Money—some people call it the root of all evil, and yet we all rely on it and the world seems to revolve around it. Many people even seem to worship it. It can also cause a great deal of strain in marriages; although the statistics are unclear about the number of divorces that are actually caused by financial issues, I think that it’s fairly obvious that in many marriages, fights over money are not uncommon. So what is to be done about the money problem?

I’ve heard a few times about couples who solve the issue by simply not sharing their money. Each spouse has their own bank account and their own money. And on one hand, I don’t want to be judgmental or say that this is the “wrong” way to go about it, especially if it works for you. But on the other hand, none of the marriages I’ve seen where the couple does not share money have been very happy. To be perfectly honest, I am not the least bit surprised about that.

The problem with this approach, I think, is that it is completely the wrong attitude about what a marriage is. Marriage is not just a contract that two people enter into. On the opposite side of the spectrum, neither is it just what people are supposed to do when they are in love and want to have a buddy for life (or maybe just for a while, if they change their minds). No, marriage is a commitment above all others. It is a promise to stay faithful and devoted to another person for the rest of your life, period. It is not a promise to stay together as long as you feel like you are in love, or until something that’s too hard to deal with happens. Marriage is an unconditional promise. More than that, marriage is an unconditional surrender of your needs and desires to another person’s.

If people approached marriage from this angle, do you think they would want to keep separate finances from their spouse? No way. They are committed 100% to being a team with their spouse. “What’s mine is yours, because I have already promised you everything.” That is what marriage is supposed to be.

So are there any other ways to prevent fighting over money with your spouse? I think so. My husband and I follow the “marriage team” approach in every aspect of our lives, including money. We make our financial decisions together, and we both have a clear idea of what our rules and goals are. Because of that, we are aligned in this area of our lives. In fact, we have never had a fight over money.

Now, each couple is different and struggles with their own specific issues. For my husband and I, money has never been a problem that we’ve fought over. But even if a couple does fight over money sometimes, there are appropriate ways to deal with that so that the marriage is not compromised, but instead strengthened. The key is conflict resolution.

I have a policy of making sure that every conflict I have with my husband is resolved, even the small ones. Though it may sound tiresome and difficult, it’s actually not. When we disagree or have a tense moment about something, we talk about it (either right after it happens or a bit later if we need time to cool down.) It doesn’t have to be a long conversation or a big deal; it can be as simple as saying “I feel like you were being rude to me earlier, when I forgot to wash my dishes” and “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude but I will try to be nicer about it in the future.” As long both people are sincere, open, and others-centered, it isn’t all that difficult to resolve a conflict fairly. The same thing applies to financial conflicts.

Resolving fights over money is extremely important, and goes a long way. If you take the time to talk through your financial disagreements and work out reasonable and fair solutions, then the issue doesn’t have to hurt your relationship; instead, the process of conflict resolution strengthens your partnership.

The real problem comes when money and your spouse do not sit in their proper places in your life. Both of them should be priorities below God, and money should be way below your spouse. If God is your first priority, then the way you treat your spouse will reflect that, and you will the the kind of husband or wife that God desires. If you are the kind of husband or wife that God desires, then your marriage will be strong. A strong, close relationship between husband and wife makes it much easier to work out your issues. And if money comes below both God and your spouse, then I think you will find that arguments over it seem to disappear. It simply is not as big of a deal when you have the right perspective. God will provide, and your spouse is your teammate—so what is there to fight about?

Like it or not, money is essential to survival. But it doesn’t have to go much farther than that if you don’t let it. It certainly doesn’t have to be an issue in your marriage; just put it in its place and you’ll see.


I have a problem. It’s a fairly serious problem that I can usually find lingering in my life to some degree, and I can never seem to get rid of it completely. Although at times it does seem to subside and leave me in peace, most of the time it’s there, making my life so much less than it could be. The problem is focus; more specifically, keeping my focus on God.

Although I write this blog each week and often talk about my relationship with God as if I’m some kind of super-spiritual person, that is definitely not the reality. Yes, I do have a relationship with God and my base level of love and devotion to Him is probably above average if you consider all of the people in the world who call themselves Christians. But my life is still far from what God wants it to be.

That’s because I have a hard time focusing on the things that God finds important. Even in the times that I feel closest to Him, I still seem to get so easily distracted by things of this world. My day-to-day life is centered on me. What am I going to do today? What do I need to get done? How am I going to make this day more enjoyable for myself?

Now, don’t get me wrong; I am kind to people and I do things for others often enough. But it’s all mostly minor stuff that doesn’t take too much of my time and effort. My first priority most of the time is me. And while there is definitely a certain merit to taking care of yourself first so that you can then give more to others, there is no excuse at all for putting yourself before God. He longs to be the first priority in your life, above anything else. The great thing about it is that when you do put Him first, your life is transformed! I’ve experienced it once or twice in my journey so far, and I can tell you for certain that life lived in any other way is simply not comparable.

So why do I falter? Why do I lose my focus on God? Well, to put it simply, life gets in the way. That’s no excuse, of course, just an explanation. I get caught up in the things going on in my own life, caught up in my business and my to-do list. The fact is, I’m a human and I was born on a very distracting planet called Earth. But God calls us to be so much more; He calls His children to be in this world but not of it. As a Christian, this is one thing I think I will probably have to work on as long as I’m here. Sometimes, I just need a reminder that this is not my home. Heaven is my home, where I will be with God forever, and I need to remember to store up treasures there, not here.

The word “treasures” can mean many things. To me, one of the biggest treasures is leisure time. I am happiest when I have plenty of time to relax and do what I want. The funny thing is, the more leisure time I have the more I want. I start to feel lazy and unmotivated, and every little thing I have to do becomes a chore. Pretty soon, I want all of my time to be leisure time. I don’t want to do anything!

If you think about it, this actually makes a lot of sense. I’m storing up treasure (leisure time) on earth and it only satisfies me temporarily because it is temporary. Life on earth doesn’t last forever. And nothing on earth can satisfy us the way that God can. He is the only source of true, everlasting satisfaction.

The same principle can apply to money, possessions, food, comforts, achievements… even relationships! It applies to everything and anything that we “collect” in this life. They may satisfy us in the short term, but pretty soon we want more. On the other hand, God is quite the opposite—He satisfies us completely for as long as we continue to look to Him for our joy.

So what is to be done about this problem of mine?

It’s rather simple, actually; I need to put God first. I need to make Him the first and last thing I think about each day. I need to make time to read His word and pray to Him throughout the day. I need to ask myself, “What would Jesus do?” in all situations. I need to say “yes” to opportunities He puts in my path to be His hands and feet in this world. I need to go to church consistently to learn as much about Him as I can, and I need to worship Him wholeheartedly when I’m there. I need to be present and open with my small group, the group of girls who God put in my life so that we can support each other in our walks with Him. These are all things that I need to do, not out of obligation or a legalistic checklist approach to God, but because they are all part of seeking Him. And I want to seek Him with all of my heart, because I love Him and He loves me and He has put that desire in my heart. Most of all, I know what life is like when I seek Him, and I miss it.

To all my non-Christian readers, I ask you this; do you dare find out what a difference Jesus can make in your life?

To my fellow believers: is God sitting in His rightful place in your life? Either way, there’s always room for growth.

The Case for Faith

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading through a book called “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel. It was lent to me by a mentor of mine when I talked to her about some doubts about God that I was struggling with. Ever since I first opened this book, it has been an amazing resource for answers and reassurance about my beliefs, and I wanted to share this gift with my blog readers.

Before I go into that, though, I want to touch on a few other things. First of all, it’s okay to have doubts about God. Even as a lifelong Christian, I sometimes question whether I’m really right about my views on faith. The key is in what you do with those doubts; whether you let them take over, or whether you take them to God and ask for answers. God is amazing because despite the fact that He is so vast and powerful, He is eager to help us through our doubts. In fact, He promises that we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts.

Second of all, I firmly believe that those who do not know Jesus will see that He is the truth if they come searching with open and honest minds. Whether you are coming from another faith system, have no faith, or have not yet decided; I know that Jesus wants to meet you. My biggest prayer for the world is that people would let go of their biases and search for the truth with honest hearts and minds, because if they did, they would find the savior of the world. That is what I did a few weeks ago, when I was honest about my doubts and decided to see if God could convince me. It is with great joy and humility that I tell you this— He answered me loud and clear.

The book “The Case for Faith” is actually sort of a follow-up to another book that Strobel wrote called “The Case for Christ.” I decided to read “The Case for Faith” first, however, because I felt that I needed to be sure of my belief in God before I could be sure of my belief in Jesus. After reading through about half of the book so far, however, I am already reassured of both.

The book is about a journalist who investigates some of the toughest objections that people have to Christianity. He interviews scholars from several fields to ask them difficult questions about their faith in Jesus, ranging from why God permits suffering to how miracles can be true if they contradict science. Through the eight interviews he conducts and records in this book, Strobel emerges with a very strong case for faith in God.

One of the points that struck me the most was regarding the question of how Christianity can honestly claim to be the only true religion. I used to question the likelihood that I chose the “right” faith system out of all of the other options out there. I feared for the possibility that I was wrong, and that by the time I died and figured it out, it would be too late. This book helped me out a lot by addressing these concerns.

A key point used to address this concern was that the truth is not always pleasant. The ideal values in today’s world are all about peace, tolerance, and acceptance. I think all of those are important values, but I have to disagree when they are used to maintain that there are no universal truths. Torturing a baby is always wrong, no matter the when, where, or why. That is a universal truth. Even if a person’s religion condoned it or it was an important part of a person’s culture, it would still be wrong. The fact is that there are some things that are universally wrong or right, whether that is a politically correct thing to say or not. Asserting that Jesus is the only way to heaven is not arrogant, especially if it turns out to be the truth; it is, however, unpleasant to hear if you do not believe it. But just because you don’t believe in a universal truth doesn’t mean that it’s untrue—that’s what makes it a universal truth; not believing in it just makes you wrong.

So perhaps it isn’t all that unreasonable to claim that one’s belief system is the only true faith, but what gives Christianity that right? A claim of that magnitude certainly requires some proof. Fortunately, “The Case for Faith” does not neglect to provide it. However… I’m not going to tell you any more about it. No, I want you to find out what evidence there is for yourself. This is partly because I am afraid I would not do it justice, but mostly because I think that reading through this book is a journey that will not lead you wrong.

That all being said, I feel that I must throw in a disclaimer here: this book is not the Bible, and it is written by a person, so is therefore imperfect. I do not want you to think that this book is the answer to everything you are searching for. It’s a book, not God. Which brings me to my final point… Jesus is the key to all of this. You can read books, do research, talk to people, and think all you want, but if you don’t give Jesus a chance to speak for Himself, than everything would have been a waste. Jesus is a real person, historically documented and all. His claims to be God, His miracles provided as proof, and His resurrection are all well-documented too, and if you give the evidence the benefit of the doubt and try to talk to Him, then I think you’d like what you find.

So, do you have the courage to seek Him? Are you willing to check out this side of the story, to examine the evidence? Will you call out to Him, expecting an answer?


“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Never Grow Up

I have a theory about people, myself included; it’s that people don’t grow up. More specifically, there is never a time when a person can say that they are fully matured, that they are done growing up. Sure, typically as people age from childhood to adulthood their bodies grow bigger and stronger, their minds grow sharper and more capable, and their emotions grow more mature and defined. But no matter how long people live, it seems, they still always have some growing to do.

One example that comes to mind is a certain elderly woman that I know. At the ripe age of 89, this woman seems to still have the attitude of a twelve-year-old girl. I don’t know if she was always like this, or if she regressed into this attitude as she aged, but I do know that she behaves this way on a regular basis now. What I mean by “twelve-year-old girl” behavior is essentially the eye-rolling, “I’m-always-right,” snotty attitude that she constantly exudes. She loves to pick fights with anybody who will listen, and she has no qualms about putting you down to get her point across whether you are a complete stranger or her own daughter. Of course, I see right through this behavior to the insecurity underneath, the insecurity that most twelve-year-old girls are still struggling with. I understand that this old woman is not just a mean person, but that she is struggling to prove her value to herself and the people around her. Because of that, I say all of this with no judgment, but with a sense of understanding and curiosity about the way that humans work. Yes, this woman is 89 but she seems to have never fully grown up. And let me tell you—she is not the only one!

About a week ago, my house had a bee infestation on the outside and we had to call in some bee experts to take care of it. One morning shortly after, there were some men working on the roof right outside my window, apparently fixing some problem related to the bee issue. I was woken up by a noise that sounded like somebody sawing through the roof, and looked out my window to see them working a few feet away. Even when they stopped sawing through the roof (or whatever they were doing) they continued to make a lot of noise by talking very loudly, including a bold use of profanity. Needless to say, my curiosity got the better of me and I sat around to listen to the conversation.

It was surprisingly interesting, because one of the men seemed very upset over a mistake he had apparently made. That’s not to say that I was enjoying his frustration by any means, but I found it fascinating to see how, well… childish he was acting. He kept saying things like “I did everything I was supposed to and I still made a mistake, so I guess I shouldn’t be in this business,” and “I can’t do anything right no matter how hard I try.” Basically, he was behaving a bit dramatically and immaturely about his problems. Meanwhile, his working partner kept trying to tell him not to take it so hard, saying that everybody makes mistakes and that he just needed to learn from them. Overall, it was a pretty strange conversation to overhear. Why? Because adults aren’t supposed to let their emotions get out of control or act immaturely; they’re supposed to be sophisticated, wise, and well… adult! Right?

I’m starting to think not. The older I get and the more “adult” experiences I go through, the more I realize that adults really aren’t that much different than kids. In fact, I think what it all comes down to is that we’re all just big kids in adult bodies, with a whole lot more responsibility. That’s the true difference, isn’t it—the fact that we have more responsibilities (and greater abilities to handle them) than we did when we were kids? At least that’s what it seems like to me.

For a long time, I’ve been waiting. I’ve been waiting to grow up, waiting until I reach that level of grown-up-ness that makes me a fully empowered individual. When I was younger, it was all about getting to high school, the time of true independence! High-schoolers were cool and mature—practically adults in my eyes!—and I couldn’t wait to be one. But once I got to high school, I realized that there were a few too many limitations. I still felt like a child, and I wanted to be truly independent. So then my focus turned to graduation. Graduation meant I would be free and I’d never be forced to go to school against my will again. Or, once again, so I thought. Once I graduated and was officially done with high school, I realized that I still wasn’t a true adult. I had limitations to my freedom. So I set my sights a little higher, and it became all about turning 18. By that time I could drive and I had a lot of freedom already, but turning the official age of adulthood would mean that I could truly do whatever I wanted. Right? No, actually, I was wrong again. Because once I turned 18, I realized that I still had to live with my parents and was thus still practically a child. When would it end?! Well, a few months later, I hoped. Because that was the real deal, the truly most adult and independent milestone imaginable: college.

College meant moving out and moving in to my own new dorm room. It meant being free to choose my own classes and do as well or as poorly as I saw fit. It meant being able to do whatever I wanted at all! Except that, well, it didn’t. Because I still had one adult experience in mind that I wanted very badly but had not yet attained. And that, of course, was marriage.

I thought that marriage would change everything. I thought that I would finally be an indisputable adult, as mature and responsible and grown up as anybody else out there. And when my wedding day finally came and went, I felt quite satisfied with myself. I was officially grown up. Until, yet again, I realized that I wasn’t. Because I am still living with my parents, and I am still not fully independent, and to be honest I just don’t feel grown up yet, because I’m not ready to handle everything on my own! And that was when I started to notice something in other so-called grown-ups, and I started to understand the truth. You see, no matter how many responsibilities I gain and milestones I reach, I will still always have so much growing up to do. And, as I’ve noticed, so does everybody else.

For now, I think it’s best to just love the age that I am, in all senses of the word. I have to love my literal, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual age for what it is right now, because otherwise I’ll never stop to enjoy it. I have to realize that I will still act like a child sometimes because I am still a child in some ways—we all are! But I also have to never stop growing, maturing, and becoming a stronger person. Becoming stagnant in your age never seems to lead anywhere good, after all. I guess what I am trying to say is this; never stop growing, but never grow up—because you can’t. Most importantly, don’t put too much stock in your age, because it truly is just a number. Wisdom and maturity can come from anybody, no matter how “grown-up” they are, and growing is still possible at any age.