MLove That Lasts by Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke review.

Book Title: Love That Lasts: How we discovered God’s better way for love, dating, marriage, and sex.

Authors: Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke.

Publication Date: October 10th 2017.

I was blessed enough to be chosen to be apart of the launch team for the Bethke’s new book Love That Lasts. I received advanced readers copy and I have just completed my reading. I was excited from the day I was picked to be apart of this launch team and when I finally received my book I was ready to dive in with a lot of expectations. I have already read both of Jeff’s other books (Jesus > Religion and It’s Not What You Think) which were inspirational for this generation of Christians. When I found out Jeff and his wife Alyssa were writing a book together about a more God centered way to pursue marriage, sex, dating, and love, I was ready to learn their perspective because they appear to be the perfect example of what it means to allow God into your relationship but I was wrong. Jeff and Alyssa are not perfect. How do I know that? Because Jeff and Alyssa took the next step and brought teaching to another level by being completely transparent and open with their readers so that the person on the other side of the pages could reap the benefits of not only their accomplishments in marriage but also their failures.

Alyssa tells her tales of longing for a relationship all through high school and college. She goes into depth about her eating disorder and struggling to love herself. She shares about how much of a gift Jeff is to her but how she struggles with giving Jeff some of the reigns in their marriage. She takes us on her journey of waiting and trusting in the Lord through her season of singleness all the way to discussing her fears and expectations with sex within her marriage with Jeff. She covers topics most of us are curious about but is either too scared to share or too afraid to ask. Alyssa is genuine, honest, and sweet but also is truthful, bold, and courageous in her ability to share with us her struggles and success in following the Lord’s way for a happier and healthier (and more intimate) relationship with her spouse. I give her chapters in the book a complete 10/10. She is relatable in every possible way and she gives us hope by pointing us in the right direction which is to God.

Jeff dives deep into his messy and impure past with girls. He talks about struggling with sex, porn, and how he viewed women in his teenage years. He also goes in depth about how those problems from his past can seep into his marriage and can be a weight on his shoulders. He continues in following chapters to tell us about how he pursued Alyssa in a purer way and how that positively affects their relationship. Jeff guides us on how to treat our significant other with respect, love, and kindness but to also to remember to not make our s/o our everything. He reminds us that our relationships on earth should make us look more like Jesus. They should remind us of Jesus’s love for us. Jeff shares the details of his past relationships with women so that we can see how not to treat women or how to not let guys treat us. You can see Jeff grow from the first chapter about him losing his virginity at 16 all the way through marrying Alyssa and actively pursuing her in a different way than he was pursuing women in his teens. Jeff provides us a lens to see how we can be different and not get stuck in the “sex is recreational” culture but also not get stuck in the “sex is dirty” culture either. He gives us the option to see the in between. Jeff’s story is proof that God loves us regardless of what our pasts look like and that we have the power to tell Satan that we are now clean and free from those things we may have done.

My thoughts? Buy it. Do not hesitate on it either because it is for everyone. It is for the single, the dating, the married, the divorced, and everything in between. Even if you never plan on dating this book will still teach you how to pursue relationship better even at the friendship level. You will learn and grow in your relationship if you are in that season or you will learn to trust in the Lord through the example of the authors if you are in the season of singleness. Their transparency and ability to open their hearts and let their genuine thoughts and feelings flow out onto paper is incredible and the way they write sounds like you are having a one on one conversation with them. It’s personal. It’s intimate. It’s real. They don’t just tell you the good parts but share the messy parts too. They don’t pretend to be cookie cutter and all perfect but show us that they are completely one hundred percent human and that they mess up just like the rest of us. This book is unconventional because rather than listing the top ten things to never do in a relationship, they come down to our level, they address the most common issues in a relationship (or singleness) and give us ways to work through them better or what we can do to make it even more special and God centered. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking advice in whatever stage of life you may be in. Jeff and Alyssa are truly gems and God truly used them to help us find a better way for dating, marriage, sex, and love. Thank you.

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What Happens When You Fall Away From God?

Sin: an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

Love: an intense feeling of deep affection.

Worldly: of or concerned with material values or ordinary life rather than a spiritual existence.

Godly: devoutly religious; pious

Isn’t it amazing how much sweeter and more beautiful the nice definitions look? As Christians, we know these words like the back of our hands and yet we turn these words into actions every single day. We turn a three letter word (sin), into a living, breathing, thing. If God was standing directly in front of us and asked us what we’d rather have….we’d choose Love and Godliness over Sin and Worldliness any day. So, why is it that we chose them over God on an average day. . . because God isn’t here? Wrong. He is here. He’s living, breathing, working. So what is our issue? Why are we so easily pulled away from God?

Sometimes it is hard to remember that God is watching our every single move, crafting the paths before us, writing the next page of our book before we’ve even turned the page, and sculpting this glorious life for us as we are in the midst of committing sin. Personally, I feel like I’ve been drowning in an ocean of sin since being home for the summer and certainly, I know I am at many disadvantages for being a young Christian. I don’t have a spiritual family, I don’t have a schedule, I don’t have a strong church family, and I have zero Christian friends. I am basically set up to fail but I can’t use that excuse anymore. I chose not to read my Bible, pray, or make the choices that are going to set me up for spiritual success and give me a deeper relationship with my Lord. I am so grateful that I worship a Lord of second chances and mercy but I feel the call of the Holy Spirit to help young people redirect their eyes on Jesus and keep them there because I know I struggle in this area of my faith as well. I want to call attention to what is happening in the moments from when we take our eyes of Jesus to when we finally restore our sight because this is the biggest danger zone for any Christian.

Sin is brought on by temptation which is produced by the devil. Literally. It is actually impossible to not sin and I’m not saying we are supposed to be perfect but the issue is when we consecutively sin WILLINGLY and stray away from the core of our beliefs. The issue is when we start putting faith in our own choices and not in God or when we think we know better than God. We don’t dictate our lives, God does. Temptation arises in times when the devil knows we are most vulnerable. When we are home alone and suddenly the computer starts calling you to watch things you shouldn’t be or when we are at a party and we are the only ones not pounding back beers and suddenly alcohol looks so much sweeter. When we are at a family party and the gossip starts and we have to choose whether to join in and be included or to get up and not participate in hurtful words. The devil tempts us when he thinks he can win. It is so much easier to not sin when we are surrounded by strong people of faith or when we are deep in the Word or when our prayer game is strong because our relationship with God gets deeper and harder for the devil to penetrate. When we stop reading, praying, hanging out with disciples of Jesus, and stop fixating our eyes on things above, the devil makes us his little puppets. We are no longer strongly attached to anything sturdy or sacred, making it easier for Satan to manipulate us to stray further away from what is most important. Truthfully, the more we stop doing things for the Lord, the harder it is to start again. We skip reading our bibles for a day and all of a sudden it’s been a month since we’ve read. We have to be stronger than this! We can’t make ourselves bait for the devil. We can’t put ourselves in these vulnerable spots so Satan can rejoice in our misery. . . and his victory.

Someone told me once that we get two choices. . . you either do something for God or for Satan. There is no in between and how incredibly true is that? The issue here is Satan has this way of making everything seem so pretty and easy. Fitting in seems easy, pleasure seems great, and focusing on ourselves seem glorious. Satan is like a sugar coated piece of garbage. At first, it seems wonderful and unimaginable but as time goes on things become bitter and harsh. He pulls us down this path that is full of gum drops and so-called rewards just to drop of off at destination hell. God is different. His path seems more rocky, more dangerous, more unknowing, more sacrificial but his destination is warm and loving and full of peace. When we stray away from God we miss out on moments of grace, peace, mercy, hope, love, and fulfillment because we thought we knew better for ourselves. We realize this mistake after we begin to feel empty again. After we find ourselves depressed or blue because the reality is that Satan doesn’t care about us. He cares about himself. He cares about making God unhappy and we satisfy this every single time we give in and travel down his path and the farther we go. . . the harder it is to turn around and find God in the midst of all the darkness.

Straying away from God is like sitting in a float on a lazy river, everything seems fine at first and it’s calm. You decide to take off your life vest and just enjoy the ride without the extra weight and rules. The farther down the river you go, the stronger the current gets and you start getting a little nervous but you keep telling yourself it’ll pass but it doesn’t. The lazy river streams right into an ocean. You float into the middle of the sea and wonder how you got there. You are confused, lost, and do not have a life-saving vest. The only option you have is to try to swim back but the waves are too much, you keep getting sucked under water because you don’t have your life vest. The only things you can do is hope the coast guards find you and save you before it is too late. You know how you can prevent the drowning in your own sin? By having a durable and protectant life vest, being God. The issue is we want God to save us after we’ve done so damage already. We prevent sin by being strong Christians. Sure, God is forgiving and merciful but we take it for granted. He pays our bail every single time but wasn’t his blood enough? We as Christians need to stop straying away because God has never, and I mean never, taken his eyes off of us for a second even when we lose sight of Him for months or even years. We need to stop putting the nails back in Jesus’s hands and start putting the Bible in our own.

Choosing the world over God not only hurts our souls and your faith but it hurts God as well. It saddens Him to see us follow the world instead of his magnificent plan for us. We have to trust in him even if the path seems scary. We have to stop giving the devil the glory in our everyday lives. We have to stop thinking it is okay to go months without reading his perfect Word because it’s not. What happens when we fall away from God? We lose sight of everything that matters in this life. It doesn’t matter if we fall away for an hour or three years. Falling away from the creator of all things wonderful is one of the biggest tragedies in any believers life. We have to fixate our eyes on Jesus, keep our hands together in prayer, make our tongues soft, and turn our hearts to God long before we dig ourselves into trouble. God wants the best for us and we have to give up our pride in thinking that we know what that is. The Lord is unpredictable and without warning but that is what makes Him so amazing. He gives us things when we need them most and at times when we least expect it. Remember this. The world can’t do that for us. Jesus is the only answer for what we need.

Be in your Bibles. Be deep in prayer. Build deep relationships with believers. Get a sturdy life vest and do not drown. I love you all. It is never too late to turn around re-create your relationship with God, He is waiting for you. I’ll be praying for you. – Lex

Where I’ve Been

I have been really slacking in my blogging career these last few couple weeks and I’d just like to explain myself. This past month has been hectic and crazy. As a college student, I was in the midst of finals, moving out, moving back home, saying goodbye to my boyfriend, switching churches, my boyfriend visiting at home, and participating in a two-week social media cleanse. *sigh*. Okay. So, yeah that’s just the summary of everything I’ve been handling since May. Praise Jesus for my survival. This time off from writing was sad but needed. I needed time to focus on the important things in life and get through it, which just so happened to work because in this time I also accomplished a lot. I finished my freshman year of college with a 3.4 GPA, I started working again, I got to sightsee New England with my wonderful boyfriend. I got to throw my sister a birthday party, take my brothers to numerous soccer games and swim meets, and spend so much quality time with my grandparents. Life is too short to spend it behind a screen 24/7 but I’m back. I’m ready to write and I’m ready to use this platform as a source of the good news of Jesus Christ. New posts will be on MONDAYS, as I will be using Sunday as a day of worship and work. I appreciate every single one of you that continue to support me and read my work. I love you all endlessly. Keep me in your prayers and I’ll keep you in mine – Alexis

Week 11: List All The Ways You Can Rejuvenate Your Space

  • Paint some canvas art!
  • DIY some mason jars
  • Buy a cheap new comforter for your bed
  • Replace any dingy curtains
  • Frame some photos
  • Buy a new throw blanket and pillows
  • New Centerpiece

This post is way beyond late and I know it is incredibly short but this was a rather difficult prompt because I don’t have my own space. Feel free to comment your favorite ways to rejuvenate your space.

Aloha.

It has been on my heart to go on a mission trip for a very long time. I have found an opportunity to do mission work in Hawaii. I love traveling, serving, and meeting new people and this trip will provide me all of that. I am writing this to ask for your help! This trip cost money, money that a broke college student does not have. I need this trip and the people of Hawaii need this trip! I will be building homes, creating sustainable agriculture, and mentoring the homeless youth of Hawaii for ten days. I am not only asking for money but for prayers, support, love, and encouragement. This trip has the potential to be life changing and I want to be a part of it. I would love for this opportunity to become a reality and I need you to help me. Thank You! – Lex.

Here is my gofundme page! :       https://www.gofundme.com/qd-my-mission-tripgive-generously-to-them-and-do-so-without-a-grudging-heart-then-because-of-this-the-lord-your-god-will-bless-you-in-all-your-work-and-in-everything-you-put-your-hand-to

Giving Back

This year I made it my mission to only buy from charitable companies for Christmas gifts. This was rather difficult but so eye opening. Christmas is about giving back and spreading the love so why not do that for your loved ones and people across the globe at the same time? I have compiled a list of companies I have used and companies I have found that all give back when your purchase from them. I pray that you use these companies for holiday shopping and everyday needs.

  • TOMS – Donates a pair of shoes for every pair purchased
  • Krochet for Kids.- Knitted beanies that give jobs to women in Africa.
  • Smile Squared – Donates a toothbrush for every purchase (super cheap!)
  • Pura Vida – Makes bracelets from Costa Rica and donates to the charity correlating to the bracelet
  • Chavez for Charity – Cute bracelets that help the charity it belongs to when purchased
  • Love your Melon – Donates a beanie to a child battling cancer
  • The Little Market – Every item in this store gives back!
  • St. Jude – They have a nice online shop that gives back to the hospital
  • Amazon Smile – Shopping through Amazon Smile gives back with qualifying purchases to a charity of your choice
  • MAC Viva Glam Collection – Purchases from the Viva Glam collection give the proceeds to fight HIV/AIDS
  • The Body Shop “Honey Mania” – Their honey mania collection promotes fair trade.
  • Lizzie and Laura – Make bracelets that help artisans in Nepal
  • The Elephant Pants – Cute clothes! / Donates 10% to the International Elephant Foundation
  • Hand in Hand Soap – Buy a bar Give a bar
  • Kohls Cares – For just five dollars you can buy a stuffed animal or book that gives back to local communities
  • Yoobi – School supplies that give back to schools in need
  • World Play Project – Soccer balls that give a ball to a child in need.
  • 1Face Watches – Cute , inexpensive watches that give back to the charity of the month
  • Flex Watches – Donates to the charity related to that watch!
  • Project 7 Gums and Mints – Donates back to local and abroad communities

There are so much more amazing charitable companies but this should get the ball rolling for a lot of you. I encourage you all to shop charitable and help the world one purchase at a time. – Lex.

What My First Semester at College Taught Me

Well, a whole semester has come and gone. It feels as if yesterday I was moving my life, in orange rolly bins into a dorm room. I’ve survived classes, roommate battles, and borderline heinous dining hall food but so much more has happened in just this first semester. I have grown so much in ways I didn’t think I needed too but have led to such an amazing result within myself.

I have become so much more open-minded  human being. Things I would’ve made fun of in high school, I took upon myself to become more educated on. I attended a Safe Zone Training course to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community so I , as a Christian, could better understand their needs and what I can do for them. My English professor made it pretty clear in the beginning of the semester that he was a liberal and a year ago I would’ve let everything he said to go in one ear and out the other but I opened my brain and heart and let his viewpoints sink in a little deeper than usual. He handed us articles on feminism, obesity, white privilege, and even police brutality and it just opened my eyes to the issues going on this world that is not being addressed in my white suburban neighborhood back in western Massachusetts. I watched minorities cry at the election of Trump, and my own roommates worrying about their futures and prosperities in America. These were things I have never had to worry about but now I was watching it happen right before my eyes. Open Mindedness has not always been a huge deal to me but was certainly something that needed more work.

Confidence. This is something I have struggled with for such a long time, especially due to my anxiety but college does things to people. I had to present in front of 80 people, give an expo in front of administration, I had a job interview, I gained an internship at the Springfield police department and I even went around my campus inviting random strangers to my campus Bible Talk. Things I couldn’t even have thought about doing in high school without having an anxiety attack. I gained friends from this newly discovered confidence. I have never had these many friends in my 18 years of life but let me tell you how good it feels, amazing. I truly am so blessed to be able to have this growth because I was so sick of being an extrovert in my brain and heart but having to be an introvert for the sake of everyone else. I am free to be me and I love it.

Lastly, I have learned so much about God. Learning that life is just a passing through and that everything I am doing here is about glorifying God.  I try hard to do well but I do not beat myself up over a C because life is so much more than right now. I can enjoy these moments and soak it all up but not get caught up in it. I know that in 25 years those falls will just be a memory and that in heaven, my college degree is not coming with me. College is showing me that love is patient and kind ( 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). I see this when it comes to dealing with roommates or just needing patience when it actually comes to relationships. God is teaching me a lot about timing here. God is showing me that a boyfriend or job is not in my cards right now and I am surprisingly okay with that. God is showing me that is okay to care for yourself but to not forget about helping others. He is truly working through me and this campus.

This may only be my first semester here in West Haven CT but I have a plethora of new ideas and perspectives already. I am growing and maturing and becoming a human that this world needs. I am enjoying every single second here and I can not wait to see what the following semesters have to offer me. – Lexuniversity_of_new_haven_seal

 

G.A.D

Do you know what those letters stand for? They stand for  “Generalized Anxiety Disorder.”  The textbook definition is “Severe, ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily activities (Mayo Clinic).” Before we get more in depth, what exactly is just “anxiety”? Well, Anxiety is A mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities (Mayo Clinic). This disorder is studied by psychologist and proven to be a disorder. The symptoms include

  • Pain areas: in the back
  • Whole body: fatigue, lightheadedness, restlessness, or sweating
  • Psychological: severe anxiety, fear, or repeatedly going over thoughts
  • Behavioral: hyper-vigilance or irritability
  • Cognitive: lack of concentration or unwanted thoughts
  • Also common: emotional distress, excessive worry, difficulty falling asleep, headache, nausea, sensation of an abnormal heartbeat, or trembling
Some may be asking why I am writing about this and it’s simply because I, unfortunately, suffer from it. Every minuet of everyday I am suffering.  This mental illness is not something people can always see or witness so they can easily write it off as not existing. Iv been told its “all in your head”. . . and yes it is. That’s exactly the problem. I can’t get a new brain or nervous system. I have what God gave me and I have to push through it every single day and it is not easy at all. I have anxiety attacks in my sleep, I get overwhelmed by the simplest stuff, I can’t enjoy things like everyone else because my brain always goes to worse case scenario. Having to turn down birthday parties and team bonding events because social anxiety gets in the way. Having to hide in the bathroom at work and cry and hyperventilate for 3o minuets because I can’t handle the atmosphere. Even presenting in class seems like torture. I am hardly ever at peace with myself. Constant nail biting, hair twirling, readjusting, making sure I look okay because God Forbid someone says something about the way I look.  I can be having a great day until someone doesn’t open a text message and my brain immediately tells me that person doesn’t like.. that I am not good enough.. that Im worthless. Anxiety is not just nervousness. It is so much more. It’s crying, trouble breathing, stomach pains, shaking, and begging God to take this disorder away from me.
I know that there are going to be ignorant people in this world who do not understand and refuse to believe this disorder is real but let me tell you it is. Please do the world a favor if you do not have a psych degree or suffer from mental health issues… watch what you say. It is hurtful and makes us anxiety people, feel beneath you. I want nothing more than to live in a world where my anxiety is considered a valid excuse to not show up for work or school. I want treatment to not be seen like it is only meant for “crazy” people. Mental disorders are very very real and just because we can’t see them does not mean we can brush them off. Anxiety Disorder is something that I ask all of you to take the time and research and educate yourselves on.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and be understanding. I hope by that opening myself up to people, we can learn something or two about mental illness and take a stance together to end the stigma. Lots of love – Lex.