God vs. Satan (Part 2 of 2)

Continuing on with truths regarding God and Satan.

God is…light

  • John 1:6-9 He is the true Light and John the Baptist came before Him (Jesus) to testify about Him; He enlightens man
  • John 8:12, 9:5 He’s the Light of the world and brings the light of life to those who follow
  • John 12:35-36 Jesus encouraged followers to walk with and believe in the Light so that they would not be overcome by darkness and would become sons of Light

Satan is…darkness

  • 2 Corinthians 11:14 He disguises himself as an angel of light

God is…Lord over all

  • Deuteronomy 10:17 He is God of gods, Lord of lords, the great, the mighty and the awesome God
  • 1 Timothy 6:15 The only Sovereign, King of kings, Lord of lords
  • Revelation 17:14 He will overcome those who wage war against Him because He is Lord of lords and King of kings
  • Revelation 19:16 His name is written on His robe and thigh-King of Kings and Lord of Lords
  • Romans 10:11-13 He is Lord of all, whether Jew or Greek any who call on His name will receive His riches
  • Acts 17:24 He made the world and all things in it and is Lord of Heaven and Earth

Satan is…only a god of this world

  • John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11 The ruler of this world has been cast down, judged and has no hold on Christ
  • 1 John 5:19 We (believers in Christ) are of God, but the whole world lies in the power of the evil one

 

God is…all knowing

  • Job 34:21-22 He sees all the steps of man and there is no where to hide from Him
  • Psalm 139:2,4 He knows when we sit and rise; He understands our thoughts (even when we don’t understand ourselves); He even knows the words we will speak before they’re spoken
  • Psalm 147:5 His understanding is infinite
  • Proverbs 5:21, 15:3 His eyes are watching all and know all

God is…love    1 John 4:8, 16

God is…unchangeable    Malachi 3:6

And last but certainly not least, my favorite truths that bring the utmost hope in this dark world. 

God is…VICTORIOUS and WILL REIGN FOREVER!

  • Psalm 146:10 He will reign forever to all generations
  • Revelation 11:15 The world’s kingdom becomes the Lord’s and His Christ’s and He will reign forever and ever
  • Revelation 19:15, 20-21 He strikes down the nations with the sword of His mouth
  • Revelation 22:5 He is the light of Heaven, illuminating it and reigning forever and ever

Satan is…DEFEATED!

  • Genesis 3:15 His end fate is foretold in the beginning; he will be crushed
  • James 4:7 He will flee from us when we submit to God and resist him.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:8 He will be slain with only the breath of the Lord’s mouth
  • Revelation 20:7-10 Fire came down and consumed the nations against God; Satan is cast into the lake of fire to be tormented for eternity
  • 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 Death has been swallowed up in victory through our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Revelation 12:12 Satan knows his time is limited and will soon come to an end

*Bonus thought: The cross would seem to be Satan’s triumph when in fact it was his defeat. And out of it would flow the greatest good ever to come to the world. (Adapted from NASB Study Bible notes)

O’ Victory in Jesus my Savior forever!

 

God vs. Satan

For the last few days I’ve been focusing my quiet time on studying exactly who and what God is vs. who and what Satan is/is not. Here’s what I’ve found so far. Keep in mind that because Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30), scriptures that are directly referring to Jesus will in turn also be referring to God the Father.

God is…the beginning, the first

  • Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created everything, so actually He was even before the beginning.
  • Isaiah 41:4 He is the first
  • Revelation 1:8, 21:6, 22:13 He is the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, first and last, who was, is and is to come

Satan is…a creation by God

  • Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created both in Heaven and on earth…all things have been created through Him and for Him.

God is…eternal

  • Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is a dwelling place
  • Isaiah 9:6 He is our eternal Father
  • Romans 16:25-26 The eternal God has established you and revealed the mystery of the Gospel to you
  • 1 Timothy 1:17 He is the eternal King

Satan is…to be tormented for eternity

  • Revelation 20:10 He is thrown into the lake of fire and tormented day and night forever and ever

*Bonus thought: Only God is purely eternal. Everything and everyone else is gifted eternity through Him whether it be eternal life or torment. But God has always been eternal.

God is…all powerful

  • Jeremiah 27:5, 32:17,27 He made the Heavens and earth by His great power; nothing is too difficult for Him
  • Genesis 18:14 Nothing is too difficult, not even to make a old woman bear a child
  • Mark 10:27 All things are possible with God

Satan is…limited in power

  • Job 1:12 God distributed power to Satan but also put restrictions on it
  • Revelation 17:15-17 God even controls Satan’s plans and intentions for evil because He has a greater purpose in mind

God is…ever present

  • Psalm 139:7-8 God’s presence and Spirit is everywhere from Heaven to Sheol, you cannot flee from it
  • 1 Kings 8:27 God cannot be contained, even in the highest heaven
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16 His Spirit dwells within every believer
  • Genesis 26:24, 28:15; Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 28:19-20 From Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to Isaiah to believers today God has always and will always be with his people

Satan is…restricted and will be confined

  • Job 1:6-7 He roams and walks the earth then presents himself to God
  • Luke 10:18 He was cast out of Heaven
  • Revelation 20:1-3 He is bound and sealed in the abyss for 1,000 years then released in versus 7-9
  • Revelation 20:10 He is thrown into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night forever

God is…good and holy

  • Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19 No one is good except God alone
  • Psalm 5:4 No evil dwells in Him
  • Leviticus 11:45, 19:2; 1Peter 1:15-16 Be holy because He is holy
  • 1 Samuel 2:2 No one is holy like the Lord
  • Psalm 99:5,9 Exalt and worship Him for He is holy
  • Revelation 4:8 Heavenly creatures worship Him crying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God the Almighty”

Satan is…full of sin and evil

  • 1 John 3:8 He has sinned from the beginning
  • Matthew 13:19 He snatches God’s truth out of the hearts of those who don’t understand it
  • Ephesians 6:16 He throws flaming arrows at God’s children

God is…truth

  • John 14:6 He is the way, the truth and the life
  • Revelation 3:7,14 He is holy and true and a faithful, true witness
  • Revelation 19:11 He is called faithful and true
  • Revelation 21:5, 22:6 His words are faithful and true

Satan is…a deceptive liar

  • Genesis 3:1 He was more crafty than any other beast God created
  • Genesis 3:13-14 He deceived Eve and was cursed by God
  • John 8:44 He does not stand in truth; there is no truth in him; lying is his nature, he’s a liar and the father of lies
  • Ephesians 6:11 He schemes against God’s children
  • Revelation 12:9 He deceives the whole world
  • Revelation 20:7 When released from his 1,000 year imprisonment in the abyss he comes out to deceive the nations

God is…for us

  • Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?
  • Psalm 118:6 The Lord is for me and I should not fear
  • Psalm 46:3 The Lord of Hosts is with us
  • Exodus 14:25; Joshua 10:42 God fought for His people Israel
  • Nehemiah 4:20 He fought for Nehemiah and the Israelites when ridiculed while rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem

Satan is…against us as an adversary and accuser

  • 1 Peter 5:8 Our adversary seeks to devour us like a lion seeks his prey
  • Matthew 12:30 He who is not with Christ is against Him
  • Zechariah 3:1-2 He stood to accuse Joshua the high priest and God rebuked him
  • Revelation 12:10 He accuses the brethren night and day, but will be thrown down

 

To be continued…

Two New Chapters

A lot has happened since my last post so let’s play a little catch up. Life has been crazy busy the last four months with two very big and very exciting chapters being written in our lives.

  1. Our family grew.

Caleb was born.

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This guy is always giving and creating smiles. He makes my heart joyful everyday. 🙂

2. Our family moved.

We are now living in the D.C. area. To catch up on the backstory of how God called us to move read If you say go, we will go.

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In between these two chapters this big brother also turned two years old.

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There have been lots of changes these last several months, but in the midst of them all God has richly blessed, provided for and gone ahead of our family.

After a recent study reviewing Daniel being thrown into the lions’ den, I read “Wherever God places His people, He intends to accomplish His purposes through them.” God placed Daniel in the lions’ den. God saved him. God was glorified.  God called us to D.C.. We came. Now we excitedly await to see God’s purposes fulfilled through us so that He may be glorified.

I look forward to sharing more of our journey with you.

What are you sowing?

What are you sowing? Just one simple question recently asked by my pastor in a sermon. It wasn’t elaborated on or even the main focus of his message, but has since then still laid heavy conviction upon my heart. Galatians 6:7-9 states,

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

What does sowing to your own flesh look like? If you back up to Galatians 5:19-21, you’ll find a list of fleshly deeds such as immorality, strife, jealousy, anger and disputes just to name a few. In other words, anything that is not of God, good or holy is of the flesh.  Therefore sowing to the Spirit is the opposite. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, AND SELF-CONTROL. 

Now back to the question. What are you sowing…in your relationships with family, friends, neighbors? in your time with God? in your prayer life? in the workplace? in your parenting? If all you are sowing is fleshly deeds and desires, how then can you expect to reap anything good? Take for instance your relationships. If you are NOT sowing love, joy, peace, kindness and gentleness into those relationships how then will they ever grow in a positive, Christ-like way?? It’s impossible. You can’t reap something that has not been sown.

Now let’s take it one step further. How much are you sowing? 2 Corinthians 9:6 states,

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

The more you sow the more you reap. It’s that simple. If you want a more bountiful harvest, you must intentionally pour more time, energy and effort into the planting season. But perhaps you say, “I have been sowing of the Spirit and have yet to see the harvest.” Look back at Galatians 6:9 “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Just be patient. The harvest time WILL come at just the right time.

I want to close by encouraging you to truly invest into sowing of the Spirit in ALL things and in ALL relationships so that your harvest will be bountiful with blessings and your heart full of joy and of Christ.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

                                    1 Corinthians 10:31

If You say go, we WILL go…

How would you describe your current life? Is it convenient, familiar and routine? Are you comfortable with where your are and how things are flowing? For Matthew and I, I admit that our life would fit into that description…BUT in the months to come every one of those descriptions are about to change for us and in a big way. Yes, we’re about to have baby #2 which is a huge change in itself, but that’s not what I’m even referring to. If you’re up for it, continue reading to see just what happens when you seek God’s will and tell Him “Lord, if you say go, we will go.”

A few months ago, Matthew was asked to consider interviewing for a change in station position for work. It would be a temporary position that would allow him to complete a 1-2 year stint in Washington, D.C. He would remain employed by his current company, but have the opportunity to work in a different office completing a different line of work. We immediately began praying for God to show us first whether or not he should even apply for the job. When He gave us His peace and affirmation to go forward, Matthew then agreed to an interview. Our prayers then focused on asking God to reveal His will and show us clearly whether He wanted us to go or stay.

One specific way I prayed was taken from one of Moses’ many intercessory prayers as he led the Israelites out of Egypt and toward the Promised Land. After Israel had sinned against God by forming and worshiping a golden calf, God was still going to be gracious enough to allow them into the Promised Land. However, He stated that He would NOT go with them, but instead would only send an angel before them (Exodus 33:1-3). Moses pleaded with the Lord “If your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here” Exodus 33:15. He knew that only God’s presence among His people could distinguish and set them apart from the rest of the world (Exodus 33:16). Moses didn’t want to go anywhere the Lord was not going to be. So that became a fervent, personal prayer of ours, “Lord, if you do not go up before us do not send us.” 

Another way in which I prayed was taken from a song by Vinyard called “If you say go.” In those lyrics are the words, “If you say go, we will go. If you say wait, we will wait.” Great words to pray and seek after, but hard ones to sometimes truly live out. However, when you know that failure to follow and obey God will bring negative consequences and missed blessings, that difficult obedience becomes even more desirable because through it you know there will be not only blessings but a pleased Heavenly Father.

After a few weeks God’s answer came, “Go to Washington, D.C.” Matthew had been selected for the position. Even though we had been telling God “We are willing to go if You call us.”, we were still hit with a head spinning flood of emotions. Of course all of the fleshly doubts and second thoughts came rushing in like, “God, are you REALLY calling us to go there? Are you sure this is Your will?” Kind of humorous when you think about it since we had been praying for him to clearly show us His way and then He widely opens the door when Matthew received the position. But that’s our human flesh, always at war with the Spirit. Our flesh says staying right where you are is easier, more convenient, comfortable and familiar. But God never promised a life that would be easy, convenient and comfortable. You won’t find that anywhere in scripture. On the contrary, God sent the Holy Spirit as our helper in order to lead us to and through places and times in which we never would have gone or gotten through on our own. Just because a path is hard doesn’t mean it’s the wrong one. God’s ways are often harder than our own because His word says,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

Humans tend to choose the easier, more desirable path. God chooses the one that will bring Him the most glory.

Matthew and I could choose to wrestle with the Spirit and create an entire list of why we should stay: family, friends, home, new baby, our church family, finances, etc. etc. The list of reasons to stay far outweighs the reasons to go…in our fleshly eyes anyway. But ultimately, if God says “go” we WILL and MUST go, all because when you truly love the Lord you will obey Him.

Now I’m not naive enough to think that moving to D.C. won’t be challenging and hard. Of course it will be. But I have the assurance of God’s promises that state

“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

We don’t know the “Why” of why God is calling us to move hundreds of miles away from our families into a city that is anything but the “Bible Belt”. That’s something that He may not reveal to us until much later, if ever. At this point we don’t even know how all the details will even work out regarding housing, moving, finances, etc. But what we do know is that we are responsible for obeying the “what” in what He calls us to do, which in our case is moving to D.C. For God has called us to where we are (and where we’re going) for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).

To wrap up I want to go back to the song, “If you say go.” This song had always been a favorite of mine and like I said it was even part of our prayers when this journey began. But as I listened to it again after Matthew told me he received the job, it suddenly became MUCH more personal and struck my heart in a way it never has before. New words came into focus, ones that will now be in my prayers as this journey continues.

If You say step out on the water and they say it can’t be done

We will fix our eyes on You and we will come.

Your ways are higher than our ways

And the plans that you have laid are good and true

If You call us to the fire, You will not withdraw Your hand

We will gaze into the flames and look for You.

This new journey will definitely be a time of challenges and changes, but also a time of growth and maturity in my walk with God and Matthew. I’m excited to see how God works in this next chapter of our lives. I know He will not disappoint. He never does.

The Francis Family Vacation

Family vacation. Some families do the traditional beach vacation every year while others may go to the mountains or do road trips. We don’t really have a “tradition” besides the fact that we alternate locations every year and so far each time we’ve gone to the beach I’ve been pregnant. I guess that counts for tradition? For us, I’m more of a beach person than Matthew therefore every other year we go to the beach.  On the years he’s been in charge of planning, we’ve gone to Savannah, GA and taken a road trip to Shenandoah National Park, Harper’s Ferry, WV and Washington D.C. And on my years so far we’ve gone to Kill Devil Hills, NC at The Outerbanks and Seagrove Beach, FL on 30A. As much as I love the beach, I have to admit that it is fun to see different places and try new things. And it gives good balance to life.

This year the Francis Family hit the road for vacation at Seagrove Beach, FL. We made our first pitstop in Northwest Alabama to spend a couple of days with my family before continuing South. Luckily, the rainy weather was only on our drive down and the Lord blessed us with beautiful weather for the rest of our trip.

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One adventure we experienced on our drive down was eating at Gary’s Cafe, which we mistakenly thought was in the middle of nowhere. We decided to stop for lunch since after exiting off the interstate the last hint of food we saw was the Subway we passed 30 minutes back. Matthew felt as if he would be out of place in his gym shorts and sandals so before even getting out of the vehicle he changed into jeans and his John Deere cap. (Yes, that’s my husband trying to fit in.) To make it even more humorous, as we walk up to the door we are greeted by a crew of local inmates all decked out in their black and white striped jumpsuits. I promise I’m not making this up. I’m not that creative. But I can’t knock Gary’s Cafe. It was good southern cooking by some good southern folks. However, upon immediately leaving Gary’s Cafe had we gone one more mile down the road we would have discovered a whole slew of restaurant options. Sooo I guess we weren’t in the middle of nowhere after all. It made for good memories though.

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As we continued on our trek, we began seeing signs regarding a bridge out. But there were no detour signs to be found so we continued until we eventually reached the bridge that was in fact out. We found our detour via a big, grumpy woman who’s probably sick and tired of countless tourists a day stopping to ask how to be rerouted and then not buying anything from her store. Poor Penny.

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Well after our fun adventures and over six hours in the car we eventually made it to our destination. The Palms at Seagrove!

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We had a great condo with a gorgeous view.

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The only negative part, which could also be positive were the stairs. Three flights up to our room, no elevator, and three flights to the beach, no elevator. Great for your legs and calves. But pretty tiring when your 30 weeks pregnant hauling beach gear and/or a toddler. Therefore I felt no guilt when splurging on food. I’m sure I burned it all off. 🙂

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Since this would be Z’s first trip to the ocean I was curious to see how he would react and if he would enjoy it. Our first venture to the beach was late in the afternoon so we decided not to suit up in our swim gear.

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I guess we were being naive parents!

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I was definitely wrong to think that Z would be a little timid and hesitant to get in the ocean. Instead, the closer he got to the water the faster his little legs carried him. It was all Matthew and I could do to keep our hands on him and prevent him from diving in head first. Needless to say, he proved he was going to enjoy the beach.

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This was a first for either of us to visit the Beaches of 30A so each place was a new experience. Our first dinner choice, Bayou Bill’s, was based on the recommendation from Tom, the owner of a local service station. We gave it a thumbs up.

Now for our first full day at the beach. Z loved digging in the sand and playing in the water…

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So much so that he took a 2 1/2 hour nap on the beach. Poor guy couldn’t even wait to get back up to the room. But how relaxing is it to fall asleep to waves lapping against the shore.

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Not to sound selfish, but beach naps for Z resulted in some great beach time for the hubby and me. 🙂
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Dinner number two was at Pizza by the Sea with ice cream for dessert at the Blue Mountain Creamery. Both received another thumbs up.

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Matthew attempted to build a moat and castle on beach day number two, but I’m sure you can guess how that turned out with a toddler on the prowl. Oh well, at least he tried.
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Dinner choice number 3, Goatfeathers, was founded while we were out exploring the area. We gave it two thumbs up as it was our favorite seafood pick on the trip.

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Our one and only nice family picture…pretty good considering it was taken using the camera timer. And we captured it on the first attempt.  🙂

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More beach fun of soaking up the sun on beach day number three.

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While Z continued his nice, long beach naps…

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Matthew (with a little help from me 😉 ) finally got to finish his moat project on our last day at the beach.

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But all good things must come to an end when Baby-zilla wakes up. Two hours of work destroyed within a minute. But hey, that’s what happens when you have a toddler. How boring life would be without him.

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Little Z also decided to make new friends on our last day at the beach. Turns out they too were from Tennessee and they also contributed to our dinner number four choice.

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So since we got similar recommendations from both my sister and our new beach pals, we decided to spend our last night eating and exploring Seaside. First stop, the food trucks. Our pick, Barefoot BBQ.

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Next, free play at the amphitheater.

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And for dessert, ice cream from It’s Heavenly.

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The beaches were so clean and gorgeous that we had a difficulty finding both seashells and sand crabs. Luckily Z was able to see and chase a couple of sand crabs.

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As we prepared to leave Seagrove Beach we scouted the area in search of a 30A sign to commemorate my turning 30 on May 30th on the beaches of 30A. It proved to be a little more difficult than I expected, but we made do.

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To wrap up our trip, we headed over to Mobile, AL to spend the day/night with my little sis, her boyfriend and my mom. We celebrated my birthday with a trip to the park, an amazing steak dinner (courtesy of Chef Miles), cake and time with family.

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Whether it’s the beach or mountains, sight seeing or lounging, take a little time to get away for a family vacation. It doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be long. You just have to be together. (Majorly corny I know, but still true.)

30 to 30

In lieu of my 30th birthday this year, my amazing and creative husband decided to make it extra special and memorable. He surprised me each day with a gift, most being contained in an envelope (placed randomly throughout the house) and most consisting of the number 30. Now keep in mind that my birthday is on the 30th so that means 30 days of gift giving! Woohoo! And that, my friend, calls for some great creativity! So here’s how my man blessed me from May 1st all the way to May 30th.

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May 1: 30 minute backrub from Matthew (I’ve definitely already used this one)

May 2: Ten 3-hour break tear aways. Just tear off a tab and present for an automatic 3 hour break. No kid. No husband.

May 3: $30

May 4: 30 Things I love about you written out

May 5: 30 pieces of Dove dark chocolate (Yum! And yes, I eat one everyday.)

May 6: 30 “I love you more” written out on paper

May 7: Two 15-minute hair brushings from Matthew (I’ve used one of these already too)

May 8: One meal cooked by Matthew before my 30th birthday (A very special treat since he’s not the cook in our family..haha )

May 9: 30 memories of us written down

May 10: Collage of 30 pictures of Zechariah and me (This was on Mother’s Day)

May 11: 30 words describing me

May 12: $30 gift card to Olive Garden

May 13: Greeting card “The Truth about turning 30” with 60 star stickers

May 14: 30 beautiful red roses (See picture below)

May 15: 30 text messages from friends and family saying “15 days to go” (My phone was blowing up all day…it didn’t take long for me to catch on though)

May 16: Before birthday, 10 finger manicure, 10 toe pedicure. After birthday 10 finger manicure

May 17: Proverbs 31 woman scripture typed out

May 18: Proverbs 31 woman (Matthew’s version in reference to me, some were pretty clever and funny, others very generous and thoughtful)

May 19: 30 ponytail holders

May20: 60 minute Spa Visage gift card (Can’t wait to use this one!)

May 21: 30 candles

May 22: 30 balloons

May 23: $25 gift card to Bonefish Grill (which rounds to 30 he noted)

May 24: 30 ink pens

May 25: New planner (Because I HAVE TO HAVE my planner)

May 26: 30 party horns

May 27: 30 pieces of gum

May 28: 30 party poppers

May 29: New journal

May 30: New iPhone (in conjunction with the generosity of my Mom)

I have to say Matthew has always been a big hearted gift giver, but he definitely set the bar high this year. God has blessed me beyond measure with this man and I pray I never take him for granted.

I think I’m going to like being 30.
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Turning 30 on May 30th at the 30A beach