Your Value

This morning I couldn’t sleep.  I woke up at 2 am and have laid there for almost two hours.  I got up, took some medication for a headache and now here I am, sitting at my desk, reading blogs and enjoying the creativity and perspectives of other people.  It has been a while since I’ve written.  Between the things that must be done and the headaches I’ve been experiencing, I haven’t had much time or motivation to spend at the computer writing.  But, I miss it.

Taken for Granted….?

One of the comments I read this morning was, “I gave up the corporate ladder for diapers, and yes, I gave up the prestige of position as defined by our culture to one defined by my God.”  This insightful comment came from The Respect Dare, written by Nina Roesner.  Another comment in this blog entry (Taken For Granted….?) states, “You can have a beautiful marriage, too.  But it won’t happen if you allow yourself to model what you see on secular culture’s tv or in the magazine stand at grocery checkout.   Those are lies.  We’re also buying Christian-culture lies if we subscribe to the notion that women are to be doormats and second-class citizens in a marriage.”

This life we Christians have available to us as we grow in Christ is a life of fulfillment, partnership with our spouses, joy, peace, relationship and so much more.  God wants us to live a vibrant life filled with purpose.  He wants us to grow and develop and be all that He created us to be.   If we’re not living this kind of fulfilling life, then we’re falling short of the potential God created in us.

So, how do we reach this potential?  Well, first and foremost, God created in each and every one of us a need for Him.  As vast as His creation truly is (and we’re still learning new things about our cosmos from the most incredible discoveries in outer space to the tiniest subparticles here on earth), He created, loves, and knows each and every one of us.  He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.  And He wants us to know Him.  He gave us revelation about Himself through nature and through His Word.

Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”  (NASB)

In order to maintain friendships we need to spend time with our friends and get to know them.  Correct?  How can we have valuable relationships with people if we don’t spend time getting to know them?  The same goes for our relationship with God.  We need to spend time daily in His Word.  The more effort and time we spend getting to know God through His Word and praying, the more we learn about ourselves and our purpose.  So, do you spend some time getting to know Him daily?  The Bible isn’t a book that is a drudgery to read.  It is a book in which God reveals Himself and His plan and purpose for us.

Jeremiah 29:11  “‘For I know the plans that I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not calamity, to give you a future and a hope.'”

Relationships always impact each other in one way or another.  Getting to know God inevitably means that we will change.  The more we get to know Him, the more we’ll change.  And, personally, I do want to continue to grow and change and develop.  I want God to use me to have an impact on this world.  And “this world” in each and every one of our lives starts at home.

As a parent what kind of impact are you having on your children?  What kind of impact do you have on your spouse?  Please… be sure that you do not ever underestimate how you affect your family whether negative or positive.   (There is no such things as a “neutral impact”.)

Psalm 127:3(a)  “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord.”

So, as a mother, I want to speak to mothers for a moment.  God has defined your role to be one of incredible value.  You and your husband are rearing children who will have an impact on this world and on those around them.  The time you spend praying for your children, teaching them to know and love God, and raising them to have a positive impact on their world is far more important than any position in the corporate world.   Regardless of whether you work full-time, part-time or whether are an at-home-Mom, your family should always be the first priority that you have.   The way you raise your children will have an impact on their lives and the future.

Proverbs 31:10-12  “An excellent wife who can find, for her worth is far above jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

As a wife, I want to encourage wives.  The roll you have and the impact you can have on the life of your husband is immense.  Don’t take it lightly.  With a word, you can tear him down or build him up.  You can encourage or discourage him.  There is so much to write about this and I will do so in another blog.  But, I encourage you to work to be the kind of wife that adds to your marriage regardless of whether you think your husband is doing the same or not.   As a Christian, part of that “adding to the marriage” is relying on God to change you over time, spending time with Him so that you are refreshed and able to give to your marriage selflessly, and then working on being the best wife that you can possibly be to your husband.

In her blog entry, Nina Roesner so eloquently stated that we cannot emulate what we see on TV or follow the advice about marriage that we may read in magazines.  She’s right. Our culture has lowered the standard tremendously and the divorce statistics indicate that the lower standard just isn’t working.  God’s Word and His Holy Spirit show us what we need to know in order to have a really vibrant, loving marriage.

Let’s pray for our marriages and our husbands.  Let’s work on becoming the wives that seek to live by God’s standard and leave it up to God to work in our husband’s lives so that we can have an amazing, loving, wonderful marriage.

Have a blessed day.

Neither of Us is Perfect…

Divorce and marriage in Christian families seems to be not much better (statistically) than in non-Christian homes.  Why is that?   A big part of it is that we live a secular life rather than seeking the Lord in everything and living a truly God-seeking, God-honoring life.  God tells us that we are in this world, but not of it.  He says we need to be a light to the world.  That starts at home.

A God-honoring marriage means putting each other first before ourselves, serving each other like Christ served, loving each other as Christ loves, respecting each other, and seeking God’s help in accomplishing all of this.  As humans we can’t do it on our own.  We’re all far from perfect.  Only as the Holy Spirit works in our lives and changes us can we become more like Christ, truly sacrificial, truly loving… truly a light shining in this world.

My husband and I have had a saying since we were first engaged.  “Neither of us is perfect, but we’re perfect for each other.”

Too often we human beings are critical of others, how they do things, what they wear, how they talk, what they think, how they communicate, how they handle finances or child-rearing or any number of other things.  Usually in a marriage the little things drive us crazy and the “big” things become Mount Everests in our lives.  But, does it have to be that way?  Absolutely not.

Here’s one small step that we can take toward a more harmonious, God-honoring marriage.

We’re not perfect and neither are our spouses.  Why expect them to be perfect when we can’t be perfect?

I believe that things drive us crazy because we have high expectations of others.  We grew up one way and they grew up another.  We have one personality/temperament and they have another.  We have one set of preferences in how things are done and they have another.  In some cases, we even have different levels of maturity.  But, of all the illogical things, we expect our spouses to be the same as us, or better yet… perfect.

If you find yourself thinking critical thoughts, take one day at a time.  How about making an attempt to start each day with the following determinations.

    1. Neither of us is perfect.  I won’t expect my spouse to be perfect today.
    2. I will accept that God is working in my life and in my spouse’s life… and He hasn’t finished yet.
    3. I will not take on the responsibility of being the Holy Spirit in my spouse’s life.
    4. If I’m feeling critical and negative, I’ll take it to the Lord and not my spouse.
    5. This day I choose to communicate in kind ways and work toward giving grace to my spouse the way the Lord consistently gives grace to me.

If we all start our days off with this mindset/determination, we will finally be giving ourselves the freedom to again enjoy our imperfect spouses and they will enjoy us so much more as well.

How did this topic come to mind?   Experience… up close and personal.  I just had a fight with my husband because he didn’t do something in our business the way I would have done it.  Not only is that ridiculous, but it causes unnecessary strife.  Thankfully, my wonderful husband, although not perfect, is loving and forgiving toward his imperfect wife.

Take time every day to appreciate your spouse, throw the negative things far from you, and give grace to him/her.  It will bless your day as well.

Fun Dates are Necessary!!

If you’re a parent of little ones, you may get “me time” in the evening once they’re in bed if all your work is done.  But, it’s likely that if you’re married with little ones, you haven’t had a date together for a very long time.

English: Couple in a boat off the coast of Ver...
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I have to tell you something.  It’s important that you take care of your marriage, not just your kids.  Life is full of responsibilities and that can take over.  Make time for fun, too.  You and your spouse need time together to relax, have fun together and just enjoy each other’s company without the pressures of every day life intruding on that time.  Kids feel most secure if their parents have a great relationship.

My husband and I haven’t had a date in a long time because we have a special needs child and it is difficult to get someone to take care of him.  But, after the kids are in bed, we do make sure to spend time together a number of evenings during the week.  So, even if you can’t get out often, turn the TV off and do something fun together.  How long has it been since you’ve just played together?  Both of us enjoy Scrabble so we like to put on some music and play and chat.

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Ladies, even if you don’t much care for sports, if your husband does, sit and watch a game with him (without excess talking).  Just sit with him.  He’ll love it that you want to learn about something that he enjoys.  You’ll also be surprised how much you learn.  My husband used to play basket ball and likes to watch all kinds of sports.  But, the one that he got me most interested in was golf.  Over time, he (and my sister-in-law who is also a sports fan) began explaining about the men playing and telling me something about their lives.  I got to know more about the players and now I enjoy watching golf because of that.  The game isn’t filled with a bunch of “strangers” playing anymore.  My husband could name every college player in our basketball Conference and talk about the plays they’ve made.  He could probably do the same with the college football players.  My point is that he loves sports.  So, he enjoys when I just sit with him and watch a game.

I’ve shared a couple things that you could do at home after the kids are in bed.  But, you can make arrangements for dates outside the home.  If you can’t afford a sitter, have a “baby sitter exchange” with another couple.  You take care of their kids for the evening and the next week they take care of yours.  That way you are exchanging babysitting instead of paying for a sitter.  And it doesn’t have to be for an evening.  How about a weekend afternoon?  Be creative.

Also, in this economy, if you think you can’t afford to go on dates, you don’t have to spend lots of money.  The point is to spend time together.

    • What about packing a picnic lunch in a backpack and going hiking with your spouse?
    • Go for a drive “just to see what’s down that road”.
    • Go biking together.  (I used to love biking around Coronado Island in CA.  You may have places like that where you get great exercise, have fun with your spouse and enjoy the scenery.)
    • My husband and I like going to a coffee shop, getting coffee and sitting there talking with each other… dreaming about our future and making plans.  We haven’t been able to do that for a while, but that’s another inexpensive idea.
    • Guys, you may not like this so much, but you may choose to do it for your lady once in a while….  go walking and window shopping (if you have a lady who enjoys looking in stores).  That may not seem like a great date idea for most men, but you’d be surprised how that might make your lady feel like you just enjoy spending time with her.  And ladies, remember that this is not a shopping trip, it’s a “window shopping” trip with the purpose of spending time with your husband, not spending money.  We used to laugh and talk about the crazy stuff we’d see in some of the stores.
    • Dinner and a movie… at home.  On one of your babysitting exchange nights take your kids over to your friends’ house, go back home and make a delicious dinner together, and then eat it while watching a good movie.
    • Not far from us is an open arena where bands can play.  Anyone from the community can come and watch them for free.  Go out to the concert and enjoy music and each other’s company.
    • Pack a picnic and go to a local park.

There are so many ideas.  When I was working in the corporate world, my husband and I would have lunch dates.  He’d swing by and pick me up.  (He also would bring flowers by and they were always so lovely.)   Just be creative and start doing it.  If you’re spending more time enjoying pleasant things together, you’ll be surprised at how much easier the stresses of life become.

Just like you have to keep pulling weeds and taking care of the flowers to have a beautiful garden, you have to tend your marriage as well.