5 Ways to Never Fear the Course God Has Placed You On | alyssajhoward.com

5 Ways to Never Fear the Course God Has Placed You On

A successful runner is ready for all of the challenges that may come. If they are preparing to race on a course with many hills, they focus on hill training. If they are training for a trail run, they will spend their time on trails. Their training will reflect the upcoming race they are about to run.

The same is true in our walk with God. He will often lead us through different terrains so that our faith and endurance grow. He knows the “race” we are preparing for, and He is faithful to “train” us appropriately. The road ahead can often be intimidating. It’s easy to allow fear to take over when you are “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” as David so eloquently put it. But David chose not to fear. He knew that he wasn’t alone on that road – and neither are we. Continue Reading

Good and Bad Communication: 9 Ways to Resolve Conflict in Marriage | alyssajhoward.com

Good and Bad Communication: 9 Ways to Resolve Conflict in Marriage

My husband and I took a cruise for our honeymoon. During one of the shows, they brought a couple up on stage who had been married over 50 years. And when asked how they did it, the husband replied, “Two words… I’m sorry!” Then the wife replied, “I forgive you!” We all had a good laugh at the time, but their advice proved to be incredibly wise. Marital conflict is inevitable, but a lot of it could be avoided if we would simply learn to listen, communicate effectively, and admit when we are wrong. Continue Reading

3 Negative Attitudes That Will Destroy Your Marriage | alyssajhoward.com

3 Negative Attitudes That Will Destroy Your Marriage

The Bible tells us to fix our thoughts on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.” (Philippians 4:8) This outlook on life affects every aspect of our lives – including our marriage. The enemy likes to use our negative attitudes and thoughts to suck the joy out of marriages. But the good news is that we don’t have to let him. Continue Reading

The Truth About Marriage: Love is a Choice | alyssajhoward.com

The Truth About Marriage: Love is a Choice

As crazy as it sounds, divorce is almost seen as a rite of passage in today’s culture. It’s certainly seen as a viable option when our marriages hit rough times. The problem with this thinking is that ALL marriages hit rough times. So based on our culture’s standard, all marriages have times where divorce could be on the table as an option. Continue Reading

Racing to Win: 5 Principles That Will Prepare You for Ministry | alyssajhoward.com

Racing to Win: 5 Principles That Will Prepare You for Ministry

If you are a follower of Christ, you are in full-time ministry. Whether you are a pastor, a teacher, a nurse, an accountant, or a stay-at-home mom… you are called to represent Christ to everyone He has placed in your life. Pastors and teachers are wonderful (and we need them), but every believer is called to share Christ’s love, not just those in church leadership. Not all of us are called to be pastors or missionaries, but we are all called to serve, love others, and share the Gospel with those around us. Continue Reading

A Realistic Look at the Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31

When speaking of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, Bible teachers often focus on the attributes that make her a good mother, wife, and keeper of the home. But this passage goes far beyond that. It describes her as a woman who is well-rounded with a good head on her shoulders… smart and resourceful. The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 provides both food and clothing for her family as well as her servants, manages the home and its finances, takes care for the needy, sells her own handiwork, and speaks wisdom and teaching to others. (She is one busy lady!) Continue Reading

The True Purpose of Marriage (according to the Bible) | alyssajhoward.com

The True Purpose of Marriage (according to the Bible)

We all know the statistics. Marriage is hard. But the truth about marriage is that with the right perspective (and help from the Holy Spirit), it can be one of the greatest blessings of our lives. One of the first things we have to remember about marriage is that it was originally God’s idea. (Genesis 2:18, 21-22) Not only that, but He outlines the true purpose of marriage in His Word. Continue Reading

Taming the Tongue: Why It May Be Time for a Heart Check | alyssajhoward.com

Taming the Tongue: Why It May Be Time for a Heart Check

The Bible is clear that we have a choice to make. We can choose to speak words of life or words of death. Our words can lift others up and encourage them, or they can cause irrevocable destruction. I know that I’m not alone in admitting that my words have landed me in trouble from time to time. I’ve certainly said some things that I’m not proud of. Continue Reading

It's Okay to Rest: Finding Peace in the Midst of Hard Work | alyssajhoward.com

It’s Okay to Rest: Finding Peace in the Midst of Hard Work

I decided to start seriously running about 8 weeks after my second daughter was born. I was anxious to get back into shape, and running seemed like a perfect solution. Since then, I have spent most of my training days indoors on a treadmill.

Finding the time to run outdoors with two children under the age of two can be extremely difficult. (I commend anyone who tries!) With that being said, I finally made it outdoors and ran a 12K race on a challenging course with lots of hills… and hills aren’t exactly easy to train for on a treadmill. Needless to say, my legs were a bit sore!

I pushed myself pretty hard during this race, and my body needed some time to recover. After months of regular training, I found it extremely difficult to take a few days off. My head knew that my body needed to rest from the race, but my heart was dying to get back on that treadmill. Continue Reading

5 Reasons Why Prayer is More Than Bringing Requests to God | alyssajhoward.com

5 Reasons Why Prayer is More Than Bringing Requests to God

We talk a lot about prayer requests in church. We pray for our loved ones, our country, ourselves, and the list goes on. But here’s a part of us that knows we are called to make prayer more personal… to use this time to not just ask God for things, but to thank Him for His blessings and to spend time in His presence. Jesus is regularly seen in the Gospels praying and seeking after His Father’s heart. This is why prayer is essential to our faith. It’s our direct line of communication to God. Continue Reading

Training for the Hills: When Life Feels Like an Uphill Battle

As a runner, it is important to never give up on the hills. Stay steady, maintain your form, and you will reach the top. The same is true in life.

Hill training can be very intimidating for the novice runner. Because I spend most of my time running indoors on a treadmill, I sometimes forget about hill training altogether. Training is essential, however, when it comes to tackling hills. Whether going uphill or downhill, both present a new set of challenges. And these challenges help us to grow as athletes – both mentally and physically. Continue Reading

A Question of Identity: Who Are You Really? | alyssasjhoward.com

A Question of Identity: Who Are You Really?

Are you a follower of Christ? It’s a simple yes or no question. In Matthew chapter 26, it was a question that Peter couldn’t answer. Of all people, one would think that a disciple of Jesus could have answered that question with ease. He had walked and talked with Jesus. He had witnessed all of his miracles and teachings. Yet when put to the test, he failed. Peter could not identify himself as one of Christ’s followers. Continue Reading

Why Embracing the Storms in Your Life is Essential for Growth | alyssajhoward.com

Why Embracing the Storms in Your Life is Essential for Growth

It was the first weekend in June, and my mother and I decided to run a 5k race. Neither of us was well prepared, but we knew we could probably pull off the short distance. We showed up to the race bright and early only to see a handful of people waiting there to run. What we had failed to notice that morning was the fact that the weather reports were calling for a torrential downpour right around the time the race would begin. Sure enough, they were right (which almost never happens – right?!) We barely got to the starting line when the heavens opened up unleashing a crazy amount of rain. Continue Reading

True Love is Patient (even when we don't want to be) | alyssajhoward.com

True Love is Patient (even when we don’t want to be)

1 Corinthians 13 is known as the Bible’s “love” chapter. You may have heard it quoted at weddings… Christian and non-Christian alike. The chapter gives us a long list of character traits that true love exhibits. One thing I find particularly interesting about this passage is that the very first attribute listed is patience. (Everyone’s favorite – right?) Yes, true love is patient, which makes the opposite true as well. A lack of patience means we are not operating in love. Continue Reading

Facing Criticism in a World that Loves to Criticize | alyssajhoward.com

Facing Criticism in a World that Loves to Criticize

Criticism happens. Occasionally it can be a positive or constructive tool in our lives; but more often than not, it ends up leading to hurt feelings and defensive emotions. In school, our teachers critique the homework we submit. In the workplace, our boss is criticizing our job performance. At home, our friends and family critique the choices we make in life. Facing criticism is simply a part of life, and we must learn to handle it with grace and understanding. Continue Reading