8.28.2015

Do Something


"Do Something"

This is a phrase I write over all my journals, planners and speak out loud often.

As a perfectionist I get super discouraged when I realize (every day) that I can't fix something, change something or learn something overnight. I often just feel overwhelmed by the problems of this world and the hurt that so many people experience.

For example in a given day I want to invite all the homeless people over for supper and hear their stories, I want the teenage moms with no support to come live with me, I want to love on the girls who are finding their worth from others all praying that they receive Christ and are fully living in His love and calling…. and my list can go on.

Watching the news is so discouraging but I am reminded over and over again that I can't do everything but I can do something. I remind myself to not get bogged down by all the things I can't do but to do something. This is why I write this phrase all over my to do lists and journals. It's God's battle and trust me, He is coming back to redeem this world and restore! My job: do something while I'm on this earth that is pleasing and glorifies God.

If you are getting depressed with your massive to do list or realizing you can't change everything, please be encouraged today to just "do something."

Happy Friday!
xo

8.24.2015

"No, I Didn't Marry Young because I just Wanted Sex"


I got engaged when I was 20 and married only four months after turning 21. Mark and I had been dating on and off (my fault, you can read our story here) for 5 years. By the time we got married, I was finished school and Mark only had one semester left. We were ready, so excited and knew this was the next step in our relationship.

The one comment we heard over and over again from dear friends and not so dear friends is that the only reason (or main reason) we were getting married this young is that we just wanted to have sex. The only reason we couldn't wait another few years is because we wanted sex. Clearly, thats the only logical reason to marry before 30! It never really bothered me, because I am so in love with Mark, it was more funny that people thought this way. So my tone in writing this post is pure fun!!  Yes, sex is a great gift inside marriage but sorry to say that it wasn't the reason.  Here are five of the many many reasons why I married young and so thankful that I did!!

1. We both adored Jesus and then each other
No couple, Christian or non Christian is perfect going into their marriage. We aren't perfect people so it is impossible to expect that. One piece of advice people gave me before I was ready to marry is to make sure my relationship with Jesus had some sort of foundation. Marriage works when your worth comes from the Lord. Mark and I started dating when I was 15 but most of high school and first year was spent getting my worth from others. It wasn't until I was put in a situation in South Africa to love vulnerable children that I cried out to God asking Him to pour out His love on those kids through me. He answered with: "Maddie you need to accept my love first, before you can truly love others with it." Obviously this was for my South Africa kids but it was a key turning point for my relationship with Mark too. Once I got that foundation, I was in a spot where I could love Mark with the Lord's love and not depend on Him for my worth. #letsgetmarried

2. Age is irrelevant, maturity is everything
I know some 28 year old men that are not ready to lead a wife and family and I know some 22 year old men that are. I am going to brag for a second and say that I have the best husband. Since I was 15, Mark cared about loving me like Jesus, serving me practically and caring for my spiritual needs more than anything. Mark is loyal, committed, selfless and (in my opinion) is well beyond His years spiritually. Mark was ready to lead a family well before He got married. I could easily see this before I even said yes. Remember, culture changes and so do the "cultural rules".  My grandparents generation it was normal to get married at our age. My parents generation too. Many countries around the world it is still normal… but suddenly in my generation I am "too young and just want sex." If you are both mature enough to get married, do it! If you need a few years then by all means wait! But it has nothing to do with the sex.

3. Are you committed? 
I remember two different conversations of people encouraging us to move in together and try it before committing. We were just too young to know.That way it was an easy out if all of the sudden living with Mark showed his flaws and I wanted to run.  Sorry, I don't want to "play house and married life" with my partner with zero commitment. That is, in my opinion, so hurtful and cruel to do to another human being. We are such a selfish generation. If he can't meet my needs, if his flaws are too big... I can just walk away because its all about me… urg.. NO!
Commitment is key and so much better. You don't have to worry if one day your partner will leave if it's not convenient or if you've changed too much - with commitment you are both saying you are sticking it out through the toughest days and the times you just don't like each other.
This may come as a surprise but you can commit to someone without living with them before. Another surprise, there were no "new flaws" or shocking things I learnt about Mark after we started living together. If you and your partner are committed to each other, don't believe in divorce and believe in the biblical model of marriage, "laying down your life for each other" I promise you 100% it will work despite not sleeping together or living together before hand.

4. Marriage is something God created and loves
Let's not forget. God created marriage and anything God creates is beautiful and has purpose. Marriage isn't some evolutionary survival tactic. God created marriage to be a picture a reflection of how He loves His church. Marriage is an earthly example to Christians and the rest of the world how God loves and works. This is something to take very serious. When people look at my marriage, do they see Christ or selfish ambition? This convicts Mark and I all the time as we constantly ask this question over our marriage and lives. The question we had to ask ourselves while we were dating is can we model this? Read Ephesians 5:22-32.  
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church [a]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
Most people who say "you just want to have sex" have no idea the weight Mark and I put on ourselves to see if we could with the Holy Spirits strength live this out. We fail constantly, and back to point one, don't expect perfection before getting married or you will never marry.
God never said "you have to be 27 to model this properly" - God never put an age on us but an expectation. Mark and I prayed hard and were so humbled to strive to let God shine through our marriage. Just a quick example. So many of my girlfriends can't believe how amazing Mark is to me and how much he adores me and serves me. Each and every time they say that in disbelief I never miss an opportunity to share the gospel. I start with "Mark is unreal but its because He is loving me like Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her." I get to share God's heart for marriage and what it looks like. There is nothing sweeter to be able to share the gospel with people because they notice your marriage is different.

5. Doing life with your best friend is the best
Mark not only is my husband, but my best friend. Everything I do, I want to do and experience with him by my side. Once we knew we loved each other, loved Jesus even more, had commitment and were ready for the responsibility of striving to model our marriage after Christ's example, we were giddy with excitement to get engaged. Sure, I was so excited to one day have sex with my husband and after being sexually active before I dated Mark the temptation got bad sometimes for us. I want to say that desiring your partner and wanting to be intimate with your partner is a desire from the Lord. The desire is to be celebrated! Acting on it before marriage however is wrong (trust me I would know).
After 1.5 years of being married I can honestly say that I love doing life with Mark. It didn't make sense for us after we had committed to each other to then just date for a couple more years? That seemed backwards and it wasn't because of the sex… have I said that enough? ahha!
Someone told me to my face while I was engaged that " I was ruining my twenties getting settled down and that I would change and regret this." I never responded back because I was so caught off guard. What I would say now? I am not ruining my twenties - they are the best years of my life so far because I get to wake up, look to my left and see the most loving man I have ever met and he is all mine. I would say that I am not getting settled down just because I live with my best friend - we have the most fun adventures together. & I would say that yes, I am changing. I will change in my twenties, thirties, forties etc and I pray that I would constantly change more into the image of God along with Mark. Change is something to be celebrated and I am so glad Mark and I are striving to change more like Christ.

#suchalongblogpost!

If you've come this far, thats impressive. To conclude, I love sex and my sex life but that was not the main reason or even close to the top reason that I got married at 21.

I also love this link buzzfeed did that my sister in law shared called 17 Annoying Things You Should Stop Saying To Young Married Couples. Although it's not a biblical perspective it carries on the fun!

happy Monday! come back on Friday for a new post or put in your email (top right) to receive these posts. also if you liked this post why not share it on Facebook or Pinterest? It would mean so much!



8.21.2015

Comparing


I think certain sins will be a constant struggle on this earth. Personally, comparing myself to others is one of them. I can have such a good week and then bam, I start to compare, get bitter and wish God has given me different gifts and talents. It's a fast decline and one that I can sit in if my eyes are not focused on Christ.

I want to be better. I want to grow more each and every day into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Oh how I want that so bad, yet my actions often tell Christ differently. God is showing me that wanting this is an honourable thing that He desires, but my tactics of comparing myself and putting myself down doesn't get me anywhere close to this goal.



God has been speaking the truth of His word over me this week. Reminding me of His great plans for each one of His children.

Think about it for a second. Before God even made the world or universe He knew you. He knew you would be born in this generation, He has specific things He wants you to do and accomplish in this time period. He didn't mess up and wanted you born in 1500's and now you are stuck in the 21st century. He has a purpose for your life now and has made you perfectly to accomplish those plans. There is no need to compare yourself to others. God made you perfectly for such a time as this.

Acts 13:36 "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his father and underwent decay."

I love this verse. I think I've shared this verse on the blog before but it is one that I speak over my life every time I start to compare. 

"For Madeline, after she had served the purpose of God in her own generation, fell asleep…"

I want that! Lord, I want you to be able to say that verse over my life when I undergo decay. I want to serve the purpose of God in my generation. Comparison robs and distracts me of my purpose. Comparison also tells God He didn't do a good enough job creating me.

Do you struggle with comparing? Are you living out your purpose in your generation?

Speak that verse over your life heading into the weekend.

Come back on Monday for another post:)
Happy Weekend!


8.19.2015

Being Real

You know those generic questionnaires that go around asking what is your biggest pet peeve? Without even thinking I know my answer and it hasn’t changed in years: fake people. I can’t stand fake people.

Our world is fake. Our life on instagram is fake compared to real life. We act a different way so people will like us. We dress differently or put make up on so that guy will notice. So often we tell people we are okay when really we are crying ourselves to sleep. It all can be so fake. I have done all of these examples.

I see it all around me and after being fake for so so long I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I found such freedom at the feet of Jesus knowing that He knows my deepest darkest thought and still adores me. There is freedom in God and that freedom allows one to stop being fake and start being real. When my security and worth is placed in Jesus it gives me freedom to be real.

I have strived to be real in every aspect of my life encouraging others to do the same. I have tried to be transparent to allow others to do the same.

I have strived to be real in my friendships.
I have strived to be real in my workplace.
I have strived to be real in my beauty and weight and insecurities.
I have strived to be real with where I am with the Lord and my prideful heart.
I have strived to be real with dating and love relationships.

But I haven’t been all that real with sexual temptations and sins. Those are known as “taboo” Christian topics that shouldn’t be shared. Yet, I see so many women suffering in silence. So many women asking for help, accountability and just a Godly place to go for advice. I want to strive to be real in this area too. I’ve prayed about this a lot and really sought God’s heart on it. I don’t have all the answers but I know ultimate answer is found in God. He gives freedom and wipes away any sin, sexual or not.


So I’m going to talk about it. I will share some of my story and hopefully have some others share theirs. I want us to be real with each other in every aspect of our lives and have open conversation. Sexual sin is something so many woman struggle with, yet we are too ashamed to talk about it. I’m tired of that being an excuse. So this is my intro post. If you have questions or topics you want covered please send me an email at madeline_hockley@hotmail.com. I’m looking forward to getting real in this area of my life too.


*if you have struggled with sexual sin and want to share your story, or have insight of words of encouragement I would love to have you guest post (anonymously or not). Send me an email and we can start this conversation. Would love to chat with you!

8.17.2015

August: Currently


When looking back at August I hope to remember my incredible vacation and the time I took to be refreshed and actually relax. I had the privilege of spending a week at a cottage up in Muskokas. My parents and sister came up with us for a few days, then Mark and I had a couple days to ourselves and Mark’s parents joined us for the last two days. It has been the best and I even got a tan!!


I know we are just halfway through August but this vacation has done wonders for me. My job isn’t physically tiring like construction or what not but it is spiritually exhausting which was taking a huge toil on me. September marks one year working in full time ministry and goodness it has been a year of growth and a huge wake up call of what staff does at a church. You mean it isn’t just Sunday  morning preacing and making bulletins? Nope. So much more! I’ve learnt that this year but have come away needed a vacation. Needing this vacation.


Time and time again I will type that God’s timing is perfect and it really is. We haven’t had much time off since last September to rest and if I’m totally honest I was feeling burn out. Emotionally and spiritually burnt out. As believers we must not forget that we are in a war; a war on peoples souls and their salvation. Satan has an army fighting against us. Each day, we are still in the battle till we die on earth or Jesus returns. Being ‘on the front lines’ in ministry I got hit hard & maybe didn’t take the time I needed to rest, get Godly eternal perspective and put back on my armour to go out and fight. This vacation allowed me to do that. I am so excited to get back into battle and launch the programs and start an extremely hectic fall season. It is going to be great! I am so excited for what our great God will do this next season. He amazes me every day and I look forward to the Him refining me more into His image even if the process is painful and exposes my sin and prideful heart.


Looking forward to what God has in store for the rest of August. Check back on Wednesday for another post. Happy Monday. I really hope your week will be amazing! 

8.10.2015

Vacation Time


This week I am spending my time on Mckay Lake. Relaxing for a whole week! I am so excited to be up here and loving my time so far. I've been swimming every day and trying to get my tan on.

Look forward to a new blog post on Monday! I'll be back then:) xoxo

8.07.2015

Around Here

Happy Friday!

I can hardly wait for Sunday though… vacation time! Yay! I have had a countdown on my phone for months and I just can't wait to sleep in, read my bible on the dock and maybe write some more blog posts!


Confession: I am a workaholic (surprise!) and working from home is a tough balance for me pretty much every day. Most days I just work into the evening because there is always something more you can do for the church. I can't just leave my office for the day and say I'll come back to it tomorrow when my office is my living room. Mark has been challenging me to find a hobby and stick with that in the evenings. After some reflecting and embarrassment that I really don't have a hobby I thought of blogging. Weird, that it came into my mind later but this blog has really seemed like my online journal not something to spend time investing in… not a hobby. However, I love to write. I love reflecting on what God is doing in my life and others. I love the online community I have with bloggers around the world. It definitely is my hobby and I am excited to put some much needed time and energy into this blog.

Will see where this goes. I am making no promises because my life is insane but I hope to make this blog a better space where we can share community over the world wide web. You can check out my new about page here or if you are a new reader click here to get started on some of my favourite blog posts. I hope this vacation time will give me fresh creativity to continue blogging a couple times a week.

Thanks for coming back to this blog. Really, you are the best and I am so thankful for you! I would love to pray for you or just send me a note saying hi. I believe this online community is awesome and want to have more of that on this blog. #goals

& if you like what you are reading I'd love for you to follow by email (to the right) and you'll never miss a post.

thanks for being the best readers, I hope you have an unreal weekend.
xo


8.05.2015

5 Tips to Read Your Bible More


Working in ministry and with students the number one prayer request I receive is "pray that I learn to read my bible more."

We as Christians know that the bible is God's word. It is God - all knowing, all powerful, all sufficient God talking directly to us through the Holy Spirit. People sometimes ask how they hear from God: easy answer: read your bible. It is God speaking to me every time I open up my bible. Every time.

So we know the bible is so important and daily bread for our spiritual life, yet so often (myself included) it is "hard" to pick it up and read it.

Here are five tips that help me read God's word daily.

1. Don't view it as a chore, but as your lifeline

This was huge for me. Often in high school and university I felt that it was a "good Christian" thing to do to read my bible. I knew it was good for me but I viewed it as a chore, something I had to do… not a privilege. The first tip I would suggest is change that thinking. Don't view reading your bible as something you have to do, but realize who is speaking to you during that time. Each time God reveals a part of himself in the bible, people pretty much drop down dead in holy fear (Moses, John etc). God is too holy and too worthy for His word to be a chore. Change your mindset about what the bible is and you'll be more excited to read it, knowing it is a privilege that the creator of the universe would want to speak to His children.

2. Get a bible app

This is more practical but has been super helpful for me. I love my iPhone and love apps on my phone. Before I sleep and when I wake up I normally scroll through my Instagram feed and there goes twenty minutes. I was convicted one morning when I realized that twenty minutes could have been spent reading my bible, not my instagram feed. Having a bible app on my phone, I challenged myself to read a couple verses (under five minutes) before scrolling through my other apps. It's not my main time with the Lord (He deserves more than 5 minutes) but it is a great start and makes my morning so much better to be focused on scripture first thing.

3. Give God the best part of your day

This is why I can't read my bible in the morning. Honestly, mornings are awful for me. I am not a morning person, just ask my sweet husband. It takes me an hour to really wake up and my mind is not focused at that time. I've read so many blogs that encourage me to read my bible first thing and it hasn't worked for me leaving me feeling guilty and discouraged. My advice, give God the best part of your day, whatever that time slot is. You want to be able to focus on His word. For me it's the evening or right before bed with a tea. Don't worry about when you read the bible as long as you read it. This helped me a lot.

4. Follow a reading plan

Accountability, accountability accountability! I work so much better when I have a schedule. It is a lot harder to just pick up your bible and start reading at a random place. If reading your bible is struggle, I strongly suggest you get a reading plan. If you head to the bible reading tab there is a plan (summer is more laid back) but starting in September there will be daily verses that we are reading together. I can email you/text you to keep each other on track. I also love the read through the bible in a year. Bascially I don't care what bible reading plan you use -as long as you are in the word:)

5. Pray before you read

All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching (2 Tim 3:16). Sometimes it takes work to check the context, when it was written and to whom to make it less confusing. However, please know God wants to be found and known through His word - He isn't a distant God. Praying before always helps me understand the "tougher passages." Just asking the Holy Spirit to reveal what He wants to say to me through His word has helped me tremendously.

What helps you read your bible? Any tips to add? Would love to read about them in the comments!

xo
Maddie


 photo copyright.jpg
envye template.