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Thursday
Sep292016

Well Done or Burnt Out?

Kathy Carlton Willis knows a lot about living under pressure. I've followed her and her husband during a difficult year, and she focused on the Lord to keep her faith strong. Kathy also knows a lot about the stress of burn-out, and in this Spiritual Life and Self-care UPGRADE, she shares wise counsel.

"Sometimes I wonder if my efforts will lead to me hearing 'Well Done' or being burnt out," Kathy said. "Let's look at the recipe for finding the balance."

I (Dawn) think this is such a vital topic in our busy, busy world. Several years ago, I almost totally lost my ministry because of a health issue related to burn out. Loving friends did question all I was doing at the time, but I wish someone had pulled me aside and asked tough accountability questions about my priorities and why I was doing what I was doing.

Kathy continues …

In most recipes, the difference between making a crispy creation and a delightful dish is in two variables. Time and temperature. (Just like the old phone service you could call for that information!)

Getting the best out of life for God’s BIG glory without burning out requires those same two variables. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Time

  • How long do you spend on the things that require your attention during your waking hours?
  • How long do you sleep and rest between periods of busyness?
  • Do you have time to add something new to your schedule, or do you need to delete something before you add anything else?

2. Temperature

  • How hot does your passion burn for your specific projects?
  • How consistent are your efforts before you need to take a break?
  • Do you get bored easily with the project?

Oftentimes we evaluate the ingredients of a recipe to determine if it will be a success, when the real issue is to make sure we have the time and temperature set correctly.

It’s wise to ask God to lead in adding to or taking away from your workload. Seek Him to reveal what activities tickle your taste buds. And follow His lead when it’s time to take it easy for a bit.

If it’s been a while since you had a day you could label BLESSED REST,  then you probably need a day like that!

Overdo or overdue?

Are you on the verge of burning out? I realized it was time to slow down and relax when I wrote the following paragraph to my mom:

“I want one day to relax and do what I want, when I want.

I haven’t had one of those in a LONG time. Overdo.

Sort of my Merry Christmas present to myself!”

See the problem? I spelled “overdue,” overdo. And that was the problem.

I was overdoing it—rest was overdue!

We rarely will admit we’re burning out until it’s too late. The toast is already burnt. We’ve pushed the time and temperature too long, too hot. 

And you know what happens when you let the toast burn? It stinks! It stinks when we push ourselves too hard, as well. We’re no good for anyone, at that point.

Let the toaster cool off and add more bread. You rest, then decide what God wants you to add or subtract from your life schedule to fuel your passions and feed your purpose without overdoing it!

Burnt Out?

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9 KJV)

Well Done?

His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21 AMP) 

When you seek Jesus to be Lord of your life (Master) and are faithful in His instructions, seeking to be effective for the success of the Kingdom and not merely personal success, you will hear Him exclaim about your work, “Well done!”

Where are you headed—to hearing “Well done” or being burnt out?

Kathy Carlton Willis shines for God, reflecting His light as a speaker at writer's conferences and women's retreats, and as an author - contributing to three books and writing hundreds of columns and articles online and in print publications. She wrote Grin with Grace with AMG Publishers and has several books releasing over the next few years. She and her husband Russ live in Texas with Jazzy, their hilarious Boston Terrier.

Tuesday
Sep272016

5 Ways to Hope When Life Hurts

Lina Abujamra is a pediatric ER doctor and she's seen a lot of "hurts" in life, but in this Attitude UPGRADE, she offers practical counsel for hope through the tears.

"Wouldn't it be nice if we could take a pill to make the pain go away? But things are never that simple," Lina says. "Some days feel like torture, and it hurts."

Oh, yes, I (Dawn) have looked for that magical bottle of pills; but Lina says there is real hope—we just have to know where to find it. (This article is longer than the usual UPGRADE posts, but I think this is a message so many of us need to hear today.)

Lina continues . . .

Motivational speakers try to teach us to use positivity to overcome our pain. But I've found myself in places in my life where no amount of positive mental thinking will work me out of my pit of despair.

Hope is more than a positive mental attitude. God has given us far more than positivity. He's given us His Son who demonstrated victory by rising from the dead. He's given us His Spirit to enable us to live out the Christian life the way He lived out His: victoriously and triumphantly.

Yet so many of us are failing. I'm embarrassed to tell you how often I've crumbled under the pressure of pain. This crumbling reveals itself in a variety of shapes and forms of my life: misplaced anger, inpatient frustration, whining and complaining, and once in a while, the pit of self-pity and even a few potholes of despair.

But this is not the end of the story.

It was a seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and on that day the walk felt like an interminable journey of sorrow. (Read Luke 24:13-27).  The two disciples were weighed down by their pain. They had expected God to do the impossible. They had expected the Messiah to take over the world.

Suddenly a man came walking up alongside them. The man was Jesus risen from the dead, but the disciples had not been given the ability to recognize him yet.

They told Him what they were talking about: "Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him" (vv. 19-20).

But the worst was yet to come. The disciples then uttered three fatal words of defeat that were the nail on the coffin of their pain: "But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel" (verse 21).

We. Had. Hoped.

Have you ever uttered these three words of hopelessness, not knowing that victory was already on the way? Have you ever misinterpreted the most painful event in your life without any idea of the miracle God was already working out on your behalf?

I can't keep track of the times that I've given up on God and twisted things around in my head and assumed that my pain was final, that I'd been defeated, while all along God was walking right next to me, preparing the victory for me. You too?

The disciples on the road to Emmaus had put a period were God had put a comma.

They had written off the Lord when God hadn't even started yet. They had sunk into despair when hope was on the way.

It's easy to talk about the life that is unshaken when everything is going well.

People flocked to Jesus when he fed the 5000 and cure diseases. It was at the cross that everyone fled. That's what pain will do. It tests our mettle. It crystallizes what we really believe.

Anyone can boast in the Lord when their dreams have come true and their prayers have been answered. The challenge is to stand strong when life is hard, to hope when hope looks dead.

There are four things I know for sure:

  • Pain exist.
  • Pain has a cause.
  • Pain can be treated but it's far better to treat its cause.
  • Pain doesn't have to define you.

We can talk about the resurrection until we're blue in the face, but the way to show if we really believe it is by watching how we respond to the pain in our lives. When it comes to using the pain in your life as fuel for godliness, here are a few tools you can use for victorious living.

Five Painkillers You Can Use:

1. Lighten Up on the Clichés.

Clichés are nothing more than old-fashioned tweets. Pithy quotes might motivate us for a minute, but their effect is short-lived. What we need is life change.

What I long for is the transformed, powerful life that Christ promised us. We need upside-down, inside-out radical living that no litany of clichés will produce, but is rightfully ours in Christ Jesus by faith. The more of God's Word that we hide in our hearts, the more it will give us strength when we need it the most.

2. Let Go of the Blame Game.

When a kid comes into the ER with a cut, families get caught up in how it happened and whose fault it was. The truth is that it doesn't matter who did what. There's a cut, and it hurts, and it must be fixed.

When Adam and Eve sinned, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent, but the fact remains that all of us humans are still suffering because of today. Instead of blaming each other, Adam and Eve should've acknowledged the wrong and accepted God's mercy, then adapted to their new normal outside of Eden.

When Job went through his painful trials, his wife begged him to blame God and his friends blamed him for his own problems. Unlike Adam and Eve, Job was innocent and had done nothing to deserve his pain, yet the blame game was just as much a part of Job story as it was for our first parents.

Blaming someone else for pain is natural and gives us a temporary sense of control. It might even help us come up with an explanation for the pain. But it doesn't work.

What works far better than the blame game is recognizing God's sovereign control over our lives.

It's understanding that God didn't find Adam and Eve in the garden to shame them but rather to cover them. It's accepting Christ forgiveness for sin. It's extending that same forgiveness to those who seem to be the cause of her pain.

3. Get Off the Self-pity Train.

Self-pity is defined as a self-indulgent attitude concerning our hardships. The problem with self-pity is that it believes it has been wronged. It's an attitude that dislocates the Christian from a sovereign God Who is behind every detail and circumstance.

Charles Spurgeon once said, "God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to be confused. If I cannot trace His hand, I can always trust his heart."

The biggest lie that Satan will throw your way is the God doesn't care about you anymore, and self-pity slowly feeds that lie. God does care about you (1 Peter 5:7). The self-pity train can kill you if you don't guard against its lies with the truth of God's Word. It's time you jump off that train and run toward grace.

4. Bury Your Past at the Cross.

Paul killed Christians before he became a Christ-follower. Yet God used Paul to write the bulk of the New Testament and to build the church. How did Paul deal with his past? His solution was to bury his past at the foot of the cross (Philippians 3:13-14).

It's time to get rid of the Rolodex of sin. Failure is the best teacher you'll ever find. Learn from it, then let it go.

Your past might be part of who you are, but it has no power over you. Use it to rejoice in God's mercy and grace and move onward and upward. Use it as your platform to highlight God's love and grace and watch God use your past to change your world like He did with the apostle Paul!

5. Leave Your Fears to God.

Pain and fear are often inseparable. What is it that you are afraid of? God's plan isn't to hurt you through your pain but to shape you through it (Proverbs 25:4).

Like a perfect Potter, He works and reworks the clay until it seems good to Him (Jeremiah 18:4). He molds the clay until reflects the beauty He is after.

This process is called sanctification. It's God's work in you through your pain to make you more Christlike. It's a work God started the moment you gave your life to Him and is committed to complete when you finally see Jesus face-to-face.

There comes a time in your life when nothing will do but God Himself—when only the Lord can make sense out of your pain and confusion. Only He can rescue you. Only He understands the depth of your pain.

When the disciples on the road to Emmaus had lost hope, Jesus rebuked them (Luke 24:25-26). Life is never as hopeless as we make it out to be. We are never as alone as we feel. Things are never as unclear as we think.

If we look at the facts too long without a measure of faith, we will sink into despair, and the only way to build our faith is through the living Word of God. When you look at the painful facts in your life to the lens of God's promises, you will find hope for the future.

Few things will change our world like our resolve to hope when it hurts too much. Few things will radically transform our world like our resolve to believe God when everything screams against Him.

Hope has a way of showing up when we're not looking for it. When it does, anything can happen.

Which of these "painkillers" could increase your hope today?

Lina AbuJamra is a Pediatric ER doctor, author, and speaker. Her passion is to apply her life-saving, decision-making, and hope-giving skills from the Emergency Room to rescue and recover people from spiritually deadly situations. She has written three books: Thrive: The Single Life as God IntendedStripped: When God’s Call Turns from Yes to Why Me?; and Resolved: 10 Ways to Stand Strong and live What You Believe. You can connect with her daily at livingwithpower.org.

This post was adapted from Chapter 9 in Lina’s book, Resolved: 10 Ways to Stand Strong and Live What You Believe (Baker Books, 2016).     

Thursday
Sep222016

7 Times We Most Need to Cry Out to God

In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson urges us to CRY OUT to the Lord. But why?

"We think we don't need God... until we DO!" Dawn says. "Oh, we may not say we don't need Him, but we certainly act like it."

Is that true of you? Come on, be honest.

Dawn continues . . .

I remember how people flocked to their houses of worship shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Suddenly, afraid and confused, so many Americans realized they needed answers and protection "from above." All over the nation, God's children cried out to the Lord.

And God answered from heaven as His people came clean with Him and sought Him. "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears" (Psalm 34:17). There seemed to be a fresh sweep from heaven as hearts were more sensitive to His Word.

But then after a while, life got back to "normal," didn't it?

We forgot how much we need God. And so many stopped crying out to Him for protection, for help, for anything more than a simple "give us this day our daily bread."

As I'm preparing my heart for the OneCry! simulcast, part of the True Woman 2016 National Women's Conference, I'm considering this whole issue of "crying out." There are many scriptures to direct my thoughts.

How would you answer this question: When do we most need to cry out to the Lord?

Here's what I believe:

1. We need to cry out when we realize we've wandered.

I sense this need when I sing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"—"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love".

We wandering sheep so need our Shepherd. The Good Shepherd, Jesus, sacrificed his life for us (John 10:11) and rescued us from spiritual death. But we are so prone to wander away from His loving care.

We wander away into darkness, wickedness, habits and addictions that injure us—body and soul.

We need to run back to the Shepherd's care and cry out to Him: "Bind my wandering heart to Thee."

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8).

2. We need to cry out when we're frustrated by our sin.

Have you ever resolved to live for Jesus, and then found yourself in some pit you created by sinful choices?

The battle is real. We struggle against not only our own flesh—the war within (Romans 7:14-25), but also against spiritual forces of evil that come against us (Ephesians 6:11-13).

We need to cry out to the Lord when we struggle and say with Paul: "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate" (Romans 7:15). Our deliverance is in Christ (Romans 7:24-25).

3. We need to cry out when we understand we are helpless.

Jesus said, "...apart from me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5b).

We are helpless, even when we think we are strong or invincible.

Because we are helpless, we cry out when we are in trouble (Psalm 34:6) and our heart is faint (Psalm 61:2). Jesus understand our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), and the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26-27).

4. We need to cry out when we're distressed over life's circumstances.

No matter our situation, no matter our struggle, the Lord desires to be our Refuge.

In Psalm 18, David dealt with his distress in the midst of his enemies by running to the place of protection and rest in God, his rock and fortress.

"In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help," he said (v. 6a). David knew God would be a "shield for all those who take refuge in Him" (v. 30b).

We cry out to God because "...who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?" (v. 31)

Like David, we will discover God can relieve us in our distress, but we must cry out for Him to be gracious and hear our prayer for help (Psalm 4:1).

5. We need to cry out when we need clear answers.

As I write this, so many have told me how they are struggling with how to vote in the coming elections. It's as if we've forgotten God is in control; we've pushed Him to the sidelines and not taken His thoughts into account. This is a huge mistake.

We can spread out ALL our concerns to the Lord, asking Him to give direction. We need His wisdom for family concerns, financial concerns, spiritual concerns, concerns for our nation, etc.

We must not trust our "own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5-6). We must seek and trust the Lord.

"If any of you lacks wisdom," James wrote, "let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him" (James 1:5).

6. We need to cry out when we sense it's "all about me."

Did you notice all the "I" words? This morning the Lord is speaking to me about this.

So many of my prayers are about me, myself and I. And that's sad.

We are not ONLY to cry out before the throne for ourselves (Hebrews 4:16).

We are also urged in scripture to cry out for "all people, for kings and all who are in high positions" (1 Timothy 2:1-2), for God's servants who seek to spread the gospel (Matthew 9:38; Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1), for fellow Christ-followers (Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 1:9; James 5:16), and even our persecuters—those who attack and oppose us (Matthew 5:44).

How often do I cry out on behalf of others... relatives, friends, churches, neighbors, the poor and needy, prisoners and those in all sorts of "bondage," the Persecuted Church, our corrupt and increasingly godless nation?

God, have mercy.

7. We need to cry out because it can lead us to glorify God.

There is a sense that God desires His people to cry out, and then stand back and watch Him work. And then we have the blessing of praise—the privilege of honoring Him.

God spoke to His people in Psalm 50:15: "...call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."

Oh that we would honor God and rejoice in Him. In fact, my biggest heart cry is for revival: "Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?" (Psalm 85:6)

There are no doubt many other reasons we need to cry out to God, but these are a good place to start: in humility, understanding our great need, and desiring to please and honor Him.

Which of these thoughts encourages you to "cry out" to the Lord today?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), andUpgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Heartsand a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

 

Tuesday
Sep202016

Struggling? 5 Things God Won't Say to You

Cindi McMenamin has tremendous insight into women's needs and struggles, and she writes to encourage and strengthen them. In this Relationship with God UPGRADE, Cindi writes about what God will never say to the hurting, confused or frustrated heart.

She asks, "Are you struggling right now? Wanting to hear from God? Hoping that when you finally do, it will be something encouraging?"

As a matter of fact, as I (Dawn) received Cindi's article, I was hoping for that. I was eager for an answer "right now"—but God nudged me to pause and think biblically. That's exactly what Cindi is helping us do here.

Cindi continues . . .

There are a few situations in my life right now that could really stress me out. My husband is waiting to hear about three different job opportunities, and to be honest, he needs at least two of the three!

Now, I can pull out my hair, and lose sleep at night, and keep calculating what we'll do if he doesn't get any of those jobs. Or, I can realize it is ludicrous for me to worry that God isn't aware, or doesn't care, or won't provide for us in time.

I choose to not be ludicrous.

So I thought of five good reasons not to worry about that or anything we tend to worry about. Those five good reasons come down to five things you and I will never hear God say as we hand Him our worries and concerns.

So here they are. You never have to fear any of these responses when you trust God with what is on your heart.

1. You've got this yourself.

Instead of putting it back on us, God tells us in Exodus 14:14: "I will fight for you; you need only to be still."

2. I really don't want to hear about it.

To the contrary, God wants a relationship with us in which we tell Him all that is on our hearts and minds. Not because He doesn't know, but because He wants the intimacy that develops as we share our hearts with Him. Intimacy is developed through communication.

We are told in Psalm 62:8, "Trust in Him at all times...pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."

3. You don't need Me. 

Even if we think God has abandoned us because we've acted independently before, God knows better than we do how very much we DO need Him.

In Philippians 4:13, we are told we we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. The key is Christ's strength.

So don't worry about Him thinking you don't need Him.

Even when you THINK you don't, you really do.

4. Sorry, it's impossible.

Jesus, Himself, said in Matthew 19:26: "With God all things are possible."

5. I don't want to do anything for you.

Sometimes we don't tell God what worries us, or even ask for something, because we fear He doesn't want to give us anything.

If you're a parent you know how far from the truth that is.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:11: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"

There you have it.

Does God care? Oh yes.

Can He handle it? You bet.

Give to Him all that is worrying you today and experience the wonder of His peace.

What is it that you are struggling with alone that God is waiting to help you with?  

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of 15 books including When God Sees Your Tears, and her most recent, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom.  For more on her books and ministry, or to download free resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website, Strength for the Soul. 

Thursday
Sep152016

3 Ways to Make Nice in Your Marriage

Elaine W. Miller wrote a book with a funny title, We all Married Idiots. In this Marriage UPGRADE, she gives a little insight into why that’s true!

“Why are we such idiots?” Elaine said. “We smile, open doors, and run to rescue strangers. In the workplace we hold our tempers, fearing a job loss if we don’t. Yet when we enter our homes, we frown, slam doors and lose our tempers with no fear of the consequences.”

Oh ugh. I (Dawn) am guilty as charged. Why do we hurt the ones we love?

Elaine continues . . .

As married men and women, we should make every effort to make nice behind closed doors as well as in public. I know we can control our tempers. We do what we need to.

In the heat of anger, we politely answered the phone, “Good morning!” Yes, it is under our control. But for some reason I don’t understand (except that we are all sinners), we find it easier to make mean than to make nice to the ones we love. How foolish!

Making nice is something we need to do; it may not necessarily just happen. I like the synonym “do.” Just do it.

Do nice. Cause nice. Build nice. Create nice. Accomplish nice.

Making nice is a choice.

“Nice,” it turns out, comes from the Latin nescius, meaning “ignorant.” The computer dictionary defines “ignorant” as “unaware.” When our loved ones do something idiotic, be unaware of it. Ignore it. Overlook the mistake. Make nice.

One day I watched a husband make nice when he certainly could have made mean. He and his wife and my husband and I climbed an Adirondack mountain together. Inexperienced at climbing, the other wife wore sandals. What a mistake! This trip required sneakers at the very least – hiking boots at best.

As we trekked up the mountain, her discomfort became evident. Reaching the summit, her feet Rob with blisters, she agonized about her ability to descend the mountain.

What was your husband to do? He had a choice. He could yell from the top of the mountain, “I married an idiot! Why didn’t she wear better shoes?” He could have humiliated her with words like, “You are such a wimp! Stop your complaining.”

This husband didn’t choose those options. He chose to make nice. Without a word, he lovingly scooped up his love and carried her down the mountain.

This man realize the truth that on his wedding day he and his wife became one. When her feet hurt, it hurt him. Instead of making the pain grow deeper with thoughtless words, he decided to alleviate the pain.

I once wrote,

“Every day we decide the words and actions that will serve or suffocate our marriages.”

Every new day begins with choices. We choose what clothes to wear and what to eat for breakfast. We choose to sin. We choose to act like idiots. We choose to make nice or not.

Making nice is an investment that pays big dividends. Kind words and considerate deeds deposit love into our marriage love bank. Mean remarks and thoughtless actions count as love withdrawals. Take out too much, and there is no love left.

Making nice manifests itself in every aspect of your life, but especially in the bedroom. When you are unkind or unfaithful, it affects sexual intimacy. You can’t treat your spouse shabbily and then expect your beloved to jump into the sacred marriage bed.

Making nice makes a nice marriage. When meanness becomes the norm, marriages fail to thrive.

Here are three ways to make nice in your marriage:

1. Watch your words

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

If in our desire to build ourselves up we put our spouse’s down, every derogatory remark registers in the brain creating a chill in the marriage vault. Negative words are like icicles stabbed into your loved one's heart that only kindness and forgiveness and making nice can melt.

When unkind words come from our condemning mouth, who benefits? No one. Certainly not the little ears that listen. Most are aghast when their children repeat words to the world that their parents say in private.

2. Don’t Demand Your Own Way

Love strives to live in peace (Hebrews 12:14), and God says love does not demand its own way (1 Corinthians 13:5). When we become angry and impatient and rude, most likely it is because we have not gotten our way. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

When we choose not to be self-seeking, we then become more patient and kind and not so easily angered. Then, as much as it depends on us, our homes will be peaceful.

3. Root out bitter roots

Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that… no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Our bad behavior does not come without consequences. It destroys our marriages.

The hurt of bitterness hurts not only the one the arrow is aimed at, but also others we love. That arrow penetrates our children’s hearts. Sometimes the wounds never heal, and the scars remain for a lifetime.

Marriage is not a competitive sport. The one who gives the most verbal punches does not win. You both lose because condemning your spouse is condemning yourself. God has declared you to be one flesh.

Verbal punches leave you both knocked out and too tired to fight for your marriage. Don’t let it happen. Make nice!

What did you say today that built up your spouse? What did you say that put down your partner? How can you make every effort to live at peace?

Elaine W. Miller is an international author and speaker known for sharing biblical insights with warmth, enthusiasm, and humor. She is the author of three books including her latest We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change AboutYour Marriage and Ten Things You Can (available in English, Spanish, and Bosnian). Residing in upstate  New York with her husband of 45 years, she enjoys having three married children and 11 grandchildren close by. Visit Elaine's website/blog to learn more about her unique ministry.

This blog post was adapted from Chapter 9 in We All Married Idiots.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of christinevitved for Pixabay.