Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reflections on 2016

Reflections On 2016
Written by Amanda Hawkins


  As we are about to enter the new year, I've been looking back at 2016 and all of the things that have happened. I realized that this has been a huge year for us!

  Just back at the beginning of this year we were sleeping in our 2000 Ford Explorer every night.

  I became a teacher this year. Dominic went through 4 different jobs before he ended up where he is now, with a job that is not through a staffing agency, thank you Jesus!
  
  We went on some great road trips, made some bad and good investments, lost some friends, made some new friends, probably ate out too many times, took some things off our bucket list, started a blog, got married, (or eloped, not really sure which....) and moved into our first apartment together.

  I would love to share the pictures, and some of our very best memories. 


  Ah, Josephine. That's the name we gave to the 1984 Chevy Caprice Classic that we bought from a farmer for 600 dollars. Meet, bad investment number 1. 
  She was a beautiful car, complete with rust, dents, missing exterior side panels, a gas tank that was rusted through, a broken radio, caving in roof upholstery, and leaking oil. 
  We took it to the drive-in theater to see Finding Dory, and sold it a month later because it leaked oil like a waterfall, and we had already dumped almost 300 dollars into trying to repair it.
  We'll never truly regret her though, she was Dominic's first pride and joy car that he ever bought.



  The first spontaneous road trip we took this year, and also the first lighthouse I ever seen. We went to Michigan City to see the Lighthouse that was built in 1837, and to go to the outlet mall there. It was a great road trip, and I hope to go back again. 

  





  We went hiking with my sister, Autumn, this summer. Complete with a bible study at an elevation of an 885 foot hill that we hiked, picking wild berries, and getting a workout. It was the best hike ever.



  Our first time trying Japanese Fusion at a Sushi place near us. Dominic took me there for my birthday.
  The Sushi was phenomenal! It made me crave Sushi for every meal thereafter. It was more of an experience than a meal, and that Japanese Fusion place is now one of my favorite restaurants. 


  Of course I can't forget to include our wedding picture, even though I've already posted it before. 
  April 6, 2016. It was our one year anniversary that we decided to get married.
  Our wedding was sweet, just Dominic and I and the courthouse appointed official who married us. I felt terrible though that we didn't even tell Dominic's side of the family that we were married until a half a year later. Long story.


  The time we went to Indianapolis zoo with my sister.
  I had always wanted to see a Dolphin in person, and that dream was made reality. There was an underwater dome where you could hear the Dolphins talk, and walk side by side with them. We were even able to see a Dolphin show where we sat in the splash zone. It was amazing.
 I know I sound like a kid, but it was my childhood dream.




  The day we found a life-size Chess board in the park and played it together. That was fun. I almost won too, which is rare. I'm still learning how to play.






   The balloon glow we seen when we went to a festival near us. Dominic said my eyes lit up when I was watching the show. I couldn't understand why he was watching me the whole time instead of watching the glow. He said that it was more fulfilling seeing my reaction to it, than watching it himself. He's so sweet.


  Our trip to the Albanese candy factory. 
  That was pretty amazing too. 
  They had a chocolate waterfall, and a lookout station where you could watch the people making the candy. 
  It was a neat experience.












  Apple picking at a little orchard out in the middle of no where.
  We picked one bushel, and had apples for over a month and a half afterwards, which half of them we threw away; they started to go bad because we were tired of eating apples and apple pie.
  





  Our third road trip of the year, and lo and behold, bad investment number 2.
  We went to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Home of Zhender's Splash Village indoor water-park, and Bronner's Christmas wonderland, right next door to each other.

  We went to Bronner's first, which had so much stuff. Floor to ceiling, lights, ornaments, statues, snowflakes, showcases, elbow to elbow with hundreds of Christmas shoppers. It was a nightmare for anyone who hates crowds, which we do.

  So we left Bronner's, and went to the waterpark, which we had already purchased a day pass for, only to find out it was more of a waterpark for kids. There were 2 slides that were pretty intense however. One was a family raft slide which was fun, and the other was a drop slide which we did not try. 
  We did have a lot of fun though on that road trip, and we will not regret it. We even met someone from Canada!



  Meet, our cat, Kneady.
  She was hanging around for a couple of days on the back porch at my work.
  It had been snowing and below zero degree temperatures. 
  Dominic and I decided to take her and find her owner.
  When we finally tracked down who she belonged to from the tags that were on her collar, the people said they didn't want her or care, and that they had too many cats already. 
  We were surprised at how someone could be so cold towards an animal in need. We took her in ourselves, and that night, on December 6, had one additional family member. 
  We went out and bought her 100 dollars worth of food and litter and toys and flea combs and shampoo, and treats, and all kinds of cat goodies. She's a spoiled brat, and we love her.

-------------------------------------------------------------

  We made so many lifelong memories just in this one year.
  I can't wait to make more memories as we continue on our walk together in marriage, in Christ, and in life.
  I can't wait for whatever the coming year holds, because whatever it is, it's in God's hands.
  My only hope for the coming year, is that it be a year full of God's grace, and filled with opportunities to share the love of the Lord. I pray that we are able to build a ministry this year if it be in His will. I pray that 2017 be given to the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever is ahead of us this year Lord, let it be to glorify you.
  
  
  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Crock-Pots Are A Blessing

Our Crock-Pot Is A Blessing
Written by Amanda Hawkins








  Dominic and I bought a Crock-Pot a couple months ago, and finally just started using it.

  The first thing we made together, was a pot roast. It turned out tender, mouth watering, and just amazing.


  The second thing we made was a batch of Chili Mac that I probably shouldn't talk about. I cooked it for way too long, and the macaroni turned gummy and gross. Haha, what was I thinking? But that was no fault of the Crock-Pot. 

  We are now learning to use the Crock-Pot for almost every meal throughout the weekdays, because when we come home from work, it's very nice to have a hot home cooked meal. 

  We found that without the Crock-Pot, we were going out to eat all the time throughout the work week, because we didn't feel like making dinner when we came home, we just wanted to relax and spend time with one another.

  As I was cleaning and putting away just the three dirty dishes left from the slow cooker meal that first day we made the pot roast, I realized that the Crock-Pot is a blessing.
  
  We are no longer going out to eat all the time and wasting money that could be put towards more important things. We are learning to use the slow cooker together, which is great bonding time, and I get to please my husband with a great home cooked meal every night.

  Last night I made stuffed cabbage rolls in the Crock-Pot.

  They turned our great as well!

  I would highly suggest for every wife, husband, and busy family, to invest in a slow cooker. It has been a blessing for Dominic and I thus far, and will continue to be as we learn to make new meals together.

  



 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Part 2 - A Job In God's Hands


     My husband got a new job.
I don't know if you remember my post entitled 'A Job In God's Hands.' In case you don't remember it, the brief overview is this: Dominic's boss said he was going to be letting him go, but that he could continue to work with their company until he found a different job. 
     We were worried that at any moment his boss was going to cut him for good, and then a month went by. After we had applied for countless jobs, and Dom had countless interviews, finally a company contacted him.

     'Hi Dominic,
     I found your resume online. Please reply to this email if you are interested in discussing the following job opening.'

     He replied immediately, and after two interviews with the company, he got the job! Just as Dominic was beginning to feel as if he would never find a permanent job, God provided a great opportunity. The position is a two dollar pay cut from his previous job, but raises are offered regularly, there is plenty of room to move up in the company, and enough overtime to make up the difference.
     We feel so grateful to the Lord.
     Something I've learned, is that everything eventually works out for the better. When we first found out that Dominic needed to find a new job, we were worried, stressed, and disappointed. Everything was beginning to feel like an uphill battle. It was so disheartening, and we thought things would never work out. But they did. 
     There is no reason to be worried. We need to give all of our worries, fears, and stress to Jesus, with open hands, surrender ourselves to His will, because He will always sustain us, protect us, hold us above the water when we feel as if we are going to drown. God has always carried us through, regardless of how little faith we had, He has always showed to us that we need not worry. We have learned to put our faith in Him more and more with every battle. And God always keeps His promises. He will provide us the things that He knows we have need of, just as He always has. We must trust in the Lord.

"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." -- Matthew 6:31-32

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." -- Philippians 4:19

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Lesson I Learned From Pistachios

The Lesson I Learned From Pistachios
Written by Amanda Hawkins


    Yesterday evening as Dominic and I sat in our regular recliners in the living room, I learned something.
     Dominic was eating Pistachios, which are one of my favorite nuts. I did not ask him for any, because it would have been rude to do so, considering I had eaten a whole bag of them by myself just days before.
     We sat for a little while watching a movie that wasn't very good. I was cuddled up, and Dominic tossed Pistachio shells onto my blanket that was stretched across my lap forming a hammock shape. 
     I was upset by his action, and just as I opened my mouth to scold him for throwing empty shells on my lap, I realized that the shells he had thrown were not empty. He had given me five Pistachios. 
     "Thank you honey." I replied, ashamed of my split second of anger.
     That's when I thought to myself, what if they were just shells? What would I have said? Something along these lines: 'Why would you do that? You could've just got up and thrown them away, now I have shells all over my blanket.' No doubt I would've said it in a whiny and frustrated voice as I scooped the trash into my hand and shook the rest of the blanket off onto the floor. 
     My husband didn't give me the chance to act bitter. Instead I felt guilty for being angry even for a second. 
     That's when I realized that even if it was just empty shells, is that something to be upset about? Empty shells should be just as much of a gift as full shells. It would've given me an opportunity to help my husband. It would've given me an opportunity to react in a gracious way, rather than with a snotty attitude. 
     I know now, the next time my husband leaves dirty clothes on the floor, or gives me trash to throw away, or hands me a dish to wash, I will accept with joy, because it is just as good of a gift to me as a handful of Pistachios, and sometimes he surprises me and gives me that as well.
     As a wife, I am supposed to be a helper and a best friend to my hubby. If I would've reacted in a negative way, I wouldn't have been fulfilling any of my purpose as Dominic's wife. 
     I am grateful to be my husbands help, to take his Pistachio shells to the trash for him, to wash his clothes and dishes, to give him foot rubs after work every night when his feet hurt, and to be his best friend who he chooses to share those Pistachios with. The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful companion, and there is no reason I should be upset by doing things for him. That is the lesson I learned. 
     PS. Thank you for the Pistachios honey. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life...." -- Proverbs 31:10-12

"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."-- Proverbs 31:27-28

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Job In God's Hands

A Job In God's Hands
Written by Amanda Hawkins


     First off, I would like to apologize, it's been a few weeks since I have posted anything on Committed To Us. There has been some stress lately, and I haven't had the time to write. But that's what I'm going to tell you about today: what has been going on, and what we have learned from it.

     My husband lost his job. We take this as a blessing. His boss said that he was not adapting well enough to the many different things that need to be done in the factory, and that Dominic should be working with a company where he can do just welding, because that is what he went to school for and loves to do. By the grace of God, Dominic's boss also said that he may continue to work there for a while until he is able to find another job, and that he will still make sure that Dominic has his forklift license, and as much lathe and mill practice as he needs to get a better job before he leaves.
     We were worried at first when he found out the news, but we know that it is in God's hands.
     Dominic has a job interview tomorrow for a job that pays the same and is closer to home, and there are other job opportunities for welding opening up as well.
     We know that God will provide. Even if what we want isn't exactly what God wants, His ways are higher than our ways. He sustains us, gives us joy and peace, and is a shield against whatever we face. God is our strength, our foundation, our salvation.
     Sometimes as humans we find it difficult to trust that someone else will provide for us. Sometimes I worry that we won't have enough money for gas or food throughout the week, but the truth is, I trust that my husband will provide for our household. We also need to trust that God will provide for us as well.
     It has been a long road to arrive where Dominic and I are at now. Dominic had to finish his college while I was working. We slept in a van most nights for about a year. Once Dominic was finished with school, he found a job, though he only worked there a couple months because it was through a staffing agency that only needed him temporarily. He found a few other jobs, also through the staffing agency, and also only for temporary hire, until he started working here, and that's when we signed the lease for our first apartment back in August.
     It is discouraging to think about the fact that we could lose our home if we can't find a different job before he is cut off here. My husband reassured me that will not happen though, and I trust and believe him. We trust that God has a plan, and that Dominic will find a permanent job.
     My husband is really trying very hard. He is working like crazy at applications, calling back places, seeking help through the unemployment agency, etc. And we have been praying about it.
     Everything happens for a reason, and we should take both the bad and the good as an equal blessing. We now have a testimony to use for the Lord.
     I will admit that it's not always easy to look at it in this positive light, but we know that it's the only way we can look at it.
     There is a lot to be learned in trials. We also know that we have each other, and our God, and that nothing can break that, even if we do lose our home. It will be okay, that is what we have learned. Trust in God, because it is in His hands.

"And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee." -- Psalm 9:10


"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." -- Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Fruit Of Joy




The Fruit Of Joy

Written by Amanda Hawkins


  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." -- Galations 5:22-23





  Today I am going to talk about one of the fruits of the spirit: joy.

  Joy is something that not everyone has, yet everyone strives for. I recently realized that I lack joy in my life. Allow me to explain... I am very happy. Happily married, happy and content with my life, however, I take everything rather seriously, always trying to get things done, straight to the point, no messing around, which in turn leaves no time for joy.

  My husband, Dominic, tries to flick water playfully at me while we're doing the dishes, and I resort to aggravation. 'Stop, we have to finish the dishes."

  He tries to wrestle with me, not allowing me to leave the room, and I get upset, telling him we have things to do, when in reality all we had to do was fold some laundry.


  Every day lately has been this w
ay. I realized recently, that I don't want to be that way. I realized that if I keep turning my husband away when he's trying to joke around with me, one day he's just going to stop joking with me, and our marriage will suffer, even leading us to be bored of one another. 

  I realized that every time I resorted to anger in return to playfulness, I was hurting him, and myself, and my husband even admitted that it hurt him. I realized that I need joy. I was sick towards myself for the way that I had acted, and I knew that it was sin.

  When I told my husband how I felt, he understood, and he told me to pray with him, and we did. We prayed for a long time. He was praising God in silence, while I weeped, repented, and asked the Lord for that joy that I had been missing.

  Now that I am aware of it, I know the Lord will show me when I am reacting in anger, rather than joy, and peace, and love, longsuffering, and goodness, gentleness, meekness, and temperance.

  "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." -- James 1:19-20

  I had allowed anger and things of the world to dull my joy.




  Joy is in my heart, but my worries, and seriousness, and sin, had covered it up for so long. Now I am once again filled with the joy that I lacked, and I can be my husbands playmate, smiling more often, joking, and wrestling, and having water fights in the kitchen. I can express the joy of the Lord to others, and even use this story as a testimony. God is good.

  If you are struggling with joy, pray about it. Prayer is the only way to grow closer to God. There is no true joy outside of the Lord, and when we slip up, and grow away from the Lord at times, we lose the fruit of the spirit.
  I know that my joy comes from the Lord. I am blessed. I praise the Lord, and I thank Him for His goodness, and for His forgiveness to a repentant heart. I pray that you find your joy in the Lord as well.

    Peace be with you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Do You Feel Like You're Not Good Enough?

Do You Feel Like You're Not Good Enough?
Written by Amanda Hawkins



    There are times when a woman who tries to be a Godly woman, and fails occasionally, becomes very self conscious, and sorrowful. She may feel as if she is not a good enough wife, or that she is not fulfilling her purpose. It is no fault of the husband, because he patiently assures her that she is a great wife, and that she does well. But the woman feels a sort of pain because she knows she can do better to serve the Lord, yet she doesn't feel good enough.
     This is not how we should feel. Even though we are not worthy, the Lord forgives us, and takes us in as his children. We are good enough once we accept him into our lives and repent, and God helps us with the things we need work on from from there. If we are having trouble being a helpful, patient, loving wife, God will work on us. If we are having trouble because we lash out in anger occasionally, God will work on us, but it is not something to constantly bring yourself down about, believing you will never be a good enough wife, or that you will never live up to your purpose for the Lord.

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" -- 2 Corinthians 13:5

     It is good to examine yourself, but thinking of yourself as a failure, and constantly considering yourself not good enough, is not good, and is something that you should examine in yourself. Do you see yourself this way at times?
     There is a difference between, 1, knowing that you are not worthy of God, and 2, never feeling good enough for God. The first one, is good because it allows us to realize God's power and glory and grace, that even though He is holy, He still forgives us and gives us eternal life. The second thought is self destructive, because it leads you to believe that nothing you ever do will please God, which is not true.
     This is something that in the past I have struggled with, and my husband has helped me work through it. My husband helped me to realize that I am a daughter of the Lord, and that I constantly seek ways to serve God and my husband. There are times I feel selfish, or times I don't do as I know would please the Lord, or I hold onto a grudge for a little too long, but we all make mistakes because we are not perfect, which is why we need God. All we have to do is repent, and if we are truly trying, the Lord forgives and continues to help build us up.
     Don't lose the faith, don't feel like you have broken a promise to yourself or God, and don't feel like you have failed. Just keep trying. Keep striving to do well for the Lord. Keep fulfilling your purpose as a wife, and as a Christian. If you falter once in a while even though you were trying not to, don't beat yourself up; pray about it, and get up and try again.
     It is not easy to live the life of a true Christian. You constantly battle with yourself. You battle with your flesh and sin. Your flesh tells you to be angry with your husband over a stupid argument you had at the store. Your flesh tells you to be bitter about it for the rest of the night, to make him see how you feel. But God, is pulling the strings of your heart telling you to pray about it, gain your composure, and forgive your husband. God tells you to lay it down at his feet, all your anger, and sin, and bitterness. It's not always easy. And sometimes when we struggle with it all the time, it makes us feel like we can never get it right, but the fact is, we can't get it right, ever, without God. The most important thing is staying close to God. Staying fervent in prayer and in faith, examining yourself, and asking God to help you in areas that you know you need help, and in ares that you are uncertain. 
     I pray that this post helped you to see that you have worth to the Lord, and that He is forgiving, even when you have a hard time forgiving yourself.
     Peace be with you, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

5 Summer Activities For The Home School Family

5 Summer Activities For The Home-school Family
Written by Amanda Hawkins



     Recently my husband and sister and I went to the Indianapolis zoo, and we had a lot of fun! It inspired me to write this short post about fun and educational things you can do with your family this summer.
     I believe that big extravagant things are overrated, and it's the small stuff that really matters, especially with family activities. 
      If you want to cherish your time with your kids, I would suggest some of these family oriented, stimulating experiences for you and your children, that you will actually enjoy too! These ideas are perfect for home-school parents planning field trips, and your curriculum. I am a firm believer that there can be a learning experience from nearly everything. Hopefully these few ideas will bring a fresh outlook to your summer curriculum planning.

1. The Zoo.
     Kids have so much fun at the zoo, and there are learning opportunities around every corner! Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, oh my! Bring along notes about each animal and you can teach your children about them. It's a learning experience, and if you pay a little extra money, some zoos will allow you to feed the animals. How exciting it would be for your child to be able to feed a Dolphin or a Giraffe! That is something they will remember.

2. Camping.
     Camping is a great thing to experience with your family, even if it's just in your backyard, and especially when it's done right: tents, a campfire, S'mores, music, and funny stories. And in the morning, eggs and ham and percolated coffee on the fire or camp stove for breakfast. 
     Depending on their age, you can teach your kids how to turn a stick into a skewer for hot dogs, or how to stoke the fire, or how to pitch a tent. Another great learning experience, and it's fun for everyone! 


3. Hiking.
     For only a few dollars you can pay admission for a car load to enter a state park and go hiking on their trails. Take a map from the office at the park and look for the shorter trails so that it's easier on your kids. 
     Pack water, some carrots, celery, fruit, your camera, your bible, a book about edible plants in the area, and whatever else you think you might need.
     Along the way you can teach your kids about the plant life, and watch for animals. When you take a snack break you can discuss what you've seen, tell your kids about how God made all of the wonderful things that you seen, and read a scripture of your choice from the bible to get your kids involved spiritually with God and the world around them.

4. Picnic.
     A picnic is a timeless family tradition. Involve your children in making the food for the picnic, and packing the basket. Take your picnic to a nice secluded meadow or hill, or take it to the park under a pavilion. It's your choice. Bring along a kite or Frisbee to play with after you eat. It's great for family time and exercise. 

5. Fishing.
     Fishing can be great for your kids to learn how to be self sufficient and to appreciate the things that they have to work for. Teach your children the value of the animals' lives, and the fact that God gave the fish for us to eat, to be thankful for it. It teaches your kids basic survival skills as well. 
     Whether your fishing style is on a boat or on land, the kids will enjoy. They may become easily bored, so make sure you pack extra things for them to do when they are tired of fishing, and maybe take the family to McDonald's for ice cream afterwards.

       So that's the list! Just a short post this week. I hope that you and your family have fun on your summer adventures.



Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Spirit Of Sickness

The Spirit Of Sickness
Written by Amanda Hawkins

     I have had a bad cold for the past few days. Before the virus, I had been reading the bible, praying, and really worshiping the Lord intently, and I woke up with this sickness. Sore throat, stuffed nose, my head felt heavy, my body ached, and I couldn't walk upstairs without being winded.
     There have been multiple times in the past that I started to feel closer to God, and end up coming down with a cold, and I forgot to read scripture, and I prayed less, and I grew farther from the Lord.
     I find the correlation between the two to be no coincidence. I've always believed that sickness is a spirit. It is spiritual warfare against you to keep you away from the Lord, which explains why every time we start going to church more, or reading the bible more, or worshipping more, we become sick. It explains why contact with people that are sick often makes us sick, and it explains why prayer and laying on hands can heal sickness.
     Why does medicine heal sickness? Because when people use medicine to rid a condition, they are showing lack of faith in God, and instead are placing their faith in the medicine to heal them. There is no need for that person to be sick, because they show no faith in God as it is.
     I knew a lady that said once, "God told me that if I would go to church He would take away the migraine I've been having. So I took a migraine pill just in case, and went to church." If she had any faith in God she would not have to take a pill, 'just in case.' She would do as God told her, and God would keep his promise.
     Do I think that there is a place for medicine? Yes. But I believe that prayer and discernment is important in deciding whether or not to take medicine, and that it should not be used for everything.

     God is bigger than the spirit of sickness, but if we do not recognize that it is a spirit, we cannot cast it away. It simply will have to run its course.

     Sometime last year I was beginning to come down with a cold, and the moment I noticed the symptoms, I began to pray. I asked the Lord to take the spirit of sickness away from me if it was in His will to do so, and I cast the spirit out in the name of Jesus. The same day my symptoms did not escalate, and the following day all symptoms were gone. And I praised the Lord for the small miracle that He had done.
     As Christians we need to recognize this spirit, and if we don't it will hinder us in our walk with the Lord. We need to put our faith in God. Sickness is not of God, sickness is of the world, and of the devil, though God can work miracles through sickness, by the prayer of faith.

"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." -- Mark 16:17-18

     We belong to Jesus. We have the power, through Christ, to lay hands on the sick and heal them. When did Christians stop using the gifts that God gave to them? We can cast out spirits and demons, we can heal sicknesses, in the name of Jesus Christ. Yet we don't. Rather, we go to the doctor to be diagnosed with multiple conditions, and to be prescribed drugs. Then we go to church on Sunday and during the prayer requests we ask, almost as an afterthought, for the congregation to pray for us. We don't really believe it will work entirely, because we have believed for so long that sickness needs medicine, even since we were children we were taught this.
     According to the bible, the sick should go to the congregation, ask the elders to pray for them, and the elders are to anoint the sick with oil in the name of Jesus, and pray in faith laying hands on the person.

"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." -- James 5:14-15

     The bible doesn't say you need to go see a medicine man or a doctor. The bible says the prayer of faith shall save the sick.

     If any who read this are sick, I pray that you see the truth, and recognize that sickness is a spirit and that it needs to be treated as such, and prayed over in faith. I pray that you recover from sickness in the name of Jesus, may the Lord raise you up. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wash One Another's Feet

Wash One Another's Feet
Written by Amanda Hawkins



 

  Washing my husband's feet is an act of love and selflessness that brings me so much fulfillment and joy. It is an honor for me to please my husband.

  When I read the story of Jesus washing His disciples feet in John 13, and the story of Mary washing Jesus' feet with her tears and her hair in Luke 7:38, I realize the importance and symbolism of washing each other's feet, as it says in John 13:14, 'If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.'

      What you need:
  • A shallow bucket 
  • Mint leaves or oil
  • Anointing oil
  • A towel
  • A foot brush
  • A foot stone
  • Water




      What you do:

      I begin by filling a bucket or foot pan with warm/hot water, the temperature depends on my husband's mood.

      I then add either peppermint leaves or peppermint oil into the water. (You could use tea tree, or whatever scent your husband enjoys.)

      Place a towel under the pan.

      Rub his feet in the water while they soak, and brush the bottoms of his feet with the soft bristle foot brush.

      Continue to soak them and rub them until all of the callous on his heels are soft to the touch, (about 15 minutes if the water is hot,) and then take each foot out of the water one at a time, drying each with the towel.

      Once they are dry, scrub calloused heels with the foot stone.

      I say a silent prayer for my husband, and anoint his feet with the oil. (I have frankincense and myrrh anointing oil.)

      Your husband will feel blessed, be refreshed, relaxed, and joyful. You will wonder why you haven't done this with your husband before. It is a beautiful service to perform for him, or even for a man to perform for his wife.
       
      I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it brings you many blessings and much joy in your marriage.
      Peace be with you, and a servant's heart, in the name of Jesus.

    Saturday, July 30, 2016

    It's Only A House

    It's Only A House
    Written by Amanda Hawkins



         All of us wives have days that we feel unloved, unappreciated, as if our husbands don't care.
         You have two loads of laundry going in the washer and dryer, dishes that need put away, your husband's dirty work shoes and other belongings strewn across the floor of the main room, and a bed to make. You finish everything and your husband makes another mess by shaving his face and leaving the hair in the sink. What an insensitive man! He only thinks of himself!
         What you don't realize, is that your husband has also worked hard, and his home is his sanctuary to relax and spend time with his family. He doesn't think twice about throwing his work shoes full of dirt all over the cleaned floor, or plopping down on the newly made bed, because all he's thinking about is the fact that he is home with the family that he works so hard to provide for.
         Another thing you may not always remember in the heat of your frustration, is that your husband loves you more than anything. He would do anything for you, and he truly does think about you. He is not being insensitive on purpose. He just wants to come home and relax with his wife, who proceeds to nag him for messing up her precious clean house.
         It is your job as his wife to show him love by joyfully helping him, putting his things away. It is your job. Your all day, all week job. And sometimes it's tiring, but remember that your husband loves you, and that you love him. He works to provide for you, the least you can do is provide for him as well.
         When you first married your husband you had all the love in the world for him, would do anything to make him happy, and would even have lived in a van if only it meant that you were together. Now you can't even clean up the hairy sink without griping and complaining.
         Imagine if your husband were to pass away; you would miss the hair in the sink, and the dirty work boots, and the mile high pile of laundry. Your house would be empty, lonely, quiet, but hey, at least it would be clean! Learn to appreciate the mess, and your husband.
         Also remember that it's only a house. Anything that's dirty can be cleaned, and is it really that big of a deal? Don't let it bother you. Learn to go with the flow, enjoy your time with your husband after his work without being upset. You can clean it all up the next day. Smile and be joyful through it all, knowing that you are making your husband happy. Sing while you clean those dishes, write a welcome home letter for your husband with a cute love note on it, and greet him with a smile and a hug rather than a scowl.
         It brings honor to the Lord when you do things for your husband with a joyful heart. And it will make you and your husband happy as well.
         Practice joy for the mundane activities throughout your day, and practice love and respect for your husband.
         Peace be with you, in the name of Jesus Christ.
       

    Wednesday, July 27, 2016

    Keeping Your Marriage Alive

    Keeping your marriage alive
    Written by Amanda and Dominic Hawkins





    There will be times in your marriage when things become too serious for there to be relaxation or a state of peace, especially with worldly problems such as taxes, bills, kids, pets, house payments, etc. To keep your relationship burning bright as the day you married each other, have a light heart, be simple, have fun. Do cute things together. Make silly faces across the room when no one is looking. Jokingly nudge your partner. Text each other while you're sitting side by side.


    My husband and I went to the mall yesterday. We made a bet that we wouldn't find very many scents that we agreed on in the Yankee Candle store, since we have very different taste in candles. He bet that we would only find 3, and I bet that we would find 4. The winner would receive a kiss from the loser. It turned out that we actually agreed on at least 6 candles throughout the store, but I still came closest to the winning number, so I won the kiss. It was very cute, and I love those moments that my husband and I share together. It is very important to cherish those precious things.

    One time we stood on a pier looking out at the lake houses and imagining what our ideal house would be like. We spent the entire afternoon daydreaming and sharing our thoughts of the future. We went through the pros and cons of what houses we would like, what we wouldn't like, and what would be suited best for us, including the land and the layout. We used an old pair of binoculars to see across the lake to the fancy houses, and we felt like stalkers, but we had a lot of fun. All of a sudden storm clouds started to roll in very quickly, and rain began to pour. The other people on the pier next to us ran back to their cars and drove away, but we stayed, standing on the dock holding each other tightly, watching the storm scatter across the glassy water in a strange pattern of diagonal rain lines and waves created by the wind. I asked my husband if he had seen anything like it before. He just looked at me with a toothy grin and started talking in an Irish accent impression that he learned from watching the movie Braveheart. To this day it is one of my favorite memories. Regardless of what you do together, enjoy the moment, make the best of it, even if you're just drinking coffee together in the kitchen.


    I'll stop rambling on, and present to you my top 4 list of things to do that keep the spark in your marriage:


    • Stop and smell the Roses
        Enjoy each others' company, don't be so serious. Make time for each other throughout your days and busy schedules. Never stop dating each other, never stop playing around with each other and having a sense of humor. Find joy and contentment in doing what your spouse likes to do, and make the best of your time spent together. Never stop enjoying the little things. I am guilty of this. I tend to be too serious and I lose sight of the fun things in life. Let loose a little, and don't be afraid to have a good time with your husband, laugh a little, let the joy that the Lord gave you shine through.


    • Always give 100%.
        Give one hundred percent to your spouse, and your spouse should give one hundred percent to you. Keeping a marriage burning bright takes work, because you always have to give your all, even if you're not feeling good, even if you're upset, or if you had a hard day at work. Just like you did when you first got together. You have to try as hard as possible to give your hundred, even if your spouse isn't giving their percent. Always give 100% and more if you can. Your spouse deserves it, even if you think they don't sometimes.


    • Make love
        Showing affection physically is very important to marriage. And I don't mean just having sex, or just 'doing it to get it over with,' but actually making love. So many marriages have gone dull because the husband and wife have lost their passion for one another sexually. (Not pointing fingers here, but it's usually the wife first.)
        It may seem silly, but if you keep the bed alive, your marriage will thank you for it, because sex is holy in the sanctity of marriage. So ladies, pull out that lingerie from the back of your top drawer, please your husband, and to the men, please your wife as well. Be selfless in the bed. Serve one another. Make love.


    • Serve the Lord together
        Pray, read the bible, and worship the Lord with one another. A family that prays together stays together. If you please the Lord, he will be the glue that holds your marriage together. "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." -- Mark 10:9
        As husband and wife you were created to be "heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered." 1 Peter 3:7
        Work together as a team, pray together, serve the Lord together.

    May God bless you and your marriage, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.



        

    Saturday, July 23, 2016

    Mr. Snapchat

    Mr. Snapchat
    Written by Amanda Hawkins




        This is a very personal story that I have not told anyone other than my husband, and it is one of my largest regrets. To some of you it may not seem to be a big deal, but I am very ashamed of this, and I have repented of it more times than I can count. It's time now to share my experience to hopefully prevent some of you young ladies out there from possibly going through the same thing. I pray that this story helps you to overcome a similar situation.


        Before I met my husband I was talking with a guy for several months through text and Snapchat. He was in college so we didn't really see each other in person much.
        I had a huge crush on this guy, -- for the sake of the story let's call him Shane, -- and I was very naive at the time, desperate for love, searching for 'the one.' I had never had a boyfriend before, and I was becoming very anxious to be with someone, seeing all of my friends in relationships. He had a couple common interests as me, the main two being guitar, and he was a Christian as well.
        I was praying a lot for God to reveal the man who was right for me, the one God had in store. I asked the Lord over and over again if Shane was the one, and I was searching for signs. I was trying to convince myself that he was the one. I think in my heart I knew that he wasn't, but I persisted to ask God, even though deep down I knew the answer, and I continued to converse with this guy.
        Shane and I Snapchatted a few times a week, and I was blinded. He told me he loved me, and that was the first time a guy had ever told me that. I was naive and ignorant. I told him I loved him back, though looking back I know that I didn't, now that I know true love.
        After a while of sending Snaps back and forth he asked me to send him a picture of myself in my bra. I did, though I don't know why. I was raised better than that, and I knew I shouldn't. The moment I hit send I felt very nervous and very guilty at the same time. Over a couple of weeks span I sent two more pictures, nothing more provocative than the bra, but that didn't make it any better. Each time I hit send I felt more guilty. That guilt was Jesus begging me to stop.
        At the time I felt God was telling me to read the book of Jeremiah. I picked it up and read the first 3 chapters. God through Jeremiah spoke of God's people playing the harlot:


    "Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? Therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways." -- Jeremiah 2:33


    "For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot." -- Jeremiah 2:20


    "Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord." -- Jeremiah 3:13


        Those bible verses in particular stood out to me, and I felt like a harlot for revealing my body to someone who I was not married to. My body was not my body to give away or show off even before I was married, because my body was only meant for the man the Lord had in store for me. The man I was too impatient to wait for, my husband Dominic.
        I cried for a long time. I had not only committed adultery myself, but had helped Shane commit adultery. Though he had already committed adultery in his heart by lusting after me.
        I begged the Lord to forgive me for this sin. I should have known better, I was so ashamed. I am grateful that Jesus is always so willing to forgive, and without his grace I don't know where I would be. I thank the Lord that Shane did not save or screen shot any of the pictures as well.
        
        After I had prayed and prayed and prayed, I told Shane that I didn't feel right about sending those pictures to him anymore, that it wasn't right with the Lord. However, I continued to talk to him, which I should not have done. I talked to him all the way up until I met my husband, and at that point I finally told him that I could no longer talk to him. I repented once again, for talking to Shane even for that long.
        I was so blind that the Lord had to literally place a boulder -- Dominic, -- in front of me before I could realize that Shane was not the man that God wanted me to be with. Even though I was praying, my heart was not truly open to the answer. I was so set on not having to wait for the right man, that I tried to force something that the Lord did not want to happen. I thank the Lord for closing old doors and opening new ones.


        I urge you young ladies out there to wait for the man God has in store for you, for Gods' ways are better than our ways. It is worth the wait. Set your expectations higher, and seek the Lord in your decision to enter into a relationship with someone. Courtship is also key. The intent should be marriage, not dating, not hooking up.

        Mothers, I urge you to talk with your teenagers and pre teens about apps like Snapchat. It's too easy to send a self destructive photo message, being in the privacy of your own home and behind your portable screen. It may seem like innocent chatting, but things can escalate quickly, and I am lucky that things didn't go farther than they did in my story. How sad it would have been if I would've had to go through a rotten and sinful relationship before I met my husband. I am proud to say that Dominic was my first boyfriend, my first kiss, my first true love, my first time, and my first and only husband forever. Share this post with your daughters. I pray that you have gained some wisdom from my mistake.


    Peace be with you, in the name of Jesus.