Who Owns Who? The Battle With Possession Obsession

Who Owns Who? The Battle With Possession Obsession

possession obsession

When my students and I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, one line—spoken by the murderous creature to Victor Frankenstein—always gives me a cold chill:

“Slave … You are my creator, but I am your master; obey!”

Each year, I tell my class, “This is such an apt personification of addiction. What starts as a small habit, seemingly under our control, quickly morphs into a monster that takes complete control of our lives.”

I speak from very painful, very personal experience.

Decades ago, when my clutter collecting craze was in full swing, I exhibited many classic signs of addiction.
  1. Inability to Stop. I made up elaborate budgeting spreadsheets. I put cash in envelopes. But every single time I promised myself, “I’m done buying so much stuff!” I’d see something else and make an exception, “Just this once.”
  1. Withdrawal Symptoms. I cut up and canceled credit cards. Then, as my anxiety level would rise and I couldn’t calm myself by running out for a quick shopping spree, I’d open new accounts.
  1. Social Sacrifices. The more stuff took over our home, the less space there was for people. We quit inviting friends and family over because there was no room for them to stay. Or, eventually, even sit.
  1. Solitude. I never shopped with friends. Going on a buying binge had one purpose: to give me my fix, for which I wanted no witnesses.
  1. Secrecy. I hid my purchases from my husband, and he had no idea how many credit cards “we” had. He was clueless to the extent of my possession obsession.
  1. Supply Maintenance. I stockpiled food, toiletries, gifts for upcoming holidays. I started numerous businesses and ordered tons of inventory. Buying these things gave me a thrill. So did storing and counting it all.
  1. Increasingly High Doses. Just as a drug addict needs larger and larger amounts to experience the “high,” I needed to spend more and more, purchasing bigger and better things, to feel the buying buzz.
  1. Risky Behavior. I “stole from Peter to pay Paul” regularly, paying bills just in the nick of time to avoid being charged late fees, having utilities shut off, defaulting on loans.
  1. Financial Difficulties. Our checking account balance was typically so low, I had to call the bank each day to find out how much (if anything) was available for groceries. We ultimately ended up in bankruptcy court.
  1. Relational Difficulties. When my husband discovered how bad things had gotten, he felt completely betrayed. The bankruptcy process was deeply humiliating for him.
If some of these sound scarily familiar, here are four things I want anyone wrestling with possession obsession to know:

 1 — It’s not your fault. 

Slinging blame and wallowing in guilt serve no constructive purpose. Facing the facts and taking personal responsibility do. And the most responsible thing you can do is ask for help. Starting now.

2 — You’re not alone. 

Shame depends on secrecy; addiction thrives in isolation. When you reach out to those who can help and support you, shame’s power breaks and addiction’s grip loosens. You need accountability, both for individual recovery and for financial recovery.

3 — It’s not too late. 

The enemy of your soul says, “You’re beyond all hope!” It’s a lie.

In Romans 7:19-25, the apostle Paul chronicles this vivid description of addiction: “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

And reminds you of the hope that is always available to you:

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

4 — Yes, you can. 

You can address the core issues that trigger your spending sprees and clutter collections. For me, it came down to a combination of “buying to become” and “never enough” syndrome. Over time, I retrained my brain to disconnect my identity from my possessions, and to revel in gratitude for what I already have.

You can find healthy ways to settle the everyday ordinary problems that a possession obsession promises—but utterly fails—to solve. I’d turned pretty much any “negative” emotion into an excuse to spend: sadness, anger, loneliness, and boredom all lifted (albeit temporarily) with a bit of “retail therapy.”

It took time to develop new self-soothing strategies. Over several months, I built a list of my Favorite Free Ways to Feel Better Fast (which you can download at the end of this article!)

You can develop safe systems for making necessary purchases. I always take a list when heading to Safeway or Target. My husband and I pre-plan major purchases. Whenever something catches my eye, I have a pre-decided wait time (yes, even if it’s on sale.)

I write it on my wish list and set a calendar reminder for a week away. Nine times out of ten, when the alert pops up, I think to myself, “I was going to spend how much for that?!?”

If you feel trapped in possession obsession right now, please know that I understand.

And please hear the truth: Your stuff doesn’t have to morph into a monster that enslaves you.

You can do the brave work to break free. You can learn to master your spending and storing habits so that your stuff serves you, not the other way around.

Sign up to receive updates from Cheri, and receive her FREE “15 Favorite Free Ways to Feel Better Fast” PDF.

possession obsessionCheri Gregory is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the Perfect Life and the upcoming Overwhelmed. Her goal is to equip women to relate and create with less drama, more delight. Connect with Cheri on Facebook and at www.CheriGregory.com.

What to do in the Waiting

What to do in the Waiting

what to do in the waiting

by guest blogger, Rachel Lewis

“Today, I am trying to cling to the hope in the midst of an unknown future that lay ahead of me. At times, I just want to fast forward a year, till I know how everything has turned out . . .”  And I pondered, what to do in the waiting.

Facebook reminded me of this post I made a year ago. We had just found out we were pregnant. After 4 consecutive losses. I didn’t know if I should prepare my heart for a loss, or for the possibility of a live baby to bring home.

We were also fostering a baby boy at the time. We’d had him since he was 5 months old, and had just passed the one-year mark of him in our home. Reunification with his birth family seemed imminent. But I didn’t know how, or when, I would have to let go of this baby. And I certainly didn’t know how our family would survive the good-bye.

Our adoptive daughter’s birth mom had also recently contacted me. She wanted back into our daughter’s life. Again. After failing to follow through so many times.

All of this – at the same time. I suppose you can’t blame me for wanting to fast forward. I felt like if I only knew WHAT I was dealing with, I could face it, make a plan, and work through whatever was coming my way. But at the time, our futures remained unknown – at least, to me. And I had little control over any of the outcomes.

All I could do was wait.

Many of you won’t be able to relate to foster parenting, or struggling with fertility. But I guarantee that you have experienced a time when you wanted to hit “fast forward” on life.

Maybe you are waiting for something good to come – a baby, job, degree, promotion, or retirement. Perhaps you are waiting for answers – a diagnosis, resolution to a conflict, or a restoration of a relationship. Then again, maybe you are waiting for something hard – the passing of a loved one, the closing of a business, or the progression of a disease.

None of us loves waiting. Not for our drink at Starbucks. And certainly not for life’s big events.

But as I discovered over the last year, no matter what we are waiting for, our season of surrender is not a passive one. We can make intentional decisions, right in the midst of our unknown, in order to grow stronger in faith, perseverance and character.

Here are some key actions you can take today in your season of what to do in the waiting:

Besides praying for only the outcome we want, there are a few key things we can pray for during a time of waiting.

– Pray for God’s will. This is the hardest prayer, because we know our will is often not God’s. It’s a prayer of submission, of laying down the very depths of ourselves to His perfect wisdom.
– Pray for peace. God promises a peace that surpasses all understanding. Pray specifically for a peaceful heart, free of worry and fear.
– Pray for salvation. God is not only concerned about the here and now – he is concerned about eternity. As we faced reunification for our foster son, I began praying that God would bring people into his life who would share the gospel with him when I no longer could. Who do you need to pray for salvation for?
– Pray for growth. In every season of waiting, there is refinement in our faith and character that needs to happen, if we would be open to it. Pray that your eyes are open, and your spirit is willing to grow.

Just as muscles require being broken down through exercise in order to grow, so does our faith. Our seasons of waiting give us an opportunity to question our beliefs, expand our understanding of God’s character and his role in our lives, and more solidly define what we believe and why.

In the Bible, you will find that God often had his people wait. But they were not to be idle in the process. Instead, they were to prepare for what God ultimately was calling them to. Now is not the time to sit by passively. It is a time to prepare your heart, your home, your skill set, and your faith so that you can be ready when your season of waiting is finally over. Ask yourself, “What is the next right thing I can do?” Then go do it.

In a season of waiting, it is crucial to take stock in your spiritual, emotional, and physical needs, and then invest in meeting those needs. As much as you are able, exercise and eat healthy. Talk with a trusted friend, pastor or therapist. Journal or blog. Find what feeds your soul And take the necessary steps to make it a practice.

Give yourself grace. Waiting is hard. One day, you might feel as though you have got this. The next, you are all tears, anxiety and regret. Give yourself the grace to take your fears and emotions day by day, even moment by moment. Waiting is a marathon – not a sprint.

Seek out others who have survived a season of waiting like you are currently in. Be vulnerable about where you are, and allow them to speak the lessons they have learned into your life.

We are never guaranteed tomorrow. Either for us, or for our loved ones. It is so tempting to want to live for the futures we are waiting for, and miss out on the gift of today. Be present with your loved ones. And choose to be grateful for every single thing you can. Because tomorrow, they might be gone.

It is now a year later from the day I posted on Facebook. As much as I longed for answers, I now realize I would not have been able to handle all the answers at once. The unknown, while scary, actually served to protect my heart. Had I known what I know now, I would not have had the courage to follow through with God’s call.

Ironically, that season of waiting just gave way to a new season of unknowns.

Our foster son did return home 9 months ago – and we are now waiting to see if his mom will allow us back into his life at all. Our daughter’s birth mom never followed through, though we are open to her in case she is ready to make contact. And the baby we were pregnant with went to be with Jesus shortly after my post on Facebook. But God blessed us with another pregnancy after 5 consecutive losses, and we are only weeks away from holding our new daughter in our arms.

For now, in all these things, we hold onto hope.

And we wait.

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

Rachel Lewis
Rachel Lewis is a foster, adoptive and birth mom. When she’s not chauffeuring her kids around, you can find her shopping at Trader Joes, drinking coffee, or writing at The Lewis Note.

The 5 Day Love Challenge: Day 5 Love Him with Scripture

The 5 Day Love Challenge: Day 5 Love Him with Scripture


Love him with scripture.

Today is the final day of our love challenge, but the reality is, we can keep up these simple habits every day. For our Day 5 challenge to love on your man, I want you to love him with scripture.

I know it comes as no surprise to you that I believe one of the most powerful ways for a woman to love and support her husband is to pray for him. So that is what I’m asking you to do today! Putting some power behind those prayers by putting some scripture into it.

Here are some of my favorite scriptures to pray for Roger:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

What is your husband going through right now? Is he feeling overwhelmed or in a season of life where he feels depressed? Is work stressful or does he just feel a little bored with life? Search out scripture to pray for him for his specific season in life. Envelope him in the love of his Heavenly Father and YOU!

focusonthefamilyWant more? I am over at Focus on the Family radio broadcast today where I share “Simple Ways to Help Your Husband Feel Loved”.  

Listen In and leave a comment about your favorite tip! 


101-Simple-Ways-to-Show-Your-Husband-You-Love-Him300 Today is the Last Day to Win!

Answer the Question of the Day on Kathi’s Facebook page for your chance to win a copy of 101 Ways to Tell Your Husband You Love Him!

Today’s question: What Scripture will you prayer over your husband this week?

The 5 Day Love Challenge – Day 4 Love Him with SEX

The 5 Day Love Challenge – Day 4 Love Him with SEX


We’ve made it to Day 4 of our 5 Day Love Challenge, and it’s time to talk about sex, ladies. Let’s love him with sex. It is an important to marriage and feeling connected.

Your man needs and wants sex, probably more than you do.

If a man feels like he’s desirable to you, the love of his life, the other areas he may be struggling in (work, parenting, etc.) somehow seem more manageable.

One time this week, it’s your job to initiate sex. For some of you, this is going to be way beyond your comfort zone. Do what you can – if it means snuggling, do that. The idea here is to take the first step and be open and tender.

In my experience, it’s better to shoot for earlier in the week to “make your move,” so that if things come up (he has to work late, sick kids, etc.) you still have some time to check this off your list. If you love him with sex, you will make your man’s week! Because we all want to be desired.

In preparation for your romantic evening, I encourage you to pick up a book on the subject. Let it be your inspiration in case things have become a little predictable (or downright non-existent). I particularly like these two books by Dr. Kevin Lehman: Sex Begins in the Kitchen and Sheet Music”.

Want more?

I was thrilled to be asked by Focus on the Family to write an article about Positively Supporting Your Husband’s Happiness. That article can be found here. I hope it encourages you to continue the good work of building up your man!

Win! Day 4!

Answer the Question of the Day on Kathi’s Facebook page for your chance to win a copy of 101 Ways to Tell Your Husband You Love Him!

Today’s question: What is one way you can let your husband know you still find him sexy?

The 5 Day Love Challenge: Day 3 41 Ways to Love Your Man with Actions!

The 5 Day Love Challenge: Day 3 41 Ways to Love Your Man with Actions!

For today’s challenge, we are talking about how to love your man with actions. I hit the streets … OK, I asked my Facebook peeps to write the blog post for me. How do you love your man with actions?!?

Here are 41 Ways that you said you love your man with actions

  1. Naomi Williams – Mine aren’t appropriate to post openly in the comments section.
  2. Heather Harbeke Prouty – Change the sheets regularly! Nothing like having amazing smelling sheets when it’s time to go to bed!
  3. Angela Springer Hood – I mailed him a thank you card full (front and back) with things I was thankful for that he does for our family.
  4. Olivia Myers – Clear the driveway of a million feet of snow (slight exaggeration?) before he’s home. This avoids tire marks … something he despises!
  5. Shirley Devuono Rempe – l making sure my kids are calm, the house is tidy (maybe not perfect but toys away, etc), and supper ready to eat when he gets home! Not always easy when i run a home day care, but I try daily to do it
  6. Vicki Limes One thing I do is have someone take my phone number to him. It might say something like this “You’re HOT! Call me 214-555-5555!” (My real number of course) I usually ask an older teen or young adult because it also reinforces to them the value of flirting with your husband!
  7. Nancy Whiting My husband gets up very early, so to make it easier for him, I have his work clothes put together in a ‘clothes package’ for him, and set on the table by the wood stove the night before so he doesn’t have to take the time to even have to think about it in the morning.
  8. Laurie Batdorff Hays Asking what would help him most at home. He may not care about something you think he does! Cooking his favorite meal. Time and space to collect his thoughts after work so he can switch gears.
  9. Melanie Barnard Witkovskie – I try to make his favorite meals and cook for him in general. I also try to make sure I don’t look like I just rolled out of bed when he gets home. Being a stay-at-home mom with a baby, it’s sometimes difficult, but I try to at least put on a little makeup and fix my hair! I want to look nice for him!
  10. Dana DeVries – I text him love notes while he’s at work. I became interested in football and basketball to cheer his teams with him. I ask him how I can pray for him and follow up on those things. I make sure to look him in the eyes and smile when he comes home.
  11. Traci Sheldon – I help him find reasons, resources and opportunities to do his hobbies. I also supported the remodeling of the “man cave” and did not complain about the cost or time it took to accomplish for him to have a space for himself.
  12. Sue Hall Walsh – I put sticky notes in his work bag, lunch bag or car to let him know I’m thinking of him during the day. It gives me the chance to let him know how much I appreciate him. Something I often think of after he’s left the house for the day.
  13. Lisa Evans Fulton – Last night my husband was snowblowing the driveway in the dark so I wouldn’t get stuck this morning, and he slipped and fell on his back. He insisted on finishing the job, so I passed some Advil out the window to him and then had a heating pad ready when he came inside and rubbed his sore spots. He insists on taking care of me .. .a few Advil and a heating pad hardly seemed like adequate thanks, but he was grateful.
  14. Karey Lehrman Spidell – Keeping his favorite snacks stocked. Making sure the lunch stuff is stocked. And easy to grab!
  15. Simone Dankenbring – My husband enjoys watching sports, especially the Blazers and Seahawks. I acknowledge and show how much I’m interested in something that he enjoys. I also keep him company and snuggle next to him during the games. When they win, I cheer along with him and when they lose, I always remind him that there’s “next time.”
  16. SueAnn Kavanagh I set the timer on the coffee maker, so when he gets up the coffee is all made! I know it is a little thing, but it makes his heart smile every time I do it!
  17. Susy Flory – Buying his favorite red licorice from the gourmet chocolate shop!
  18. Lisa Johnson Blose – Sleep on the couch because he works so hard during the week I don have the heart to wake him when he’s snoring. (He also will do the same for me.) Love my man!
  19. Bonnie Wild – Cleaning his trophy BBQ smoker so it’s ready for the next wonderful meal by the Bobby Flay wannabe (I say that lovingly).
  20. Tonya Walter – Make his lunch every day. Even when the kids are off school.
  21. Carole Landrith Hanna – Ironing his work shirts … without whining
  22. Anna McCullough – Ditto Olivia’s post about clearing the snow from the driveway before it’s driven on! Also giving him time to decompress when he comes home from work.
  23. Jeannette Shields I would eat a piece of fish for him … I hate fish but if he likes it, this is what I’d do, but definitely not all the time!!!
  24. Robin Lord Dilallo – I stop what I’m doing, if I can, and help him with whatever is stressing him out at the moment. Wallet? Keys? Need to talk after a tough day?
  25. Chris Moss – Today I had the emissions test done on my husband’s car and registered it at the MVD. Then I had it washed, buffed and hand-waxed.
  26. Michelle Brown – I like to leave frequent voice mails for him to thank him for providing for our family and wishing him a great day! Once in awhile I will deliver a milkshake or smoothie to him in the middle of the work day.
  27. Melissa D. Gillispie – My husband and I are a team. I cleaned the kitchen while he helped our daughter with her homework. He always has a clean bathroom.
  28. Angie Bell – He likes when I go outside and shoot hoops with him. He loves basketball and he loves me. Double bonus.
  29. Cathy Lo Davis – He loves freshly brewed ice tea, so I make sure to have the pitcher full when he comes from from work.
  30. Tanya Aitken – I have his favorite drink in the freezer so it’s nice & cold (usually tea) waiting for him. I set a pair of his comfiest lounge clothes on the bed and when he walks in, I don’t say anything. He gets dressed and walks out with a smile, as I hold out his drink for him. He smiles and says, you did it again.
  31. Heidi Bonner – Actually doing those small jobs he asks me to do.
  32. Heather K Seay – Feed our animals (3 outside dogs and 1 cat). A chore he despises.
  33. Jamie Jerome – I stock up on his favorite cut of meat in advance, when on sale, make beer bread in advance and freeze it, and make sure that his favorite brew is on hand. (Plus, it’s fun to be preggers and at the liquor store. People are hilarious.) This keeps us ready for a “stay home date” any night for 30 minutes or less. He also won’t go to bed until things are picked up and tidy and the dishes are done even if he is coming off an 18 hour shift. So on nights I know he won’t have energy left, I do it, no matter how exhausted I am from my day.
  34. Sara Graham – I baked brownies filled with Reeces Peanut Butter cups and Reeces Pieces. I also made fancy sandwiches for his lunches and had coffee ready in a travel mug. Also I cleaned up some of the things around the house that drive him crazy
  35. Jo Leneb – Make sure there is always something in the fridge for lunches and snacks.
  36. Renee Simpson Holden – Taking out the trash, instead of asking him to do it.
  37. Pam Wood Humphrey – Polish his shoes.
  38. Amber Schumacher – Picking up dog poo before he gets home! Making his coffee and setting the timer so he wakes up to fresh brewing coffee. Making his lunch for the next day (something out of the norm).
  39. Christie Terry McKay – Buying his favorite snacks and candy and giving him time to decompress every day when he comes home from work.
  40. Emily Wilkerson Wilson – Take out the trash so he can sleep 10 more minutes.
  41. Lindsey Cuartilon – This is good stuff! All I can come up with is that I don’t run away and leave him with all these kids! Lol.

So, there you have it — 41 ways to love your man with actions. Tell us in the comments below how your love your man with actions.

WIN! Day 3101-Simple-Ways-to-Show-Your-Husband-You-Love-Him300

Answer the Question of the Day on Kathi’s Facebook page for your chance to win a copy of 101 Ways to Tell Your Husband You Love Him!

Question of the Day: What is one thing you can do for your man this week that tells him how much you love him?

The 4 Day Love Challenge – Day 2: Love Him with Stuff

The 4 Day Love Challenge – Day 2: Love Him with Stuff


I get frustrated at times with the idea we all get to determine how much our partner loves us by the size of the gift and whether the gesture of love went viral on YouTube. Yuck. We don’t need over the top. I think we just need a little something special for our men, presented in a slightly special way. Let’s learn how to love him with stuff in Day 2!

I wrote about this in my book The Marriage Project:

A tree ran into my car.

Yes, you read that sentence correctly.

I am blessed to live in Northern California where we bundle up in our winter woolens if there is a slight chill in the air, and the only snow we see is when someone forgets to use their Head & Shoulders shampoo.

So it was out of the ordinary when the storm rolled through town. Power outages were reported all over the city, fender benders littered the highways, and the Starbucks on our corner was closed.

Obviously, this was a desperate situation.

When I got home from my morning speaking engagement, I parked my van and ran inside, desperate to warm up and dry out.

I went upstairs to our bedroom, where my husband was working at his desk. Not five minutes after I got changed into dry clothes, Roger and I heard a big crack and looked out in horror and amazement as our giant oak tree decided to take up residence on top of my car.

All we could do was watch, laugh, and thank God that no one was in the car at the time.

Since then, I’ve been cruising around town in a series of rental cars until my van is fully functioning again. I’ve tried out hybrids and subcompacts, 4-runners and sedans.

Until yesterday. Yesterday, the rental agency ran out of the teeny-tiny cars I was renting to save money. They asked me if, for a few dollars more, I would like an upgrade to a nicer car that was available right away…a current model black Mercedes-Benz E-Class.


I knew, being in possession of that car, I had to turn our ho-hum, stay-at-home night into an out-on-the-town date night. You wouldn’t want an automobile like that going to waste, now would you?

Roger and I used a gift card to get a couple of lattes at a Starbucks drive-thru, and then took a drive into the mountains, sipping our drinks and enjoying the scenery and the company. A perfect date—all for the small price of an upgraded rental car.

There was just something so fun and adventurous about that car that it turned that silly little latte into a memory that will last us a lifetime.

So this week, I want you to get him a little something, but give it to him in a special way.

Here are some ideas for a little something to love him with stuff (all of these can be had for under $5):
  • His favorite candy bar (that he doesn’t have to share with you).
  • A magazine that he loves but is too cheap to subscribe to.
  • His favorite sports drink.
  • 5 packs of his favorite gum.
  • His favorite Starbucks drink delivered to work.
  • A frozen yogurt.
  • A guy-flick movie rental.
  • Baking him his favorite chocolate chip cookies.
  • A small bottle of manly scented lotion with the promise of a back rub.
  • $5 iTunes gift card (or Google Play for our Windows guys.)
  • A video game rental.
  • $5 in quarters for the local arcade.
  • A new ringtone.

OK – now to give it to him in a special way. You could…

  • Leave it on the dashboard of his truck.
  • Hide it in his computer bag.
  • Tie it to the dog (as long as it’s not edible…)
  • Have one of your kids deliver it.
  • Put it on his pillow.
  • Have Amazon send it to his office.

What are you going to get him to love him with stuff – and how are you going to give it to him? Share your ideas in the comments below so we can all learn from each other!




Answer the Question of the Day on Kathi’s Facebook page for your chance to win a copy of 101 Ways to Tell Your Husband You Love Him!

Today’s question: What small ways do you make your husband feel loved?

5 Day Love Challenge – Day 1 Love Him with WORDS

5 Day Love Challenge – Day 1 Love Him with WORDS


Your first challenge is simple. All I want you to do is say something nice to your husband. That’s it. Really. Let’s just love him with words.

Because the truth is: often we wives have the power to change the way our husbands walk through the world by choosing the words we speak to them.

How you do it is up to you.

Here are a few ideas for ways to love him with words:

  • Say it to him
  • Text it to him
  • Put it on a Post-it Note in his truck
  • Call him
  • Whisper it to him
  • Put it in a card in his computer case
  • Write it in lipstick on the bathroom mirror

Have you got your great idea of how you’re going to say it? Great. Now what to say … maybe a simple “I love you” or “I appreciate how you _______ .” Maybe you want to tell him he is sexy or handsome.

But don’t worry if you’re having a hard time coming up with something. I have you covered! Here are some additional ideas for how to love him with words. Something to get the creative juices flowing. These are from The Husband Project: 21 Post-it Note Sized Encouragements.

And remember, tell me in the comments what you did (or are planning to do) to love him with words. (And post a picture to my Facebook Page so I can share your love with the world!)


Answer the Question of the Day on Kathi’s Facebook page for your chance to win a copy of 101 Ways to Tell Your Husband You Love Him!

Today’s question: What words most encourage your husband? Scripture, I love you’s, or I appreciate you’s? 

The Lies of Rejection

The Lies of Rejection


I didn’t have my daddy leave me when I was a little girl, as Lysa Terkeurst recounts of her story in her new book Uninvited, but I have felt the slap of rejection.

The time when my seventh grade school friends planned a birthday party for everyone else, but not for me.
The time I blew it with a close friend, and I asked, “Do you still love me?” And the answer was, “A little less right now.”
The time I was passed over for a job that I felt capable to do, in favor of a younger, more talented woman.

Slap. Slap. Slap. Long after the red mark of the blow faded, the impression on my heart lasted.

With each new rejection, I made a mental note on how to never let it happen again.

So in junior high, I went on those before-school walks with my friends around the block taking covert puffs of cigarettes. I wouldn’t inhale because that would give me lung cancer which was deadly. But I pretended and puffed, earning my inclusion in the group.

I learned not to upset anyone so as not to have their love withdrawn from me. I learned to be likable, amiable Emily, becoming adept at people-pleasing.

I stopped putting myself out there for jobs I thought I could do, because there was always someone else who could do it better than me anyway.

Lysa writes, “Rejection isn’t just an emotion we feel. It’s a message that’s sent to the core of who we are, causing us to believe lies about ourselves, others and God.”

My lie was that I better blend into the crowd to be liked and accepted. That I better never tick anyone off, or I would never be truly loved. That I needed to try harder or else I would never be worthy enough to fulfill the dreams God gave me. The burn from the slaps in my past never fully healed because I kept rehearsing the scenes over and over, believing their stinging truth. I was now my own worst enemy.

I was the one rejecting myself, no one needed to do it for me.

I remember sitting at a conference with inspiring speakers. My usual M.O. means mourning that I’m not like these speakers. Oh, I’d like to be like them – inspiring, motivating, educating, but I realize I am not up to par with them. And probably never will be. The negative talk hisses, “I’m not educated like they are. I will never be able to do it as well as them. I am not equipped or connected. I just don’t have what it takes!”

During worship time, God whispered as if He sat right beside me. “Emily, what you are moaning about is sin for you. You are staying stuck in the belief that you are not enough. You think this is a belief about yourself, but it’s really what you believe about me. You believe I am not enough for you.”

“Oh, Lord, no!” was my first response. “You are sovereign, all-sufficient and every other praise adjective I was taught in Sunday School.” Yet He showed me I honored Him with my lips, but my actions showed otherwise. When I constantly let rejection define me by belittling myself, comparing myself and trying hard to be perfect, what I was really doing was telling God His approval was not enough. That what He made when He made me was obviously not good enough.

In fact, I was the clay, smashing my vessel and fisting it to God, “Not good enough! Remake me!” And The Potter takes that lump, with my uncertainties and insecurities and says, “You are my workmanship. I knit you together perfectly. I chose you as my own before the foundations of the world. When I made you, I declared it good, VERY good even. I bought you. With a heavy price. I made you enough already. When will you confidently believe it?”

I know you have your stories of rejection too. Just think back to junior high, the hotbed of so much rejection. Have you carried those wounds through adulthood? Have you let them define you? Tell lies about you? It’s funny how we try so hard to find approval in the ones who rejected and hurt us. Isn’t it enough to know the Creator of the Universe believes we are enough?

Lysa observes, “People can’t fix from the outside a perspective that needs to rewired on the inside.” Not admittance in the Cool Club or perfectly performed responses or acquiring the best suited job. None of that tells us we are enough. So it’s useless trying so hard to make it so. But there is a salve to heal the hurts of rejection. It’s turning to the Truth, running to the Life to show us the Way.

I confessed the lies I believed about myself. But I also had to confess my lack of faith in my Father. His Word is truth and He’s says we are cherished and approved! Do you know how healing it is to accept God’s approval and quit chasing after the world’s?

“Lies flee in the presence of truth.” Tune your heart to believe a new truth: You are accepted, for now and forevermore!

*All quotes taken from Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst.

Emily NelsonEmily Nelson is part of the Kathi Lipp ministry team. More about her can be discovered and loved at her website, www.beyondtheredchair.com.

A Life Unstuck Retreat- with my Friend Pat Layton

A Life Unstuck Retreat- with my Friend Pat Layton

I wanted to share with all my friends a great opportunity to attend a unique retreat with my friend Pat Layton. After learning all about her plans for the 40 lucky women who will get to attend, I WANT TO GO but I’ll be speaking with another great group of women on the same dates. Read more about this fantastic event in a letter Pat wrote to you all below:

A Life Unstuck Retreat

Small Life Unstuck Retreat.SM“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

If she had been a spitter, I would have been a prime target from my coveted spot at the Beth Moore conference in the summer of 2007! A few embarrassingly bold girlfriends waited in line with 10,000 of their “closest” girlfriends to seize the coveted front row seats when the doors opened that evening.

I can still recall going to that event needing desperately to hear from God about a very specific decision I was facing in my life. God used Beth that day to very clearly and unquestionably answer my request. I will never forget it.

Over the past 32 years of chasing every nugget God has for my family, my ministry and me, I have enjoyed many other fabulous women’s conferences where my life of faith has been changed, enriched and inspired.

The thing is, as great as those conferences are (I speak at lots of them myself), there have also been those times in my faith journey when I needed a deeper, more personal and specific time of ministry. On some occasions I simply needed answers to some questions that loomed in my heart and soul. Other times my ministry or personal life got STUCK in a specific area of confusion, brokenness or disappointment.

Over the years I have invested in many personal ministry opportunities that have advanced my faith like none other.

I have invested in personal prayer retreats, in fact one I attended for 5 years in a row, which have changed my life and, I believe with all of my heart, set the foundation for the ministry I have today.

I have invested in personal life coaching—both individual and small group.

I have invested in one-on-one writer coaching with a best selling author and editorial coaching for my first general market book Life Unstuck.

Over the years I have spent thousands of dollars pursuing clarity and excellence in my ministry and personal growth.

I believe I am worth it. I believe you are too!

I believe that the calling God has placed on us is worth our investment in both time and money to pursue and improve. I am a life long learner and am very certain I have not offered my last day or dollar in learning more.Small Life Unstuck Retreat.SM

The Life Unstuck Retreat I am offering on September 30-October 3 is THAT kind of investment.

This personal retreat will offer you a very personalized time of refreshment, restoration and renewal. You may need this time of focus for your marriage or your ministry. Maybe you have been through a recent life changing trauma or transition and seek clarity and redirection in your life.
At A Life Unstuck Retreat, you will encounter:

• A time of personal inventory and evaluation.
• Introduction to a Life Mapping tool called A Freedom Flower? that is YOURS to take and will provide a map for you to follow for years to come.
• A vision boarding process that will apply to your life right now and provide clear and measureable steps towards your dreams.
• An intimate gathering for worship, rest and prayer that will be personally planned for YOU!
• Last, but far from least, you will be pampered, prayed for and personally ministered to for your specific season of life and longings.

I sincerely hope that the Life Unstuck Retreat will be where we meet, face-to-face, to encounter God in a fresh way, together. My desire is to inspire you, to serve you and to set a table for you to enjoy the presence of God in a way that YOU will never forget.

The details are on my website along with a little “Is This Retreat For You Quiz”.

Contact me personally with any questions you might have.

In His Grip!

Pat LaytonAbout Pat

Pat is a passionate and inspiring leader who, during her 25 years in full time ministry, has founded a variety of non-profit ministries including A Woman’s Place Pregnancy Resource Center in Tampa, Florida; a Christian Adoption Agency; an abstinence education program; and Surrendering the Secret, an international post abortion recovery program.

Pat is a busy Speaker, Writer and Life Coach specializing in “Dream Design” for women. She is a published author of 6 books. Her post abortion recovery bible study Surrendering the Secret was published by Lifeway in 2008; her personal testimony A Surrendered Life was released by Baker books in August 2014 and her newest book, Life UnStuck “Peace with the Past; Purpose in the Present and Passion for the Future,” was released in Spring 2015!

5 Ways to Keep The Husband Project Going

5 Ways to Keep The Husband Project Going


Being intentional about anything is always the best way to make it better. Whether we are talking eating right, clearing the clutter, having quiet time with the Lord, or loving on our man. As we wrap up our study this week with all of our friends at Proverbs 31, I want to encourage you with 5 ways to keep The Husband Project going.

  1. Add a reminder to your calendar for at least 2x per month to do something intentional just for him. Maybe it’s to pick up a treat for him, make him his favorite dinner, a massage, or 30 minutes of free time carved out for him to recharge.
  1. Add your man to your prayer journal. Praying for your marriage is a great way to be intentional and praying specifically for God to move in your husband’s life through you and in every facet of his day will build him up.
  1. Buy a pack of post-it notes and then use them. Buy a pack that are just for him (maybe they are blue or heart shaped) and write an encouraging word for him. Leave one in his car, his lunch, on his pillow, in his suitcase, on his mirror… you get the idea. Doing this at least once a month will show him you are thinking about him and grateful for all he does.
  1. Break out the lingerie. Girls, if this project was the first time you’ve whipped out the lingerie in months/years/decades, vow to bring it out more. Has it been an especially tense week for your guy at work? Lingerie. Did the teenager disrespect him? Lingerie. Are you in a really great mood today? Lingerie. Did you have two cups of afternoon coffee? Lingerie. Find an excuse to bring it out rather than excuse to keep it in the drawer.Pinterest14WayseBook
  1. Make sure you are signed up to receive my blog and newsletter in your inbox because… Every 2 months we will be doing a special 5 day mini-project. We’ll get together and encourage each other, build each other up and of course share all of the great ideas you have with all our new friends dedicated to their marriages. Our first 5 day project will be in late September!Sign up by clicking here and when you do you’ll receive by ebook, 14 Ways to Have a Happier Husband.

*Bonus idea: get out your journal, or a piece of paper, or type on your computer. Write down all of the benefits you’ve seen from doing this study. From your heart, to his reactions, to your children’s responses to mom loving on dad more intentionally. Write it down. And when you get discouraged about your marriage, go back to this list.