Sunday, April 6, 2014

Help for Making Marriage Work

Falling in love is easy. Shoom! You've fallen and you can't get up. Unfortunately creating a love that lasts is not quite as effortless . We don't really fall in marriage. An emotionally intelligent marriage is something we build together. It takes effort and work. Thankfully, that effort can be a whole lot of fun!  And the work is always worth it.

My husband David and I hosted a book club for Created Woman this year. We read The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver and recorded a video blog for each principle. Now you can watch all seven videos and grab hold of some marriage building tools in one place

Enhance Your Love Maps 

Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration

Turn Toward Each Other Instead Of Away

Let Your Partner Influence You

Solve Your Solvable Problems 

Overcome Gridlock 

 Create Shared Meaning

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

3 Keys for Living Well

1. Go after a life of LOVE as if your life depended on it - because it does.

Go after love - literally - let love lead.  Love well and you will undoubtedly live well. But as I've said before fluffy love isn't enough. Love must be strong. It's not always the most comfortable way to live, but it is the most rewarding.

2. Give yourself to the GIFTS God gives you.

God has generously poured out creativity, talent, passion and dreams. You have a unique blend of gifts no one else on the planet has. Give yourself to these gifts. Develop them. Your gifts are meant to be given. Make them great!

3. Let others in on the TRUTH so they can grow and be strong.

Truth will bring freedom and hope to you. You can't keep it to yourself! Why would you want to? The truth you discover is not exclusive. Let others in on it so they can benefit from all you've gained on your journey. 

Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you. Most of all, try to proclaim his truth.....when you proclaim his truth in everyday speech, you’re letting others in on the truth so that they can grow and be strong and experience his presence with you.  1 Corinthians 14: 1-3 MSG

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Go Ahead and Cry

It’s okay to cry.

In fact, sometimes a good cry is exactly what we need. 

When studying the chemical composition of tears, Bio-chemist, Dr William Frey, discovered that emotional tears contain protein- based hormones. He didn’t find them in onion chopping tears. Research indicates that through emotional tears, our body is actually cleansing itself of harmful stress hormones.

Tears are evidence of God’s master design.
I’m learning to let them flow.

Last month, my husband and I attended a worship night with 1211, a collection of musicians, song-writers and singers led by Ramy Antoun. It’s an experience like no other. The band and singers are set up in the center of the room and the “congregation” surrounds them. The performance aspect of modern worship is lost in this arrangement and what happens is total immersion.

As a former worship team member, I found myself leaning over and peeking around heads to see who was singing. Who was leading?  I gave up. I don’t need to see to be led. I can listen. I can feel. I can allow God to lead me.

And he led me to tears.
Letting go.

During one song, Ramy pointed out a woman who was available to pray with people. I knew I had to go. I think I’m the only one who did. Her presence was God’s present to me that night, a beautiful gift.

She reminded me of Elijah when he fled to the desert fearing for his life. He collapsed, exhausted from the journey in the shelter of a broom tree. He wanted to give up. He asked God to take him home. But miraculously God provided food and water for Elijah under that tree. In 1 Kings 19:7 an angel wakes him and says, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 

Do you ever feel that way?
Like the journey is just too much for you.
I did that night for sure.

I was anxious, stressed and overwhelmed about what lied ahead of me. But God met me that night. 1211 was my broom tree in the desert. They set the table. I pulled up a seat, ate my fill, quenched my thirst and cried my tears.

Yes, I cried - in public.

We’re not talking sweet tender tears, the kind you wipe away with the back of your hand, the kind that evaporate in a second or two.

No, we’re talking multiple tissue tears - mascara melting, nose running, cheek drenching tears.

Karol Ann Moore began to sing I’m Amazed and every word rang true for me in that moment:
You love is stronger than my pain. Your grace is greater than my shame. You pursue me even when I run away. I’m amazed by your amazing grace.

And I am amazed by the gracious, sustaining provision of my Father.
Stress washed away by rivers of tears. I could breathe deeper.
I left lighter, refreshed and strengthened for the road ahead.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Four Steps to Financial Freedom

The borrower is slave to the lender and don't I know it. I've been in that position. Trapped. Chained. Limited by the bondage of debt. It's a miserable existence.

We were not made to live that way. We were made for freedom, for abundance. 

We were created to dream! 

Financial freedom can be yours, and doing the work to get there is the secret to unlocking your dreams.

Make a Plan - Creating a spending plan is the first step toward freedom. Dave Ramsey tells us this is how we tell our money where to go instead of wondering where it went. It can be intimidating but it doesn't have to be difficult. To this day, we use a simple Excel spreadsheet. If you'd like a copy of our sample spending plan, email me: lynnmarie(dot)cherry(at)gmail(dot)com

Work the Plan -The plan won't work unless YOU work it. Schedule a regular time to look at the spending plan, make adjustments, pay bills and balance your checkbook. 

Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food;

 play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate. Proverbs 28:19 MSG

Rework the Plan - Life happens. We get busy and it's easy to fall back into old familiar habit patterns. A relapse is only a failure if you refuse to get back up! (Click to Tweet) So get back up and please be kind to yourself. Encourage yourself and work the plan again.

Add the God Factor - A faithful steward will be entrusted with more. When we honor God with our resources, he pours out blessings.

Honor the Lord with your wealth,
 with the first fruits of all your increase
then your barns will be filled to overflowing....Proverbs 3:9-10

(Listen, if you want your barn to be filled, you'll need to build the barn. Open up a savings account. Contribute to a 401K. Then imagine that barn overflowing with supernatural provision.)

We do our part and God does what only he can do!
His grace swept away our debt mountain. (More on that here)
His grace brings FREEDOM and with financial freedom comes the freedom to dream big dreams!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Find Me in February

Brand new for you! My husband David and I are hosting a virtual book club. You can watch our first two VIDEO BLOGS by clicking on the links below:

Enhance Your Love Maps
Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration

Find out more about joining the book club at

Apply some glue - yes, glue - to your marriage. I know it sounds messy, blame it on Jesus - it was his idea!
Read more at A Bundle of Thyme 

Teenagers have needs too. This article is the first in a series of ten, which will help you understand and meet the relational needs of your teens.
Read more at A Bundle of Thyme

I ate too many potato chips, again. And I know I deserve to suffer. Aren't you glad we don't always get what we deserve?
Read more at A Bundle of Thyme

Also for Created Woman in the FREE 1st Quarter issue is an article called The Space Between Us. It's all about resolving conflict and how we came to terms with this necessary skill.  This is a great magazine to subscribe to for fashion and faith.

Finally - for anyone who has ever been scared about speaking in front of others - My first post at Faith Village - 4 Prayer Points for Fearful Public Speakers

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Daddy Every Girl Needs

Strength is an important quality in a father.  Daddies ought to swing their little girls around in circles and give them bouncy piggy back rides while they giggle down the hallway for hours on end. Whew!

My dad grew up on a farm. I never doubted his strength.

But there was something different about my dad.

One day I walked around the block to a neighbor's house and attended a girl scout-ish spin off our church sponsored. As with most kid friendly events, there was a craft involved and we created a family crest for our fathers. I drew a fluffy lamb in one of the quadrants of my crest. 

I remember having the distinct impression my mom was embarrassed by this lamb. But it made perfect sense to me.

My father was gentle. He was strong AND loving. That is a crucial conjunction.

It was his tenderness that stood out to me as a child. He never raised his voice. He never stormed around the house. His strength was quiet and I felt so safe.

Our God has this same crucial combination of strength and love.

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord are loving...Psalm 62:11-12

He is the Lion of Judah AND the Lamb slain before the foundation of the earth.

Looking back, maybe Mom was needing a little more lion from my dad. Someone to roar at three children and get them to shape up and act right!

God has the perfect balance of these two traits.
In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. Exodus 15:13

Love to lead:  "Follow me. See, I am a lamb just like you."

Strength to guide: "Walk this way and do as I say."

If you need tenderness and arms to hold you, lean into his unfailing love. If you need guidance, allow his strength mold and shape your life today. 

I'm curious - do you see God as Lion or Lamb?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Want a New Marriage

Isn't NEW wonderful? I mean who doesn't love tearing open boxes, cutting off tags and peeling away plastic shrink wrap? Or what about that intoxicating new car smell? 

It's the American way. Throw out the old, outdated, previous model and wrap your arms around Brand Spankin' NEW!

Perhaps your marriage is losing it's sparkle. Maybe it has a few scratches and dents. This is bound to happen if you've been married any length of time. You might even need of a complete overhaul.

We attempt to make things new in a number of ways:

Put A New Ring On It
They say diamonds are a girl's best friend. My husband and I went ring shopping when we were in therapy. It seemed like the thing to do. I might be the only girl who walked away from our first twelve week program without new bling. I did try on a few rings. But the diamond that seemed to out weigh the pain we'd been through was pretty large. When I saw the price tag, I realized it would have been like toting around a really nice car on my left hand. I opted out. I'm not sure diamonds help heal a heart.

Get A New Spouse
I'll admit I considered this and I know my husband did too. I mean it only makes sense. If you want a new marriage, get a new spouse. Thankfully I'm a reader, and I read a horribly depressing book that helped me cross off this option. As bad as things looked, our mess was finally out in the open after years of being buried under ground. That's when you can actually make progress. I had to ask myself, do I really want to spend the next few years of my life pretending I'm perfect all the while waiting for the next guy's imperfection to rise to the surface? No thank you. It seemed smarter to work on the the problems I already knew about.

Have A New Baby
Nothing spruces up a tired marriage like a new baby, right? WRONG! In my experience babies make for exhausted adults who have less time and energy to invest in each other. I like my sleep too much to consider this option, but a lot of people do. We idealize what a new baby can do for a relationship and although it IS a new level of shared responsibility, that doesn't always translate into connection. 

Build A New Marriage
Who says you need new material to build a new marriage? David and I pulled on our steel toed boots, slipped on our leather gloves and did the work together. I won't kid you, it was the hardest work I've ever done in my life. 48 weeks of therapy, gut-wrenching homework assignments, regular accountability groups, countless books, hours spent processing with friends, and ultimately having the courage to surrender our pride and obey God all added up to a NEW marriage that is so much better than the one we had before.  Honestly, we really like each other. We are enjoying life together. The work was worth it. I am so glad we didn't throw in the towel, tearfully grateful we didn't give up.

You want a new marriage? Roll up your sleeves and do the work together. 

Looking for a step to take? Join our online book club. We'll be reading The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Click here for more info. Sign up and order your book today!