Our pastors celebrated 14 years of marriage recently. Here are some photos from their shoot. Visit the Contact tab to book your session today!
It amazes me how much can be assuaged by physical touch. We believe intimacy begins with vulnerability. So here’s a tip for the next time you and someone you love have a disagreement. Have a nice warm hug. There is so much healing in embracing one another. Sometimes more can be said in a hug than words could ever articulate.
The enemy would love nothing more than to separate you from the people around you. Instead of withdrawing emotionally, physically and verbally after an argument or disagreement, take time to just hug. It doesn’t mean you have to come to a resolution or even an apology. Just hug, and come back to the discussion later if necessary.
We all want love and acceptance, we all want to be heard and understood. When we meet one another where we are, when we seek to understand more than we seek to be understood, there’s room for true intimacy. The depth of a relationship is found in the moments that can’t be quantified, in the moments that are void of spoken word. With every touch we gain ground. We all know love is war. We all know marriage is work. It is a battle sometimes. When we hug, we remind one another of why we started this thing in the first place.
So, don’t yell. Just hug.
It’s an act of solidarity, a display of priority, a direct attack on the agenda of the enemy.
Love + Light,
Kel and Morgan
Stanley is a jack of all trades. He’s funny, he’s effervescent, and full of energy. He’s well-spoken and well-rounded. He worships, he cries, he hears. He is gentle and sturdy, he is patient and steadfast. He can go a million miles an hour, or sit completely still. He is a genius. His smile is endearing, his laughter is contagious, his heart is huge and open and sweet. Very sweet.
Ariel has an old soul. She’s very wise. You can tell she’s seen some things. You can tell she’s poised. You can tell when she loves, she loves well. Sometimes she’s timid, other times she walks into a room and commands attention. She isn’t overt or haughty. She’s kind, even-tempered, and quite stylish. She makes sandwiches with love and attention to detail. She dances, she smiles, she sings along to R&B.
Many of us become frustrated with finding a partner. Many of us who are believers feel as though God is holding out on us. We watch everyone around us “find love.” But there is so much to be discovered in preparation to do life with someone. The biggest key to having a successful marriage is depending solely on the Lord. Jimmy Evans is one of the GOAT’s when it comes to being an authority on Christ-centered marriages.
Check this video out!
Morgan has a podcast!Read More
We talk a lot about how love heals us, how our spouses are healing agents for us. Here's a more in depth look into Kel (Gunner) and his experience as being loved into wholeness. We pray you enjoy and benefit from the transparency. It isn't the easiest thing, but it is certainly rewarding.
Leave us a comment and let us know how love has healed you!
"Because relationships are consequential, they should not be treated casually."
- Dr. Dharius Daniels
It's so important we understand that our relationships can literally change the course of our lives. Who you choose to link up with can determine so much about your future. Our decisions are PARAMOUNT. Be careful with yourself. Be sure the people you're handing your heart to have clean hands. People's intentions are evident in their actions and attitudes. Pay attention.
Here's a really great sermon on this very subject. Enjoy it, and let us know what you think!
God has brought us really low. Every position in our lives is a humble one. We serve people. Oftentimes, with little to no return. It can be really hurtful. To thrust your all into ministry, into a vision, into a business venture, into people, and be left feeling depleted and taken advantage of.
We are most times left wondering when our turn will come. Will we always be the underdog? Will we always be underestimated and underappreciated? Will we always feel this way? Will we always have less than enough? Are we doing something wrong? Do we need to fix something? Have we missed something? Why so much lack, so much pain, so much sacrifice?
What these kinds of circumstances lead you to is a beautiful resolve to:
- Lean on God solely for sustenance, approval, love, and reward. We normally have unrealistic expectations for ourselves, others, and the world around us
- Trust the process even when you don't understand
- Let the people in your life who are a blessing to you know that they are valued because you know firsthand what it feels like to be under-valued
You're probably wondering where all of this is coming from. There is no semblance of struggle on our faces, or wardrobe, or social media accounts. The outside lens can be a double-edged sword sometimes. We need your prayers just as much as you need ours.
There are lulls in posting because we are real people with real lives and real struggles. Wrapping our lives around the Savior means being inconvenienced. It means making time to re-boot before you present yourself to the world. It means we care a whole lot about what we produce and are prayerful about our content.
So that's what we've done. We're experiencing loss, walking through disappointment, trying to nurse newborn dreams and foster better relationships all while aiming toward Dave Ramsey's Step 1. Trying to get over being slaves to our bodies, our emotions, our flesh and come under the submission of Jesus.
IT IS A STRUGGLE.
Our marriage is a testament of how whatever is founded on the Rock of Ages, will NOT fail. We remain so deeply in love even in the face of trials. We have one another. I think that's one of the sweetest things about following Christ; always having Him. We only have one another in the confines of marriage for a short period of time since there is no marriage in Heaven. But we have God, our Abba, for eternity. He wants us to always know He's near, to press through adversity fearlessly because we know our Redeemer is alive.
Together is better.
So, we're saying all this to say, thank you for your readership. Thank you for your support and prayers. Thank you for the way you love us. If you are in a similar space, if God has brought you low, if you've submitted all you have to Him and still feel empty, we are praying for you. But more importantly we want you to know, you are NOT alone. The Father, the one who planned all this and knew you before you even in your mother's womb, wants to walk you through all of this! He loves you!
What this means for your relationships
The nature of your relationships will automatically improve when you have a resolve to please and honor God with your life. When you want to lay yourself down, take up your cross and walk. (Luke 9:23)When you want to follow Him more than you want comfort, or accolades, or money, or recognition, or romance. When we truly behold Him in all His splendor, looking back is the furthest thing from our minds.
If you're needing extra encouragement and hope, consider fasting and devoting yourself to scripture and prayer. It helps so much, and truly gets you re-focused. There was a prophetic word released last week that really blessed us and we'd like to share it with you as well. Click here to read.
We love you,
Kel + Morgan
Sowing Into Good Ground
If you've been blessed in any way by our ministry and would like to sow into it. Please feel free to do just that! We appreciate your generosity and faith in the vision God has given us to advance His kingdom in mighty ways. Click here to give.
Being a wife has it's unique challenges for every woman. Here are some of the ways Morgan has had to die to herself in marriage.
No one can prepare you for marriage. The sacrifices you make in the name of your covenant are unmatched but extremely rewarding. Here's Kel's side of what it looks like to die to yourself in marriage.
Marriage is about the team. Check out this video by Morgan shedding light on the importance of unity in relationships.Read More
When I was in college, I was in a car accident. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at a four-way stop. I misjudged how fast the oncoming traffic was approaching and attempted to just book it across the street. That split second, irrational decision born out of sheer impatience cost me big time. I was hit by an oncoming truck and slammed into another truck.
I was at fault because I failed to yield. When you’re at fault you have to pay up. Ever since that moment, I’ve been extremely cautious at four-way stops. I’ll sit there all day to ensure safe passage to the other side. I’ve become hyper-vigilant. In the same way, this car accident shaped the way I drive, the Lord has taught me some hard lessons in relationships as well when it comes to yielding.
You’re Not as Right as You Think You Are
Admission of fault does not mean you are weak. On the contrary! It takes a great amount of courage and humility to admit when you’ve wronged someone. You never get a prize for being right in a relationship. No golden stars, no kudos, no pats on the back. What you will always be rewarded for, in one way or another, is grace and poise. Furthermore, and probably most importantly, God is the only just judge. He ultimately decides WHAT is right or wrong, not who. He’s concerned with you being loving and forgiving, not you proving your point.
Yielding most times looks like covering others with love, not giving in to negative emotions or thoughts. It is so easy to rehearse anger, hatred, and contempt in our hearts and minds. Before we know it, we’re ready to divorce our spouse for them not washing the dishes last month. Instead of planting seeds of disappointment, believe the best about one another and expect the best.
God Will Not Be Mocked
One of my favorite scriptures comes from Galatians 6:7: “Don't be misled--you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”
In other words, don’t be foolish enough to believe you can sow bitterness in a relationship and reap goodness and sweetness. It’s also important to remember, if you are mindful enough to remain peaceful and generous even if it isn’t reciprocated by the other person, God will still honor you. It is a mockery to think a just, good God wouldn’t allow you to reap goodness after sowing it. You’re never at a loss when you pursue and act on His word. Take some time to read James 1:22-25. I recently heard a quote that really impacted me. "Nothing is wasted when you've covered it in prayer." There are so many scriptures admonishing us to choose love and to pray without ceasing. You can rest assured no matter what the situation looks like, when you take it to the throne room, you can leave it there and go on about your life because no one can change a situation like our Lord and Savior! It also always encourages me that Jesus sits at the right hand of God, making petitions for us constantly. The ultimate prayer warrior has endured all struggles and did not succumb to them, but overcome them! Who better to cover us in prayer? Read Romans 8:34!
We often take our spouses for granted. We throw our weight around because we are certainly certain they’ll never leave. Friends, that is such a wicked approach to holy matrimony and the sacred covenant of marriage. I’m reminded of this scripture when I think about taking others for granted.
“…Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forget that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?”
- Romans 6:1-3
I’ve said it before, but when you get married, you die to yourself a little more than you did when you chose Christ. It is a hands-on experience of humility and the battling of one’s flesh in order to become one flesh. We put up with a lot from our spouses, oftentimes, because of how much we love them. But loved people, love people, and forgiven people forgive people.
Fill in the Blanks
One of the very best exercises I think any Christian can do to gain perspective and humility is replacing the word love with your name in the love chapter of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13). Make the necessary adjustments and repent, we all have growing to do.
I also think it’s a healthy practice to humble yourself verbally to your spouse, even if you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, just cover all bases and apologize for anything you may have done to hurt, offend, or make them feel anything other than loved. That’s a great deposit in the love tank, and godliness profits in all things.
Stay close to Him,
Courting, dating, just getting to know someone these days is hard. Sharing yourself with someone with hopes of acceptance can be challenging. Love is the greatest need. We thrive when we are loved. We long for relationship, for connection, even for reverence. Everyone wants to know they are valued. We believe dating with purpose is the smartest way to engage in a God-honoring relationship that ultimately leads to a beautiful covenant.
Here are just a couple tips we have for those who are looking, dating, wishing and hoping for love.
This is the most important aspect of any relationship. Believe God for His very best for you. He is going to show you things about your personality in your singleness. Please pay attention and make the necessary adjustments. He's not trying to hurt you, He wants you to avoid future potholes. Be patient with yourself and patient with God. Don't be thirsty. It will come, and when it does, you want to be ready. Pray for the kind of spouse you desire. Pray for him or her daily, sow seeds before you even meet them. It will pay off.
2. Seek Wise Counsel
Have people around you who you feel safe with. Who will hold you accountable and celebrate your strengths. They need to know your character, they need to be discerning and they need to care more about your soul than you being in a romantic relationship. These people should edify you, challenge you, console you and vet (in love) your love interests.
3. Be Open
Often times God will send you someone you LEAST expect. I do believe you should be attracted to the person you are pursuing. But I've experienced God change the way I see someone through revelation and me yielding my will. He can open your eyes like no other so don't write anyone off without first consulting the Holy Spirit.
4. Be Holy
Stay out of the club, stop watching porn, stop objectifying the opposite sex, end all fruitless relationships, abstain from sexual activity, fast frequently, spend quality time with your loved ones. God wants to heal your heart from family traumas and wrong thinking patterns, the way you relate to your family WILL impact how you interact with your spouse. Please don't think if you do not practice sexual purity now that it won't negatively affect your sexual intimacy in marriage you are so sadly mistaken. Get right, friend. Ladies, let him pursue you, let him work for you, let him earn you. When you play by God's rules, you win.
5. Go to Therapy
It is never too early or too late to go to therapy. It is life changing. You need it for yourself and I'd advise going with your partner if the two of you are dating with purpose (dating with the intent of marriage). If you are a believer, please go to a Christian therapist. Contact us if you'd like information on local therapists we trust.
6. Steward Your Singleness
Listen, once you get married, there's no more you. It's US. Take this time to nurture your hobbies, to get fit, nurture your friendships (you won't get this time back), develop intimacy with the Father, travel, be the total person. Once you get married these things don't stop, but if you develop the practice of taking care of yourself now, it doesn't become a burden in marriage. It is very easy to make your spouse your idol, if you have a healthy relationship with yourself, the margin for error in this area is greatly decreased. Enjoy this time of only having yourself to worry about! It's a blessing.
7. Set Boundaries
This is one of the most important aspects of dating. You and your partner MUST set boundaries and be on the same page as far as your convictions are concerned. Make those boundaries and share them with your accountability partners. If any of your practices infringe on your relationship with God, with your righteousness, with your ability to witness, cut it out of your life. It may seem harmless, but it's the small foxes that spoil the vine. This is also why wise counsel is important, especially from married couples you trust. Ask them questions, they have experience and perspective.
8. Don't Worry
It is so easy to be consumed with finances, doubts, questions. These are all normal emotions. Marriage is a huge decision. Even dating someone and being emotionally invested is A LOT. If you are being led by God, that's all the insurance you need. His word is all you need to stand on. If He tells you to go, take the step, by the ring, take care of your debt, move out of your house, whatever! Just be obedient to Him. When we got married we had about $300 to our name and tons of debt. God will work it out when He's ordained it.
9. Get Rid of Baggage
There will be red flags if the person you're dating isn't right for you. If you're led by the Holy Spirit you will catch them and have the strength to walk away. Sometimes though, the person you're dating will exemplify characteristics or habits that are triggers for you. Maybe you've had emotional trauma or are projecting animosity from past relationships on the current one. You need discernment to get through this. You need to let go of failed relationships and unhealthy perspectives. Do not let your emotions become your God. You need wisdom for this.
10. Cultivate Intimacy
Treasure one another. Intimacy begins with the heart, not with the flesh. Read your bibles together, worship together, serve together, pray together, fast together, spend time discussing goals and dreams with one another. There is this misconception that once you get married your life will stop, your fun will end. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your spouse should inspire you and spur you into action when it comes to following your purpose. They should help you achieve greatness, be your best friend, your loudest cheerleader, your confidant, they should partner with you in giving God glory.
Anzeo and Lauren David are our dear friends and one of our favorite couples of all time! Anzeo is an impeccable singer/songwriter, visual artist, worship pastor, father, and husband. His fantastic and equally talented wife Lauren is a creative, blogger, people lover, wife and mother. The David's share a mutual affinity for Chipotle, Jesus, shoes and their sweet son, Asher, who they lovingly refer to as Cub. We are intrigued by the David's because they continue to be a picture of the grace of God. They are young go-getters who are still remain grounded. They seriously are some of the sweetest most giving people we know, and they like, really love one another. Their union serves as not only a stride toward racial reconciliation but also a look into the redemptive power of the Father. It is possible to love without limit, it is possible to love without agenda, it is possible to love without fear of the opinions of others, it is possible to love sacrificially and completely. The David's are evidence of that.
What about your spouse makes you a better person and why?
Lauren: I think Anzeo, from the beginning of our relationship, has made me a better communicator. I was very passive aggressive. In my household, we kind of held our emotions down. I was not good with confrontation or communication. So, he’s definitely developed that in me. I would push stuff down for years and then just explode. And now, immediately if something is wrong I speak up. Our communication is so much better. It’s strengthened me.
Anzeo: I’m not gonna cry. I have to start from the beginning. God made me a sensitive person. Sensitive to people, I’ve always had a heart for the broken hearted, I’ve always wanted to be a friend to the friendless. But growing up in the culture I grew up in, that’s not cool. So, I lost myself trying to become someone I wasn’t. Being married to Lauren has taught me how to be vulnerable again, how to be sensitive again. It’s not about being cool, it's about being in the moment, whatever the moment calls for. If the moment calls for me to be like, “hey, I’m sorry.” Finding that person God made me to be, the person I lost trying to become someone else.
What has been the hardest challenge in your marriage?
Lauren: Becoming a stronger woman, becoming stronger within myself and not relying on him for everything has been the hardest. I’m gonna cry. If you don’t have a strong foundation in God then you expect your spouse to provide everything for you. So, I’ve realized the more I invest in myself and my relationship with God, the better our relationship is. I’m super sensitive, so I can get easily offended or take things personally. So knowing myself and God more makes me stronger and I’m able to treat him as my spouse and not my everything. That can be draining on both of us.
Morgan: The temptation is so real to do that. Especially when you’re so in love.
Lauren: Right, but it's like idolizing the person.
Anzeo: Being married shows you how selfish you can be initially. It puts a mirror in front of you. I treat everyone like they’re my best friend. I’m always trying to make the mood better. But in doing that, I make those people feel important. So for me, the hardest thing is to find the balance between befriending me and keeping Babe number one. That’s the hardest thing for me because I’m an extrovert. I treat everyone the same but I have to place her above everyone else. So I have to figure out, how I operate in what I know God has called me to do but still make my queen separate from everyone else. It’s been a journey, a learning, and a growing process. It’s taken some maturity on my part. Some things I just have to say no to. Because if it interferes with number one, God is not going to be pleased.
Kel: One of the hardest things to do in relationships is establishing boundaries. Knowing which boundaries are good and which ones are overkill.
Morgan: I am a naturally flirtatious person. I didn’t fully recognize that about myself until we got married. I had mistaken being flirty for being charming or personable. So, people would try to flirt back with me and I’d just be like, wait a minute! Marriage is about mindfulness. So if I’m not mindful of the interactions I have and the relationships I foster and how I foster those relationships, it's reckless. Not only am I causing my husband pain, but myself pain. And that’s something I thought was just a part of my personality. Marriage challenges who you thought you were.
Anzeo: Yeah, and in that, I’ve learned to trust her more, and that’s hard for me because I think I have discernment on 100. Some things slip through the cracks!
How does being married impact your creative process?
Lauren: I think we work really creatively well together. Like with photoshoots. I love being at all his gigs and photoshoots. Framing his clients and helping him out. We’re passionate about similar things, film, cinematography, and photography. We’re able to have discussions. Even though we might be working on different things we’re still passionate about the same things.
Anzeo: I feel like 2018 is going to be a year that she expands on her God-given gifts and me nurturing and bringing it out. Less about me and more about her. All these years she’s been my cheerleader, but these next couple years will be about her.
In what ways has being a blended family strengthened your marriage?
Anzeo: This is how I knew she was the one. I was previously married and had 3 kids out of that marriage. In some of our initial conversations - this is how I knew she was the one because no girlfriend to that date had said anything even remotely close to what she told me. She said, if we get married I want to get house and I want it to have 5 or 6 bedrooms so when the kids come over they’ll have a place and they won’t have to be in the same room. I want them to have their own room. A lightbulb went off. This is what I need to be looking for. She treats those kids like their her own. My daughters love Lauren, more than me. They probably talk to her more than they talk to me. Especially now because they’re 13 and 17. I always wanted to have a girl my daughters would love and like.
Lauren: It was really important to me too. I didn’t want to force anything. I told them to treat me as their big sister. I’m not here to replace anyone. You have a mom, I just want to be in your life. I didn’t want to just pop up in their lives. I wanted it to be natural.
Anzeo: She has the kind of character I want my daughters to emulate. I know a lot of people who don’t have our story. It hasn’t been without its challenges but we’ve been blessed. I can tell God is in this thing and we’re supposed to be together. Teamwork.
Morgan: For the record, I always knew ya’ll would work out. Because I could tell you guys were a team and it didn’t matter what was happening I could just see that you both were brave.
Lauren: We were just in love and wanted to be together.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to a newlywed?
Anzeo: Newlyweds, be honest with yourself before you get married. Know where you are, before you get married. Present who you are before you get married. Because they’re going to find out. You’ll be living with this person every day. Be honest with yourself and where and who you are. Be honest with that person so they can make a decision of whether they can deal with it. It’s okay to not be ready yet. No one is ever really ready to be married, but there are some things you have to address. List the important decisions and decide if you need counseling, or get in the word more? I know I can bear this burden. There are some things she could deal with no one else could. God sent her to me. Be transparent and allow that person to grow with the real you. No representative needed.
Kel: I think people like to sabotage other people’s relationships. When Morgan and I first got together a lot of people didn’t think we should be together.
Anzeo: That’s so crazy because I thought the exact opposite. I thought ya’ll were perfect for one another. The perfect balance for one another. They’re both strong-willed people that are gonna figure it out!
Kel: And that’s how marriage is! Figuring it out.
Lauren: My advice is to take time for yourselves to develop as a family. You two are literally one now. If your foot steps one way, it is as if your spouse’s foot is being taken that way as well. Don’t allow people in your life to determine what your marriage should look like. This is your own journey. Put boundaries around the whole marriage. Stand up for each other always. Protect your hearts from outsiders and allow God to show you your mate and accept them, flaws and all. If you are able to accept each other’s shortcomings and continually choose to live out grace, it will ultimately create a love in you that is the closest thing to how Jesus loves. It has the potential to be the most powerful kind of love. Oh yeah, and have a lot of sex and have a lot of fun. Always keep your intimate time prioritized. When your intimacy is strong, minor problems stay minor.
We truly believe intimacy begins with treasuring your beloved. Our intimacy and quiet times with the Father are a picture of our trust in Him and His deep, unwavering love for us. He cherishes us, we cherish Him. It is so sweet to sit in the presence of God and ponder on all the reasons why we love Him.
This same practice of remembrance, mindfulness, and intentionality goes a very long way. Our dear friends Chasitie and Courtney Lindsay have been married for 7 years and have a gorgeous 2-year-old. They are both entrepreneurs. Needless to say, they have to put an effort forth to maintain intimacy and deep connection with one another. They cannot allow their schedules or other roles to get the best of them. The most important job title they have is spouse. Here's how they responded to the question of what they value most about one another:
We believe one of the functions of our marriage is to give a picture of what the biblical intent for submission looks like, practically. There are so many misconceptions about what it means to yield and the importance of roles within the marriage. I think one thing should be very clear: as Christians my husband and I are monotheistic. This means we worship ONE GOD. Not one another, not our pride, not our emotions, but JESUS CHRIST. He is the head of our home. We both submit to God's authority chiefly. Secondly, we submit to one another within the confines of our unique roles given by God. Our roles compliment our nature but still must be honed. We all have the innate desire to have power. In essence, it's a good, innocent thing. When coupled with sin, it is extremely detrimental. I think this video is a perfect picture of the will of God when it comes to submission within the marriage. Jackie Hill-Perry will always have a special place in my heart because our stories are similar and I love how she uses her voice to make such an impact. The Perry's are eloquent and wise, so please enjoy this video and feel free to leave any feedback!
One thing we've learned in our marriage in to remain submitted to God. In doing so, it's so much easier to submit to one another. We are one team with one goal. When we lose sight of that, we give the enemy a welcome into our lives, into our home. The enemy belongs in hell, not in your relationships! It's important to value God's way. He longs for us to have peace. He longs for us to work together, on one accord.