my 23-year-valentine

Cindy in San Francisco

We never make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day in the Eldred home because we try to treat everyday of our love like it’s special. After more than 23 years of marriage, I love my wife, Cindy, more today than ever. She is my best-friend, my lover, my therapist, my nurse mate, my sons’s mother, and my constant companion.

Here are the top ten things I love about my Cindy on Valentine’s Day:

  1. She is intentional about bringing out the best in our sons—releasing their potential.
  2. She is the epitome of common sense—she’s not a dreamer—she’s a doer who get things accomplished.
  3. She is always learning—reading books and discovering the simplest lessons to make our life better.
  4. She is a great listener. She asks excellent questions. She is genuinely interested in other people.
  5. She is comfortable in her own skin—confident in her identity as God’s daughter—doesn’t require stuff to make beautiful.
  6. She makes me feel like I can do anything. My success is largely because she has been my biggest fan and constant supporter.
  7. She is passionate about her relationship with Jesus and constantly becoming more spiritually mature each passing year.
  8. She is the yin to my yang—she completes me and makes up for my many weaknesses with her amazing gifts and strengths.
  9. She is completely different from me but allows me to enjoy life in my own way and celebrates our differences.
  10. And, finally—let’s be honest—she’s a beautiful woman inside and out.

Make you own list and send it to your valentine today. Thanks Michael Hyatt for your post that prompted this exercise today!

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between wilderness and wonderland


My phone rings incessantly from youth workers who want to explore a new way forward.  They are ready to equip teens to live their faith with audacious boldness like never before. But they feel like they are wandering in a wilderness of sorts. Lost without the means of moving ahead. Trapped in a permission withholding system.

Yesterday, a dear friend and veteran youth worker called in that exact situation. We dialogued about his scenario, consider the plot of the master accuser, and determined it was time to press further into the Father for answers.

Maybe you’re in that same of position today in life, ministry, calling, or career. You feel like you’re walking the line between wilderness and wonderland. I can’t give you answers for the particular questions you’e facing, but I do can encourage from God’s Word. The lessons from Joshua 1:1-9 have emboldened me today, so I give them to you, friend.

  1. Draw strength from God’s presence and be obedient to his word. That’s a lesson I’ve been reminded of lately. Too often, I look for and listen to the words of others before I seek wisdom from the Word of God, meditate on it, and let it sink in deep.
  2. If God is moving you forward, he will provide a path. Obey God when he calls you into a new and demanding ministry, trusting in his presence for strength. He will not lead you where where he hasn’t prepared the way. So don’t jump too soon.
  3. Focus on God’s presence to bring you new courage and strength in your present situation. Good leaders finish well. If God is moving you to a new season or assignment, complete the work you’ve started. He will give you the means close one chapter with excellence and transition to the next.

(Much thanks to Professor Michael Gohn for these words in my life recently.)

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