A great addition to your FREE summer library!

It’s true! We’ve teamed up with Kindle Unlimited for the summer to share these empowering truths from Scripture for every wife in the midst of learning to love beyond the moment. And it’s FREE for all our Kindle Unlimited friends.

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And as we sync websites we’ve refreshed some past posts to share on the Facebook page leading up to the rebook of our one-liners to live by series. Stay tuned for a new round of power-packed one-liners!

Happy Friday friends!!

~ Sarah Jo

So there’s this book I wrote…

It has been some time since I first shared chapter excerpts for this book in progress, and I am continually learning how to live out the message of loving beyond the mood of the moment. Choosing love was a game changer in my life, and the truth God used to empower that choice is finally published and available today!

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This adventure towards soul-deep sisterhood is now available for small group studies and personal use. Loving beyond the mood of the moment is a learning process, and it’s never too early or too late to dive in and let God guide you. May His Word in these pages be a game changer for good in your life, your marriage, and the hearts of all you share the journey with.

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Available in print and kindle versions through Amazon’s link HERE.

The Pew Next Door

(If you missed the first installment of this series check it out HERE!)

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“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be!”     – James 3:9-10 

I wrestled with the right way to start this week’s one-liner to live by. I love the chance to dip my toes into a little bit of Greek; it’s the reason I chose a degree in theology! I find the biblical languages fascinating; researching etymology, textual comparison with Israel’s contemporaries, learning the world these authors lived in so as to more fully understand the truth they preserved for us today-who knew Bible study could be so Sherlock Holmes!!

I also understand that not everyone shares my nerdy passion. So let me intrigue you with a quick peek at the contrast in this verse between blessing and cursing. Did you know blessing, or praising, is the Greek word eulogeō? Sound familiar? It’s the term from which we draw the English word eulogy. Perhaps this grabbed my attention because I spent yesterday morning in the somber quiet of a funeral home to honor the life of a woman who unexpectedly made her way home to heaven. She was wonderfully complex, difficult to take in at times, but genuinely passionate about sharing her faith. Her eulogy celebrated the imprint of God on her heart and His touch on others through her life. It highlighted her best qualities and quietly covered over the more complicated bits that made her the woman we all knew and loved regardless.

I hope one day others will see His imprint on my heart; I hope they will have been touched by His hand through my life and graciously forgive the messier moments of the memories I leave behind. Sometimes I think it would be fun to sit in on your own funeral, hear the eulogy chronicling the accomplishments of your life, and listen to friends and family share how wonderful you were! So vain, I know!! Pretend with me for a moment, though; imagine the warm, fuzzy feeling of hearing how God used your life for the good in spite of your failures and mistakes. Imagine the Pastor standing up front, encouraging the crowd to follow in your footsteps as a faithful servant and learn from the example of your life…

Imagine that same Pastor sitting down, leaning over to the person next to him, and whispering a little too loudly, “That woman was a saint, but have you met her kids? Rotten to the core. Just downright worthless! What a shame…”

I can see myself bargaining up in heaven with God for a few more moments on Earth just so I could jump out of the coffin and slap that man across the face. How callous! How careless! How dare he sing my praises then turn around and slander the ones I loved the most?!

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I’m sure God asks Himself this question. Every Sunday He has a room packed with people to honor His legacy and sing His praises, yet somehow we can’t manage to get along with the ones He loves the most, the ones sitting in the pews beside us. Imagine His heartbreak when we bless Him with hands raised to heaven, then turn around and tear down His kids without missing a beat.

As a Pastor’s wife I have seen behind the iron curtain of church business; I know how vicious the family of God can be. I know how easy it is to write someone off as rotten to the core and downright worthless. I know how natural is can feel to curse, to kataraomai, the person two pews over.

“I hope they get what’s coming to them!”

“I hope they get exactly what they deserve.”

Ever said statements like these before? That, my friend, is kataraomai. It’s a natural feeling when you have been unfairly wronged. Unfortunately that doesn’t make it right! The short and sweet of this Scripture reminds us that seeing others through our Maker’s eyes and beholding His beauty despite their brokenness is a choice God calls us too whether we feel like it or not. Loving Him means loving the ones He loves. Even when they’re wrong. Even when we’re right.

This one-liner to live by is a hard one to swallow; it certainly stung this Pastor’s wife heart! Imagine if His people chose to live out anyways. Imagine if we, the church, truly valued the person in the pew next door simply because they are made in the image of the God we are there to worship! Imagine how beautiful our witness would be if we loved God’s family as much as we say we love Him. It starts one by one. Are you willing to let is start with you?

One-Liners 2 Live By #1

After a stuttered start in the blogosphere, I’m loving the launch of this fresh little series! I hope these power-packed truths infuse your busy day with a little supernatural inspiration as you take thirty seconds and soak in some Scripture. ♥

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One-Liner 2 Live By #1:

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will quiet you by His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17

I love the way this portrayal of God shakes up the formal portrait too many carry around in their minds. This Scripture captures a Daddy’s undignified expression of enchantment with His kids. It not only reminds me who He is, but who I am to Him, a reality we often forget! In fact, I recall an interactive devotional during a women’s retreat where we each had to earn a princess crown by stating one reason we were special. I’ve never seen a room full of chatter women fall silent so fast before! But we are special.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior…”

Sometime He feels far away, but this verse assures us He is with us, right here, right now. We are not forgotten; we are worth fighting for. So if you’re weary, lean on His strength. If wounds, past or present, weigh you down, know that He is the Protector of your heart, and you are still His cherished and chosen one. If you’ve been misjudged and the motives of your heart were twisted by another, know that He is your Defense. Lean into His presence, feel the peace of His protection, and draw strength from the truth that HE is your Victory!

“He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy…”

Not only are we worth fighting for, we are worth rejoicing over. His heart beats with delight simply because we belong to Him! If you’re feeling a little lonely or unloved, I promise the picture painted here in these two Hebrew terms will lift your spirits and light up that beautiful face of yours with a smile!

The first term, rinnah, represents utter joy unleashed in lyrical melody; its partner, giyl, captures the action of leaping and circular motion. Taken together, the two portray a God who is literally twirling around in Heaven, singing and shouting for joy. Why?

The short and sweet of it is HE LOVES YOU.  He’s so crazy about you He can’t keep His feet from dancing! I rarely picture this happening up in heaven; after all, I know what goes on in my head and heart, and it’s not always something worth singing about. Yet here God is, so in love with His creation, His kids clothed in purity, white as snow through the blood of the Lamb, that He can’t help Himself. His joy bubbles over into song and dance. Scripture doesn’t get much sweeter than that!

So today, whether your world is a place of contentment or conflict, of peace or of pain, know that God stands with you. He is the Mighty Warrior who loves you too much to keep quiet. You are special simply because you are His.

And that’s a one-liner to live by,

     Sarah Jo Fairchild

 

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Speak less; say more.

My standard approach to conflict resolution resembles a pillow fight. It’s less confrontational, more cushioned, and filled with plenty of fluff to lessen the blows. Verbal pillow fighting requires a special touch. In fact, it’s pretty amazing if you think about it. Not everyone has the ability to hold a conversation while simultaneously measuring potential misunderstandings and weaving in on-the-spot damage control. Not everyone can direct dialogue through a continuous gauging of conversational climate in order to smooth over the slightest ruffling of feathers before anyone’s goose gets cooked. It takes talent to circle talk and spider web your way around some pretty messy stuff and successfully get your message across.

It also takes a lot of time, a lot of energy, and a lot of mental space.

Sometimes I wish I could shut the filtering process off and simply speak my mind.

I admire that about my husband. He is a US Marine to the core and very in touch with his inner drill sergeant. I cried more in the first six months we were married than my entire life, but in the six years since, we’ve taught one another a great deal about communication and conflict resolution! I have proven to be a stubborn learner, but he’s slowly teaching me that being assertive is not the same as being aggressive, nor is being direct the same as dictating. He’s taught me that neither diminishes my womanhood and both can honor my God.

He also taught me that too much cushioning causes as much damage as too little cushioning. No-one wants to spend a second round in the ring because you wasted the first one dancing around the truth.

Saying the hard things with so much filler that my message is lost in the fluff is a deeply in-grained habit. The decision to speak less and say more will require plenty of practice, but I’m already experiencing the freedom it brings. It frees me from the pressure of finding the ever-elusive perfect words and perfect way in which to share and the impossible burden of preventing every potential misinterpretation. It frees me to trust God’s ability to speak through me and leave the results in His caring and capable hands. It frees me to trust others to hear what I say through the lens of who I am, and have a little faith in who they are too.

Sometimes a situation demands something a little more straightforward than a pillow fight approach; sometimes a situation requires me to choose the assertive route instead of avoiding the potential fallout. After all, no matter how pretty our words or pleasant our tone, speaking the truth in love still hurts. It hurts the one who hears it. It hurts the one who says it. It’s why too many of us prefer to turn a blind eye than engage the elephant in the room.  

Whether it’s a coworker or boss, a sibling or spouse, a classmate, church member, or friend, I encourage you to value yourself and your relationship enough to confront and resolve the issues at hand. We need every person God places in our lives; let’s not lose them for fear of risking their reaction. Trust your God to lead you, and leave their response in His hands.

Speak less, say more, and leave your pillows at home.

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“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”  -Ephesians 4:15

Just one of those days (again)

My screen door is open so I can make sure the laughter outside doesn’t turn into arguing, crying or–worst case scenario–silence. I’m sure I’ll join my kids shortly but for the moment my unprocessed perspectives are beginning to pile up and I’m in desperate need of a post!

Its just been one of those days. Again. I’m handling it better than I was this morning, and I credit that to last night’s small group bible study. We are walking verse-by-verse through James, and my heart was so blessed with the reminder that God is always working with a purpose, even on days like these. On days like these when we face one man-made discouragement after another, one complicated crisis after another, He is at work. On days like these when we fail to handle said discouragements and drama in any kind of appropriate way, He is still at work.

These are the days we see the worst in others and react with the worst of ourselves. These are the days we wish for a time machine, a minor case of amnesia, or some magical ability to abra-cadabra the day and have it simply…disappear.

These are also the days I have a reason to choose joy. After all, these are the days that really count.These are the days that growth happens. These are the days the sweet presence of our Father means the most. These are the days that separate the earthly things from the eternal things. These are the days I can count it all joy, not because I handle every aspect of being a foster mom and pastor’s wife in such a super-spiritual, super-smooth way.  Not because I’ve just checked out and no longer care. Not at all!

I can count it all joy because I know this is exactly the kind of no good, horribly bad, downright crappy kind of day necessary to produce the endurance that completes the work so I may be “mature and complete lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

And trust me, these are definitely the days that remind us how helpful a little more maturity could be!!

Some day I won’t have days like these. Some day I’ll sit down to jot a quick post with the breeze carrying the sound of my kiddos laughter, just laughter, through every open window. Some day I won’t have to restart the post after the interruption of imaginary play gone wrong because my foster first-graders have finally learned a version of house that doesn’t end with one of them kicking the other out to live with someone, anyone, else. Some day listening to them “play” won’t break my heart.

Some day I will get to see the Bride of Christ in all her beauty without the imperfections of our humanness. Some day my Pastor husband will not have to handle crisis after crisis after crisis. Some day gossip will give it a rest and miscommunications won’t unhinge the potential awesomeness amongst brothers and sisters in Christ. Some day we will see exactly what God’s plan for HIS body looks like on the other side of our well-intentioned but messy merger! Some day we will look in awe at what HE is going to do through THIS church in THIS community! It will be glorious!

Some day I won’t have to suffer the trials of broken children or broken churches because I will be consumed with the celebration of the work that came to completion through days just like this one. That’s the reality of grace, and its our reason for joy. God can use every moment of days like these for GOOD. It’s kind of His specialty! It doesn’t make days like today less painful or wearying. It just puts them in perspective.

Some days a little perspective can make all the difference.

 

James 1:2-4 “Count is all joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

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Legacy Leavers (The Movement)

Legacy. It has got to be one of the most coveted and concerning words in the dictionary. We want desperately to leave a lasting legacy, but we often worry from time to time if we are doing or being enough. I worried myself through four different paragraphs of explanation just now before erasing them and coming back to the simple point of this post! Legacies are not born in major life moments; they are built by daily decisions to love our God.

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It is easy to get caught up in trying to make it big in this world, to inspire others with ingenious and original ideas, to blow up the blogosphere with our witty style and perfect pick of words, to impact people around the world as an award-winning author or raise perfect children who grow up to be Presidents and one day achieve world peace. I hope I’m not the only one who wrestles with the God-honoring ambitions stirring in my heart and the reality that my time is already monopolized by pudgy little faces constantly needing fed and cleaned and entertained. Perhaps I will feel differently in a different season, but for now I find great comfort in knowing that what God desires most from me is to love Him with all of my heart, soul, strength, and mind and teach His ways to my children in the simple moments of daily life.  

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“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up…”  Deut. 6:5-7

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This verse launched the Legacy Movement which is only in its beginning but already bearing fruit. It is a passion of my husband’s heart that I am so happy to support. For those of you familiar with this blog, you know the limbo land we have been living in for the past few months, but wherever God leads us, the Legacy Movement moves with us. It is not limited to our current community and church, though I pray it is increasingly embraced by our current community and church! It is a movement that challenges whether or not we are living a legacy worth leaving. It challenges the ways in which we might measure our answer to that question and reminds us that it is never too late to turn a new leaf.

My husband is not perfect, but he is perfect proof that God’s transforming power is still at work today. God alone turned that man from persecutor of the church to pastor of the church from misguided to mission-minded. God is helping His people turn over new leaves all around our country! He is turning a mom from critical tendencies to compassionate tenderness, a woman from worrisome fears to wondrous freedom, and several children from twisted beginnings to total beauty. It’s happening as we commit ourselves to turn our focus from looking towards the next big thing to living legacies on a daily basis, right here, right now.

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This pinterest-inspired picture showcasing the hand prints of our children hangs in my husband’s office as a constant reminder that this is where his legacy lives. He serves in big ways and wears many hats in our church and community, but this is where his heart is and I love him for that.

I believe God stirs ambitions in many different ways, but for this season in the Fairchild family He is renewing our simplistic focus of being legacy leavers in the Deuteronomy way. As we sit at home with our children and as we walk along the road, in these most ordinary moments of daily life we are building a legacy for the kids God has graciously blessed us with, and that excitement is proving contagious! Can I challenge you to consider joining the movement? Check it out here and make today the day you choose to set aside this world’s version of legacy and embrace the Deuteronomy truth: Love God fully, teach His ways in the simple moments of daily life, and leave the rest in His hands.

 

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http://www.legacyleaver.org