Messy Beautiful Love {giveaway}

Today my friend Darlene Schacht from Time Warp Wife is joining us. I absolutely love Darlene. She is such a genuine and true friend, seeking the Lord in all she does. I am thrilled she is sharing here today and giving away her brand new book, Messy Beautiful Love. In Messy Beautiful Love you will be captivated by her story and in awe of God’s grace and restoration in her marriage. ~Ruth Schwenk

Darlene writes:

“This earthly life is a battle,’ said Ma. ‘If it isn’t one thing to contend with, it’s another. It always has been so, and it always will be. The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are, and more thankful for your pleasures.” –Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little Town on the Prairie p. 89-90

I think that a big part of the reason that so many people like myself have not only fallen in love with the Little House stories, but in particular the character of Caroline Ingalls was because of her gentleness and contentment. She’s an example to many. As a pioneer woman in the 1800s she struggled alongside her husband to make ends meet, and raise their five children. Not only did this woman make do with the little they had, she did it so gracefully.

Time and again they battled against the elements of nature, never knowing how their next crop would turn out, and when they did face trouble, she looked past it to thank God for their blessings.

Contentment requires us to trade personal and immediate gratification for a heightened sense of appreciation. That kind of faith can be difficult, but those who choose to “let go and let God,” possess a gem of great worth.

Are you a Caroline Ingalls, or a Negative Nellie? Do you tend to have more days than not when things get under your skin and you find yourself saying, “Why me?” We all know how it is; it seems like the minute that everything is going along great, it all starts falling apart.

Are you are Caroline Ingalls or a Negative Nellie?

And then there are other times when, like Job, you seem to have one trouble after another, and start to wonder if things will ever let up.

So how do we fix it? How can we make our world a better place so that we’ll be happy within it?

The answer is that we can’t and we shouldn’t expect to.

There will be days where you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and wish you could crawl back in. There will be people who disappoint you so badly that all you’re left with are the shattered pieces of your heart. There will be pain, there will be loss, and there will be tears. But God in His wisdom is good.

Joy comes from within, not without.

God is treating us as dear children, and like a true Father He disciplines us for our good. It’s never pleasant at the time, but with each trial we grow more disciplined. And we learn. The more that we take our focus off of the things of this world, we turn our hearts and our minds toward God.

When we run from our problems we don’t learn to solve them. But when we patiently trust God with our heart He leads us safely through to the other side. Not necessarily comfortably, but safely nonetheless.

I haven’t arrived yet. But then again none of us have. Marriage is a life-long journey that leads us to grow every step of the way. I’m still walking in faith, but my  focus is set on the Lord.

We can’t change the world around us completely, but we can change the way we relate to it so that while we’re riding the waves, we keep an even keel. All too often we have that reversed. We spend all of our energy focused on changing our surroundings so that we’ll feel better, happier, content, and relaxed–when the reality is that true long-lasting joy comes from within.

This article is an excerpt from Messy: Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht. Used with permission from Nelson Books © 2014.

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

Today I am soooo thrilled to introduce you to Darlene’s brand new book, Messy Beautiful Love!!

We are giving away two copies along with two beautiful journals!! You can enter to win in the rafflecopter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you want to grab a copy today you can click below:
Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages


The {Thai) Breaker in Marriage

When I said those four, small, life-changing words “I do, of course,” I knew there were things about me that would change. You know, things other than the obvious … like my last name and mailing address.

For example, I figured that I’d end up watching a whole lot more Fox News. Because … well … that’s what happens when one marries a news junkie and agrees to share the same couch and remote. Suddenly, talking heads and the latest conflict in the Middle East become regular company.

Even so, there was one thing I was absolutely, positively convinced without a doubt would not change. As in, ever.

And that was my feelings about Thai food.

Sure, I might be marrying a man who loved it, but no way was I becoming a green curry and drunken noodle addict. You see, I’d had my share of bad experiences with the cuisine.

All two of them.

The first was at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Van Nuys, California, with a woman my sisters and I had come to call our Jewish grandmother. Let’s just say the company was good, but the pad thai, well, I never thought I’d find my peanut-loving self wanting to hose the taste of nuts out of my mouth. I did that day … and for days after.

The second? It was a few years later at my boss’ mother’s dinner party on the Big Island of Hawaii. Yeah, complicated. I know. Granted, what I ate that evening was really more Japanese-Thai-Hawaiian fusion, but it ruined me for ever trying Thai food again. (My apologies to those of you who enjoy that trio of cuisines combined.) I determined once and for all that I didn’t like Thai food. Not then. Not ever.

Or so I thought. Almost a decade into marriage, I now eat … and crave … Thai food regularly. So what happened?

Well, because I love my husband Ted, I decided to share in his “joy” of Thai food by at least giving it another chance. Sure, it took me about six years of marriage to come to this decision, but I finally did. And you know what they say, the third time’s the charm, right? I discovered I loved it. Turns out I just needed to find a Thai restaurant that specialized in using quality, fresh ingredients, wasn’t too peanut happy, and didn’t involve the word “fusion.”

Do you know what this change has taught me?

It’s helped me learn the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone and being willing to try new things … even if I’m convinced I’m not going to like them. I’ve come to see that these experiences not only enrich me as an individual, they go far in helping Ted and me continue to grow together.

And the funny thing is, you could replace the phrase “Thai food” with a number of things. Sushi. Dystopian films. Some talk radio. There are a number of other areas where I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and discovered a new “like.”

So the next time your husband mentions the hole-in-the-wall restaurant he loves and you’d rather not try, maybe give it a chance. Even if it is a second or third one. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You discover you were right all along?

Whether you end up with a new favorite or not, I guarantee you’ll find your marital bond strengthened just because you decided to lay your own comfort aside and share in your husband’s joy.

I know because I’ve tried it.

Ashleigh and


For more practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in your marriage, check out my new book, Team Us: Marriage Together.

An Encouraging Word for Our Daughters Who Dare to Dream

An Encouraging Word for Our Daughters Who Dare to Dream

I feel rather blessed.

Being the mother of several teenage daughters—young, bright, and beautiful. All of them hoping to get married some day.

These girls dare to dream.

But to tell you the truth, they’ve grown a little doubtful lately.

The girls observe these marriages around them falling apart right before their eyes. They’ve seen the destruction of divorce and have stayed up late comforting dear friends whose parents are parting ways.

Or, they watch while some couples stay together, yet grow increasingly cold and distant. Tension filling the air.

It troubles them to think of their lives ending up in this unhappy way.

It messes with their minds and messes with their dreams.

They’re not little girls anymore and they understand that life is no fairytale.

But they can’t help wondering where did all the good stories go? You know, the ones with a happy ending? Whatever happened to happily-ever-after?

And this is what I say to them…

My dear girls,

I believe in a good God who desires to write a beautiful story for our lives.

Rather than looking at the messed-up world around you, fix your eyes on Him who is more than able to care for you. He is the One you can trust for your hope and for your future.

…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (I Pet. 5:7)

I believe in a God who is in the business of changing people. He can change me and He can move that man of mine. He has the power to transform our marriage into something wonderful and glorifying to Him.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17)

I believe in a God who restores and redeems. He can heal the broken and save the lost. I’ve seen Him turn lives around and rescue marriages from the most impossible situations.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Ps. 34:18)

I believe in a God who sees the big picture. While we might only see the snapshot – what is happening today – He knows what our future holds.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)

Take your dad and me, for example. Here we are, two imperfect people who have learned to love each other—who are still learning to love each other. Look at the good work God is doing in and through our life together. Growing, learning, forgiving and loving some more. This is the stuff that makes for some of the best stories.

This is a real love story.

So that’s the kind of story I’m hoping for our daughters and the kind I’m hoping for you. Not because I believe in fairytales, but because I believe in a good and powerful God.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)

The Jacobson Girls

So go ahead and dare to dream, girls.

Because we know the God who is the Author of the greatest love story – and we are known by Him.

Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women

The One Thing Families Can’t Survive Without

It’s been said that “A good marriage is the union of two forgivers.” I couldn’t agree more. Family life is no different. It requires even more forgiveness and grace than marriages does, simply because there are more people involved!

I would go so far as to say that without forgiveness, families don’t survive. An unforgiving, unyielding parent sets the tone for heartbreak and ruin in years to come.

Family life requires a daily laying down of self, doesn’t it? Motherhood is a series of little and big opportunities to die to ourselves so that our children might flourish. Think of the mom with the newborn who would give almost anything for some sleep—yet cries from the bassinet beckon and she can’t help but smile at the beautiful infant she sees looking up at her. Suddenly, sleep becomes less important than taking care of her baby. On and on it goes, this laying down.

Forgiveness is a laying down, too. It’s a laying down of pride and the selfish desire to be “right.” Learning to be a good forgiver is one key to successful parenting and marriage.

Over the years, I’ve spoken to many moms about this and it seems it’s a common struggle. Sometimes it’s easier to be kind to the woman at WalMart than it is to be gracious to my own kids or my husband.

We easily take our most precious relationships for granted, because we feel the most comfortable with the ones with whom our relationships are the most secure.

I have been on both ends of un-forgiveness in relationships. Both sides hurt. When we refuse to forgive, bitterness is the sure result—and bitterness is the death of real relationship. Over time, unforgiveness becomes poisonous—and the one who suffers the most is the one who won’t forgive.

Unforgiveness is like swallowing poison—and expecting the other person to die.

Refusal to accept another’s apology is equally damaging. Our pride gets in the way and it keeps us from letting the offender off the hook. Of course, in the end, the person on the hook is the one who can’t move on in freedom and forgiveness.

Life is hard. Sometimes, we wait our whole lives for an apology we will never get. I want to challenge you to forgive—even in the absence of a deserved apology. Sometimes, I’ve learned, we must accept the apology we will never get in an effort to bring peace to our own soul and move forward.

Of course, there are things that are not easy to forgive, but forgive we must. Forgive for yourself. Forgive for your children. If you want your children to learn to forgive and move on, they must see you do it first.

As mothers, we are setting the example. Our children are watching us—and actions speak louder than words.

Do you need to be forgiven? Ask for it. Do you need to forgive? Don’t put it off.

Your family is worth it.


Heidi St. John

 Photo courtesy of Lifesong Photography 

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