Keepers at Home

Younger women in today’s modern church are too busy with their feet running to and fro in order to spend much time in their own homes (Proverbs 7:11). Careers along with raising children and events such as Girls Night Out is the phenomenon that causes much of this.

 

The Bible advises the “older” women to teach the “younger” how to excel as a keeper at home (Titus 2:4-5). It is definitely a lost art in this contemporary society.

 

“Apples of Gold” is a wondrous ministry promoting this concept ( http://www.applesofgold.org/home.shtml ) Several years ago, the ladies in our church went through this program with uplifting and lasting results.

 

The younger women were so grateful to the older ladies who mentored them – giving them skills and wisdom, which their moms were never able to share with them for one reason or another.

 

There is no Biblical precedent for Girls Nights Out, or Women’s Conferences that take up a whole week-end of a wife and mother’s time, as well as eating into the family budget to pay for the whole event.

 

Single women often have the time and financial resources to participate in this type of fellowship with other singles, but married women can avail themselves of the teaching and ministry of their local churches.

 

Books, Videos and CDs also give us a chance to learn women’s related issues on our own or in a local church class. We can even learn Biblical truth by teaching or assisting in a children’s class.

 

Fellowshipping as couples, and even families, promotes strong church ties and deep friendships with spiritual people in every age group. The best way to learn as a couple is in a class where the spouses both hear the same information.

 

This gives us something to discuss in our private times, opportunities to hold one another accountable for what we learn, and resources that we can research together to teach us to deepen our relationship to one another and to Christ within us both.

 

The Pastor’s Bible studies on Sunday and Wednesday evening are full of Biblical principles for every Believer’s life; yet, so few people avail themselves of this rich and valuable opportunity to grow in Christ and to mature spiritually.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your plan and desire for women is to love our husband and children, and to make them our priority in our life. You state in Your Word that we can learn to live self-controlled and pure lives; so we will not discredit Your reputation by our words and behavior.

 

Teach us to manage our homes well and to live as co-heirs with our own husband. Help us to share with him our opinion, wisdom and leading from Your Spirit, but to ultimately submit to his decisions for our family. If he is rebellious against Your Word, we can pray for him to submit to your Word, strengthen our own ties with You, and attempt to find areas where we can agree as a couple.

 

Thought for the Day:

There is never a good reason for divorce, because with mutual submission we can always find a third alternative with which we can both thrive as individuals, as a couple and as a family; as keepers at home, we uncover God’s fulfilling role for our life.

 

 

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Married, but Lonely

There are TV shows, websites and dating services that encourage married people to find companionship. Their mates are too busy or uninterested to spend time with them, so they seek attention elsewhere.

 

Like most men, when my former husband had time off, he spent it in his chair – reading, watching TV, surfing the internet and playing electronic games.

 

I would sit with him to watch TV shows that he was interested in and which did not bore me to death or inflict my soul with grief. However, I actually felt unappreciated, taken for granted and neglected.

 

I was reduced to cook, housekeeper and a roommate. We had rare times of companionship, but no real relationship. I thanked my husband for every moment he did spend talking to me.

 

However, I eventually started to seriously communicate that I needed more of his time and attention, especially as our children left home for college. He called me demanding and resented me for wanting him to spend quality time with me.

 

He ended up divorcing me and relishing his time alone, free from marital expectations and relationship. A few years later, God brought a new man into my life.

 

He too was preoccupied with work and hobbies; although he obviously cherished and appreciated me. I often felt lonely in this relationship too and wondered if all couples experienced this drought of affection and attention.

 

I started making specific requests for his undivided attention and gave him ideas on how I would like to spend that time. He made sporadic attempts to give me a few moments of time in his busy schedule.

 

It took about 5 years for him to realize that he enjoyed our times together as much as I did. He started to schedule time for me into his calendar without me having to ask, and he kept those appointments.

 

We took strolls in nature, sat on the porch rockers, did chores around the house together, snuggled in his chair or stretched out on the couch or bed to talk for a few minutes now and then throughout the week.

 

We went on dates to local restaurants, attended city functions together, sat together at extra-curricular church events, started regular devotions together, read the same books and conversed about them, spontaneously discussed current events, and shared what we were learning in our daily quiet times.

 

Nothing extravagant or expensive, just frequent little moments of togetherness every day that meant so much to both of us. He stopped taking me for granted and noticed when I needed help.

 

Over the years, he increased these little thoughtful gestures that mean so much to me. He opened car doors, carried heavy boxes, engaged me in conversations throughout the day, told me frequently that he loved me, and complimented me on my outfits and hair.

 

Whenever he went to the refrigerator for a snack or drink, he offered to get me something too. When he had time, he often asked if I needed help with a chore or fixing a meal.

 

He carried in the groceries and took them out of the bags to make it easier for me to put them away. He even started writing me love notes when he sent me his Bible verses to make slides for his Sunday sermon.

 

Our love flourishes under this constant state of blessing one another with thoughtful gestures of kindness and concern. We grow more in love with the Lord and one another each and every day.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for a husband who dwells with me with understanding and does not view my requests for attention as demands and unrealistic expectations – a husband who learned to appreciate and cherish me and our times together.

 

Thank You for using us as an example to younger couples and engaged couples; so they too can learn to cherish each other and not to take one another for granted. Make us a light in the world of darkness and use us to do Your will with every moment of our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

Taking each other for granted is never acceptable behavior; instead, constantly appreciate one another and share acts of love and kindness at every opportunity.

The Healing Journey – Part 1 – Schizophrenic Bride

As a young bride of 20 years old, I wanted to be the perfect wife. As a co-dependent, I did not want to nag or disagree – so that my husband would love me.

 

My uncle told me that if I was even half the wife my mother was to my dad, I’d be a great wife; so not to worry. I did learn a great deal about being a loving and submissive wife from my mom.

 

She lived with a manic-depressive husband. She learned to soothe the savage beast in him; but she had to learn not to take his words and behavior to heart.

 

She had her own interests and pursued them with a passion; yet, was home every day when her four children returned from school; and she had supper ready every night when my dad walked into the house from work.

 

As I started my new life as a wife, I would wince and swallow every hurt, disappointment, deprivation, abuse and neglect without saying a word, just as I learned from my mom.

 

I stuffed my feelings and opinions too. However, the trouble with me started because my threshold for pain was too low and my Italian temper, inherited from my dad, flared up too quickly.

 

I eventually started blowing up like a volcano, and then instantly cooled; but I did not realize the deep scars, which my outburst left on my husband’s soul. He thought I acted like a schizophrenic.

 

I was sweet and caring most of the time; and then without warning, I erupted at what seemed like the slightest provocation without any apparent reason.

 

This problem arose because of all of the power of all of that internalized pain. The full force came out in an Italian temper tantrum when I finally did blow over the last straw – which actually did appear – to any by-stander – to be a very small and inconsequential provocation.

 

I lived broken, fearful and insecure like this for 22 years of marriage until my former husband decided I was too wounded for him to live with any longer. He saw no option for us but divorce.

 

God used my husband divorcing me as my breaking point to help me to totally surrender my life to Him. With no job or alimony, I faced the future in total dependence on God and He proved Himself more than faithful.

 

I clung to Christ with every rasping breath and God redeemed my life yet again. He sent me to a minister who helped me to heal from my past; and He turned my mourning into dancing and restored to me all of the years, which the canker worm destroyed (Joel 2:25).

 

Prayer:

Father God, no one is perfect in this life. We are all products of our upbringing, but we are responsible for our responses to life as they occur. Although we try to overcome or hide them, we drag our wounds around with us like hindering baggage. Show us clearly that Satan’s lies are keeping us linked to these wounds from our past, buried deeply within our subconscious mind.

 

Thank You for teaching us to recognize these lies, to hear Your truth about them and to discard them as we walk away from them with healing from Your wings (Malachi 4:2). We live to serve You another day with all of the fullness of Your Holy Spirit within us.

( http://www.theophostic.com )

 

Thought for the Day:

God works out even the most debilitating circumstances in our life for our ultimate good. – Romans 8:28

 

A Fulfilling Marriage

The marriage of a man and a woman is a union of two individuals joined as one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11; Ephesians 5:31). God intends for them to serve Him, as co-heirs with Christ of His entire Kingdom (Romans 8:17).

 

At first, a couple’s attraction increases their love for one another. Yet, over time they gradually stop considering one another, doing the tiny thoughtful gestures for one another that mean so much and sharing the same goals and purpose in life (Ephesians 5:33).

 

As the years progress, the couple eventually take each other for granted, stop romantic overtures and make other pursuits their priority in life. They co-exist, but do not work as a team or care about each other’s needs as much as they care about their own.

 

To the Wife:

There are many women who take their husband for granted. Some insist on spending more money than he makes. Others find their fulfillment in their home and children or in their job and ignore their husband’s needs.

 

They get caught up in the pressure of their daily demands and make no time for their husband. They forget that men need visual stimulation to feel loving, and they make no effort to groom and dress nicely for him at home.

 

They forget to make his favorite meal, to shop for his preferences and to make time to listen to him share about his day. A wife is given the privilege of following the outline given in Proverbs 31.

 

She will flourishes as a wife, mother, homemaker and business woman in this creative capacity given to her by God. God’s Spirit will give her wisdom and strength to minister to her family.

 

To the Husband:

A man will expect his wife to be sweet and accommodating and to keep him as her primary focus (Ephesians 5:25); yet, it is often the husband’s poor choices, which keep the marriage in a state of perpetual insecurity and financial loss.

 

No woman can be sweet and submissive when her husband stops considering her needs and keeps her life in turmoil. Then he blames her hormones or personality for her negative reactions to him.

 

God desires to charge the husband to dwell with and to provide for his wife with love and understanding (1 Peter 3:7). If he does, then his wife will more easily submit to His loving leadership.

 

A man’s responsibility is to protect his wife and to give her the feeling of safety and security she deserves. He will not take her for granted, if he realizes everything which she does for him throughout the day after day (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Romans 12:16).

 

To the Couple:

Any couple can keep romance alive with spontaneous little gifts, daily times to snuggle, helping each other around the house, date nights, listening with focused attention, and an unexpected phone call or an email during the day proclaiming their love for one another (1 Peter 4:10). Try it and see!

 

Prayer:

Father God, the opposite sexes are just that – opposite. It seems that You played a trick on humanity by causing opposites to attract. However, Your plan all along was for opposites to complement one another.

 

We can draw from one another’s strengths to make up for our own weaknesses. Remind us that we are a team, and we will dwell together in unity as we work and pray together under the direction of Your Holy Spirit (Psalm 133:1).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we make an effort to increase our love for each other until it overflows, we will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Ephesians 5:21

One More Time Again

The other day, after hearing a loud thud, I went into the bedroom to find my husband flat on his face in a tiny space between the chair and the bed. I prayed about what to do, but felt total peace.

 

My initial reaction was to say, “Well, Beloved, you have gotten yourself into quite a pickle.” He was virtually squeezed between the furniture and I was amazed at how he could have gotten into that small space.

 

I rubbed his back, but could not tell if he was dead or alive. The words of John Denver’s song flitted through my mind, “I always thought that I’d see you one more time again.”

 

I wondered if my Heavenly Daddy took His Saint home to be with Him. I internally prepared myself for a new chapter of life and continued to pray about what to do.

 

“Home alone” was not a state of being that I looked forward to experiencing a second time. I lost one husband when he decided there was no option for us but divorce; and now the husband that God gave me to care for and cherish me was flat on his face on the bedroom floor.

 

Hearing my voice, my comatose giant stirred and I immediately asked, “Beloved, should I call 911? Are you hurting any place…head, heart?”

 

His weak response was, “My knee is really hurting me right now.”

 

A knee…well, that did not sound very ominous. I inquired, “May I help you up, or would you like to rest there a few more moments?” As if being squeezed between two pieces of furniture could be comfortable.

 

“No, I need to get up” was his sweet reply. Helping him to a standing position, I supported his considerable weight on my small frame, but I did not mind. He was still ALIVE.

 

We staggered over to the side of the bed for him to sit down. He immediately began rehashing what had happened in the last 10 minutes.

“I woke up with a start from a cramp in my leg and jumped up to work it out. Then, instead of sitting on the edge of the bed to allow the blood to flow into my head, I went to the bathroom.

 

“As I stood there, I got lightheaded and broke out into a cold sweat. The next thing I remember, I heard a loud thud and I lost consciousness until I heard your sweet voice talking to me.”

 

“How did you fall into that tiny, carpeted space between the furniture?”

 

“It had to be the Lord, because I could have broken bones, gotten a black eye or hit my head on some piece of furniture or the tiled bathroom floor; but when I fainted, He had me free fall right into the only clear, carpeted space available.”

 

We both shook our heads in wonder and silently praised God for His Fatherly care of His child. “Since I just popped out of bed when my leg cramped, I guess I should have sat down and let the blood into my head before going to the bathroom.”

 

We stared at one another over the miracle we both just witnessed. Our awesome God cared for His beloved Saint through every second of that ordeal, which could have left me a widow.

 

I greatly rejoiced and clung to my husband and cried. He wrapped his arm around me as he always does and snuggled me into my favorite place in the whole world…firmly protected in the circle of his love with my head resting peacefully on his muscled chest.

 

Prayer:

Father God, since we are loved by You, I know from experience that losing a mate does not hurt nearly as much as one would anticipate. You walk with us – in us – through every step of the rocky road of recovery. You work out everything to our advantage and You provide for all of our needs: physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and financially. As an authentic Believer, we experience every trial as a grand adventure in You with new people, places, ministries and purposes.

 

We still have anxiety which attempts to derail our faith, but You give us constant ‘hugs’ throughout the day to remind us that You are in us and living this experience in union with us. We still grieve our losses, but the tears are healing to our soul. Remind us not to take life for granted. Thank You for Your love and mercy in this case, by allowing me to actually see my beloved husband one more time again.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we completely surrender our heart to God in prayer, and relinquish our hold on unholy thoughts, words and deeds, we will not be ashamed or anxious, but confident and full of His courage. – Job 11:13-15

 

 

Identity Crisis

If a child does not receive the fulfillment of his/her legitimate human needs, they will look for people in their adulthood to meet them. Belonging, significance, acceptance, identity and security are the major psychological and emotional necessities in every human soul.

Our emotionally wounded parents were unable to provide these for us. As adults, we search in vain for our perfect soulmate, who has the limitless resources to make up for the deprivation from our past. In search of our fulfillment, we get too involved in earthly pursuits and change partners too often.

Those we reject suffer deep emotional scars, which are almost impossible to heal. As individuals, we attempt to perfect our personality and performance in order to find our personal worth through our human qualities, talents, intelligence, and physical assets.

The problem is that no one is capable of perfection. The key to our fulfillment on this earth is to realize that our true personal worth comes from our relationship with our supreme God and Father (Philippians 4:19). Only He provides us with a secure sense of belonging. We can trust Him and have no fear of His rejecting us for any reason.

If we cling to our deficiencies, rather than surrendering it all to God, we erect an idol, which we continue to “worship”. We allow Satan and our flesh to deceive us, which continues to cripple us. However, when we completely surrender all of our needs to God, He will meet them in His way and timing.

Prayer:
Father God, our freedom comes only as we surrender every aspect of our life to You. As long as we focus on what we lack, we continue to worship idols. Once we take our mind off our needs, and put it on worshipping and serving you, we suddenly discover that we are living a very fulfilling life. Remind us to commit our life to You, because then Jesus heals us and we are totally set free from emotional and psychological hindrances (John 8:32; Psalm 37:5). We enjoy mental, emotional and spiritual freedom, which only comes by learning to find our contentment in You (Philippians 4:11-13).

Thought for the Day:
In truth, complete fulfillment only comes when Christ is our whole life. – Colossians 3:4

Communicating Love

“What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” – Hal David

Loving communication is rare in this day and age with such busy lifestyles. Many are too wounded to share positive affirmation and loving reinforcement in our relationships. We expect people to feel loved without communication from us that we love them.

We all need to know that we are loved, especially children, but that will not happen unless we communicate our feelings. Spending time, works of service, verbal affirmation, loving touch, focused attention and gifts are all ways to communicate love.

Some of us prefer one or two of these expressions over the rest of them. Other people would be happy with any expression of love as long as it is consistent. Learning the love language of our significant others is a great way to express love to them.
( http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile ).

If we listen to our spouse, child, neighbor, extended family member, the person in the grocery line or on the bus next to us, we give that person a very rare treat, a gift more precious than anything money can buy.

If we say we do not love another person, we are communicating more about our own character than the other person’s personality. We listen without condescension, belittling or rejection regardless of what they tell us. We simply express God’s love to them.

As mature Believers, we allow God to love that person through us. We communicate the love, patience and concern of Christ through our words, eye contact, facial expressions and body language. We make time to focus our attention on the people that we love.

Prayer:
Father God, make us vessels of honor for Your glory. Use us to spread Your love abroad in the hearts of every person You bring us into contact with during the day, but especially with those closest to us. Remind us that loving someone in our own way is not good enough, because You call us to love them unconditionally, consistently and in a way that is meaningful to them.

Thought for the Day:
We love people continually through the years, by choosing to do loving things for them, even if our feelings do not follow; and we never give up on anyone, because God never gives up on us. – Luke 6:32