Tag Archives: Christian Living

When His Plans for Me Aren’t Just for Me

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

This morning I read about a mother who said she wished she had known her son would grow up to be an archaeologist and earn his living digging in the dirt because she would have wasted less time removing the stains from his jeans. It made me laugh. My oldest said for a long time he would be an archaeologist, and believe me, his jeans showed the hours he spent practicing. 🙂

Her comment got me thinking about those situations in my own life, when it would have been helpful to whisper a little advice to myself or give myself a glimpse of the bigger picture – what God was really doing in that time. The first that came to mind was the years my husband spent on the road. It came in waves – easy weeks that we both spent doing things we loved but still missing one another, the few weeks and days we spent together in new places, weeks that left us in tears, trials we both dealt with that the other couldn’t understand, trials that beat us against the rocks and left us with nothing to do but pray and cling to one another and God to keep from drowning. Then it would start all over again with easier goodbyes and easy weeks that flew by before a storm would blow in (sometimes literally), sending us crashing back into the sea of emotional exhaustion, hurts and sadness. As I look back on those earlier years, I am thankful for them. All of them. Not for the storms we walked through, but for what God used them for.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)

The strength He poured into our marriage. (I promise you, Satan tried and tried to use that time and those trials to tear another marriage down.)
My relationship with Him.
Our faith in His provisions.
The times my eyes were opened to the answers of prayers – even when the answer wasn’t yes.
All of that gave me the empathy, little bits of wisdom, and ability to talk to and encourage other wives and mothers that are in similar situations with questions, worry, and fear.
I’m realizing more and more lately how big that last one really is. I will not forget what He has done for us. However, I often forget that it shouldn’t be a secret I keep for myself.

A few months ago in an online group for linewives, a woman asked if there were any happily married wives whose marriages had survived the stress and time apart required by the job. I was happy when many, many ladies replied with a big “YES!” but saddened that it took someone asking for us to speak up. For one reason or another, we all seemed to have forgotten to share the wonderful things God had done in our lives and marriages by allowing us to walk this path. I think that applies to all our lives though. We often get so caught up in what is happening to us and around us, we forget it really isn’t about us at all. It’s not just my story He created. it’s HIS story. When God saved Joseph from his brothers’ terrible plans, it wasn’t just to save Joseph. It was to save many lives. When He saves us and brings us to the other side of our trials, even in the midst of those, his intentions are the same: to save many lives for eternity.

“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” Psalm 66:16

I pray that as storms roll through my life, I will not only see His goodness in them, but also remember to share it.

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Serve him pt. 2: With your words

servehimheart

At the beginning of the year I mentioned my word for 2014 is serve. This is part two of my Serve him series. It started with Serve him part one: Pray.
We so often think of serving others with our hands, by doing things for them. However, everyday we have the opportunity to serve others with our words, especially our husbands. With your words, you can build your husband up or tear him down, both to him and to others. Today I’m talking about serving him through our words to others.

Choose your words (and your audience) carefully.

We’re all pr0bably familiar with Ephesians 4:29.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Often the focus is on the first part of the verse though, when the end (…that it may benefit those who listen.) is just as important. When talking about someone, whether good or bad, usually the person being discussed is thought to be the person helped or harmed. That’s not the whole picture though. When you speak of your husband, you have the opportunity to not only build up his reputation but to also set an example for those listening of how Christians view and speak of their spouses. I think women especially have a tendency to unintentionally tear down their husbands to others, under the guise of “venting” usually. This can be a dangerous practice though. The next time you start to vent about your husband to a friend, stop and ask yourself these questions first.

1. Am I complaining or am I seeking counsel on an issue I’m not sure how to handle or resolve?
Complaining isn’t going to do anyone any good. In fact, it will probably only make you feel worse. And the listener isn’t likely to forget the harsh things you say about your husband. Their view of him will always be tainted by that. When I start to complain about something, Philippians 2:14 and 15 come to mind.
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky. Don’t point out his flaws to others just to complain. How would you feel if you heard he was speaking poorly of you to his friends? Be kind. Don’t boast. Don’t keep records of wrong doings. Remember 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

2. If I am seeking advice, will this person have a worldly view or a biblical view of the issue? And will they be honest with me if it is something I need to fix in myself?
Choose your audience wisely. I’ll say it again. Choose your audience wisely.
You don’t want to receive (and use) poor advice from someone who doesn’t have a biblical view of the issue or marriage. You also don’t want to set a poor example of how other women should treat their husbands. I promise, people are watching you more closely than you think.

3. If they’re a trustworthy Christian friend, and I am seeking advice, how can I word it so that I’m not making my husband out to be the bad guy who never does anything right? Is there an aspect of the issue where I am at fault and need to work on or ask forgiveness for?
Do not be afraid to seek godly counsel and prayer over issues. Just go about it with humility and grace. You’re not perfect. Neither is he. Show grace and kindness to your husband when you speak of him to others. Again, others are watching, and many you would never even suspect are learning from your actions. You’re also more likely to get better advice and resolve the issue quicker if you approach it with humility and realize there’s probably a lesson in it for both of you, maybe even you more so than him. (Ouch. Yes, that happens to me too.)

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:11-12)

It (love) always protects… (1 Corinthians 13:7)

Serve your husband by protecting him with the words you speak to others. Bring him good, not harm.

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Serving him: Pray {part 1}

I’ve spent the last few weeks studying and thinking on several things. One of those is my one word for 2014, serve.

servehimheart

One of the first things I did was update my daily to do list.

image from instagram

This simple act reminds me of my priorities throughout the day as I check things off my list. While returning those library books is important, it’s not exactly serving my family if I’m the only one that cares and they aren’t due for another week. Getting supper started on time however, is a bit higher up the list. 🙂

Then I started looking at different ways I could serve God, my husband, my children, and others each day.
After filling a few pages in my notebook, I figured it would be good to share some of my thoughts and what I’m learning over here. I’ll start with sharing some ideas about and ways for us wives to serve our husbands. This will be part one of a series.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

The most important way wives can serve their husbands is to pray for them. Pray, pray, pray, and pray some more. Every day. Pray for wisdom. Pray for courage. Pray for patience. Pray for endurance. Pray for strength. Pray for contentment. Pray for whatever the Lord lays on your heart for him. Before going any further, I’d like you to know I’m not perfect at it! I thank God for the man I married pretty much every single day. He’s amazing, and I see daily what a blessing he is to my life. However, I tend to forget that he needs daily prayer for the everyday things he deals with, until something comes up anyway. I actually wrote it on my to do list today to be sure I didn’t let the day slip away without taking my wonderful husband to the Father and at least praying for his safety and for him to be granted wisdom and courage.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18

Between the everyday prayers, do pray for him through the big stuff too. God is more productive with us through prayer than we ever will be on our own. Also, pray for yourself as his wife. Don’t be afraid to ask God to transform you into the wife he needs you to be. What a better way to serve your husband than by allowing God to refine and change your heart? We always have room for growth and refinement. It’s not always fun, but it is well worth it.

If you are looking for a good place to start for a daily prayer for your husband, I really love this infographic from Jennifer over at Loving Life at Home. As soon as we get moved, a copy of it will be displayed on my desk. 🙂

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“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

 

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” – Psalm 66:16

 

He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done. -Proverbs 19:17

I love the way God speaks to me – so direct – because He knows that’s what it takes for me to be certain that it’s His voice and not my own mind making things up for my selfish desires. However, I still sometimes hear that little voice and stop to think too long before doing what I’m told. I begin to over-analyze, afraid to do the wrong thing. (Yes, when I put that in writing it sounds stupid to me too.) Sometimes it causes me to miss the opportunity. Don’t do that. When God puts it on your heart to do something, do it. This week I was reminded why I need to just listen to His voice and act, not question it.

A few weeks ago I read the above verse in Proverbs. I have read the entire book of Proverbs many times, but on that day, this was the verse that stood out to me. I was a bit confused, as I knew God was trying to get me to see something in it, but I had no idea what. I read it several times. Finally, when my kids came back in the room needing something, so I got up and went about my day.

Later that day, when scrolling through Facebook, I saw a post from a friend, that a neighbor was in need. God said, “Help them.”  I stumbled over the idea, But I would need to check with my husband… “Do it. You can talk to him before it’s finalized. He will not say no to helping someone else.” Ok, Lord. I feel a little crazy…

But of course, afterward I was so happy that God had given us that opportunity to help someone else. This week when I was given the opportunity to help that family again, I jumped in without a second thought.

Today while my kids were napping, I finally drug the bills off the fridge and called to check on the status of a couple of Sylvia’s hospital bills. We’ve been going back and forth with the hospital and insurance for six months. Apparently when the hospital first billed our insurance company, some of the paperwork was incomplete, so it had to be refiled. Then of course we moved, things got lost in the mail, and it’s just been a big mess. So, I called the hospital today to check one more time, to see if they had gotten another response from our insurance company.

I gave the woman on the other end of the phone our account number and waited for her to pull up our information.
“Ok, what can I help you with ma’am?”
“I was just wondering if our insurance has paid anything yet or if y’all had even heard back from them?”
“Yes ma’am, they paid everything. You have a zero balance.”

I just sat there for a minute, hoping I hadn’t misheard. I thanked her, twice, and hung up. I got down in the floor, next to my 6 month old baby girl, held her little hand and put my face in the carpet praising Him. You see, that wasn’t just a bill from an office visit or two. That was Sylvia-Kate’s week-long hospital stay, three days of which were spent in the NICU. Even after insurance paid, we were expecting four digits before the decimal point. In that second I heard His voice reminding me that I had been listened and been obedient….

I’m not sure why God chose to give us this blessing, but I’m so very thankful.
I’m also not sure why I’m sharing all of this, except that every time I read Psalm 30:11-12 and Psalm 66:16, I am convicted and reminded that I need to not just praise Him with my heart, but praise Him with my words, and, “tell you what he has done for me.”

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