Stay Alert

This past weekend I was preparing for Scarlett’s first birthday party.  Saturday morning was the day I would take on cleaning the house from top to bottom.  I got up, did my Bible time, and got straight to work.  I decided to throw in my ear buds and listen to one of my favorite Christian women leaders, Jennie Allen.  It was her preaching about “getting out of your head” from her new book.

As I was vacuuming, I wanted to shout “amen” so many times to what she was saying.  Everything she spoke hit me! It was all about our minds! This negative, victim mindset we carry with us through our days is not serving us, our home, our community, or the world. But I already knew all this, it was not new. But it was like I was hearing it with fresh ears and a stirring was happening in my soul. I was on the verge of tears.

Suddenly the vacuum STOPS.  It’s clogged. “What.in.the.world!? I have so much to do! I don’t have time for this!” I walk down the steps so frustrated and of course my husband and boys were just having a good old time, playing around and I am thinking every “victim” type thought you could think of.

Finally, I get the vacuum unclogged. I tell myself to think positive thoughts. I tell myself how good my husband is and how hard he works and that he should enjoy this downtime. Then I get back to work.  Ear buds in. Push play. Go time.

I finish the upstairs and decide to get on the Walgreen’s app so I can print out Scarlett’s monthly pictures for her birthday frame even though I was just getting started with the cleaning.  But now that Scarlett was down for a nap, I had hoped to do this quickly, finish some laundry, and finish the bathrooms before she wakes up. I open the app, go through a full year of pictures on my phone as quick as I could to find each month’s picture.  I add each one and select my store. Hit enter and the app shuts down. “WHAT THE HECK!?”  I try to keep cool and start all over again, praying the baby stays asleep a little longer than normal.  Grab each months pic, add location, enter.  Shuts down AGAIN!!!!

I let out a “are you friggin’ kidding me!?” My husband asks, “what’s wrong?”  I begin rant, he says “sorry.” I say nothing.  He repeats, “I said sorry.”  With all my frustration I respond, “what do you want me to say? It’s ok? It’s not!”  Insert argument.

The next 4 hours I spent going down a rabbit hole of negative thought after negative thought as I cleaned.  I was frustrated, angry and it seemed like my mind had me in a place that made cleaning take triple the time it usually does because I just couldn’t stay focused.

Has this ever happened to you?

Around 3 o’clock I finally stopped being stubborn and started praying. “God, what is going on?”  Softly and gently He spoke into my heart.  I picked up the phone and texted my husband who was out doing errands for the party and told him how sorry I was.

That morning the Lord was really moving me in an area and the devil saw it. Then he saw a moment of weakness and frustration and he jumped in to devour. He saw it and attacked. He took that opportunity and wanted me to see my husband as the evil one and myself as the victim.  This could start the war the devil was hoping for in our marriage.  1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

But thanks be to God.  I know my true enemy.  It might take me a few hours to remember but I will always remember.

How could I have done things differently?

That day for a few hours, I forgot to pick up the armor of God when Satan attacked.  As soon as that negative self-talk and frustrating grumbling began I should have been alert and recognized exactly what was happening.

Ephesians 6:13-18 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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.”

We aren’t always going to get it right. But what we can do is work toward it.  And when we realize what is happening, we can thank God for his grace, ask Him and those we hurt for forgiveness and suddenly we will find ourselves settled back into the peace and love of God.  We just must stay alert.

 

Lord,

We know in these days we aren’t fighting against flesh and blood but against the evil of the world.  Help us be alert and ready with your armor of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, your word and prayer!  We know this is the armor we need to fight the battles in this world.  Our enemies are not our husbands, our children, our neighbors or our friends. Our enemy, the devil, prowls around like a lion seeking someone to devour. Help us remember that he is our true enemy and that you have already won victory over him and so can we! Help us discern your voice over his. When we stumble, help us quickly to our feet so that we can shine like the stars for your glory. We ask you this in your precious and most holy name. Amen.

Here is the awesome book I was listening to. Click book cover to purchase.

 

 

I Wish My Husband…

You don’t know how many times I have heard women say that to me. And to be honest, I’ve had those same thoughts about Neil with things.

“I wish he would do this more, “I wish he would do that…”

But man, isn’t that exactly where the devil wants our thoughts? Focusing on their weaknesses instead of all the reasons you love him? Satan hates marriage! He wages war against yours and mine. The reason he goes so hard at them is because he knows it breaks up the picture of Christ and the church. Marriages were created by God to be a picture on earth of how Christ loves the church. The church being the bride and Christ being our husband. If satan can destroy the picture of how much God loves us, he claims a pretty big victory.

Ephesians 5:32-33 “This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.”

“Honor” doesn’t look like us wishing our husbands were different then they are or like someone else. I just imagine how hurt I’d be if I knew my husband thought “I wish Jill were more like her.” That thought lacks love, respect and honor. Jesus doesn’t wish we were someone else. He instead takes quiet and loving action in pursuit of us.

But how?

Luckily, the Bible is very clear. I’ve had women message me saying things like “I want my husband to be more in the Word, but he just isn’t there.” “I wish my husband would want to go to church. He just doesn’t.” “My husband won’t tithe and I know we should be, what do I do?” These nagging questions about our marriages are plenty. And you aren’t alone. But we have to be sure we don’t let these things destroy our marriages either. That’s not what God wants for us or his kingdom.

If your husband isn’t willing in an area and God hasn’t convicted him yet of the issue, then it’s not our jobs as wives to push our husbands to do anything. We are not to nag our husbands, we are to honor them like the verse says. But we are also to live by example. “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.” So keep doing the very thing you want your husband to do (be that example), then pray for your husband without ceasing, and watch God work!

It may take months or maybe even years, but GOD WILL WORK! Remember His timing is so much different than ours and always perfect. He is working on us the same time He is working on them. When you do this, you are also becoming more like Jesus.

Pray!

Lord,

Today we pray for our husbands and their relationship with you. In Matthew 6:33 you said “Seek first the kingdom of God and everything else will be added.” So we know once they have that figured out, then everything else will be too. We pray you set a fire deep down in their hearts for you. That they crave your presence. And that they thirst for your knowledge. We ask specifically in the area of ________ that you will convict their spirit. I also ask for you to help me as a wife to honor my husband and be strong enough to lead by example. Keep mine and my husbands thoughts about our marriage far from the devil. Protect our marriage and be our cord of three, so that it will never be broken. We ask this in your mighty and precious name.

Amen


Marriage and Politics

 

Marriage and politics. Weird combo right? What do the two have to do with each other? Well- relationships.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned thus far in marriage it’s this:  whenever I believe my opinion to be right and my husband to be wrong it never turns out well for us.  I hold no grace, no understanding, no compassion and no empathy for him.  I may utter words like “you’re crazy if you think that” and want to cancel him in that moment and pretty much “unfriend him.”

Well if you reread the above paragraph and replace the words “my husband” with a person of opposite political beliefs, I find myself in the exact same situation. We are no longer united and our relationship suffers a blow which can sometimes lead to no relationship at all.

Relationships are sacred you guys.  The good news is, and there is good news, that when I change my mind from being right, to trying to understand, my marriage takes a huge leap forward and grows deeper in love and intimacy.  And this is where it’s at with politics too.

As crazy as I think my husband is sometimes in the trenches of an argument, I soon realize that when I switch my mindset to try to understand him, he doesn’t seem so crazy anymore. I almost always get to a place where I can see where he is coming from even if I don’t agree 100% and then we move forward in some kind of compromise.  We can do that too!

This is no different than what we are facing today. It’s hard. It takes work.  But isn’t it worth it? I hate turning on the TV and seeing people kill each other over their differences. I hate opening my social media and seeing people who were friends become enemies.

This work is important work.  But we must all do our part.  I don’t know exactly where this country is headed but right now it’s hard to see the light.  But I have no doubt that if the people come together and do the work, we can be the change we want to see in the world.

I want to understand you and I want you to understand me even if we don’t agree. I want to get to a place where love and peace reigns in our hearts again.  God loves us both and political opinion will never change that.