A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Friday, July 30, 2010

You've Come A Long Way Baby--True Woman Movement

Of all the chapters of this book, this one had to be my favorite.  I would highly recommend this book, just for this chapter, especially if you were born after 1965.  It was written by Mary Kassian.  Perhaps because it brought back a flood of childhood and young adult memories.  Perhaps because it really put the Women's Movement, and some things of my own life, in an understandable perspective and for the very first time I saw the progression of the movement that I lived through laid out in timeline form. 

It was really eye opening as to how much media affects how we view womanhood!  From the Virginia Slim commercials (the first of the very feminist ideas--cigarettes JUST for women), to the bombardment we get in modern advertising, it is clear to me now that the feminist idea of freedom for women was simply a moving from one vice to another, and not freedom at all.

Capitalism, materialism, and selfishness have successfully worked together to pull us from the Judeo-Christian values that once made our country and our families strong!  Yes, ladies, we have truly come a long way, but "a long way is not necessarily a good way or the right way."  Change may be needed, but change is not always good.

Just in 60 years, our society has come a long way, but not in the right direction:

In 1950:
~Getting married was the norm.
~Once married, it was expected that children would be part of the equation, that the husband would financially support the family so that she could stay at home and care for the children.
~Divorce was a terrible tragedy.  People were expected to make their marriages work, even when difficult.
~If divorce did occur, men were expected to support their wives in such a way that she could remain a homemaker, caring for the kids.
~Chastity, virginity, and fidelity were virtues; sex outside of marriage was shameful.
~Common law living was SIN and so uncommon that there are no statistics about it.
~Having children out of wedlock was shameful.
~Only 30% of women were employed outside the home and usually only part time.
~Children were desired, valued and welcomed
~There was no birth control pill
~Abortion was illegal
~Porn, rape, homosexuality, sexual perversion, sexual addiction and STD's were uncommon and rarely encountered
~Men saw it as their responsibility to protect and provide
~Women saw it as their responsibility to support their husbands and focus on raising the children in a stable, nurturing, loving environment. 

By the late 60's the June Cleaver existence had fallen by the wayside and was replaced by a Mary Tyler Moore mentality.  Then, in the 80's, Murphy Brown was the woman of the hour, followed by Ellen Degenerate (my pet name for her), in the 90's. 

Yes, we went from a selfless society to a selfhood and sisterhood society.  As the main character from Sex in the City so plainly states it, "the most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself."  "According to feminism, the only hope for a woman's happiness and self-fulfillment lay in rejecting a male-defined Judeo-Christian worldview."

Feminism brought a woman out from under the established order of God and put her in the position where she trusted NO authority, even His!  Women were brainwashed into thinking that they were somehow unfulfilled and even if they didn't feel that way, they began to feel sympathy for those who did, and eventually they, too began to think the same way.  Talk about "bad company corrupting good manners."  What's worse, they took the model that Christ used to build the church--small groups-- and used it to spread their poison throughout womanhood and that's how feminism grew. 

The ONLY solution that will fix where women find themselves today, and if you look at statistics, you will find that women are more unhappy, more angry, more unfulfilled than ever before, is another revolution, another turning, a turning to Christ! 

In my years in campus ministry, at a university that offers a Bachelor's degree in Women's Studies, I found that the feminists were the meanest, the most hateful, the most unhappy, the most unfulfilled, the most frustrated women on campus.  In spite of all the victories that had been won for women, they were still screaming and kicking and shouting about the injustice!  Their ranks were filled with women caught in homosexuality and eating disorders.  In fact, they so despised what their perception of women were, that it appeared they didn't want to be women at all.  They defied and disdained the very characteristics of femininity that they claimed to be trying to liberate.  They really wanted to be men.  They really wanted to rule men! 

In Genesis, part of the curse that God pronounced over Eve was that she would stuggle in the rule of her husband.  That was not a blessing, that was a curse.  It saddened me so much to see these women living under the curse of God.

But yet, there is hope.  If I could talk to these women one on one, and if they were willing to listen to the Gospel of Christ, tears would begin to slip down their cheeks.  The walls would begin to crumble and confessions of confusion about what they were doing would begin to tumble out.  They were lost in a sea of non-identity.  The feminism that was supposed to define them had in effect made them into something they could not identify or embrace because it felt nothing like what they knew to be feminine.  The deceptions of hell were stealing from them, killing them, and destroying them little by little, and many of them expressed that they were just really, really confused by the whole thing.  It had not fulfilled them, it had emptied them to the point that they didn't have any idea who they were anymore.  We saw some of them come to Christ.  What a transformation!

Women of God, we must pray!  We must first let the Holy Spirit expose and rid us of the feminist ideas that are covertly living in our own hearts.  We must return to the position so lovingly designed for us by God, for in residing there,  we will be totally fulfilled and at peace.  Then we must pray for a revolution in the hearts of young women, an opening of their eyes, a reality check that reveals to them that, as women, something is just not clicking the way that it should.  And we must, as women of God, reach out to those who are caught in the web of feminism and love them into the Kingdom of God.

Monday, July 26, 2010

From Him, Through Him, To Him--True Women Movement

Today I will comment on chapter 2, written by Nancy Lee DeMoss.  I can't believe I'm only on Chapter 2.  I had better get busy! 

She is basically addressing the issue of the sovereignty of God and our faith in it.  How do we respond in trying conditions?  When life is hell?  When things are just not going as planned, as expected, or as we think they should? 

Do we forget that God knows everything about our lives?  Do we trust in the infinite knowledge and love of God?   Do we still trust God even when we don't understand Him?

John Piper is quoted as saying "In every situation and circumstance of your life, God is always doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and you do not know."  I have experienced that this is certainly true and that the things He is doing are right, just, perfect and born of His perfect love for me--even when they might be heart wrenching and excruciatingly painful. 

She mentioned some of God's ways.  That His plan for your life may mean financial hardship, family difficulties, infertility, a special-needs child, Alzheimer's, loss etc.  Indeed some of us live in these things, and we certainly wouldn't have planned them for ourselves.  I have lived through financial hardship for many years due to a car accident that left one of my children special needs.  Do I think that God planned it, or willed it, or ordained it when He planned my life?  NO!  This is where I veer off the sovereignty road.  (Remember, I did say from the git go that I had some doctrinal differences with the writer, and this is one of them.) 

I see the sovereignty of God in a little different light.  I believe God foreknew these things would happen.  I believe God allowed these things for a number of reasons which He has revealed to me and maybe some that I haven't seen yet.  I believe God is greater than these things and that just as He took what the devil meant for harm in Joseph's life and used it for His glory, He is using these things in a positive way in my life, but I will never believe that God would create a special needs child on purpose.  I do not believe that God gives us sickness when He sent His Son to destroy it. 

I do not let my experience dictate my theology.  My experience does not always explain my theology, and it doesn't always line up with my theology, but that doesn't mean that my theology is defective.  It means that I'm missing something, somewhere.  The problem lies with me, not God.  I can honestly say that I wouldn't go back and change things because of all that I have experienced in God and learned about God, but I cannot believe that this was God's plan from the beginning.  If these things are His plan from the beginning, why do we need to pray?  If they cannot be avoided, cannot be changed, what is the purpose of prayer?  Are our lives so set from the beginning that we have no control over them?  Where do choices and free will enter in? 

If I should not resist any situation or circumstance that I find myself in, then does that mean that when I am sick I should not take medicine to get well?  I've heard this argument before, and it honestly doesn't make sense to me.  If God made me sick to teach me something or show me something or grow me in some way, wouldn't it be fighting the will and purpose of God to take medicine to get out it?  Yet, even Paul instructed Timothy to take something for his stomach.  If all things come from God, and are His will, then shouldn't we just sit around and take each day as it comes?  

Don't we have an enemy that we have been given authority over?  Are we not to resist and fight him in prayer?  If there is nothing that we can do about the things he has planned for us, what is the purpose of prayer?  Does that mean that when the enemy's plans come into our life that it means they are God's plans, so we shouldn't resist them?

Maybe I'm missing the general point in this chapter, but I cannot reconcile that everything that happens to people is the perfect plan and will of God.  It is not God's will that ANY should perish, yet people plunge into hell everyday.  And I certainly do not believe that some were created without the possibility of being saved!  If that is so, then God is a cruel God and I know that He isn't.  I don't believe that God always gets His way. 

I do believe that God has plan that will come to pass that cannot be altered.  The books of the prophets and Revelation make that very clear.  But I don't think the details are set in stone.  Even in Matthew, the Jews are instructed to pray that the time of their fleeing not be in winter.  If it is already determined, then why are they instructed to pray?  If prayer changes things, as all Christians believe, then can't lack of prayer also allow things that aren't necessarily God's will and plan to happen to us?

Sovereignty suggests that it is wrong to ask God "why".  I don't think that is exactly right.  Zacharias asked God "why" and God chastised him and rightly so.  He asked doubting what God had just said to Him.  He doubted the voice of God!  On the other hand, the Virgin Mary also asked "why".  But she never doubted what the angel had just told her.  She was merely trying to wrap her brain around it, but she fully believed and was resigned to the perfect will of God.  

However, I think the main point of the this chapter is the very foundation of faith in Christ.  We need to trust God.  Everyday.  In every circumstance. 

~We need, as true women, to live a God-centered life.  Christ is our passion, our only desire.  He is our reason for living, the center of everyday and every activity that we undertake.  All is done for Him.  

~A true woman trusts God!  In all that I have experienced as a Pastor's wife, as a mother, as a wife, I have surely found that no matter where I am or how I got there, I must trust God.  But I do occasionally ask God "why", and He very often will tell me.  And in that I grow and mature and identify areas of my life that the Holy Spirit needs to change.  Sometimes I end up in the messes I am in because of something I did or didn't do, something I didn't know, or because I'm under attack from the enemy.  Sometimes I don't understand right away and some things I may never see completely until eternity, but I know that God can bring good.  I know He will get me through.  I know He will somehow glorify Himself...even if the enemy meant tremendous harm from it.

~A true woman says "yes, Lord!"  She lives intentionally!  This is something I am thinking about more and more--intentional living!  Do I do everything that I do in light of eternity?  When I make a purchase, do I consider what value it will have in effecting eternity?  When I decide what to do with the little spare time that I have, do I consider what difference it could make in the eternity of someone that is lost?  When I blog, (ouch), is it always in the light of eternity that I compose the things I say?

Surely, we will all be surprised in eternity!  We will be surprised at all we could've done if we had been paying attention, all we could've had if we had believed His Word a little more strongly, all that we could've experienced if we had been a little more sensitive to His Spirit, but even in that, God will take what we did believe, what we did experience and what we did have and say "Well done, my good and faithful servant.  Enter into My rest."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Illustrated Sermon God Preached to Me Today

I love the 1 Corinthians 13 passage of scripture in the Amplified version. It is such a detailed description of what love practically looks like in everyday life and can be used as a test to compare my life with the life of love that the Bible says God has "shed abroad in my heart" even though I'm not always conscious of it!

I often apply that verse when I am tempted to be impatient, judgemental, critical, nasty, quick-tongued or angry with another person (yes, I do have those urges from time to time), knowing that the power to not be any of those things has been placed in me by the Holy Spirit. But today, I thought about this passage in a totally different light. Not only should we put these verses into action with other people, but also with God.

What causes unbelief in our lives? Unbelief can easily gain a resting place in our hearts when we have trials, hurts, hard circumstances, disappointments, problems with people and frustrations which we somehow then attribute to God. We start to accuse God by our deep sighing, our frustrated groans, our presenting Zacharias type arguements in an effort to "clarify" things. The problem is that we often don't recognize it as doubt or unbelief! We pass it off as part of the "human condition", and then run to God whining and complaining.

But what does our whining and complaining really say to God? If our checking account is empty, what does laying out every need in excruciating detail really say to Him? Do we think that God is not aware that the water heater is leaking and causing a mold problem? Do we think that He doesn't see the leaking toilet and know that it needs to be fixed-pronto? Does He not know that the dryer is totally dead and that there are 3 loads of wet towels waiting to be dried so that the water from the water heater and the toilet can be soaked up before it runs all the way through the basement, creating more mold problems in other places in the house? (Does this sound too much like my life today?) Yes, it's inconvenient but it certainly doesn't warrant whining and unbelief.

Actually whining is unbelief. It is telling God that He is slacking in His promises to take care of us. It is telling Him that we deserve better than what He is providing, when really, we don't deserve squat! It is saying to Him, the Lord is my Shepherd but I'm in want! It's saying that the water is a bit bitter, the grass is a little dry and sticking in my throat. It's saying that what's on the table today just doesn't appeal to me and would He please put sweeter stuff out for me to eat. It is the devil's way to destroy faith and prohibit it from being used to keep ourselves in a position of receiving something that will help us and will glorify God!

Aren't we instructed to make our requests known to God with thanksgiving? So instead of complaining and whining to God, I just sit and I think to myself. (By this time, I've already had that sinking, sickening, frustrated feeling try to assail me, I feel the frustration trying to take over my mood and my thoughts which will ultimately affect my words and my actions, which will ultimately affect my husband and my children and my unsaved neighbors!) So I sit and I rehearse in my mind, and I meditate by letting it come out of my mouth--yes, call me crazy but I talk to myself and I say, "the Word of God is true. God meant exactly what He said. God will do exactly what He said if I just believe that He meant what He said. So since He is Jehovah Jireh, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He draws my needs from His riches in glory, I can just thank Him for the specific things that I need. I can just say, Lord, thank you for a fixed dryer, a fixed water heater, a fixed toilet and know that in His way and in His time, He will do it!" And I know that He will do it in such a way that He will show Himself strong to me and bring glory to Himself. (Whoever said that God is not a bit of showoff? Can you blame Him?)

In fact, in the time it has taken me to write this blog, the dryer repairman appeared. I have learned that I need to be especially careful about taking weedeater string out of pant's pockets before putting them in the dryer because they blew the most expensive fuse on my dryer. But because, in the words of my repairman, "God has blessed me so much that I am going to give you a big discount", he gave me a used part, because "they never corrode or go bad, they either work or they blow". So my dryer repair cost me $20.00, which basically paid for his gas and a smidgen of his time. (Yes, daughter, there will still be a wedding!) While he was here, he also went over the whole dryer and cleaned everything out so now my dryer works better than it has in a very long time! He also gave me some good information about water heaters and an honest repairman that won't rip me off and "clarified" a few things for me about toilet repair as well.  I honestly don't think that this is a coincidence.  God always responds to genuine faith in His Word. 

So, I am off to call the water heater repairman and to Wal-Mart to get the mold resistant primer that will go on the wall behind the water heater while the water heater is out being repaired to prevent any further mold problems. I can see the end! It's in sight!

I can hardly wait to see what God is going to do with this next project! Go ahead God! Show me how strong you really are!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood

Been feeling a little guilty about not posting the next chapter's discussion of "Voices of the True Woman Movement-A Call to the Counter-Revolution".

But I was in TX for a week and I'm still recovering! I'm recovering my laundry room, which is still quite full of clothes, sheets, towels, and pillow needing washing. I'm recovering my kitchen which is sporting foods I didn't buy or cook and totally depleted of things I actually know how to cook. I'm recovering my usually well organized refrigerator because nothing is where it usually is, which makes making a grocery list a bit of a challenge! (That being said, may I say that I am so grateful for my future son-in-law, who caused the chaos in my refrigerator, but who did it by cooking my hubby really good food while I was MIA.) I'm recovering my email account which was hacked into and has now represented me as a Cialis/Viagra distributor to people all over the world. (Great second income for a Pastor's wife!) LOL! But today, I am recovering my schedule by getting back on track with the True Woman posting because I absolutely hate to not keep my word!

This chapter was written by John Piper, a man with whom I vary on several points of doctrine, but also whom I highly respect, read and listen to. The premise of this chapter is "Wimpy theology makes wimpy women." HOW TRUE!

What is wimpy? People who back down on what they believe or what they practice for the sake of not offending others. People who by doing this place their own interests, or their church mortgages-any Pastors guilty of this say "ouch" and "I repent!",- above the interests of those whom they have an influence over for the gospel. People who are "fair weather" Christians. While things are going well, they are "praisin the Lord", but when difficult times come, they fall into the pit of despair and wonder where God is, as if they deserve an easy life. (Please, give me chapter and verse for this!). People who are ruled and run by their flesh and carnal desires and who confuse what is spirit and what is flesh in their own lives, mostly because they are not people of the Word and prayer or one of these two are out of balance in their lives.

Wimpy theology makes God small and impudent in the eyes of carnal believers and the eyes of the world! I believe it is a much more serious thing in God's eyes than what we want to believe because it basically translates as unbelief, which ties the hands of God to work in the lives of believers and is something God abhors! Hasn't He already done enough to prove Himself??????????????

Brother Piper presented the idea that the reason for creation is to "display the glory of God in His highest expression, namely His Son's death to make a sinful people His supremely happy bride" (paraphrase). And that if God knew what was going to happen to Adam and Eve before He created them, then He meant for it to happen in order to display to all the world the glory of His grace. This put mankind at the center of God's ultimate purpose. He uses manhood and womanhood to explain and display His divine grace and as a model of His relationship with mankind.

I've tried to reason all this out in my mind, but just can't seem to wrap my mind completely around it. I'm not as deep a thinker as Pastor Piper, and I doubt that I will ever understand the deeper theologies of scripture. What mother of four really has the time to study that much? I'm just trying to hold things together here where my feet actually touch the planet.

I really liked the distinctions he made between marriage and singleness, which I am going to list because they are just so good.

Marriage is to display the covenant-keeping love between Christ and His church. Men represent Christ and headship. Women represent the church and submission. The purpose of marriage is to display the difference. This is very encouraging to me. To know my place and what I'm to do there is exciting and adds purpose to my life. I don't mind that I've been placed in a position of submission. It's where God, in His perfect love and dealings with my soul, has placed me for my complete fulfillment and joy. Who would men have headship over if there were no women? See how perfectly we fall into the perfect plan of God? So rather than balk that I'm not on top of the perceived totem pole, (a totally worldly perception) I'm just gonna run with what I've been given and try to glorify God in everything I do!

I really loved this statement and wish that most young men and women would get it!


I once owned a shirt that said "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." Our culture is so couple, love, and sex oriented, but as us older people can testify, the grass is often greener on the other side of the fence, love is more about giving than receiving and can be experienced in an equally fulfilling way married or single, and sex is not forever, so don't get caught in that trap because you are going to be SORELY disappointed! Believe me when we all get to heaven, we won't even be married to that person that we just had to have! If that's hard for you to ponder then you need to spend some serious time on your knees getting the main thing in the main place of your heart! I have always told young people deeply desiring marriage that they are not ready for marriage until they can be content without it and willing to not have it-ever! Desiring marriage so deeply means that you are desiring things that you think you will get from it that you are currently lacking. But I submit that "The Lord is my Shepherd, I SHALL NOT WANT! In order to enter into a successful marriage relationship, you must not be needing, you must be full and ready to give. Trust me, I learned this the hard way and almost lost my marriage in the process! Yes, marriage will provide some of your carnal needs and desires, but it's only because that is the avenue that God has chosen to provide them. If you are not married, He will provide them in some other way, but you will be just as satisfied. I find it kind of humorous that in scripture the Bible talks about marrying if you can't control your lusts otherwise. And then it turns right around and says that women who are married find it more difficult because they are trying to please the Lord and their husbands. I wish women would think about the position that they are putting themselves in before they marry and count the cost. I know that there are many, many times when I wish that I could sit a little longer to study or pray, but things that my husband needs, or my children need-that are my responsibility-cut into that desire. I would also probably be much more involved in ministry if I didn't have a home and children to maintain. So we ALL must learn to bloom where we're planted, even if someone else's garden looks better!

Singleness 1) shows that the family of God grows not by propagation or sexual intercourse, but by regeneration in Christ! Beautiful! 2) It bears witness that our relationship in Christ is more permanent then familial relationships. Like I said earlier, that man will not be yours forever! He should already have a higher love on earth, but surely will in heaven. Can we deal with this ladies??? 3) Marriage is temporary, but gives way to the relationship it was pointing to all the time.

The one thought that came to my mind in reading this chapter about "women" is that this is chapter about Christians. Wimpy theology will make wimpy men as well! There is no difference in my mind. This could have been shared just as easily, without altering, with men. This is a message "the church" needs to hear!

Reading this chapter plus some things I observed and experienced during my week in TX has given me a new, refreshed resolve to go after what is REAL in Christianity.

Monday, July 12, 2010

From, To, and Back Again

I took a trip last week. I helped out a little with driving the youth group to Dallas, TX for a youth camp at Christ For The Nations Institute. We left at 5am on Sunday morning, drove to St. Genevieve, MO, which is right outside St. Louis, for the night. Then left early again on Monday morning and drove to Dallas, arriving around 3pm. On Friday, we repeated the whole process again on Friday, leaving Dallas after lunch and returning to St. Genevieve for the night and then home, arriving around 9:30pm.

Through the week, I just wrote observations in my journal, but seriously have not come to a lot of conclusions about what I saw. Some of it was just confusing. (You'll have this with youth...and as I soon learned, with youth ministry...and the way it's done. This seems to be a trend in my life at the moment) I'm sure that I'll be blogging about my conclusions in the future, but for now, I'm just pondering and praying and reading all the wonderful books I purchased in the school's book store. Man I miss not having a Christian bookstore in town. But I'm loaded for bear, at least for a little while.

What I went from:
-a very comfortable king size bed complete with plenty of room for my feet, a big fuzzy pillow named Zoe, and the quiet whirring of an oscillating fan to lure me to sleep.
-cupboards filled with food that give me a daily choice of eating fare
-doors that can be closed when I need some time alone to pray, meditate, or just chill
-a house smelling of various cleaners and lemon furniture polish
-and last, but not least, my best friend whom I have been in constant proximity with for the past 32 years.

What I went to:
-a 15 passenger van stuffed to the max with bed rolls, backpacks, duffel bags, teenagers and boxes of food filled with breakfast and lunch "stuffs".
-constant noise--talking, laughing, screaming, snoring, music
-lots of snack food-pringles, granola bars, fruit, popcorn, peanuts--a virtual smorgasbord
-smells that I would rather forget
-waiting in line for EVERYTHING
-1000 crazy teenagers

Note to self: Please make sure to get signed parental permission to dispense gas-X to the male species who may be participating in next year's trip!

-seeing and meeting interesting people--some interesting in a good way, others in a very, very weird way!
-sleeping all week on a cot, in a kitchen, to the sound of a refrigerator and washing my hair in the kitchen sink
-a child sized cot that was about 12 inches shorter than I am and that crinkled every time I moved because it was covered with plastic.
-only being alone when in the bathroom, but even then time was limited considering I was sharing it with 10 other people.
-Heat and humidity-but surprisingly enough, I was delivered from the heat wave at home! God is so good!
-more text messages to my hubby than what our plan allows...but they were my life line to sanity!
-LOUD, LOUD, long worship services. I praying that my internal organs have returned to their original positions after being shook to death by the vibrating music.
-Sermons, talks, testimonies
-lots of hype and excitement, plenty of fluff and GOLDEN CHICKEN--aptly named. I'm not sure I would drive all that way again just for chicken, but if I would I would buy it there!
-A long, long 48 hours of driving, some of which I got to sleep through, but not much.

Then after leaving Dallas I came home to:
-a clean house! Minus a little dust. My hubby is the best
-a ton of laundry, which I am currently tackling
-a very ecstatic pillow named Zoe
-a well rested, serene, and happy husband
-a still leaking water heater, but not for long
-a church where I feel loved and comfortable
-not much food in the cupboards, but I still get to choose what I'll fill them with
-my wonderful King size bed that just enveloped me when I got in it...AHHHHHH!

This is my second year going to YFN. When I crawl into the van on that early Sunday morning, I find myself saying "Why did I agree to do this? My kids would be gone for a week. It would just be me and E. I could get so much accomplished without the kids being around."

Perhaps I have secret passion for adventure...umm...no, I know that's not it. Perhaps I have a secret martyr complex.....umm...no, I so love those teenagers. Perhaps my subconscious is telling me that this is the only vacation that I will get this year...true, but I certainly would not go to Dallas for vacation. Perhaps, if I had one, it would fulfill any "missionary living" requirement I had to fulfill. Well, for whatever reason, I did it! And I certainly agree that I'm not the same as when I left. I went, I participated, I grew, I survived.

But as Dorothy has said many, many times... THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lawn Mower Devotions--Something To Look Forward To

Today, in a state of extreme heat exhaustion, I lingered for just one brief moment in the thinking that our lives are just too hard.  I rise in the morning knowing that my day will be filled with dirty lawn work, dirty house work, or piano lessons-some of which are a real test of character for me.  And I've been so tired from the first two kinds of work, I actually feel asleep during a music lesson around stanza #4 and didn't wake up until stanza #7.  (I'm still not sure if it was the first or second ending.  It's totally conceivable that I  slept through the entire song once.  I did feel so refreshed when I woke up.) 

I thought to myself, "I need something to look forward to."   In years past, I have had things to look forward to, but they seem to always allude our grasp for one more year, one more year and I found myself growing disillusioned and thinking that the proverbial carrot will be dangled in my face until, I , like the mule, just give out.  I wonder how much longer my body will be able to run at this pace!  I start to feel stuck a vicious cycle.  

Of course, I quickly slapped myself back into reality--God's reality that is! 

Paul said "forgetting those things which are behind, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 

And it dawned on me!  I do have something to look forward to! 

No matter how bleak life may be, for no matter how long life may last, when I look ahead, I see Christ!  I see heaven!  I see no more weeds to pull, no more sore muscles, no more disappointment, no more "issues" with people, no more laborious work!  And no matter how far ahead I look, whether it be lifetimes or years or months or weeks or days or minutes, Christ is there!

But not only is He there, He is HERE! NOW!  The thing I am looking so forward to is already here!  It's then I realize that I can rise above the things of the natural life and choose to dwell in the heavenly places, seated with Christ!  And all the sudden, it seems as if life has never been better.  To realize that at any moment of any day, for as long as I want or need, the full attention, love, and power of Almighty God is there for the taking--for me!  What could be better?  Jesus Christ truly is enough and much, much more--if I will let Him be!

There is no vacation that I can imagine, no soft, cool bed that I could lay down on, no bank account large enough to even come close to the fellowship that I can have with Him whenever I want or need to!  And to think, no matter how far away I gaze or how close to me I look, HE is there, unchanging, always faithful, always enough!

"Better is one day in His courts, then thousands elsewhere."
It's just so much easier to see when you are fully hydrated!

Monday, July 5, 2010

More Heart Snapshots

Heart snapshots are memories that we make a conscious effort to remember. They’re like digital snapshots from a moment in time, captured on the memory stick of our hearts. I write mine down periodically.

~My son's response to the question "why am I driving clear across town to buy ice cream?." His reply, "because you love me." And I took the opportunity to tell him just how much I do, indeed, love him. What was even better was when he said to me "and I love you too, Mom." And I'm pretty sure that he meant it! :-)

~The change in the sound of my oldest son's laugh. It just sticks with you more.

~The look of delight on my husband's face when I place a big, full plate of his favorite food in front of him after a hard day's work.

~My men, all three of them, going off to work together in the morning, the two teenagers clamoring over one another in an effort to get the seat beside Dad.
~The sideways glances and hidden grins between the three of them, after a long day of work, as something is said or seen that reminds them of something that happened during the day and the joke that was born as a result of it.

~The way my husband's face krinkles up clear from his eyebrow to his chin when he smiles.

~The sheer pleasure of my daughter's face when she found the purse that she liked at the mall hanging on her bedroom door.

~My oldest daughter's face when she found the "perfect" shoes to wear with her wedding dress.

~And the brightness in her blue, blue eyes as she looks at her future husband. (Boy, am I going to have cute grandkids! Oh, sorry! Off subject!)

~My youngest son skating, in his socks, across Kohl's dressing room floor to show me that the pair of shorts he just modeled for me a few minutes before, are indeed reversible and that "they fit me this way too!" What a nut! He always makes me laugh!

~Sitting on a park bench one evening with my three youngest children watching hundreds of lightning bugs come out of the ground. It was a thing of beauty!

~The looks on the faces of my sons as their Dad discovers that they've been sneaking drinks out of his glass all during dinner.

~The nicknames my children have for me. One calls me "Madre". One calls me "Mamma Mia", and one calls me "Modge."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Do All Men Cheat?

I ran across this blog post and thought it was something women don't hear or think about often enough!  It made me especially thankful and grateful to my husband who has never given me any opportunity or reason to distrust him for even one minute in our 28 years marriage.  What a blessing he is!

Do All Men Cheat?

Posted on 06.28.10 by Erin Davis
Topics: Marriage, Sexuality

“Indiana Rep. Mark Souder Resigns After Affair With Staffer”
“Jesse James Asks for Forgiveness Amid Reports of Marital Woes”
“Tiger woods Admits, ‘I had affairs. I cheated.’”

These headlines are recent but men who cheat aren’t new news. For many years, I struggled with an intense fear that my husband would cheat. That fear was reinforced by a dad who cheated and tales of infidelity even among my Christian brothers and sisters.

Fear left unchecked can wreak all kinds of havoc on our hearts and lives. In my case, the fear that my man was destined to stray led me to be clingy, accusatory, anxious, and worried.

During that season I kept stumbling across verses like Romans 8:15 which states, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear but you received the Spirit of sonship” and 2 Timothy 1:7 which says, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” These verses made me want to deal with the fear that was gripping my heart (and my marriage), but I didn’t know how. The fear that my husband would cheat wasn’t something that I could just talk myself out of. It’s a fear that didn’t unravel until God started exposing the lies rooted to my fear.

I realized that my fear was based, in part, in the lie that all men cheat. The media portrays men as unable to control their sexual appetite. I just assumed that if given the opportunity, my man would cheat out of an inability to control himself. This lie has dangerous ramifications far beyond a fearful heart.

The truth is that men are no more carnal than we are.

Titus 2:11-13 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Girls, we don’t have the market cornered on self-control. The same Spirit that is at work in our hearts is at work in the lives of the believing men around us. Men aren’t the animals we see them portrayed as on T.V. and the big screen. They aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean that the entire gender is destined to ditch their marriage vows.

Sometimes I think we see ourselves as more spiritual than our male counterparts. The Truth is the Holy Spirit lives in men who know Jesus as vibrantly as it lives in our own hearts. Men aren’t given an extra dose of the sin nature any more than we have been given an extra helping of self-control.

Is your man doing his best to live out his faith in Jesus? Has his love for you and commitment to your marriage kept him faithful? Don’t wait in anticipation for the moment he will fail. Thank him for serving God by faithfully loving you.

This was a great post! My hubby is a very Godly man, not perfect, but one that I know loves Jesus so much that he would never cheat on me, because to cheat on me would mean that he would cheat on Jesus first and he would never do that!  I not only trust in his love for me, but I trust in the love that he and Jesus have for each other.

Because he is a minister, there have been many women who either knowingly or unknowingly have put themselves out there to see if he would bite. Fortunately  the Holy Spirit periodicallys leads me to pray for his fidelity so when they came along, he was already covered. That is one of the privileges I feel is mine as his wife. It's one way I can return the favor for his protection in my life.  I can pray for him in ways that no other person on this earth can pray because I am the closest to him. Not once, when the Holy Spirit lead me to pray about things that should have made me feel uncomfortable or cast suspicion, did I ever suspect or fear that my husband was doing or about to do something that wasn't right. I still marvel at that! I know that the Bible tells us that "we are not ignorant of the devil's schemes", nor do we need to fear them, but when God reveals them, then it's time to pray and believe.  And I know that my prayers helped keep my husband far away from the edge of the cliff and kept our marriage intact and secure.

You see, those prayers were as much for him as they were for me.  Sometimes I feel that women, in general, just think of being cheated on as the most horrendous, dispicable sin that can ever be committed.  As harmful and hurtful as it is, there are sins that women commit against men that are just as horrible and dispicable in their eyes.  And just because society may embrace those sins as acceptable and harmless, they aren't to the hearts of our husbands.  Could it be that once again the devil is using our culture to decieve women as he did Eve? 

I think that women live with the misconception that when men cheat, woman and children are the only ones that get hurt, but that's not true. The men either are already hurting or they end up getting hurt along with everyone else. Sin takes no hostages, it kills, steals from and destroy's everything and everyone in it's wake.  And as much as men have the responsibility to stay pure in marriage, women have that same responsibility even though the practical working out of that purity may look very different. 

My husband has proven to me through the years that he can be trusted, but as his wife it is part of my vow to him and to God that I will honor my husband, and honor involves trust. And I think that because I do honor and trust him, that helps him in times when he might have a temptation thrown into his life to not only resist, but to look on it with disdain. It is silly to not trust a man that has never given you any cause for mistrust.

As the article stated fear of cheating must be dealt with because if it isn't, it could actually help drive a man to do what you're fearing. Job said, "the thing that I feared has come upon me." The devil knew where Job's fear lied, so when the devil had opportunity to shake him, he knew exactly what areas of Job's life to hit.

I have often said and I believe that I would have to hear from my husbands own lips that he had cheated. Even if there were eye witnesses and photos, I wouldn't believe it. Believe me, people have tried to cast doubt on his character in the past because they didn't like something he preached. One guy even told us that he had hired a private detective to follow my husband trying to find some immoral activity in his life. 

But what he found was that my husband is a God-fearing, family-loving, hard working man.  I try to tell my husband how much I love and appreciate him, even to the point where I sometimes feel like a silly school girl doing it.  And I pray FOR him, NOT about him, always having HIS best interest at heart.  Because when I pray for his best interest, I am also praying for my own and that of my children.  It's the way God set it up.  And when it works God's way, there is nothing sweeter!