This was taken last weekend when we visited my sister in Birmingham--Mac with his cousins Abby and Bailey. They had the best time together!
This was taken last weekend when we visited my sister in Birmingham--Mac with his cousins Abby and Bailey. They had the best time together!
I haven't posted in several days because I have had a lot on my mind. One of the many things I have been thinking about is the relationship between husbands and wives. Let me backtrack a bit...
As you all know, and have read a million times here, my marriage did not get started off on the right foot. The first year was extremely difficult and the first three were pretty tough. It has gradually gotten better. I think most of the improvement has taken place over the last year. Some of that had to do with me learning how to pray for my husband and some of it, more recently, has had to do with me being more obedient to God's Word. You do realize that partial obedience is still disobedience? That was me...partially obedient. I was a member of a church I love, leading a small group, leading a bible study, encouraging others, praying faithfully, and loving God through it all...BUT...I could not submit to my husband or show him respect as God calls me to, as a wife, in His Word. I made excuses and justified my disobedience by reminding God how "wrong" Stephen was in so many ways. Surely God did not want me to submit to someone with a bad attitude...someone who spoke harshly to me and my kids. See, this is the part where a lot of people start questioning what I am saying. God has so divinely brought other women into my life who find themselves in similar situations. What a privilege to be able to share what He did for ME when I was obedient! I have talked to women who have no desire to be respectful to a husband who is not as spiritually mature as they are. See, it's far easier for us to judge and preach and criticize and gossip about our husbands than to pray for them and to trust God and to submit. I'm here to tell you that I finally tried it and it worked. For years I have prayed about the relationship between my husband and my son. I have gradually seen improvement, but it feels like the majority of the improvement came when I finally humbled myself before God, before my husband and stopped acting like a holier-than-thou-know-it-all. As I drove my son to the store last night, we talked about this. I asked Taylor "Do you not see a HUGE improvement in the way Stephen treats you?" And he smiled big and nodded. That is a total God thing. God rewards obedience. But you can't pick and choose what scriptures you feel like obeying. You have to literally surrender your life to God. You have to trust that He knows what is best for you--after all, He created you, didn't He? And when you do obey, He POURS out His blessings! As His Word says, "immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine!"
You may know I've been leading Beth Moore's "Breaking Free" study at church. And she is talking about things that keep us in bondage...things that keep us from living in victory--"strongholds" are what she calls them. And she defines a stronghold as anything in your life OTHER THAN JESUS CHRIST that has a strong hold on you. We've been talking about obstacles in the life of a believer and one of the biggest is UNBELIEF. We've discussed that the only way for your faith to grow stronger is to actually step out in faith and trust God. It's through experience. Trusting God, stepping out and obeying, and reaping the blessings. It's a process. And the more you are able to see God prove faithful in your life, the more you will trust Him.
I'm rambling a bit, but I guess the main thing I have been thinking about (and seeing) is that most women don't really want GOD'S order of things in their homes. Oh, we say we do, but when it comes down to showing respect to our husbands...to being a true helper to them, as God called us to be, we think we know better! I think there is such a danger in most homes of the wife being proud of the fact that she is perhaps more spiritually mature, more knowledgeable of God's Word, more involved at church...hello?? Been there and done that! God is SOOOOO showing me that when I follow HIS ORDER of things in my marriage, we ALL reap the blessings. Me, my husband, the kids. When I am more concerned with honoring my husband than anyone else in my life--kids, girlfriends, etc, I sure get a much better picture of the way things should be. My husband's heart is humbled, he is softer, more loving with me, and then there is this ripple effect. He is better with the kids...kinder...more patient...even better in his relationship with God when I step aside and let him be the leader. It's the way God intends for homes to be! How foolish for us to think we know better!
Please don't misinterpret what I am saying here. I am still a work in progress. My home is far from the way it should be. We have a long way to go. But here's the good news: FINALLY we are letting God show us that His way is the best way. There was a time I had NO HOPE for my home. But God is faithful. He keeps His Word. He rewards obedience. He has given each one of us HOPE. In Him. Only by humbling ourselves and being obedient to God will we live in victory. And we are FINALLY experiencing this in ways I never thought possible. Don't let the Enemy make you believe his biggest lie: things will never change. I challenge you to step out in faith today and be obedient to God in an area where you have NOT been. Trust Him. He will never let you down.
"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." ~Philippians 4:9
"This is love for God: to obey His commands." ~1 John 5:3
*I have to add something! I got a call from my very dear friend, Melissa, this morning and God has given her a vision of something powerful! Will you please pray that we will seek God's will and listen carefully for His instruction and then be courageous enough to step out and obey?! God has put a burden on Melissa's heart for husbands. Her own husband has left her and is seeking a divorce, but Melissa is not giving up on God. She knows it's not over until God says it's over and she is asking Him to restore her marriage. However, she knows God well enough to know that if He chooses not to, He has something far better for her! Anyway, she called me this morning to tell me of this vision God has given her for the wives in our church to come together to pray for the husbands in our church! She and I are planning to meet with a few other friends this weekend to lift this up in prayer and see what kind of doors God opens for us! We are very excited, but the Enemy is already trying to discourage her. Pray that we would seek God's will and follow it. Pray that we would not be discouraged by the Enemy. Pray that God would be glorified through this--through the transformation of countless homes represented in our church and community.
I heard recently about Kathy Griffin's digusting remarks made in her Emmy award acceptance speech, but today I actually watched the video. It is so incredibly offensive to me, as a Christian. I will never watch any tv show she is in or movie or commercial. Nothing.
Click the link below to get to the article/video of her speech. You should also find a link to a petition called "Enough is Enough". I encourage you to read about it too.
"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." ~Matthew 12:36
I can't help but smile...I was checking my email one last time before bed when I noticed the wonderful sounds all around me...
Stephen reading to Mac...Sarah singing along with her High School Musical 2 cd...Taylor whispering sweet nothings to his girlfriend over the phone...what a nice way to end the day.
I don't ever want to take those kinds of things for granted. I am so blessed.
"It's not about US using GOD for OUR purposes...it's about God using US for HIS purpose...it's about God showing us how WE fit in to HIS plan...You may say, 'Ok, what if I present myself to God and He tells me to do something I don't want to do? Stop and think about the absurdity of that! HE created you for Himself. HE WANTS YOU TO HAVE ABUNDANT LIFE and if you go to Him and say 'Lord, here I am. Show me what my purpose is.' Do you really think He would tell you to do something that would undercut the very purpose for which He made you?? I don't think so! Our fear about that is unfounded." ~Dr. David Jeremiah
I am a fanatic about mayonnaise. I put it on a LOT of stuff I eat. I am often reminded of the time I had lunch with a co-worker and as she watched me dip my french fries in mayo she said to me "You know, it's none of my business, but have you ever thought about how much weight you could lose if the ONLY thing you changed about your diet was to stop eating mayonnaise??" I have never forgotten that!
Recently I took part in an online "recipe exchange" and I received one in particular that made me smile. See, one of the ways I like to eat mayo is to dip my pizza in it. Yep. I said it. That's right. Stop judging me. Ha! NOW I have a recipe that actually combines those two ingredients!!! Life is good.
5 min. prep
10 min. cook time
Sounds weird, but it's quite good and easy!!
Cheese- either shredded "Pizza cheese" or shredded Mozzerella
"ready to serve" microwaveable bacon (no need to preheat- will be cooked in oven)
Bobli Pizza crust
Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
Lettuce and chopped tomato
Get a pre-made pizza crust (Bobli I think is the name brand. You can find them around the freezer isle, though they usually aren't actually in the freezer). Top with cheese. Cut bacon (three or so strips will do) into small pieces. Spread over cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes or until cheese is melted. Pull out of the oven and spread with mayonnaise or Miracle whip to taste. Add chopped tomatoes and lettuce on top. Cut and serve!! Fast dinner in 15 minutes!
...(until it sinks in)...I am not mad at my husband....I am not mad at my husband...I am NOT mad at my husband...
So for weeks now we have been talking about the upcoming Hannah Montana concert...tickets go on sale this Saturday BUT we have been hearing that her shows are selling out FAST. So, Stephen signed up for Miley Cyrus' fan club. This allows us to buy tickets before they go on sale to the general public--today, as a matter of fact.
Stephen wrote down the special passcode we needed to buy the tickets early. I logged on to ticketmaster.com at 9:58 and waited patiently for the clock to change to 10:00 so I could click the "find tickets" button. Unfortunately, I got a cute little error message that said my code was invalid. I had to call Stephen (yes, he was in court today and had to step out for a moment!) and he gave me instructions on how to go to Miley World (the official fan club web site) to log in and retrieve the CORRECT code. From 10:05-10:15 I attempted to log in and there was simply too much traffic on her site. Finally, at 10:17, I was able to retrieve our code--and you didn't hear it from me, but Stephen had left out TWO digits of the code!!!!!! (I'm so glad HE did that and not ME! Ha!) At that point, I clicked back over to ticketmaster.com and again hit the "find tickets" button with my CORRECT code entered...only to find.....
THERE WERE NO MORE TICKETS TO BE FOUND ONLY 18 MINUTES AFTER THEY WENT ON PRE-SALE!!!!
Here's how Stephen and I think differently...
my reaction: How are we going to tell the kids???
Stephen's reaction: Boy, I sure would like to be Hannah Montana's manager!
(he's only kidding...he has assured me we ARE going...but it sounds like we're going to be paying top dollar on ebay!)
I am halfway through a new book by Elizabeth George called Small Changes for a Better Life. One of the first small changes she suggests is to practice Mark 12:30-31.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
I want so very much to make the most of each day God gives me. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow. I want to make TODAY count. It is truly a gift from God. And the Bible tells us that we will all give an account of how we have lived our lives. So since I began reading this book, I've tried to be very intentional about giving God the first part of my day, and then asking Him how I can bless someone else. God has been so faithful to honor this request by very clearly directing me to others who need a special blessing of encouragement or prayer. As usual, I am overwhelmed by Him. He has continually brought people to mind who need prayer or a kind word and not only that, He goes a step further and TELLS me what He would have me do for them specifically to demonstrate His love. (and please keep in mind, THAT'S what it's all about--demonstrating the love of Christ). We don't need to get hung up on receiving the praise of others, although that's easy to do. I have been guilty of that more than I care to admit. But you know what? Chances are pretty good you may do something to bless someone else's day and they don't act grateful. Please don't let that discourage you! Your motivation is to serve others out of gratitude for God's love for you. Ask Him to fill you with His love so that it overflows into the lives of those around you. Make sure your ultimate desire is to glorify Him.
I started by seeking first to bless my husband and kids and not only did He quickly answer those requests, but He has gradually led me to ideas of how I may bless others outside our home. May I humbly encourage you to do the same thing? Ask God to open the eyes of your heart to see those He has placed in your life that could use a special blessing of encouragement. Ask Him to show you how to do that. That is definitely a prayer He delights in! It will amaze you how fast He'll answer!