Travis Epps | Not Easily Broken

DISCUSS!

Below is one of my favorite scriptures. Curious to know your thoughts. Is this a scripture that you were aware of when you got married or engaged? if so did you apply it?  If you are single is this something that you will want to apply to your marriage?  overall what is your take on this verse ? please leave a comment below!

Deuteronomy 24:5

“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.”

King James Version (KJV)

Fear Not – From Brittne Epps

Fear Not

Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”

This is the scripture the Lord spoke to me the morning of Monday, December 4, 2017, the day that changed the life of my husband, Travis and I forever. The Saturday prior to this day, my husband and I were in our bathroom looking in utter shock and amazement at a pregnancy test that showed a positive result. All I could say was, “oh my gosh, oh my gosh is this really correct?” Travis immediately started tearing up as he already knew the result was accurate. He was the one that told me to take it that morning because I had been displaying symptoms of nausea and frequent urination that whole week. But I had no idea that I would actually test positive on the pregnancy test because I had just tested negative on one not too long ago. So, just to be sure, we scheduled an appointment with Amnion Pregnancy Center, a non-profit Christian organization right up the street, unbeknown to us! Interesting right? So, long story short, I was due to go in for my appointment Monday morning to confirm whether or not we were indeed expecting. I was lying there in our bed just thinking and feeling so many different emotions and thoughts. What if I really am pregnant? What if it’s a false alarm? What if I miscarry? Am I ready to be a mother? What if something happens to me during labor? How painful is it going to be? And the list goes on and on. As my eyes welled up with tears, I picked up my cell phone and went to my Bible app to read, and there it was, the verse of the Day: Isaiah 41:13. As I read the verse I burst into tears as the Lord spoke directly to my spirit. I began to thank God and worship Him and praise Him in advance for all He was going to do for Travis and me. It was in that moment that I already knew that we were expecting for sure, and immediately the fear had left. Blessed assurance and peace rested upon me at that very moment. But most importantly, the Lord had given me a promise that He would be with me during this pregnancy and that He is going to help me through it all.

So here we are, 5 months later, and at an all-time high in this journey we call pregnancy. The Lord is daily keeping His promise to me and Travis and after all my morning sickness, suffering hormonal and emotional roller coasters, and even a season of depression, the Lord has restored my joy, strength, peace and happiness like nobody’s business! I am so thrilled and happy to announce that as of Tuesday, March 20, 2017, Travis and I are expecting our first, precious little baby boy! God is so awesome! It was funny because the whole time Travis thought we were having a girl, but a part of me knew the whole time that it was going to be a boy. I actually dreamt about holding a boy some weeks before we found out that we were expecting, so I held on to that dream in the recesses of my mind, and to my amazement it has come to fruition.

When Travis and I were watching our baby on the ultra sound on Tuesday, all I could do was laugh and smile as he moved and kicked me (lol). And then the moment came when we both saw the “undeniable proof” that the baby was in fact a boy; we both let out a gasp and said “oh my gosh it’s a boy!” I couldn’t stop laughing and saying “I knew it, I knew it!” and Travis was holding back tears as he said, “Wow, I thought it was a girl, I’m having a boy first?!” We spent all day and evening calling family members to spread the great news, and I could just see the happiness in my husband’s eyes as he expressed his joy and anticipation of raising his first-born son. As I looked at my husband, I thought to myself, and to God, “Wow, I thank You for choosing me to carry and bring forth his son into this world and to fulfill my calling as a mother to raise up a mighty man of God in this Earth.” I also thought about the lessons I have learned in such a short span of time in our marriage.

In the past 5 months, Travis and I have gone through a few hurdles while adjusting to the pregnancy. There were times when I would become so emotional and overwhelmed for no reason at all. Sometimes I would just be super hungry, super cranky and super tired, and would cry because of it. Thankfully, there were times when my wonderful husband would go out, even if it was at midnight, to pick me up whatever food I was craving. And then there were those times where I would become super sensitive during disagreements and lash out on Travis because I felt like he wasn’t understanding me or giving me the attention, I continuously nagged him for. Of course, this was all new to Travis, so he didn’t understand at first what I was experiencing physically, emotionally and mentally from being pregnant, and unfortunately, I would become so emotional that I failed at communicating exactly what I wanted or needed from him; sometimes I didn’t even know what it was that I wanted or needed. As a result, this created an atmosphere of frustration for the both of us at home. But the hardest part of the pregnancy for the both of us was when I was forced to take a break from my job because I was missing too many days from being so sick. I honestly felt bad about this. I felt like I had let my husband and my job down because of the pregnancy. I didn’t realize it at first, but I slowly slipped into a depression. With all this time on my hands at home, I didn’t know what to do with myself at first. For several days in a row I would just sleep and do nothing. I hated being home alone, but at the same time I was so depressed I didn’t want to do anything outside either. It got to a point where Travis sat me down and told me this isn’t healthy anymore. You have to get out and do something, for you and the baby. Of course, I cried and yelled and made all the excuses in the world as to why I didn’t want to. I even blamed him at one point for my misery. But, today I am so glad I listened to my husband. After the talk, my husband graciously let me take a break from home for about a week. This abrupt getaway turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I didn’t realize it until I changed my environment for this short period of time, that I wasn’t doing productive things at home, like I should have been while waiting to work again. Being able to step back and put everything into perspective I realized that I needed to PRAY. Being away from my husband that week completely ignited an appreciation within me for him that I had never experienced before. I also realized that I fell off a lot from praying for certain things in our marriage, praying for other people and needs beyond myself, and even being submissive. When I came back home to my husband, I made a resolve that things would be different moving forward. I was going to get my fight back for my family, my marriage and my prayer life. I had to reset and get my priorities back in order and realize that we are about to bring a child into this world and he deserves to be raised in a stable, healthy and spiritually sound environment. So, I put my “big girl pants” on and put my faith into action. I got back home, changed my attitude, and my husband and I talked over habits we needed to reform, as well as things that needed to change in our home. Since then we have been praying together again every morning, communicating with each other more openly and lovingly, I have also been making a conscious effort every day to stay in reading the Word of God and in prayer and to allow the Holy Ghost to take control of my life. But just as important as that, I have also been putting the needs of my husband and my home first; which is what we as wives are called to do and will be judged for. I’ve learned that submission to God and your husband changes everything for the better. When you take a moment to step back and actually listen to God and your husband, life will get so much easier for you and your family. Your marriage will be transformed right in front of your eyes and your prayer life will take flight. I am learning that in life, as a saved young woman of God, when you place Jesus first, your family second and yourself last, everything will fall into place according to God’s design and you Will be blessed beyond measure. This is one of the many lessons Travis and I plan to instill into the life of our little baby boy.

Conflict Resolution In Marriage

There is no Secret that in marriage arguments will occur. Conflict in marriage can be poisonous if not handled the right way. Dominating an argument can leave your spouse feeling rejected, and fighting in front of your children can make them feel insecure and possibly develop attachment issues. In many marriages you will find that unhealthy conflict has become the norm. You may be the person who shuts down during arguments or perhaps you are the type that gets so mad that the whole neighborhood hears you. Maybe you are the type that brings up the past when you are in an argument or you might remain calm but calls another later to gossip. None of these are better than the other, they are all bad. As a Newlywed or someone contemplating marriage, you have to realize that fighting fair is a skill you have to master for a healthy Marriage. During the dating phase the relationship is superficial, both individuals are putting their best self forward, so arguments may be non- existent. When you get married and live together (I strongly advise not to live with your partner until marriage- another blog for another day) it’s a different ball game. It doesn’t matter how much you and your spouse have in common, you are both very different, even if you both serve the lord. You will find that the way you celebrate holidays and birthdays are different, your concept of Family is different, the way you handle conflict will be different.   You might find that the way your respective families handle conflict will affect the way your spouse handles it. It is key for you to identify your conflict style early to prevent hurting your spouse. I realized that my Family is very blunt and we say how we feel, if you don’t know us that can come off as mean and abusive verbally. That aspect of me didn’t magically go away because I said “I do”. We must find out what our style is so we will not offend one another. At the beginning of my marriage my wife was the type that would shut down whenever I had an issue with something, this created a problem for me because it made me think that my wife did not care about how I felt. It caused arguments to blow out of proportion, to the point where we forgot what we were initially arguing about. We learned that to help one another we had to change. I needed her to show interest when I wanted to talk to her about something. I had to use my words wisely, not use words that hurt her. I want to offer a few tips in this blog to help readers fight fair. Here they are

General Hot-Button Issues

  1. Never compare your husband to another man. This includes, but is not limited to, your father, brother, men you have dated and other men in general.
  2. Men, never Compare your Wife to another woman, especially your Mother. Understand that your mother and your wife play two different roles. Your mother Raised you and was always a nurturer to you, your Wife is your Equal, she did not raise you so don’t expect her to treat you the same way your mother does. Don’t compare your wife’s food to your mom’s food and foolish things like that.
  3. Never criticize a man’s ability to provide for his family
  4. Never criticize a women Ability to provide care for her family.

No Fishing

If you do find yourself in an argument, stay on topic; don’t use this time venturing into your spouse’s past. Bringing up his/her past is actually condemning him/her. If you are in an argument about spending habits, keep the topic on that, don’t bring up an issue from years ago, you will never resolve the issue at hand.

Respect one Another

Don’t yell , especially in front of Kids. Remember a soft answer will turn away wrath. Also give your spouse eye contact when you speak to one another. Sometimes a soft touch while talking will calm a situation down. Don’t call each other names; you’re not in elementary school. Do not bring up divorce and don’t say other things you are going to regret. Stay away from phrases like “You always do this” or you never help me out. Words like always and never are blanket statements and should not be used. Don’t walk away abruptly or turn your back when your spouse is speaking to you. Watch your body language; body language speaks volumes to your spouse.

Don’t argue just to Argue

Argue with a goal. Arguments can be healthy when done right. Always look for a resolution. If you can’t find one, talk about it another time. Timing is important; you can’t always talk when you feel like it. Never argue in front of family, kids, church, while at work or over the phone. Ask your spouse if it is a good time to talk about it and if they say no, accept it and pick another time.

                 Forgive

When hurtful things are done, learn to forgive. Do not over analyze forgiveness. Give a second chance. Sometimes we are so hurt we can’t forgive because we can’t understand how spouse can be inconsiderate of feelings. Don’t analyze every motive or reason, just forgive. Because honestly there are times when the motive was to hurt you, but if they are asking for forgiveness, forgive. If they are not Sincere, God will not allow them to get away with it. Trust God, he is sovereign.

Everlasting Love Through Seasons of Change

When me and my Wife found out we were having a child, we were very happy. The news has already changed us tremendously. As a man I have obtained a huge burden of responsibility that I have never had before. My purpose in life seems so much deeper than it has ever been.  The news has also burdened me and my wife to strengthen our marriage as well. I imagine this will be the fastest I will ever fall in love with a person, as soon as I see the little person, in record time I will love him/her.  I would argue that I already do.  I remember how my parents loved me through my development, when I was a toddler, in elementary school, middle school, high-school, college and now in my late 20’s. The way my mom and dad loved their children is the same way I am going to love my children the same. Thinking on this, God dropped this little nugget into my life regarding my marriage.

The lady you take as your wife is going to go through changes, wishful thinking would suggest that she will go through positive changes, but that’s not always the case. Life experiences will change us, sometimes for better, but sometimes worst. The question you need to answer for yourself is this: can you love her through the changes? Can you love her through her victories and defeats? Can you love her if tragedy strikes and it seems like she is a completely different person? Can you love her if sickness comes? Can you love her when God uses her?  When he makes mistakes can you love him? Can you love him when money is funny? Can you love him/her through growth?

Yes newlywed, your wife/husband will go through changes as he/she grows. If you married “young”, trust and believe that the woman/man who you married at 21 will not be the same woman/man at 42 or 64. You will play a huge part in your mate’s development. Always cover your spouse in prayer, love them through the good and bad. Areas that you are stronger in, help your spouse; let your spouse help you in areas you are weaker in.  I always find it interesting how God calls us to be so intimate and close with our wives and to become one with them, this is interesting to me because we are not the same genetically, meaning a close relationship is guaranteed to take work. What I mean is this, look at your children, they share some of your DNA, they look like you, they come from you, and your kids truly are made up of 50% mom 50% Dad. This makes us instantly connected to our kids.  Our spouse does not share our DNA, but God requires this relationship of husband and wife to be paramount and priority in our life, a true team. God requires us to love our spouse through their changes just like we love our children through theirs. Oh, what a challenge we have! Challenge yourselves to love your spouse through the changes, because God loves you with an everlasting love!

Marriage Tips -From Andrew Walker

Author :  Andrew Walker

 Starve your eyes…

In a world where we have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. there is way more temptation that we as men have to fight. We are men that get intrigued by what we see. For example King David seeing Bathsheba. He called to get her and committed adultery, EVEN when he knew she was married to a man that was fighting in the war for HIM! So with having these social media outlets, we need to be mindful of the pictures we “like” and videos that we watch. Lust can grow in our hearts and before you know it, you might be sliding in someone’s DMs. I know you can’t really control what other people post but you can tell how “crazy” they are by their posts in the past. Lol, I’m sure we’ve all trolled someone’s page before befriending or adding someone on Facebook. With that being said, be mindful of who you connect with on social media.

Passwords…

Another practical practice that can keep you accountable is giving your wife/significant other access to your passwords. Now that’s a touchy topic, because some of us might say that’s going too far and you need SOME privacy. But knowing that he/she could be looking, might help keep you from straying. If you need it…just as an extra precaution.

Birds of a feather…

Hanging out with other like-minded couples is another good idea. I would just be careful of doing the group thing too much because by nature, some people tend to be competitive and couples may subliminally compete with one another or even argue due to the lack of PDA in front of everyone else. I’m sure you’ve been on a group date and felt the pressure of putting your arm around your girl because the other male had his arm around his girl . And you know if you don’t do it, it’ll seem like you aren’t in as much love as the other couples. That’s why I suggest limiting the group things. Do them! But not ALL the time.

 

See the bigger picture…

If you find yourself in a potentially compromising situation, you have to see the bigger picture. Often times I joke with my friends and we talk about the fact that when we are single, NOBODY wants to holla at you. But as soon as you find someone and they like you back, all of a sudden it seems as if everyone that you were interested in before, starts to come around. It’s the same way being married (for the most part). The thing is, temptation will always be there. But you have to look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself: Is it worth going back on your vows? What would your children and family think? And most of all what would God say? So looking at the grand scheme of things will put things back into perspective to help you combat temptation.

Greener pastures?…

There’s a saying that the grass may not be greener on the other side. Now if the grass does look greener on the other side, WATER YOUR SIDE!!!! Do things with your wife/significant other that you like to do. Make your relationship fun for yourselves. Continue to date and impress your wife and watch your side of the grass (Wife) grow.

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Came Early!

Dreams, Visions, Thoughts and strong feelings preceded conformation. I had a feeling- but how can we be sure about these things right? We really didn’t plan it, as a matter fact we took measures to prevent it, But as we learned, when its time-its time!  Sporadically I would dream about curly hair, little sensitive toes, and big beautiful Eyes. I fell in-love in record-time, I never fell in love with anyone this fast before.  I wake up on 12/2 and the words just come out of my mouth instantly, I say “Wifey Take this” and she does. We see one line and we have a quick sigh of relief, I leave her for a moment heading to our bedroom. Then I hear “Oh My God” I run back to my wife and immediately the narrative changes, one line changes into two! She is hysterical (Happy) at this point and can’t believe it. I am equally happy. “We are expecting “She says. We quickly make an appointment with a doctor and we tell our love ones. The doctor confirmed the Pregnancy .  Christmas came early us. Please pray for a Healthy Pregnancy and healthy delivery for our child, this will be our first.  I often joke with my wife about #TeamBoy however I am happy either way! Wanted to share this beautiful moment with my readers!

P.S.

There may be two in there!!

Vows over Everything.

Do you, Paul take  Sarah to be your lawfully wedded wife and live together forever in the estate of holy matrimony? Do you promise to  love, comfort, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse for as long as you both shall live?

 I do.

 I, Sarah take thee, Paul to be my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.

 

 

 

Maybe your Vows didn’t sound exactly like the ones above, or maybe they did, perhaps you wrote your own vows. Whatever the case may be, imagine you are about to enter marriage, a world full of both uncertainty and excitement, and you are racking your brain for what your vows could be to your wife. My biggest piece of advice would be this, don’t enter marriage unadvisedly. Essentially what Vows entail is commitment, not emotion, but allegiance and faithfulness. Marriage is about forgiving one another, fighting through hard times and exercising the principles of God’s word that you have learned in singleness. The easy way out is divorce. To be frank, God hates divorce. Divorce is a disease that has hit the body of Christ and spread like wildfire. Many of our favorite singers and preachers openly get divorced and marry another, as if God is pleased with that course. The frequency of divorce should tell us a lot. One note it should tell us is that marriage is not easy, I don’t care if you never had a bad day with your spouse , “keep living” as the grown folks say. I can speak from my own experience. I entered my marriage with a ton of momentum. Everything was going well about half way through the year was when our first test came. I got fired from my Job, a job that I was at for Five years and was succeeding at.  I virtually lost all my friends and never got a chance to defend myself. The savings we had were running low, my wife in turn lost her job, and we were moving to a very dark place. There I was, very happy to be married, and all of a sudden I became a 28-year-old without money, no car (we lost that too) and a reputation that had been run through the mud.  The next incident was between me and my wife, the frustration and all the factors had caused friction between us.  Arguments were becoming the norm and divorce was brought up, we found ourselves attacking one another verbally due to the stress of life.  Those lessons of life led me to provide this thought to anyone who is thinking about marriage. We serve A God that will test you and we are at odds with a Devil that does not want to see you and your  spouse together. We ended up being unemployed for a total of 4 months. The time of friction between us was about 1 month but it felt like a year.  I decided that it was time for us to go on the offensive and she felt the same way.

It was during the time of intense friction that I was reminded of my vows. Vows that made me cry, Vows that I never intend to break.  God pointed me back to them. I laughed and told God “I would never Divorce my wife”. Vows aren’t just to prevent divorce; it’s not just a commitment for two people just to stay together for the sake of staying together. Marriage isn’t intended for two just to merely exist, but to live fruitfully, blissfully and more abundantly. To be companions, to be one and to be a ministry unto others and unto God. God wanted us to get the most out of our marriage. And God led  me to do something that my wife is not aware that I do, but she will be after reading this! He told me to read my vows every day. I literally renew my vows to my wife daily!  Every morning I read my vows before I go to work. All those things I lost, God gave us back.  I was given a car, I started a new career,  I renewed friendships and created new friendships . We realized that God had to move some things so that we would focus on one another. The vows that you will make to your spouse cant waiver because of life, your vows can’t waiver because you are tired of him or her. This is the biggest commitment that any man or woman will enter, I don’t care what anyone thinks or what the media says, when done right you will get a refreshing perspective of God that you never had before. And you will receive and operate on a  level of favor that was impossible to obtain when single (read Proverbs 18:22). I would advise all men and women to renew their vows daily, not every 20 years. We spend so much time and money on the dress, the flowers, the reception and the honeymoon and almost forgot the most important part is the vows. It’s fascinating that the most valuable part of your wedding is a part that is free, your vows.  There is no price attached to them just a commitment to God and your spouse. Let me drive this point home. Your commitment to your spouse supersedes every feeling, emotion, trial, tragedy, hardship, Injury, freak accident, death, boredom, sweetheart on the side and what ever else life throws at you. Please renew your vows Daily.

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“Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company of witnesses to join together this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony; which is an honorable estate, instituted of God, signifying unto us the mystical union that is between Christ and His Church; which Holy Estate Christ adorned with His presence and first miracle that He wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is commended of St. Paul to be honorable among all men; and therefore, not entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, soberly and in the fear of God. Into this Holy Estate these two persons present come now to be joined

Hit The Refresh Button

 

Whether you have the best career you could’ve ever asked for, or you hate your job tremendously, we all have bad days at work. Whether you run your own business, work for a company or serve your community, stressful days are guaranteed.  Like most of us, when I venture home my wife awaits.  Often I walk in the door and just want to skip everything, and immediately jump in my bed.   However, she has needs as well and without any warning she goes off, talking about anything and everything. Suddenly, those lips that I love become a curse when they move.  Her voice that is usually so angelic to me becomes a snare, and her body language is causing me to roll my eyes.  I remain quiet for a couple of minutes until I have heard enough.  Then she asks me the worst question she could possibly ask in this moment “How was work”? At this point I lose it! I take all of my stress out on my helper, I belittle her because I felt belittled at work, and I abuse her with your words because I felt beat-up at work. I gave all my energy to work but I forgot to save some energy for my family. I forgot to hit the “refresh button” and leave my daily stresses at the door. This is a lesson I had to learn early in my marriage because I was that guy that wanted to be angry after work and not deal with my family as if it was their fault.  My wife would feel rejected from me. This was not good for our marriage and needed to be fixed.

I learned that my wife meant well. She truly was concerned and she did not deserve my anger. I decided that no matter how bad or stressful work was that day, before I walked in my home I would leave work behind, leave stress behind. The ride home was my time to prepare.  Prayer was key; my prayer was always a prayer of thanks. “Lord I thank you for my occupation, lord I thank you for my wife, Lord I cast all my cares and stress on you, help me to be a blessing to my wife”. This helped me so much. There were times when I needed more than prayer, sometimes just stopping somewhere and making a purchase helped. Going to the gym before stopping home would clear my mind as well; just make sure you communicate with your spouse before you make a stop. The truth is I give 100% at work and my wife deserves more than the work does. This is a principle you can apply throughout your entire marriage, give your wife more energy than work, never put any business venture before your family and always refresh before you come home. Now When I hear “Hun how was work”? It sparks the most fulling conversations in our home. Remember to hit the refresh button