Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ken's Response to a Woman Fearing My Message

There are those in society who fear what I teach. They are afraid that women will lose all their "rights," as if I have that much power. What they really fear is Truth, God's Truth. Ken responded to one woman who commented on my post about fearing what I write ~

That forum {websites that despise Christianity} you refer to is a really sad place for us. I think many of them who comment there are good people whose original interest was in exploring the Fundamentalist mind set and culture, but instead of just exploring it they now use the forum as their attempt to punish those with whom they disagree. The most ardent detractors are those who were hurt by their husbands and in turn blame their church for teaching submission. Once scarred, they see a similar devil behind every tree and a bunch of feminists who certainly would not agree with Lori's message. Would you expect nothing less than attacks from them? 

I engaged the group for a time and found some to make some valid points which Lori has taken into consideration in the tone and some substance on her blog. For instance, we did spank our kids and we are big proponents of spanking toddlers as an excellent method of communications and training. We hate seeing parents running around all day saying "no" a hundred times and threatening time out only to be exhausted and lose their joy in parenting, when a small swat on the bottom can quickly solve the issue. 

We raised four godly children this way, and have seen no scars from it, only the learning of joyful discipline. Can spanking go too far? You bet! But to this group you have listened to, no spanking at all is their mantra and they are sticking to it as if a swat was a punch in the nose to our children. Their penchant for mischaracterization is what I most objected to. No matter how much I gave an accurate interpretation of what we believe and how we apply it, they would take another phrase from Lori's three years of writings and somehow twist it to make us look bad. 

We have learned from the group that when a blogger writes, they have to be considerate of those who may exaggerate what is said on one side or the other. So Lori has added some extra words to some of her posts just to try to be clearer for the 1% who might miss the meaning of her message. 

Examples ~ Obedience does not mean accepting any form or threat of physical abuse. Spanking is to be done modestly and if you choose not to spank, God is not necessarily displeased, but you are responsible for raising godly, well-disciplined children. 

As Lori has said, read her words for yourself. There are many blogs with which I object what is written, but I do not send them hateful words, nor try to shut down their blogs or try to damage their businesses. This group you speak of has stepped over the line and are liable for at a minimum gross and continual mischaracterizations, along with defamation of character. All because they disagree with what Lori teaches as she reads her Bible. Is Lori not entitled to an opinion or a means of expressing herself in training the younger women to love their husbands and be great mothers? That would be a shame if this group could shut her out with their screaming, as the fruit of her minister is so powerful and abundant. But that is what they fear; another generation of Bible believing children carrying on the message of how to have a Biblical marriage and family. 

Can you even imagine how many godly offspring those Duggar children will produce for Jesus?! To us that is pure joy, and to them they spend hours each week trying to stop fundamentalist teaching everywhere they can. We build and they tear down and destroy. Sounds like another battle we are all familiar with in the Christian life. 

Funny, I can handle the defamation better than I can the profanity that comes from some of their comments. If I could have continued a sane conversation I might still be engaged in a discussion with some of them, but when you have a few already predisposed haters who believe all spanking is wrong, no matter how you try to defend spanking, in their mind you are a child abuser. They are haters that really believe that what they are doing is a service to society. To get young ladies to avoid the truth taught in Lori’s blog because they believe it so harmful, even as many have proven with their own lives that doing things God’s ways can produce wonderful godly results in your marriage. 

I promise you that we are not of any group out there, nor do we really consider ourselves Fundamentalists until we were put in that box by others. We approach the Bible as it is written and accept it all as God’s Word and truth. If you can find anything with which you disagree you are welcome to catch us on it, so long as the comments are not profanity laced or accusatory, or you are an obvious troll seeking to distract from and destroy the message with nonsense. We welcome healthy discussions. But in our minds, spanking and husband leadership are two important aspects of creating a healthy Biblical family and marriage. Lori is not about to give those things up in her message because some have abused them, and some may in the future. The best she can do is honor God’s Word and her life experiences, and try to moderate her strong message by adding that abuse of any form is not an acceptable part of the Christian life for abuser or the abused. I am glad you are seeing the questions and seeing through the mess and confusion they are purposely trying to create. 

The thief cometh not, but for to steal,
 and to kill, and to destroy: 
I am come that they might have life, 
and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10:10

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stubborn Obedience is Disobedience

What should our attitude be in submitting to our husbands? Should we practice joyful submission even when we fully disagree with our husbands? Yes! I firmly believe that we need to learn to joyfully submit to our husbands whether we agree with them or not since God is the one who made the husband the leader of the home and when we submit to our husbands, we are submitting to the Lord. If he leads us in the wrong direction, he will have to answer to the Lord for this, not us. Do not be afraid! God never gives commands that we are not able to obey.

Jack Graham is a preacher my daughter, Cassi, loves. She will send me some of his daily devotionals to me if she thinks I will enjoy them. Here are some quotes from a recent one she sent me that I just loved!

There's a difference between true obedience and stubborn obedience. And in marriage, there's a difference between heartfelt submission to God's design and rebellious submission...a rebelliously obedient wife may think, "I'll submit to my husband's leadership, but I'm going to always second-guess him."

Rebellious obedience is the same as disobedience. So obey God's design for marriage with a joyful heart. When you have that kind of attitude, you'll experience a deeper joy as you align your heart with God's will for you! Experience true joy in your marriage through heartfelt obedience to God's design.

God calls children to obey their parents. We, as their parents, are responsible to train our children to obey us. We want them to obey us immediately and with a good attitude. If they grudgingly obeyed us, we would deal with them and tell them that it is unacceptable behavior.

In the same way, wives are commanded to obey their husbands. God's commands are not burdensome. We need to obey our husbands immediately and with a good attitude understanding that this command is really coming from the mouth of God. Unless there is obedience all the time, there is no obedience. So, if you choose when to obey your husband, you are not obeying him at all. You are simply doing your own will, and sometimes it happens to coincide with his wishes {Elizabeth Rice Handford}.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;
but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.
Philippians 2:3

When we esteem our husbands better than ourselves, we make it much easier to respect, honor, and obey them. God has not called us to strife but to peace. Be at peace with your husband, stop arguing with him about his decisions, and train yourself to joyfully submit, for this pleases the Lord.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Should Young Wives with No Children be Keepers At Home?

The directive in Scripture given to older women to teach young women to be keepers at home doesn't say that we should teach this to only mothers but to "young women." I read about young wives who work a lot. They come home exhausted and unable to fully take care of their husbands and home as they would like. What about them? Should they be expected to be keepers at home?

If you believe the Bible and take it literally, YES, they should be keepers at home. Their main ministry should be in the home. If they don't have enough time to go shopping for nourishing food, fix healthy meals, keep their homes clean, and be there for their husbands sexually, they are working too much!

Most women only have so much energy. To be expected to work full time and keep the home fires as well as her husband's fire burning is usually asking too much from a woman. Christian women who have not been thoroughly tainted by feminism still want to be home and take care of it. They want to keep it clean, tidy, and organized. They want to be the one cooking meals for their husbands and having time to be intimate with them.

If they can find a job that allows them to still have their heart at home, they should do that. Time is too short and valuable to give it all to a job and a boss rather than her home and her husband. Once she adds children to the mix, I firmly believe, as you all well know, that she needs to be home full-time with her children to accomplish everything the Lord wants her to accomplish on top of her home and husband duties; training, disciplining, and teaching her children.

Oh, but we could never afford to do that. How do you know? How about stepping out in faith and allowing the Lord to supply your need as you follow His commands. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

In closing, I will give you a quote given by Amelia Barr, a famous author from the late 1800s and early 1900s ~

The one unanswerable excuse for woman's entrance into active public life of any kind, is need, and alas! need is growing daily, as marriage becomes continually rarer, and more women are left adrift in the world without helpers and protectors. But this is a subject too large to enter on here, though in the beginning it sprung from discontented women, preferring the work and duties of men to their own work and duties. Have they found the battle of life any more ennobling in masculine professions, than in their old feminine household ways? Is work done in the world for strangers, any less tiresome and monotonous than work done in the house for father and mother, husband and children? If they answer truly, they will reply "the home duties were the easiest, the safest, and the happiest." 

The aged women...teach the young women... 
to love their husbands, to love their children, be keepers at home.
Titus 2:3-5

photo source

Monday, July 28, 2014

Addiction To Sexual Self-Pleasure

Several women got into an interesting conversation about healthy and unhealthy sexual practices on my post She Wished She Knew Her Parents Had Sex. The joyfilledwife finally added her thoughts and I thought they were worth sharing with all of you ~

Each and every sin in our life will impact our marriages in a negative way. Selfishness and sin can easily defile a marriage bed if we don't approach sex in marriage in a Biblical, selfless way. Because her daughter {a woman's daughter who commented on the post} has an addiction {masturbation}, and particularly a sexually sinful one where she is taking her desires into her own hands, yes, ChristyH is right about her future husband not being able to compete with that. 

We will always know what "buttons to push" on ourselves better than our spouses do, and indulging in masturbation not only will create dissatisfaction sexually with our spouse and their ability to please us, but it cheats them out of their role in meeting our sexual needs and desires. This is why communication is so important in the marriage bed. We need to communicate and teach our spouses what we like best when they seek to pleasure us. Sexual desires were never meant to be fulfilled by self-indulgence. God created sex for the couple to enjoy engaging in, to procreate, and to display a godly oneness. It is an act of loving service to each other. Christ and the church operate as one -- they don't separate themselves because it's more pleasurable to do things their own way. 

Addiction to self-pleasure {whether masturbation, pornography, or others things} steal away from the marriage bed, create dissatisfaction with sex as God intended it to be, and is idolatry, plain and simple. If a husband and wife were spending 75% of their day having sex, I would suggest that they have made an idol out of this one aspect of their marriage. Something can even be a good thing at it's core but, if pursued obsessively, made an unbalanced priority, or approached selfishly, it will take a turn for the worst and quickly become sinful. 

I know there are people on both sides of the fence on this issue {use of sexual toys}, but I don't happen to believe that using inanimate objects during sex creates or contributes to unity and oneness. Anytime we find sexual gratification from something that is capable of meeting our desires separate from our spouse, I think we are in dangerous territory. If our only objective in the marriage bed is to achieve orgasm and we are focused on that objective, we are missing the purpose of intimacy. If it takes a vibrator, or a porn movie, or any other sex toy in order for us to be sexually fulfilled, then we have misplaced our desires. You see, your spouse doesn't have to be physically present for a vibrator, dildo, or any other object or movie to "satisfy" you sexually and that, by it's very nature, detracts from a holy union. It is our spouse's selfless giving of their body and self that is solely meant to fulfill us intimately. 

To become addicted to being satisfied by anything that is not our spouse is not God's plan for sexual oneness. We need to check the state of our heart if pleasure during sex is not possible for us unless something apart from our spouse is needed in order to feel satisfied. God is faithful and more than capable of healing and mending this area of marriage! If a holy union is not our objective in the marriage bed and we have allowed self-pleasure and selfishness to defile it, we need to confess our sins to our Lord and ask that He create in us a clean heart, purify our minds, and help us to become more like Christ. Then and only then will we be living out our marriages in the way God created us to from the beginning. How I pray that each and every one of us, dear sisters, with have the humility and courage to seek that end. 

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.
Hebrews 13:4

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Building Your Children's Lives Upon The Rock

There are WAY too many children raised in "Christian" homes that are walking away from the Lord. It truly grieves my heart. I have told you I am not too emotional but when I hear about another friend of my children who walked away from the Lord, I cry. It breaks my heart to know the enemy has stolen another one.

It seems to be happening way too much these days. Debi Pearl's daughter, Shalom, has written an incredible article about her upbringing and how wonderful it was. They were taught to save themselves completely for their future spouse, not even kissing until their wedding day. They loved and respected their parents. Their parents ALWAYS took the time to listen to them while they were growing up, so all five children ALWAYS listened to and respected the advice their parents gave them.

Their parents taught them to work hard and enjoy it. It was part of life and being a family. Now, they all work hard and are training their children to work hard. What their parents did best, however, was to love each other deeply. Children need security in this insecure, unstable world. They should get that security at home, then they won't be looking for it in another teenager's embrace, drugs, alcohol, etc.

Also, too many fathers are not involved enough with their children. They are chasing after the almighty dollar instead of investing their lives into their families. This should not be so! Michael Pearl heavily invested into his children's lives as Shalom pointed out ~

While growing up, we always worked as a team to maintain the home front and to put food on the table. We learned responsibility by being made responsible. We never felt as though work was an unwelcomed exception to life; it was life itself. The tomatoes we planted, weeded, watered, picked, packed, and sold were a necessary part of living. We did not just play and watch our dad do all the work. Yes, we played and had more fun than most kids I know of. {They were not allowed to sit around and watch television, play video games, sit in their rooms for hours every day away from their family, etc.} We would all work together, and then we would play together, Dad right in the middle of everything, cheering us on to be the best at our antics, whether dropping into the water from a rope swing or trying to catch a chicken.

Children need to be trained from the time they are babies to be self-disciplined, work hard, and most importantly, to love Jesus. These are the ingredients for a healthy childhood. Build your children's lives upon the Rock with a lot of love, hard work, and play and you will most likely see beautiful fruit from your hard work.

Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
Proverbs 23:4

***You can read all of Shalom's fabulous article HERE.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What's Up With My Children?

These are the pictures Ken and I look at every day on our refrigerator. It is all of our children's engagement pictures, plus Emma as a newborn. We are blessed! Alyssa and Jon {top left photo} have been married three and a half years and have just bought their first home. They move in very soon and are SO excited! Jon is working at a job he loves and Alyssa keeps very busy teaching some exercise and ballet classes. They LOVE being married and enjoy riding bikes, going to the beach, and hiking together.

Ryan and Erin {top middle} have two precious children. Erin is a keeper at home and Ryan works with Ken. Ryan is a hard worker and good provider. They also LOVE being married {over four years now} and we watch their children once a week so they can go out and spend time alone together. Emma is going to be the flower girl in Steven and Emily's wedding! I am sure she will love entertaining every one again since she still loves to dance.

Steven and Emily {top right} are preparing to be married VERY soon. Shortly after their marriage, Steven will graduate from orthodontic school, then they will pack up their cars and move way up north where Steven will begin his career as an orthodontist, with his brand new help meet by his side. We are SO excited to have Emily as a part of our family. They can't WAIT to be married! {Yes, I will tell you all about it with many pictures!}

Ryan and Cassi are in the bottom left corner. They have been married six months now and also LOVE being married. It has been amazing to see how God has provided for them. Ryan will begin dental school soon. He got into one of the least expensive dental schools in the country with the lowest rent for an apartment. They have a long road ahead of them but their roots are firmly planted in Jesus and they are confident that He will be with them every step of the way. They definitely didn't believe in waiting until all their "ducks" were in order to get married. They know God loves and approves of marriage, whether you are rich or poor and have to struggle financially. After all, they have a BIG, generous God who owns everything!

It is a wonderful feeling, no, I mean "I have NO greater joy than to hear that my children walk in Truth!"{3 John 4}. All four of our children have been such a joy in our lives. They are truly our greatest gifts and blessings. We love watching them live their lives, enjoying their spouses, and walking with Jesus. Thankfully, they all chose spouses who love the Lord and want to please Him. We are blessed. Thank you, Jesus.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Is Setting Boundaries On Others Biblical?

There are many people writing and talking about boundaries they set for their spouses, friends, and relatives. This, for some reason, never seemed right to me. I think it is fine to set boundaries for yourself; boundaries for purity, for protection, etc. We are also to train and teach our children by setting boundaries for them; teaching them right from wrong.

Setting boundaries for anyone but yourself or your children seems wrong to me since we can't control anybody else's behavior. It seems like it is another way of saying you are trying to control someone else. Then comes in the problem of NEVER becoming a "doormat," since doormat is a dirty word today.

You see, the problem I have with the word boundary and doormat is that neither of these words are in the Bible. Yes, Jesus went away from the crowds at times for prayer and to be alone, but is that a boundary? It may be a boundary for Him, but not for others and He ALWAYS allowed interruptions to His "boundaries." He was mocked, beaten, and crucified on a cross. Was he not being a doormat for the world? Aren't we called to be like Him?

What about being called to be a "living sacrifice?" What about denying ourselves and giving ourselves to others? What about generosity and a servant being called the greatest of all? All these just don't seem to fit in with the so called "boundaries" people are setting up for others in their lives or the fear of being a doormat. However, we are never called to participate in sin for we must obey God rather than man, and if there is any type of abuse, call the authorities and see the link below.*

Shouldn't we be willing to be inconvenienced for others? Shouldn't we think of these times as golden opportunities to serve others? When we sacrifice our desires and wants for others, aren't we sacrificing our time and energy for Christ? When we give a child a cup of water, aren't we told we are giving Christ a cup of water?

Setting boundaries for others seems like psycho babble to me and not biblical at all. All this stuff about not being a doormat seems the same. If we insist on setting boundaries for others and not being a doormat, we will ALWAYS be unhappy when we are inconvenienced, interrupted, or asked to do things we don't feel like doing.

I  have just found in my own life, that the more I give myself and my desires away and serve others, the better my life becomes. When I don't need things to go my way and get things my way, the more joy I have. We are called to give our lives away and boundaries and not being a doormat just don't seem to fit into the biblical definition of being a godly servant for Christ.

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Matthew 23:11

*This does NOT apply to those who are in destructive marriages and their spouses have destructive habits that NEED boundaries. Please read this post if you are in a destructive marriage! You absolutely need to set boundaries and consequences to destructive behavior, maybe even separating for a time.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dancing Through Life Together

Ali is my sister's daughter. I have watched Ali from the time she was born, grow up into a godly, young woman. She has had her ups and downs in life like everyone but she isn't afraid to try new things and experience life to the fullest. Well, the Lord has blessed her with her match. This picture was taken at Cassi's wedding in January. David, Ali's fiance, posted this picture along with these words under the picture ~

The last four months have gone by like the blink of an eye and yet I feel like I've known this beautiful girl forever. She shines like Jesus and loves and serves others in such a powerful way. I look at this photo all the time and am so thankful this moment was captured because it's more than a moment. It's our lives. I love you, Ali. Thanks for dancing through life with me!

Of course I had to ask Ali to write her love story for me since we all love a good love story and theirs is a true, God-ordained love story. Here it is in her very own words ~

I was always that girl {for the most part} who enjoyed being single and didn't have a deep desire to get married. Contentment in my current circumstances was a lesson that my parents taught us kids, as well as exemplified throughout our growing up years. So, last summer, moving up to Santa Barbara, CA at the ripe age of 25, I was content. The Lord was moving and working in my life, revealing beautiful truths of His in new, wonderful ways. I was excited about my career as a chef, growing my catering business, and enjoying my incredible church community up here. I even dated quite a few guys {Shh! Don't tell my Aunt Lori ;).} The last thing on my mind was falling in love with one and getting married a year later...Well, let's just say, the Lord has quite the sense of humor...Here's my very 'unorthodox' love story in a {long} nutshell.

A friend of mine, Josh Newton, from Westmont mentioned to me one day last summer that he has a friend named David or DJ, who has a company with quite a few men employees. For some reason, and knowing I'm a chef, Josh thought it'd be a great idea to 'surprise' DJ and the guys with a home cooked meal. Josh wanted to bless DJ for all his generosity over the year and didn't think DJ would argue. He didn't! Yet, Josh had schemed up another plan that he hadn't told DJ; he thought I could make lunch for the crew and perhaps DJ would want to hire me to cook for the guys everyday! At first, it sounded like a great, fun idea; however, I knew better than to get my hopes up. Nevertheless, we arranged a date for me to go into the office and cook a meal on September 10, 2013. A few days prior, I had met DJ for a 30 second conversation at a party, coincidentally!

I was so nervous to cook for the guys and was so shy I hardly said a word, but all went well. They ate their fill and enjoyed the meal. DJ hired me on the spot! Was I dreaming?! What was going on?! I was shocked {and still shocked to this day, haha!} I began cooking for the company a few days a week, which quickly turned into every single day, breakfast and lunch! I loved it! Over the next few weeks, DJ was in and out of town, so I saw him on occasion. Though I didn't know him too well, I was so intrigued by him. His genuine smile, kind heart, and gentle spirit, humble attitude and listening ears were all attributes that I noticed right away, on top of his ability to run an incredible company with such grace and poise.

Toward the end of September, DJ invited some friend and me to Lake Arrowhead, where he did a house swap with some friends of his. My dear friend, Kristi, and I joined the group and had a blast in the mountains. It was a sweet time with wonderful people. And, it was there that I first learned that DJ was interested in me. He put his arm around me one evening, and we had an 'accidental cuddle sesh' {again, don't tell my Aunt Lori! ;)} I thought it was a joke at first or an accident, but I learned that it wasn't. DJ, my boss, was interested in me! Is that legal?! Are employees allowed to date their boss?! I eventually learned that I was in the clear!

After Arrowhead, DJ and I started getting to know each other. I didn't want anything too serious {I was the girl who wasn't looking for a ring by spring! Or a husband at all...}, yet I was definitely open to allowing him to pursue me. And, pursue me, he did! What an incredible man DJ is! If it weren't for his initiative and beautiful pursuit of my heart, we wouldn't be together. He took me on a few fabulous, fun, special dates, yet we mostly spent time with each other in group settings. We essentially have the same community here in town, since we both went to the same college and now the same church. So, it didn't take much effort at all to get to know him. We enjoyed the process and still do!

End of October of last year, we had our first kiss and became official! And, yes, in that order. {Again, don't tell my Aunt that we kissed before we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend, just by one day though ;)} Beginning of November, we went on a work/mission/community trip to London, Amsterdam, and Kiev {Ukraine}. God did some incredible things on that trip, and I have to say, that's when I started falling in love with DJ. God was changing my heart! Apart from being attracted to each other and connecting emotionally, we were learning that our life-long goals, visions, and vocations were aligning. I never expected to find that in the man I was going to marry!

On Thanksgiving day, we spent a lovely morning reading the Word together, praying, and talking about what the Lord is doing in our lives. It was a precious time together. DJ then told me he loves me. Wow. I was not expecting that! Tears flooded my eyes as I received those simple yet powerful words. The moment I heard him tell me, I knew in my heart that I love this man as well! What an unforgettable moment.

David and I got engaged on Easter {David washed her feet and while washing her feet, told her he wanted to spend his life washing her feet, then asked her to marry him.}, which was my birthday and we are getting married the end of this October, our one year anniversary from when we 'became official.' This past year has been the most incredible and wonderful year of my life! It has been a crazy whirlwind filled with adventure, excitement, highs and lows, challenges, tears and laughter, growth, revelation, love and joy. While there have been many doubt and uncertainties this past year, I have never lacked in peace when it comes to my relationship with David. The Lord has been SO present all throughout our relationship. And, for that, I am grateful.

So, while I did enjoy my singledom and independence, I could not be more thrilled to marry the man of my dreams and beyond! He is the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful, generous, and handsome {inside and out!} man I have every met in my life. His love for the Lord amazed me. His humility, sacrificial selfless attitude, and quiet confidence are so evident. He loves so well: strangers, his clients, his employees, his community, his church, his family, his friends, me, and our God. David has a gift for focusing on the positive and encouraging everyone he comes in contact with. He is a gift to SO many people. And, he's a gift to me. Lord, thank You for choosing David Jay to be my best friend, my husband, and the one with whom I get to go through life with. While I enjoyed my single years, I could not imagine my life without this man. He is the perfect fit for me. I cannot thank You enough. I am content. Very content.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth ~
for your love is more delightful than wine.
Song of Solomon 1:2

P.S. I forgive you, Ali! ;)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Your Children Want YOU!

Robin has been reading my blog for awhile. Her life isn't easy, however, she is doing everything in her power along with God's power working mightily within her to raise her children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord and be a godly, submissive help meet to her husband. She commented a few days after Eating Out And Taking Vacations was posted. Her words were wise words and I wanted to share them with all of you ~

If I may weigh in here: I am a full-time wife and mother now, but I spent over twenty years taking care of other people's children in my home and theirs. I share Lori's Christian world view and also her exegesis of the scriptures pertaining to wives and especially mothers, working outside of the home for pay without their children present {You cannot convince me that Mrs. Proverbs 31 hired a sitter so she could sell pretty fabric.} 

I can say with all honesty that not a single child that I cared for over those twenty years PREFERRED to be with me. They ALL wailed, cried, lay on the floor, pouted and moped in the morning when their mommies left. They ALL cried too much during the day - especially the infants. They ALL misbehaved right before their mother or father came home - having a sort of emotional crisis, if you will, at the time of transition from my care to that of their parents. 

If I could say one thing to working mothers {who are working by choice, and not force}, it would be this: count the cost. Know that your Nanny is NOT going to tell you that your child cried for five out of eight hours, screaming, "Mommy! I want Mommy!" because she knows it will break your heart in half. Your children want YOU. Not the Nanny. They want YOU. You are teaching them that anyone can do your job. You are the only Mama God gave them. You're missing their lives. Find a way - any way - to put your career on hold and GO HOME to your children. Please. 

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
Isaiah 49:15

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How Women Destroy Intimacy in Marriage

As I wrote about yesterday, a woman's battle is with her trying to control her husband. Ken commented on my post from last week the following about this issue when asked how I tried controlling him in regards to eating ~

Lori was raised to eat organic, eat lots of fruits and vegies, and avoid all preservatives. Then she married a junk food junkie who would have been happy with a salad a week, steak and potatoes, pizza and a Big Mac for all dinners. So the clash over food was inevitable, but it went from many discussions to an attempt to control after we got marriage. 

I now eat a steady diet of a huge organic salad with chicken on top almost every day when at home and have given up 90% of the sugary foods I once loved eating since I found organic cocoa protein shakes with banana and stevia. To me, it tastes like ice cream. If Lori had her way, I would be eating 50% less shakes and more "real food" but we no longer clash over it, and I no longer feel guilty. Health is important and one has to find balance to live life well. 

The main issue I got from Lori's desire to control is that I rarely was able to feel good in my own skin, or my own home. I could always read her disappointment with me on her face and lips. I am sure it is subconscious for most men and women that when their spouse does not act or do what they think is right they consciously or subconsciously punish them with their mood. It doesn't have to be a mean mood to punish. Just not smiling or as joyful as much, or a frown, or a stare in the other direction and your spouse gets the point. 

"I am not happy with you right now, so I can't be warm and joyful around you. Look what you do to me when you behave in a way that I do not like. You make me feel badly and it hurts our relationship." 

I am sure this is how many spouses feel when they put on their moods or give out snide remarks. "It's your fault that YOU are making me feel this way and I'm no longer in a good mood. How do you expect me to give you great sex if you keep doing this to me?" 

What most people do not know until they grow up, {and yes, most men and women have still not grown up}, is that the only person you can control is yourself. Not only can't you control another person, it almost always backfires in ways that you might never suspect. Even if you get your way you do not win the husband over, because he may capitulate to your ways, but his spirit is not in communion with you. You have won the battle but are losing the relationship you really want to have. You keep asking, as Lori did for many years, "Why can't we have an intimate relationship!?!" 

I have always been 100% committed to our marriage with a strong desire for true heartfelt intimacy with my wife. But what I have discovered is that the more I would move her way in doing things, the more the target would move to a higher level of needs, desires, feelings and control. It got to a point where I realized I cannot please this women by living life her way. It was not until I threw off the shackles of trying to please my wife, and instead began to tell her "no" I am going to go play golf now... or "no" I am going to eat this burger now, that I began to feel good about my life and stop walking on eggshells in my own home. To realize that I cannot control her, and if she wants to be upset over a burger, then so be it. Let it not rob my joy. 

The interesting thing I have seen is that true intimacy cannot flourish apart from vulnerability, and vulnerably is the opposite of control. It is when we give up control to our heavenly Father and rest on His desires in our life that we draw near to him, and trust Him, and walk by faith in the Spirit. When we try to control our own lives and the people around us what we are really doing is say I lack faith in you, both your spouse and God. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying never have any boundaries, or set any boundaries with your spouse as one big blog is advocating today. No, there are times, but should be very few in a Christian marriage, when a spouse can and should set boundaries, but almost all of these should be related to abuse or sin, not ordinary life. If your spouse is involved in something abusive, only then should protections go up, and a realization that with every boundary comes less of a chance of winning your spouse back, or finding true intimacy.  

Just remember that control always requires more control to stay in control, and the one you are controlling may behave more like you want them to, but will give less and less of their heart away to you. Why? Because love is a choice and if I do something for my wife because of her mood and control, we both lose out on the opportunity toward true intimacy. I know how she feels and thinks after the second or third time she has said it. To go beyond that is to try to get her way, to manipulate, to control.

What most wives do not understand is what they long for most is intimacy, and yet they go about the opposite way with control instead of vulnerability. Giving yourself over to your spouse to allow him to lead you places the responsibility where it belongs, takes the burden off his shoulders that he always has to please or he is going to pay for it with an unhappy wife, and puts the responsibility of love on his shoulders to realize that this joyful, smiling, content, vulnerable wife of his is his responsibility to both lead and love as Christ loves the church. 

The sins of the garden are many in the one act of eating the apple and these sins play themselves out over and over again in far too many Christian marriages. The main sin was selfishness and wanting to be in control over what God had clearly spoken. Eve usurps Adam's authority, Adam usurps God's authority, and all of mankind is plunged into a vicious cycle of sin, wanting to be in control. True faith and intimacy go hand in hand for both your relationship with your spouse and our God. The more you try to control either one of them the further intimacy is pushed away, all because of a lack of trust. 

If you don't love me enough to trust me and to let me live my own life, then do you really love me? Or do you simply love yourself more and want to protect that love of self by using control? Selfishness is self seeking and love seeks the best interest of another in good times and in bad, and until death do us part.

Love...does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own,
 is not easily provoked, thinks no evil.
I Corinthians 13:5

Monday, July 21, 2014

What is a Woman's True Battle?

A man's battle is with his sexual nature and a woman's battle is with her emotional nature. I have heard this and I have written this but I have changed my mind. Yes, a man's battle is with his sexual nature. In the womb, the male baby gets a testosterone wash. They have ten times the testosterone that women have.

I went over to my son's home recently and Emma opened the door for me. She is three years old and she had a pink, fluffy Bella dress on. Then out walked my grandson in only a diaper. He's only one years old but he had his shoulders back and looked like a stud! Even from childhood, the differences are so apparent and I LOVE them!

Men will always have to battle their sexual nature. Maybe it will get easier as they get older and their testosterone levels decline but we must always remember that No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it {I Corinthians 10:13}.

However, I have changed my mind about a woman's battle. Yes, we have to learn to control our emotions, but I think our greatest battle will be to not control our husbands. When we confess this to our husbands and help him to realize that this IS a battle, maybe they will have more compassion on us in our battle as we try to have more compassion with them in their battle with their sexual nature.

Since our curse was to "desire" our husbands, meaning to control them, it makes sense that this will be our greatest battle. When we confess this to our husbands and acknowledge that our trying to control them is wrong, it will help them to see that we truly don't want to control them anymore and are working on giving it up.

Am I a 100% non-controlling wife? No! However, I am MUCH better than I use to be. It is something I have to battle. Many women use their emotions to control, so emotions do play a role in it, but I think the root problem is our curse, which is the need to control.

The verse I quoted above for men and their battle against their sexual desire applies the same to us in our battle against control. We can be overcomers through the precious blood of the Lamb. It may mean having our husbands hold us accountable and telling us what makes them feel we are controlling them. We have become so good at controlling them in such subtle ways that we may not even realize ways we try to control.

Half of the battle is already won by just admitting what we are battling and our desire to stop. Then we need to confess it by bringing it to the light and begin working on changing through the Holy Spirit that lives inside of us.

Don't give up, women. It is a battle we can win. I am sure of this! I always think positively when there are things in my life I want to change since God promised me that I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Battered and Crushed Rose

Matt Chandler, a pastor in Texas, tells of being in a meeting for teens where the topic is sexual purity. The speaker asks the audience to pass around a rose and to sniff its fragrance and touch the silky petals. When he finishes his talk he holds up the crushed, mangled, roughly used rose and asks with disdain, "Who would want this rose now?" Matt said he wanted to stand up and yell, "Jesus. Jesus wants the rose!"

It's true. His welcoming invitation extends to the bruised and weakly burning soul, to the ravaged and lonely. "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out"{Isaiah 42:3}. His invitation stands ~ "Come." {Pursue The Intentional Life by Jean Fleming}

There are many of you who were not virgins when your were married. I am sure there are some of you who had sex with multiple men before marriage. There are divorced women, maybe some who have divorced more than once or even twice. Some may have had abortions or affairs while married. Maybe some even struggle with pornography and homosexuality. I want you to know that you are welcome here. 

Yes, I love the Duggars and I love God's ways. I always will and I will always teach Truth because deep in your hearts, you know that God's ways are far superior to man's ways. BUT, when you ask God for forgiveness and repent of your ways, there is cleansing and forgiveness. In fact, God makes you a new creature and fills you with Himself. Imagine the freedom of taking off your filthy, dirty rags {which by the way, we all have before coming to Christ} and putting on Christ, brand new clothes, the righteousness of God.

Just because you weren't a virgin or you got divorced or any other "evil" sin doesn't make you any less a woman of God than me or any other. I know some of you feel bruised and battered from your past but know that God has forgiven you for all of it the day you believed, just as He has the rest of us. You are worthy! You are a child of the most High God. Rest in His perfect peace.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: 
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

Saturday, July 19, 2014

What They Love About Each Other

Steven and Emily were out here recently for her bridal shower. Her mother, Janie, came with her. My sisters and niece provided a wonderful, healthy meal and then Steven showed up with Emma for the opening of presents.

Alisa asked them to share with us what attracted them to each other. I had tears in my eyes the whole time, it was so precious. Their deep love and respect for each other was evident to all. One of the things that Steven shared about Emily stood out to me.  He said that she was extremely faithful to her friends. She accepted them and loved them just the way they were. It reminded me of this verse, Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find? {Proverbs 20:6}.

We all want to be accepted the way that we are. We all have faults and struggles. We say the wrong thing at times and may even offend others. Sometimes we are not in such great moods and get irritable. Yet, it is comforting to know there are those who will still love, accept us and are faithful to us. 

Since Emily loves her friends through good times and bad times, there is a great chance she will do the same for Steven. Faithfulness is a rare quality these days but such an important one.

Emily shared that she loved Steven's masculinity. He is a "man's man" as she put it. She loves the way he walks and isn't afraid to stand up for Truth. {She did once tell me that he has the biggest heart of anyone she has ever met! So being "manly" doesn't mean they aren't loving and caring.} She said that she always wanted a very masculine man which seems to be getting harder and harder these days as more and more women are running the homes, schools, government, etc.

Steven is faithful to his friends, also. He just flew up to Alaska to be in one of his very best friend's wedding. They have been friends since they were eight years old. In his own wedding party, he is having friends from his childhood, a cousin, friends from college, dental school, and ortho school. I never remember him saying one negative thing about any of his friends. He very much dislikes slander of any kind.

Faithfulness. A very good trait to build a marriage upon. I predict that they both will be faithful to their God and each other ALL the days of their lives.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; 
bind them around your neck; 
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Proverbs 3:3

Friday, July 18, 2014

Our Very First Home was an Old, Little Trailer

Ken and I got married in December of 1980. He was in seminary and I was in graduate school to get my teaching credential. {My dad insisted we all have a career.} We had very little money. We found this little trailer that we paid $230 a month for and my parents gave us that little, used VW Rabbit. As you can see, I was not raised like the Duggars. I wore short shorts.

Ken remembers being so happy there. I remember being so unhappy. I didn't like so many things that he did and didn't do. I was so critical and not accepting of him. Imagine all the fun we could have had together in that little trailer if I loved him just the way that he was? He has always been a great guy. He will do anything for anybody. He gives and gives and gives of himself. He is so faithful to his family and friends. What was wrong with me?

I was badly affected by this thing called sin. My desire was to rule over him as I wrote about the other day {Genesis 3:16}. I wanted to boss him around and tell him what to do. So many women tell me they weren't bossy and controlling until they got married. They, unfortunately, were bitten by the sin bug also. Getting our way was more important than having an intimate marriage.

This is why older women need to teach young women to love and obey their husbands, to please them, honor and respect them. It goes completely against our natural inclination which is to sin. Most of our natural inclinations are wrong. This is why we must never trust them along with our feelings. We must always be in God's Word and listening to good Bible teachers so that we will do things the right way, instead of the destructive way.

Thankfully, there is a wonderful cure for the sin bug. God's mercy and grace was poured upon us when He took our sin upon the cross, nailing it to the tree, and killing it. Now, all we have to do is believe it. We need to believe we are dead and freed from sin. We can love, honor, respect, obey, and all those others things we are commanded to do for our husbands. We have the God of the universe living within us giving us the power to do it. So now simply "Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, 
having our hearts sprinkled clean from an 
evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:22