Thursday, September 27, 2007

Music for You!

Deciding to have some fun, I "borrowed" this idea from Stacy McDonald! To the left is Music for Your Enjoyment. I thought music might make my blog a bit more "homey".

If you decide you prefer to read in silence, there is a pause button. :-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Me, A Doormat?

I was reading in Matthew 5 this morning, and a question that I have thought about often once again came to mind. As a believer, what rights do I really have?

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you." Matthew 5:38-42

So what does that have to do with being a wife? All my life I have heard women talk about "not being a doormat", meaning not only in general, but in specific reference to their husbands. The more I read my Bible though, I wonder if that is a Biblical concept, or if it is another of feminism's lies. Obviously, our flesh rebels against the idea of letting anyone "walk all over us", but what does the Scripture teach?

"Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. by his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:18-14 **

Now, I realize that this is speaking specifically to servants, but what are the followers of Christ to be? Servants. Time and again wives are told to honor, respect, and obey their husbands. Where does it speak of rights? As somewhat of an aside, 1 Corinthians does speak of rights ~ "The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does." 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 (emphasis mine)

Now, I don't believe that we should go about demanding our "rights", but there it is. We are often quick to jump on whatever we *think* our rights are, to dig our heels in when we feel we are being trampled upon, but what would our Lord have us do? The Scriptures speak to that which causes our flesh to scream, "It's not fair! That can't be right!" But God's ways are higher than ours. We often cannot see the reason for that to which He calls us.

As a Christian wife, my duty is to lay down my "rights". To sacrifice them upon the altar. Then to serve my husband ~ just or not ~ as Christ would have me serve him. "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17 To honor and respect him in a way that daily speaks the gospel to him. My husband is a believer, but that does not mean that he doesn't need me to live out the gospel before him. Just because he is saved by grace does not mean that I don't need to live a Christ-like life in relation to him. If your husband is an unbeliever, how much more important is it that you live like this?

"Likewise, wives, be submissive 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

So, I wonder if "being a doormat" isn't truely a Biblical concept. Only, I wouldn't call it being a doormat, I would call it being Christ-like. Is there some balance between the extremes that is still Biblical? I would not rule out that possibility. I don't have all the answers, but these are some things I have pondered for a while, and when the Scriptures brought them to mind again this morning, I decided to share them here. I would love to know your thoughts on this as well. Let's challenge each other to think and live Biblically, no matter how difficult that might be!

**I do not want to come across as encouraging a wife to stay in an abusive relationship. While I believe that each situation must be taken on a "case by case" basis, I don't believe that it is okay to stay where your life ~ or that of your children ~ is in danger. I *am not* advocating divorce, but a separation with godly counseling would be I believe, a Biblical response to an abusive situation.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A New Book

There's a new book on the horizon, to encourage us all in our calling as wives and mothers. It won't be available for about another month, but I thought I would give you a "heads up" on it. It's called Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God, and it's written by Stacy McDonald and Jennie Chancey.

You can click on Stacy's name above, and read all about it on her blog. I have had the priviledge of meeting Stacy a couple of different times and have gotten to know her through an online group over the last 7 years or so. So, even though I have not had the opportunity to see this book yet, I am confident that it will be an encouraging read ~ lots of things to think about as we strive toward godliness.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Journey of Blessings

Well, I am so excited to be able to tell you that God has chosen to bless us with another covenant child! Sometime in mid-May, shortly before Josiah's 2d birthday, Baby Dole will make his or her arrival.

Although each child is dear and precious to us, since 1999, each child is not only a blessing, but a beautiful reminder to us of God's forgiveness and grace. Why? Because after Logan was born in 1996, we decided we were done with God's blessings. We had enough, thank you very much. And so Mike chose to surgically break his body and cut us off from the blessings of God. I was heart-broken almost immediately, and honestly, did not handle the next few years very well. I was angry at myself for not communicating better with Mike, I was angry at Mike for not picking up on my "hints" that I wasn't ready to do something permanent, and I was angry at God for not stopping him. The next 2 years were a very stressful time in our marriage. I was resentful and angry at Mike most of the time (it's probably a miracle we're still married!).

I kept a journal sporadically during that time, and I remember at the beginning of 1999, I was reading entries in my journal from almost 2 years before. I sat in my chair and cried out to God, "Why am I still in the same place that I was then? Why haven't I been able to move forward?" It was like God placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "Because child, you are angry and resentful. You've been in sin for 2 years." I cried, I repented, and I resolved to move forward. However, I had come to the place where I was convinced that not only had I been in sin, but by taking our fertility in our own hands, Mike was in sin as well.

So, after much prayer, I went to Mike. I confessed my sin to him, I asked for his forgiveness, and was able to talk calmly about his reasons for wanting to not have more children, and I shared with him my conviction that God is the One who opens and closes the womb. I asked him to pray about whether God would have him go through reversal surgery or whether things were as they should be. I would do whatever I had to to live joyfully with his decision. Within about 2 weeks, Mike came to me and said that he believed God would have us right our wrong by going through a reversal.

In March of 1999, Mike had his reversal, and in December of that year we conceived Kathleen. I cannot tell you the feeling of forgiveness that came over me when I discovered I was expecting! I *knew* I was forgiven before that, but I *felt* forgiven then. Since then Laura Anne has been added to our family and Tucker was born and died, and Josiah has added joy to our lives. We have also lost 3 children to miscarriage. So much joy, but so much heartache as well. We have grown so much closer to the Lord through the heartache, and we would have cheated ourselves of that. I praise God that He doesn't give up on us. When we step out in disobedience to His revealed Word, He pulls us back into line, and draws us more closely to Himself.

If you have never turned your fertility over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I challenge you to look into scripture and see what God has to say about the womb, the fruit of the womb, and who's in control. It's a wild ride! Are you up to it?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


My heart was heavy, and I felt somewhat sick to my stomach. I had to confront someone about sin; but it wasn't just anyone, it was my Beloved. This is something that I have gone over and over in my mind about, and I'm still not sure where I stand, or if I know how to do it right.

I often feel that as a wife who longs to reverence her husband and walk in submission to him, that I am feeling my way in the dark. The previous generation, who would be our older ladies, have not walked this path themselves for the most part. While this does not leave them bereft of wisdom or advice, it makes it difficult, because they cannot speak from experience and we have not *seen* it lived out in the lives of those around us. While some aspects of submission and reverence are fairly easily lived out, others would appear to be significantly "sticky", for lack of a better term. I find confrontation of sin to be one of the latter.

While scripture does not lack in instruction for going to a brother who has sinned against you, I often wonder if the covenant relationship between a man and wife brings another facet to it, that isn't so clearly covered in scripture. Perhaps I overthink things, but when I read the scriptures about the marriage relationship, then I wonder what it's supposed to look like when the husband is in sin, and the wife is the only one in a position to call him on it.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." Ephesians 5:22-24

A familiar passage, to be sure. But what bearing does it have on confronting sin? Does it have any? Does/should the church ever come to her Lord and confront him? Ah, but does the church's Lord ever *need* confronting? There is the fundamental difference between our Lord, and our lord. My Beloved is a sinner saved by grace, but yet a sinner. He has a high and holy standard that he is to live up to ~ through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit; and yet, he stumbles.

So, for this time anyway, the conclusion I have come to is that not only as his wife (who truely has a vested interest in his life), but also as his sister-in-Christ, I must be willing to confront him when necessary. I have to be ever so careful that I am not allowing hurt or anger to drive me confronting him, and so, I must pray, pray, and pray some more. I prayed for wisdom, for the right words to say, to know what *not* to say, for grace and mercy. I was very careful to talk to him about his sin, but not to engage him by attacking him. I spent time reaffirming to him my love for him, and exhorting him to lean on the Lord and rely on His strength. We talked about accountability and responsibility, we talked about many things. I am not sure I did it *just right*, but I did it in the best and most godly way I could.

I do not believe that wives are to turn a blind eye to their husband's sin. Love does not ignore that which will hurt the object of that love ~ and sin hurts everyone it touches. However, I do believe that a wife *must* be very careful about how she approaches her husband about his sin, because it is so easy for us to work off of emotions, and to let our tongues get the best of us. It is too easy for us to wound them and drive them further away from us. But the whole reason for confronting sin and exhorting toward godliness is to bring reconciliation. We must do everything we can to facilitate that.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thought for the Day

"Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction."
Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Thursday, September 6, 2007

One Flesh

"The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together." Robert C. Dodd

In the beginning, God gave us a blueprint for marriage. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Gen. 2:24

What does that mean? Well, obviously, it means that through the physical union, the two become one, but does it have further implications? I believe it does. The husband and wife should be one physically, emotionally, spiritually, and purposefully.

Completely ~ in every way, a man and wife should be one.

  • Physically ~ There is something spiritual in the physical union of a man and a woman, this is one reason why God created us for one life-long partner. When we come together, something that we can't quite understand happens and we become "one". This is something that is wonderful, mysterious, and precious. We must protect it. We should come to our marriages pure (although I realize many of us have not), and once married, we need to protect that oneness as well. Some things that could damage that oneness would be pornography, impure thoughts about someone other than your spouse, or an affair. We must do what we can to protect our one flesh with our beloved. Create a "buffer" of sorts. One thing that woman can actively do is make an effort to be attractive to our husband. If you know he prefers a certain style of clothing or a particular color ~ wear it! If you know he likes your hair a certain way, do that. Be available to him, and even take the initiative. Communicate to him that he is attractive to you, and that you desire him. Make sure he knows that you believe him to be the one and only man for you.
  • Emotionally ~ This can be a little trickier to define, but it would I think, include your feelings of love and friendship, which we've talked about before. If you are nit-picking at each other and always finding fault, you're probably not one emotionally. Being one in this way is going to look like two friends who really love each other. I'm going to think well of my Beloved, I'm going to see the positives in him, and I'm going to be an encourager, a cheerleader for him. If I am one emotionally with my husband, then it could be said of me, as of the Proverbs 31 woman, "The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain." Prov. 31:11 So then, we could easily conclude that a oneness emotionally, will be shown through actions.
  • Spiritually ~ "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" 2 Cor. 6:14 Believers should not be married to unbelievers. It is not possible to be one spiritually, if you are heading in two different directions. Let me say, that I know there are times when it is unavoidable. I have known women who were not believers when they married, but were saved after marriage. Scripturally, unless their husband will not continue to live with them, they are to remain married. However, the aspect of believer/non-believer makes their marriage more difficult; and yet, within God's plan. A Christian should not purposefully seek out a non-believer for marriage though. I would even argue that (if you believe in dating), a Christian should not even date an unbeliever ~ just because the likelihood of becoming emotionally attached and married is too high. If you are one spiritually, you will both be headed in the same eternal direction, and in the same theological direction. If a wife finds herself in theological disagreement with her husband, she needs to submit to his leadership. If she really believed that he was scripturally wrong, then she could discuss it with him, but her most powerful option would be to commit it to prayer, and ask God to change his heart ~ if he is truly wrong; all the while being open to God showing her she may be the one in error.
  • Purposefully ~ Lastly, I believe that the "one flesh" mandate covers purpose as well. How often have you seen a marriage, where a husband was committed to one purpose, and his wife was committed to another? How cohesive did that marriage appear to be? We even see this where a wife has a career. She is not necessarily committed to her husband and his vision, she has her own agenda for her life, and it often isn't being her husband's helpmeet. But, even a wife committed to being at home isn't immune to having her own agenda and purpose, separate from her husband. If my husband is committed to opening his home to hospitality and showing Christ's love in this way, then that should be my purpose as well. However, as a homeschooling mama, that might take over as my purpose and I could easily push aside whatever my Beloved wants because I'm busy schooling the children. While obviously, homeschooling our children is of utmost importance, it would be my responsibility to make sure I'm getting that done, but not at the detriment of my Beloved's vision. How much more fulfilling to incorporate the Biblical mandate of hospitality into our homeschooling rather than ignoring it.

As wives we have a tremendous amount of power in our marriages. We cannot control our husbands or make them act a certain way, but when we walk in obedience to the Word of God, there is a high probability that God will honor that and our marriages will change for the better. May God bless you as you seek to be one in every way with your beloved.