10.26.2015

WE'RE GOING TO BE PARENTS!!


YAY!!!! insert all the most exciting emojis!!

Mark and I are elated to share the news that we are pregnant!


We are beyond blessed to have a little one growing inside of me. We have prayed over this baby long before we started trying and know that life is a gift and miracle from the Lord. We are praising God for most exciting news ever!


I am 13 weeks today and just finishing up my first trimester. I must say that this pregnancy stage hasn't been the most fun. I've been very nausious and throwing up which hasn't helped with our busy schedules but on the whole I am just so excited! I am looking forward to the second trimester where all the books say my energy will come back! That would be amazing. Mark has been so supportive and encouraging me to take those naps…haha.


It all started on Mark's birthday over lunch at the end of April. We were chatting about all things and he brought up the idea of having a baby. Sure, we've talked about it and people joke but we hadn't had a serious sit down conversation about when we were thinking and what would be the right time for our family.

We spent a few months praying about it, crunching numbers, looking at our future jobs and career paths. I love Mark so much and married life has been the absolute best with him! I am so thankful for the 2.5 years we will have together being married just the two of us. Yet, we both felt ready for this next stage. We had this peace and we just decided to go for it. We were overjoyed when we read that the test was positive in August.


We went for our first ultrasound last week and got to see our baby's heartbeat and he/she was moving its arms around. It took my breath away as I watched this beautiful baby living inside of me. Our due date is May 3.


I have been dying to share this news for so long and am so blessed to be able to tell the world now!!

We are so excited to be MOM and DAD in May! I knew Mark would make the best Dad since I was 15 when we worked together at camp for the first time. Kids adored him and my heart went crazy. He would play with them, be silly with them and all the campers just wanted to hang out with PacMan. In these past eight years of being with Mark I've been able to watch interaction after interaction of how he loves babies and children and takes care of them so well. My heart is so full at the thought that we will get to be parents and love on this baby. He is going to be the best Dad!


I honestly love this child so much already and it has only been 13 weeks!

Baby, you are so loved and adored by your mom and dad and we are stoked to meet you! We have been praying over you every single night that if its the Lord's will you would grow into a happy healthy baby. Keep growing strong… Mom promises to not eat too much candy!

Thanks for reading and celebrating with us! Thank you to one of my best friends Larissa for taking these pictures for us. We will cherish these forever. xoxo

10.19.2015

Is Porn Only a Male Struggle? + My Story with Porn



I wrote a blog post about female porn in the spring and shared a bit of my story with struggling with "female porn." [ aka, false expectations women put on men in relationships from romantic comedies, books etc]. If you haven't read it, you can check it out here.

I had many woman comment saying they were struggling with reading erotica and placing false expectations on future boyfriends/husbands. These were the conversations I was hoping to have. Then, I also had woman email me that they struggle with "female porn" but struggle with watching porn too. The woman I talked to all felt so ashamed that this was even a struggle for them. It's suppose to be something guys struggle with but not girls right? Us ladies struggle with reading fifty shades of grey but not the hardcore porn stuff right? I started thinking and chatting to others about males watching porn vs. female. Then I did some very basic research (I always want to be careful when researching about porn…it can get dangerous fast). Here's some of the basic facts.

1) Women watch porn. [23% of Pornhub's viewers are women]
2) Women watch porn longer than men on average
3) The majority of women who are watching porn fall into the age category of 18-24. my age demographic. [36%] [Women between 18-34 make up 64% of viewers]

Then I looked up what my go to Christian ladies say when it comes to sex, porn, masterbation etc. I started reading their blogs and listening to the podcasts they were posting. Over and over and over again women were saying they were addicted- yet so ashamed. It's a mans struggle, not a woman's - let alone a Christian women.

In a lot of males testimonies you hear them struggling with porn and masterbation. Yet, how many ladies get up and tell that in their story? Even though many of them are struggling with it.

Mark and I have worked for many years with Christian teens. Many of those guys come straight up to Mark and have a PAM (porn and masterbation) questions. I was thinking how many ladies have approached me so boldly and asked those same questions…very few.

I think the first thing we need to get over is that many godly Christian women struggle with porn. Just like many godly Christian men struggle with it. Yes, more men struggle with porn, but that doesn't mean it's not a women's issue.

Secondly, I don't think there is a lot of support out there for woman struggling with porn. Sure, my non Christian friends talk about porn and watching porn with their boyfriends to get going… I think in our North American culture it is normal for women to watch porn now, but in the church - I'm not sure how many youth groups are talking to teen girls about the addiction.

So why do I even care about this? Great question! 

I have a heart to see all Christians but especially Christian women walk unashamed in who God has called them to be. Yet, I keep having conversations with women who feel like they are living a double life, because they love Jesus so much but are struggling with such a "dirty taboo sin." Satan is keeping them in bondage because of the stereotype women watching porn gets in the church. They feel that if "anyone knew or their future boyfriend/husband found out" they would run. I want us ladies to live in the full freedom of the cross. That means confessing our sins, and getting help especially when it comes to addictions. Having a mentor or someone to talk to about it can provide such hope and encouragement. Even telling a trusted Christian mentor can feel so amazing - just to get it off your chest.

I remember in grade ten my boyfriend ask me to watch a movie with him. Little did I know the movie was porn. I remember feeling so helpless not wanting to hurt him or not be cool and ask him to turn it off but knowing that this was wrong. He didn't even ask me to do anything with him afterward and when I went home I felt so ashamed. I didn't realize the images that would stay with me for so long. I can recall the sex scene typing this out today. I thank the Lord that I didn't get addicted like I know so many of my sisters in Christ are but that doesn't mean I didn't start casually watching porn. So I thought who can I tell who won't judge me and think I am the worst Christian ever? No one came to mind. I was working at a Christian camp in the summer and knew I had mentors but I couldn't think of one person to tell to help me. It was devastating. One summer I remember brining up the topic of porn to test if there was anyone I could confide in. The girls and the older mentors all said things like "gross, disgusting, thats not what Godly women do" and other comments that made me feel like I was the worst for struggling with porn and masterbation. People were judging me for kissing guys let alone watching porn. That summer going into grade 11 I had myself convinced that I was the only Christian girl on the planet who struggled with this and that I was the worst Christian ever. It was a long couple years that I stayed in bondage. Yes, God still used me in incredible ways and I grew in my relationship with Him and learnt lots but I wasn't living in the full freedom I am now. I always had my secret sin that i thought would never make me good enough to date a Christian guy or "really be used by God." 

I got that freedom by reading God's word. It came from time spent in the bible letting scripture define me and not my sin. Once that freedom came [long journey] I vowed to myself and the Lord that I would be more open about my struggle [in a tactful way] if the Lord would use me to love on and encourage other Godly women struggling with this.

Wow, God has answered that prayer a hundred times over. I remember one girl around my age who I looked up to so much. She was the ultra Christian and everyone adored her. I shared very little of my story with her and then we changed topics. She came back with tears in her eyes later that day and said "I struggle with it too. I'm addicted." I remember just looking at her, hugging her and realizing this is something that so many of us are keeping a secret and keeping us in bondage.

God has given me countless opportunities to pray with ladies and chat about 'sexual sin'. I am not proud of my sin. But today, I wouldn't change my story for anything. God is using my weakness to bring glory to His name. He is using me to chat with girls and ladies who are struggling with this sin and just need to know someone has been there. I don't want any girl struggling with porn and wanting help and a mentor and having the same experience I did… not being able to trust anyone because they think they will be judged.  I want to open God's word and read truth and freedom over these beautiful ladies. We are called to live this life in full freedom.

Males struggle with porn and so do females. I think the church should know this. 

If this is something you struggle with, know that I have prayed for you already. I prayed through my research and before even writing this blog. I prayed hard to know what to say online and prayed that you would find freedom in Christ knowing that He has given you the strength to overcome all sin. Jesus died for it all. Remember you are not alone. I can think of so many Godly ladies I know struggling with this right now. Remember there is hope in Christ.

If you want to chat please send me an email. I'd love to share more if you need, hear your story and pray for you.

check back on Wednesday for another post!

so much love,
maddie


*stats from this website http://www.pornhub.com/insights/what-women-want -  

10.16.2015

October: Currently

October is flying by! I can't believe we have already hit the half way point. I am definitely a summer girl but this cooler weather has been nice and my hunter boots and roots sweats are in full swing!

Here is some things I've been loving in October:

this podcast. I've just started listening to it and it has been so awesome. it answers all the questions we are all so scared to ask!

i've enjoyed this sermon on the signs us Christians need to know about the end times. We don't know the exact date or time when Jesus will return but we know it will be soon and we know that we have been prepared to notice the signs and not be caught off guard.

along with end times if you are a believer I suggest you download this app. Behold Israel has been a great (and easy) source of information to keep us in the loop.

if I had endless money I would buy this planner for the upcoming year. It is my type A personality dream! a girl can dream. and I love Elise and everything she produces.

this Lecrae video was inspiring. I look up to him so much and the role model he is to me but for so many young men. God is using him so much… check out this video.

bought this to track my sleep, heart rate and steps and loving my fitbit. of course, bought it used for a sweet deal and loving it while I lead my fitness class.

looking forward to ladies night out at my church this Saturday. If you are free this Saturday why don't you join me?



looking forward to another couple jam packed weeks! 

so much love,

Maddie
xo

10.14.2015

This Past Month




this past month….

has been a blur

has been exhausting

has been challenging 

this past month…

I've had the best God moments

I've heard His voice clearly

I've been tested through trials and didn't doubt God or His plan but came running at His feet

this past month I have grown and I am so thankful.

I want to apologize to you, because of my lack of writing. I've felt all the feelings this past month and knew I wasn't in a place to blog about it. I've said this many times but this blog is my online journal, an honest raw picture into my every day life and emotion. But it wasn't right to display all those emotions over the world wide web (good and bad) during this past month. Every time I opened a "new post" tab and started typing I felt the Lord saying "not yet Maddie." I knew that I needed my joy back from the Lord before I could start blogging again.

I was reminded that God loves the church and He adores His people. It's been God's church from day one and that's not changing. Through this transition phase I have been so encouraged in the tangible ways God is working through His church. My sweet husband and I have been tested physically, emotionally and spiritually and have grown so close in these last six weeks. We know trials produces character and I've fallen deeper in love watching my man's character shine. We are so close and even though these past few weeks have been exhausting, I am so thankful for them because we have gotten so strong together. Oh, I love my man so much!

I am really excited for this next season… I was dreading it even last week because my endless to do list - hence why I couldn't blog but now I am so excited. Even though my type A plans have been completely ditched of what my fall was going to look like (click here to read my birthday letter with all the original plans) I know God's plans are so much better than mine and I am excited to see where he takes us.

So I am in a great place…now. Mark and I are reading everything we can about helping run a church for the time being until we find an interim pastor. We are dreaming God dreams and really believing this is where we are called to be in this insane season still. I am screwing up daily, forgetting so many things and have a to do list that is around 42 tasks for the week. I still cry, get frustrated at myself and put the weight of running a Sunday service on myself. Sleep still isn't constant but God is so faithful despite all my screw ups and sin.

So if you are someone who prays, please pray for Mark and I. Pray for strength as we are a small staff getting through this transition phrase. Pray for strength. Pray for salvations and people growing in their walk with the  Lord. God is doing incredible things at the church and the church is still growing because it's God's church. Pray our eyes will be fixed on Him, the author and perfecter of our faith and not on the earthly things around us.

Lastly, thank you for reading. It means more than I could ever type that you would take time out of your day and read this blog. It sucked so much reading all these other blogs in the past six weeks and not writing on foreverhis. My goal this fall was to blog three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Life is still insane right now but that is my hope! So please subscribe, bookmark this blog or check back for more posts.

Thank you so much. Have an awesome week.

xo
Mads.





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