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Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Holy Love

This verse keeps coming to me....and once again I find myself seeing a familiar verse with new eyes.

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife, loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body."  Eph. 5:25-30

I have heard this piece of scripture so many times.....but something struck me when I read it with the intensity that the Lord has placed on my heart to be aware of words.   As Christ loved the church....that is an amazing selfless love.  To be instructed to love someone in the same way that Jesus loves us.    Everything Jesus did was for us.....beginning to end.   Literally.....in His life and His death....it was all for us.    He put Himself into the hands of people that He knew would eventually kill Him because it was for our benefit. 

He was born to save us.....to guide us.....to show us what we are capable of.   He left His glory behind, His choir of angels did not come with Him.....His radiant robes stayed behind, His power and glory all set aside and He came into the world with 2 things.......His purpose: to save us......and His constant companion: His Father.

He set it all aside so We could see what it looked like for a human to fully set aside their intentions, pride, will and desires for self and fully surrender to the Lord, depending on Him for ALL THINGS.

So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you,  the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing.  For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise."  John 5:19

How amazing is that!?   He gave up so much just to show us what we were missing!   Love. 

Nourish....and cherish......those are beautiful commands given to man that we are then the recipients of.  He presents Eve to Adam....a holy, unblemished gift.....glorious and wonderful.   Later after they are both soiled and totally imperfect....He tells man in a new way how to care for this gift.   Jesus shows him how to care for this gift by caring for man ~all of humanity~  Himself in the same way.  

It is a holy love.....a holy gift this relationship.   I feel like the gift keeps getting more and more clear as I pull back the wrapping and discover more and more in His Word.......

....instruction manuals yield so much information. 

"If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free."    John 8:31-32

Loving blessings, 
the Mrs.

P.s.  I do not share these scriptures or thoughts to condemn or convict any man, nor to equip any woman with a weapon to wield against any man.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Be still my pondering heart...

years ago in a church class we did an exercise where each of our names were put up on the board in a box.  Everyone was to put one word about the person whose name was in the box.   A common exercise, I think, usually done on paper and kept private.   This was used as an illustration.

One of the words used to describe me has stuck with me as clearly as the beautiful face of the woman who wrote it, turned to me and smiled with such a motherly glow I'll never forget it.  ~pondering~ 

In that moment I didn't really get it....maybe that's why it stuck with me.....I've pondered it ever since. :)  It's true though....she pegged me.   With the attention span of a toddler I wander form thing to thing pondering it to the deepest depths I am able to reach until I am, at the time, fully satisfied.   Then I wander to ponder the next curiosity.
Lately I find myself pondering decorating...or more accurately redecorating certain spaces to better suit the needs of my maturing family......I ponder the need to purge items that have been collected over the years and kept 'just in case' or handed down and held onto for reasons that are more heart related than any chance they'd come out of a cupboard.    I ponder wanting to learn red work and wanting to dig through antique shops and thrift stores.....not so much out of need as that I miss those odd moments with my mother, the excitement of finding a treasure and the oddity of this woman who wanted me to be so high society digging through things right next to me and enjoying it just as much.   I ponder why I love old things....things worn with use and made with such purpose and thought.  I ponder my weight and if I'll ever be a shape that makes me comfortable in my own skin......and then ponder why my drive to succeed in that area is as short and weak as my attention span...

I ponder a little country ranch house that someday I hope we have......skills I hope I'll learn...disciplines I hope I master.....and how to slow down my ponderings so that perhaps I can begin to focus on one ponder at a time to move into reality.

....it may be slower but I guess for now, I'll toddle from ponder to ponder with a smile on my face for all the abundance of blessings in my heart.


Currently......beautiful little heirloom seedlings breaking through the surface of dirt....in plastic cups...under a grow light.....in my upstairs bathroom shower. :)   
 Lookit those li'l babies! :)

Blessings, the Mrs.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

God's gift


In any story, when we jump into the middle of it we lose understanding.  It is always best to go back to the beginning to gain understanding.   The "big picture" is easier to take in when we stand back just a bit.
In my journey to learn about this role of wife, I needed to go back to the beginning.   What was going on when God created woman...what was He thinking?   When I read the familiar story a little more slowly and paid a bit more attention to the words.....I found a gift tucked inside.
In Genesis 2 the Word tells us that (v18) Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."   These first couple of chapters seem to be written in a one step forward two steps back kinda way.   The contrast between this discovery of "it is not good" and all His other proclamations of "it is good" is worth making note of.   If verse 18 is the step forward, 19 and 20 seem to be the two steps back, providing us with extra details....(v19) out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.”
 The Creator of the universe brought things to his creation to name.....even in the first days the Lord has a servant heart....He could have let Adam wander about, discovering and naming things as he went.   God could have walked him through, giving him a tour and telling Adam what He had named it all....but He didn't.    He brought the creatures to him to see what he would call them.   In that moment, The Lord delighted in Adam giving names to all things....without correction.    There was nothing to correct because nothing had been named at that point but that in and of itself is huge.  God didn't take His title of Creator and name everything because He could.....He gave that honor away actively placing man in a dominant place in the world.
Moving on......I had to stop and ponder that one...(v20) The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field.  But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.  The scriptures go on to tell us how God placed Adam in a deep sleep, removing a rib and creating a woman out of it.    
 I must ponder a moment again.....I wonder why it was a rib....does it have anything to do with the proximity to man's heart?  .....is that why we feel the most safe and secure when we are pulled close in the arms of the man we love....drawn back to the origin of where He first took us from....under his arm and near his heart.  
 Back to verse 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  Again He brings His creation to the man.   This time it was a very special creation...one created FOR him, FIT for him......tailored especially for his needs.   Man responds....(v23) 
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman, 
because she was taken out of Man."

Again the Lord lets Adam name His creation.   In all the years of learning this story, the many times of reading it I never really got that piece.   We are God's gift to man. 

The Hebrew word translated as "helper" is 'ezer.  ...a fit helper is one who compliments the other, supplying what the other lacks.....it is not about equality but a matching set….. 


We fit together…like these salt and pepper shakers.  Carved from one piece of wood, they fit together beautifully.  Separately they are each beautiful but one is not a copy of the other….the curves are not the same…the grain is not the same…the inside was not purposed for the same contents…..   

A gift….
Given to man.
Custom fit to his needs.
Of all creation….woman was created differently.   Every other creature that moved and breathed was created from the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:19).   Woman was created out of man.  Created for man…..to help him.  She was presented to him as something special….like a treasure he did not know he needed or wanted……I can only imagine how happy he was to see her.   Can you imagine how she was received by him?   No evil existed….no negativity or selfishness….just simple exuberance over a gift that cures any ache of loneliness he may have had….extra help to rule a world that was handed to him….not a city, not a state or country….but the world.  What an amazing moment that must have been…..and to top it off he stood in the presence of the Lord.  …didn’t know what he had until it was gone…

My favorite moment in any wedding is when everyone stands up to watch the bride walk down the aisle.   I love to watch the groom instead…..to watch his face glow with adoration and his chest swell with pride.   Adam’s face must have been a sight to behold….

We know the honeymoon didn’t last long but I think it’s a gift we can all reclaim.  A moment to hold onto.  


The Hebrew term for man is “ish” and for woman is “ishshah”……funny as they may sound, it further reflects how interconnected we are…

Blessings, the Mrs.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Joy in the chaos

Not one day this week has been as I expected or planned.

I had such intentions of diving into this blog and bringing the house back to "normal".   Instead there were sleepless nights, drama, illness and such a mess!  

Friday has come out of nowhere and despite the chaos, I find myself in joyful surrender to whatever He chooses to bless me with.....

A morning spent at the foot of the altar...praying with a friend....

The sun is shining...

The Dude does not have strep....

A homemade coffee cooler is a yummyness that brings a smile....

Pups nappin in the sunshine at my feet....



A weekend to nourish the Teen.....

The simple refreshment of a good nights sleep...

 The awareness that my Maker is bigger than any obstacle I meet.....

Sonshiny blessings to you this weekend, 
the Mrs. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

words

"the teaching of kindness is on her tongue"  Prov.31:26


My mommy heart aches just a little to be able to hold the child of my heart ~ but not my womb ~ in my arms.  To have difficult conversations, to hold your child accountable to their words and actions.....and then have to walk away....leaving them with your words, hugs, love and forgiveness.....but not your presence....is hard.


The Lord has been impressing on me deeply that I need to be aware of my words.  My tone.  My face....it can screw up my words.....their intentions and inflection mean something different coming from a sour face.


What I don't say in my silence carries as much weight as the words I choose to make audible.   


"...train yourself for Godliness..." 1 Tim. 4:7


It is quite the workout to be disciplining myself to be aware of my tone, my expression and editing my words to reflect kindness, gentleness, respect and honor to Mr ~which includes {but is not limited to} not interrupting him {seriously this is such a huge flaw I have....I interrupt everyone when they talk, for fear that I will forget what I have to say...and the reason is best left for another time}, not making disapproving faces when he talks {my face has a life of it's own, by the way}, being careful not to contradict him in a way that invalidates or overrides what he says.


All day I was trying to keep my mind in scripture that would keep me from faltering.


"The one who gives an answer before he listens ~ this is foolishness and disgrace for him." Prov. 18:13


"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth, keep watch over the door of my lips!"  Ps. 141:3


I said "I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle!"   Ps 39:1

Training is hard work.  It must be intentional.   It must be consistent and constant.  Environment contributes to our training....garbage in -> garbage out.   Part of my training is monitoring who and what I am listening to.  Are they examples of what I am training toward or trying to discipline out of me?   Listen to their tone.  Watch their face.   Really hear their words....are they wise?  Are they kind?  Encouraging, gentle, authentic, sarcastic, harsh, negative.....godly?   Can I picture Jesus saying what they are saying with the same expression and tone?   .....would that be holding them to too high a standard??  Unfair to that person?  No.


If it is what I am commanded to aspire to then it is not unfair.   It is part of training.   I don't mean to say that I am eliminating all people from my life who have not perfected their Christ-likeness......I'd be one lonely person.  But just like if I was training for a marathon I'd need to watch what I ate.....I'd need to carefully read labels.    So I'm trying to read the nutrition labels of the people around me.   Is what they are feeding me full of nutrition, goodness and fruits of the spirit?    OR......are there lesser quality fillers being fed to me that do not fill me up with the life giving qualities that spur me forward instead of planting seeds of doubt or even bitterness.  


My sarcasm comes quite naturally, thank you very much.  I do not need that part of me fed.   Frankly that monster needs to go on a diet. 


I'm trying to be aware.   I'm trying to be purposeful about keeping my filters clean and sifting through the noise of life.


I'm in training.  Goal number 1:  Refine thought and speech by daily reading His Word.


Blessings to you on the journey, the Mrs.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Joy. It keeps the crazy away.

Today is a day where my plans and my agendas needed to be thrown out the window.

I was hoping that it would be a primo "Monday after spring break".   Spring is emerging here and the sunshine brings such goodness it fills up my spirit with motivation after the l.o.n.g. snow before thanksgiving long, extensive, dark winter.  Did I mention it was long?

I happen to like Mondays.  It's like a reset button.   I use the day to clean, take care of laundry, plan the groceries for the week and make sure that we all start the week filled up and prepared.   The Monday after spring break ~ that's a special kind of reset button.   Its a BIG button.   The messes are bigger, the groceries are lower and the mountain of laundry is higher.   Not to mention that no one is happy about getting back to school and work......except mom. :)

Today however was not a reset day....not as I planned.    Half of today was spent on the phone discussing discoveries of broken character issues with the Teen.   Oh the drama of it all.....   Thankfully the Lord gave me a great dose of peace and the Teen's "my two moms" put our heads together on how to approach this new situation.

That was deviation number one.   Dominoes anyone?

I had a whole other situation weighing on my mind before that phone call came in.   All that the Lord has been putting on my heart about my role as a woman in my family and in the church came into use.   I was asked to participate in a unique opportunity within the church.  Flabbergasted and honored as I was it really put my feet to the fire to choose the Lord's will or man's.   In the end, after discussing with my husband and seeking the wisdom of a wise female friend in the Lord, I turned the opportunity down.

I think the Lord can use our No just as much as He can use our Yes.   In the end I had an opportunity to share my thoughts, and heart, the scriptures that brought me to that place and I was able to be an example of walking out what the Lord is pouring into my family.

Hmm......funny how He takes our requests and puts them to use.   Not long ago I asked the Lord to help me to be more consistent in my life.....I meant being consistently in the Word, consistent in routines and not slacking on the job.....apparently what I got was an opportunity to be consistent in my faith and in my walk.   Perhaps I should have been more specific.... :)   The Lord has such a sense of humor!

I feel very at peace with today and received wonderful affirmation from my wise friend.   My home on the other hand......still needs a giant reset button.   Nothing has been tended to as it should and I have a headache looming.   I will chose to smile through it and get done what I can.   I may not have been productive in the work of my hands but the time spent in careful contemplation, discerning wise choices with a trusted friend and honoring the Lord by standing firm in the truth......this is good spiritual productivity.  Not a wasted moment there. These are growing moments to be paid attention to, breathed in and allowed to settle.

Time to plug in the iPod and crank up my Jesus Culture play list.



Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say forevermore "Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of His servant!"   Ps. 35:27

Blessings of sunshine and warmth to you!
lovingly, the Mrs.

Friday, March 18, 2011

the journey begins....

I am my mother?   Oh no, you didn't......

My husband had identified a pattern I had not seen.   I literally kept him at arms length....."you don't hug me back, you keep your arms between us..."   Ohhh, how that hurt.   Immediately I had flashes of seeing my mother push my father away.  An affectionate man, I remember as a child he was always trying to hug or kiss her.....she would give him a brief second and then push him away with the loud declaration "okay, that's enough...".   uh oh......what had been modeled for me?  Did I know how to love my husband?   Did I know how to be loved? 

Life came into question.    The man I loved was flawed, sure, but how much of that was really me?   How much was I projecting?   How on earth was I going to figure out HOW to love this man the way he should be loved?

What on earth does being a "wife" really mean??   What does it look like?  ........{gulp}......do I need to....{shudder}....change?      .....where are the answers?

The Lord had been working on drawing me back for some time.   I was a private school kid.....frankly I don't remember a day without knowing the Lord (I didn't grasp the vastness of that blessing until a few short years ago).  In my 20's, married with an instant family......it was an interesting reality.   I'd gone from living at home with my parents to living with Mr and wham!  .....becoming a step-mother.....yikes.  (Never did like that "step", we don't really use that word unless clarification is needed with someone new to our lives.)

There was a lot of adjusting going on.  The kid stuff I was totally comfortable with, other than having to share this child I loved beyond my own understanding with someone else who had all the control.....it was easy.  We'll call her "The Teen" now....at the time I met Mr, she was around 6 months old so she knows nothing different than me being in her life.    But the WIFE part?    Well, I just thought it would go on like when we were dating.....um....no.

Okay so back to my "....what the?" meltdown/revelation moment.....The Lord had been calling me back.  It was year 3 of our marriage and I was on my own at that time, as the Mr had no desire for anything church related.   I was a miserable, trapped in my pride, human being.    Married life wasn't what I thought it would be.   We had our son ~a beautiful (be careful what you ask for) answer to prayer ~ who was a nightmare challenge as an infant.  I was exhausted, lonely, miserable, poor, living in a really bad area and the only thing keeping me in my marriage was my pride.   I would not, under any circumstances, give anyone the ability to say "I told you so".   I would not admit to being wrong and "divorce" would not pass my lips.    I was stuck. 

Lord give me the strength.   I began to pray.    Where do I start?  I remembered that when I was little the woman who watched me before and after school would listen to a christian radio station.   I found the same station and played it day in and day out.  Pour goodness into my decaying brain.  Give me hope. 

We were a one car family so I was stuck just as literally as I was figuratively.  Books.   What did I already own?......I started to dig.   Ah, a gem I never even read (purchased in my spiritually high post graduation life): Living Free in Christ by Neil T Anderson.   I devoured it in one afternoon.   I couldn't stop reading, couldn't put it down.....I sat there at the kitchen table and moved only to tend to our son (I'll call him "the Dude").   Now in hindsight I see how the Lord knew I would need this book.   I can actually remember the day I purchased it and I never picked it up again until this time.  He knew the moment I would be stuck and need something to grab hold of to pull myself out.   In the back of the book are the Steps To Freedom in Christ.   Essentially it's a spiritual self cleaning.    A crud removal system from all the junk we accumulate over our lives, things we touch and are touched by in times when we have no idea what they really are.

I sat at that table and felt the Lord's Spirit wash over me and fill me up.  It was a physical sensation I cannot fully describe.....but it was a turning point.   Not long after as I was listening to that christian radio station, I heard guest speaker Stormie O'Martin, talking about her book "The Power of a Praying Wife".   Something in me clicked....I had to have it.....I knew this was a tool I needed. 

I began the book with a smug feeling that it would satisfy my desires to be right and to change him.....that was slapped out of me in the first few sentences:  "First of all, let me make it perfectly clear that the power of a praying wife is not a means of gaining control over your husband, so don't get your hopes up!  In fact,  it is quite the opposite.  It's laying down all claim to power in and of yourself, and relying on God's power to transform you, your husband, your circumstances and your marriage."  Ouch.  Well then.....{deep breath)....okay, keep reading....  Here is when I made the choice to stop nagging, stop talking about church and shut my mouth until I knew what I was doing (because clearly I didn't).  It was an act of pure discipline.....that I failed miserably on many occasions but try, try again....it got easier.   So I decided that when he watched TV in bed I would read my book right there next to him.   He would see that I was praying for him.   ....but I didn't say anything..... {so clever}

The change in me began here.   Learning to rely on the Lord who loved me and provided for me years before I would know what I needed or where I would be.  It became a real and personal relationship....no longer "abstract object to be worshiped" and "worshiper" but a walk with me talk with me relationship. Here is where I learned to pray.   Here is where I chose to make the Lord my husband and I would serve Him by being what the man next to me needed. 

Likewise, wives be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
1 Peter 3:1-2 

A choice that brought me on a beautiful walk with Him and transformed me, my husband, our circumstances and our marriage.
I am not a writer.  I am not a scholar. I'm not even college material.....but my hope is that the Lord will help me to share what He has taught me and maybe......it will help you the way it helped me.
Blessings, the Mrs.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Whats the dealio.....

For years I've had people tell me to "write a book".   About what, I have no idea.....my life?  I can't imagine that being a good read or even how to put it onto paper....er....screen?

Anyway.....about 10 years ago I realized that if I didn't set out to learn what a godly wife looked like, my marriage wouldn't survive.  I had not had this modeled for me and I had no idea what it looked like.  I knew I needed to be intentional in seeking out everything I could.  I needed to watch other women, read as much as I could get my hands on and dive....deep.....into scripture.   What role did God design for woman to fill ~ originally.   What was His hearts desire for us?    What did that mean for me and how on earth was I going to change?

Yeah.....I had lots of questions and not a clue as to the answers.   

I believe that my mother wanted me to be a powerful career woman.   I was raised with impeccable manners and class.   I was dressed in beautiful clothes, jackets with matching muffs and hats, gold jewelry at an early age and did not speak unless spoken to.   Today you would never know.   ...yeah there are traces of all that good breeding and champagne taste beneath the jeans and t-shirt girl.   Funny now to think that I knew which fork to use but had no idea how to do laundry or even cook rice.

What must have gone through Mr's head when he had to teach me how to do laundry.....hot and useless, that was me.   Could have been a sitcom considering I actually did turn the first load of whites pink from one random red item.   I'd never had a "ramen noodle" in my life and had no idea how to make rice....not sure I knew what hotdish was either....  

We were the perfect scenario for failure.   We moved in together after 5 months {sinners - gasp, I know}, we were only 20 - both college drop outs, he had a child and I was spoiled and overly sheltered....we got engaged 2 months later and married 1.5 years after that.   Seems incredibly ridiculous when I look back....our wedding was so big and expensive......we didn't pay a cent.   All taken care of by parents....mostly mine.   And Mr and I were so poor we couldn't even afford the postage to send out our thank you notes.   Still embarrassed about that....    It was a beautiful wedding and an amazing day.    MAN did he look good. :)

anyhooo.....it wasn't all flowers and fun.  We were broke, with a kid.  We had no idea HOW to be married.  I made so many mistakes.   I was selfish and wanted to be served....entitlement was all I knew.

12 years later I love what I do and have such a passion for serving my family.  What I have learned about being a wife and running a home has changed my life and brought me more contentment and joy than I ever could have imagined.

The Lord is so good.....He has blessed me beyond what I deserve.   I hope to use this blog as a way to share what He has taught me and provide myself with some accountability to put into practice what I have learned while I continue to pursue His will for my life.

Thank you for visiting.....I hope you enjoy the journey.