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Preparing More for Your Marriage Than Your Wedding

Preparing More for Your Marriage Than Your Wedding

For 9 months my fiancè and I planned one day, the day came and went. People told me leading up:

“you’ll be sad when it’s over”

“you won’t know what to do with yourself when you’re wedding is over” 

“it goes by so fast, you’ll miss it” 

But none of that was my experience…I was so passionate about using our engagement season to continue to bring us to the feet of Jesus humbly and have Him prepare us to become one. That can be really difficult because of all the questions coming your way all the time. I understand, you are the only one who knows every detail about your wedding day. I know that can be overwhelming, but try your best to find your purpose in the season and keep that at the front of your mind.

Our purpose leading up to our day was:

“we are preparing more for our marriage than our wedding” 

The Lord has developed this huge heart of passion in me to share with you how easy it is to get sucked into wedding planning and forgetting about the reason you’re getting married. That is why I am here, I am excited to share with you ways to soak in your engagement season and plan your dream day intentionally.

My first piece of advice is; Don’t do it because others did it, do it because you WANT to.

There was a friend of mine who was about to order a 3-tier cake that was more money than she wanted to pay. I asked her if she was excited for it and she explained, “I am only doing it because I feel like it’s the ‘wedding’ thing to do.”

I stopped her in that moment and encouraged her that it is THEIR day, and if you two don’t want to do it, then they shouldn’t.

Details of the day are so beautiful, but when you and your fiancè’s hearts are the driving force behind your decisions, it will make your day so special.

*fun tip*

Make it a date night for you and your fiancè to try a bunch of different deserts and pick your favorite for your wedding day.

It doesn’t have to be a cake! It can be a big cookie, cheese cake, cupcake, donuts  ANYTHING!!

My second piece of advice would be to Remember Your Mission. 

A marriage is two people who are on a mission coming together as one.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Mark 10:7-8)

It is SO easy to get consumed during your engagement season with wedding planning, but this season is so beautiful to begin to align your mission. I really believe that your single season is so important to understand your mission and who you’re living for. When you get engaged it’s your opportunity to share with your person how you’re going to go forward into marriage with your like-minded mission at hand.

Join groups, serve together, be on mission.

It is easy to fall into wedding planning every time you are together, but prioritize your quality time as preparation time. The decorations, venues, dresses, and colors will all come together but bigger doesn’t mean better if it means sacrificing time to build your relationship.

*Preparation Tip* Grab an empty Journal, Polaroid, and a pen. Take time as a couple and write down christian married couples you look up to, reach out to those couples and ask to get dinner/coffee with them. When you are with them, ask them for their best piece of marriage advice, have them write it down, take their picture and add it to their page.

Then you have a book to look back on full of advice from those you look up to!

My last reminder for you to hold tight to is that The finish line isn’t the wedding ending, it’s the starting line of your lives together.

The reality is, you wake up the day after your wedding looking at what’s important.

It’s not the cake, flowers, dresses, or table decorations.

It’s that for your whole life, God was preparing you to wake up to someone who is deciding to spend their whole life loving you.

The truth is, the devil hates marriage. He is going to do his best to distract you from preparing for your marriage. He is going to fixate your eyes on the things of the world.

Keep your eyes fixated on the beautiful celebration that is your upcoming marriage.

Congratulations friend!!

My DMs are always open!!!

Emma Gilmer is an LO Ambassador from Minnesota who is passionate about helping women find freedom from sins that tie them down. She is newly married and loves sharing her life on Instagram and TikTok!

Keep up with Emma on Instagram @emm.gilmer

The Power of Our Words

The Power of Our Words

Hey Friends!

I wish I could meet you in person and hear all about who you are, but let’s just pretend we are sitting together today!

I am SO happy you are in this place right now, I am a firm believer that wherever you are is where you are meant to be and God can do good in every circumstance, so just know you and I are here together for a perfect reason.

Well, a little bit about me:

I live in the currently frozen Minnesota, attending a 4-year University in the Midwest. I am a Senior with one semester left about to graduate and have n0 idea about what I am doing afterwards. The question I get most these days is just that, “What are you doing after you graduate?” …But I have so much confidence in who Jesus is, my provider and redeemer, that I have no fear around that question with no answer to follow. I am dating my 8th grade crush, Dylan, and it is such a beautiful experience.

Weddings are my FAVORITE.

1. Because I am a Wedding Photographer.

2. I get to be surrounded with the HAPPIEST people all the time.

3. The absolute miracle that happens on that day of two becoming one is something I have been able to see repeatedly for the past two years, and it has changed my mindset on weddings in the most beautiful way.

It is such a gift to be able to witness the miracle over and over again, but also being able to capture it. Wow. I am emotional thinking about it.

Annywayyyy if you are getting married, I would love to be there for you. Especially if you live in a warm state 😉

My story is one that I have a heart to share for years and years, and that is to free women from the cage of shameful sin and the hold it can have on your abundant life. While this blog is not specifically about that it can play a key role into those strongholds. I love sharing on the sins that women don’t share as much, bringing light to the dark corners is so important.

I am praying this blog impacts you and the Holy Spirit intercedes. You are so great and I am proud of you today.

Come say hey!

_______________________________

Do you carelessly speak aloud without thinking sometimes? Most times?

I understand that feeling, but It’s time to change that.

Proverbs 18:21 reads, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

One thing that has been on my heart in the past month is the power of our words.

You have the power to give life to the words in your mind and heart.

We are always being fed lies from the devil but also truth from Jesus.

We have the free will to decide what we want to give life and power to.

I think we forget how important that is. When we speak, we are proclaiming those words over us and others who are listening.

Even the mundane choices of describing yourself…

“My hair looks so bad today”

“I can’t do that”

“I’ll never make it”

We give the devil more power than he deserves when we speak out the lies he feeds us. WE also can pour them into someone else’s mind if we speak those things around others enough times. I remember I used to never be insecure about my nose, up until I was around a friend who HATED her nose and she made everyone around her know that. Then one day I was looking at myself thinking “wait is something wrong with my nose too?” Since that day I now have an insecurity about my nose. This isn’t saying anything wrong with her and I pray she has overcome that insecurity in Jesus’ name!

I am using this example to show how much power you have when you speak. My friend was just talking out loud what was in her mind, but she did it in a way where she wasn’t asking for help to combat those lies. She just spoke what she felt not knowing the devil used that as a leverage to make me insecure. I need to be clear here when I say, you confessing to a friend that you need help combatting a lie the devil has placed over you is DIFFERENT than speaking lies over yourself every day with no desire to have others help you.

Those lies above have 100% been what I have spoken over myself before but now I am trying combat those with these:

“My hair is crazy, but I am made in the image of God”

“I can do ALL things through and with Christ”

“I am going to try this and even if I fail, I am still worthy and accepted in Jesus’ name”

See the switch of power?

I am choosing to let Jesus take the throne in my mind and speak out on the truth He brings and not the lies the devil TRIES to make me believe.

The bible is here to help…

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as it is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

This verse tells us a couple things about the power of your words:

1. Your words give grace to others. As I spoke on before, when you speak lies, others can start to believe those about themselves, same with the truth. If you chose to speak on the grace given to you, the Holy Spirit brings that to those around you.

2. You can speak constructive words over yourself and others as long as it’s “GOOD for building up, as fits the occasion.”

“There is a time and a place for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

If you feel the Holy Spirit calling you to speak something that may be hard to hear but will help your friend in Christ, then it’s worth sharing in love and grace.

3. Our words have the power to build up and take down.

This could be building up the lies they have in their mind already and taking down their confidence in Christ.

OR.

This could be building up a friend in their confidence in Christ and taking down their lies from the devil.

Matt 17:34 reads, “For the abundance of heart the mouth speaks.” We want to be on earth to help others grow closer to Jesus, and we can start with our words.

It can be scary knowing we have so much control over our words, but this is why Jesus reaches his hand out and tells us to let him give us guidance and protect us. Let us encourage one another and keep Jesus on the throne of our hearts and minds.

Follow Emma Stender on Instagram @emma.stender

It Doesn’t Have To End Up Like It Did Last Time

It Doesn’t Have To End Up Like It Did Last Time

You know what fires me up? When someone finds freedom from sin. I am talking about the chain breakin, Holy Spirit fire burning freedom from sin. That kind of freedom.  

I experienced a break through from my heavy, shame carrying sin about a year ago. 

Freedom doesn meant that you will never sin, it just means that what you encounter doesn’t have a grip on you like it used to. 

We are sinful human beings. 

We all sin…like a lot. 

Growing up I learned about Jesus dying on the cross to forgive us of our sins. That was it, I always saw it as just a sentence and not as a life changing experience. 

BUT…

There was a time in my life where the two didn’t really add up. I learned what forgiveness was, I practiced it with friends and strangers.

If that’s what forgiveness really is and if Jesus did that for me, then why am I full of shame and guilt for my sin? 

Hating your sin is good..God hates sin, so we need to feel that way as well towards our actions that are against God’s law. 

There is another half to that, that leads to forgiveness

I don’t really think I had a good grasp and understanding on what forgiveness actually was. 

Therefore the freedom I was “experiencing” wasn’t really freedom at all. It was just a statement that I knew but not that I grasped and lived out. 

Romans 8:1 is a verse that changed it all for me, this turned a switch in my head to understand the difference. 

It reads:

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”

This verse brought freedom in my mind. 

Read it again if you have to, then understand that is true for you. 

I started to understand that my sin didn’t define Jesus died on the cross so we don’t have to feel condemnation for our mistakes, but when we do sin he wants us to go to him and ask for forgiveness so we can accept his response of love and grace. 

I know the heaviness sin can hold, and I know what it feels like when sin seems like it’s overpowering. 

I NEED you to know that if you are feeling tempted by sin, there is a way out. 

1 Corinthians 10:13  “No temptation  has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

The title of this blog is “It doesn’t have to end up like it did last time”. 

Because my goal for this, is that you won’t feel the guilt and shame that you have felt for so long. It doesn’t have to end up the same way it did because the truth you know now is stronger than ANYTHING the devil tries to tell you in your mind. 

You are not alone in your fight with sin, even if you feel like it’s the worst sin in the world. (I’ve been there, and it’s a big lie)

Next time you feel the devil trying to tell you thoughts in your mind that don’t belong there, just tell him it’s not going to end up like it did last time, and he has no place in a pretty head like yours. 

Here are some ways to help you while you are feeling tempted. 

  1. Remember 1 Corinthians 10:13 and say it outloud. Resiste Scripture.
  2. Have an accountability partner, someone you can text/call when you feel tempted. 
  3. The bible says flee from your sin, legit run away if you have too! 

Do anything you have to, to get your mind and body away. 

 These are just steps that I take, and have practiced that have helped me not end up like I did in the past. 

All in all the Lord cares for your heart and does not want to see you carrying around shame and guilt when he died to take that all away. Lay it at the foot of the cross and know you’re forgiven. I am so excited for you to change the way you see freedom and understand how to put the devil in his place. 

You are so important and worthy.

Heaven is cheering you on, and so am I 

XOXO Emma

Emma Stender is a Senior at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. She is in her 2nd year of being a wedding photographer and loving every second of being able to capture someone’s best day ever, and witness the miracle that marriage is when two become one. Emma’s heart is to help girls find freedom from their hidden and heavy sin. She is a 2 on the enneagram but all her friends think she is a 7 because she have a high energy personality basically 24/7. 

Emma is also an ambassador on the LO sister app! Want more encouragement from Emma? Join today at losister.com!

Follow Emma on Instagram @emma.stender

Come say HI <3

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