As we recently shared the first Sisters and Friends episode of the year, I figured it was only fitting to share it with you here on the blog! My mom and I sat down to talk about all things relationships, community and marriage. Here’s how it went!
I wanted to talk to mom about the things that she walked through and learned in her college years because I know many of you are college students navigating that season of life. But even if you’re not a college student, we unpack so much more in this episode to tune in for.
First off, we dove into discussing mom’s relationship with my dad. They began dating at a young age and quickly decided they were going to get married. However, right before they took the next step, they broke up and soon after, mom went off to college. Mom went into college with a lot going on, such as the breakup, a new city, meeting new people, etc. So, I asked Mom to describe what that was like as she began a new journey with all those emotions.
Mom mentioned how crazy it is that it’s been 32 years since she and my dad began dating. She was 17 years old at the time and they both instantly knew they were in it for the long haul. They’d been in youth group together and had basically grown up together since third or fourth grade. Because of this, marriage was talked about within the first couple months of their relationship. They decided to get married the following summer, and when they mentioned it to Mom’s parents, it was clear that they didn’t see it as the best idea. After all, Mom and Dad had no plan and no money. They were genuinely living on love. Plus, mom DID have a scholarship for college to Harding University, where her parents had gone. So, her parents had a point. Looking back, mom sees the wisdom in the things they were saying. But at the time it was really difficult. At the end of that summer, mom chose to go to college. Well, Dad had decided that if Mom went, they were going to break up. So, they did, and mom was devastated. She cried all the way to Harding and one of her friends came and stayed with her in her dorm for a few days to console her.
I love that her friend came and stayed with her because in those moments it is so important to bring community in. And often those are the times that we push community out because we don’t want anyone to see us in a vulnerable state. Mom talked about how vital it was for her to have someone she could truly open up to during that time and help her through a season of major transition.
I asked Mom to talk about the process of her and Dad getting back together. She said that two weeks after the breakup, Dad called her dorm room and said he’d had a change of heart and that maybe long distance wouldn’t be so bad after all. He basically poured out his heart saying he wanted to get back together. Mom said it was a really great regrouping time for them as a couple for her to say “I love you, but there are things that need to change in our relationship.” She used that to encourage anyone who might be in a similar situation. She mentioned that it’s not always the answer to breakup. Sometimes it takes just sitting back and admitting there are some things that just need to be restructured. Well, Mom and Dad ended up getting back together, but Mom did let Dad sit in it for about an hour before she gave a final answer to him.
The truth is, you need people like Mom’s friend who you can confide in, knowing that they love you and your partner equally and want what’s best for both of you. You need friends who will trust you enough to believe that your partner is a good person, and it might just be a bad moment.
A couple months ago, Christian and I were walking through a really difficult time. A lot had been going on and it was just chaotic. We needed to get back on track, so I suggested that we start taking communion in our house. Well, at the time, we’d been ignoring and not wanting to address many of the things we were walking through. So, our first communion in our house was when everything we had been feeling came out. It was certainly a hard conversation, but I find it beautiful that when we came to Jesus, truth came out. Although it wasn’t necessarily pretty, it’s what needed to happen. I love that because this scripture speaks to the situation so well:
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)
Next, we dove into the topic of roommates. Mom’s freshman year of college, she had a roommate she’d never met before, which is extremely common. Many people either move into an apartment or college dorm with someone they’ve never met. Sometimes it clicks and it works, but sometimes it’s difficult. Eventually, mom became really close with her roommate, even though they were a lot different. She actually ended up being a bridesmaid in Mom’s wedding. I asked Mom to talk a bit about what that was like. She only had one semester with a roommate before she married my dad. But she said even that one semester helped her so much because when my brother Will went to college, he’d been planning to room with one of his friends for years. Initially, when he found out he was going to have a third roommate, he was not thrilled. But mom was able to share her experience with him encouraging him to have a positive mindset about the situation! Mom reminded us that in situations like these, you have to trust that through others, God is going to teach you something. Oftentimes, people try to get out of these situations before God has time to work in them. Mom encouraged everyone to give it a full year in college for God to do something, whether it be the roommate, the major, or whatever else you may be having difficulties with. And then if you still don’t think you’re where you need to be, make a move.
You have to give it time for your roots to grow. When I was little, I would take apple seeds and plant them outside my house. But I never marked where they were, so I could never properly water them. I think about how I was throwing seeds in all different places, and I gave none of them time to nurture and grow. I think a lot of us do that. We are unwilling to stay in one place and water that soil and see what beauty grows from it. Because we get frustrated by the process, we just go to the next place and plant new seeds. But you’ll never get the tree unless you stay and water that ground. There’s a process to growing where you’re at. There’s a process to community. There’s a process for most things. Mom talked about how difficult it was when my sister Rebecca moved here from Taiwan. Her first semester was incredibly difficult because she had broken English, wasn’t making friends easily, and was struggling to stay in contact with her family because of the time difference. If she’d been given the option after the first semester, she probably would’ve chosen to go home. But the second semester rolled around and she was thriving. She was making friends, going to prom, and having a great experience. Now, she’s been here for 16+ years and is married with two kids!
Back to the roommate situation, I wanted to mention that not everyone is going to be your best friend. This is something I’ve had to learn as I’ve gotten older. Some people might be a great friend. You can still laugh and have fun with them, and even cry with them. But they don’t necessarily have be your best friend. And then some people will be your best friend, and often when that happens, it just comes naturally. For instance, my friend Laney will always be one of my best friends, and it came naturally. All of this to say, you don’t have to put pressure on any of your friendships to be your very best one. You have to be content and confident in the relationship you do have with your friend.
I wanted to circle back around to my mom and dad’s relationship. Once they got back together, they got married the following January. So, by Mom’s second semester in college, she and Dad were married and Dad was beginning his first semester in college. The following summer, they actually went to Hawaii with Mom’s parents as their honeymoon, since they didn’t have much money. Three months into marriage, they still didn’t have a set in stone plan, and they were still broke. I asked mom to give us a picture into what that season looked like, the silly arguments over money, and the types of meals they would eat on a budget. Mom mentioned just how tight their budget was. She and Dad worked at a call center for a while. The people who call and ask you for money — that was my parents. Eating out was not an option, except for the occasional Little Caesar’s pizza for cheap. Monday’s menu was hotdogs with hormel chili. Tuesday’s was fried frozen chicken. She remembered one time when she and Dad were in the grocery store, they had $5 left over from their grocery budget and Dad wanted to buy a pack of baseball cards and she wanted to buy a magazine. It turned into a full out fight over who would get to spend the extra money.
Here’s another example. Some of Mom and Dad’s friends had loaned them a washer and dryer, so they wanted to do something nice in return. They took them to dinner at Shoney’s and it cost $40, which was way out of their budget. Mom said she still remembers the feeling of seeing the check and wondering how they were going to eat for the rest of the week. I love that she mentioned this story, because nowadays I feel like there’s so much pressure on young wives to have it all together. They’re expected to have all the snacks cut in the perfect shape and to be both healthy and perfect. Seeing how perfect other people’s meals can be through social media and other outlets will feel like you’re not doing your role well enough. But sometimes, there are seasons in life when ramen noodles and hotdogs will just have to do. For example, during this season of my life, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a great dinner. Cereal is just fine. Mom pointed out that looking back on the moments she shared, they’re such sweet and fun memories. Take note of all the ways you grow and the things you learn during those times in life.
One thing I love about my parents’ relationship when they were first married is that even though they were broke, they still had fun. It didn’t keep them from being hospitable. Many people think they can’t be fun or hospitable because they don’t have anything or they might not have the “coolest” house. Mom spoke into this topic well. She said the first time they had a couple over in their tiny apartment, she made spaghetti. However, she had no idea how many noodles to make to properly accommodate the amount of spaghetti sauce. So, needless to say, there were plenty of noodles left over. Dad began throwing spaghetti noodles at Mom, which turned into a full on food fight with their friends. There were noodles everywhere, even until they moved out of that apartment. They would have holiday parties at their house and everyone would bring something, which usually consisted of rotel cheese dip and hotdogs. The fact is, people don’t care what your house looks like. They care about being together.
Mom reminded us that we have to be the one to invite people sometimes. So many times we sit around and get sad because people aren’t inviting us places, but it might just be that you need to invite people to do things. Christian and I found ourselves in the place when we first moved back to Louisiana. I was throwing myself a pity party because we weren’t getting invited to a Bible study our friends were having. But then I had an epiphany — Why don’t I start a Bible study. I could be the one to text and invite them over, and now we’re all great friends! Mom chimed in with some good advice. She said that if someone says no when you invite them, don’t take it personally. Invite somebody else!
I wanted to mention that Mom was an Art Major in college. While here and there, she’ll use her artistic ability, for the most part she isn’t really using her degree. I think someone needs to hear that because often in college, you think, “this is it.” You think that if you make a wrong decision, you might miss the call of God on your life. I just want to remind you that you cannot miss it if you’re truly following the Lord. I love what 2mama posted recently. She said that if you’re doing whatever you’re doing for the glory of God, then you’re doing what He called you to do. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself now to think that whatever you decide now will determine the rest of your life. It might shape your life, but it won’t be the end all be all. God has your future and God has your now.
I hope this is all encouraging to you! Here are some questions to think about as we wrap up:
Look at the people around you in your life. How can you steward those friendships well?
How can you use what you have to have fun and to host well?
How can you work towards growing in your relationship, even if that means restructuring things?
Where are you that you actually need to water the ground where you’re standing? Seeds can easily be thrown in the ground, but you need to take some time to be intentional and see growth.
Anyone watch Love Is Blind? So good. And so bad. If you watch it, you know what I mean. I never watch shows like this one. The “F” word is thrown out so casually, and it’s very worldly, but it sucked me in.
As I was watching and couldn’t stop watching, I started feeling guilty. But here’s what happened with those guilty feelings. I would just silence my internal dialogue. But my silencing attempts were not stopping the guilty feelings. I had to think of something better to keep the “binge watch state of mind” alive, so I began telling myself all the good reasons for watching the show. You know, like, how this show is helping me learn about relationships… this show is giving me content… I need to know what’s going on out there, etc.
Around that time, I was listening to a sermon from Brooke Ligertwood. She said something that convicted me in a moment. I stopped the video, thought about it, rewound the video, listened again, and then stopped it again to write it in my notes.
Here’s what she said:
“Compromise is convincing yourself that it is okay to do the wrong thing if it is for the right reason.”
I have to be honest; I haven’t listened to a message in a while that made me feel “called out”. But this one did because it is something I do more often than I would like to admit. In fact, I have “justified” my actions at times like this for as long as I can remember and never felt convicted for it. I don’t remember ever being “called out” about it. Maybe I have not been “called out” for it, because from the outside looking in, I always had a good reason for my actions. Again, the justifications…it helps me understand people better…I can relate to people more…I could show people you can love Jesus and…
I have heard it said that when people train to identify counterfeit money, they begin with studying genuine money. They study the real thing, learning all its details and characteristics so well that they can easily spot when something is off. So, here’s what I am being convicted of today: We don’t learn more about Jesus from studying the world, we learn more about Jesus from studying the word. You might need to read that sentence again. Anytime your heart (or mine) tells your otherwise, that is most likely the voice of compromise.
More often than I like to admit, if you searched my heart, you would see conviction covered up with piles of comprising statements that I said so beautifully and convincingly that I began to believe them myself.
You see, the only way to “call yourself out” of compromises is to humble yourself and confess what your convictions are really saying. It takes an honest and willing heart to admit that you have been doing the wrong thing and disguising it for the right reasons. This is something a friend, a family member, not even your own mother can teach you; it is only the job of the Holy Spirit working within you and your willingness to listen.
In John 12:1-8, there is a story told about Mary who took a pound of expensive oil and poured it all out on the feet of Jesus. Judas was sitting nearby watching this go down and Judas says, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”
Judas was doing just what I’m talking about. He was doing the wrong thing but disguising it for the right reason. But Judas literally had Jesus in the room with him to call him out. The bible says in the next verse, “Judas said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag, he used to help himself to what he put in.”
It is important that you call yourself out for the compromises in your life because your compromises don’t just affect you. You are likely leading others to believe in your compromise because you have learned to eloquently disguise it with a spiritual message, just as Judas tried to do. Judas was hiding his “compromise” by giving it a spiritual twist, but Jesus was not fooled. Sounding spiritual never has made the wrong thing right.
Other topics of compromise found in the church and in my own life look like –
· Setting or not setting boundaries before marriage.
· How much you can drink and why you drink.
· What you listen to and watch.
· Words that you say, and things disguised as a joke.
Think about what you might be leading others around you in or to. Are you leading out of a place of compromise in your own heart or are you leading out of a place of conviction about God’s heart? The fruit of your life will tell the story. Leading with conviction starts first with living an honest life with yourself, then you can lead others with conviction based on God’s word, not the words of the world.
What’s up, friend! I’m so excited to share this Sisters + Friends episode with you! This one features some of mine and Christian’s best friends, Freddie and Parker Amos. I’m sure you already know Freddie, as she’s been on the podcast and is our counselor at Live Original. But her husband Parker joins us in this conversation as well and it is so great!
We talked all things relationships, marriage, friendship and more. Christian and I kicked off the conversation by addressing a little tiff we had earlier that morning. Long story short, it led me to my first piece of marriage advice: Do not start on the defense. Remember you are on the same team working toward the same goal.
I then asked if Freddie or Parker had any relationship advice to give from any of there communication flops. Freddie answered by saying it varies for her and Parker. She said that for her, she has to assume that Parker is going to respond while having her best interest at heart rather than assume the worst in her. She also has to remember that it’s not just about her when they’re trying to resolve something. It’s about their marriage and also what will be best for Parker rather than assuming she knows what’s best.
It truly is so easy to assume what is best instead of bringing it up. It’s also true that we often do wait to address an issue and I have found that the longer you wait, the more the problem multiplies. This could all be resolved by taking time to address the problem even though it might not be fun.
We then began to tell the story of how we all met and became friends. Christian and Parker were kind of the OG’s. Without their friendship, Freddie and Parker wouldn’t even live in Louisiana. Parker said the first time he remembers meeting Christian, they were in high school. Parker lived in Auburn at the time and Christian was still living in Florida. They met at a rush event for a fraternity that they were both considering rushing at the time. He knew Christian as the “cool surfer dude from Florida.” This was so funny to me because when I met Christian, I thought he looked like a hot lifeguard haha.
Christian chimed in and said it took a few months for Parker and him to become good friends because he was still in his crazy phase and Parker was not. But they ultimately became friends through church. They developed such a deep friendship, and I always say that Christian and I probably wouldn’t have started dating without Parker. I asked Christian to take us back to the conversations he had with Parker leading up to when he began pursuing me.
This is a great example because often when people start pursuing someone, they keep quiet about it or it’s not actually much of a pursuit at all. It gets isolating and bad. But Christian had his friends as a part of mine and his relationship before we were even in one.
Christian mentioned that he typically is an indecisive person. So he needed people in his life to speak into this relationship. He and Parker talked through what mine and Christian’s relationship would look like, how Christian would lead, etc. Parker gave Christian plenty of dating advice during this time, and eventually, it became Parker’s turn. He began dating Freddie!
Parker began sharing about the beginning of his and Freddie’s relationship and what that looked like. They met during their freshman year of college at an event called the Oaks Retreat at Auburn. Parker said that when they met, he remembered her by her unique name and her super cool lifted jeep. He quickly found out she had a boyfriend, so he kept his distance. But eventually, when they broke up, she became pretty vocal about the interest she had in Parker. Everyone was so excited when Freddie and Parker started dating. It’s important to note though, that once Freddie broke up with her ex boyfriend, she and Parker didn’t immediately start dating. They took some time and space before jumping into another relationship. It’s also important to be intentional about not bringing baggage from past relationships into a relationship with the person you’re going to marry. Not that some of that won’t come in somehow or need to be addressed, but it is important to still take that time and space before jumping into a new relationship. What I saw with myself is that I kept repeating the same cycles in my relationships. The reason I didn’t fall into the same situation with Christian is because, for one, he led better than anyone else I’d dated. And also, the Lord had truly prepped my heart after my last breakup by reminding me to just slow down.
Freddie went on to share how cool it was that when she met Parker, her heart desired both Parker and time to herself. The Lord was so kind to grant her both. He allotted her the time she needed outside of a relationship, and at the right time, began her relationship with Parker. Parker mentioned how in college, everyone is seemingly trying to find the right person instead of being the right person. If we would just focus on being the right person God’s called us to be instead of looking for that person first, it would all work out much better. He sees their story as a great example of God displaying this concept.
I would say this to people as a practical piece of advice: Listen to the sermons and podcasts on dating. Read the books on dating. Do all the things. I did this before I met Christian, and it truly got my heart posture right. I think it’s great to prep for the relationship way before you ever get into the relationship. I believe this shows God that while you are surrendered to His plan for your life, you’re also preparing for what He has for you.
Another topic I wanted to address was community. We’ve talked about community in dating, singleness, and other seasons, but I wanted to talk about community in marriage. Often, when people get married, they begin to isolate themselves, which is a very dangerous place to be because you definitely need couple friends in that season. I remember at Freddie and Parker’s rehearsal dinner, the amount of friends who stood up and spoke so much life over them and blessed them was such a beautiful thing. Many of those same friends are still walking through life with them. For Christian and me too, all the people who spoke life over us and encouraged us are still walking through life with us. It’s so important to hang on to those relationships.
So, I asked Freddie and Parker what it looks like for them to be in community in marriage. Parker talked about how they both prioritize each other having individual friendships too. For example, Parker having a friend like Christian to encourage him and hold him accountable will allow Parker to be a better husband for Freddie. When he is in community, he is healthy as a husband. He mentioned the importance of prioritizing this, because isolation leads you to believe that you are the only one walking through a situation. Community will help you pick up on the things that might seem a little off in your relationships. They’ll call you out and hold you accountable, even when you aren’t willing to be honest about what’s going on in your life.
Also, when you’re dating someone, you don’t want to say anything negative about that person and lead your friends to think poorly of them. Even though you might love your person, we’ve gotta be real … your friends can turn on a dime, am I right? They can think your person is the best one minute and the worst the next. So, when you’re married, it’s important that you don’t throw your spouse under the bus or talk bad about them. But instead, bring your friends in to speak life into your relationship. At that point in your life, you should have friends that trust and love both you and your person enough, to where if you say one thing, they won’t automatically think of you as a bad person who talks negatively about their person. They’ll actually be more concerned about how to fix the problem at hand in the best way.
Christian then reiterated the idea that you can be in community, but not actually be open and transparent. For example, that same morning, Christian and I had a little argument, and we told Freddie and Parker about it. As it turned out, they had actually had an argument of their own that morning too. They could’ve kept it to themselves when we were sharing about ours, but they didn’t. They let us in to what they were walking through. And that is what true community should look like. Your struggles actually help each other.
Christian and I used to get really bummed about not having community with other couples. In fact, we would get our feelings hurt when we weren’t invited to other people’s small groups. For those looking for community and feeling like they just can’t find the right group, I would encourage you to start your own! Christian and I recently started a Wednesday night Bible study at our house that has been so fruitful. Sometimes we have to look at the things we’re complaining about and think, “Actually, can I fix that problem?” This was certainly a situation that Christian and I could fix.
Next, I addressed a big topic in relationships: comparison. This is so important to talk about because it is so prevalent. The minute you get discontent with who you’re with because you compare them to another person, it will mess up your entire relationship. There have even been times in mine and Christian’s relationship when this topic surfaced. When we had Honey, I remember saying things like, “Oh, other people’s husbands are so helpful.” Looking back, I was comparing Christian, in a sense, to how helpful other husbands were, even though I would never want to be married to any of those people. I love Christian and I’m so attracted to him. Even more than just that, I love everything that he is and how he serves our family. But because I compared him to someone else’s husband based on one thing, all of a sudden I started getting mad at him for little things that he wasn’t doing. I’ve just seen the potential for this topic in our marriage to be such a destructive thing. It wasn’t that I was comparing him in a physical appearance, but I was comparing him in terms of helpfulness. Typically, when we think of comparison in relationships, we think of females comparing themselves to others. And while that does lead to discontentment in who we are, we don’t think about comparison affecting an entire relationship, especially in a marriage.
Freddie chimed in by mentioning how important it is to avoid comparison in relationships. Instead of allowing ourselves to make excuses, we should remind ourselves, “Actually, my relationship is so important to me and I’m going to prevent myself from letting my eyes wander.” Like Freddie said, things don’t change when you’re even in a serious relationship with the person you do love. You still have to protect yourself in the same ways.
Christian and I had just been listening to Ben Stuart’s message on David and Bathsheba, which I highly recommend if you’ve never heard it before. One thing Ben talks about is the fact that God gave us curiosity. But he reminded us to make sure we’re using our curiosity in healthy and beautiful ways because it leads to innovation. He said that if we are lazy with our curiosity, it can lead to sin.
When Christian and I are watching a show and it looks like things might be about to get inappropriate, Christian gets on his phone and won’t watch whatever is happening on the screen. I appreciate this so much because it shows that Christian isn’t concerned with being curious about the screen. But instead, he only has eyes for me. I think many people believe that we don’t have control in an instance like that. And we do, but we have to fight for it.
At Christian and Parker’s Bible study in Auburn, week after week, guys would talk about how they were trying to quit porn. One week, they finally put their foot down and asked the question, “Are we actually going to quit?” So, I asked the guys what that looks like for a man who admits he struggles with porn to actually take hold of something like that? Christian said that a lot of it starts by finding the common denominator. For someone, it could be late at night before bed, making the effort to not be on their phone. For someone else, it might be not taking their phone when they go to the bathroom. Covenant eyes is also a good idea. It’s a locked down browser that only allows you to search certain things. You have to be aware of which situations you struggle with the most. You have to go much further than just “Yes, I struggle with it.” You have to ask yourself, “Why am I struggling with it?” and “What situations do I let myself go there?”
Parker made the point that your fight with lust does not end once you get married. If anything, it increases, because the enemy wants your eyes to be anywhere except your spouse, especially when you’re having conflict and things get hard. He said that with any sin, you have to ask yourself, “Is this better or is Jesus better?” It’s definitely a fight, but that’s why it’s vital to have people who can hold you accountable.
Everyone talks about how everything changes when you get married, but we wanted to talk about some of the things that don’t change. When I was pregnant with Honey, everyone told me that my whole life was about to change. Well, there were actually a lot of things in mine and Christian’s lives that didn’t change once we had Honey. We’re still who we were before. We still have friends over. We still travel. So, that’s not necessarily always true that everything changes when you get married or have a baby. A lot changes, but not everything. I think some people have this idea that all their problems will change when they get married. Freddie mentioned that getting engaged, married, or having a baby will not solve your problems. Those things will actually challenge you a lot in your relationship.
I asked Freddie and Parker to mention some things they thought might change when they got married, but that have actually stayed the same. Freddie began sharing about struggles, whether it be sin or body issues. Marriage does not come in and make all those things better. It actually makes them harder, because it’s no longer secret to you. Parker sees those struggles all the time. But you have the option to either stay in your sin, or change something.
This led us to talk a bit more about the struggle of comparison. When my parents first got married, my dad used to get really jealous for my mom if other guys would look at her. A lot of people might have thought that he wouldn’t be jealous anymore once she had a ring on her finger. But when you have a deep lie inside of you, a ring doesn’t just change that. It changes when you decide to let the Lord heal that in your own heart. If you think anything other than God is going to heal a sin in your life, it’s not going to happen. Only God can take a sin and redeem you.
Parker said that when he got married to Freddie, he didn’t think he’d have time to do all the fun things he loves. But he still gets to hunt, fish, have time for music and all the things. It’s even better now because he gets to share all those things with Freddie. He said it’s important to find someone who’s going to encourage you in the things you love, as that’s what Freddie does for him.
Marriage is a serious thing. It takes intentionality and God being at the center of it. Then you will be able to be the best version of yourself for your spouse. It’s such a beautiful and fun thing, doing life with your best friend. For a culture that doesn’t value marriage, it’s very sad to see. Marriage is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us, as well as having children. A lot of people think that when you have kids, your life is over. But in some ways I think that our life began once we had Honey. And in so many ways it made Christian and me who we are.
These things that God designed and gave us in life, like marriage and family, are such beautiful things and the enemy will 100% be after your heart in them. But if you just follow the Lord’s leading on those things and are intentional about following His voice, you will find so much fruit in it all. At the same time, if you’re single and just don’t desire that yet, rest in the place God has you. God has you there for a reason. Singleness is a beautiful thing too. Paul actually said it’s better that you stay single. There’s beauty in all things that God creates. Being able to be content where you’re at brings so much fruit and blessing.
If you want to hear our full conversation, be sure to listen HERE!
I absolutely love one of the stories found in Matthew 25. It’s about the ten virgins and it’s always captivated me because when I was younger and read “the ten virgins” in this story, I was always a bit confused. But I began to replace “virgins” with “bridesmaids” to make it a bit easier to understand. And if you study the culture of Jewish weddings, it’s really interesting that the way they did weddings is so different than how we do them. And I honestly thank God because their way of doing things would be stressful. Weddings are already stressful enough. But let me explain how they did them. There were three different stages of a wedding process. So, you get engaged, then there was a commitment process, and I’m not too sure of all its details. Then, before you actually get married, the bridegroom (AKA the future husband) would go away to get the home and basically their whole life together ready for them. Well, in the meantime, the bride didn’t know when the bridegroom would return, meaning she didn’t know when the wedding day was going to be. So, every day she would have to prepare as if that were the day she’d be getting married. That is some major stress, am I right? Not only would the bride have to be prepared, but also her bridesmaids. We all know being in a wedding takes a lot of work, right? Which makes this even crazier! The bridesmaids would have to light their lamps because oftentimes the bridegroom would come at night and needed the way lit for himself. So, the bridesmaids’ job was very important.
I love how Jesus relates this story to what it’s going to look like when He returns.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take along any extra oil. But the wise ones took oil in flasks along with their lamps. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
‘No,’ said the wise ones, ‘or there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
But while they were on their way to buy it, the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.
Later the other virgins arrived and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us!’
But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:1
That’s a pretty intense scripture. It’s basically just reminding us to be prepared for the returning of Christ. For we don’t know the day or the hour.
Well, recently we were kind of talking about this in our office because I needed to delete social media for a couple weeks in order to step away for a second. And I was feeling a bit convicted by stepping away because I always tell people not to hide their light. I encourage them to use social media to shine their light, actually. So, I was a bit hesitant to delete it, even though my soul was desperate for a break and to just be with the Lord. Then I was talking to my team about it and realized that you need oil to light the lamp. And if I don’t have oil, my lamp is not going to be very bright. It was in that moment that I decided to make the decision to take a break. So, I wanted to use this space to talk about what it looks like to get your oil and have a light that sustains. In verse 2 of the passage above, it says that 5 of them were foolish and 5 were wise. My guess is that for most of us, when we think about foolish people, we think about people who are living their lives recklessly and foolishly. We don’t necessarily think about ourselves. But for these women, it wasn’t as obvious that some were foolish. They’re all friends with the bride and they obviously have somewhat of a respectable reputation that they would be asked to be a part of the bride’s day. So, what made them foolish?
Here are a few things they were:
They weren’t prepared.
They were lazy.
They weren’t involved.
They were complacent.
When you think of foolishness like this, it’s honestly pretty relatable. Sometimes I’m all of these things. Well, then there were 5 wise people.
Here’s a few things they were:
They were wise.
They were prepared.
They were thoughtful.
All of these things are truly a requirement in order to have light. Recently, I was in my jeep and my low oil signal was on. Well, I ignored it and after a few days it changed to “oil required.” Something had shifted. The reason I hadn’t gone to get oil was because it would have required me to go and sit for a minute, and I just didn’t have time for that. It’s little things like that that don’t really seem like a requirement that actually end up being really detrimental later. A lot of times we can put them off, and all of a sudden, you really see how crucial it was to sit and receive what you needed. Wow, that’s such a word for just sitting with the Lord. It’s easy to get so busy and neglect time with Him until all of a sudden we have nothing left to give. If you’re seeing the low oil sign, go ahead and address the problem.
When the foolish people took their lamps, they didn’t have any oil, so it actually meant nothing. I think a lot of times you can bring your lamp places and think you can get by just because it looks like you have a lamp with you. But in all reality, your lamp alone won’t do anything for anybody. It’s your oil that’s going to change people’s lives. We have to make sure we have what makes our lamps have meaning and purpose. And that is the Spirit of God. The religion side of it may be the lamp, but the relationship side of it is definitely the oil.
On the other hand, the wise didn’t just have enough. They had extra oil in their flask. At first, my mind thought, “Well then give them the extra oil!” But it’s really important to realize that somebody else’s oil cannot light your lamp. Their light can lead you, but it can’t light your lamp. Only the light of Jesus can. So, yes. Surround yourself with great people who are preaching Truth. But remember that getting oil for yourself isn’t something anyone else can do for you. So, even though they had extra oil, it couldn’t help any of the others out because the oil was an individual decision.
When my oil light came on in my car, it was a true reflection of my spiritual life at the time. When I saw that light I could feel my spirit saying “low oil, need maintenance.” So, for two weeks I just paused for a second and sat with the Lord. And even though my life was still really busy for those two weeks, it just rejuvenated me in a new way because I knew the maintenance was needed. Most of the time, you’re the only one who can truly see the signals in your life and know the shift you need to make. It’s your decision to get the oil you need.
When I returned to social media, it was cool to see the words the Lord had given me during that break that I was able to share with other people. My oil refill meant giving up social media, but it can be any area of your life. You know where the maintenance is required. And it’s always worth it. You know what’s awesome? I got the oil changed in my car, and I felt peace again. I took my social media break to spend time with the Lord, and when I came back to social media I felt peace. The minute that you actually respond to the problem, you begin to feel peace. God can fix those things. The problems don’t always go away. Sometimes it can take months, years, or however long. But you’ve got to respond for it to ever be fixed.
What’s up, fam! I’m so excited to share this Whoa That’s Good episode with you featuring my favorite person! Christian and I got to sit down to answer your DMs a couple weeks ago and I just HAD to share it on the blog! Here are a few of our best pieces of advice for some of the questions that you guys asked. Let’s dive in!
“My boyfriend and I have been dating for several years. We’ve done devotionals together and several Bible studies, but he’s decided he no longer wants to do those things. We still go to church together. How do I navigate this situation without seeming controlling since I want to go deeper with my relationship with Christ?”
Christian kicked off his response by reminding us that anyone can pretend to be someone for the first six months. Whether it’s going to church or actually a personality thing, once you filter through that and reach an extended period of time, it’s possible that a person’s true colors will show and reveal that they might have been faking it all along. A lot of people say, “He was so great at the beginning. If we could just get back to that point we’d be good.” Unfortunately, who he acts like now is probably who he really is and he was just faking who he wanted to present himself as in the beginning. This could also be the same circumstances with a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend.
The truth is, anyone can go to church. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a Christian. I think in a relationship, you want Christ to be your 24/7. I want Christ to be that in my relationship with Christian. Jesus shouldn’t just be something you bond over on Sundays. He should be a point of conversation in our everyday because He is the number one person in both of our lives. That’s when your relationship is truly centered on God, and not just an afterthought.
“What is the best advice you could give for a newly engaged couple?”
I think the best advice, especially in the engagement season, is just to know that you are not preparing just for a wedding – you’re preparing for a marriage. I’m so glad Christian and I received that advice and lived that way throughout our engagement season. It allowed me to not really stress about the details of the wedding because that wasn’t where I was placing value during that season. Value was placed on what our marriage would be like. This was shown through marriage counseling and asking all the questions of “how were you raised?”, “what are our expectations?”, etc.
So, I put so much of my thought process into preparing for our actual marriage and not just a wedding. Does that mean that everything went perfectly on our wedding day? HA, no. My hair literally turned pink the day before. But it was still awesome! And we felt so ready for marriage because we used our engagement season to prepare. Your wedding is one day, but you’re married for the rest of your life.
“Is it okay to spend time with the opposite gender when you’re in a relationship?”
So, for instance, would it be acceptable for Christian to spend time alone with another woman if he and I were dating? Christian and I have always had a boundary of never spending time alone with the opposite gender, even to this day. Or if someone of the opposite gender DMs me, I’ll likely bring it up to Christian in casual conversation. Of course, not necessarily if it’s a super close friend or something of that sort. You know, you look at people and think, “They’ll never cheat.” And that’s not always the case. It’s not that people necessarily set out with the intention to hurt the other person, but one thing can lead to another. So, we set pretty strict boundaries because we don’t want the door to ever be open to that.
I heard somewhere that Billy Graham wouldn’t even get on an elevator if there was just a woman on it. Strict boundaries can be set without being crazy and controlling or jealous and envious. I was in a relationship previously where we didn’t trust each other at all. But with Christian, I fully trust him and he fully trusts me. It’s not that we think we would do anything. We just don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we would have to make a tough decision or make a moment awkward that doesn’t have to be. There’s so much room for the enemy to feed when you’re alone with the opposite gender, especially when you’re in a relationship.
“What would you tell your younger self who felt like they were never going to find the right one for them?”
I would tell my younger self to chill. I was so obsessed with who was going to be my future husband, which is fun to think about. But thinking about it from the context of if God has created someone to be my husband, he will come at the perfect timing. And Christian did. But I wish I had enjoyed my seasons beforehand more than I did. I wish I’d focused more on where I was at in the moment rather than everything that would come. Christian chimed in by mentioning that he was a big rom-com fan growing up. So, he always pictured his story would play out a certain way and never really stressed too much about it. He said we really are living out the rom-com he always pictured!
“How do you respectfully co-exist with people in your life who believe differently with you?”
I had to get out my phone for this one because I was rereading my journal I started last year on my birthday and finished on my birthday this year. It’s basically a compilation of things that I experienced, prayed for, etc. Last year I wrote this in my journal and I thought this was really reflective of many of my prayers last year. This is what it said:
“I feel like I’m sitting about watching the world lose their mind. The hard thing is knowing how can I help. Proverbs 14:12 is so present in our generation right now. ‘There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end, it leads to death.’ The seriousness of this makes me want to speak out, but I know the culture will cancel me the minute that I do. It’s hard to navigate.”
I watched this video of this girl from North Korea who said that she knew speaking the truth was a risk, but not speaking it was even worse. So, then I went on to say, “If I don’t speak the truth, who am I really helping? If I do, am I causing too much harm that limits me helping. God, I’m genuinely asking. It feels like a wrestle, and I don’t know if I’m just comforting myself in my excuses or using wisdom. God, I know Jesus reclined with the sinners and how did He speak truth and yet keep the sinners at the table?”
I wrote that and I remember praying that prayer so much last year. This prayer of “I want to help, but if this helping is hurting then I won’t help.” Then I remembered that Jesus was fully love and fully truth. And I just asked “How it was possible to sit at the table with people who think so differently than me and they stay at the table because they know that I love them and genuinely care about them?” Then I thought about it. Jesus spoke truth into people’s lives while also loving them well, and not everyone DID stay at the table. Not everyone did believe He was the Son of God or even liked Him. So, the risk of standing on the Word of God is that some people will think you’re crazy and that’s just a part of it. He even said that if the world hates us, just remember that it hated Him first.
But just to answer this question in one sentence, be as much like Jesus as you possibly can be. That doesn’t mean shy away from the truth. Jesus is the truth. But while Jesus was fully truth, He was fully love. So, show people love, truth, and grace all at the same time. I think when you come in to a situation and you’re there to love instead of judge, it creates space for co-existing. It’s okay to co-exist without conforming to the pattern of the world. You can stand on the Word of God fully and still love people well.
“How do I start my own ministry?”
My best advice is that if you want to do ministry, then do ministry where you’re at. Ministry is loving God and people well. If you can’t do that in your community with your people, I hate to say it, but you’ll never be able to do that on a huge platform. Having a platform and doing ministry is a huge blessing to reach so many people, but it is not for the faint of heart. It is definitely hard and there are so many aspects of it that you don’t see. That’s why I would say to not just wish for a platform to do ministry. Do ministry well where you’re at. Essentially, we should all be doing ministry. If you are a believer, you should consider yourself a minister of the Gospel because that’s what we’re called to do. God’s not going to ask you to do something that’s outside of your capability or ability to do. If He’s calling you to ministry, then He’s already equipped you to do that ministry. Look in your hands and see what you have. How can you serve in your church? How can you serve in your community?
I think so many of us want to have our own ministry and one of the reasons I decided to give Live Original the name it has is because I didn’t want it to be about Sadie. I wanted it to be bigger than me and I’m thankful to say that I’m trying to build something that will really outlive me. So, my prayer is that when I die, this message will still be going and people won’t be talking about Sadie, they’ll be talking about the message of the Gospel. I think when you’re trying to build a platform, you try to build it for yourself. But when you build the Kingdom, it’s actually not about you, it’s about the world around you. Ask yourself how he has called and equipped you. Christian reminded us to start with our family, friends, and the people we work with. It all starts with having conversations about faith and asking people how they’re really doing.
“How do you balance dressing cute and staying modest?”
We’re certainly in a culture right now where it’s the norm to show more skin. I remember in high school it seemed like the guys only noticed the girls who showed more. And I would think, “No guy will ever notice me if I cover up all the time.” But the right guy and right people will actually treasure you for the modesty that you have. Christian’s actually probably stricter than I am with what I wear because he has so much respect for me. And I’m truly so appreciative of that. I think modesty ultimately boils down to respect for yourself and for other people.
Personally, when I workout, I can usually wear whatever I want, since I go to an all-girls gym. But if I go to a different gym, I’m cautious about what I wear because I want to respect the guys around me and I want to respect myself. God made you beautifully and wonderfully and gave you a body to steward well. You were made more than enough. So, you don’t have to go flaunt your body to be more than enough.
“How do you get over a person who made you believe they liked you, then they ghosted you? Would it be wise to wait on them or move on?”
Christian said it plain and simple: “Move on girl.”
But really though, it goes back to respect. You’re worth more than someone just ghosting you. They better have a pretty dang good reason when they get back from their little ghosthood. Christian said that most “ghostings” he’s seen have just been manipulation. It’s different if there’s a logical reason for it, such as someone’s phone breaking. But Christian said he feels like a lot of time it’s linked with manipulation and a need to keep you on the hook type of thing.
I mean, let’s be honest. If we’re actually trying to figure out who the one is for us, what’s the point in playing games? Just respect yourself enough to not wait around for this guy or girl to come back around every so many months. I remember when a friend of mine walked through this. A certain guy would text her every three weeks or so, and she would just hang on to that. She’d talk about it and read into it so much. One time when he ghosted her, we looked at Instagram and saw that he was ENGAGED. Like what?! She was so crushed because she was always hanging on to that next text. You don’t want to get in a position where someone is just stringing you along as if you’re a plan b. Someone will come along and treasure you so much that they’ll respond in a timely manner because they care about you. Christian did such a great job of that when he pursued me. There was never the question of whether or not I’d hear from him. Wait for that person, sis!
Wow, these were all great questions! I hope that these questions don’t just stay between me, you, and Christian. I hope they extend to conversations with your family, friends, significant other, or whoever it may be for you. Just to throw this out there, if something we said doesn’t align with what you believe is true, throw it out the window. But if it aligns with the Word of God, I hope that you know you can apply some of this truth to your life. Have the BEST day, friend!
Sadie Robertson Huff is well known for her engaging smile and energetic personality, but there is a lot more to the 25-year-old star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty and runner up on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars season 19