Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages

Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages


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Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages by Darlene Schacht

Messy Beautiful Love deliversan incredible testimony of grace that offers hope for today’s marriages and aspark for rekindling love.

Love gets messy.

Financial problems, sickness, agingparents, a chronically unhappy spouse . . . trials will inevitably come thatthreaten your marriage. No matter how long you’ve been married or how strongyour relationship is, sooner or later you are going to have a mess to clean up.

MessyBeautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God’s way, exchanging your ideasfor His, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage hasto offer.

When you surrender yourrelationship to God, then and only then will you experience the blessing ofmarriage as He intended. This is the blessing of obedience.

Messy Beautiful Love is an invitation to that obedience. The cynical world says marriagesdon’t last, but God knows better. Tune out the world and tune in to Him. Whenyou do that, a beautiful marriage is not only possible, it’s inevitable.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400206209
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 09/16/2014
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 963,417
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Darlene Schacht is the founder of Christian Women Online Magazine and The Internet Café Devotions and writes the popular blog Time-Warp Wife. She is coauthor of Candace Cameron Bure’s New York Time’s bestselling book Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness. Darlene has been married to Michael Schacht for more than twenty-five years. They have four children and live in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Read an Excerpt

Messy Beautiful Love

By Darlene Schacht

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2014 Darlene Schacht
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4002-0620-9


Messy, Beautiful Love

It was my husband's birthday. We had plans for the evening, and I was hoping to make his day the best that I could. The presents were waiting, and the kids and I were looking forward to taking Michael to dinner.

Bouncing around the house, I went from the closet to the dresser and back to the closet again, looking for the perfect outfit. You'd think that with a closet the size of Texas I'd find something in there, but it's never that easy. What's supposed to be clean and organized looks like something from an episode of Hoarders. I swear that my husband is hanging onto T-shirts that he purchased in high school. And most of the clothes that I have are too small, too formal, or too 1980s to wear. Nothing is ever just right.

Finally deciding on sea green, I pulled a cotton blouse off the hanger and slipped it over my head. The butterfly arms and soft flow of fabric were the perfect solution for hiding the extra ten pounds I'd put on that winter. The sequined front bodice? A special touch for a special occasion!

Looking in the mirror, I wondered whether I should go back to brown hair. I've always had strawberry blonde hair, but there's something about brown hair that makes my eyes look brand new. I'd never really noticed how green my eyes were until I went brown, but like anything else it was hard to get used to a change.

Brown or blonde, I knew the blouse would bring out the color in my eyes. Maybe not brand-new eyes, but I take what I can get! The rest of the outfit was simple. Denim capris are my go-to pants when the weather is nice, and since the day was sunny and warm, the decision to wear them was easy.

Finally pulling my hair into a ponytail, it was mission accomplished. I could have dressed up since it was a special occasion—maybe some heels and a skirt—but I figured that since we'd likely be walking outside, casual was the best way to go.

It's a family tradition that whenever one of us has a birthday, we all go out to eat at a restaurant. Normally Michael picks something that the entire family will like, which often lands us at the Forks Market eating spaghetti and fresh sourdough bread. There's nothing quite like the taste of fresh bread with garlic butter, is there? It's even better when you're enjoying the bread from an old streetcar that's been upcycled to recreate a vintage dining experience. The nostalgic atmosphere is enough to carry anyone back to the Roaring Twenties, but the presence of skater boys with ball caps flipped to the side ensures that we quickly return to the present.

Speaking of presents, I still had some wrapping to do when I heard the hum of the garage door open and close. I glanced at the clock. It was only three thirty; the kids weren't even home from school yet. Michael wasn't due home for at least another hour, and if you know my husband at all, you'll understand why this took me by surprise. Michael's never been late for work, he doesn't come home early, and he'll miss a day only if he's bleeding from the eyes. Whatever the case, I was just glad he was home. This was going to be an awesome night with the family, and I couldn't wait for it to get started!

Leaving his briefcase by the door, he asked me to join him in the living room. I wasn't sure what was up, but one glance at the stone-cold look on his face told me that something was wrong—terribly wrong.

Sitting across from him, I'll never forget the sound of his voice as it rang in my ears and ripped through my heart.

"Are you having an affair?" he asked.

Looking up at him, I quickly answered, "No. Why would you even ask that?"

"Please don't lie to me," he said. As he continued to question me, the heat rose in my face. My cheeks were numb; my mouth was dry; my body was weak. "Did you have an affair?"

I hung my head, unable to look in his eyes. Sitting alone on the couch, I felt the fear of truth spin around me like the web of a spider until I was helpless to move. Barely able to speak, I lifted my chin in a nod and then in another. My house of cards collapsed, my shame crashing to the ground along with it.

My sin, the glorious fruit of lust, had enticed me into the pit where all I could think of was death. For death itself had enveloped me, and with it came shame and reproach. I had sinned against God, my husband, and my family. Everything I had once held so dear to me loomed above the pit of sin and shame I had dug for myself.

Every muscle in my body was heavy, tense, numb. I was disconnected from the pounding of the blood that sped through my head like a runaway train. Even if I wanted to speak—even if I had something else to say—I couldn't. My jaw was locked; my throat was closed.

Michael stood up, and as I watched him walk out of the room, I realized that in every sense of the word, I was alone.

Through a fog of confusing emotions, I managed to get off the couch and go out to the car where I fished through my purse for my keys. Not knowing what else to do, I drove. I didn't know where I was going, what I should do, or where I'd be spending the night. All I knew was that I had to go some-place—anyplace—but where?

Finally pulling into a parking lot, I stopped the car and collapsed onto the steering wheel. My thoughts were a dark and dusty swirl of emotions that ripped through my heart and beckoned me into the grave. Tears poured down my face like poison escaping a wound, and I sobbed until my stomach was raw from the pain.

I didn't have a plan. I didn't have a home. And I didn't have a shoulder to cry on. All that I had were the shattered pieces of my life. A few hours later I made my way back to the house, where I started packing up a few things I could carry. Michael came into the room and sat down on the far corner of the bed. Staring straight ahead, he started to talk. This was my husband, the man I had lived with for nearly half of my life, but in every way he was different, from the sound of his voice to the way that he carried himself. We were suddenly strangers.

We exchanged words for a while, but at the end of the day, I had nothing left to offer him but soiled rags, words of remorse that he couldn't rely on, and promises where all trust was gone. My eyes were swollen from crying; my heart was heavy with shame.

"Do you want to stay?" he asked.

I didn't know how to answer. All I wanted to do was stay with my family—to turn back the clock a year. Back to a time when being a wife and a mom was all that I knew and all that I wanted to be. But I was unworthy to be a wife, a mother, and a child of God. How could I stay in a place where I didn't belong? How could I ever live on the surface again? How could I ever be trusted to love?

"I can't," I said. "I just can't."

Again he said, "That's not what I'm asking you. Do you want to stay?"

Loving his wife as Christ loves the church, Michael reached down to me with a hand of grace when I needed it most. When every thought told me that I was unworthy of love, something miraculous happened that changed the way that I look at marriage and the way that I look at our Savior. It was the realization that I am saved by nothing but the power of grace.

Perhaps that's how the woman who was caught in adultery felt when she was brought to Jesus. Face-to-face with her Savior, she was left with nothing but His hand of grace. What did Jesus write in the sand with His finger that day? Some say He was listing sins—and perhaps He was. But a part of me will always wonder whether it was an invitation that beckoned her to come home to a place where sin is washed away by the blood of an incomparable Savior.

There is incredible power in the words of Jesus Christ, who said, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more" (John 8:11 NKJV). It takes incredible strength for a man to echo those very same words.

I didn't deserve Michael's love and forgiveness. I didn't deserve a second chance. I didn't deserve my family, and I didn't deserve to be loved by those whom I hurt. But in that moment of darkness when one person in this world cared enough to display the covenant-keeping love of Jesus Christ to His church, I turned from my sin and clung to the grace of God that is strong enough to break the bonds of sin and death. It's strong enough to graft one man to a woman when everything in this world threatens to pull them apart.

I was called out from that place of grace while wondering whether God could use the testimony of someone who was broken and tarnished like me. Even after I came to a place of healing, digging this up was the furthest thing from my mind. I wanted nothing more than to encourage women with joy; to offer them a Pollyanna view of marriage that brought a smile to their day—housekeeping schedules, adorable printables, and entertaining articles that were easy to swallow with their morning cup of tea. That would be the easy road, but as time went by, I felt an undeniable nudge toward the road less paved—painful honesty.

Painful honesty hardly describes the experience I had when I went to my father's bedside with my sin. He was in the hospital, diagnosed with lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain, which was then riddled with tumors. Barely eighty-five pounds, he peered out from beneath a cloud of yellow blankets as I entered the room. Tears were streaming down my cheeks, and I asked my sister if I could have a few minutes alone with Dad.

Before I continue with this story, let me back up to give you a little history on him. Next to my husband, my dad was the most Christlike man I've ever met. He loved nothing more than to talk about God, and he spent endless hours reading the Bible. During his retirement I'd guesstimate that he read it about fifteen times, which is pretty cool for a man with a grade-three education. His style was to read from Genesis to Revelation and then read again from Revelation to Genesis. He also had an incredible sense of humor, which made him the love of my life.

Aside from the fact that he was battling cancer, I didn't want to disappoint someone who had made it his mission to instill faith in his family. He spent his life being an example to us so that we would come to know the Lord, but there I was with my tear-stained cheeks ready to shatter those dreams.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

Grabbing a spot on the corner of his bed, I started to tell him my story. "I had an affair," I said. My voice was low since he was sharing a room with someone behind the blue curtain.

"What?" he replied, pulling himself up on his pillow.

I answered a little louder this time, "I had an affair."

Dad shook his little head in confusion. "What? I still can't hear you!" he said.

Shouting this time, I repeated my sin: "I had an affair!"

I'm certain that the nurses' station down the hall heard every word, but apparently Dad didn't as he shook his head once again and said, "I'm sorry, but I can't hear what you're saying."

It was time to grab a pen and paper. With trembling hands I wrote down the four words that few dare to speak of and handed them to my father. The room was silent. He studied the paper a moment and then reached out for my hand to pray. "Lord," he said, "I understand that Darlene doesn't think that life is fair. And, God, I pray that You will help her."

What? My mind started racing. He still doesn't grasp what I'm saying. He thinks I wrote that life isn't fair. What should I do?

Placing my hand on his arm, I stopped him. "Dad," I said as loudly as I possibly could, "no, I had an affair."

As funny as my dad could be when it came to his hearing, it was a terrifying experience as I sat in his room screaming my sin throughout the halls of St. Boniface Hospital, but I'll tell you one thing I know: following God's lead is always worth the risk.

When he finally understood the gravity of what I was saying, he reached for my hand once again and gave me a gift drawn from the well of his wisdom. "God doesn't care about what you did yesterday," he said. "He's concerned about what you'll do today."

There's a good reason why I stepped out of my comfort zone to share the truth of my testimony, and it's the same reason I'm writing this today—so that my marriage will be a testimony of the saving grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This testimony of grace is not exclusive to me or you or the sinner-turned-preacher who's standing onstage. It's the testimony of each and every person who takes the hand of another in marriage as we are called to bear witness to the covenant-keeping grace of our Lord: "The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body" (Eph. 5:23).

When marriage functions as God intended it, both a husband and a wife bring glory to God. My mission is to remind women of this truth so that we might live out our purpose, which is to love our husbands, raise our children with intent, and manage our homes well. In doing so, we strengthen the bond of marriage and glorify God.

When I felt the calling to minister to women in this way, it was a humbling experience. I remember sitting in the backyard, sniffling with a tissue in hand as I poured my heart out to Michael. I couldn't process my feelings. On the one hand, I felt this undeniable calling, but on the other, so many questions remained. How could I bring anything of worth? How could I minister to the hearts of women when I had failed so terribly? Why would God use a failure when there are so many strong women of faith?

Michael offered warm words of encouragement and a shoulder to lean on—he's good at that—but I really needed to ask God why He was calling.

A few weeks later I was sitting on the couch, typing out an article with a can of diet soda by my side. It was midafternoon, the kids were in school, and the house was quiet, except for the green-cheeked conure who was busy in her cage practicing the "Give me a kiss" voice.

Suddenly out of nowhere and much to my surprise, I heard the voice of God as He spoke to me, saying, "Write this." I paused, and He spoke again, "Write this down."

When the Lord says, "Take dictation," let me tell you, you type! And not only do you type, but you type it word for word.

He continued, "It doesn't matter where you have been or what you have done, My grace is sufficient for you."

I got a little choked up when that sentence came to me so clearly. It's not every day that I get such a clear message. Yet I wondered, Is it really God instructing me to speak directly to you? Am I really hearing His voice say with authority, "Write this down"?

Immediately I turned to my devotional for backup. Next to my Bible, I keep this book close and flip it open often. Like a kid tearing off paper on Christmas morning, I was anxious to see what was inside. Turning the pages, I prayed, "God if there is something in here that says, 'My grace is sufficient for you,' I'm going to pass out. Seriously, I don't know what I'll do."

I landed on the page, and no, that's not what it said, but the message He gave me was deeper and more explicit than any I would have expected to read. He led me to the story of Peter, one of the twelve disciples, who was passionate to serve Jesus. He reminded me of the incredible leader that Peter was when Jesus said, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).

He showed me how Peter, who with passionate faith once walked upon the water to meet Jesus, was the same Peter who fell asleep after his Lord instructed him to watch and wait. This man who declared, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will" (Matt. 26:33 NIV), was the same man who denied Him three times that very night just hours before His death.

And through His teaching, God taught me that grace is for sinners. It is by His grace that I humbly encourage you to seek something more for yourself and for your marriage. You may very well be in a good place today, but God prepares the heart for tomorrow.

Regardless of how long you've been married or how strong your relationship, it's inevitable that you will struggle in some way. Love is a beautiful thing, but it's messy at times. Whether we're dealing with a difficult spouse, financial problems, sickness, aging parents, or death, there will be trials that threaten the bond of our marriages, which is why it's imperative that we are prepared.


Excerpted from Messy Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht. Copyright © 2014 Darlene Schacht. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Foreword, xiii,
Introduction, xv,
One: Messy, Beautiful Love, 1,
Two: Walk in Compassion and Grace, 17,
Three: Be Patient and Kind When the Going Gets Tough, 27,
Four: Give Up Your Right to Be Right, 39,
Five: Appreciate Him for Who He Truly Is, 57,
Six: Step Back and Allow Him to Lead, 69,
Seven: Handle Your Conflict Wisely, 83,
Eight: Communicate with Loving Respect, 97,
Nine: Be the Woman Your Husband Needs You to Be, 113,
Ten: Be Affectionate in Ways That Are Pleasing to God, 125,
Eleven: Seize the Day and Capture the Joy, 141,
Twelve: Build a Strong Friendship, 155,
Thirteen: Be Content with the Life That You're Given, 169,
Fourteen: Walk in Virtue According to Wisdom, 183,
Fifteen: Pray for Your Marriage, 197,
Acknowledgments, 209,
Notes, 213,
About the Author, 215,

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Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
TK-Arthur More than 1 year ago
I was a little nervous, honestly, to read this book because I didn’t know if I would like it, or if it would be just a bunch of Christianese urging all wives who love the Lord to give up their places in the workplace, church, and community to be barefoot, pregnant, and wholly beholden to their man.  Within the first three pages of the book, Darlene so humbles herself that I literally had to put the book down and take a break. I was shaking, tears in my eyes, blown away by her honesty. "Okay, Darlene," I thought, "you’ve got my attention." From a place of complete humility, from a place of “see all of the mistakes I have made; Now please listen so you don’t have to travel down that path,” Darlene lays out a beautiful blue print for living the life of a Christ-filled, loving wife. If you want to grow in your faith and your marriage, buy this book.  
mojo_turbo More than 1 year ago
Darlene Schacht writes a blog called the Time-Warp Wife with the hopes to encourage women in their marriages. She is married to her husband of twenty plus years, Michael out in Canada. They have four kids, a bird and two dogs. Darlene is an award winning and New York Times best-selling author Her book, The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife is perhaps her most popular. Darlene's latest book, Messy Beautiful Love shines a life on the.... well... "Messiness" of love. No marriage is perfect and Darlene is the first to admit it. Every marriage has to deal with money woes, sick kids, arguments, misunderstandings, late homework, new jobs, moving, questions and ... it seems... few answers. So the question is, when life gets "messy" how do you clean it all up? I think Darlene writes a very easy to read and worth reading book. Darlene writes in a way that highlights her own story while at the same time draws you in and forces you to wrestle with your own. Drawing from inspiration from the Bible, Darlene walks through her marriage and even her own darkness and shares some very intimate moments with the reader.  I think no matter what road you believe your marriage to be on, Darlene has written a book that is challenging and eye opening. No marriage is devoid of mess and we should all be reminded to head back to the scriptures time and time again to examine and re-examine the heart of God. This would be a great book for counselors and marriage therapists to have on their book shelf, or to have extras to give to clients.  Highly recommended. Thank you to Thomas Nelson for this preview copy in exchange for a fair and honest review
cscott9 More than 1 year ago
I love to read Darlene’s blog, Time-Warp Wife, she writes some very great posts on marriage, raising a family and drawing closer to God. When I seen she had a new book coming out, I couldn’t wait to read it. Messy Beautiful Love is a book that every couple should be given as a wedding gift or engagement gift. These days, marriage isn’t something that people hold on to, it’s more of something that people toss away like yesterday’s newspaper. God intended marriage to be long lasting, that He is the center of, and something we should put our heart and soul into. Darlene uses scripture and her own marriage as outlines for this book. She simply tells you like it is, how God designed marriage and the part that we should play. She issues challenges at the end of each chapter, for example, at the end of the chapter, Appreciate Him For Who He Truly Is Darlene’s challenge is: “Pay attention to the good qualities in your husband. What makes him different? What do you love about him? Take note of the good things he does and the kind things he says. Carefully notice the ways that he expresses his love, even if they seem insignificant at time. Start building him up by reminding him how much you appreciate him and the many little things that you love about him.” Wow!! Those words really made me think how I see my husband and exactly how much I do appreciate him. Ladies, I highly recommend this book for yourself, a friend, a relative, someone you know who is getting married, or someone whose marriage maybe close to ending. You will not be disappointed!!! Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy of this book for my honest review.
beloved569 More than 1 year ago
As a culture the world tells us that as long as we haven't committed any so-called huge sins against our spouse (or even just in how we live our lives) that we're okay. We can just skimp by, especially when our spouse isn't holding up their end of the bargain. This book is written by a woman who has been transparent enough with “painful honesty” to share her sin, and remind me that there is so much more to daily honoring my husband in ways that the world may see as little but God sees as obedient and sacrificial. Is this book perfect? Maybe not. But a perfect book would just bring us to shame. I think instead the author is asking us to come to our knees and seek the One who sees the best in us, in our spouse, and in a marriage He wants to be a picture to the world of Christ’s love for the Church.
Sadiemolly More than 1 year ago
When you find a good book, you want to share it.  So here goes.  As our marriages are attacked by the world each day, Darlene Schacht has written a wonderful book to combat what the world tells us.  She has taken a deep look at marriage through the eyes of God.  Each chapter has raw testimony and scripture references.  I felt that I was sitting and chatting with Darlene as I read the book.    I love the ending of each chapter with a prayer or a daily application.  The daily applications seem to come just as I needed them.  You will want to read over and over again.      
aathey More than 1 year ago
After reading just the first chapter, I was hooked and I could not put it down! Darlene starts us off by getting real about her own personal struggles with her marriage, and how the power of God’s grace and forgiveness can turn any messy marriage into a beautiful one! Messy Beautiful Love envelopes its readers in encouragement and hope, and lends practical, as well as, biblical advice on how to… ...walk in compassion and grace …be patient and kind when the going gets tough …give up your right to be right …appreciate your husband for who he truly is …step back and allow him to lead …handle your conflict wisely …communicate with loving respect …be the woman your husband needs you to be …be affectionate in ways that are pleasing to God …seize the day and capture the joy …build a strong friendship with your husband …be content with the life that you’re given …walk in virtue according to wisdom …pray for your marriage
MontanaMomma More than 1 year ago
This would make a GREAT book to go through as a small group. I’d love to get a group of ladies together, either online or in person, and then go through it. I loved it and once I started reading I didn’t stop (which means another read through would be a good idea!). The book is divided into 15 chapters that break your marriage down into several parts. Rather than telling you how to do it all at once, which is overwhelming, Darlene does a great job breaking it up into smaller pieces that make it feel a lot more do-able! Each chapter has a little challenge at the end so that you can put what you’ve just read into practice. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am very happy in my marriage and even along the bumpy road of life, I think my husband and I are a pretty good team.   That is why this book came as a surprise.   I didn’t know that I needed this book!  This book has opened my eyes to areas that I can make our marriage even better.   I am inspired to make changes and look at things differently to show my husband how important, how loved, how appreciated he is as a husband, a father, a man. In her new book, Messy Beautiful Love – Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages, Darlene Schacht  writes with just the right blend of warmth, insight, knowledge and humor.   The very first chapter hits the reader with a real-life mess from Darlene’s marriage that grabbed me by the heart.   I loved this book!
blessedmumof11 More than 1 year ago
Marriage is portrayed in the movies and television as a beautiful picture. You meet someone, fall in love, get married, and then live happily ever after. But marriage is anything but that. Marriage is full of laughs, smiles, and romance but it is also full of tough stuff. The movies don't show when the kids are all upset and someone needs to calm them down or when the husband works long hours and every appliance in the house seems to break. They also don't show a marriage with three special needs children and going through therapy, doctors, etc. But while Marriage is tough, messy, it is also beautiful. God gave us marriage as a gift to have a lifetime companion, and for us to walk together with Him and with each other. In her latest book Messy Beautiful Love - Hope and Redemption for Real Life Marriages author Darlene Schacht shares her heart with her readers. The book starts off with Darlene telling her own story of how she had an affair but he husband forgave her. Throughout the book she shares heart warming stories, heartfelt wisdom, and tells her story of how God redeemed her broken marriage and changed it for His Glory. Each chapter has a lot of wisdom told in a picturesque way and is full of scripture along with stories that every woman and man can relate to. Then at the end of each chapter you will find a Challenge which you can apply to your marriage to help strengthen your relationship with your spouse and with the Lord. This book is powerful. It will have you smiling, laughing, and even shedding a few tears as she tells a story of love, grace, redemption and won't want to put the book down. I know you will find yourself as I did highlighting quote after quote, scripture after scripture and going, "Wow, God that speaks to me. As you read the book, have a notebook handy so you can take notes. It is a book you will read over and over again.
SCFarmWife More than 1 year ago
This book is real, raw and life changing!  Darlene takes an open honest look at marriage, sharing with her readers details of her real life struggles.  As I dug through her book...her story, I found myself compelled to look at my own I living my life with the purpose assigned to it by God?  One glance at chapter one helped me to realize that NO I wasn't!!  This book isn't focused on shaming you into being the wife and mother God intended you to be.  It's about helping you grow and pursue the woman God has DESIGNED you to be.  Darlene opens her heart and pours out personal examples of struggles she has faced in her marriage.  Are you struggling in your marriage?  Then this book is for you!  Are you a newlywed...then this book is for you!  Do you have the picture perfect marriage?? Then this book is for you too!!  This wonderfully honest book is truly an asset for all marriages and relationships!
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
What stood out the most to me in Messy Beautiful Love was the transparent honesty which Darlene Schacht used to tell her story. In the opening chapter you quickly find out that she had an extra-marital affair. I'm not sure that I would be brave enough to put that on paper for the world to see, but Darlene followed the lead of Christ and is using her story to reach those in similar situations. The title of the book is very appropriate. If you have been married for any length of time you already know that some of the magic fades and real life enters in. Darlene shares about the struggles in their early married life with a candor that is to be admired. It would be easy to say "it was his fault" and go on, but she tells her story in a way that allows you to relate to the whole situation. I can almost guarantee that we've all been there. If you've not had a fixer-upper, or a home-based business, or more than one kiddo under the age of three then you may not relate to how things took a nose-dive. But if you are like most of us you can envision how discontent can settle in. While the beginning of the book deals with the fallout of the affair the middle to end are all about the hope we can have in building a loving and lasting marriage. This isn't your typical marriage book, but it is one that I think you will benefit from reading if you are married for any length of time at all.  I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
AGrowingWifeandMommy More than 1 year ago
Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages by Darlene Schacht, Creator of the Time-Warp Wife Blog. In the book Messy Beautiful Love Darlene Schacht tells the story of mistakes she made in her marriage, and how those mistakes brought her face to face with who God is and what he has done for her and for us. Darlene tells her story in a way that constantly brings you back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and reminds us that God loves us with a type of love that most of us have barely scratched the surface to understand. Darlene reminds us that as wives we need to step back so that we can allow our husbands to lead us and our families. We can't always take things out of his hands because we believe we know how to do it better than he does. Darlene also gives us challenges at the end of each chapter, guiding the reader to focus on ways to uplift and encourage their husband.  I really enjoyed this book. Darlene's story could very easily be presented as a sensational story with all the dirty laundry hung out for all to see, instead she tells the reader just enough to understand her story. Her focus is always on Jesus, and the Gospel. This book is challenging as well, Darlene keeps point out things that we need to be doing as wives, and things we need to be praying for and growing in to better our relationship with our husbands, as well as growing us closer to Jesus Christ. 
Cheri5 More than 1 year ago
I had the privilege of reading Messy, Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht. Wow - this book grabbed me from the first sentence and kept me hanging on through to the last page. I loved how vulnerable and open the author was in sharing her life and mistakes and I loved how she interspersed Scripture and what she learned along with others’ stories and thoughts and feelings. Each chapter spoke directly to me and I was able to get so much out of each portion. The book itself was wonderful - I would recommend it to people who are struggling in their marriage, those who have healthy marriages but want to continue to grow in their marriage, and even (or especially) to those starting out their married life so they can learn the “right way” to do things from the beginning instead of having to fix even more mistakes the longer they are married. What a great resource for everyone who is married, considering marriage, or has been married and wants to get married again in the future.
AimeeI More than 1 year ago
Darlene's latest book is AMAZING!  There are so many truths discussed - too many to list here!  Just a few things that I particularly appreciated were: 1.  How Darlene related marriage to the relationship between the Father and His Son, Jesus.   2.  How she made the point that marriage is supposed to REFLECT God's glory and the sacrificial love of Christ (so, marriage isn't really about us!) 3.  That as wives, we need to be our husband's BEST friend.   4.  To be thankful for our husbands - find ways to express that gratitude. 5.  She stresses the importance of intimacy Darlene also included a letter from an 'older lady' which made me cry - it was so beautiful.  Darlene's transparency and wisdom will help you to have a God glorifying marriage.    
Jana_SweetToTheSoul More than 1 year ago
From the moment I picked up “Messy Beautiful Love” and began reading, I could not put it down!  Chapter after chapter provided new insights and learnings about what it means to have Christ at the center of marriage and truly love one-another unconditionally.  In Darlene’s new book, she pulls back the curtains of false perfection, leaves the mess out and invites us into the reality of being a Christian wife in a society which is striving every day to redefine the very meaning of marriage.  Darlene is open and honest and transparent as she shares with her readers the messy beautiful love of her own marriage.   Truly the most real marriage resource I have read, and will read again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Messy Beautiful Love is a real, authentic look at what it takes to make your marriage work in a Christ-centred way. Steeped in personal experience and snapshots of Darlene's life, this book is funny, charming and challenging all at the same time. One of the most powerful aspects of the book is its honesty. Darlene starts with a story that is straight from her own real life- a situation that may well have fallen completely apart had it not been for the transforming power of forgiveness and God-given grace. Darlene's personal tale shows that anything is possible with God, but that doesn't always come easily, especially when there are emotions and other people involved. However, the point of the book is to show that obedience to the Lord is worth it, and there is nothing outside of God's redeeming grace. This book is for you if marriage is anywhere on your radar. If you are married, engaged, hoping to be married, praying for a husband, then this book is for you. If you are in a marriage in trouble, this book is for you. If your married life is presently content, this book is still for you. Because, life is hard. And even though we have good days, and weeks, and months, we do not live without trial. Some days, we need all the help we can get. This book will bring you biblical insights, challenges and prayers to help strengthen your marriage. It’s food for thought and it’s an urge to change and to keep Christ at the centre of marriage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a reader of Darlene's blog, Time Warp Wife, I already have been encouraged as a wife by the things she shares. I started out gung-ho on this book, eagerly being more intentional as a wife, only to hit a brick wall soon thereafter. Yep, we still have messy times, too! But what is beautiful, is that when we take our eyes off ourselves and love our spouse as the Lord intended, the end result of those messy moments is a beautiful illustration of Christ restoring us and drawing us back to Him. For anyone feeling all alone, this book is definitely for you. You are not alone. You are not the only one that feels pain... most people just hide it. No marriage can be 100% bliss all of the time - I refuse to believe it. LOL! I'm grateful for the opportunity to have had to review this book, and for the encouragement she's given me once more to be a helpmeet to this man I fell in love with. He needs it - God created me just for him and his needs. Me! Wow...
Jlane05 More than 1 year ago
In the opening pages Darlene lets you into a place in her marriage that most people don't ever let you go. She gives her testimony of  what grace can do to a marriage, even in the most unthinkable times.    Each chapter was filled with Biblical truths to handle situations that arise everyday in our marriages.   At the end of each chapter Darlene gives us a challenge. Each challenge makes you think and act.  I would recommend this book to the dating, newly married, married for 10 years or married for 50 years. 
SunnysideMama More than 1 year ago
Messy Beautiful Love is a book written for all married women & it shares practical advice that everyone can glean from. Darlene gently advises you on how to biblically live your marriage out day by day whether you are handling conflict, being affectionate, appreciating your husband, or capturing that joy we all endlessly strive. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Darlene Schacht’s new book, “Messy, Beautiful Love” she jumps right into what marriage can be: hard.  Messy and hard.  But then she looks at what it is, and that’s beautiful.  Always, beautiful.  And why?  Because God is still in the midst of it.  Darlene (co-author of “Reshaping It All” with Candace Cameron Bure and best known for her blog Time-Warp Wife) shares her own struggles and discontentment that came to her as a young married wife.  She tells the mistakes she made, lessons learned, and how there is always hope, and beauty, to be found. She explores the hard part of marriage: the hurt that can lead to heaviness and even heartbreak at time.  But then she takes it back to what Christ can always offer to any marriage: healing.  Such healing to keep two hearts together as one. I think the thing that stuck with me the most from this book is I saw myself in how quick I am to blame, point fingers and worry about my needs.  Darlene really encourages to look after our spouse, love them, pray for them, encourage them… Even if the situation you are in seems unfair.  And then just trust… Trust God for our marriages, for our own needs… We trust Him to take care of us.  We don’t look to our husbands.. We look to Him.  Love isn’t always a fairy tale.  Messy love looks a lot like real life… But with God as the focus of our hearts and marriage it is always, always beautiful.  And His beautiful love and grace in our marriages are always better than our man-made fairy tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great read for wives who have been married for any length of time... Darlene opens the book by sharing her testimony, and boy, is it a testimony of God's grace. God performed a mighty work in her marriage, and His name has been glorified many times over because of it. Through the book, she writes so openly about failure as a wife, submission {it's not a dirty word} to our husbands, communication, getting through conflict, showing affection, being content, and so much more... And one of my favorite parts about her writing is that it's so real. I feel like I'm talking to a girlfriend about life. Darlene writes, "Regardless of how long you've been married or how strong your relationship is, you will struggle in some way. Love is a beautiful thing, but it's messy at times." Marriage is the joining of two imperfect people... It's bound to get messy. We may have different ideas, different plans, different hopes, and different dreams. But when we "do" marriage God's way, we bring glory to God through it; and this book helps wives see how to "do" marriage God's way... If you're a wife of thirty-seven minutes or a wife of thirty-seven years, this book can make an impact in your marriage. Definitely recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MBL is full of not only solidly biblical marriage advice, but personal stories and practical application. Schacht is funny and approachable in this book, but she also lays it all on the line. Her personal experience adds so much to this topic; you definitely know that she's been there and lived it. This book covers everything from choosing kindness to biblical submission. I particularly loved her chapter on stepping back and allowing your husband to lead, an area I often struggle with. I've read a lot of marriage books, and this is by far one of the best.
Lindsey3 More than 1 year ago
Darlene's blog, The Time-Warp Wife, has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. She shares so much wisdom and insight on many topics, especially marriage. This book is no different! My favorite thing about Messy Beautiful Love is Darlene's authenticity. She does not shout advice to you from the pages of the book or condemn you for the mistakes you've made. Rather, she opens the book by lowering the floor and sharing her own marriage testimony. The first chapter will pull you in - you will cry and sit in awe seeing God's grace come alive in the pages of the book. The hope and redemption that is exemplified by her own "messy beautiful love" story is not limited only to her, but is available to you as well! Before you start thinking that this is just another Christian self-help book on marriage, it's definitely not that! Unlike some authors, Darlene doesn't share her advice or opinion. She shares some of her experiences in each chapter, but only references God's word for how to remedy the problem. I LOVE that about this book! As I read it, I didn't have to constantly filter out opinion versus fact, because the marriage advice that is shared is only based on scripture! Throughout Messy Beautiful Love, Darlene explains how to exchange our ideas for God's ideas, in order to have a Christ-centered marriage. So often the "world" speaks louder than His word, which makes it hard to navigate through some of the difficult situations we encounter in marriage. Some of my favorite topics that are covered include communication, allowing our husband to lead, and praying for our marriage. One of my favorite things about the book are the short challenges that are included at the end of every chapter. The challenges offer ideas, based on the topic of the chapter, about how to live out God's word in your marriage. This book is not just for those who are struggling in their marriage. Messy Beautiful Love is for the blissful newlyweds, wives in marriages that have struggled for a season, and those who are on the brink of divorce. Disclaimer: I received this book for free to review, but all opinions are my own!
BeccaCarter More than 1 year ago
Excellent book about real marriages! Reading this book was like talking honestly over tea (no coffee, thank you very much) with the author. It was easy to read in that sense, though the subject matter wasn’t light and fluffy. I couldn’t wait to read the next chapter to see what relationship lesson she would share, some I knew from experience and some I have yet to work through. I really think I needed to read this book. I needed to hear that marriage takes work and grace, that it’s both messy and beautiful to love your spouse enough to stay committed to your wedding vows. I think every wife could use that message, on good days as well as bad. This ebook was provided by the author for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago