Is There Room In Your Marriage For One More? How My Intimacy Idol Almost Ruined Us

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 Is There Room In Your Marriage For One More How My Intimacy Idol Almost Ruined Us

“So this is what marriage is.” I thought to myself as I sat on the couch in our new apartment. There I was, home since 3:30 and eating my dinner alone while I waited for my workaholic new husband to come home. But it would be hours before I saw him. It was our first year of marriage and it wasn’t going so well.

As a teacher, I had to be at work by 7:00 AM which meant we only saw each other for a brief few minutes at the start of the day. The fact that he often didn’t get home from work until 8:00 PM  meant we had maybe, 2 hours a day together-if I could keep my eyes open that long.

“Why did I get married in the first place if I am never going to actually be with my husband?”  I wondered.

And then our first baby was born just two months after our one-year wedding anniversary. A baby who had extreme colic and reflux. I was dealing with the most beautiful mess of a child I could imagine, and suddenly I felt lonelier than I had ever felt when I was single.

I had always dreamed about a shared life with my husband. One in which he met my needs and I met his. Except life actually happened. He felt the pressure of providing and that meant long hours in his particular industry. He was doing his best, but that wasn’t good enough for me. Romance dwindled and if we went on a date, it was always because I took the initiative. It made me feel hopeless. In my mind, we were almost like strangers.

The bitterness and discontent began to take root. Instead of counting my blessings, all I could see were my barriers. Barriers to the happy life that I expected. My loneliness permeated my life.

I wasn’t lonely because my husband worked a lot. Nor was I lonely because I was often physically alone.

I was lonely because of my own sin.

I often became aloof and withdrawn.  I wanted my husband to pay for what I considered his lack of commitment to our marriage and attentiveness to me as his wife.  I longed for true companionship and I felt the void on a routine basis.

So I became an idolater.

And I bet I’m not the only one. Maybe you are too. I just didn’t fully realize it at the time.

Martha Peace, in her book, The Excellent Wife, A Biblical Perspective, puts it like this:

“It is not wrong for a wife to desire intimacy with her husband unless she desires it so intensely that she sins if she cannot have it. Then her desire becomes idolatrous. In those cases, even if her husband attempts to be more open with her, she is likely to be disappointed no matter how hard he tries. He may give up trying and then her idolatrous desire for intimacy becomes even more intense.”

The Bible speaks strongly about idolatry in both the New and Old Testaments, but this passage from Colossians 3:5 is especially convicting:  “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” I coveted the ideal marriage. God wants our whole hearts to be devoted to Him, and when we put any thing or person before Him, we make it into an idol. That’s exactly what I was doing. My need and desire to change my husband became the thing that dictated my emotions and my joy.

My loneliness grew the more I felt sorry for myself. My self-pity multiplied my discontent. My discontent depressed my spirit and my poor husband couldn’t please me if he wanted to, because his efforts always fell short of my imagined standard.

My intimacy idol almost ruined us.

But through those dark days, the Holy Spirit began to convict me. It was clear that we were unwitting hostages on a train that was hurling towards a bridgeless ravine.  If I didn’t put the brakes on my wayward emotions, then we were going to plummet into the depths of brokenness and take our son with us. We vowed we would never divorce but the prospect of living like enemies under one roof seemed more than I could bear. I was willing to sacrifice my own happiness for the sake of my kids, but as a Christ-follower, I knew our fractured relationship wasn’t pleasing God.

But what was the answer? How could I get my husband to be the provider, leader, spiritual giant, romantic, and friend that I thought I was getting when I married him?

I tried, but I couldn’t change him.

I had to change me.

It started with gratitude. Removing my idolatry of intimacy and desire to have my needs met by a human being, my husband, required that I take my eyes off my selfish desires and place them on the only one who can truly meet my needs-the Lord.

I needed to cultivate an attitude of gratitude towards God-it meant thanking Him for everything in my life, even if I didn’t “feel” very grateful at first. It meant going against my feelings, using self-control, and speaking only words that edified my husband. Instead of wallowing in my self-pity, I needed to meditate on the goodness of God in my life. I had lost sight of it.

I had mistaken God for a magic genie whose goal was to serve me instead of the other way around. I had made my Lord too small and placed Him in the confines of a white picket fence. My view of God was tainted by my circumstances when I should have had a high view of God to lift me above my circumstances. I lost sight of the fact that my role in life is to serve God, not the other way around.

My happiness was at the forefront of my goals instead of my holiness. And it wrecked havoc.

I was called to love my husband, no matter what. Just as Christ loved me, while I was yet a sinner. Even if he never changed. Even if things got worse. My ability to fulfill my role as an excellent wife had nothing to do with my husband’s performance. Yes, he could make it easier or harder on me to do so, but ultimately, my goal was to honor God with my thoughts and actions. That is where the true and lasting joy would come from, not from any earthly relationship.

And you know what? The more I changed, the more he did too. He began to take his spiritual walk more seriously and we became more like-minded.

Today, people look at us and think we have a blissful marriage but the truth is, we worked hard and we went through deep valleys to get here. God refined us both and we are still a work in progress. But my husband is the very best man I have ever known. He is my best friend, and my cherished lover. I wouldn’t have believed we could get to this point, and we still have areas of struggle because we are both sinners saved by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. But we have learned how to communicate and put each other’s needs before our own. Truth be told, my husband is far better at that than I am.

Our marriage is stronger than ever and I’m deeply blessed, but that’s only because our mutual satisfaction rests in our individual relationships with God, and not in each other.

Wives, if you find yourself today in a pit of turmoil over your marriage I want to lovingly remind you of something: You are only there by your own hand.

It’s not your husband’s fault.

He may not be meeting your God-given needs or desires. He may be downright rude and self-centered. He may never “get” you in the way you dreamed.  That is between him and God. But your happiness and joy will never be satisfied by any earthly possession, position, or person. It will only well up from the heart-spring of a woman whose hope is in Christ alone, and who drinks continually from Living Water, despite her circumstances.

If you have made your need for intimacy with your husband an idol, tear it down today.Sacrifice your self-pity on the altar of gratitude. Pray this Psalm from the depths of your heart to God:

Psalm 73:25-28
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

Simplify your troubled marriage by giving it back to God. Your idol may not be for intimacy, but if your marriage or happiness is an idol in any way, and you are sinning as a result, then it’s time to take a look at your heart.

What if your situation NEVER changed? You have two choices:

You can yield to misery and fight against your situation which will lead to misery and depression rendering you useless as a light on a hill and will ultimately waste this one life you have been blessed with.

Or,

You can put your unwavering trust and faith in a good God who loves you unconditionally, sees you in your need, and promises to give you both peace and joy in any circumstance which will lift your soul and spirit far above the ocean waves that seem at this moment to sweep you away, and ultimately, you will rise above the fray and shine so brightly that the world will take notice of your great God who will then also reward you for all of eternity.

Which will it be, friend?

The idol of intimacy is a cold substitute for a husband of any kind. And it can’t compare to the One True God. Humble yourself and put on a robe of gratitude today. Rely on the Holy Spirit to help you, and be the wife God created you to be.

The beautiful byproduct can also be a healed marriage. At the very least it will lead to a healed wife. I know from personal experience that idols make three a crowd but there is always room for Christ at the center of your marriage. Make the trade today and the intimacy from your relationship with the true Husbandmen, Jesus Christ, will bless you in supernatural ways and bring you lasting joy.

Read MORE about marriage in my posts, I Married Mr. Wrong But It’s Alright and How To Find The Perfect Husband Even Though You Are Already Married!

YOUR TURN! Can you relate to this post? I would love to pray for you. Please, share with me in the comments how I can pray for you.

This post contains an affiliate link for a book. When you make a purchase through my link, a few cents goes to my ministry but it doesn’t cost you anything extra! Thank you!

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When Forgiviness Seems Too Hard

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When Forgiveness Seems Too Hard

He shifted from one Converse clad foot to the other and waited patiently for the other students to clear out from the classroom. I stood at my desk shuffling papers when I noticed that he remained.

“Hi James. What’s up?” I asked.

“Mrs. Lia, I just wanted to tell you that the testimony you read about Josh McDowell’s life made a big impact on me.” He spoke, softly.

I sat down in my swivel chair to listen.

“My dad left home a long time ago and he struggles with addictions too. But I want you to know that Mr. McDowell’s example of forgiving his father showed me that I needed to forgive my dad too. I reached out to him and we have started over again.” He explained.

My heart swelled.

As a high school English literature teacher, my goal reached far beyond explaining the motives of classic authors or the rigors of rhetorical strategy. I read Josh McDowell’s mind-bowing testimony to my students with the hope that his incredible ability to demonstrate love and forgiveness to the unlovely and unforgiving would inspire my students.

And apparently it had. Rightly so. I thanked James for confiding in me and I praised God for His relentless capacity for reconciling fragmented people.

And James? Well, his father would die suddenly and unexpectedly not long after they had repaired their relationship.

It wasn’t too late for them to find hope when all seemed lost.

Forgiveness doesn’t merely heal the people directly involved in a conflict. It is a salve for those who stand in the wings waiting for the courage to do the same.

I want to share Josh McDowell’s story of how he turned from passionate atheism and a goal to murder his own father and abuser, to becoming a radical Christ-follower. You can hear it from his own mouth:

If you need healing, this is for you.

If you are doubting, this is for you.

If you have someone to forgive, this is for you.

If you need courage, this is for you.

If you grew up with an alcoholic, or are one yourself, this is for you.

If you have been abused, this is for you.

If you are angry with God, this is for you.

If you are in a season of peace and gratitude, this is for you.

If you are overflowing with joy in the Lord, this is for you.

It’s a timeless message that I hope you will set aside the time to watch.

And may you, like James, take it to heart.

YOUR TURN! Isn’t Josh McDowell’s testimony AMAZING? What about his story impacted you the most?

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well!

Why This Christian Won’t Protest 50 Shades of Gray (And You Shouldn’t Either)

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Why This Christian Won't Protest 50 Shades Of Gray And You Shouldn't Either

Hey Christian! I want you to consider a different kind of approach to the very loud protesting against the upcoming movie, 50 Shades of Gray this Valentine’s Day weekend.

I see it everywhere I turn in Christian circles lately-women and men posting scathing protests against any believer or even the secular public who might support a film that contains graphic sex and blurred lines between love and abuse.

But I won’t.

And I don’t say that with pride and a puffed up chest either. I say it with sadness, honestly.

Here’s why:

  1. If my main objective as a Christ-follower is to be a light and to be known for how I love others, then publicly protesting a film on a moral level will only pit me against my target audience for sharing the message of Jesus Christ and His love.

How open is an unbeliever going to be if I spend my time coming across as judgmental and close-minded, even if I am being neither of those things? Because that will be the perception.

And perceptions matter.

I firmly believe that living a quiet, yet stalwart life for Christ is the testimony we need to portray to the world:

 …and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders… I Thessalonians 4:11-12b

Offending others intentionally is foolish, friends. Gain their respect so that when the time comes that they hunger for something beyond the emptiness of the bedroom or the pursuit of the boardroom, or the burdens of life, you are the first person they want to approach, instead of avoid.

But if those around us only see believers standing with a fist and building brick walls with our words, then they will never consider us respectable people that they would want to have a conversation with about our differing views.

Conisder Chik-fil-A’s Dan Cathy’s friendship with gay activist Shane L. Windmeyer. I lOVE these guys!

How can we publicly condemn others for having a sinful belief system and then think that they will come to our homes for dinner or accept Living Water from our hands when we run off at the mouth?

  1. As a passionate Christ-follower, I want to be known by what I stand FOR not what I stand AGAINST.

You won’t find a more passionate advocate for all things good and praise-worthy when it comes to what I choose to dwell on and promote. You can bet that I will stand for life, for integrity, for Biblical love and if you knew me personally, you would know that I am no pushover when it comes to Truth.

But conversations about deep heart issues are best held between people who have mutual respect for one another-something that is void in a public protest.  I’m happy to talk through my beliefs with anyone who comes to me and asks. And in that conversation I hope I will do as much listening as talking.

There is enough negativity in social media already. As a believer, the last thing I want to do is add to it. My prayer is that I will be known as someone who believes the best about others, gives them the benefit of the doubt, seeks good in the world around me, and pursues it.

  1. Controversial topics rarely edify those who “listen” in the public forum.

Words can bring healing or cut like a dagger. They have the power to bring freedom or implement bondage.

Invite or alienate.

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Christ-follower, your “neighbors” are listening. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and ask yourself how you come across to them. Would you approach, YOU, if you were someone who largely disagreed with your views? Are you being kind and gentle while still being a man or woman of integrity?

I’ll tell you what. I know a lot of beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ who are being staunch and vocal about the debate of 50 Shades of Gray. They are signing petitions and doling out heaping measures of guilt. I love these people. But every time I see them rail on this film and those “Hollywood” people that my husband and I have given up EVERYTHING to reach and to love in practical ways, our job as faith-friendly producers and missionaries in a very secular environment gets that much harder. We get lumped into that pool of “Christians” who are judgmental and hateful. And all those people who we care about so deeply retreat a little further from our message of the Gospel.

I could just weep over it. And I have.

I don’t feel grace or benefited when I see Christ-followers waving banners of protest and shaming the world for being the world. I feel sick. Disgusted. Saddened.

Anything but edified.

Listen, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have convictions about issues, but I think we need to reconsider the forum and the decorum with which we discuss these matters.

Live your life quietly. Love God. Love others unconditionally-even those who will see 50 Shades of Gray this weekend.

Radiate joy in good times and bad.

Make choices that are counter-culture and raise your kids to do the same.

Be satisfied in Christ and the world will take notice.

And because you are known for your kindness and convictions that you live out in everyday life, you will be given opportunities to share Christ in a personal way.

The light of your life is more effective than a thousand petitions. And far more reflective of Christ who pulled up a chair to eat with “sinners” whom he preferred over the self-righteous of His day.

Be a light on a hill that welcomes the lost and the weary and when the many gray areas of this world dim and begin to reveal themselves for the darkness and void that they are. The light you radiate in word and deed will be a welcome change in the world around you.

YOUR TURN! What do you think are the best ways to stand for your beliefs while also loving others?

(NOTE: This post is not meant to be a discussion about whether or not you or anyone should or should not see this particular film. It’s a discussion of the “forum and decorum” of how we engage culture regarding issues of morality as Christ-followers. If your comments don’t fit the nature of the discussion, they will most likely be removed.)

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The Key To Stop Yelling In Anger At Your Kids-And Why Anger Is NOT A Sign Of Unforgiveness!

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The Key To Stop Yelling In Anger At Your Kids, And Why Anger Is Not A Sign Of Unforgiveness

I thought I had forgiven them.

But night after night I woke suddenly, flooded with memories that came to me as vividly as the day the incident happened.

My breathing would quicken, my heart would plummet, and then the tears would flood my pillow. Eventually, the dreams would lessen, but try as I may, I couldn’t stop remembering the horrible situation or question how someone could be so bent on hurting me.

I genuinely felt no desire for revenge. In fact, I had tried my best to reach out-to make peace.

They weren’t interested.

I meant them no harm and often prayed for them that God would work in their hearts-even bless them. I considered ways I could do good towards them-as difficult as that seemed at the time. I was exercising a supernatural kind of love-the kind of love that chooses to do so against every natural instinct. A love that seeks to glorify God and embody His strength in my weakness.

So why was the hurt still there? Why was I still feeling so indignant and at times….ANGRY?

Had I not forgiven them after all?

The anger I felt surprised me. Try as I may, I couldn’t get rid of the anger.

The answer came to me recently. In Genesis 3, God speaks to Satan and tells him that He is placing “enmity” between mankind and himself as a punishment for tempting Adam and Eve in the Garden.

Enmity means “a violent hostility” or “the strongest kind of hatred” that mankind is capable of exercising.

Essentially, God gave us enmity between us and Satan so that we would HATE what is evil and direct our anger in a righteous way-towards our enemy, the Devil. Instead of trying to eradicate our anger, we need to redirect it.

Kevin Weaver, in his book, Re_Orient, says:

“To realize love’s ideal, we must love and hate-we must learn to properly wield both violent love toward people and violent hatred toward evil and the enemy who creates it, both at the same time and both equally well.”

Isn’t that freeing?!

The coinage, “Hate the sin, love the sinner” rings truer in this light, doesn’t it? God is our Healer and He does give us total freedom from our sorrows-but sometimes, the offenses and hurts in our lives take time to heal. I’m thankful that we can be patient in that process and not add guilt to our mentality when we still feel anger over sin and its effects on us in this world. Instead of focusing on getting rid of my anger, the anger I felt simply needed to be placed where it was due-towards my true enemy.

I believe this applies very closely in my everyday life as a mother too. I currently co-manage a group for The MOB Society that helps moms deal with anger and yelling towards their children. In 6 months, we have swelled to more than 6,000 members.

The need is great.

Moms (and Dads!) struggle with anger on a regular basis. The Truth about enmity applies here too. Why are we flying off the handle when our kids lie to us? Why do we erupt when they disobey us? And how do we break the cycle of anger and yelling?

If this is a struggle for you, PLEASE watch this video where I explain enmity and anger even further and apply it to the relationship between parent and child. Take a moment to pause and pray before watching and ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart to what He would have for you.

Is this freeing for you too? Are you able to have better self-control over your anger when you know that it is really a gift and a healthy emotion that God has instilled in us? Does it make more sense now how you can be angry…and NOT sin?

YOUR TURN! Perhaps you have some redirecting to do. I would be honored to pray for you. Would you let me know how I can pray for you as you reflect on anger and enmity in the light of forgiveness or as a parent?

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10 Bible Passages For Exhausted Parents

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 10 Bible Passages For Exhausted Moms And Dads

Having a newborn feels like you are experiencing the best kept secret of your life. It’s a kind of joy that you didn’t know was possible.  Motherhood is exhilarating!

And exhausting.

I will never forget the absolutely mind-numbing fatigue that my husband Guy and I felt after our first son, Oliver, was born with severe reflux and colic.

He was NOT a sleeper. It didn’t matter what we tried (and we tried everything).

My mind was absolute sludge. I’m still not quite sure how we survived. Our little boy was absolutely adorable and we loved him. That’s how he survived.

We eventually had two more sons and although they both were better sleepers than their big brother, all babies require a lot of attention-even during the night. And that means that most moms are pretty exhausted in those early months. My oldest is almost 8-years-old and to be honest, I’m still dragging my feet most mornings.

This post is for all those exhausted moms (and dads!)-maybe even moms who don’t have newborns but kids with other issues that are keeping them up at night too! It’s not just babies that need us during the night at times! It can be our toddlers, our teens, or even our own health issues or anxious thoughts.

Parenting while sleep-deprived is not an excuse for snappy behavior or being irritable and stressed. That’s exactly how I felt so many times but giving in to my impatience, frustration, and snippiness does not honor God. Instead, it should be an opportunity for me to rely even more on the Holy Spirit to refine me.

 In that spirit, here are:

10 PASSAGES FOR EXHAUSTED PARENTS

 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13

 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Isaiah 40:29

 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Psalm 34:17-20

 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

 Moms and Dads, this time of exhaustion is a CHAPTER. It’s not necessarily forever, even though it may feel like it. The main thing that we must remember is that God allows every circumstance in our lives as an opportunity to become more like Christ. Trust in Him to give you the strength and sustenance you need to thrive-even when you are deeply fatigued. My prayer is that each of you that finds yourselves in this place of either physical, spiritual, or emotional exhaustion will be refreshed and restored by the washing of the Word of God. May you be blessed and encouraged from one formerly maxed out mom to another!

YOUR TURN! Are you an exhausted parent? I would love to pray for you-share your request with me in the comments!

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What I Sense 2015 Needs To Be (And My Top Posts From 2014)

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What I Sense For 2015

The end of the year is a little different for me because it is literally the end of a year of my life. My birthday was a few days ago and so even though some people hate resolution making my mind and body yearn for it.

I get a double dose of reflection as I contemplate my birthday and the New Year and it’s never a bad thing for me.

As years go over the last 8 or 9, 2014 was pretty good. If you have read my blog for any length of time, you might notice that I often write to encourage people through hard times and loss and that’s because I have been in valleys and valleys and valleys and valleys of hard times and loss. It’s what I know. But I also know the goodness of God in it.

No one told me that valleys could last for years on end. I wasn’t really prepared for it.

And yet I was.

My parents raised me to memorize Scripture every week and having that foundation in my heart of hearts has always been my sanity-saver and life-giver. I have come to know that the best preparation for life I can ever give my boys is to teach them to memorize Bible verses. Nothing else is more important to me.

All these years of unemployment, big moves across the state and back, loneliness, betrayal from friends, starting a business, trying to get my books published, medical diagnosis I can’t even bring myself to share publicly yet, miscarriages, and lots of conviction from the Holy Spirit to honor my promise to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than anything else has brought me through the ringer these past several years.

But I pray that if you met me you would NEVER KNOW IT.

I want to be quick to smile and radiate joy no matter what. I want to waft with the scent of the Fruit of the Spirit. Look like I’m standing on a rock that is higher than I. Have something left to pour out instead of running on empty. Make myself beautiful by the Word. God has been so good to me to teach me to persevere and to be more than a conqueror.

If I can do it, you can too!!! After all, it is Christ who strengthens us!

So these past couple years as I’m learning how to be a passionate Christ-follower with more radicalism, I have swung open the windows of my heart and let you in to take a look with the hope that some of what I’m learning would resonate with you too.

And you all showed up-even when I stopped blogging for MONTHS in a row after we lost our twins this year. In fact, more of you came. I’m so thankful for you-you have no idea how much your prayers have meant to me this year. 

As part of my reflection over this year and my deep gratitude that God has always been good even in the hard times, I dug up my top 10 posts that I wrote in 2014. I hope they will continue to bless someone who needs to read them. Maybe you can share the one that meant the most to you.

I sense in my spirit that my daily prayer needs to continue to seek God and pursue HIM more than anything else in my life. I hear the Lord whispering in my heart that 2015 must be all about that continued hunger and thirst for righteousness. Will you do me the honor of praying that for me? Thank you, friends. I’m looking forward to seeing what God will do with us this year! To Him be the glory!

TOP 10 POSTS FROM 2014

#1 I Don’t Expect My Kids To Obey With A “Happy Heart!”

#2 It’s Not A Witching Hour, Christian Mom

#3 The One Person You Must Unfriend On Facebook

#4 I’m Waving The White Flag Of Motherhood Because It Feels Too Hard

#5 How To Find The Perfect Husband Even Though You Are Already Married

#6 Better In The Arms Of Jesus, My Miscarriage

#7 A Book List That Will Change Your Life

#8 7 Tips For Parents, My Pet Peeves At Public Parks

#9 The Day I Let 2 Kids Walk Away With An Abusive Mom

#10 When You Can’t Give Your Kids Disneyland

YOUR TURN! What Spiritual change do you sense is needed for yourself in 2015?

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What It’s Like To Dine At Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen!

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What It's Like To Dine At Hell's Kitchen

Last week, my husband Guy and I got the rare opportunity to experience eating at Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen! My husband and I have been fans of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen for years, so actually dining at Gordon Ramsey’s infamous restaurant with would-be chefs in the making was a dream come true!

Here’s the inside scoop on our dining experience with details about what it’s like to dine under the cameras and amidst the chaos of Hell’s Kitchen!

 GETTING ON THE SHOW

 People always want to know how to get tickets to Hell’s Kitchen and for good reason.

It’s NOT easy.

My husband and I both work in the entertainment industry and we have several friends who work on the show. That’s the short and sweet version of how we made it there, but even then, we missed the initial calls trying to confirm our reservation and at the very last-minute, they squeezed us in!

It was incredibly kind of the good people in casting to do so for us because we don’t get a fun date night out very often and we had our babysitter all lined up in anticipation. There are waivers to sign too-that’s the norm when you appear on camera for any show! It’s also super important that none of the guests dining in the restaurant have any food allergies.

You have to eat what they serve you! If you get any food at all…….

 THE ARRIVAL and WHAT TO WEAR

 Hell’s Kitchen is a fine dining restaurant, so the dress code is upscale casual. I chose black slacks, a color-block blouse with black and white on the bottom and turquoise at the neck, a yellow clutch, and gold stilettos! My husband Guy wore a nice suit minus the tie!

What We Wore To Hell's Kitchen!

What We Wore To Hell’s Kitchen!

Our taping was set for a Monday night. Hell’s Kitchen films in Van Nuys, CA these days so it wasn’t a long drive for us at all which is good because you need to arrive well before the typical dinner hours. They suggest you have a snack before the show in case one of the two teams gets kicked out of the kitchen and you go home hungry!

We were greeted by friendly security and then drove to the entrance of the restaurant where a gorgeous red carpet awaited and valet staff took our car for us. Casting staff met us on the red carpet and took us to a beautiful spacious room draped in black curtains where about 30 people were already ahead of us. The tables were set with appetizers like cheese plates and fruit, as well as choices of wine, beer, or soft drinks. White comfy couches, lounge tables, and a coat check made the ambience complete! The staff came across as genuine, kind, attentive, and happy. They took our picture and made us feel like valued guests! Casting went out of their way to tell us that they knew we were on date night and wanted to be sure and squeeze us in. So kind!!  A great start to a fantastic evening!

A waiter eventually greeted us and offered a leather-bound menu so that we could pre-select both our appetizer and our entrees of which there were two choices. We both chose the same appetizer but different entrees. More on that soon!

One of our friends came down from her office to say hello so we passed the time chatting with her and catching up. WE LOVE HER, and not just because she helped us get in to the show. J

 GLAMOUR WAGON

There are no bathrooms in the actual restaurant so if you have to take care of business, there are wagons set up with porta-potties but it’s not what you think. These babies are glamorous!

It’s almost like stepping into a “real” bathroom-nice dark wood paneling, beautiful sinks with large mirrors, several doors to choose from, and places to set your belongings down while you do your thing. Think the Taj Mahal of outhouses!

 THE RESTAURANT

Eventually, we were taken in small groups to the red carpet, lined up, and told our table number. I love booths so I was hoping we would get one of the few available. Sure enough, they gave us a booth! I took Guy’s arm and then much like waiting to walk down the aisle for a wedding ceremony, we made our way a few seconds behind the couple in front of us and walked down the hallway leading into Hell’s Kitchen.  Portraits of past Hell’s Kitchen winners graced the walls.

Entrance To Hell's Kitchen (Side View)

Entrance To Hell’s Kitchen (Side View)

We walked up a couple of steps past a chic bar area, strolled past TV cameras that zoomed in for close-ups, and were taken straight to our booth to one side of the restaurant.

Hell’s Kitchen did not seem like a set-it was stunning!

The decor was absolutely beautiful. Modern chandeliers hung from the ceiling, the tables were draped in fine linens, and the soft gray suede of our high-backed booth allowed us to dine in comfort. Our waitress was friendly and quick to smile. We spent time chatting with her and trying to understand exactly what the process would be for the evening. She brought us our beverages-wine, soda, sparkling water, and beer as well as a bread basket filled with no less than 5 varieties of breads and butter. We dug in!

The ambience was perfection. Elegant. Shades of white, silver, gold, and turquoise graced the walls, tables, chairs, and overall decor. The restaurant itself was quieter than I anticipated, and MUCH HOTTER. They don’t call it Hell’s Kitchen for nothing, people. We were sweating-but that was the only discomfort. The restaurant was truly beautiful!

Across the dining room, Gordon Ramsey stood sweating with a pencil behind his ear and a serious look on his face. The kitchen was HUMMING and there was DRAMA, although I can’t tell you of what nature since the show has not yet aired. Chef Ramsey clearly takes his role as a mentor and master chef seriously and I was thankful that he was there to inspect the food we would soon (hopefully!) be eating. He wasn’t at all distracted by the cameras or dozens of diners in the room.  It was exciting to watch and definitely surreal to see the master at work!

Not everyone in the restaurant had the same experience we did, but you will have to watch the episodes to find out!

 THE FOOD

We prayed that our food would actually arrive at our tables. There have been plenty of diners who didn’t get further than a beverage on this show. It’s rare to make it all the way through the service and Guy and I were prepared to hit an In-N-Out Burger afterwards if necessary.

The maitre de passed our table and Guy asked him where he was from in Italy. They compared birth origins and bonded over their Italian heritage. With a final, “Prego” he resumed his duties.

And then course 1 arrived-our appetizers. We both chose a butternut squash soup instead of a red beet salad.

YUM. It was absolutely delicious. The presentation was delectable too-the warm orange shade of the soup was offset by a light green oil swirled throughout the soup and a nest of toasted nuts in the center. We ate every last bite.

Our amazing waitress never let our glasses get half empty. The service was excellent but they also need to keep glasses full for aesthetics for the cameras!

Time passed.

Camera men stealthily moved about from table to table as food came out to the guests so they could capture reactions.

And then our entrees arrived!

I had a filet with mashed potatoes and asparagus and Guy had sea bass with a bacon and navy bean broth with asparagus.  Filet Mignon is my absolute favorite meal so this was truly a blessing! Mine was cooked to perfection with savory gravy in an artful display on the plate. Guy’s sea bass was underwhelming-a bit overcooked and lacking in flavor. He comforted himself with bites of my filet. Ha!

We were pretty full at this point, but hoping dessert would come.

It did.

And wouldn’t you know it? Another of my favorites.

Molten chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream, macadamia nuts, and blueberries.

We died.

It. Was. So. Good.

With the first bite, the liquid chocolate spilled out like lava and the rest was history. I simply couldn’t finish the one last morsel lingering on my plate and I watched sadly as the waitress removed it from our table.

Then, a special surprise.

A nicely dressed man came to our table and told us that he heard we were on date night and that they wanted to offer us champagne! He assured us that they would be happy to take care of our car and call a taxi cab on them if we needed it. We wouldn’t need it-everything in moderation-but it was generous of them to offer!

Guy and I wanted coffee but we were stuffed to the gills at this point. Shortly after we finished our dessert and champagne, our wonderful waitress thanked us and let us know it was time to go.

We shimmied out of the elegant booth and made our way past the cameras and down the luxurious red carpet once again. We gave our ticket to the valet and shortly thereafter we drove away from Hell’s Kitchen, deeply satisfied and pampered. If you ever get the chance to be a part of the show, take it! It was a highlight for us and one of the best date nights we have ever had.  It may be called Hell’s Kitchen, but for us, it was heavenly.

Here I am outside the studio/restaurant. I was SO full!!!

Here I am outside the studio/restaurant. I was SO full!!!

Be sure to watch Hell’s Kitchen on Fox each week!!

YOUR TURN! Do you watch Hell’s Kitchen? Have you always wanted to dine under Gordon Ramsey’s protégés too? What surprised you about our experience? Have you ever been to a TV taping before?

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