Meet The Marriage Readiness Project

Glorifying God in Singleness // The Marriage Readiness Project

Today's post is written by Merritt of The Marriage Readiness Project. I'm introducing you to some of my online favorites while I take a bit of a maternity leave. I appreciate Merritt's passion for making singleness a little less lonely while filling it with God's purpose. Enjoy!

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There was a season (okay, maybe it was a decade+) when my perspectives on love and relationships needed a little dose of simplicity.

Whenever I was dating someone, my thoughts ran circles around themselves in my mind wondering if this could finally be The One. But it seemed he never was. I was obsessed with getting married—not necessarily for the wedding but for the man whose arm I’d be holding onto ‘til death do we part. To top it all off I didn’t have a very realistic view of marriage...but I had no idea until I actually got married.

My name is Merritt, and I’ve learned a lot since those tumultuous years of singleness. As a result, my passion today is helping single women find and hold onto healthy perspectives of marriage. I desire to see them set free from the drive to seek their fulfillment in men and relationships.

So, I started a blog called The Marriage Readiness Project with two objectives. I want to encourage ‘still-single’ Christian women to:

  1. Put Jesus first, above their desire for marriage, and
  2. Prepare their hearts and minds with a strong, biblical foundation before entering into a dating relationship.

It’s not easy to do either of these in our obsessively romantic and sex-charged world. Walking down this road requires courage and effort and community. No one should have to travel this road alone. That’s why I am gathering women together in camaraderie, compassion and courage to glorify God in their singleness.

If you’re single, you have a story to share about your journey, and I want to hear it. Would you spend five minutes answering a few questions for me? Click here to go to the survey.

If you’re married, maybe you know a single woman you’d like to encourage on her journey. I’d love to have you point her my way. I’ve set up a quick survey—just for single women. Would you please invite your single friends to share their thoughts with me here?

Many thanks to Trina for the opportunity to share my passions with you during her maternity leave (and way to go Trina on taking the time you need for your new baby and growing family!!).

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Merritt of The Marriage Readiness Project

for more from merritt:


blog | The Marriage Readiness Project

facebook | TMRProject

twitter | @MarriageRP

Interrupted // The Struggle to Give Up

What would you struggle to give up if Jesus wanted to use your life to make a difference in the world? // Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker
*Book provided by Tyndale House Publishers. See full note below.

Giveaway now closed; winner announced below.

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Jen Hatmaker first challenged, inspired and moved me in her book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. Before I even got through the introduction, which is where I first learned about Interrupted, I was rethinking the way I live, the way I love, and how God might expect me to do both.

I knew I wanted needed to read Interrupted (which Jen refers to as the prequel to 7), but couldn't find it in our local library (and I'm cheap), so I ended up exploring a collection of other similar faith-into-action stories. The list of books I read (and recommend) includes:

Jen's "experimental mutiny against excess" challenged God's leading in my life and Interrupted brought the conversation full circle. The wrecking of my comfortable Christianity started years ago and now has new meaning and clarity. The conversation isn't finalized, but it's definitely progressing.

In the foreword, Jen's husband Brandon writes that missional living is about "intentionally living the gospel wherever you are."

never enough knowledge without fruit of selfless service // #interrupted by Jen Hatmaker

As I think about all the books I read that inspired me on missional purpose-filled epic living, and the resulting tension I had between following Christ and my place in church, and the tension I felt in staying home with young kids vs. pursuing my passion--well, I realize in this one statement from Brandon that I missed one point about the Gospel: "...wherever you are."

I believe Jesus meant "Go into all nations." I also forget He did that Himself one town at a time. And I forget that right here where I am is part of "all nations." I forget that Jesus Himself had a short intensive 3-year ministry--and that His life leading up to that point mattered, and His mother's role preparing Him for that ministry mattered.

These aren't excuses to stay comfortable where I am--because I've said it before that I'm not wasn't comfortable in my role at home. These are simply fact. I don't need excess money to finally have half to give away. I don't have to relocate or go overseas. I don't have to volunteer a certain number of hours or reach out to a certain number of strangers. I simply have to intentionally live the Gospel. Wherever I am. (Sounds a little bit like "living simply with purpose where we are.")

Following Jesus will likely lead our family to uncomfortable places, relationships, and sacrifices. Following Him will also most likely look mundane in the day-to-day grind. And I have struggled to accept that version of "non-epic" living. It might not be included in the Gospels or its own book, but it's an essential part. It's necessary and important and special. It matters.

How I treat and talk about my kids and husband and friends matters. How I talk to and about my neighbors (and that I interact with them at all) matters. How I spend my time at home raising my kids, how I run our household, how I get involved in community and church, and that I do it all intentionally and missionally for the Gospel matters. This is where Jesus is currently using me to make a difference in the world. And it matters.

That's the context in which I read this book. I used to crave some epic adventure--to be used in big ways for God's glory. And Jen's words helped further my conversation with God on that. Her words deepened my understanding of service and salvation and bringing the Gospel into the world over and over starting with my own neighborhood.

What you take from her book will likely be entirely different depending on your current season of life and God's leading for you. (Because, despite the encouragement I got as a stay-at-home-mom, her book has nothing to do with that.)

Read the book and find out for yourself how God will use Jen's words to equip you. Enter below to win my copy of the book from Tyndale House Publishers, or purchase it >> here.

I'll leave you with one more thought from Brandon that describes the tension and hints at the resolution. (Sorry, Jen. I promise your words were powerful, too. Honest.)
If we're in the church for years yet aren't full, are we really hungry for more knowledge? In our busy lives, do we really need another program or event? Do we really need to be fed more of the Word, or are we simply undernourished from an absence of living the Word? Maybe we love God, but are we loving others? If our faith is about us, then we are not just hungry--our spirits are starving.

Learn more about Jen and her book Interrupted >> here. You'll also find a link-up of other reviews from her "Interrupted blog team" >> here.

Who's ready for a giveaway?!

Enter this Interrupted book giveaway one of three ways...

One entry given for each item completed.

1 | Answer the following in the comments below: What would you struggle to give up if Jesus wanted to use your life to make a difference in the world?

2 | Share about this giveaway and/or the book anywhere online with #interrupted, and leave a link to your post in the comments below.

3 | Subscribe for my Support for Your Journey e-mails (and receive the free Simple Road Map) >> here; let me know when you've done so below. (This is an easy entry if you've already subscribed; just let me know in the comments!)

Giveaway open thru Mon Aug 18 10pm CST. Check this post Tue Aug 19 to find out if you won!

Congrats Shelly Hartl! You are the winner! Contact me at beginnerbeans /at/ gmail.com to claim your prize.

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related faith posts:

The Power of His Love
If You Feel Like Quitting Church, Read This First
Your Family Needs You to Be Courageous
Safer Than a Known Way


*note: This book was received from Tyndale House Publishers. Everything shared here is my own experiences and honest opinions. Thank you, Jen and Tyndale for this great book!

Intentional

Intentional // Kendra at HaveMercy

Today's post is written by Kendra of HaveMercy. I'm introducing you to some of my online favorites while I take a bit of a maternity leave. I appreciate Kendra's thoughtful approach to slow, simple, intentional living. Enjoy!

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Intentional.

I say this word slowly, letting it become itself in my mouth. My mother told me to have a reason for what I do, for the way I do it, and I’ve put that in the center of who I am. I think, sometimes too much, about why we do what we do and what does it MEAN.

Because everything means something. There are so many beautiful lessons in the ordinary life that surrounds all of us. Lessons like, “Time takes time,” and, “Love is the only thing that works.” When I drift into my thoughts, I’m usually contemplating why I do such-and-such and who’s it for and what am I trying to say? Mostly, I ask, “How do I approach this part of life, being who I am and nothing more, in the most true, loving way I can?” Dressing, parenting, spending money, trying to be green, trying to eat what my body likes, practicing yoga, loving my friends, managing my time and caring for my self. All this floats up and gets discussed at HaveMercy.

There’s also practical stuff, like how to make your home lovely, since I think beauty is healing. I even show how to do it without spending your grocery money. (Bonus!) I’ve talked about how to make holidays warm and fuzzy instead of stressful and buzzy, how to accept when you don’t have your best to give people and how to give something good, even if it’s small, how to take a break, how to tell the truth about life so our friends don’t have to be the first to say, “I’m messy.”

Also, how to forgive yourself when you’re too scared or aren’t ready. That’s why I call it HaveMercy. I felt overwhelmed just titling my blog and then realized I could offer myself, even if I wasn’t epic. I want mercy to ooze off the page at you, so you know you're okay. Always okay. As we strive to be better and more beautiful and truer, we can smile and try because we know we’re okay now. Even when we aren’t intentional.

Because we all find our focus slips. We get side-tracked and our hearts clamor for paltry stuff. When your most important intention to live graciously fails, I hope I can say it for you. When I forget, I sit down to write you and remember.

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for more from kendra:
blog | havemercy
twitter | @havemercyblog
pinterest | kendra k carlson

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