Archives for June 2014

Feelings of Unworthiness: A Tactic of the Enemy


Have you ever heard that voice inside your head say who do you think you are to be ________. You fill in the blank. That old and ever-on-the-job enemy of ours, Satan, likes nothing better than to cause us to doubt ourselves and walk away from the work God has given us to do. That’s right, that voice is his and that of his cohorts.

Satan has tried repeatedly to get me to give up writing. When he wants to undermine my writing ministry and work, he’ll say things like, “Who do you think you are to offer spiritual help or words of wisdom and encouragement? You’re not worthy of such a task.”

And you know what? Apart from the grace of God and his forgiveness and cleansing, I am indeed unworthy.

The fact is I mess up. I have issues. At times I struggle with doubt, confusion, and pride. Sometimes I blow it with sinful attitudes, harsh words, and selfishness. My relationships are not always all they should be. And because of these failures, Satan would have believe I’m unworthy to write and share God’s truth and messages of life. He wants me to believe that I’m not worthy of my task of Refreshing Spirits, Nourishing Souls.

But who, in fact, am I? I’m a child of the King. A servant called by God to write of the hope we have in him. Satan wants me to forget that. He wants me to quit writing of God’s love and hope and joy and truth. 

And even though the enemy delights in reminding me that I’m far from perfect, God’s Word tells me that I am forgiven, that I am loved. I’m called and equipped by God. And because Jesus paid the price for my sins and washed me white as snow, I am indeed worthy—worthy to be in God’s family, worthy to do the work he’s called me to do.  

And so, I will keep on writing for him. The enemy loses. I am a worthy child of the King.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

*Do you ever struggle with feelings of unworthiness? What does Satan want you to think you are unworthy to do or to have?

*Flickr photo by PetteriO, Creative Commons License

Preserving the Bridal Gown


To preserve or not to preserve—have you and your daughter had this discussion yet, Mother of the Bride? The answer will depend on whether or not your daughter wants to keep the gown in good condition for possible use by her future daughter or for another relative or friend. And it will also depend on which expert’s advice you listen to. I found two vastly different viewpoints.

First let’s look at what The Knot has to say. They offer some great advice in an article called Preserve Your Wedding Dress. Be sure to read the entire piece for all the details you’ll need to know, but I’ll give you a snapshot look in this post.

Here are a few of the highlights:

*Cleaning the gown is the most important part of the preservation process. All stains—even hidden ones like sugar—must be removed.

*Have the gown cleaned while the stains are fresh. It can wait until after the honeymoon if need be but don’t wait much longer.

*After cleaning the gown, a reputable specialist will wrap it in acid-free tissue paper or muslin and place it in a museum quality archival box. All storage materials should be clean and completely acid-free.

*Get referrals for a preservation specialist. Many dry cleaners claim to clean wedding gowns, but they are not specialists. If you go with a dry cleaner, they should process at least 100 gowns a year. (By the way, that number seems pretty high to me.) Try to find a professional gown preservationist with a good track record.

*Will the preservationist company guarantee their work? How will they reimburse you if you discover damage after a number of years? Will they reimburse only for the cost of the preservation or for the gown itself?

*If you open the box and handle the gown, be sure to wash your hands first or wear clean white gloves.

*Beware of those who quote a price before seeing the gown. Different gowns will require different treatment depending on the fabric and type of stains, etc.

*Expect to pay $250-$700, maybe even up to $1000 in metropolitan areas.

The authors of Bridal Bargains, Denise and Alan Fields, express a different view of gown preservation. Again, I will give only a snapshot of what they say in the book. I recommend reading the entire section on gown preservation to get a thorough look at the authors’ findings and conclusions.

The Fields reference one horror story in particular and offer a statistic from the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops regarding preserved gowns that are brought in to be sold. They stated that 80% of the gowns are found to be dirty. They go on to call the gown-preservation-box scheme a rip-off and then recommend that brides don’t do it.

The authors suggest cleaning and preserving the gown yourself or selling it as soon as possible after the wedding. They claim that most wedding gowns can be washed and offer a few how-to tips and also recommend storing it in an acid-free box. They say it can be wrapped in a clean white cotton sheet and stuffed with acid-free tissue paper if desired.

For those who don’t want to try to clean their own gowns (that would be me!), the Fields do give some advice on using a dry cleaner. They also go on to recommend two companies for gown preservation, even though they first advised against it. Of note, when I compared my copy of Bridal Bargains, the 7th edition put out in 2005, to my friend’s copy of the latest edition (11th) put out in 2013, I noticed the information on gown preservation had only been changed slightly. It makes me wonder if the 80% statistic given is still accurate. I also felt like they could have used updated examples.

I know it’s confusing to hear two different recommendations by those who specialize in all things wedding, but I hope this helps in some way, MOB, as you and your daughter decide what to do about the gown. Remember to examine the more in-depth info found in the article from The Knot and in the book Bridal Bargains itself. Good luck!

*If you have any info or insight or personal experience to add, please share in the comments. Everyone reading is all ears, I’m sure!

*Photo by Will Flowers

Wedding Savings Tip: Make It Yourselves!


Mother of the Bride, as you look for ways to save on the multitude of wedding expenses in front of you, be sure to ask yourself this question: Can we make it ourselves? Of course, expense is still involved when making things yourself, but the cost can many times be cut in half or more.

Start by making a list of all the items you or the bride or other family members and friends could possibly make. Your list might include: the bridal gown and veil, the garters, bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dress, your own dress, bouquets and boutonnieres, favors, pew bows, invitations and programs, the cakes and/or other food for the reception, and centerpieces and other décor. I’m sure you’ll be able to add other ideas to your list as well.

But keep this in mind—several factors need to be considered before deciding to make some items yourself.

*Do you or someone you know have the skills needed to make the items?

*Will the savings be significant enough to justify using your time in making certain things?

*Do you (or the person making the item) truly have the time to give to the project or will it add too much additional stress?

*And also, is there enough time before the wedding to make the items on a reasonable schedule?

Remember, MOB, always balance the savings against the stress and time involved. After you’ve made your decisions, go forward with joy. If you can save a little money while making your daughter’s big day one that she’ll remember forever, what a great bonus it will be. But if you need to buy most items to save your sanity, that’s a bonus, too, right?!

*You might also like to read Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow! 

*Flickr photo by thepatrick, Creative Commons License

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Midweek Morsel: Door of Hope


“‘There I will give back her vineyards, and will make the valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope.’” Hosea 2:15

Wow—look at what God can do. He can make a valley of trouble into a door of hope. Again, I say wow.

I wonder if any of us are struggling through valleys of trouble right now. Are we constantly met with new problems? Has hope all but evaporated?

Let’s not give up. The God of the above Old Testament declaration above is still our God today. And our God does not change (Psalm 55:19, James 1:17) He is still able to make a valley of trouble into a door of hope. Let’s lift our heads and keep our eyes on him!

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Psalm 71:14

*When has God given you hope in the midst of a valley?

*Flickr photo by goingslo, Creative Commons License

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The Trenches of Faith


Tests of faith. As believers we all experience them at one time or another. They are the times when we have to answer the question will we continue to trust God?

Some of us may even be facing marathon tests of faith. We may be in the midst of a seemingly unending trial. We don’t have the strength to go on unless God gives it, unless we lift our eyes to him once more. We find ourselves in the trenches of faith.

If that describes you today, may the following words be one way that God touches you with his love and grants you strength for another day.

In the Trenches

Blindsided by a twist of life
that refuses to let go,
you think the test
must almost be over
but the pain remains,
the heartbreak goes on,
disappointment and confusion surround.

You’re in the trenches,
the trenches of faith,
the decision to trust ever before you.

Fresh blows land their mark
you falter, you fall,
but faithfulness
won’t let you stay there.

Unseen strength helps you
lift your eyes once more
to the One who loves you
the One who will carry you
the One always worthy of trust.
For you’re not alone
In the trenches of faith—
God is there,
ever helping you to press on.

“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5b

*What can you do to help someone in the trenches of faith today?

*Photo by kevin dooley, Creative Commons License

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