life with this man – harder and much more beautiful than I could have dreamed

The blanket spread out over the tall grass and there we sat searching for words to express what we were feeling.

And I could’ve sworn that my beating heart was about to come thundering right out of my chest – for somehow we both seemed to know where God was leading.

And now it’s been fifteen years since that fairytale of a day with all our love and life and possibilities just beginning.

And for all the dreams swirling, not one could rival the beauty coming.

For the glory has been found not only on the mountaintops – but in the trudging through the valleys and in the quiet monotonous moments that have become our ordinary.

love this man

Yeah, I’ll take the bed-head hair and lazy Monday mornings –

Rumpled sheets and steamy kisses as kids pile in the next room to watch one more rerun of Tom and Jerry.

And I’ll take the breakfast across the table and loudness and kids and laundry and late night talks and us melting more and more into each other.

For we’ve shared pecks on cheeks over mashed potatoes and passionate looks straight across the dinner table.

And whoever would’ve thought that your heart could beat so fast at him having a tea party with your daughter, at him furrowing brows over Legos, at him putting clothes away on a Thursday!?

And, truly, whoever said that carrying groceries in isn’t sexy?

Yeah, we’ve had dirty socks on the floor and lots of down-right ghastly.

We’ve had silent nights and lashing tongues and days that could slice your heart right open.

And we’ve had moments on knees in repentance and prayer that rival any star-covered evening of proposing.

Our Family by Lake Michigan

We have had seasons of grief unbearable, and countless times when he’s held me up through the sorrow, the ugly, and the lonely.

And we’ve had this myriad of snort-laughing, crazy beautiful, and awe-filled glory.

But mostly we’ve had these jillions of moments of just plain ordinary –

It’s this love that ties up half a dozen pairs of shoes and works like crazy. This love that puts a gentle hand on my shoulder when kids are being frustrating. This love that sneaks moments alone and mows the lawn and takes out the garbage without complaining. This love that preaches truth on Sundays and strives to live truth every weekday. This love that brings me my favorite treats, plunges toilets, twirls with our littlest lady, plays football with the boy, and helps find the missing Elsa jammies. This love that keeps holding on when I’m not even lovable. This love that lays down one’s life and keeps on forgiving.

This love that never stops, but keeps on battling.

And when lights are out and kids are sleeping, it’s this love that whispers about new hopes and dreams and worries – until we notice that it’s only 9:30 and we’re both already dozing.

Yes, I’ll take this love – with all it’s dreams and sorrows and birthdays and ordinary.

One moment, one day, one load of laundry, one tuck into bed, one act of forgiveness at a time – over and over again – doing life together through the wretched, wrinkled, and lovely.

13 years with the man I love

(I love you, Gabe! I’m so glad we get to do life together! And this birthday day of yours? It always leads to such breath-taking memories. ~Jessica)

The Final Week (Colossians – Week 10)

I can’t help but feel the tears trickling down my cheeks and the sweet smile on my lips.

For we have sought to grow closer to our God, and have spent many moments, hours, and days being transformed by His hope and grace and love.

And now, here we are, the very last week of our Colossians study, and I know that He has done and is doing incredible work in each heart and mind!

To God be all the glory!!!

Will you be illuminated by, in, through, and for Him one “final” time with me?

Colossians - Week 10 - Our Family For His Glory

Oh, how bitter-sweet this week is. Colossians has become such a familiar, beloved letter that I don’t want to leave behind. Yet, there’s even more beauty to be found in the rest of His Word. So I will be thankful for one “last” week  in Colossians – knowing that God has placed these words on my heart, and He will lead me back here time and time again.

Stand firm and fully assured in God, dear friends!

Keep looking to Him!

Keep seeking His heart!

Be filled with His amazing grace!

Let’s pick up our Bibles and be dazzled by our great God through Colossians one more time!

Colossians Week 10 - Our Family For His Glory

***Click on the documents above, or this link to get your own copy of Week 10’s study guide.***

***The entire ten week study of {illuminated} Colossians is also available for free to any subscribers  of Our Family for His Glory – whether by email or through a Feed Reader!! Just look way at the bottom of your feed. :)***

Bible markings - Colossians

Whether you have just found your way to the Colossians Bible Study, or are somewhere in the midst of Colossians – don’t give up! It is worth every moment strived for! I am wrestling in prayer for you, and am so glad you have joined me on this journey! Keep seeking Him!

And those of you that have spent precious time and energy being illuminated by and through and in Him throughout our time in Colossians – thank you!!! Thank you for encouraging this mama who longs to know more and more of the heart of God! Thank you for picking up your Bibles along with me even with my words all jumbled or misspelled or linked all wrong. It has been a true honor and a pure joy! You may never know the precious place you hold in my heart.

illuminated - Colossians

Keep seeking those moments with Him, dear friend! Keep being awed by His words! Keep letting His light shine through the cracks and the glory! May His grace fill your hearts!

And please come share what God has and is doing in your heart through Colossians!

Last Week: Devoted in Prayer and Lots of Grace – Colossians 4:2-6
Back to the Beginning: Getting to Know Colossians

Making Your Own Prayer Scrapbook

Making your own prayer scrapbook

We’ve spent weeks coming to know our most incredible God. And the more I come to know Him, the more awe-struck I am that He desires for us to call out to Him with words and tears and joy-filled thanks. And yet, it’s so easy (maybe even more so as a family) to get stuck […]

{Continue reading…}

Drawing Near to God (Colossians – Week 9)


And here we are at the end of Colossians. These weeks have been so humbling and awe-filled – igniting in my life a deeper love for God and His Word that I can’t help but bow my knees before Christ my Lord! I pray that He’s working His beautiful glory in your lives as well. […]

{Continue reading…}

Getting Kids to Obey!


Often times I feel like this whole parenting thing is this extravagant experiment. Maybe in some ways we’re all looking for that magic formula to get our kids to obey. And, if I’m honest, I don’t feel any more equipped now to raise these half a dozen awesome kids of ours than I did ten […]

{Continue reading…}

Needing God in our Marriages, Homes, and Lives (Colossians – Week 8)


There are a lot of hard and messy and hurt-filled moments in our home. I know that it may not seem that way. It’s easy to look at the pictures of smiling kids and read the stories of beautiful times, and conclude that we have it all together. But the truth is that there’s a […]

{Continue reading…}

Sharing the Gospel With Kids (With Lots of Dirt!)

Sharing the Gospel - with dirt

There’s this favorite Family {Bible} Time of ours. We love it so much that I think we do a version of it at least once a year. (And on this hot summer day we opted for the swimming suit edition.) It’s a precious way to share the truths of the gospel with our kids. And […]

{Continue reading…}

When Wanting a New Life (Colossians – Week 7)


I’ve loved the sweet messages that so many of you have slipped my way. It is humbling and unbelievably beautiful to see God working in lives around the world. – One thing many of you have mentioned is that you’ve fallen behind. May I tuck some encouragement in your heart? My hope for this study […]

{Continue reading…}

An Experiment for Those Sin Filled Days


This summer has been a whirlwind of crazy, fun, hard, beautiful days. And this week we’re finally all home (minus Daddy for part of the week). When we picked up the oldest girls from Bible camp last week their counselors boasted of how wonderfully the three sisters got along. On the way home, we hadn’t […]

{Continue reading…}

The Day In and Day Out of Living Life in Him (Colossians – Week 6)


Are you seeing the beauty in this letter? Everyday this past week I’ve sat marveling that the hope of glory is Christ in us – How His love is so perfect and His redemption so sweet that He allows us not only to seek Him but to know Him and all His glorious treasures. And […]

{Continue reading…}