Marriage Neglect

This time last year Jarrod and I were prepping for the biggest and best day of our lives. It was wedding month which meant lots of last-minute finalizing. I don’t remember the month of April being particularly crazy. We were more excited than anything else. The day before the wedding, however, is when everything hit me like a train. I got to the rehearsal dinner super late with traffic jams and lack of gas. The reality of showing up someplace late and the pressure I felt overwhelmed me that I had a breakdown for the century. I may be exaggerating a tad, but the Type A in me just could not come to terms with the fact that I had people waiting on me for over an hour. But we made it. We got through that hump and my heart eventually settled. I believe my emotions hit me like a storm because I knew my life was drastically going to change. While I was excited and sure about this change, I never took the moment to cry and embrace the change. My stubborn, got-to-be-strong personality couldn’t hold out any longer and the night before my wedding day is when my emotions got the best of me. I cried and let myself cry. I cried with excitement for what was to come, I cried overwhelmed by how far God had brought me and I cried with assurance trusting an unknown future to a known God. This is just one of the few stories I will share this month as Jarrod and I celebrate our one-year anniversary on April 29th. This month’s blog will be particularly fun sharing the things I’ve learned coupled with things Jarrod has learned in our one year of marriage. Now, the first thing I learned is that in the first three months of marriage I neglected God.

Marriage has been the sweetest. It has its moments but on a whole, I’ve loved everything about it. I didn’t know I could fall in love with someone so deeply. It’s crazy how you think you love someone until you both give each other everything and you fall deeper in love with one another. I’ve come to learn that all true love relationships become both harder and richer the more they grow. This year of marriage was one of growth for both Jarrod and me, and my relationship with Christ. Every year is a year of growth, but this particular year proved the rotten nature to neglect God when life is sweet.

G. Michael Hopf, an author of a post-apocalyptic novel is quoted saying,

Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.

G. Michael Hopf

This is said to sum up a stunningly pervasive cyclical vision of history. I’d also say this sums up day-to-day humans and their relationship with Christ. When life is difficult, it’s easy to depend on God. It’s fairly easy to pray and seek God’s truth. In hard times we depend on and lean on Him as our last hope. In these hard times, we often become a lot stronger and in our dependence on Christ, we see the fruit of devotion to Him. We call these the good/sweet times. In the good and sweet times, we often become weak in our walk. Because life is so sweet we don’t pray as often, read God’s word as often, praise as often, or remain quiet as often. The first few months of marriage are when I realized I was so focused on the sweet times of marriage that I lacked my intense devotion to Christ. While I still attended church I was not daily praying, daily reading, daily worshiping, or daily in stillness. I simply got around to spending time with God whenever I had time and I became quite okay with it. It wasn’t until Jarrod and I signed up for a course at our church did I realize that I had neglected God. No, Jarrod isn’t to blame because he was still devout to Christ and daily seeking. The only person to blame is me. I was entirely wrapped up with the good that I failed to nurture the fire of growth.

On our wedding day, I made a covenant with God, Jarrod and I. Often I believe we view the marriage day as a covenant between man and woman. We fail to factor Christ in the equation. If you are a young couple or you are going through a season of sweet/good times, I urge you to fight the urge of neglecting Christ. It’s easy to neglect God in the good times and it is easy to depend on God in the bad times. Seek Christ in all times and in all things. While I am thankful I bounced back fairly quickly and my marriage neglect of Christ didn’t drag on too long, it doesn’t remove the fact that I did neglect. Don’t let the history of the Old Testament repeat in your hearts.

In Deuteronomy 32, Moses exhorts the new generation of Israelites to live as God’s obedient people in the promised land and to neglect not. We learn that faith is not automatic nor is it mechanical. Faith is personal and active and can only spring from a living relationship with God. Our faith walk becomes personal when we devout ourselves to God in the good and not-so-great times. My challenge to you is the same as Moses’ challenge to the Israelites. He challenged the people to faithfully obey the Lord and reject all forms of idolatry. He called on the new generation to formally renew the earlier covenant with God that their parents had broken. He challenged you and I to, love the Lord your God with all your hearts and with all your souls and all your strength.

Marriage can easily become your idolatry that you neglect the one who got you there. As beautiful as marriage is, it can only remain beautiful and sweet if we allow the one that designed it to remain at the center. Don’t neglect Christ in your marriage. Don’t neglect your spouse. Don’t neglect yourself. The covenant you made on your wedding day was never with one, rather it’s with you, your spouse and God.

You deserted the Rock, who fathered you;
    you forgot the God who gave you birth.
Deuteronomy 32:18


I’m sitting with blankets wrapped around me, watching my husband do his daily stretch routine. The song “King of my heart” by Bethel Music is played by Jarrod’s doing in the background. It’s one of his favorite worship songs. One of mine too, and probably for many of you. I’ve heard this song several times. More times than I can count and each time I get teary-eyed. God’s goodness surpasses whatever I am going through. It surpasses whatever you are going through. I don’t mean that lightly. That is not downplaying your circumstance, rather giving hope amid your circumstances. God is good.

We understand God is good, not merely through head knowledge. Rather, we understand God is good when He is the King of our hearts; when He is everything to us. God’s goodness becomes clear not when the miracle comes. God’s goodness becomes clear not when life is easy. God’s goodness becomes clear not when we no longer have worries and struggles. God’s goodness becomes clear when we become to know the Father’s heart. When the gospel message and Jesus become the mountain you climb, the fountain you drink from, the shadow where you hide, the ransom for your life, the wind inside your sails, the anchor to the waves, the fire in your veins, the echo of your days and the song that you sing. That’s when you know of His goodness. All that is a fancy way of saying, you truly submit your life to Jesus, giving Him full control.

God is your King when you climb the mountain and path He’s set before you in faith, trusting an unknown future to a known God. God is your King when He becomes your source of life; not Instagram, not Facebook, not the media, not the culture Christian. God is your King when you hide in His presence daily, not merely preaching you’re seeking the face of God.

God is your King when, like the mountain you climb, trusting in faith, you allow Him to direct your every move no matter how crazy wild it may seem. God is your King when He becomes your anchor on tough days that despite getting hit from all directions, you remain grounded, unwavering, and unmoving.

God is your King when what gives you life is not your family, not your job, not your status or fame. Rather, it’s the knowledge that you are grafted in the linage of Christ by being born again. The tenacity and fire you approach each day with if of purpose knowing your calling is for the Kingdom, not for the earthly things.

God is your King when He is what you remember. That what echos in your heart is the heartbeat of God. God is your King when He is the song you sing both when life is great and when you feel like giving up. You sing a song of praise and thanksgiving despite the circumstance.

God is your King when you make Him the center of your heart. When God is the King of your heart, there’s no question as to whether He is good. His goodness is known deep within your heart and you live that out daily. You live it out boldly. You live it out with expectancy even if everything around us is crashing. You live it out even when it’s scary. When God is the King of your heart, you know He is good, and because He is good He will never let you down.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26

My question to you is simple. Is God the King of your heart?


Is Jesus the hypocrite?

When man fails, especially those who call themselves Christians, does that mean Jesus is the hypocrite? Should we challenge the integrity of Jesus because a follower of His failed? The answer of course is, no. We shouldn’t, but we do. We are quick to cast stones and blame God for the actions of man. We challenge God and His principles casting blame on Him because, if God was so good HE would have prevented the evil from happening.

Reality is, God has given us a choice. You and I get to choose. For the majority of us, we have the freedom of choice and our choices ultimately pay a price. Make good choices, the outcome probably is, good. Make bad choices, the outcome will be bad and ultimately, those bad choices affect those around us. Often those who are innocent.

The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! - Luke 12:2-3

On December 9th 2021, Joshua Duggar, the 33 year old former reality star and eldest child of the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting, was indicted on child pornography charges. Court documents exposes that Josh used his work computer to download child sexual abuse material. Children under the age of 12 enduring sexual abuse were among some of the material found. If you’ve followed the Duggar family you are probably aware that this is not the first time Josh Duggar has made headlines.

In 2015 it was revealed Josh paid for two subscriptions for – a site known to “help” married men find others for affairs. His account revealed he was looking for someone who is interested in “one-night stands,” “experimenting with sex toys,” “someone who can teach me,” “open to experimentation,” and more. Further data, include his preference as “professional/well groomed,” “short height,” “high sex drive,” “natural breasts,” “girl next door,” “naughty girl,” and more. This comes after Josh admitted he molested 5 underage girls, four of whom are his sisters when he was 14 years old.

The Duggar family are known as devout independent Christian Baptists. They boldly take pride in living conservatively sharing their values and their individual relationship with God. Knowing this, it can be and should be unsettling knowing Joshua Duggars doing. How can a Christian, someone who says they serve God, do the unspeakable? More so, how can a good God allow this to happen? A hypocrite we say. And rightly so. Someone who says one thing and does the other. But does that mean Jesus is the hypocrite too?

Did Jesus commit the wrong? Did God force man to do evil? Did Jesus show in His example here on earth tolerance of any of the evil done today? Did God ever reward in the Old Testament literature good for evil? The answer to all of these is, no. It’s simple, we were each given a choice. A mans hypocrital actions does that translate to a hypocritical Jesus or God. While God is all powerful, in His powerful nature He granted you and I the freedom to choose between right and wrong. What we do with this freedom is not a reflection of who God is, rather a reflection of what’s really in our hearts.

Many will say they follow Jesus. Many will be able to quote versus and write songs of wonder. Many will preach with vigor and outwardly appear they serve God, but often we find that this is all a facade. What’s truly in our hearts, the sins we hide and have tucked away in the abyss of our hearts eventually air it’s ugly face. We know that love, true love, does the will of God. And those that love not God and His principles eventually are exposed.

Jesus is not the hypocrite. We are.


She died while reading her Bible to her 7 -month old daughter…

Heartbreaking. Odd, really. When we stumble across news reports like the one I read on Sunday it shakes us up a bit and stirs many questions. Melanie Yates died from a stray bullet shot in her neighborhood in Zion, Chicago. It is said that Melanie was reading the Bible to her 7-month old daughter. She wasn’t doing anything wrong. She was in her home. She was being a mom. She was loving on her child and loving her creator in the process. How can a good God allow this to happen? Is God really good?

After reading the news report I read people’s comments and thoughts on the situation. Many were extending condolences and others said they were praying. There were comments, however that struck my heart. Here are just a couple that burdened me:

  • let me guess.. that was in Gods plan.
  • this is why I quit believing in God.
  • so if God is all powerful and great, He really let this happen?
  • even when you’re doing the right thing God can’t save or help you!

I get the frustration. I get the anger. I get the why and questioning the nature of God. How can a good God allow this to happen? I’m sure you’ve thought that before. I’m sure there was a time that you questioned if God is really good. I know I have. It’s normal to question. I believe God isn’t offended by our questioning. He loves honesty. It is, however ultimately what we do with our honesty and what [or who] we choose to believe.

In times of suffering, we tend to pin God as our adversary. We blame Him when in actuality, He is our cure. There is not always a clear-cut response or answer to the why behind the what but many of the wrongs occurring in the world are suffering as a result of freedom.

Why did a stray bullet kill Melanie while she was reading her Bible to her child? Why did God not heal your mom or dad from cancer? Why did you lose your sister in that car accident? Why did you or someone you love fall victim to rape? And there are plenty more whys out there. Think about it. Do you have a why that causes you to ponder the goodness of God?

Whenever something bad happens after someone did bad, we justify that as a consequence. However, when it’s someone good or someone who we’ve deemed as innocent, we cannot seem to find an answer as to why the injustice occurred. And in not having a why we blame God hoping that will settle the wrestling in our hearts.

Can I share something with you? This is coming from someone who experienced one of those whys I mentioned above. God is in the midst of all we go through and are going through. He hasn’t abandoned us. The suffering we have or are facing is a result of misused freedom. God could have created the human race as robots. Do as He says and as He does. But that would not be love, right? Love doesn’t force or coerce. In love, there’s a choice. The responsibility lies in our hands to choose right from wrong. Sadly, we don’t always choose right and the consequence of that is many suffering from hurt and pain from someone else’s poor decision-making.

Dr. Greg Boyd says it well in his book, Letters from A Skeptic. He states the risk of freedom is exactly proportional to its potential for good. In other words, if we can love a little, we can hurt a little. If we can love a lot we can likewise hurt a lot. If we have freedom, we have risk in the possibility of failure and hurt. Melanie died as a result of misused freedom. While sickness isn’t entirely related to misused freedom it can when we misuse science, food, and our bodies. But a lot of the suffering from sickness comes from the Fall of Man (Satan bringing evil to roam rampant in the world).

My husband, Jarrod, is a cancer survivor along with a couple others in his family. I asked him that if knowing cancer is a part of his story if he’d prefer to have not existed. His response was firm that it shattered my heart. He said,

Vash, I would never blame God for me having cancer. I would never blame God for not saving those that had cancer or any type of terminal illness. While it was and is hard, God was and continues to be our cure. Cure of hope, cure of faith and cure of eternal life. We didn’t choose sickness, but we can choose how we walk through it and from it.

I will leave you with this, death, sickness, and hardship outside of our control do not translate to an absent God. In a world that promotes belief in everything but God, remember,

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them [sickness, hardship, the unexplainable], for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you - Deuteronomy 31:6

If there’s anything we can cling to it’s the hope of Christ’s return where sickness, hardship, and the unexplainable will exist no more. To those who have lost a loved one, I am deeply sorry. For those battling right now, I am deeply sorry. But more than anything I pray that you can cling to the hope of Christ. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. He is in your struggle. God is your cure, not your adversary.



Tele god.

On average, the daily time spent consuming content is now six hours and 59 minutes. This includes your phone, TV, and other forms of digital media. That is 48 hours 53 minutes spent each week being fed someone else’s agenda, propaganda and often meaningless entertainment. Wild, isn’t it?

Here’s some more staggering truth. The average time spent at church is 1.5 hours each week. Comparatively speaking, time spent at church is significantly less than the time we invest on our screens. Interestingly, even the 1.5 hours at church is tiresome for many of us. We can easily be entertained and fed by cable news. We’d rather give hours each week to political ranting, and reshaping of our minds by Netflix, Disney Plus and Hulu than to be fed spiritually in corporate worship. But more so, we’ve neglected building our personal theology and apologetics. We’ve been brainwashed to think like the rest of the world and to be okay with it. We use excuses to camp in front of the tele. We’ve justified our lack of church going, lack of bible reading and lack of praying for the tele god. There’s always something more important than God. Time, we tell ourselves, is what we don’t have to give.

Did you know that the television and God have similar functions? While one if far greater than the other, they have a very distinctive quality that shares some similarity. The Television was designed to reach over a distance. Two remote points connecting. While the source remains remote, they connect through electronic transmission. God, does the same thing. He reaches us while at a distance, very present. He connects with us remotely (through the Holy Spirit). The source we know is all powerful and consuming. He reaches us through biblical, prayerful, worshipful moments that are often unexplainable.

Why is it that so many of us can excusably spend countless hours in front of an object no more powerful than we allow it to have than we do with the One that IS all powerful? How is it that we’ve convinced ourselves that the lifestyle we’ve adapted is okay and Christlike? I’d say it’s because of pride. Pride convinces us we do not need God. And when we start believing that, we take the time we’d use for prayer, worship, Bible reading and church community building and replace it with something that robs us our growth. We’ve given the tele god power and authority to shape how we think and live. We devout our time to it and neglect the person we claim is our one true God. The pride that we’ve welcomed into our lives pushes God away. We are left convinced we have complete control over our lives, when in truth, we’ve simply given the throne of kingship to an inanimate object.

So, my question to you is this. Who is your “God?” Be honest with yourself. Let me help you out if you don’t know quite how to answer that question. Think for a moment and breakdown your weeks into days and into hours. What do your days look like? What do you wake up to? What do you come home and do? What do you end your day doing? What consumes your weekends? Whatever that thing is, it’s your “God”. If it’s not God our heavenly father, then you have a “god(s)” not God. Now, we can make God our God for personal gain and not through humble serving, but that’s a blog for another time. I want to hammer on the “god(s)” we’ve created in our lives that we’ve comfortably replaced with our Heavenly Father. Can I tell you something you won’t like to hear? Calling yourself a Christian does not make you a Christian. Saying the sinner’s prayer, while is great, does not make you a Christian. Let’s be real, going to church does not make you a Christian. What makes you a Christian though, is your lifestyle. Your lifestyle that makes God your priority. Your lifestyle that strives to live in humility. Your lifestyle that refuses to live the same years over and over rather chooses character growth. Your lifestyle that filters what goes and in and goes out. Your lifestyle that while not perfect, strives for perfection in Christ.

Many of us have made politics, entertainment, work, life stressors and maybe even our family as our god. We idolize and prioritize these things and neglect the one that created us, that is our source and life. We’ve become Christians by name only. Some of us, we simply wear that we are Christian on our trendy oversized t-shirts and as our Instagram bio, when if our life lived was played before us, we’d come only to realize that we’ve created many gods in our lives and neglected the one we claim to serve and love. Pride rejects God. Humility submits to God.

We are no different that those that lived in Biblical times. It’s fair to say that humans have not changed. In the book of Daniel, the pride of man was it’s folly. We see that King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar both struggle to prioritize God. You’d think, the king following Nebuchadnezzar should have learned from the mistakes made before his reign, but he sure didn’t. Pride is easy to come by and hard to let go of. It requires submission on our part that is often not something we are willing give. Take a wack at reading Daniel 1-5. You’ll read how easily both kings fell into the trap of pride and allowed other gods to become their source of assurance and self-worth. The interesting part is, God warned them. He warns us too. We are often too stubborn and distracted by the tele god to hear and see His warnings.

My challenge to you is to turn off the distraction. Even if it’s for an hour. Turn it off, and sit to hear God’s voice. If you’ve replaced church going to get caught up on shows, finish your DYI projects or to complete your weekend to-do list, I challenge you to give God 1.5 hours and go to church. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not much out of your day, week or life that you are giving. Unfortunate we have to look at it in that light, but for what it’s worth, turn the tele god off, and turn to the true, God. Someday we will give account of what we did on our time spent on earth. What are you going to tell God?

How much time each day do you spend in front of the TV? How much time do you spend being filled by God’s word, in worship, prayer or church going? What do you need to give up in order to give God priority?