1.28.2016

Open Your Bible


I love doing bible study with ladies. It is so refreshing and every time I leave a study I am always so challenged and encouraged in my walk with the Lord.

This season is extremely busy so I haven't been able to "take time" each week to meet with women...but I've really been missing that connection and am trial running a virtual online bible study through life way women.

Let me pause for a second to put a plug in for LifeWay Women's bible studies. They are incredible and legit. Such good studies all focusing on the word of God. If you are needing some inspiration or another good resource to bookmark please check them out here. They have been so great!

K, I'm back. I'm definitely a 'girls girl' so I questioned the online study because I am such a face to face type of girl. The study I'm doing at the moment is called Open Your Bible. Honestly, the connections with other women have been hard. I'm in the Facebook group of over two thousand women doing this study at the same time and although I think that is sweet so many of us ladies are opening God's word, the connecting part isn't there and I miss that. I don't think online bible studies should ever replace meeting with ladies in your town or church community but I do think they are helpful in certain seasons. Also these videos that go along with the study each week have been really cool and I love them!

One of my prayers as I do this seven week study is to test it out and see if I could lead it in my home one day. One of my biggest struggles is just opening God's word and knowing it is applicable to me today - even if the passage is found in the Old Testament. I've noticed working with students that this struggle is so real in so many of their lives. The bible is 'boring, irrelevant and hard to share with their peers because they aren't inspired by it.' These lies are so damaging because the bible is God speaking directly to us, giving us our daily bread. I have a lot of dreams but this is one of them... leading this study to some students one day.

Have you tried online bible studies? Have you found them successful? Any tips or stories I would love to hear! Or do you have other good online resources to share?

Hope you are having a good week and happy Friday! Baby is kicking me a lot still [which I love] and making me feel so uncomfortable [which I don't love so much]. Getting to sleep has been hard despite how tired I am each evening and staying asleep for more than a couple hours has been tough too... 26 weeks down... almost in third trimester!

xo
Maddie


1.22.2016

Vertical Church

photocred: dyerandjenkins' scrapbook
Mark and I have been spending some time in the evenings reading Vertical Church by James MacDonald together. It's actually been so much fun and really encouraging talking church together and dreaming about our personal ministry philosophy and about what the local church can look like and be.

It's a really cheap date night if you want to try it and I think our baby boy loves hearing Daddy read to him out loud. It's a great way for him to know Mark's voice even in the womb. We've jumped around a bit in the book due to our lack of time to read an entire book out loud but I've been jotting down some good quotes that I want to live by and I am excited to share them with you. So far I highly recommend the book if you are interested in church or church leadership. I hope to blog again with some more as we continue reading but since I have an entire page already, I thought I would start writing.

Feel free to agree or disagree with these quotes. They've caused good discussion and lots of "amens" from us as we seek and pray over our family continuing in full time ministry. I really want to know my philosophy and what I believe ministry is all about, so it's been a blessing to take time out of our evenings and talk about this. I know it will change drastically through the years, but I want to develop some sort of starting point and be able to articulate that.

I must say I am so proud of my husband and am so sure of the calling he has on his life to do ministry. We don't know when, for how long, if he will become a school teacher one day, but we do know that God's plans for our family is going to be amazing. We know that as long as we stay close to Him (abide in the vine John 15) we will be taken on an incredible journey. Ok enough rambling. Here are some quotes!


Moses said "is it not in your going with us that we are distinct among all the peoples of the earth?".... eventually everyone vacates church where God is not obviously present and working. Getting people back to church is pointless unless God comes back first." pg 21

"You can't fake God's glory. You can't manufacture it, or manipulate it or manifest it at will. Only God Himself can bring glory into a church and when He does, communities get shaken and lives get changed." pg 21

"Everything I am bursting to share with you about church requires 'buy in' on this foundational premise that every human being shares this appetite for eternity." pg 44

"Salvation consist in God's restoring us to what He intended us to be, not elevating us to what He is" - Millard Ericsson pg 45

"When did we decide that relevant need-meeting was superior to awesome God-meeting?" pg 47

"Church was designed to deliver what we were created to long for." pg 50

"Vertical is what God made us to long for and what the church is designed to facilitate." pg 51

"I have found that people are starving for a God sized vision from Gods word delivered by the power of Gods spirit for the exaltation of God's son. " pg 64

"I can't control how people perceive me, but here are some things I do try to keep the focus on God and not me: I preach the biblically verse by verse, exalting what God says versus my insights/thoughts. I am never the hero of my own illustrations- just the guy 'under construction.' After every service, elders/pastors/leaders come forward to minister to people." pg 104

"Not being known or famous or big-time in your denomination but instead that "he must increase, but I must decrease." How is that going by the way? Is Jesus more the focus in your church, and are you less than you were a year ago?" pg 105


Any good books you've been reading that I should be too? Always love recommendations! Have a wonderful weekend!

xo
Maddie


1.20.2016

BE that Woman



I was scrolling instagram last week and came across this video. Obviously instagram gives you the fifteen second version but the entire video was on Lisa Bervere's Facebook page so I quickly opened my laptop to get the whole thing.

Click the link to watch it to watch: Be that Woman Video

The main message: Be that Woman you wish someone was to you. Whether that is a mentor, mother, lady in your church... doesn't matter but the person you want in to pour into your life, be that woman to someone else. She talks about writing it backwards. Whatever you wish would have happened, start there with someone.

Wow.
Who isn't challenged by that message?!

I shared on Monday but this past season spiritually has been pretty discouraging and hard. A couple of times, if I'm honest I wanted to feel sorry for myself and for what I've had to go through. Compared to most people and their lives, it's nothing but my little world was definitely shaken. I feel like I'm in a new season and this word is one to cling to as I enter into these few months before baby is born. Be that woman.

For example, I've been looking and praying for someone to mentor Mark and I as a couple and also that woman to have the time to invest in my life personally one on one. In my longing for this, I've realized that someone younger than me might be praying and longing for the same thing. I need to be that woman and Mark and I need to be that couple to someone else too.


I think we can get so discouraged and condensing when we pick apart what others haven't done for us or how the church hasn't supported us... and the list can go on. What I love about this is that our focus is shifted from "woe is me" to "impact" and changing lives for the gospel.

Is there someone you wish would pour into you? Whether that be a mother figure, mentor, friend? Whatever you are longing for, I pray that you would be encouraged to be that woman to someone else and just watch what God will do through you.

Let's BE the Woman God has so called us to be. Invest and love deeply my friends.

xo
Maddie

1.18.2016

Currently: January

my daily morning ritual this January
Can't believe January is halfway over. January has been a blur due to sickness. I got sick right before New Years and remained that way for a few days. Then I got better and Mark got sick and is going on day eleven. Tuesday morning I woke up just feeling awful. Like can't get out of bed or doing anything productive, awful. Mark and I have been out. Anyone else fighting this massive head cold like us?

Other than buying hundreds of dollars worth of vitamins to try and feel better and going through 2-3 tissue boxes a day January is looking okay.

I have hit twenty-five weeks and am loving this stage of pregnancy. I will lie down and watch him move from one side of my stomach to the other. He kicks me all throughout the day but is most active in the morning right when I wake up. It's my favourite time of the day to just lie in bed and talk to him as he moves around. It is such a miracle that there is life living inside of me. It makes the nose bleeds, leg cramps and heartburn a bit more manageable when I have these sweet moments with my boy. I love the bonding time we are getting even though he is still in the womb. Honestly, we loved finding out the gender because it is another level of bonding. My son, my baby boy is inside of me - not just my baby. That exact word is another level of bonding and I am loving it. The fact that the Lord knows his entire life, knows how many hairs he will have on his head and has this incredible plan for his little life blows my mind each and every day. Babies are such a miracle and my relationship with God has increased to a whole new level praying over this baby.

Other than being super sick and super in love with our baby January hasn't offered me much else. We are deep into dreaming God dreams for Emmanuel (our local church where we work) and ironing out some details from the insane fall. I went through a "dry season" spiritually and was pretty burnt out but feeling hopeful that January will pick up and my productivity and passion will too. Lord, have your way in my life, my marriage and my work.

Sending you lots of feel good vibes if you are sick. We can get through this! Hopefully you aren't on day eleven like my poor sweet husband.

xo
Maddie

1.14.2016

Top Blog Posts of 2015

so it's mid January already but at the Hockley household we've only been sick so I haven't gotten around to posting this until now.

I love round-ups and really wanted to take some time and look back at some of my favourite blog posts of 2015. If I just went by the statistics all the controversial blogs would win out. It is so true that if I just wanted page views I would write on all the hot topics because that is what people love to read and comment on [hate on]. I definitely included page views in my swaying of creating this post but I've added some of my personal favourites too!

Here's my top 7 posts.
* if you click the title you can check out the blog post in case you missed some of my fav's.

7. My Fear in Blogging + Evolution of ForeverHis

photocred: abeautifulmess

2015 was the year I decided to give this blog a major facelift and try to right more. I put little exceptions on myself as I enjoy blogging as a hobby but have bigger plans for this space in 2016. Hopefully you will stick around to see them!


6. "Female" Porn + Is Porn Only A Male Struggle

photocred: pornkillslove

So this is technically 2 posts. If you click on each title it will take you to them. But 2015 I got over my "afraid to talk about it online fear." Sure, I'd been talking to people about these topics but didn't want to risk the hate I'd get from writing online. Then I took the plunge and am so thankful I did! I've had incredible conversations with so many ladies through this blog and I am so blessed to have had that opportunity. God has given me this small platform and I want to use it to help others get freed from sexual sin and lies.

5. No I Didn't Marry Young Cuz I Wanted Sex



This one was pure fun to write so it makes my top list of 2015. So often we heard this line, well into being married so I decided to write about it and so glad I did. I also appreciated some good conversations that led from this post which I am so thankful for.

4. My 23rd Birthday Letter



So this one didn't win in the page view section but makes the list because I love reflecting on the year God has given me. These posts I look back at frequently to see my personal growth in the Lord and ones I will cherish years later. Note to self: keep writing these because I love them!

3. My Modesty Journey




This one got all the page views and a lot of emails telling me as a Christian I should keep my opinions to myself... but I really enjoyed writing it and don't regret it. This is my journey and I am so grateful for the way God has been so patient with me as I've learnt to love and respect my body. I so want to re write this one in a couple years to see what has changed. I know God will keep teaching me how to love and respect myself and my body and also help out my brothers in Christ.

2. It's A Boy!




My top 2 blog posts on page views had to do with our beautiful son that is coming soon in 2016!! My heart loves that he is getting all the attention already haha. But the best part about this blog is the video. Guys, it is the best ever and I watch it a lot.. like actually a couple times a week still... one of my top favourite memories of 2015 for sure.

1. We're Going to Be Parents



Best Post of 2015 by far and you thought so too! You guys viewed this post over two thousand times...Mark and I are so excited that you are excited with us. The love we received from this blog post was unreal and we are just so blessed by your readership and friendship. Truly, thanks for being excited with us. Here's to many more blog posts about pregnancy and our baby once he is born!


Bring it on 2016! Can't wait to write more on this space. Thanks so much for reading in 2015 and if you have any ideas for me in 2016 for the blog I'd love to hear them. Send me an email!

xo
Maddie

1.03.2016

My 2016 One Word

I love making goals and I love when I can complete them or at least aim to complete some of them. I make goals throughout the year but especially appreciate the extra emphasis of a new year with a new set of goals. Instead of going all out with my massive list of goals on the blog I want to share my one word with you.

This is something I was challenged to do a couple years back and have really enjoyed it. Basically, you pick a word for the year and want to weave that word through your year. There is a really great podcast about this on elisegetscrafty if you want to check out more about the "one word" idea. (podcast 12/29)

2015's word was eternal. I wanted a better eternal perspective. My eyes were fixed on this world so often and I wanted to be intentional in 2015 to keep my perspective eternal. I have really grown through this 'one word' idea so when December came around I really started thinking about the next season God is calling me to do and what my word could be.


My word for 2016 is: FOCUS

I need focus. More focus on the gospel and the work God is doing. I need more focus on my mission and purpose here on earth. I want to buckle down this year and focus on my kingdom work.

If I've learnt anything this past year is that I can be distracted so easily. My flesh loves scrolling instagram and reading fun blogs that really have nothing to do with the gospel. Satan wants God's kids to get distracted and not focused on the work we have to do. If he can distract me each day less kingdom work gets done. I know my life is short and fleeting. I know Jesus is coming back any day now and I want to be ready and focused. I don't want to be caught off guard from my purpose and mission on the earth. I want to stay focused.

This year will present many awesome changes. I am going to become a mother and I know already that I will be tempted to put so much time reading google on all the crazy things moms and are suppose to do, say and buy. I know that this year is going to be busy but I want to stay focused. I want my sweet son to know from day one that this life is all about bringing glory to God and making disciples. I want to stay focused for myself but to also set a good example to my baby; and I know that starts before he is even born.

We are living in harsh difficult times and if you believe the bible it is only going to get worse and fast. It is astonishing to me how much the bible has predicted these times and how the bible tells us what is going to happen - why does anyone ever question the gospel when it is so true! ISIS wants to defeat who? -  Israel. duh - it's been in Gods holy word for thousands of years. I know this world will only become more corrupt and I want my focus on Christ. Making disciples because I know time is fleeting before I die or Christ returns.

Do you have a word or like making goals? Would love to hear yours and why that is your word this year.

Thanks for your faithful readership in 2015. I am blessed to have this blog and write on foreverhis. I can't wait to share with you what God will teach me in 2016.

Know you are loved by me and the creator of this world,

Maddie


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