons, and getting deals. I take comfort in knowing we give money away regularly and work to live on as little as possible. We have what I would consider a small savings account for emergencies.


Funny word, huh? Francis Chan challenges the perspective of our "Emergency Funds" maybe fix a car. Or not need to be uncomfortable, but just keep right on living as if a great expense hadn't come up unexpectedly. {makes it kind of easy to not trust God if our hearts aren't engaged} Yet. Isn't starvation around the world an emergency? Or sex trafficking? Kind of puts my "emergency" in a different I not think other's lives are as important as mine? my running-perfectly car? ::gulp::

Do I turn and look away from how a sacrifice of my earthly comforts, could make a difference in eternity? Do I ACTUALLY believe this life is temporary, and the next is forever? Ugh. It is so sad. So often, I do not live to believe this.

I have been challenged by the teaching of Christ. To give. My time. My gifts. My resources. He has given them all to me. To enjoy, yes. And to give away to bless others.

Not giving what is comfortable to give...or what's left over. David Platt talks about "What we can spare" and "What it will take." He has helped me re-define "necessity."

Just think how different the Gospel would look if God didn't ask the question, "What will it take" in regards to saving us. Praise Him for sending our Saviour!

"Well ya, but..." has been the beginning of many, many, many thoughts as I've listened, dialogued, read, and prayed. Yet, the probing of my heart has not stopped.

I am so grateful for a husband who so understands the message of Christ-- one that challenges our hearts. He has been an amazing godly encouragement and leads me so well. Encouraging me with things like, "Wealth is not wrong. Loving it is."

Right. It's not about how much I am giving or what homeless/poverty ministry {if any} I'm involved in. But where is my heart? What am I really passionate about? How MUCH do I want to help others? Am I willing to sacrifice? Do I even know what that means?

This blog post has no resolution to is mere musings. Thoughts not fully processed. Join me in wrestling with what this looks like for you. It will be different for both of us.

But my prayer is that as a nation especially...with more wealth and resources than any other...that as a church, we would be affected by the needs around us...mostly the spiritual needs. And that we would be bothered enough to actually do something about them.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

You surpass them all.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I was going to make a list up to how old you are...but I might not appreciate that. So...its up to how old I am :)

Things I love about you:

1. How you consistently encourage me to trust the LORD.
  Whether it was waiting for a husband, needing guidance about moving overseas {or back}, dealing with relationships, confusion about circumstances...your counsel is the same: Trust. Trust the One who does know.

2. How you live your own trust the LORD.
While the ways to list this are beyond number...the one that most has affected my how you trust God with your children. {Any moms reading: this is the secret!!!} Whether it was in my High School rebelious years, or releasing us kids to move to various parts of the world with your prayers and support...or perhaps its even been most in my adult life that I've enjoyed this: You honestly and fully 100% completely believe and trust that I am seeking God...and HE WILL LEAD ME. There are no words to thank you for this. Your confidence in the Holy Spirit's work in my life, has granted me more freedom in grace than you could know. Your girls love it so much...we talk over the phone about how much of a blessing it is to us. Thank you, Mom.

3. How you always put your left hand on your hip when you cook.
 Turns out...its hereditary ;)

4. The way you toss popcorn in that big silver bowl.
  Hundreds and thousands of times. To bless people, to thank them, to say, "thinking of you and love you"...or just to fill a box you're popping in the post. Better to have edible popcorn than the styrofoam kind, right? ;)

5. How you submit to your husband.
  I was over 18 years old before I learned you and daddy didn't always fully agree on rules for us!
This same submission {and trust in God} has moved you from the place you called home for over 20 years...the wood floors that your children learned to walk on...the poles we slild down in the basement...the sidewalks we rode our bikes on and then wrote Nan, Pops, and Nicole "welcome" signs with left it to follow what God was leading you and daddy to. A place where you knew no one. Just to do the same thing a few years later, and move again. You have done this with joy, and trust in both daddy, and the LORD.

6. Your warmth.
  Everyone feels like your kid because of how much you love.

7. That you're more expressive and enthusiastic than me.

8. That you're older than your husband and met him at a wedding.
  Turns out...that's hereditary too.

9. How hilarious you are!
  No text is received without a laugh! {sometimes...I forward the really funny ones to my friends.}

10. How welcoming you are.
  Everyone is invited. All the time. Even if we just met them over a weekend and we don't really know them...they can come on our family vacation. {my favourite part about this that its not an exaggeration.}

11. How you try to come up with reasons to give us money.
  "um...this is for doing my hair. And to get something to eat before you get on the plane." When you've really given me 1500x the amount that would cost. "This is for letting us come see you..." ...right. and ALLLL the expenses that entails. "This is for gas." "But mom, someone else drove me." "Well, this is for the gas you would've spent."

12. How you tell me I'm so creative whenever I make a craft of any kind.
  ...when in make more crafts than anyone on the planet.

13. How you always say that Pops would be proud of me and my business.

14. That all you wanted when we were little was for us "to get along" with eachother.
  ...and how 20 years later...its one of the things that blesses you the most: your kids' relationships with each other.

15. The Crazy 8's are still in your many years later? {shhh. no one will tell.}
  High School friends and relationships that have lasted DECADES.

16. The way you're "From New Jersey" when you mean business.
  and that you came up with that expression and all your kids know what it means ;)

17. How hard you fight for peace in relationships.

18. The way you say, "Oh honey!"

19. How absolutely amazing you are with any child anywhere.

20. The ways you rejoiced with me and encouraged me that Josh was "the one" and so very evidently who God was leading me to.
  "How was picking up the Best Man? Was he cute?! I PRAYED he was cute!"

21. How you "could talk to me all day" every time we talk.

22. That cheese and crackers is always the first snack offered.
  Of course with a glass of wine.

23. The way you tell stories.
  They are the BEST.

24. How you used to make us watch random Oprah shows so we'd remember not to talk to strangers.
  It worked! :)

25. How sympathetic you are.
  You always tell me I must be so tired and I'm working so hard. I need a nap and to have some fun.

26. That you're MY mom.
  And you always will be.

I love you so much! Happy Birthday!

{Dear everyone: please feel free to comment about the reasons YOU love my mom}

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Voices of Others

Satan loves it. He encourages lies. He wants us to feel our filth without finding cleansing. He doesn't want us to silence the voices of others in our heads...

I imagine everyone battles this to some degree. I would imagine girls struggle more...probably because we DO it more.

Its the sneaky, un-stated, un-communicated expectations that we put on others...and that they put on us. That when un-met, breed tension, difficulty, strife, and confusion.

Chances are, we've all been on both the giving and receiving ends of this disgusting expectation. We've helped rob joy from others because of our selfishness. We've communicated legalistically with others, while giving ourselves heapings of grace. We've voluntarily withheld love. We've closed our mouths in self-righteousness thinking we were "being the bigger person" when we should've opened it to communicate our struggle. We've stopped pursuing because other's aren't responding-- and we try to come up with a reason in our minds as to "why" they're not doing what we want. We've ignored conflict. Or on the other end, we've instigated conflict by judging those who've not met our own expectations- calling it sin while not knowing their heart.

...and the sad part is...I'm sure we're more aware of when its done TO us, than when we are the culprits.

I find it incredibly hard to feel "forgiven" for these un-stated offenses. It's as though I think, because they are "hidden" (have not been communicated to me)...God must not be aware of them He can't forgive them...but they still exist. I am still condemned for them.

Not matter how hard anyone tries to convince me that it's not my responsibility to "figure out" what I've done wrong, or to trust that God will bring something out if and when He chooses...I am fighting so.stinkin.hard to let it go. I want to KNOW what I must've done wrong for someone to've "said this" or "done that". It is hard to pretend "I don't know" that they talk to others about whatever it is I've not measured up to. And I desperately want to know. I want to change. I want to hear those conversations and ask questions...

Years ago, this looked like reputation-preservation in myself. By the grace of God, I don't believe that's as strong as it once was. Yet, in recent months, He is tugging at sinful roots that go far deeper.

I am not trusting. I feel I cannot trust. Without hearing the other's "side" or perspective...surely I am guilty of whatever it is they have against me. I don't trust God. I don't trust the consistent observation of those closest to me and most involved in my life. I think to myself, "We all must be deceived. Whatever my 'condemner' says must be the real truth."

And as I drove down the road yesterday, contemplating these things...the Holy Spirit brought His Word to me,

"So far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." Romans 12:18

...I just looked it up to find the reference and found another absolute beauty: it begins, "If possible..."

If possible. As far as it is my responsibility.

That is it. I must find peace. Peace in knowing that GOD...the Almighty Creator of the Universe...against whom I have sinned so horrifically, no human's offense- real or perceived, could compare...HE has forgiven me. HE has seen me, HE has spoken to me in many moments of me asking what I can do to fulfill "as far as it depends on me." All I can do is my responsibility. Then, I must trust Him. He is working where I cannot see. And He is obviously using this in my own heart and life as draw Him to Himself. To show the cross see grace abound even more.

...I must give it up. I cannot, and will not please/serve others well. Especially by their own definition. I cannot guarantee them that they will not be hurt by my actions...when there is real sin, or perceived. I am not in control of my relationships: I am responsible for my own actions. I must learn this distinction.

...and I must let His the voice most heard:

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..." Romans 8

So what about you? What voices are playing in your head? What lies do you hear? When you feel you don't measure up, are you quick to boast in the cross...or do you want to know and understand and make it right?

May the LORD sweetly and gently teach our hearts...that His is the Only Voice that matters.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Style Me Pretty Blog

Our wonderful wedding photographer, Cheryl {} submitted our wedding to Style Me Pretty...and they posted it on their blog!

Check it out HERE!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Very weak in joy.

I imagine very few people will be able to relate to this posting. It is obscure, and I would guess...unusual.

Here I am, in my home-- making a salad with local produce from next door. I'm beyond-happily married to the most amazing man ever. And I cannot believe a man such as THAT loves ME. I am about to sit down and open my Bible and enjoy Truth. Today has consisted of so many fun things- creating a care package for a friend going out of the country on a missions trip, baking, cleaning, riding my bike through our adorable town to run an errand at CVS {the weather is beautiful} and I am just soaking in all of the temporary, yet so hoped-for and waited-for blessings this current season holds.

And I notice yet again, this bizarre mis-conception of God that I've seen at other times in recent years and in re-occurring conversations...

It's as though, I'm "afraid" or hesitant to go to God in abundant joy continuing to thank Him for all of these beautiful things that remind me of His love.

You see, with back-to-back traumatic, heart wrenching, rug pulled out from under me trials and heart aches in circumstances and relationships for a consecutive 5 years...I learned of God's love as I could tangibly feel my weakness. He ministered to me so sweetly in the midst of darkness. As I quoted His promises and swallowed tears. As I journaled about "hope" and "the future" and "redemption." In countless times of loneliness and misunderstanding, I knew He was with me and He understood. Glorious. Beautiful. Wouldn't trade those things I've learned for anything.

And yet, that is the opposite kind of season I find myself in now. My distorted perspective that's been revealed in the past couple of years, is that God prefers when I go through trials and tangibly experience my need for Him. He would rather me be alone and in pain because that's when I'm most rigorously being conformed to the image of Christ. I functionally believe the lie that God is more pleased with me when I'm struggling...because I know His nearness in a different way than in times of rejoicing.

And yet...this season of rejoicing has been long-lasting. The longest-lasting I can remember. The longest "stretch" of happiness and ease in my life. {And without question, the happiest time in my life.} And I am still sorting out how to best glorify God from my heart in this season. I at times find myself reluctant to thank Him for all the little blessings, because {oh this is so ridiculous!} I think if He realized how many gifts He was giving me all at one time, He might take some of them away to better "balance" this season out. Horrifying. That is so not His character. As if He "keeps track" to not "overdue it." What does this reveal about my lack of understanding of the Gospel?!

He loves to bless me. It is easy for me to remember that in times of trial. I look ahead to the "blessings" that whatever "growth" I'm experiencing will lead to. But it is so hard for me to TRULY believe He loves to bless me...when I'm receiving the blessing. Which is so ironic...because I could counsel someone else all day long on how much God loves to bless them. I must subconsciously think I don't fall under the same category.

I have been so perplexed about how to overcome this perspective and how to replace it with truth. Not just in my mind...but in my heart. I want to LIVE like I believe this.

It turns out...I am weak in seasons of joy. I am reluctant and hesitant. Oh, how I want that to change. I want to be strong in joy. Unashamed of the blessings God is giving me! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Timeless Truth

I love Scripture.

It never changes. It always applies. God is the same...always.

I've recently taken an opportunity to make some extra cash but it's meant being away from my husband for ten days.

When I was single and waiting for God to bring my husband into my life, I regularly took comfort in Psalm 139, pouring my heart out to the Lord. Trusting He knows my desires and what I need and the un-utterable things I was looking for in a husband. Waiting on God's timing. Trusting He knows best.

"O Lord, you have searched me and known me!"

"You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways."

...and then when I'd met Josh and we were waiting for him to get a different job before we got engaged, I had this on an index card on the bathroom mirror,

" your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them."

I used that to remind me that GOD knew my wedding date even if I didn't. He could see what I couldn't and it had been planned since before I was created...nothing could change it.

And this morning, as I'm 994 miles away from the man I most love in all the world and haven't been able to talk to very much in the last 8 days, here I am reading this same truth.

God has known today completely since before I was born. He knows my thoughts- He discerns them from afar. HE IS NEAR. He knows the conversations I need to have today...and he's "altogether" known my words even before they are on my tongue.

So when I read, "I awake, and I am still with you"...I'm aware that I'm NOT waking up next to my beloved husband.

BUT. This timeless truth gives such comfort and peace: HE is with me. The One who has known all of my days. The One's whose eyes saw my unformed substance before I was made.

There is sweetness in the beauty of it all. My seasons of life have changed drastically: yet here He is. The same God, the same promises and truth.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Because vows are the focal point of the wedding {in my opinion} I thought it'd be fun to share our vows with you, the blogging world. That way, you can feel like you attended the ceremony :)

Eat some banana chocolate chip bread/cake, have a sip of coffee, and do a little dance and you've attended the reception too.

Josh's vows:

Beautiful Janelle,

You are the love of my life, the most precious and perfect gift from God Almighty to me, His son. I never doubted that God would provide a woman to marry, but of the character of that woman, I could not have dared ask for one as you. You are without question more in love with God and His Word than any woman I have ever met. You are an unwavering encouragement to put all trust in God's faithfulness. You have taught me what true, active faith in the sovereignty of God looks like against life's abundant questions. You regularly display the most ridiculous selflessness towards my preferences and comfort at the neglect of your own. And you have visibly demonstrated your love for God in how you love and care for me. I am convinced that God brought us together and that He placed you in my life to be my wife so that together we would more fervently and passionately serve the name of Jesus. People say to be careful you are not finding your fulfillment in another but what I believe we have is a God-glorifying, God-honouring relationship that has built our faith in God's love and goodness as the One provider of all fulfillment. God promises in His Holy Word that as our Heavenly Father, He knows how to give His children good gifts. And Janelle, as a child of God, I have never in my life received such a purely spectacular, concretely undeserved, stunningly beautiful, exquisitely identifiable gift and demonstration of God's love for me as you, my gorgeous girl, are. 

The love I have for you is both a deep attraction and emotional response, but that is just the surface. My love for you, Janelle Ann Leach, is rooted in the faithfulness of God and is as true and lasting a commitment as I have ever made or will make apart from my relationship with Jesus Christ. So in the sight of our dear friends, loving family, and above all, our Creator, Sustainer, God Most High, I make these vows as my marriage covenant to you. These vows are to be an enduring covenant between you and I in the strength of the Holy Spirit without exception until death. 

Janelle, I vow today to take you as my wife from this day forward. To live with you in an understanding manner, to love you more than I love myself, being willing to lay down my life for yours. To lead you in the ways of God our Father as He leads me. To provide for your life with my strength. To hold you close in all triumphs, as well as hardships. To encourage you to mortify sin and take hold of obedience. To rejoice with you in God's goodness and faithfulness. To care for you in plenty and in poverty, and above all, to personally strive to loving God with all my heart, soul, and strength as I work to cultivate a humble spirit that seeks His glory and His Kingdom. I vow all of this to you, Janelle, in God's abundant strength, incomprehensible power, and loving wisdom. I commit my life, and all that I have to you as we join together as one in the sight of God through this marriage covenant until the Lord receives one of us to Himself. Love you. 

My vows:

Joshua Mark Morrison. You are a gift from God. Aside from the Gospel, you are the most profound expression of the Lord’s steadfast love and faithfulness in my life. You are the greatest answer to prayer that I ever have or ever will experience. Your mere existence has built my faith. Your pursuit of me, and your humble and bold leadership of our relationship is a glorious demonstration of the LORD’s listening ear and how He is intimately acquainted with all of my ways; He has heard all of my requests. Surely, God does far more abundantly than all we ask or imagine. Glory to His Name.

I love you with all that I am, and with all that I have. Your character, integrity, and godliness have exceeded even my boldest prayer requests. Your love and affection for God, your passion for His Word, and your heart for the lost, has completely won my heart. I love God more because of how YOU love God, and because of how you love me. Thank you for demonstrating the grace of the Gospel to me in so many ways.

As I have watched marriages over the years I have come to realize that I don’t actually know what exactly it is I am committing to today. I have no idea what trials in this life we will face, or what heart aches await us. I don’t know where God will lead us or where I’m committing to follow you to. I can’t predict ways you or I will change over the years or what sacrifices each of us will need to make. I have no idea how you’ll sin against me, or the ways I’ll sin against you. I don’t know anything about our future. But what I do know is that God is faithful.  I know that the Gospel will never change, so there will always be hope. Hope for us individually, and hope for our marriage. I know that God will never leave us and that He is committed to making us more like Himself. He is ultimately my head. He has given you to me for me to follow, submit to, honour, respect, encourage, and love until the day that I go to be with Him forever. I commit my life to you not because of who you are (even though you are entirely amazing)…but because of who God is. I promise these things to you based on His character…so that no matter what you do or don’t do, how you fail or succeed, my commitments to you will not waiver because they are not based on you, but on the Unchanging One and what He has called me to.

So, it is with deep, passionate, steadfast love for you, and a sincere confidence that marrying you is submitting in obedience to the will of our Saviour, that I joyfully make these vows to you today.

I, Janelle Ann Leach, take you, Joshua Mark Morrison to be my husband. I purpose to love you well by seeking to always love Christ more. I promise to seek to serve you in our life together- by striving to care for you, listen to you, respect you, and to be attentive to your needs and wants even above my own. I want to make it easy for you to always be intoxicated with my love. I vow to pray for you; fervently and often. I commit myself to studying Scripture and to cultivating an on-going desire to model Biblical Femininity. I want to always be open and honest with you- no matter what. I hope that wherever we call “home” throughout our years, I’m able to make a place of rest and relaxation for you. I will seek to show hospitality to others and desire that many would come and experience the love of God and demonstrations of the Gospel in our home. I purpose to be willingly inconvenienced for the betterment of you and your schedule. I promise to follow you wherever the LORD leads you; any city, any state, any country; anytime, anywhere. I devote myself to learning how to better support you, encourage you, affirm the work I see God doing in you, and to treasure your strengths and gifting as they compliment my weaknesses. If the Lord should bless us with children, I desire most to pursue humility- as your wife, and as their mother. I purpose to respect you and speak highly of you in front of them and to them. I promise to do all I know how to train our children in the way they should go; it is my desire to exemplify a life of one that fears the Lord above all else. I vow to pray for them and their salvation; I promise to treasure your role as “Leader” in our family. I want to exemplify humble, wise submission and respect as the Lord leads our family by speaking to you. I promise to repent to you when the Lord convicts me of sin. When necessary, I will give my energy and prayer to seeking to forgive you as Christ has forgiven me; freely, fully, and completely. I want to regularly ask God to show me how I can be a better wife to you. I intend to glean from other’s wisdom and experience and to grow in knowledge and understanding as to how I can be a better wife and mother. I also want to pursue God’s will for US; for our marriage, and our family, knowing it may be very different than other’s experiences.

As I seek to be regularly affected by God’s love for me, and grow in understanding the love Christ has demonstrated to us…it is my hope that our marriage is the first place my overflow of love and joy abounds while I’m delighting in the Lord. I want you to enjoy the Gospel more because of my love, as I have enjoyed the Gospel so much more because of YOUR love.

It is because of God’s promise to complete the work He’s begun in me that I even desire to commit these things to you today. I know that He is my Helper, and this is what He has called me to. Even when I am faithless, He will be faithful, and He will have His way. So, Josh, with everything I am, before God, our family and friends, I pledge my life completely to serving you all the days of my life.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Me-centered, comfort prayers

I find it so easy to do.

"Lord, I pray that everything would run smoothly"

"God, I ask for an easy transition/quick recovery/prompt response"

I'm not saying I think its wrong to EVER pray things like this. But I can easily get caught in a rut. My heart can at times be praying, "God, let me be comfortable, and please keep everything from disturbing me and my world. Oh. and thanks for Jesus."

I am praying through a book called, "Prayers of an Excellent Wife" right now in praying for my husband. I saw one of my mentors had it and as I first flipped through it, saw that it was saturated in Scripture. I knew I wanted it.

So just now, I read several of the prayers in it...praying Scripture over my husband. As I was adding to it at the end found myself praying, "...and I ask that everything would go smoothly for him at work..."

and the Lord had me take a step back and He shed light on that prayer...and how it kind of contradicted the previous things I'd just been praying. I then changed it, " ask that when things DON'T run smoothly at work, that you'd give him wisdom and skill to handle the situations in a way that honours and glorifies you..."

It's almost as if at times, I pray things that ignore reality. When do things really EVER go "just" as we planned? Why would we pray for that anyways, if we believe God's ways are infinitely higher than ours? Wouldn't it seem more realistic and sensible to pray, "Father, please help me see with Your eyes and help me trust You when my plans don't happen the way I expect..."

I think of it as, praying towards sanctification and growth.

Instead of ONLY praying for healing {we absolutely should} when a loved one is sick, are we also praying that if it's not the LORD's will to heal today, that He would give sustaining strength, hope, and unwavering trust in the promises of God?

When we pray for our team to win the soccer game, do we also ask for hearts and attitudes that are Kingdom-focused?

When I pray that someone's hair would turn out I seeking to protect my own reputation? Or do I add onto it, "but if it is not your will, please give me wisdom as to how to handle the situation and what to do in a way that will expand Your Kingdom and reflect Your heart."

It certainly takes more concentration for me to think of how to pray God-centered, Gospel-affected prayers instead of me-centered or even need-centered prayers.

One of the prayers today ended with, "Through Your Son and for Your Glory". I thought that would be a good thing for me to contemplate AS I'm I praying these specific things really through Christ and only for His glory? Or does it sound more like I want everything to revolve around me?

I'd love your thoughts/comments.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

We got hitched.

Well, the knot has been tied! On the only cold day in February this year, I committed my life to following my best friend as my leader and provider; I promised to serve him every single day of my life. And he promised me the most wonderful things I've ever heard anyone say.

Since then, we have moved 1,000 miles up north where he took a job that provides financial support to missionaries and ministries in our local area. We absolutely love it here. We've created a home...and it's my favourite place in the world to be.

We are so enjoying the adventure of discovering more and more the mystery of Christ's love for His church.

More blog posts to come-- just wanted to update so you know where they're coming from. Life has changed a lot :) In entirely wonderful ways. We are humbled by the grace and love of God. Praise be to His Name.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Encouraging Tunnel Vision

You know how horses sometimes have blinders on their eyes so they can't see through their peripheral vision?

...I think Josh is my pair of those.

In the kindness and tender love of God, He knows my heart and aim is to keep Him first in each day of my life. To keep the most important things my priorities.

...and yet, with big business changes, unknowns in life's near future, and planning a party for everyone I've ever met, I need help to not just "be a girl" and get caught up in my emotions or sentimentality. I need someone to block my peripheral vision so my eyes are fixed on Christ.

This is why God has given me a man who fears Him, loves Him with his whole heart, has great compassion for me, comforts me, challenges me, and loves me so well that I wonder if this last year has been a dream.

I genuinely have enjoyed the Gospel more as a result of how Josh has demonstrated it to me over and over and over again.

I could not be more excited about learning from his focus and perspective...for the rest of my life.

We are 22 days and counting!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

THE call

Sorry about the last post and being a day early; guess that's what happens when you don't look at the calendar until after blog is POSTED.

Well, folks, it's been one year. A year ago tonight as I headed out the door to Home Group, my phone rang. I screamed and jumped up and down-- met Emily in the hallway as we screamed in disbelief. She was yelling at me to answer.

I ran in the living room, cleared my throat and calmly asked, "Hello?"

...I'd missed the call. :)

Rang back right away and Josh and I set up another time to talk: after Home Group in two hours.

Journal entry January 5, 2011

"Lord! What in the world?! A phone call from Josh? An amazing two+ hour phone conversation about YOU?!

A flat out opening line of why he's calling? This feels like a dream.

I think he might be too sweet for me :) I don't know if he could handle this mess...

Father, please help me guard against imagining parts of his personality and character. If nothing else, I pray for a strong God-centered friendship. Please lead me and guide me. Reveal Your Word to me. Show me his leadership.

Thank you for encouraging my heart and building my faith.
Grow my love for You."

Glory to God.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One year ago today...or...tomorrow, actually...

My journal entry January 4, 2011

"So I'm at Starbucks and the internet isn't working (the MAIN reason I came here) so I'm enjoying a decaf cup of joe and reading and adjusting my perspective before heading to Panera to do work and personal stuff.

I happened upon Isaiah 40. Smiling with joy at the promises contained here. Many truths have encouraged me, but this particularly stands out:

"but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength..."

I love how this begins. "Do you not know? Have you not heard?"
Ha! I love it.
He does not faint or grow weary.
He reminds us here...that we will be tired and exhausted.
But what?
BUT. If we WAIT on the Lord...our strength will be renewed. Ha! How ironic. The way to not grow weary is to wait for the Lord. Wait on Him.

Father, would I receive manna for TODAY. Help me not try to store up mercy or grace. Remind me of this, God. You have given me all I need for today. I ask for wisdom. In my time, interactions, decisions...may I be sensitive to Your Spirit, lean on you; trust you-- your character and your promises. I pray I would set my hope fully on Grace. May my eyes behold Jesus Chris. Help me to see your hand in my day...and be in continual worship and adoration. Help me be wise with my time and efficient. Would I work for you and not man. I wnat to be faithful and honor you with my business.

Just got a text from Josh!!!! :)
He's at the airport and watching a plane to O-town board. I CANNOT stop smiling and my hands are sweating. Great. Now I'll be totally distracted."

That is literally word-for-word what was written in my journal a year ago today.

...and now...just 365 days later...I sit on my bed typing with a glistening, beautiful diamond on my left hand given to me almost a month ago by this same man. My year (like many prior) has been full of waiting on the Lord.

...and I find it so precious that the very last thing in my journal prior to this godly and amazing man pursuing me...FINALLY the one who God has called to be my husband...right before his first text to me...

...was truths about God's character and His call for us to wait on Him.

My heart soars with wonder, excitement, and joy as I consider the faithful hand of I marvel at his timing. Ah, the waiting for this is over: Joshua Morrison has been found. PRAISE THE LORD!

(Also, just as a side note of rejoicing: my car that broke down that I had to sell, and I was so disappointed...I MADE $50 on it when I sold it...and bought a new car for $350 less than I sold mine for. Not only did I not pay to have my car repaired...but I MADE money. GLORY TO GOD!)