Hello! My name is Nadienne Morris, and I am newly married to the kindest, most loving man who is my biggest cheerleader. He is more incredible than anything I could have dreamed of. And don’t worry, I am soaking up every little bit of newlywed bliss! I am a Jesus-loving, coffee-loving, candle-loving (seriously, I have a candle burning in every room of my home as I write this), midwestern girl. My soul comes alive when I am in the presence of Christ-seeking women who have a desire and passion to grow deeper in the things of God.
I have the honor and privilege of being a part of Annie Perkins Ministries, as I currently serve as the Curriculum Innovation Manager of Unlock Freedom. Unlock Freedom is a ministry arm of Annie Perkins ministries focusing on the prevention of human sex trafficking in the United States. When I was just 15 years old, God birthed a passion in my heart to eradicate slavery and took me on a journey to become a co-founder of a nonprofit organization before I even knew how to drive! Since then, God has birthed new passions in my heart and broadened my perspective of eradicating slavery. I now have an even greater passion to see people set free from what they are held captive by.
Recently the Lord has been teaching me a lot about what it means to “remain” in Him. John 15:4 says, “Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me”. This verse is not pushing us to bear more fruit, but to “remain” with Jesus. As we stay connected to our Heavenly Father, He produces much fruit in our lives.
Throughout my life, I have struggled with “remaining.” I lived a life FULL of striving, trying to do everything I could in my own power to produce fruit and change the world. Nothing is wrong with wanting to change the world, but I was missing the most important part of the verse: Remain in me, and I in you.
“Remaining” does not always mean I spend hours on my knees. Rather, in regular moments of my day, amidst the chaos, I intentionally shift my focus on the Lord. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the “doing” of my day and not take time to remain in the things of the Lord. A simple prayer on my way home from work, worshipping on my commute, or reading the Bible rather than turning on the TV - these are some of the ways the Lord is teaching me to constantly remain in him.
As the Lord has taken me deeper into an understanding of rest and “remaining” in Him, there is something else He has given me an intense passion about - “remaining” with my spouse. As God has been challenging me to be purposeful about prioritizing time with Him, He has also been challenging me to be purposeful about prioritizing time with my husband. He has been challenging me to implement healthy habits in our marriage right from the start.
And the message has been burning in my heart to share.
My first thought, as this message rose to the surface of my heart as a theme for this blog post, was, who do I think I am - I haven’t even been married for a year?! But if I allowed that doubt and fear to come before what God was compelling me to share, then it would have been disobedience. So here’s a bit of what God has been teaching my newlywed self :)
In the earliest days of our marriage, I began to notice couples around me who seemed almost complacent about their relationship with their spouse. There are so many seasons of marriage I have yet to encounter, but I began to feel a sense of desperation to do all I can to not allow anything to steal the oneness God has called me to have with my spouse.
As God began to speak to me about what it means to “remain” with Him, He began to show me that even our oneness with our spouse is dependent upon our oneness with Him. When we don’t prioritize time with God, everything else in our life, especially our relationship with our spouse, is affected. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s so true! When I don’t spend time in the Word and in prayer, it’s a whole lot more difficult to lay down my selfish desires and wants and put my husband first. The Lord meets us in those times we seek His face, and He gives us grace to live out love.
It is a very real struggle not to allow our pace of life to deter us from resting and remaining in God. Whether we’re single or married, parents or not, that struggle is real. And if you’re single, start the habit now! It’s so much easier to keep a habit going after marriage, when you’re putting two schedules together, if you’ve started it before.
This is a familiar verse, but I love this translation of it:
Psalm 46:10 says,
“Attention, all! See the marvels of God!
He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
Bans war from pole to pole,
breaks all the weapons across his knee.
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything. “ (MSG)
One of the lines I love in this version is “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God.” When is the last time we took a step back from the hustle of our lives and took a long look at our Heavenly Father? When is the last time we just simply thanked God for our spouse and took a long look at them and the messy, yet beautiful life we share together?
The New King James Version of Psalm 46:10 says, “Be STILL and know that I am God.” Some of us can hardly sit still for more than five minutes, but it is so vital for us to find solitude and be still with the Lord amidst the chaos. This is where “remaining” is so important.
Remain with God. Remain in Him throughout your day. When we remain with God, we allow Him to reveal His presence even on the busiest, most stressful days.
Remain with your spouse. Get away together, dream together, or prioritize time at home to just be together. This takes sacrifice, planning, and intentionality, but doesn’t everything we do? Why not direct that intentionality toward the second most important relationship we have?
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” God wants to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine in our personal lives AND in our marriages. “According to his power that is at work within us.” When we remain, we find the stillness and peace of God which leads us to do more in His name.
Oh Lord, help us to remain in You, so our lives thrive with fruitfulness. Help us to find your peace and stillness despite the hustle around us. And help us to remain with our spouses, so our marriages thrive with fruitfulness. Let our lives be a representation of Your love!